Monday, May 31, 2010

V is for Vaction: Summer Plans Revisited

As you may have seen in my previous post, life has been pretty hectic. Thursday, May 20, my husband was laid off from his company. That same day I went and took my driving exam for the third time so I could (finally) get my driver's license. Both my husband and I are going to online universities, working on our BAs. The past couple of weeks we have just been trying to make ends meet, so I had to put the blog on hiatus until I had a little bit of time. I obviously now have a bit of time. :)

Since my husband is now unemployed, and I have been a SAHM for the past year and a half, we have a lot of free time. We decided to go on vacation. We currently live in Iowa, even though we are originally from Texas, so we are going to go visit our mommies, who still live in Texas, for a couple of weeks. My oldest is super excited. She loves seeing her grandmothers and spending time with them. "I get to go visit Gramma when the board says 'zero' and see my Abuela, who is my other gramma...." This has been going non-stop since I told her when we would leave. She asks me every day. EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. So after about 3 days of getting asked the same question every hour, we took one of our chalkboards and made a countdown. This way, when she asks when we leave, I point to the board and she knows how many days we have left. When the board reads "0" then she'll know (and probably damn-near pee herself with glee) when we leave. She is so excited, she still won't shut up about it, but at least she has stopped asking me and just looks at the board. All the questioning has been replaced with commentary, which I can tolerate a bit more. (I wrote the number and "days until we visit"; Lily wrote 'grama' since she can only spell phonetically right now.)

J and I decided to still do learnings while on summer vacation. Since he and I will still be doing our own schoolwork in our own classes, we figured it would be fun for the girls to "be like Mommy and Daddy" and still have a little bit to do. It will be a lot more laid back these couple of months, but at least their minds will still be challenged. On the trip we are taking two series of books that we ordered last year from Scholastic. The first set are Alpha-Tales which are a set of books designed to help with phonics. Each book is dedicated to a letter in the alphabet and is used to identify the shape of both the upper- and lower-case letter and the sound(s) that the letter makes. I will be using this set for Iris, who, even though she knows her alphabet by sight and many of their sounds, is still having a bit of difficulty identifying them in lower-case. The next series of books are Sight Word Stories. Now, I'll be honest, I am not a big fan of sight-reading unless it's musical. English was my second language and what helped me develop my skills was learning through phonics. If I came across a word I did not know, I would sound it out to the best of my ability. To this day I still come across words I have no idea how to pronounce, so with phonics, I can better hear the word and then ask my husband if I said it right. Don't get me wrong, sight reading does work in some cases, but it does not work here. So with Lily, who already knows how to use phonics to help her read, these incredibly short stories (6 sentences) are used to harness that ability without stressing her out with a large plot and complicated sentences. Even though the sight words have been printed in bold, it doesn't seem to hinder her in her reading. She takes the time to read each word slowly to herself until she figures out what the word is by smushing the sounds together. I signed them up for the summer reading program at the public library. Iris's goal is 20 books, Lily's is 40. Working with these books will definitely help them reach their goals.

Along with phonics and reading, Lily will be taking her journal where she will be writing about her day with her scribbly pictures, as well as doing a bit of copy work. I'm not quite sure what she will be copying yet, but I'm thinking of just picking sentences at random from the books she will be reading and then taking it from there. Iris will continue to practice tracing lines and doing simple mazes. For our foreign languages, I'll be taking our Muzzy DVDs. We probably won't use them much while on vacation, but we are working on our colors in Spanish, French, German, and Chinese. I'll probably do simple math problems on a sheet of paper with Lily and review a lot of the work that we all did this past year to keep everything fresh in the girls' memories.

That's about all for now. What are your summer plans?

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