The last take in today’s post is a giveaway of Brandy Vencel’s phonics lesson plans, Teaching Reading with Bob Books. But there’s a lot of good stuff between here and there, too.
~ 1 ~
We started our Harvest Term this week – I’ll post about our content for the term next week. We seem to have a pre-algebra stall but some significant fraction improvement. By now I have enough experience with these waves of math to not worry about them but just keep everyone putting the next foot forward to take the next step. It all evens out.
What I’m happy with so far is that I’m not neglecting my middle set of students. It’s easy to put off and disregard the early grades, especially with 7th grade at hand, but now is when my 7-year-old is forming those habits that will make teaching her later either possible or exceedingly difficult. So, consistent lessons have been a priority, and they have been happening.
Surprisingly, our favorite bit is spelling! I never was consistent with spelling with the boys, but they also didn’t seem to need it. For Ilse, it’s been a good phonics reinforcement, and she and Knox both love that they get to use markers. I can do it for them both at the same time, and I could it is spelling, extra phonics, and handwriting all in one condensed 10-minute session, so I’m happy, too.
- Sequential Spelling
- lined dry-erase boards
- dry-erase markers with a small eraser on the cap
- Not pictured: coffee
~ 2 ~
pretty * happy * funny * real
~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~
One of my favorite sights to see around the house:
Just don’t look at those feet. I promise I mopped – the next day. After taking the picture, I went and finished my own book.
He’s reading the first book in the fantasy trilogy by Stephen Lawhead: The Dragon King Collection. I chose the trilogy as a birthday present for our now-12-year-old. I’ve read a Lawhead book before, but this series was on the 1000 Good Books list, which has yet to fail me.
The book I finished was The Miracle Worker: A Play, but that one deserves its own Wednesday with Words post!
~ 3 ~
So this week my big win in homeschooling came as a direct result of listening to the master class “Education in an Hour ” with Sarah Mackenzie and Adam Andrews on Saturday while making bread. Three questions. Ask them about any story. Good conversations that move us all toward thoughtfulness and connections happen.
On Monday, I used the questions with Hans and Jaeger separately, asking them about the books they’d each finished over the weekend. I also used it with the picture book and Bible story with Knox and Ilse. Then I used it again with Jaeger when he narrated his Bible reading.
I am set. Seriously.
I watched all the Teaching the Classics videos last summer with a friend, and they are excellent, but they still left me feeling like it would take practice to really make it work. I still felt unsure and awkward and I never really incorporated into normal conversations – and normal, organic conversations are my preference rather than a sit-down, let’s do literary analysis session.
This class distilled Adam Andrew’s approach and made it immediately useful for organic conversations.
I’ve been trying to do more narration this year, and it’s been going well, but it’s never really moved to conversation and although it’s better than just reading and moving on, I’ve been feeling it’s still rather flat for us.
So, my 5th grade son is reading a chapter and the corresponding Bible passage from Starr Meade’s Mighty Acts of God, and he likes to give short and sweet and basic narrations. He knows the stories already, and I want him to narrate more the teaching/doctrine within the story that the book is drawing out, but he doesn’t take well to “drawing out” after he’s given a basic narration. So, I asked what his chapter today was about:
(He expects me to say “tell me about Gideon.”)
“Who was the protagonist?”
He registers a look of surprise at the new question. Thinks. Squints his eyes at me to let me know he’s not going to fall for any trick questions.
“Well, God is the protagonist, because the Bible is about God.”
… And I could have died happy right there.
Yes, I followed up with the other questions and we actually talked about how God uses people even though they are difficult – the kind of conversation I’d been wanting to have, but couldn’t make happen.
I am totally pumped about it – a whole week of the same set of questions every day and it’s worked like a charm with all the kids, every time.
The master class is included in the Read Aloud Revival Membership Site, but you can also purchase it separately. Don’t tell Sarah I told you to do this, but if you didn’t get this master class when it was live, I’d recommend signing up for the Read-Aloud Membership Site, watching this class, downloading the cheat sheet, … watch the other videos while you’re there …. then you can cancel.
Totally worth it.
~ 4 ~
I’m working behind the scenes, after kid’s bedtime, during naptime, and before breakfast on my next thing: Work the Plan Video Training.
It’s coming together and I’m super excited about it!
My signature course, Simplified Organization: Learning to Love What Must Be Done, is for moms who feel like they are drowning, who feel like everything is chaos and there is no way to step out of the frustration. It was birthed from the plans and notes I made for myself after the pregnancy and birth of my fourth and fifth babies (three years apart). Pregnancy and birth and sleep deprivation mess with one’s perspective, and Simplified Organization: Learning to Love What Must Be Done is about finding a path out of negativity and apathy.
Work the Plan is geared at – myself, right now, a mom with several plates to spin who needs to actually work her plans instead of just making them, who needs to spend more time doing and less time listing and brainstorming and planning.
Really, my projects are all created out of pure selfishness: I need a kick in the pants. I know what to do, I just need to pull it together and actually do it. Having to put it together and package it up to make it intelligible and useful for other people forces me to clarify my thoughts and finish the plan all the way instead of being distracted by another idea. Also, if I put something out there as “this is what I do,” well, then I’m also binding myself to do it now, aren’t I? So this is my own strategy for public accountability. Thank you for helping.
My monthly newsletter goes out Saturday morning and will have a sneak peek at one of the videos I’ve already finished for the course. Sign up and make sure you don’t miss it!
~ 5 ~
You didn’t miss Pam’s first episode of her new podcast did you?
Your Morning Basket with Cindy Rollins as the first guest.
You simply must listen. No, you simply must subscribe, because Pam has already recorded with most of the guests for the whole season and they are all going to be incredibly helpful and encouraging!
~ 6 ~
Because I’m recording videos for Work the Plan, I haven’t used Periscope much this week, but my ‘scope on Monday about our EHAP5 practice went over pretty well:
~ 7 ~
And last but still very important, today I get to give away a copy of Brandy Vencel’s phonics guides! Teaching Reading with Bob Books is a step-by-step guide to using the Bob Books to teach phonics thoroughly. She tutored reading before she had kids, and she used this notebook-based and whole-book method to teach all four of her kids to read.
I’ve received several emails in the last week about the phonics program I use and love, TATRAS. It appears to be out of print and no longer available! It was simply sold by the author out of his home in 3-ring binders, and no one has been able to contact anyone through his site. So, especially in light of the fact that the program I’ve recommended for years is now unavailable, I give you a chance to win a free copy of Brandy’s easy-to-use method.
I told her I was picky about my phonics and although I use Bob Books for early reading practice, I think the phonics they teach is sorely inadequate. I also disagree with teaching sight words.
However, it turns out that what Brandy does with her lesson plans is teach actual phonics and phonograms using the Bob Books, but not in the way the Bob Books say to use them. I took a picture of the TATRAS phonogram chart and she said that her program covers every single one of those phonograms by the time you’ve moved through all the Bob Book sets and the Treadwell Readers. She teaches the phonics rules for what Bob Books calls sight words, also. She doesn’t teach all the sounds of each phonogram at the same time (“vertical” phonics), but one can’t have everything, I suppose. ;)
So, she relieved my concerns and now I can whole-heartedly recommend you look at her lesson plans if you are in need of a phonics program.
Enter to win a free copy by leaving a comment telling me your least favorite word to spell. Ha! It’s possible knowing all the phonograms can help.
Brandy is giving away the guide for Set 1 and also the guide for Set 2 which will be released any day now. I’ll choose a winner next Friday!
All the reading lessons are available for free at Teaching Reading with Bob Books, but the lesson plan sets pull it all together so you can print it and use it more effectively.
Check them out…after entering to win!