Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I See Sam Readers

Last year a friend of mine encouraged me to take a look at the I See Sam Readers as a solid reading program for Bugsy.  He has completed Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons but he is still a struggling reader, maybe it's just a boy thing.  I really didn't want to start another 'learn to read program' because he has the basics down.  My gut feel is that he needs more practice reading real material, enter I See Sam Readers.

After e-mail discussion with Andy at Academic Success for all Learners I decided to go ahead and purchase all 8 sets of little books.

They are backwards on this shelf.  The order is red, orange, 
yellow, pale green, dark green, aqua, blue, purple.

So far they have been a hit!  Bugsy has really enjoyed getting to know the characters which appear in all of the little books.  He loves that they are colour coded so he can see when he has moved up a level.  So far he has completed all of the red books and is three shy of completing the orange books.  The books build so incrementally he really feels comfortable with each new book.  This is giving him the confidence he was lacking.  I can see his attitude towards reading changing as the process is becoming easier.  Once the book has been read fluently he gets a sticker of his choice to pop on the back so that we know that one has been completed successfully.  There are also charts and certificates to mark off and present along the way.

A page from an orange book.

Showing off his new sticker.

Here are sample pages from each of the levels except orange, it's above :).



 pale green

 dark green




Each book contains phonics review and comprehension questions.  As they progress the font size decreases and the number of words per page increases.  Longer stories and even chapters are introduced.  I believe after completing all of the books Bugsy will be in a position to read anything he picks up with confidence.  My aim is to complete all of the books in a 6 month period although Bugsy isn't aware of that :).

Just as a side note Bugsy is still working on phonics daily.  Aside from reading he is working on Explode the Code and also All About Spelling.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

How will school work for us in 2012?

Loosely my plan is to do content subjects after circle time, first up in the morning so we all have a bit of fun and get the wiggles out.  I know the morning is the most productive part of the day both for the kids and myself but i find i really need the patience to get through the content subjects and by the time afternoon hits my patience is waning for anything group related.

Monday - Science
Tuesday - Literature
Wednesday - Fine Arts
Thursday - History
Friday - Geography

I have early risers and most morning we are ready to get started around 8am so i would think we will be finished with content subjects around morning tea, approx 10.30am.  Then we will move into Maths and Language Arts.  Hopefully we will get in a hour or so before lunch so that we only have another hour at the most after lunch.

At this point I still see it as very reasonable that we will be finished by lunch or 1pm on most days thus allowing plenty of play time :)  I think in 2012 i will be a little more precious with my time, not booking swimming lessons or other regular activities in the morning time slot.  School just doesn't work well when you have been out all morning and try to get into it after lunch.

I realise that we will only hit those content subjects once per week, but we will go deep during that time.  We also school pretty much year round so hit somewhere around 45 - 47 school weeks.  Taking both of those into consideration i am not at all concerned about not spending enough 'time' on the content areas.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Alphabet Poem by Flossy

We have The Poetry Pad and have used a couple of the prompts for writing poems over the last year.  Today Flossy worked on an Alphabet Poem.  We didn't follow the prompt exactly as we have already done one Alphabet Poem 'by the book' so i allowed some free reign.  Here is what she wrote.

B is for book,
as in storybook,
with characters such as Captain Hook.
Then there are books that give you looks,
with words such as beach or bee.
So come and sit under a tree,
and read a book with me.

First we brainstormed subjects for the poem.  Then Flossy wrote a draft.  We edited it together then she typed it up on the computer herself.  After it was printed Flossy illustrated it.  Here is the final product.

I am really impressed with her effort on this task today.  Flossy is generally very resistant to writing for school, but will happily write letters to friends, short notes, shopping lists etc.  Today she had a great attitude toward her work and the final product reflected that.  Language is her strong suit and she has a lot of potential.  I really look forward to seeing what the future holds in this area for her.

Friday, November 25, 2011

TMX Rice Porridge

200g jasmine rice
960g milk
40g sugar
30g butter
* a little extra sugar, dried apricots and/or sultanas to top

Put everything into TMX bowl.
Cook for 47mins at 90C on reverse speed 1.
Spoon into bowls and leave to stand for 3-5mins.
Sprinkle with a little extra sugar and top with dried apricots or sultanas.
Serves 5.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

TMX Porridge

180g rolled oats
460g water
490g milk

Put everything into TMX.
Cook 8 mins at 100C on reverse speed 4.
Serves 4.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Science 2012

I am SO EXCITED about science for 2012!  We just received our Science in a Nutshell Kits from Delta Education and they look unreal :D

Here you can see the 5 kits i purchased - Vision & Hearing, Body Basics, Weather Wise, Destination Moon, Energy & Motion.  There are MANY more kits available however i chose things i thought would interest my children.  I was also conscious of import restrictions on anything organic and considered a bio-security risk.  I didn't want the kits ripped apart at customs!

When planning for science for 2012 i was inspired by this post.  So i decided we would take a similar approach.  I looked through TWTM logic stage recommendations for science and decided to go with their book recommendations.

Here they are sitting nicely on my shelf waiting for next year.  We have the Usborne Illustrated Dictionary of Science, Usborne Science Encyclopedia, DK Science (a visual guide) and The Kingfisher Science Encyclopedia.  I'm really pleased with all of these books and feel they will be excellent reference books for us not only for next year but well into the future.

Back to the kits :)  The kits are presented in a small plastic tub with a handle.  Inside each kit is an Activity Guide and 3! Activity Journals.  The guides provide step by step instructions on how to complete the 'experiments' and the journal provides a place to record details.  The kits also have EVERYTHING you need to complete each of the activities.

My plan is to use the books to thoroughly explore the concept before we conduct the 'experiment'.  We will do lots of reading and narration.  Hopefully i will be able to share more of how it plays out for us next year.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Miracle Babies Foundation Picnic

On Sunday we went to the inaugural Miracle Babies Foundation picnic for NICU and SCU graduates. It was a wonderful day, beautiful weather and location. The kids had plenty to do with the fire truck and bouncy castle being star attractions. They also enjoyed the face painting and for an amateur, the lady did an awesome job! Santa was also a hit :)

Glasses off while the paint dries.

I think Bugsy has found himself a new career path. He'd now like to be a fireman! He really enjoyed chatting to the firemen and being shown all of the equipment and how it all worked. They were wonderful with the children and more than happy for them to touch and try everything.

I can't help but plug the major sponsor of the event, Sutherland Rose.

I'm currently in the process of becoming a volunteer for Miracle Babies Foundation and hopefully in the coming 12 months i can be a valuable member of the WA team.
Rusty and Possum enjoying the festivities.

Monday, November 21, 2011


Just found this post and wanted to put it here so i can come back to it. Food for thought.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Walk for Prems

Life's Little Treasures Foundation held the Walk for Prems for the first time in Perth last weekend and we were happy participants. It had threatened rain but it managed to hold off. The kids and I walked the 5km walk, and some, because we parked miles away. I estimate we actually walked close to 11km on the day! Afterwards we have a lovely picnic lunch and the kids enjoyed having their faces painted. It was a great day out and we are already looking forward to next years walk which we are hoping will be bigger and better!

Possum Update

Yes, that's right folks, Possum is crawling! He is now 13 1/2m old or 10m corrected. He weighs 8.6kg which still puts him way at the bottom of the charts but he is happy :)

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