Saturday, July 30, 2011

What My Child Is Reading - July 30

Junie B. First Grader At Last
I thought this book would be a good pick since school starts soon. Alexis is an excellent reader but I'm challenging her to read longer books without as many pictures. This will be her first Chapter Book.

Junie B. is about a sassy mouthed girl who is facing new challenges of being in a new class with a new teacher and new friends.

The Human Body: A First Discovery Book
Alexis picked this book herself. She found it fascinating. This book shows all of the parts of the body including the skeletal system, nervous system, organs, and the brain. I like that she picked this book because it goes along with our Life Science studies.

Friday, July 29, 2011


This week our spelling list was the numbers one through twenty. When we do spelling, I give Alexis her spelling list and she writes the word twice. I verbally quiz her several times throughout the week. Today we did our quiz in the car. Then we practice putting our spelling words in alphabetical order.

Here are two websites that offer free spelling lists and

Thursday, July 28, 2011

IXL Math

IXL is my favorite online math practice site. We started using IXL at the end of last school year. Alexis's test results at the end of kindergarten placed her at a first grade level in math. I felt that it was important to keep her skills sharp so I have been investing in IXL for the last 2 months. One reason I like IXL is because there is unlimited practice questions for grades Pre-K through 8th grade. The best feature is you can cross over between grade levels, you are not limited to one grade level.

IXL also give students virtual awards for completing skills. The awards act as an incentive for Alexis to complete a new skill. Using this program has really helped Alexis improve her skills in counting money and time.

Now I have to decide if I will keep investing monthly or if I want to purchase the yearly plan.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Enjoying A Picnic and the Splash Park

Today we enjoyed a nice quiet picnic at the park. Alexis fed the ducks the leftover bread from her chicken salad sandwich.

After feeding the ducks, we headed over to the Splash Park to cool off.

We were going to do some geocaching but Mommy was too tired. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Life Science: Living and Non-Living Things

After searching for a free science curriculum, I found Scott Foresman Science. This website has the online student editions of the Scott Foresman Science and Math textbooks. Today Alexis studied Chapter 1of the First Grade book. This chapter was on living and nonliving.

Science Lab
Lab #1- I asked Alexis to walk around the house and list 3 living things and 3 nonliving things. She decided to list 6 of each. She did this inside the house and outside of the house.

Lab#2- Hatching Brine Shrimp
This lab is a work in progress. We just placed the shrimp eggs into the saltwater. We will be observing the eggs for 5 days and recording the changes.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

What My Child Is Reading

Oh Say Can You Say? by Dr. Seuss
Alexis loves Dr. Seuss. We have a lot of fun with these books because we always get tongue tied.

The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss
More Dr. Seuss

Trick Or Treat Little Critter by Gina and Mercer Mayer

Trick or Treat Smell My Feet by Lisa Desimini
A story about 2 witches who try to ruin Halloween by casting a spell on the neighborhood children. They use stinky socks to create a spell that will only allow the children to say "smell my feet" when they go trick or treating. But something goes horribly wrong and a pink baby booty goes into the evil brew. This reverses the spell and turns the witches into toddlers.

This was a cute book and we liked the illustrations. Halloween is Alexis's favorite holiday so we read Halloween books all year.

Can You Cook An Egg On The Sidewalk?

We are experiencing a big heat wave this week with temperatures near 100 degrees. In an effort to work in a science project this week I decided we would try to cook an egg on the sidewalk.

Alexis wasn't to keen on the idea and didn't think it was "sciency." She says "Why don't we just cook an egg on the stove?" she missing the point or what? So I say "Because it is 98 degrees and this way we can see if it is hot enough to cook an egg outside!"

This is our egg. We waited about 10 minutes and nothing happened. We even tried directing a beam of sunlight at the egg with a magnifying glass. Nothing happened so we moved the egg to the blacktop.

This is the egg after 10 minutes on the blacktop. Conclusion: It definitely is not hot enough to cook an egg on the sidewalk. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Free Books From Amazon!

My books arrived today! Isn't it exciting to get free stuff in your mailbox? I use this really neat search engine called Swagbucks to earn bucks that can be redeemed for Amazon Gift Cards. I started earning my Swagbucks in February and I have earned $45.00 to date in Amazon Gift Cards and $10.00 in CVS Gift Cards. 

I use the Amazon Gift Cards to buy books and magazines. I'm slowly building up a library for Alexis.

You can earn Swagbucks too. Just follow my link here to sign up for your free account.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dick And Jane And The Vampire: Controversial? Yes or No

My daughter loves vampires, so when I saw this book on Amazon for $4.00 I had to order it. My great aunt taught me to read using Dick and Jane books in the early 80's. For me this purchase is more for my own nostalgia than for a teaching tool.

Since I haven't received the book yet, I decided to look up the reviews. You can find lots of reviewers that believe combining Dick and Jane with vampires is ludicrous or sick. One reviewer even said this book was too liberal for her and her children. Really?...Dick and Jane to liberal? Personally I don't see the difference in reading about vampires or reading about a big bad wolf that is going to EAT YOU!

But wait... in Dick and Jane the vampire is friendly. The big bad wolf really IS going to eat Little Red Riding Hood up! I guess...many fairy tales could be considered liberal. 

I don't know how my very conservative Aunt, who taught me to read, would feel about vampires in Dick and Jane Books. But I think it is awesome!  

Monday, July 11, 2011

What's In My School Box; School Zone Workbooks

Sometimes I just like to pull out something that is easy and doesn't take a lot of preparation. I purchased this Big First Grade Workbook from Walmart but you can also purchase this online from the School Zone website. I have been using this workbook over summer break but it is so large that I will be able to use it all through the school year as well. This book covers reading comprehension, math, and phonics.

One of the things we are working on this summer is counting money. This book has several pages on  counting money and telling time.

*Tip* I like to remove the worksheets and place them in a clear page protector. Alexis uses a dry erase marker and writes on the page protector. When she is done, we wipe the page clean and add another worksheet. I do this so we can use each worksheet over again.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Summer Reading Programs to Promote Reading

This summer Alexis is enjoying a reading program at our local library called "One World, Many Stories".  Every week we spend 1½ hrs in the library doing crafts, singing songs, and reading time. This year Alexis got her first library card...she was so excited! After the reading program each week Alexis checks out 2 books to bring home and read.

We look forward to going every week and it makes reading fun. I love the theme this year "One World, Many Stories'. They are telling stories about other cultures and countries so we are getting a geography lesson too.

Are you participating in a local reading program? Leave me a comment and let me know what activities you do at home to promote reading.

The Summer Reading Slide

My daughter Alexis will be a First Grader in August. At the end of Kindergarten she is reading at a 2nd Grade level. One of my primary goals during this summer is to make sure Alexis does not lose any of the skills she has learned during the school year. 

Did you know that children who do not read over Summer Break can lose 2 months worth of reading progress? That is what is called the "Summer Slide!" According to Reading Is Fundamental a literary organization, by the end of 6th grade a child who continues to lose reading skills could be 2 years behind their other classmates.

Reading is the gateway to all other learning. If you can read you can learn anything. That is the philosophy that we live by.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Afterschooling Introduction

Hello friends. This blog is about how this mom is taking her child's education into her own hands by afterschooling in the midst of an educational crisis. 

We live in a nation that now ranks out of 34 countries, 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in math. That is far behind the highest scoring countries, including South Korea, Finland and Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai in China and Canada.

To make the situation worse we live in a state that has drastically cut public education funding. Not only has the budget been cut but the state also created a voucher system that uses tax payer money for tuition to private parochial schools. Every private school that has been accepted into the new voucher system has ties to a religious organization. 

Amount Indiana Has Cut From Public Education

  • $311 million cut to K-12 State Tuition Support.
  • $1.3 million cut to Non English Speaking Program.
  • $546,000 to Gifted/Talented programs.
  • $3 million cut to State Student Assistance Commission
 If we want to create jobs in this country it is essential that we educate our children to compete globally. Our great nation will never be #1 in the world as long as these kind of cuts are being made. My child may never reach her full potential if I rely only on the school system. Therefore, I intend to be very proactive in her education to give her the greatest chance of success. 

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