Tuesday, February 14, 2012


A few weeks ago Claire officially started school. It's hard to know what a 3 and a half year old should know and learn. She has known her colors and alphabet since she was 2 so I figured she should start learning the letter sounds and work on basic math and writing skills.

Over the years, I have found a few different kinds of supplemental curriculum at our good old Mormon thrift store. They are proving to be quite valuable and the combination of all of them is making a well rounded curriculum for us.

Ancient... yes,
But fun and effective.
When we first started doing these rhyming pages Claire was completely lost. We kept working on rhyming words everyday and now she can complete these pages perfectly and comes up with words that rhyme throughout the day. She is still a little confused though because she'll find words that go together; i.e. Fox and the Hound or Eric and Ariel, and say that they rhyme.

For math, we are practicing counting consistently. She often is in a rush and moves her finger faster than she says the number so I make sure she slows down and watches what she is doing/saying.

(these next few pictures are of the Letter of the Week curriculum which can be downloaded for free)

(Did you know that clothes pins are very tricky and take practice to master? I did not)

I bought this Base Ten Number Concepts Set from Amazon to help with understanding the teen numbers and counting by tens. If she pays attention and tries hard, she gets to build something with them afterward.We have a packet of these worksheets to practice easy addition and subtraction.
We have found that playing SORRY! is a fun way to reinforce counting and number recognition... although as I write this I am realizing this may be a one of the reasons why she does not know 6 or 9 since SORRY doesn't have 6 or 9 cards.
The 3 steps ahead program has cards like this.
They start out easy, with visual discrimination and go all the way through colors letters, sounds, letter combinations, reading, math, and telling time.

We also work on patterns. I had no idea how hard patterns were. It took Claire a while to understand but now she can do any pattern I give her.
More Letter of The Week pages - they are too easy but it builds her confidence and she thinks they are fun.
We also practice pre-writing and writing skills through Letter of the Week and Kumon's Easy Mazes book.
The last 2 days we have worked on reading since she quickly learned her letter sounds. The first day we sat down and read the first Bob Book, she sounded out each letter perfectly. mmmm-aaa-tttt but she couldn't grasp how to blend them together. (and believe me, I tried, and it was very difficult for me to not yell "mmmm-aaaa-tttt, MAT! It says MAT for crying out loud!" I had her watch this Hooked on Phonics video a couple times and she seemed to understand it better than she did when I was impatiently pointing to each letter and trying to not raise my voice when I said "mmmaaatttt, mat" for the 7 thousandth time. If she gets lazy then she looks at the picture and tries to figure out what the words say. This one was my favorites.
"Mmmmm....aaattttt Mat..... ssss..sssss...flowers?".

Today she read the Bob book by herself. It took some time but she did it.

These worksheets were in one of the boxes I got at the thrift store. Claire loves to do them because they are so easy but at least it gives me an idea of what she knows. There are over 100 of them so I'm sure they'll get harder.

Phew! That seems like a lot, but each thing doesn't take much time. We probably work on school for 2 hours each day. Every morning Claire asks "Can we do school today?" and today she said "Yay! School is fun!"

Very soon I am going to order Sing Spell Read and Write to officially teach Claire to read. It is what my mom used for me and my brothers. I remember liking it and never having an issue learning to reading. It is a little expensive but can be used for all of our kids and I already know I like it so I don't have a problem spending the money on it.

Claire is right, school is fun!


  1. I loved Bob books - for one thing, my Matt got to read a book about another Mat! Plus they were simple and twaddle-free.

  2. You were the one who gave them to me! I have had them stashed away for about 2 years.

  3. You crack me up, Kathleen... "It says MAT for crying outloud!" I can so picture that and identify with your frustration! LOL! I wish I still had my Sing Spell Read and Write - I gave it away last year when going through stuff in our move. :( But it was the old cassette tapes - I'm sure they have cd's now.