Thursday, December 30, 2010

A retrospective on reading

Every New Years Eve I look back at how our life has changed over the last 12 months. As Abigail ages it is less about the physical and obvious changes and more about her sophistication as she has changed from a infant to a toddler to a preschooler. In the next 12 months she will change into a school aged child as she gets ready to enter kindergarten. As I have been sitting here looking back at old videos I realized I have a lot of Abigail's journey in learning the basics of reading on video and so I decided to create a retrospective and here it is.

27 months old: Her first time reading

33 Months: first trying out phonics

37 Months First "real" book Dick and Jane

45 Months Reading "Beth Learns to Write" out of 2nd grade textbook

50 Months: Reading Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Stinky Bus

Monday, December 27, 2010

First Violin Concert

Abigail had her first violin concert last weekend. I want to preface this video by saying three things 1) SHE IS LUCKY SHE IS 4 and CUTE!! and 2) She was scared out of her mind and 3) It was the BEST audience ever. She knew this song backwards and forward but 25 minutes before we were about to leave for the concert Abigail said "I don't want to do the concert". But I made her do it anyway.

Before she starts playing the audience will laugh, the conversation did not get picked up by the camera but it went like this:

Abigail: I hurt my knee
Nicole: Do you want to sit?
Abigail: Yes please
Nicole(to audience): We have a sore knee so we are going to sit
Abigail: Does your knee hurt too?

So without further ado "Jingle Bells"

A white (almost) Christmas

Merry CHristmas to all!!

We had our own little white day-after-Christmas down at the beach this year. It was nice to wake up the day after Christmas to a little white stuff.

Christmas day was very nice and peaceful. We were the only ones in town so did not rush to get anywhere. Although we missed family, it was nice to just relax and enjoy our new toys.

So far the biggest hits of the Christmas Season have been the new scooter and the DSi. She also loves her littlest pet shops.

No plans for the rest of the week except to relax, watch new movies and enjoy the peace and quiet of vacation. Here are some more pictures of our snow.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

December Videos

Here are a few videos I have taken of Abigail this week. She had her dance recital on Tuesday. Then this upcoming Sunday she has her first ever violin concert.

Here is a video from her dance recital.

and here is one from Violin practice tonight.

Lastly, this is a video I took last night of her reading. It amazing how much her fluency has improved in the last month. Abby does not know it but tomorrow I meet with the Director or CFCI, a local charter school, to discuss early entry.  This is an excellent charter school, and we are trying to get in on early entry (she misses the deadline by 6 weeks) so we need to prove her worthiness. I have the testing, the work, now it comes down to the director agreeing that she is a good canidate.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Here is the latest video of Abigail reading. It is the first time she has seen this story so lots of new words...not always the easiest at 7pm, but she still did great!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Addition Rap and a little bit of Homework

Abigail got a CD last week called "Addition and Subtraction Rap" and since then she has been obsessed with memorizing her facts.  Every night she does 1 or 2 lines of addition problems and then writes a sentence.

Here is her work from tonight. Her handwriting is getting beautiful.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Place Value

Here is a place value chart I made to use with Abigail. She is in love with Math and since she was 10 months till she gets to Kindergarten I have decided to broaden her knowledge instead of her memorizing more math facts.  So tonight we started to explore place value. I am hoping that by playing with this chart she will get a real understanding of what a number is. If anyone wants the directions on how to make this, or other folder activities I will be posting email me and I will let you know.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Tortoise and the Hare

 This evening as I was trying to get Abigail ready for bed, I told her , "Slow and steady wins the race" as she was rushing around trying to get pajamas on to which she replied, "so does fast if you dont stop to take a nap". How do you reply to that? 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Trip to the Bookstore...a first!

Sunday morning we took a trip to our local bookstore. It was a first for us. When we go to the store I let Abby pick out one book of her choice, and one book that we can read together. This trip was different. Although she did go and look at the Dora and Princess books, after a few moments headed over to the basic chapter books. We wound up leaving the store with TWO chapter books and a Level 2 readers.

Books we are reading this week:

There are so many wonderful children books we will definitely be revisiting picture books, but for this week it is nice to be reading one book over the week, instead of the same book time after time after time.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

I don't know about you, but when I was a kid Halloween was a one day affair. If you got lucky it fell on a school day, so you got a party at school too. Somehow, at least where I live, it has turned into a full week of activities. This week Abby had the chance to go Trick or Treating at the mall, the battleship, the aquarium, the park and at least 10 churches within a 2 mile radius. Sadly for Abigail she was sick for most of the week so did not get to participate in the extravaganza that Halloween has become.

Instead we trick or treated around our neighborhood and went to a Trunk or Treat at the church where she goes to AWANAS. Even without trick or treating at every event this week she has more candy then she can eat in a year. Now we get to enjoy some peace and quiet until the Christmas....only 56 days away.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

She's Four!!!

Abigail turned 4 today! She had an awesome Dinosaur Party with most of her friends yesterday. You can see those pictures here.

But here is a picture of Abby on her past 5 birthdays!

October 10, 2006- Minutes Old

October 10, 2007- Age 1

October 10, 2008- Age 2

October 10, 2009- Age 3

October 10, 2010- Age 4

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Another Video

this time violin.

Abby is really enjoying playing violin. Especially the songs from today.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A math video and some building

Abby asked me to film this last week and I obliged. So here is a video of her doing basic math.

Here are some buildings she has made this week with her new citiblocs which seem to be a new favorite toy.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

(Last) First Day of Preschool

Abigail had her last first day of preschool today. Her first day in PreK but her last day at Jenkins Preschool Academy. She started there three years ago. I took a risk with the school, she started the first year it opened, and there was only 1 other student in her class that first year but she has thrived there. She loves it there and it is great to send her to a place where I know they love her.

And to show how much she has grown (physically) since she was there her is her first day of school last year (2009)

and her first year (2008)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Home made Puzzles

Abigail has always been a puzzle lover. I have pictures of her doing an 12 piece interlocking puzzle at a year old, she was doing 48 pieces ones by two...but then she stopped. She sort've lost all interest in doing puzzles larger then 60 pieces and barely did any puzzles this past year...until yesterday.

Yesterday she came across a Disney Fairies puzzle that was 100 pieces and she did it without a problem, today it was a 150 piece Sleeping Beauty puzzle. In addition to doing the larger puzzles she has decided to make her own.

How to Make a Homemade Puzzle (No tools required)

Materials Needed
*Childs Artwork
* Scissor
* clear packing tape

1. Have your child draw a picture on piece of paper. The more colors they use the easier the puzzle will be to put together.

2. Wrap both sides of paper in clear masking tape. This is very important, if you do not do this the sharpie will leak through

3. Draw puzzle shaped pieces on the BACK of the paper. Don't draw the lines on your childs drawing.

4. Cut out the puzzle pieces and have your child put together.

New Blog

So I started a new blog just to keep track of what I am doing with Abby homeschooling wise. We really are not doing anything spectacular, but I find that I do better when I write things down. Since I am still working full time, it will probably be very hit and miss. THis will still be my main blog and I will still put most of our adventures here. The other blog will just be for the nitty gritty of what we do.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Homeschooling 101

This year in addition to preschool and her many many activities (violin, soccer, ballet, gymnastics, and cubbies) Abby will be "in"formally homeschooling also. We have proven this summer, that Abigail's brain needs to be kept busy if she is going to sleep well at night. Apparently the more she knows the more she needs to know, so we will be trying our best to handle this at home.

Since she will be going to Kindergarten in 2011 I am hoping to do more outside of the box stuff to keep some stuff for school to teach her (HAH!) but she does best with standard academic stuff so we will definitely be doing a mixture of stuff.

Currently we are starting with Junior Great Books (Dragon Series), Headway Program (On a Blue Hill) and handwriting. She also has a jumpstart first grade program that is in love with. We finished Singapore Math this summer and I am debating between 1B and a different math program. I am also going to buy Explode the Code Online for her when money is more fluid.

I am planning on creating a homeschooling blog, just to keep track of what we are doing, but that needs to wait until I can think of a good blog name :)

Until then Pictures of course :)

Manuscript- Ab has known her letters since she was 18 months and could write them since two, but we are working on forming the correctly and not writing everything in all caps. We are going to do a letter a day and then she writes three words that start with them. If you cannot tell from the drawing, when she writes bottom, she means butt.

Tonight we also started reading the Junior Great Books Dragon Series. The first story was The Frog Prince by The Brother's Grimm. I read the story and we are going to do a unit on it, not sure what we will include but definitely will at least cover the life cycle of the frog and possible parts of a fairy tale.

Thats all for now.

Friday, August 6, 2010

and some art

Here is some art that ABigail has produced in the past couple of days. I am really loving how well she uses perspective to capture what she is drawing.

This picture does not really do this painting justice. Abigail spent between 20-30 minutes painting an eye ball tonight. She did a great job capturing the little details like catch lights, tear ducts and the general shape of the eye (which is not round) I really like this one.

This next one she made with her Auntie Liza last week. Again the amazing use of perspective as the prince is on the ground and the princess is high up in a tower.

Lastly is this picture that she made tonight. It was interesting to watch her use markers, something we don't typically use. I am biased but again I love her amazing use of perspective. She never quite explained this picture- but I still think it is very funky.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

and just because...

She is on a role here so I am just going to keep on blogging.

Here is a story that Abby wrote tonight. She wrote it all by herlsef and illustrated the picture...I like how she decided to add her full name and phone number to her story.

And yes she does know some of her times tables. We did some more tonight and she all the 2x I wrote except 2x4...she must have closed her eyes for that one.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Holy Multiplication Batman!

The other day in the car Abby asked me how far the playground was, and I told her she needed to count to 100. So she then asked me , how many times 10 is that, and I told her 10...and quickly followed up with ...Do you know your times tables? And she said yes...and by golly she does, at least some of them.

She finished these three boards in less then 8 minutes. She was so excited to share that I did not want to go to far. I will keep trying to figure out what knows.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

A girl, some beads and a plan

Today at Michael's, Abigail insisted that she needed brown yarn. Once I agreed to yarn she somehow managed to talk me into beads, pompoms, googly eyes, and buttons. Just for good measure I picked up some new crayons and colored pencils, for this all out art project she was planning.

Once she got home, she found a piece of cardboard, and asked me to cut it into a t-shirt form, which I happily did- then she told me to leave her alone. The pictures can tell the rest of the story.

and at the end
the crayons go untouched till another day

A year in retrospect...

Yesterday I went through Abigail's school stuff and it dawned on me how far she has come in reading this past year. Last July she was just barely able to handle phonics (although she had a great sight vocabulary) this July she is having no problems with a first grade reader, and reads many 2nd grade level books , just for fun.

Here is a video of her reading July of 09

and now a video from this July

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Bike Ride

Yesterday was a first for us. Usually Abigail's bike ride consists of Abby riding her bike around the block and me running behind her yelling "wait wait, watch for cars". Well in the last 2 weeks or so she has grown up so much, so yesterday we both went out on our bikes.
I need to do it myself...Putting on her helmet.

And she did
(I fixed it better then this...but can you tell she is proud)

Stopping because she HAS to get something...

A leaf of course...isn't it pretty?

And we are riding again. 25 minutes later and we made it around the block. Hopefully tomorrow we may make it out to the main street.

Friday, July 9, 2010

A few Videos

Here are two videos I took of Abigail this week. The first one is of her reading. She has made such great strides this past month and is amazing me every day.

and this one proves that Abigail truly lacks musical talent. Here Abigail is attempting to play Ode to Joy on the keyboard. I am really glad that she loves music!

So far we have been having a wonderful summer. I am looking forward to what the last 2 months will bring.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

What's your Child's Talent Part 2

I first did this poll when Abigail was 19 months old. At that time it described Abigail perfectly by saying:

Your child has strong spatial ability. Your may be living with the next famous astronomer such as Carl Sagin or the next cutting edge artist such as Picasso or Frida Kahlo.

These children can spot everything, including candy hidden behind your back. They know where everything is located in the house. They are great at finding lost items for other family members. They think in pictures and forms.

I tried it again tonight and again it described Abigail perfectly for who at 45 months old.

Your child has exceptional linguistic ability. Your child could bethe next president. Also, your child may be the next Dale Carnegie, Dr. Suess, or JK Rowland.

Your child can hear things and remember them easily. They are often advanced readers and learn to talk quickly. They enjoy telling stories. They learn other languages easily. They can generalize how their language is put together in written and spoken form readily.

For fun, if you want to try the quiz yourself click here

Friday, June 25, 2010


(Thank you Barbara for giving me a title to this post)

I am not the most religious person, but Abigail has questions about God and since it is easier then sitting through a Catholic Mass with a 3 year old, she goes to Awanas every week. Well this past week she has been attending Vacation Bible School (girl scout camp about Jesus) where the theme was "roundin' up questions ...drivin' home answers" And Abigail had a question.

Monday night, at dinner, Abigail wanted to know "If God made everything, than who made God?" And like every good Mama, I replied,"Let's ask your teacher tomorrow." After a day full of questions I just did not want to have that conversation with a three year old. The next morning, she asked the director, who told her to ask her teacher...and on and on and on...Until this morning. It is Friday and she still did not get an answer. So...

They were having their end of the week Rally and the Pastor said to the kids well I hope I have answered all your questions. And apparently Abigail's hand shot straight up and because she is three, and little and cute he called her up to the alter. He then invited her to share her question they had not answered. So in front of all the teachers and all the kids she asked her question " If God Made everything, then who made God?" and the Pastor was silent for a moment, before he answered.

The answer he finally gave was not relayed to me, but Abigail definitely made an impression on him.

But this is Abigail. She is constantly on the lookout for false logic. Just because it not an acceptable answer to her. UnI hear at least 10 times a day "But Mommy your wrong" or "I think this is a better way" Unless it makes sense in her heaed she does not have faith in what people say unless she has examined it and proved it to be true.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Reaching Goals

Abigail and I set a goal that she would finish an old Bank Street Reader that I had when i was a little kid. The text has four sections. So I told her that when she finished each section I would get her a toy that was less then $5, and then when she finished the entire text book she could pick out something "big". We have left "big" up to discussion.

So we started this on the 14th, the first day of my summer vacation. In the 9 days since I have been on vacation Abigail is 1/2way through the book and has earned two prizes. She earned the second prize this morning when she woke me up at 7:30 with the book in hand to finish reading the story.

She was so proud that she met her goals. I love the sense of accomplishment (and excitement) that she is getting. I am hoping that she continues to be motivated. I want to build on this If I can keep trying I can do it attitude. Since she gets frustrated so easily with her perfectionism issues.

Prize for finishing Part 1

Prize for finishing part 2