And now there's so much to catch up that I'm not sure where to begin!
Everything is going swimmingly. I'm particularly pleased lately to see that reading has begun to really "click" for Isabel - she's had the basics down and was doing well, but it was a one-step-forward-two-steps-back sort of process in terms of her motivation and desire. The main obstacle was one of blending phonemes - Belle tended to over-enunciate each sound and create sound patterns with them, rather than blending to create words. I kept the pressure off, stopping all phonics work and just asking her to do a small amount of reading a couple times a week. Sure enough, Belle started picking up books on her own again after a short time and the blending has started happening all on its own. There's still a good amount of sounding-out, but she's now going through her early readers with something approaching fluency.
I also finally figured out the trick to telling 'b' from 'd'! Isabel has a small freckle on her right hand that we're now calling her "bee sting mark" - her right hand is her "bee sting hand" and her left hand is her "d" hand. I told her, the line of the letter is pointing to your belly button. Now look to see what side the loop is on. If it's on the side of the bee sting hand, it's a b. And vice versa. Yay! So glad to have figured out a way to cope with those tricky lowercase letters!
The week of the election we did a lot of neat election activities. We talked a lot about government. Isabel did a very cute thing where she listed the issues she feels are most important for the government to deal with. She wrote things like "rabbits", "kites" and "water". They seem nonsensical at first, but when you ask her about them, she explains that "rabbits" refers to protecting farmers' vegetables from rabbits and other animals, "kites" is removing kites and other "stuff" from trees and wires, and "water" is making sure everyone has enough clean water to drink. Pretty good issues, if you ask me.
We're having loads of fun with the abacus. Each row of beads counts to ten. It's simple but brilliant, as I can see Isabel really "getting" the relationship between numbers. A few days ago she said to me, in wonderment, "You know, Mom, no matter how many beads are on this side and how many beads are on that side, it's always TEN! There can be more there or more there and even some in the middle, but it's always TEN!" She was equally enthralled with the discovery that the sum of two numbers is always a bigger number.
Handwriting is coming along beautifully.
We started a new music class this week, which Belle loves. Denise is another homeschooling mom who teaches private music lessons. There's about a half-dozen kids in the class and it's a fabulous program.
I'm in the process of trying to get better organized. I have decided that the key to my organizational success is a PDA - I like the Palm TX (expensive, though!). I've started tracking everything on a calendar on the computer and, boy, are we busy. I only get overwhelmed when I stop to think about it!