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Memorial Weekend

Sunday was a busy day for my husband. He help lay cement in the back apartment bathroom, working in the 90 degrees heat. He missed church because the cement guy was coming early to get started. When Lupe, picked the kids and I up from church he was dripping sweat. Poor guy. We went through the drive-thru and picked up some McDonalds for lunch and took it home. I told Lupe, that the cement guy is welcome to eat in the kitchen where it is cool but my Sweets said that their shoes are dirty and they can handle eating out in the shade. I felt guilty about being in the house nice and cool. My dear hubby is so sweet to me, he said it was his job and mine was to stay cool in the house and take care of the kids. Lupe, makes me smile.

Later, Lupe had to go to Home Depot to pick up a few things. He surprised us with dinner when he got back. I was just about to make chicken sandwiches for everyone.

Here is a picture of our Chicken Express feast. I even let everyone eat in the living room.

Everybody relaxing. Uh, in  front of the television. Hee, hee.


Ethan and Lance playing nicely with their book they purchased from Half Price Books on Saturday. After 20 minutes they were done. Lance, ran off crying. He said, Ethan hit him because he wanted one of the pieces.

The book has a pop-up page and it has pieces that the kids can play with.

Brent, came in from helping dad outside. I'm not sure if his hair is standing up because of sweat or water. Wonder what Ethan is looking at.

My dad and brother came over for Memorial Day. My dad's back, neck and even his mouth hurt. He is sleeping on a twin bed and it's SO uncomfortable for my him. My dad is a big guy and that bed is way too small. It's been bothering him for a while now. Every time he comes over he is in pain. I told him to take my brothers queen size bed and have my brother use his until he can purchase a full size for himself. My dad is too nice. He won't take my brothers comfort away.

Lupe, purchased a BBQ so we could make burgers outside.

Here is a picture of our yard.

The kids really worked hard today. They enjoy working outside with their dad. Lupe, is trying to level out the ground.

Annette, Brent and Caleb

Here comes Joshua. They were taking turns with the digging. The dirt was put into a wheelbarrow (did I spell that right) and they walked it over to the church. When the kids are running around at church they sometimes step in a pot-hole. This slows them down when they are trying to keep up in their Cadet class.

That was our Memorial Weekend. I was really tired today. I felt bad being so tired when my dad was here. He's so nice, bringing the kids Spanish bread. I tell ya, the kids are going to gain weight. Lupe, didn't know that my dad brought Spanish bread/pastries and he surprised the kids with donuts.
My children have been having lots of sweets lately.

More on Dynamic Phonics Learning Book

Today I had Ethan, Brent and Caleb read through the lessons to find out where to place them in the Dynamic Phonics Learning Book. I'm not really sure how I'm suppose to find out. I asked on the YahooGroup but nobody answered.

What I'm doing is having the children read through a drill chart. If they can read it fluently continue on until they hit a wall.

Dynamic Phonics consist of 98 lessons. It's three grades worth of phonic lessons. What would be considered Kindergarten level are lessons 1-32. 1st grade levels would be lessons 33-80. 2nd grade level would be lessons 81-98. These levels corresponds with the McRuffy Phonics & Reading program. Although Dynamic Phonics can be used as a stand-alone phonics program.

Each lesson can can take a day or up to a week, depending on where your child is at. For Lance it would take a week. Ethan, would be a few days to maybe a week. Brent and Caleb more like a day. They are older and can decode at a 4th grade level but I'm working on fluency with them.

Ethan will start with lesson 8. He still reading cvc words (sip, tin, bit).

Brent only read a few pages, so tomorrow I'll have him read more. He stopped reading at lesson 11 but I know he can read further. Here is a picture of where he stopped.

Caleb, will start with lesson 46. I stopped him at the contractions page. Here is a picture of where he stopped.

It looks like lessons 48-53 are blends (slump, slack,blush, flash) so I'm sure Caleb will go quickly through those lessons. Lesson 54 had the suffixes ed & ing, so we may take a few days on that one. Lessons 55-62 are more blends. Lesson 63 starts with the vowel blend of 'ow' saying it long sound. I think he can continue to progress pretty quickly and then slow down again around lesson 83.

We will work through the summer on building reading fluency with Caleb & Brent.  Continue to drill our Phonics Road phonograms and I'll dictate words & sentences as well.

My Happy Buy

Yesterday evening Lupe took us to Half Price Books. Josh, had some birthday money he wanted to spend. The bookstore has a small homeschooling section and look what I found for $14.00

In excellent condition. All I need to purchase is the fact practice and test sheets. I left happy with my purchase. Christianbook has the workbook for $12.69 right now so math for Josh next year will have cost about $26.00. I might buy the Teaching Tapes though.

The Dynamic Phonics Learning Book

I purchased The Dynamic Phonics Learning Book from McRuffy Press. One thing I have to keep in mind when reading this is it's a "Phonics" book not a 'spell-your-way into reading'. While looking at it I kept saying, "No, it's not suppose to me taught this way." or "But some vowels have three sounds." or "We are suppose to be spelling them before they see and read the word."
Then I remembered that this is phonics. After teaching The Phonics Road for a year and reading Spell-to-Write and Read it's hard to turn back.

I purchased Dynamic Phonics to see if it's something I can use with my nephew over the summer and his mom can take it home to continue after-schooling him with it. If I can get out of the 'spell your way into reading' method I think it will work.

One neat thing that Dynamic Phonics has the child make his own readers. Everyday they copy a few sentences and can illustrate it if they like. Here is an example from lesson 7. Nat has a hat. Sap is on the hat. A pan is on the bat. Is a bass in the pan. A cat in a cap naps. Can the cat nab the bass? The cat nabs the bass. Nat has a cat on a bat. By the end of the week they have a reader and can practice reading their own book.

I may have Ethan, do a few lessons to help me understand it. I think he would have fun writing his own stories. In the Color Phonics package are some reproducible writing pages that have space for an illustration. I may use that for his little books.


You have to copy and paste this. Remember this soapbox email?


McRuffy Game

Caleb playing one of the McRuffy Phonics games.

McRuffy Math 3rd Grade

Yesterday I received McRuffy Math 3rd Grade. Another winner. Really liken this McRuffy Math. It's everything I wanted in a math program. My favorite math programs (and believe me I have looked at many)
  1. Christian Light (traditional)
  2. Teaching Textbooks (dvd lectures)
  3. Math Mammoth (out-of-the box)
  4. McRuffy (hand on and understanding math)
  5. Saxon (for repetition)
Okay now to the pictures. For some reason my pictures have a pink look. Not sure where that came from. I took the pictures in my room with the sun shining in.

McRuffy 3rd Grade consist of two teacher manual, one workbook and one response book.

Here is the cover of the binder that I have used for McRuffy Math.

A peek inside the teacher manual

Workbook pages

The math pages look fun. I know Caleb is going to enjoy using McRuffy.


Inside the binder.

Left are games and mats. On the right the resource pack masters.

We interrupt this program to show you a bunch of cute kids watching The Spy Next Door!

Okay, back to the pictures. Thought my sister MaryEllen might enjoy a break from so many McRuffy post.


Back pocket holding the Response Book. 2nd grade and 3rd grade math have the Response Book. Basically I say a math problem and they write the answer in the book. I'll show more detail in another post.

All organized. I don't have any more ACE binders so the 4th grade math will look out of place.

Week 1 in Review (Summer School)

I'm trying to figure out how to go about a weekly review. I see some blogs that go over each subject with each child. I use to be able to do that when I had three children to school but now all six are 'in' school. It seems like it would take forEver to finish.

I also see others combine but they are also combining students into one program. Oh, what to do. Hee, hee. Let me try to give a review. It shouldn't be to hard in the summer because we are not having a full schedule.

Joshua, completed four lessons including a test in math. His score was an 80%. He has read two books this week. I see him with his nose in a book on the couch, floor in his room. A few days this week it has been in the 90's. He mowed the lawn on a cooler night. Okay, well that one was easy. Hee, hee.

Annette, completed four lessons in math TT6.  Finished her week of Junior Analytical Grammar. She passed her test (JAG) with a grade of 'mastery' 46 out of 49. She too has had her nose in a book. Her goal for the year is to read 24 book in one year I think it was. So far she has read 22. I will have to check my numbers with her and correct them if I'm mistaken.

Caleb, hasn't really started his summer school. I was waiting for his math to come and it did. He will start next week. We are going to play lots of phonics games too and practice reading.

Brent, did three math lessons this week. His McRuffy Math arrived and I got started with it right away. Like with Caleb he will practice his phonograms and reading.

Ethan, did three math lessons as well. One lesson with Phonics Road. I really need to get going with that. I also plan to have him use the second half of McRuffy Phonics & Reading K. Hopefully we can start that next week.

Lance, worked on his cutting and tracing skills. He will continue to practice through the summer and start McRuffy Phonics & Reading K in the fall. He also started learning some phonograms. We are working on the single vowels.

All- with all the children I read The Year of Miss Agnes and a quick biography of David Livingstone and lots of younger readers. Annette and I had some good discussions about David Livingstone life as a missionary. Our main discussions were about being away from his children most of their lives.  At least that's how it seemed in the book. Annette, really zoned in on that. It was the first time a missionaries life saddened her. This was a short biography that covered a lot of his history in a small amount of book, so we plan to read further because I'm sure we did miss a lot of him with his family (I hope). He did do some amazing things for God and he gave up a life of comfort to explore and share Christ. He was sick a lot with the African Fever but he always continued on.

The Year of Miss Agnes was a hit. The children laugh and I remember reading this to them in 2003 and crying on some parts. When I  first started homeschooling using Sonlight almost every book brought some tears from me. Not one book could pass me up without bringing some tears of joy or sorrow. I have toughened up a little since then.

And that wraps-up our week in review with summer school

My Living Room

Does your living room ever look like this?


And last night my sweet husband got all six children really wild. You see five children but look above Annette. See that arm sticking out? That's Brent!

Waiting, waiting and waiting

Well, I missed payday. Here I was waiting patiently for two weeks before asking my Sweets if I could purchase Phonics Road Level 2 only to find out I have to wait another week. Can you believe that? So here I am laughing at myself because I thought I had it all planned out. My dear husband thinks I'm cute!
Oh, the joy of not reaching for the credit card. At least I had a fun McRuffy week.

Off to teach McRuffy math to Ethan, I just finished with Brent.

Pictures of Phonics & Reading K

I purchased McRuffy Phonics & Reading for Lance, but Ethan will use many of the games and readers as well over the summer. Caleb & Brent will play the games for reinforcement. Caleb & Brent both can decode words at a 4th grade level but they need practice with fluency. They love books but I haven't got them hooked on reading yet.

Yesterday I took pictures of McRuffy Phonics K. I went a little overboard with the pics but I was having fun. The McRuffy site is also very generous about giving samples that you can download.

Here is a picture of the readers. I'm going to have Ethan read them this summer.

I love the Teacher Manual.

The Teacher Manual tells you exactly what to do.

McRuffy's Pre-Writing Flip & Draw Book. This has a clear plastic sheet in the back that you lay on top of the pre writing sheet and use a dry erase marker. You can also copy the pages to use with pencil, crayons, markers etc. or the child can use scissors and practice their cutting skills.

Some samples.

Another sample. These are not scheduled in the TM.

Here is an example of the phonics or blending wheel.
Last night while my husband payed some bills I put all the sliders and wheels together. This way it's all done Ethan, Caleb or Brent can use them this summer.

Lots of games.

The binder. I used a regular white binder to put all the Resource Pack charts, masters etc. in.

Samples of the story page and book page. There are also spelling test pages. I thought they were cute.

Coloring pages that go with the readers.

This is a sheet of sliders. I need to cut them out and they go with one of the McRuffy games called Ruff's Dish.

These I cut last night. On the left are the phonics wheels, on the right is the slider. What I did with the slider is cut and folded them before cutting out the little windows. It was easier folding them that way. I also used double sided tape instead of glue.

More game pieces. With the banana pieces, I am going to laminate the sheet before cutting them. Since I'll have lots of little hands playing with them, I thought it might help keep them in good shape.

These are puppet cut-outs. You cut them and can tape them to a popsicle stick. I plan to have Lance, act out the stories to his dad.

On the right are some word cards. McRuffy doesn't suggest you drill, drill, drill but does say to go over them a few minutes a day but not until the child is so bored, he doesn't want to look at them anymore. They can also be used to make sentences or make-up some games.

And coming to a close, is the back of the binder. I plan to put the current reader in the back of the binder.