Monday, January 14, 2013

Jacob's Mad Skilz

December 6, 2012

Jacob is pretty easy-going. He is social and makes friends easily and loves to be around people. He loves to laugh and he loooooves to talk. A lot. Especially early in the morning when Mama is still in bed or waking up. He is not particularly studious and does not come across as being too eager to learn anything other than how to run or jump or throw a ball or build a train track in the basement with Daddy. The stereotypical boy.

So you can imagine my surprise when this morning during school, I handed him Lily's 1st grade workbook and he started reading the words.

Um, say what?

When Lily was just a little older than Jacob is now, she expressed an interest in reading, and ever since then, I have been working so incredibly hard with Lily to get her reading. I thought since she knew the sounds the letters made, she'd be able to put it together from there and take off running, but that's not the way it worked out. She 100% wants to learn how to do it, but does not want to put in the effort. She is easily frustrated because she is used to naturally being good at things and doesn't like the idea of having to work hard - because she hardly ever has to.  She has learned SO MUCH within just the last few months, and we are incredibly proud of her and the stories she is reading and her new-found excitement at figuring out what things say. But still, every day, it's a battle.

And then out of nowhere, little Mr. Unassuming comes in and looks at those letters...

"mmm aaaa t. MAT!"
"c aaaaaa p. CAP!"

Guess who's been paying attention when no one was noticing? 

I started Lily on Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons this summer (we are at lesson 74), and in just the first few days of using that book, she finally understood the concept of blending sounds that had been eluding her for months in her "My Father's World" Kindergarten curriculum. It was like a light bulb went on. So earlier this month when Jacob looked at some random letters, pushed the sounds together, and read them (he's known his letter sounds for at least a year now), I was astounded, and decided he wasn't too little to start on the book, either.

But after the battle with Lily, I was not expecting it to come to him so easily. He is beginning to read the way I assumed Lily always would: Once you know the sounds, you just put them together and BOOM, you've read a word.

This evening, I was excited to show Ryan what Jacob could do:


While Lily was still technically in Kindergarten (and we were soooo bored towards the end of it), I started Jacob on's Year 4 curriculum at the same time. It went well for the first 10 weeks or so. I especially loved the Bible part of the curriculum, so we used mainly that with the kids and threw in what little MFW K was left each week, but then once Lily started First Grade and we were no longer desperate for more learning to fill our day, his package took a back-seat. I'm still not sure whether or not we'll pick it back up.

He's still interested in doing some work along with Lily, but most of his day is still free-play. I am very happy to see how well he's doing with his Explode the Code "Get Ready for the Code" book. He definitely has no trouble identifying letter sounds, and his writing and general ability to put pencil to paper has improved in leaps and bounds in just the last month or two. He is picking things up so quickly, that I am starting to rethink what we're going to do for Kindergarten with him next year.

It's funny how he's always surprising us. I remember waiting all the way until his third birthday to start potty training him, because for some reason, I was convinced he was too absent-minded to ever care to do it. But wouldn't you know he got the hang of it right away, just like Lily, and was even night dry before we ever thought of suggesting it to him?

I think we need to stop underestimating this sneaky little fellow...

January 14, 2012

This morning, Jacob completed lesson 24 of Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. He would be farther along if we hadn't taken a two week Christmas / sickness break. He is doing great. This morning, his story read, "A rat is in a sack. That rat is not sad." Some days, he wants to do two lessons at a time. And just today, he finished "Get Ready for the Code" and started "Get Set for the Code," which could not be any more exciting to Jacob since IT'S THE BOOK JEFFREY IS USING.