Learning Ally has Changed Our Home!

My boy can’t stop reading.  I never thought that I would say those words but I am.  I LOVE it.  Actually, the situation is quite humorous.  Sawyer loves lives to read.  She reads all the time.  The boys find her love for reading quite annoying.  They want her to play and to finish her school work so that she can play.  Of course, she gets so engrossed in a story that she cannot stop.

Well, the situation has shifted a bit since Christmas.  One of our family gifts was a Samsung Galaxy Tablet.  Mainly, the tablet is used for school.  The bonus of the tablet is that it is large like an ipad so that you can read on it as well.  In the past, Sims would pick up a book to read occasionally, and he would listen to the book using Learning Ally on my phone.  With the tablet, Sims can read the book and listen to it on the tablet.  Not only does Learning Ally have the text available now, but the text is highlighted as it is read.  I am excited that Learning Ally added this feature.  I know that they have had it for a while, and we did not take advantage of it.

Now, we have house full of readers.  Sawyer still loves the feel of a book, and she does read ALL the time.  I cannot keep up with all of the books that she reads.  Parks likes to use the kindle to read on so that he can make the print a little larger and a little more spaced out (this is they way that I like to read as well).  An now, Sims is reading like a madman on the Samsung tablet.  (In fact, the house is quiet right now with EVERYONE reading.  Those are also words that I thought I would never say.”

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” Martin Luther King Jr

How do I not quote such an unbelievable and amazing man in my blog this week? The quote in my title sums up so much of what I want my kids to get out of school and life.  I do not think education stops in young adulthood but continues on throughout life (I know mine has-as my husband laughs that I have been in school for the majority of the time that he has known me and now I am still learning as I teach my kiddos).  I also never want my kids to take something at face value.  I want them to investigate, reasearch and come up with their own conclusions.

A week full of thinking is what my kids experienced too.  As I posted last week, they have all been reading and reading.  Usually, reading is followed up by discussion.  This week, however, reading was followed up with a presentation!  Sims presented the book Peak by making a paper mache Mt.Everest, dressing up as Peak, and writing a beautiful report.  Sawyer presented The Mystery of the Lake Monster with a diorama of the lake, lodge and forest-complete with monster prints and a paper written about her book.  Parks was not sure he was going to make it to book club this week since he had not finished his book.  He got up this morning early-on his own-and asked if I would sit with him to finish the book.  He was so proud that he did it!  He presented the book with a car that he made and a discussion of the book-his first presentation ever!  The kids really took ownership of these presentations.  I was quite impressed.  The all dressed up to present their books and did a terrific job (yes, I know I am completely biased).

The kids are also taking an art class at the Community Arts Project.  Each week they learn about a different artist and create with the artist in mind.  So far, they love the class.  They have also met some new friends in the class.  One friend, in particular, has a blog.  The kids know that I have a blog too so it fascinated them that kids can have blogs too.  Well, they researched how to write a blog, and they have each come up with their own blog.  If you have a moment, go check them out.  Hopefully, they will be able to keep them up.

The Creative Kitten

The Hike and Bike Blog

The Crazy Creature

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go” Dr. Seuss

I feel like I say this a lot-and I will state it once again.  This was a crazy week.  We started the week off at Linville Falls where Dad gave the kids several lessons on erosion.  Of course, this was not officially part of school-but we are nerdy that way.  The kids looked for signs of erosion in the dirt, on the paths, on the handrails, and in the falls.

Checking out the root structure and comparing it to the tree we found last week Erosion Checking out more erosion Learning about water pressure Exploring in the creeks An awesome fairy house Linville Falls

I knew this week was going to be crazy so we just planned on having a project week.  Sims and Sawyer take part in a homeschool book club once a month.  In November, the book club decided to read Pippi Longstockings as the group book.  In addition to Pippi, the kids each picked a book of their choice to read and present to the group.

Sawyer is my mystery reader.  She loves Boxcar Children Books, A to Z Mysteries, and anything with an animal and mystery to solve.  She read constantly.  Her biggest obstacle to this project is to narrow down which book to write about as she has read probably 15 books since the last book club meeting in November.  She finally decided upon a Boxcar Children Book.  She wrote a report and is now making a diorama of the setting.

This is how we find Sawyer most days

Sims, as you know from my previous posts, is not my most ambitious reader typically.  However, this project got him very excited.  He wanted to read a book about Mount Everest (ever since we finished Three Cups of Tea, he has been interested in climbing).  He chose the book Peak.  Peak is a teen fiction book.  He had to get it from the Young Adult section which immediately made me nervous.  Thanks to Learning Ally, he was able to read the whole book.  He was hooked from the time he started it.  Not only did he read it but he also comprehended the whole book.  He wrote a terrific report and is now working on his project.  For those of you with kids with dyslexia, you know the excitement I feel.  After finishing this book, he immediately went to the library to pick out another book on Everest.  Peak

Parks,inspired by his older brother and sister, decided to read his first chapter book.  He decided upon Mercy Watson Goes for a Drive.  He is still reading so he has not decided upon his project but he is ready to start!

Mercy Watson

A cabin for the forest Everest coming to life. The beginning of Everest The lake in the forest They did some dissecting this week too. Examining Class at Latta