Reading Eggs, the new house, and homeschool (of course)

Emily has been playing with this computer game called Reading Eggs for a few months. I heard about it and that it was great for teaching kids to read, so we signed up for a trial version, which we were then given an extension on. And I thought about buying it, but it’s expensive, I wasn’t sure I needed another additional method of teaching reading, and she’d sort of tapered off in interest near the end of the trial period. But then I started thinking more about it recently because the Homeschool Buyer’s Coop had a deal on it, and signed her up for another trial. She ended up skipping almost a whole level because we’d done some reading in the meantime, but she was enthusiastic about it, and now that she’s getting into more advanced stuff, I can really see some of the strengths of the program. I really like how it gives them a lot of practice with sight words, etc. So, I finally decided to go for it, and purchased Reading Eggs last night (through Homeschool Buyer’s Coop so that I got the discount).

I’m really excited about it, I think it’s going to be great. It takes kids through about a 2nd grade reading level. It’s set up so that it has 12 maps, and each map has 10 lessons and a quiz at the end, and each lesson has about 10-13 different activities. You have do do each activity/lesson/quiz/map before it lets you progress to the next. As you progress through a lesson, your egg gradually develops a crack, and at the end of the lesson it pops open and you get a new little creature. The inducement of this “reward” is really what makes it work for Emily, she loves it.

I’d say it’s good for about ages 3 and up. I tried it a few times with Jenny, doing the very first lessons on the first map, where it introduces letters, and she did very well. She has a little bit of trouble with, “which word starts with the sound mmmm? Milk, or cheese?” So she’s not separating sounds perfectly yet. I also know (from other reading activities) that she doesn’t completely understand rhyming yet, although she’s getting there. So it definitely has a pretty good span of age/abilities that it can work for. Emily just started map 7, but I think it will take her a while to get to map 12. Also, you can reset what lesson your child is on, so if she needs more practice at some point, I can move her back a bit and close up all the eggs again, so that she can have the fun of revealing them again. I’m not sure how much excitement they’ll be good for when she’s seen them before, but it’s worth a try. And the extra practice will probably help. I’m rather impressed that, at 4, she can read the words “happy” and “bossy” and “horse” now, at least with some context.

About a million decisions have been coming due about the house lately. I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned, but we’re buying a house that is being renovated for us in the downtown historic district. It’s an old Victorian, and so we’re trying to find a good balance, as we decorate, between preserving the historic flavor but also making it reasonably modern and comfortable (the original floorplan didn’t, of course, include any bathrooms, so those have to be added in). They’ve progressed really well. The outside is mostly painted, the inside is mostly painted (although I think it’s just the first coat), etc. This week we picked out tile and vanities and bathroom hardware. The kitchen cabinets arrived and Seth put them together (he agreed to install the cabinets himself). Hopefully we’ll be moving sometime in January, which means I really ought to start packing! We tried to unpack as little as we could when we first moved here, knowing we’d be moving again, but with the kids we found more and more we needed to unpack, and… well, you know how it goes. So, another moving day will be soon!

Homeschool is going well, but fast! We’ve been speeding through the last year of preschool. I decided that when we finish, we’ll just go ahead and start “kindergarten,” possibly a little before Christmas, possibly after we move. I thought about trying to make it after our move, but I realized that it doesn’t really require an extra amount of work or anything, so there isn’t really a reason that we need to make both changes at the same time. Mostly it will just mean starting different books instead of the same ones we’ve been reading for months, although we’re actually going to reread a few of the old ones along with it. I’m looking forward to it, though, as I’m a little tired of the books we’ve been reading! Even though it’s a different story each time, the stories within each book still have the same style, and it’s still the same books every week for months on end. Onward to the new stuff!

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