"For thus says the Lord: Lo, I will spread prosperity over her like a river, and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing torrent. As nurslings, you shall be carried in her arms, and fondled in her lap; As a mother comforts her son, so will I comfort you..." Isaiah 66:12-13

Sunday, August 29, 2010

First week of School.

So Maria is somewhat officially a kindergartner.  She is the "right age" to go now, so when we meet someone and they ask her age, and she says she's five, this is usually followed up by, "Oh, so you'll be starting school soon."  To which Maria answers, "Not yet.  In the fall.  We're homeschooling now, but in the fall I'll do dance class and Living Bridges enrichment day."  So I suppose that will be the "official" start of school in her mind.

She generally follows this up with a brief ballet demonstration, so I'm never able to judge people's reactions to the news that we're homeschooling.  Jim however has noticed that most people just abruptly change the subject, as though Maria has just revealed some dark family secret.  Unless that person is a teacher or former teacher, then we usually get enthusiastic questions about how "it" works, this schooling at home thing.  They want details and thankfully, are generally supportive and encouraging. 

Perhaps our experience is not typical.  Maybe we have yet to meet the really opinionated anti-homeschooling crowd or maybe we'll get more negative reactions later when Maria's older.  If we continue that long.  I plan to take it year by year, and see.  This seems the best way to handle schooling.  Kids grow so fast;  Maria's needs may be drastically different in a year's time.  Our families needs may be different too.  But for now this is the way things are.  I just hope that I can step back from all the planning to enjoy it.

One thing I realized this week is that I tend to overplan.  I always think that I can get more accomplished in a day than I actually can.  I broke things up in 15/20 minute segments.  I tried to pad the schedule with 5 minutes of transition time between each subject.  However, I forgot to plan "getting Joshua down for his nap" time (20/30/40 minutes?!?  really, just go to sleep already!) and I think that trying to have Maria do 4 math worksheets in 15 minutes was a little over the top, even if it is review.  So I'll be tweaking things for next week.  I'll also change up the toys available for Joshua, and hopefully make a better schedule for Amelia Although painting works, I think that using all of her new watercolor paints in a two weeks time would be a bit much.

Here are some pictures from the week:
I set the table with some new school supplies and special back-to-school clogs that I found at a consignment store.  Joshua got a building set, also from the consignment store.

Maria modeling her new "reticulated" clogs.  Giraffes are her favorite animal, so she has been wearing these lot this week.

Amelia got purple clogs, and there's the paint.  It's mostly gone now.  At least the black is; she seems to be going through a dark period in her painting.

Joshua was with me when I got these, but he was still pretty happy to see them.  Any ideas about what they are?  I know I've seen them before somewhere, but I don't know what they're called.

The girls doing math.

Joshua found this toy downstairs and became engrossed, so I brought it up to the schoolroom.  It's a house and garage, with people blocks and car blocks.  If you put the blocks in the top of the house or the garage, it will name the block (ie,  "Mommy!) and play a little song.  He sat and played happily with this for nearly an hour.  Then he left and came back to it several times.  It's nice to see his ability to concentrate developing.  Plus it's nice to have something that will keep him busy so we can "do school". 

 Sometimes the bin is just as fun as the toy.

Maria, coloring a cricket anatomy worksheet.  She decided to color each part different colors, so she could see them all easily.  We cut it out and put it in her nature journal.
Amelia's paintings.

A fawn munching the leaves of the dwarf sumac tree that fell into the yard during last weekend's rain.  We watched her for a while from our classroom.

As always I have more pictures that I'd like to share, but I have to go cook dinner, so they'll have to wait.  Hopefully I'll get some more up later this evening, after I get my lesson plans done.

Our schoolroom.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Here's the line-up.

We've started school for this year .  Maria will be doing Kindergarten/1 grade level work, though by the school district this would be her Kindergarten year.  I'm planning to have lots of Montessori style activities for Amelia to do and possibly some for Joshua too.

Math: Math-u-see, Primer & Alpha
Reading:  Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons; Phonics workbook; Faith and Freedom Readers; Bob books, Dr. Seuss, etc.
Handwriting: Seton 1st Grade; Writing Can Help; copywork
Religion: Image of God Pre-K/K
History: Connecting with History; Story of the World Vol. 1
Science: Handbook of Nature Study; ; Handbook of Nature Study blog
Art:  Mommy It's a Renoir
Music:  36 Latin Hymns; classical cds

I still need to work out how to do the history stuff.  There's a lot to cover, so I'm thinking that I'll probably let use this for next year too. For religion, I also have Faith and Life: Our Heavenly Father and the First Communion Catechism.  I may switch to these at some point during the year, or just wait till next year.  Right now I have Amelia working with Maria during Math time, but she's moving a little slower.  I want to move Maria quickly through Primer, as it's mostly things we've covered already.

I hope to have some time in the next few days to post some pictures of our classroom and the kids working.  But right now I'm hearing a strange thumping upstairs, so I think I should investigate it.  Sounds like naptime is over.