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Back To School

Our first day of school was actually mid-August, and we took the kids out for a special treat that night to celebrate. Butterfly is now in third grade while QB officially enters his elementary years as a first grader.
I'm trying a new approach this year - we are keeping things very simple and as relaxed as possible. I am a recovering perfectionist and have been too regimented in the past with our schooling to the point Butterfly was ready to drop out - who quits school in first grade?! And she is a highly motivated learner, but I was driving her batty. So I did a lot of reading to learn other ways to homeschool and to meet her, and QB, in the ways they learn best.
We start the morning off with Bible time together as a family with Mr. Nice Guy leading the discussion. Then the boys go off for a devotional and prayer time while the girls have their time together (we're going through the book "Just Mom & Me Having Tea.") After an enthusiastic greeting of "Good morning, students!" and "Good morning, teacher!" (something the kids requested), we dive into Language Arts. The children each have a grammar workbook and do one lesson after I go over the topic with them individually. Next is spelling. I print out a spelling list weekly for them, which they write out for practice for a few days, then we go over the words orally. Finally, the kids practice handwriting, a little lesson daily, in a workbook that has them writing out a Scripture verse by the end of the week.
For Social Studies, we are doing a yearlong Geography curriculum called "Geography Matters." Both children have shown a great interest in globes and maps, so I thought that learning detailed information about the places in the world would be an awesome foundation for next learning the events that have taken place in the world. This curriculum has three levels, so we can go deeper after a few years of History to learn more - I really like the idea of alternating the subjects every few years.
Science is a free flowing subject for us this year. I'm letting the kids' interests dictate the topic we learn about. We are checking out books and looking up information together on the Internet rather than following a textbook. I did purchase a science experiment book at Borders ($2.99 on sale!!!) that features a variety of science topics (Physics, Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry) in the experiments along with a clear, easy to understand explanation of each one. The items needed for most of the experiments are things most people would already have around the house or are easy to acquire. So far we've learned about insects, volcanoes, and Mr. Nice Guy incorporated the events of 9-11 into the Science lesson for last week.
We changed the Math curriculum again this year, going back to Rightstart Math, somthing we first tried a few years ago. It's a phenomenal curriculum based on the Japanese approach to math, and Mr. Nice Guy was going to take over the teaching of this subject 'cause he's the math guru. Unfortunately, business travels have made it difficult for him to keep up with it. We are in the reviewing process as I get more comfortable with this way of doing math.
The other subjects required by our state include Art, Music, Health and P.E. I'll discuss what we're doing for those subjects in another post. All in all, our school day zips right along, with the kids not remaining at a table for more than a few hours and not necessarily at one sitting. Along with an hour of daily reading time, it's important to me that they have plenty of time for creative play. Little Man requires a daily nap, so the kids have free time and choose a variety of activities to amuse themselves including playing dress up, choreographing dances or routines to show us after dinner, playing with toys, art projects, writing stories, etc. School is off to a fantastic start, and I am really enjoying it.

1 comment:

One Christian Mom said...

Thanks for posting your daily schedule. It sounds like a well-rounded day. My daughter is also in 1st grade, and our days are pretty similar, althought she likes to start with math instead of english. Do you do every subject every day? I find it easier to do some of them just a few times a week.