Monday, September 21, 2009

Five Weeks Already?

My creatively developed schedule for this year allows for "5 weeks On and 1 week Off" of school. I think I love it. Last Friday marked the last day of the first 5 week stretch. We are planning some fun field trips for this week and I will be pre-planning for the next five weeks. Here's a look back at what & how things are working for us!

Curriculum: Little Hands to Heaven

Bible/History: So far we have studied the Creation Story, Noah, Cain and Abel, Abraham and Sarah, Joseph.

Letters: A-D with all sorts of different actitivies, both fine and gross motor skills. We have learned a weekly rhyme/fingerplay that corresponds to each letter sound and incorporates the current Bible story. Each week we make a large letter on the carpet with blue painter's tape. Makes for a great visual and opportunities for lots of creative play: walking on the letter, walking a stuffed animal on the letter, trying to 'feel' the letter with our feet while our eyes are closed, placing wooden blocks on the letter to cover it up, plus just the constant visual of the letter we are studying. This is a great idea for any-kind-of-schooler for letter recognition!

Numbers: 1-5

Nature: As a means of learning through God's Creation, we are incorporating nature walks into our week and everyday life. We have added several pages to our nature journal, looked up different kinds of birds and flowers online and have caught several spiders to keep as temporary 'pets'. We keep these pets in little glass jars and the most exciting part for the kids is when they spin webs inside the jars. Creepy, I know.

Curriculum: Adventures in My Father's World

Bible: The Hubs is handling the Bible section. They are studying a different 'name' of Jesus each week and are making a Names of Jesus poster. There is also a memory verse that goes along with each week and the two of them have been looking up lots of different Bible verses (Sword Drill!) and discussing them. This has been a really great way to get Dad involved in schooling and a practical way that he can demonstrate his spiritual leadership of our family.

History: Pilgrims. Again. I balked at this fact when I decided to switch curriculum, but find it working out more pleasantly than I thought. I think being a year older, Tatiana can learn at a deeper level and since the subject matter is somewhat familiar, she can focus on more specifics. We've also started a U.S. Notebook, which will be filled with various pages pertaining to U.S. History, including a brief study page on each of the 50 States. So far it has a few patriotic songs and some copywork/picture pages based on what we've been reading.

Book Basket: We love the book basket! This is just a collection of library books pertaining to our History topic. Tatiana looks through the books for 15 minutes a day. As long as she is reading them, she can pick and choose any one in the basket. The best part is that our the writers of our Christian curriculum have already pre-read all of the recommended books and they are listed in the appendix. I reserve all the ones I want online through our library system and just go pick them up when ready. This would be a great addition to any-kind-of-schooler's day, for supplemental parent-approved reading time!

Handwriting: We are using Pictures in Cursive by Queen Homeschool and really love it. Each group of lessons is actually a picture study of a fine piece of artwork. I love the idea that Tatiana is being exposed to great art and that it is integrated with the cursive lessons, as opposed to just writing something unrelated like "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog".

Spelling: We are using Spelling Wisdom. She learns to identify 'trouble' words and these become her spelling words. Each lesson is a quote, virtue, or piece of good literature. Tatiana learns to spell the words through a serious of specific steps and the 'test' is actually a dictation of the lesson. Again, I love that the words are within the context of a good value, instead of just random words. It's a reminder to me to discuss some of these virtues and what they mean for our everyday lives

Read-Aloud: Squanto, Friend of the Pilgrims by Clyde Bulla

Independent Reading: So far, Tatiana has polished off Kit Kitteredge: An American Girl, Mystery in the Theatre: An American Girl Mystery, and a biography of Helen Keller. She has just started on a book called Hannah.

Math: We are still plugging along with Singapore Math. I have thought about switching many times, but have been unsure whether the curriculum is the problem or whether it's just a weak spot for this particular child. I've come to the conclusion that I think it's a little of both. I am supplementing with flash card, fun workbooks pertaining to the exact skill being learned (multiplication/division) and the biggest change so far has been my/our attitudes. We are playing lots of games to MAKE MATH FUN. I think if it's not such a drag for Tati then it won't be one for me either. I've found ideas for dice games, math bingo games, and more.

Science: We've had some intro lessons one What Science Is and What Scientist Do and right now are focusing on constellations and His Creation of the universe. I highly recommend the book Constellations for Every Kid by Janice Van Cleave. I find it very extraordinary for parental learning as well as for children loaded with great activities to make star-gazing doable for the everyday kid. I hope to squeeze in some of these activities this week, as the kiddos will be able to stay up later since we won't have our normal school schedule during the days.

And I can't neglect to leave my little guy out. He's what makes me want to pull my hair out our school days challenging!

Phew! Thanks for humoring my school days recap!


stephanie said...

Sounds super. I really admire moms who can pull of home schooling, I think it takes so much effort and control on your part. Something I know I don't have. have fun on your week "off".

Peaceful Chaoz said...

Looks good! Enjoy your week of vacation and field trips ;0)

Andrea said...

Thanks for sharing! I find it very interesting to hear how homeschooling is done well. Unfortuneately, my only experience with it growing up was not great. Anyway...I love hearing about what you guys are doing. And it gives me great book ideas for people. I think I would love doing this with my own kids someday but that's a decision for another time!

Hollie said...

I don't know if you pick the books Tatiana reads for her independent or if she can pick them but I know Kylee loves the Ramona books, The Junie B. Jones books, and Judy Moody books... just some suggestions if you needed them!

Saralyn said...

My Father's World curriculum looks terrific! I started "doing my own thing" about six years ago and haven't ventured back into the boxed set, but every year I look at their stuff and think, "Wow!" We're only a couple years from high school now and at this point I'm planning on using their curriculum.

So glad your enjoying your year!