Saturday, September 6, 2014

Week 1 Wrap-Up

Our first week of the 2014-2015 school year was completed on Friday! Despite a printer breakdown right when I was trying to print out papers for this week, and a baby girl who thinks erasing the white board while I'm teaching from it is hilarious, we got school done! And I feel really good about that. Even some of the new things I tried this week worked!

The first day did not start off as well as I had hoped. Thankfully, the next few days went better. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesdays are our regular, full school days. Thursdays will be co-op in the morning and afternoon subjects later, with an Art Appreciation Tea Party (post on Monday!) Fridays will be morning subjects, speech therapy at the local school, and other appointments that might need to be scheduled.

On the three regular days we started at 9:30am.  But we didn't do math this week because of the printer. And if we're going to have time for math and a vitally important break between morning school and lunch, we're going to need to start at 9 o'clock in the morning. Have I ever mentioned that I am NOT a morning person? Coffee is my friend.

We're trying to be done by 11 o'clock so that they can have an hour to play before lunch. So far this week, our afternoon subject was started by 1. Usually we will be switching between science and history, but with no printer we couldn't do science so we doubled up on history this week. That takes about and hour, and then free time until 4:00pm for a half hour of reading time. Then at 5:00 we all go to the front of the house and the boys ride their bicycles on the sidewalk and Lady Bug and I watch from the front lawn in the shade.

So, how did we do with getting all of our subjects done this week?

Vocabulary: 4/4 We start with this because it's quick and a fun way to start the school day. Right now we're in Wordly Wise B, since we only completed level A this summer.

Grammar: 4/4 We finished FLL1 and we have started on FLL2. (I'll be blogging along about supplementing FLL2 like I did with FLL1.) Early Bird memorized the poem in one day! And so did I; and now it's stuck in my head. It seems to be stuck in his head, too, because he keeps saying it all the time.

Handwriting: 4/4 We're continuing with the Handwriting Without a Pencil plan. We started the second group of letters this week. This is going to take time; but it is going to be worth it. The small problem with using the fun materials is that the kids want to continue playing with them after they are done. So I let them take a small break, which eats up 10-15 minutes of our school time, but I feel that it's worth it.

Then we have a Very Important Snack.

Writing: 4/4 We are continuing Writing With Ease 1 where we left off at the end of last year (lesson 15.) On the first day I offered Early Bird a pencil with a pencil grip or markers or crayons to write his one word with. In the past he has used crayons or markers, but on the first day of school I gave him a pouch with fun pencils and a pencil grip and he wanted to use his pencil. Since this is his last kindergarten year, the new rule is he is no longer allowed to hold a pencil wrong during school time. And the first day he did NOT want to use the pencil grip. I offered markers or crayons, but he insisted on the pencil, but not the proper way. He ended up with some Daddy time (it was Labor Day) while I worked with Builder Boy. But the next day he agreed to the pencil grip, and even made up Monday's assignment as well as doing Tuesday's. I help him make the letters, and he only has to do one small word.

Spelling: 3/4 Friday was a bad day for me, and I schooled through having a panic/anxiety attack for the first four lessons that day, but as we had to leave early for Builder Boy's appointment, we did not have time for the last two morning subjects. And I'm okay with that.

Reading: 3/4 We have only 20 lessons or less to go to finish up The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading. Since that takes them though a fourth grade reading level, once we are finished we will drop doing reading instruction in the morning. The Well Trained Mind, our guide plan for homeschooling in a classical manner, recommends then moving on to a root study/vocabulary course of work. We have already started a vocabulary course, and our spelling curriculum is a good review of phonic rules, so I am satisfied with that for now.

White Crown King and Red Crown King
White Crown King becomes the Ruler of Eqypt

History: 4/4 Since we couldn't do science, we did extra history. We're going back to Story of the World: Ancients. We never finished last time we started, and that was...almost two years ago. So what we're doing right now is just reviewing what we have already done. We're covering two chapters a lesson, with me reading it and asking the boys the questions from the activity guide. We also look at my blog posts and remember the activities we did. (I'm not taking the time to do them all over again at an accelerated, reviewing pace!) I also saved the costumes and other things we made, so we got those out and had fun with those, too. (Here's the instructions for the crowns in the pictures.)

Reading: 4/4 Independent Reading Time is something I have failed to encourage or require until now. I think Early Bird was having a bad day Monday, because he didn't last the 30 minutes before needed to be sent to his room for a nap. But every other day he has done very well. What I'm doing is setting a timer for the 30 minutes. For the first part, Early Bird gets to read a book of his choice to me. When he has read it to me he gets a red sticky note on the back of the book (we're calling them "flags") with the date. The hope is by the end of the year they will have read aloud to me most of the little kid books we have, as well as books from the library, and feel comfortable moving on to other, bigger books. Once Early Bird has had a turn reading to me, he has quiet time either looking at books or reading to himself. Then Builder Boy, who has been reading silently to himself takes a turn reading out loud to me and earns a blue "flag" for his book. The colors help me know who's read which book, and that way they only read the book once for a flag, encouraging them to try reading a book without their colored "flag" on it. I thought that they would want to do the easy early readers, but they've been choosing more of the kid books that are intended for grownups to read to kids, so I'm okay with that! The super easy, kindergarten level phonics and Bob books they do NOT get flags for.

And....that's everything! I like Skedtrack so far. I'll write up a review on the program once I've worked with it for a bit longer. And YAY!!! I have a printer now. An AWESOME printer that does so many more things that my old one did. So next week we're adding math and science to the mix.
Links to the specific curricula mentioned and where to find them on line are available here.

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