We’ve been back at school for more than 2 weeks now. This year, I have a 6th grader, 4th grader, and 1st grader. (I won’t mention how long it took me to get even this halfway decent picture. Stinkers, all.)
I finally bought wall maps and got Wayne to put them up. Basically, my kitchen is a school room where we also eat. That’s a pretty accurate reflection of my priorities.
Things have been going pretty well. Morning Time is from 8-8:30. We sing a hymn and study the catechism. We started the book last year, so we picked up with question #24. We pray a prayer of confession and say the Apostles’ Creed and pray the Lord’s Prayer. We’ve also used that time to review the Shakespeare passages we learned last year; soon we’ll start a new one. We are working on memorizing Hebrews 1:1-12 and the poem “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer. I think they already know the poem, but we’ll just keep saying both things every morning through September.
At 8:30, the girls go off to work independently (they have checklists) and I spend an hour working with Ben. We do his math lesson and a little copywork. He reads to me, either from the phonics book or an early reader.
He’s working on the 1st grade recitation from Memoria Press and the Catechism for Young Children. I also chose some poems for him to memorize this year. He learned the first one faster than I expected! (Something about being the youngest, I suppose…I have this idea that he is younger than he is. I’m sure I made the girls memorize more, earlier.)
I have to share the video of the first poem he learned.
In grammar he’s been learning about nouns, and the difference between common nouns and proper nouns.
In science the first week, we learned about octopuses. The second week I forgot to get library books so we just skipped science.
At 9:30 he goes off to play and I work with Emma. We go over her math lesson and she does any corrections. She’s been working on prepositions and adverbs in grammar, and doing some narration, copywork, and dictation for writing. We’ve started First Form Latin, and I’ve found that she does better if we do that together. Otherwise, she’s popping out to ask me questions every few minutes.
I made handwriting pages for her, using our memory work. (The first one is tracing, the second is not.)
I tried Spelling Power with both the girls, but I’ve already abandoned it. Our Spelling Workout workbooks should be here Tuesday. With Spelling Power, I felt like I was just giving spelling tests every day and they weren’t really learning. I probably wasn’t doing it right, but I don’t care. We used Spelling Workout for years and we all liked it just fine.
For science, she’s doing Insects this year. We learned about the main body parts of insects.
In Famous Men of Rome we learned about Romulus and Remus, and Noma Pompilius. I also learned that we need to allow more than one day per week to do that book – the readings are long!
Both girls are doing Veritas Press self-paced history, so they do that at the computer on their own. They like it. I like that it’s one less thing for me to teach. Hopefully they will also learn something. One can hope.
At some point in the course of the morning, both girls practice piano and violin on their own. Hopefully we’ll have a new violin teacher next month, but for now I just tell them to review a lot. Play something. Ben has not been practicing piano; got to get back on that.
At 10:30 Emma goes off to finish her checklist; usually she does her quiet reading then. I make them read an hour a day, choosing from an assigned list. Her first choice was The Four Story Mistake. She prefers reading in a fort.
She also complains endlessly about this reading requirement. I see other moms posting about filling a shelf with free reads to keep their kids in books. Apparently they don’t need to require a minimum amount of time of reading from their kids. Apparently these children read of their own volition. I am obviously Doing It Wrong, because that doesn’t happen at my house. Anyway, she finished that book and started Sea Star.
Abby meets with me at 10:30. She likes doing her work independently, so it works to give her the morning to work alone. We go over what she’s done – usually math, grammar, literature (The Trojan War), science (learning about trees – and hey! we even identified the tree in our front yard, after living here for 2+ years and not caring), Greek alphabet (alpha, beta and gamma have been covered). She’s doing her Latin class online and it starts this week, so I’ve just had her review last year’s flashcards every day. She’s also doing a Critical Thinking workbook, but I keep forgetting to check it. Oops. She did the first couple of lessons in Famous Men of Greece.
During her hour of assigned reading, she’s been reading Little Women. She must not hate it, because she hasn’t complained about the book itself. And I haven’t asked her much about it, not wishing to break the spell, as it were. Oh first she read Hatchet, which wasn’t on my list, but I found it at the thrift store and she wanted to read it first, so I let her. We got the next one in that series at the library, and she read it, but said it wasn’t as good.
At some point in there, I tell Ben to grab some books and read to himself for half an hour. He’s also allowed to listen to audio books, which has been a surprising hit. So far he’s listened to Henry and the Clubhouse (which he loved and told me about in detail), Ribsy (also enjoyed, and loved that it had some of the same characters), and a series of Nate the Great books (he listened to those repeatedly). I got Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, but he said he didn’t understand that.
After lunch, we gather in the living room and read. Abby usually brings her comforter out there and just lies on the couch, pets the dog, and listens. Emma brings 87,000 craft supplies out and tries her best to cover every surface with them. Ben plays Legos or draws…or fights with Emma over drawing supplies.
This has been my favorite part of the day. I feel like I’ve finally gotten to Read All the Books, just like those Sonlight catalogs I keep drooling over. I mean, not that we’ve read them all just yet, but we are reading a bunch.
First, I read to everyone…
I got The Green Ember for my Kindle back when it was first released and was free for a day or two. We’ve been reading a chapter a day. I think they like it. No one’s complained…
Then I read Abraham Lincoln’s World to Abby and Emma. Ben usually sticks around, but I don’t care if he’s listening closely or not. This goes along with their history time period, although I think the VP class is going to move faster than the book is. The sections of this book are short, so I read one or two per day. There’s been some nice overlap with the online class.
Abby is allowed to leave then, as she usually has a couple of written things to finish.
I read to Emma…
The Secret Garden – We started this in the summer and were very inconsistent, but we’ve read one or two chapters a day since school started and we’re nearing the end. I don’t remember reading this before, though it seems like I must have, and of course I know the musical version very well. Emma really likes it.
The Princess and the Goblin – This is on the AO year 3 list. I wasn’t sure if she’d like it, but she does. We read 2-3 chapters a week.
Understood Betsy – We started this last week. I’ve never read it, but it’s on All The Lists, plus Melissa Wiley has talked about it, so I knew it must be good. 🙂 The chapters are long; I think we’ve only read 2 so far.
Tree in the Trail – This is AO year 2, but I found it used this summer and thought I’d throw it in since the “chapters” are only a page long. She likes it. Honestly, she just likes me to read to her. It took me a crazy long time to figure that out, but once I figured it out, I knew a curriculum with a lot of reading aloud – like Sonlight or AO – would work for her better than the writing- heavy style of MP. Still considering a full SL or AO year for her next year. (Let’s face it, I’m always considering SL.)
Then I read to Ben…
A Children’s Garden of Verses – a poem or two a day. They’re very short. He doesn’t understand them very well, but I keep on reading.
Owls in the Family – We’re almost finished with it. It was on the SL Core B list. I honestly don’t like it that much. I have to explain stuff to him a lot and I don’t think it’s that funny.
Leading Little Ones to God – I started this last week. I went through it with the girls when they were about his age, in fact I think Abby heard it twice. This is also on the SL Core B list, which is what reminded me that I should read it to Ben.
Aesop – We’ve read 2-3 stories per week. He likes them. Sometimes he asks me to re-read one we’ve already read. They’re short, so I usually do.
Paddle to the Sea – AO year 1. We’ve only read the first chapter so far. The AO schedule is very, very slow. I think we’ll speed up. (Sorry, hardcore AO fans.)
Just So Stories – How the Whale Got His Throat. You must not forget the suspenders, O Best Beloved. 🙂 (Also scheduled extremely slowly on AO. He’s heard some of these from our Jim Weiss CD, and he likes them, so I might read these more frequently than scheduled, also. Or not.)
Child’s History of the World (Hillyer) – I didn’t think we were getting enough history with AO, so I looked at SL again (I know, it’s a sickness) and since they use the Hillyer, and since I have the Hillyer, I started reading from that. He didn’t love it, but I think I’ll carry on. I used Story of the World with the other two in first grade, but I think I want everyone to be on the Ancients next year, so I thought a quick tour through time might work for this year. (Who am I kidding, you know I’m going to buy a used SL Core B instructor’s guide soon and do it all, right? It seems inevitable.)
We also read the first chapter of the heroes book from AO year 1, about the Sword of Damocles. It was…eh. Honestly, I’m not loving AO year 1 so far, which is why I’ve thrown in some SL stuff.
I know it sounds like a crazy amount of reading, but it takes about two hours, or a little less. And they like it. And I like it. After that they basically run around free with the neighbor kids. We quit swim team, glory hallelujah. But we have homeschool band/strings twice a week, and church on Wednesdays. And Wayne and I are taking Financial Peace one night a week for the next couple of months. Abby started guitar lessons, too. (Yes, that makes 3 instruments for my 11 year old. She’s mine, after all.)