We are 50 days into our new school year today. (Yes, I know it is Sunday. We tend to have school when Daddy is at work, so that way, we can take the day off whenever we need to/want to. He is at work today, so we are working too!)
I am so pleased with how things are going. We finally have established a good schedule and are chugging along at a good pace. I am surprised that I feel more anxious this year than I did last year. I was stressed last year trying to find my footing, but this year….. oish.
Last year was small beans. You can’t really mess up kindergarten. This feels different. I have this kid, a precocious, smart as a whip little boy. He is eating up material faster than I can put it in front of him. It has been a bit of a struggle to find the correct level of each program to challenge him without overwhelming him. At the same time, he is a little boy. He needs to run and play and make messes and get in trouble. It’s overwhelming to me, trying to figure out what he should be doing and when. I feel like this year, it really is possible to mess this kid up. Maybe not for life, but still. The pressure is on.
(disclaimer- Yes, I know, I know. It’s first grade, we have this. I’m not really questioning my ability, or his ability, or anything like that. We have this.)
On top of Bug, I have Mr. Man, who is also smart as a whip, and devious, energetic, loving, bubbly and my “wild child”. He has declared his baby sister as his partner in crime, and keeping the two of them safe and out of trouble has proved to be an amazing challenge.
That being said, I feel like we are doing a really good job.
The last 50 days in Review:
We are still working on Logic of English essentials for spelling, but have slowed it down to incorporate in the Beta reading program from Logic of English. This is teaching Bug and Mr. Man both cursive, helping Mr. Man learn to read, and improving Bug’s reading. Logic of English essentials has helped Bug take off reading, from having to sound out most of the words, to pausing only on the “tough” words. I am so proud of the hard work he has done this summer.
I am still not thrilled with our writing program this year. We are working on Evan Moor’s Daily 6 Trait Writing 1, and Essentials in Writing 2 daily. I feel like it is good practice, but I think we could find a better fit. The current plan is to stick with these two programs until December, and reevaluate.
Grammar is being covered in about a million different ways, LOE, First Language Lessons, EIW, MCT. So far Bug has a strong grasp of Nouns, Verbs, Subjects and Predicates, and really enjoys Grammar lessons.
This week Bug finished up the first half of Saxon Math 2. We’ve been using Math U See to teach the addition and subtraction facts along with Saxon, and I am proud to say he has 80% of addition and subtraction facts to 20 memorized. For a few weeks, the daily drill sheets stressed him out, but with lots of practice “building” his facts with the MUS blocks, we got past his hatred of them! This week, he is practicing venn diagrams, learning to read a recipe and measuring cups, and playing with congruent shapes on the Geo Board. Saxon Math tends to get a “bad rap” from people (common complaints: takes too much time, drill sheets are annoying, topics jump around) but we LOVE it here (yes, it takes 40 min or so, drill sheets suck but are effective, and we like the variety). I don’t see myself switching to anything else, and the combination with the MUS dvd’s and blocks is wonderful.
We LOVE Story of the World. We spent a little longer on Ancient Egypt than I had originally planned, but we learned so much, and had so much fun. We’ve been using Evan Moor’s history pockets and notebooking pages to make a history notebook that is turning out to be a good tool to review things we have learned (someone should come visit so the kids can show it off!). For Egypt, we mummified a chicken (it’s still drying out. I should really check on that so we can wrap it…. And throw it away), built a pyramid, made Egyptian frontalism art, read a whole bunch of books, wrote our names in hieroglyphs, and reenacted the battle between upper and lower Egypt over.and.over.
This week (starting today actually, when Bug finishes his writing assignment and I stop blogging) we are studying Ancient India and Buddhism. The plan is to do Ancient India, Mesopotamia, Japan, China and South America for the next 8 weeks, and then take about 6 weeks to learn about the Native Americans (wrapping up right at thanksgiving).
We’ve been incorporating science in all over informally with the help of Evan Moor, Magic School Bus and Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding. We went to a tech museum, watched a meteor shower and looked at the stars, gone on nature walks, and studied animals as we added them to our animal classification wall. This week we are learning about why leaves change color in the fall. This month (if the mail cooperates) we are also starting a Science Club with some of the other homeschool families on base, using the Magic School Bus science kits as a spine.
Mr. Man is LOVING Five in a Row. This week we are rowing “Going on a Bear Hunt”. He does best with school when he doesn’t realize he is doing it, so FIAR, with road trip USA/ expedition earth/ lapbooking/ games is a fantastic fit for him. This week, we’ll learn story sequencing, starting consonant sounds, bear habitats, American geography (Montana), and we’ll go on a barefoot hike. He’s also enjoys cuddly math (Life of Fred) and Logic of English.
Art classes are going really well. The classes have been selling out, and we have loved getting together with 15 kids each week to paint/play with clay. We have learned about Kandinsky, O’Keefe, Michelangelo, Picasso, Seurat, Cave Art, Egyptian Art…. I’m sure I am forgetting some. Bug’s clay sculptures are getting more creative, and we are having a ball.
PE with the co-op starts up again next week, and both boys are starting tap class. Music appreciation and piano lessons are chugging along. German is a struggle, but we are all trying, and really enjoy “practicing” at the playground with German kids.
And that’s about it. Whew.