October 1st was a momentous occasion at our house, as this date marked the beginning of our first official school year. Of course this may seem a bit late to some, but given that I just had a baby at the end of August, I felt it best to give myself at least a 6 week maternity leave. Having this kind of flexibility is truly one of the great benefits of schooling at home.
So, what did our week entail? Well, just like any first week of school we sort of eased into it. It has and will continue to take some adjusting and tweaking as we find our family rhythm for adding school subjects to our day. But thus far some of the positives have been, having the added structure of things to accomplish does seem to break up the pattern of the day. I will admit that there has been some struggle, for me and the kids as we juggle and shuffle our routine. But, by weeks end I was definitely starting to feel some clarity (though I have a very, very long way to go. )
So, what can I share about how we are approaching this school year? Well, Colton is our main focus as he is of kindergarten age. But, since Alex likes to do everything big brother does I am trying to include him as much as he wishes. But, I also am trying to remember to let him float as needed. This has been a bit of a tedious dance but, I am sure as time goes on we will figure it out.
I am working mostly on just the core subjects with Colton. Bible, Reading, math, Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, and Art. This all sounds so ridged and formal. But, reality is we take a much more laid back approach to it all. For instance; Bible, is reading from our Story bible mostly, with maybe some follow up questions or a craft. Colton really wants to learn to read, for that we are using; The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading (This is not a reading for dummies book) but a simple well thought out approach to teaching reading. We are supplementing that with some Hooked on Phonics work book pages, and some basic handwriting practice.
The other five core subjects, Math, Language Arts, Social Studies, Science and Art are covered in our Five in a Row curriculum. I really love the concept of Five in a Row. It is a unit studies approach, so we read a story from the reading list every day for the week. Then follow it with one of the subjects, applying it to the story we just read. I think the best part of this program is that I get to revisit some of the great classic stories from my child hood. Some treasured, some newly remembered, and some will be new to us completely.
This week was The Story of Ping. We had a great time finding China and the Yangtze river on the world map. Another day we discussed what "Literature" was and the difference between fiction and non-fiction works. Colton wanted to write his own fictional piece and we had a great time doing that. We also counted Ping's family in Starburst Candy (and yes, I let each kid eat one) We also counted our family, and discussed the difference in family size. We did many other things as well, relating to the story, but these were our favorite activities.
And while this main curriculum and subjects outline our formal school day, what was even more fun was the hours following. Spending time doing some structured learning, seems to be giving way to hunger to know more and more. In the hours following, we often take time to look up things of interest. Colton loves snakes, and so the Copper head was of great interest the other day. Colton also wanted to know what our brain looks like. For all of these instances I am very grateful for the internet, which supplies me with more resources than my own faculties possess. There is also increasingly detailed works of art being churned out daily. Which reminds me ....I must work on an Art display area....
Anyway, This is what our first week looked like. It encompassed all of the emotions, energy, and patience I possess. It required inspiration from outside sources and encouragement from other moms who are walking with me or have gone before me. (Those of whom I am ever so grateful!)
Above all, I am so thankful that I have the privilege of taking such a prominent role in my child's education this year.