Today was a blast! I remember the first week or so when I was a 7/8 grade teacher, I had so much fun that I couldn't believe I was actually being paid to teach and help develop thinkers. That's how I felt today, except of course I'm not being paid!
Here was our schedule today:
8:30 Prayer and Bible Verse
Ellie read a Bible verse from a little packet of memory verses and we talked about the fact that God will keep us from all harm and that He watches over us day and night. (Psalm 121:7-8) We then prayed for God to help guide us for the day.
8:40 Aesop's Fables
Chloe read a short fable and talked about the moral of the story, as well as the character quality we want or don't want.
8:50 Sophie's Letter of the Week and Poem
I'm using a Poem/Finger Play book that has 5-6 entries for each letter of the alphabet. Today's poem was an animal poem, since our letter of the week is "A".
We are using Math-U-See for Ellie and Chloe, and it is awesome. It was developed by a college professor who realized that his students had huge gaps in their learning, so he decided to develop a program teaching the basics on how to think about numbers, place value, and the purpose of math from simple counting to exponents. We are starting at the very beginning with both girls, since I know math has been a challenge for Ellie. I hope to get through the first 2 levels quickly and then slow down as we get into multiplication and division. Today the girls went through the lesson on DVD together. I gave Sophie some coloring to do in the same room so she didn't feel left out.
Today's art project was a self-portrait. I thought it would be appropriate to capture where we are in this slice of time as we home school. We all made one, including me!
Although it may sound silly, my girls actually really enjoy reading A.A. Milne's original Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. It is very cleverly written and the kids laugh every few sentences. I read some of it today, but I hope to read many different books to them during this period of time through the year. Since I am reading to all 3 at the same time, the book needs to be able to reach all 3 for interest.
10:30 Instrument practice
The big girls practiced one of their instruments: Ellie on cello, Chloe on piano. I let Sophie watch a short PBS program during this time so I can help with practicing.
We will be doing different things for exercising, but today Chloe and I did 1/2 of a DVD (Core Synergistics from P90X) and Ellie/Sophie ran track on Wii Fit.
11:30 Independent Writing
The girls worked independently in their rooms for this.
I have a writing book for Ellie that I used when I taught 7/8 English called Writing Traits; it goes through the writing process and she is definitely ready to tackle all the different areas of writing. This is the part that I'm most excited about since I loved teaching how to write and streamline thinking. Today she worked on focus in a paragraph; did every sentence in the paragraph relate to a main topic? Which ones were out of place? Then she created her own paragraph on a topic and we worked on recognizing whether or not it had true focus or not. She will write a new paragraph each day this week.
Chloe is working through a Grade 2 Workbook that I bought at Costco. Yes, I know workbooks are really not very Charlotte Mason, but I know Chloe's style; she likes to get a sticker on her page and get a sense of completion and satisfaction of a job well done. Since this is her weaker area, I want her to build up some confidence and also work on her handwriting through the book.
Sophie has a little tracing book that she worked on for her letter "A."
We all ate lunch together and the girls mentioned how they couldn't believe this was really school. It reminded me of the reason why I am doing this: I want to spend more time with my kids. We also talked about our school motto: "I am, I can, I ought, I will." I want my kids to know who they are, that they are capable, that their decisions should be governed foremost by the Bible, and that they should discipline themselves to use their will by doing what they know they should do. Home school is not just about the academics; I want to train their character through all of our experiences together.
1:00 Recess/Free Play
We had some other unconventional friends come over to play for a few hours and the girls had fun together. It's great for them to have other friends who are also trying something new and going against the grain. We will be seeing them again tomorrow; they are moving to Costa Rica for an immersion experience!
3:30 Instrument Practice
Ellie practiced piano and Chloe practiced violin. I let Sophie watch another show.
I like to use spelling words from books, and since we have been listening to C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia on CD whenever we are driving in the car, I used words from "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe." The girls enjoyed talking about the context of the words such as "Turkish Delight", or "stone", or "magnificent mane."
As a side note, we are actually going to create our own lapbooks for each of the books in the Chronicles of Narnia as a long-term project. I am actually really excited about this project because not only will it allow them to creatively put to paper their thoughts about the book and allow for written narration, it will also be something tangible that they can have to mark this year's work. The first lapbook will essentially be a wardrobe (from construction paper) that you open, and inside will be pictures and narration of the story. Chloe is already thinking about making a large ring for the cover of the Magician's Nephew. I love when they bubble over with ideas and excitement!
Today ended as busily as it started; we took Chloe to her first modern dance class, ate dinner, then took Ellie to cheerleading practice. I am so glad we decided to let her do cheer this year since she gets to see her friends; apparently her 3rd grade teacher came by to say hello too! During cheer practice, the other 2 girls and I went grocery shopping. We got home around 7:45 and were all exhausted from a full day.
Every day's schedule will look a little different depending on our activities, and I expect to add in more subjects, like history, science, geography, French, and Shakespeare. But I need to remember to take things slowly and savor each topic as we go along. Our first field trip is this Friday to the Fort Worth Museum of Science and Industry where we will revisit the Da Vinci exhibit and explore some new exhibits. I'm assuming it's going to be empty since everyone will be in school!
I will most likely blog more often now that we are really getting started. I know we are in the honeymoon stage of homeschooling, and I'm sure we will have some tough days ahead. But I'll take the honeymoon for as long as I can!