Friday, September 28, 2007

Week 4: Sept 24 - 28

This week's verse is Luke 2:11a "Today your Saviour was born in the town of David."

This week in History: The Sumerians c5000BC - 2000BC.
Mapping Sumer
The Invention of Writing
Crafts and Trade / Kings and War

Today we studied the invention of writing of the Sumerians in Mesopotamia. First Noah used his own stylus and a playdough tablet to make symbols of a bird, wheat, and bull. Then he learned how to write his name in cuneiform.

Tuesday we were able to go to the library -just the two of us- for an hour and a half. I'm trying to do this once a week because it is so wonderful for us. We get to have time together without interruptions or distractions and we get so much done.

Wednesday, one day in the week where we don't have to be anywhere. Today while the girls napped, Noah and I did run an errand (Josh is working from home this week.) We picked up our Juan Manigault signs, bumper stickers and t-shirt and signed up for our door-to-door efforts to help his campaign for mayor. In history we've been studying how early civilizations grew into towns and cities and eventually get big enough for a leader, so I tied that in with the Mayoral race here in town.

Thursday is Adventure Club! I don't think I've discribed what goes on here. It's the children's midweek program at our church. I grew up with AWANA in the church of my youth. Adventure club is not quite so rigorous with the Bible verse memorization as AWANA was when I was young, but then I've heard that AWANA has really lightened it's requirements in recent years. I feel it is vital for our children to memorize scripture. Our church does have quizzing and our youth group has done some amazing things with that, so when Noah is old enough we want him to get into quizzing. Anyway, I digress. Adventure club is a time for the kids to get together, play games, say their memory verse review the Bible lesson and values and be mentored. Noah really loves it. Bronwen is in Church Mice which is the program for the pre-schoolers. She loves it too and can often be heard at home pretending she is driving to "class." I catch Noah and Bronwen playing 'church' sometimes instead of playing house. I love it!

Friday this week was project day. We were supposed to go on a field trip to Grissom Air Reserve Base Museum, but it was postponed - possibly to next week. So instead we got out the pottery wheel and Noah created his first little pot. If you know Noah and how much he dislikes getting his hands messy, you'll know what a big deal this was for him.

I haven't said much about Math, but it is currently Noah's favorite subject. He's been working on simple addition and subtraction so far. He's so serious about doing his math homework. He can already count to 100+ by 1s and 10s forward and backward and is very comfortable with number placement. This coming week we'll be starting to work on counting by 5s, telling time on an analogue clock and counting money. By then I'll probably have more interesting worksheets to show you.

This week in Science: Moving in water

Friday, September 21, 2007

Week 3: Sept 17-21

This week's verse: Luke 1:31 "You will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus."

We studied Gabriel's visit to Mary to tell her that she would have a son, her reaction and her visit to Elizabeth.

Our science book is not here yet, so we've been studying volcanoes for science. We wrapped that up this week (although we may revisit the subject at a later date.) This is the picture that Noah created. I think it's before and after an erruption.

We are studying the ancients for history and geography, but we also did a quick book about Christopher Columbus. This is Noah's depiction of the three ships: Santa Maria, Nina, and Pinta. I'm not sure what the brown scribble is . . . it could be a storm that came up and damaged the Pinta.

This is a page from one of Noah's reading lessons this week. He's improving by leaps and bounds and it is such a privilege to be here to watch his progress. I do love this book for teaching a child to read, but in some respects it has been a hinderance to Noah. He already knew his complete alphabet and all his phonics, so it was challenging to go through this book from the beginning. I think that's what held us up before. He was trying to fastfoward, putting the "the cart before the horse" at times and I was trying to reign him in and make him take one little step at a time because the book said to do it this way. We took a long break from reading and when we came back to it, we went really fast through the first half of it (he was reading in one week's time.) I think doing this gave him a chance for the book to catch up to what he already knew, but needed to put together. Now we are going through the last twenty or so lessons a little slower so he can absorb the crucial details: punctuation, sentences & paragraphs, how to use his sounding out skills etc.

After a little editing of the timeline, we have begun study of the ancients. This is an exerpt from our history book. I loved history and I'm excited to be able to plant that seed of wonder in Noah too. The First Settlers c10,000BC - 5600BC
Mapping the Firtile Crescent
The First Famers
The First Towns: Jericho, & Catal Huyuk

This is what our science book will look like (I borrowed this one from my Mom.) I decided to use the Usborne Science Encyclopedia instead of the Kingfisher because I'm an Usborne consultant and can get a discount. I love how colorful the pictures are and the text is broken up into manageable clusters. And one of my favorite things is that certain pages are internet linked, so we are able to get activities related to study. This week in science: Body Structure & Body Coverings

Here's my little student hard at work on his Bible lesson.
My biggest struggle right now is with the girls. . . well, Bronwen. She is really wanting my attention when I'm trying to work with Noah. I've set her up with her own "school work" and she'll color or play with playdough for a little while, but she keeps interrupting, asking for help with this, that or the other. So, we're only 3 weeks into school and I know I'm still getting things worked out, but I really don't want her to start resenting the time I need to work with Noah. Any suggestions?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Week 2: Sept 10-14

This week's verse is Daniel 1:17a "God gave these four men wisdom and the ability to learn."

The highlight of school this week is that Noah is reading quite well and is so excited. All he wanted to do was read, so I adjusted the schedule a bit this week to take advantage of his enthusiasm.

I'm still trying to find the best fit for our schedule and instead of getting most done in the morning, I'm finding we have to save a lot of it for the afternoon when the girls are taking their naps.

This is what the schedule looked like this week. Classes were: Bible, memory verse, reading, writing, spelling, math, history, science.

This week in Science: Animal cells

This week in History: The First Farmers and Towns

Monday: class in the morning, pickup Madie at 11:30, lunch and naps at Mom's, more class for Noah, then I leave for piano lessons around 3.

Tuesday: Mom's group 9:30 - 11:30. During this time Noah will be having class with other homeschoolers and Bronwen will have her own "pre-school" type class. Pick up Madie at 11:30, lunch and naps at Mom's, more class for Noah. Today Noah and I were able to get away to the library for a couple of hours. We got much done and I hope to be able to do this again on Tuesday afternoons.

Wednesday - all day at home. Noah is really doing well with his Math worksheets. We are reading about Christopher Columbus and Volcanos in our fun reading.

Thursday : classes in the morning and then Adventure club. Noah got his new notebook and met his new teacher. He was so excited to get the new year started with this club. Bronwen is old enough to be in church mice this year, but she was sick tonight and didn't come. I'm working in the nursery while they are in their classes.

Friday: I caught the bug that the kids have had all week. It really got the best of me so we didn't get a whole lot done today.

One of my favorite things this week was to hear Bronwen walk around saying, "I pledge, under God." She wants to do school too so she has time of playdough and drawing and of course starts out the day with the pledge of allegiance and prayer.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Week 1: Sept 4-7

Monday - Labor day
Tuesday - Lessons
Wednesday - Chicago's Shedd Aquarium

We went on our first field trip today: the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. Josh is off work this week so we planned this quick get away for the kids to kick off the school year.

Thursday Highlights:

I asked Noah to draw his favorite animal that he saw yesterday. He surprised me by drawing snakes. We didn't see very many at all, but they made quite an impression on him I guess.

I also asked him to draw a turtle, shark, sea horse and an octopus.

This evening we walked downtown for "Art Beat" and got to see lots of drawing, painting, pottery & jewelry. We were also lucky enough to watch a couple of flaminco dancers for awhile.

Friday: Lots and lots of reading!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

I Pledge . . .

Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.

And so it begins, our first day of school!

^----Noah's drawing of the King extending his sceptor to accept Queen Esther into his court. Bronwen's drawing ---->
Queen Esther's banquet for the King and Haman.

This week's Bible verse:
"'I know what I have planned for you,' says the Lord."
Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, September 3, 2007

A Starting Schedule

We have 180 days of school to complete and we are starting tomorrow. Here is a sample of our starting schedule. (I do expect that this will change throughout the year)

Along with the Academics, I give 5 piano lessons a week (Not counting Noah's), Mom's group at church, Adventure Club/Church Mice, field trips, and Social activities. I also will continue to babysit Madie who needs to be picked up from pre-school Mondays and Tuesdays at 11:30.

I've also based my approach on Charlotte Mason's method of education, so we will have lots of subjects broken up into 10 to 15 minute sessions. (This way we should get everything done in the morning.) Oh, and lots of time outdoors in nature. I am not going to put specific times on subjects such as Bible from 8 - 8:15. The only things that will have time indications are the things that have specific times and dates.


Memory Verse
Pick up Madie 11:30
Give Piano lessons 2:30 - 5:30


Memory Verse
Moms group 9:30 - 11:30
Pick up Madie 11:30
Music Appreciation
Art Appreciation
Home Economics


Memory Verse


Memory Verse
Music Appreciation
Art Appreciation
Home Economics
Adventure Club and Church Mice 4:00 - 5:30 PM beginning Sept 13

This is our less academic day: Library, field trips, Social activities, and time to fill in any subjects that were skipped for whatever reason during the rest of the week

Ok, there it is. We'll see how it goes!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Grammar school: First grade lesson plan

Spelling Finish reading primer; begin Spelling Workout A.
Grammar First Language Lessons and "fun books"

Reading Structured reading - (separate from fun reading) focusing on ancient myths and legends. Reading list - stories and poems by, about or from . . .
The Bible
Homer : Trojan Horse, The Odyssey, Black Ships Before Troy: The Story of the Iliad
Greek and Roman Myths: The Gods and Goddesses of Olympus, Pandora, Twelve Labors of Hercules, King Midas: The Golden Touch, Theseus and the Minotaur, Greek Myths, Favorite Greek Myths
Aesop's fables

Egyptian myths: The Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt
Indian folktales: Folk Tales and Fairy Stories from India
African folktales:The Adventures of Spider: West African Folktales
Chinese and Japanese folktales: The Five Chinese Brothers
Ancient Chinese and Japanese poetry

English, Irish, and Welsh fairy tales: Traditional Irish Fairy Tales, One Hundred and One Celtic Read-Aloud Myths & Legends

Writing Begin with penmanship practice; progress to copying short sentences two or three days per week. Simple letters to family and friends.

Math We will be beginning with the Math -U-See program with Saxon math as another possibility (depending on Noah's learning style.)

History & Geography the ancients 5000 B.C. to A.D. 400
List of Great Men and Women to cover:
Cheops, pharaoh of Egypt
Queen Hatshepsut of Egypt
King David
Alexander the Great
Julius Caesar
Caesar Augustus
Jesus Christ
Saint Paul

Life Science (Animals, Human Beings, Plants)
* The Animal Kingdom: Kingfisher First Animal Encyclopedia OR Usborne internet linked Encyclopedia of Science (20 weeks)
* The Human Body: Kingfisher First Human Body Encyclopedia OR Usborne Encyclopedia of Science and The Complete Human Body (10 weeks)
* Plant Kingdom : Green Thumbs: A Kid's Activity Guide to Indoor and Outdoor Gardening (6 weeks)

learning about world religions through the study of history
learning how to express what our family believes
memorizing Scripture
Adventure Club

Art / Art Appreciation
alternating art projects with picture study
learning about the lives of well known artists:
Van Gogh

Music / Music Appreciation
listening to classical music
learning to play the piano
learning about the lives of well known composers:

A Little Background

I am an English major whose focus was Literature. From an early age, I've been in love with books and for that, I owe a debt of gratitude to my Mom. She taught me to read before I entered Kindergarten.

My parents sacrificed a great deal to make sure that my brother and sister and I had the best education they could provide so we were blessed to attend very good private schools.

My husband and I made a commitment to each other that our children would not be in the public schools, so that left private schools or home school. After talking with lots of parents whose children attended private schools, I realized that the same problems exist there, only you pay a lot more money for them! I want my children to realize their full potential and not be satisfied with mediocrity.

After becoming a parent I was drawn more and more to the idea of home school for our children, but I was a little overwhelmed by the thought. My brother and his wife are homeschooling their two girls. I have gotten most of my material from Christine who has blazed the path before me and found wonderful books like, "Five in a Row" & "The Well-Trained Mind" by Jessie and Susan Wise. (What a treasure! This is exactly what I was looking for and I highly recommend its use even if you just want to supplement what your child is learning in a regular school.)

I used "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" last year for Kindergarten.
Noah already knew his alphabet and sounds so we focused on copywork for writing. He would write his ABCs over and over & write letters to family and friends, copying sentences I wrote out for him.

For math, he learned how to count to 100, write his numbers and compute simple addition and subtraction. He learned how to tell time, the days of the week and months of the year. We even started fractions since he loves to help in the kitchen.

Our Kindergarten year was very low key and he received plenty of socialization with his friends at church since we are there 3 times a week.

We are very blessed to live in an area where homeschooling has grown to be a very large community. There are many families in our church alone who are also homeschooling their children, so I have lots of support.

We are also members of Christian H.O.M.E. a large group of homeschooling families in Michiana that provides support, information, resources, legal aid, and extra curricular activities.

Lastly, I recently became a consultant for Usborne books. These are absolutely wonderful books that are great for all children and ideal for the home school. I'll have my Usborne link up soon.

I hope by reading my blog you will find encouragement, support and ideas for your own family.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

My Homeschool

The first day of school for the 2007-2008 year is almost here. We will begin Noah's first grade year on Tuesday after Labor Day.

I asked him what he wanted to learn this year and he listed Math at the top! Good boy.
He also said he wants to learn to read bigger words. He is very excited to begin. I have lots of wonderful ideas floating around in my head of what I hope for this year.

So, this will be the place where I detail our schedule, what we are learning & all the fun along the way.