Monday, August 17, 2009

We've officially begun!!

Okay so we have marked off day 1 in our brand new school year!!! I was so excited to began and am truly looking forward to many more days of this! Everything went great today!! We kept busy, had fun, learned something (always a plus!) and still got chores done and dinner on the table! Woo hoo!!!
So here is what our school day was like.

Brother's school:
We are on the 3rd unit and have really enjoyed taking this so slowly! Here are some pictures showing one of the activities Brother did today.

Our letter for this unit is Cc and today he covered a large C with some cotton.

Tada!! The finished product. Not too shabby!

Now for clean up I had him pick up the extra cotton with a clothes pin and put them back in the bag...he got tired real quick but at least he tried!!!

Here he is with us during math! We were counting out 5 with tally sticks.
The girls:
We accomplished a lot today and like I said earlier I am thrilled with what's in store!! Here are some pictures.

Her first official day of school!! :)

Working hard on her worksheet pages from Reading Made Easy. She loves these and is flying through the beginning! It's amazing ya know! I have not really spent any time working with her on her reading like I did with Biggest Sister and here she is at 5 and reading so well...all on her own...or maybe the "relaxed way" of learning REALLY DOES WORK!!! Whatever the case she is doing an awesome job and I know that I'm going to be making another trip to Office Max very soon to get her next workbook bound! (I only paid $3.52 for this one by the way and they did an excellent job with it!! My girl loves her workbook!!)
Here are the girls at the end of our geography lesson. We are talking about the first explorers for history and so our lesson in geography was to draw a huge circle representing the earth and then place slips of paper with each of the names of the 7 continents written on them in their proper place. This was an extremely simple yet very effective exercise! We brought out our globe to help us get things labled correctly. Then we hopped from continent to continent tracing the same path that Columbus and Magellen took (Big Sis kept calling him Jello!) They wanted to "lay down on the world" so that I could take their picture at the end of it all!
Each unit in the Beyond manual has a poem that follows a similar theme to what the history lesson is. This unit's poem is called The Storm. I purchased these large journal notebooks from Lakeshore Learning Center for $1.99 and will use these books to write all of the poems in them so that they are large enough to be copied. I have used two colors; one for each stanza and then also for the puncation. I found last year that Biggest Sis was always forgetting the puncuation marks so I made them a different color with the hope that they will stand out a little more. Now last year we struggled A LOT with copywork for Biggest Sis. She resisted nothing more than copywork...well, not much has changed. She wasn't too thrilled when she saw what she would have to copy but we are taking things slow and doing this manual at half speed so it won't be something that she does everyday only every other day. I told her that she will have to do it though. She's not looking forward to it but Lord willing she will grow into it!

The Lord has led me to try Rightstart Math this year and I have some high expectations of this program! The reviews have been great and when I tried some sample lessons on Biggest Sis she really enjoyed it. It really brings the mental math approach down to an understandable level for my poor "non-mathematical" brain! I'm excited about using this program and Lord willing it will be a blessing to the children! I do like some of the songs that go along with this program and the kids enjoy them as well! They also had a blast during our lesson today (I was able to keep the girls together since it's new to both of them) and enjoyed working with the tally sticks.

Working with the tally sticks.

Big Sis seemed to struggle with her spelling last year so even though we are taking the manuals at half speed I'm thinking about having her study her words every day. She seemed to need more time last year so maybe the extra days will help her out a little. Today I had her write her words on a wipe off board that I purchased at Target for $1.00!! Don't you love deals?!!

Somethings that we didn't get to today...
We are going to be reading a book from the Biography genre for the next 2o days and the girls wanted to learn about Helen Keller unfortunately Mommy dropped the ball and didn't get the book ordered until Friday so it might be a little while until we can start that but we will just try to make up the reading time. They don't normally ask for much so I figured we could wait since this is the one they wanted to read the most.

We are also going to try to incorporate some artist studies and composer studies this year. Since I am so not familiar with those two topics we are going to keep those very light and simple this first year. The artist we are going to begin with is Diego Velazquez. I chose him because we will start out learning about some children from Spain in history so I decided to go with an artist from the same country. I have posted the picture up as you can see from the picture below and will leave it up and let them casually look at it and then on Friday I might ask them some questions about it. Nothing fancy! We will probably do 6 of his paintings and learn some background info. on him as well so that we can get to know him and his painting style a little.

Our first painting to study.

For our composer study we will be studying Beethoven for a while. I'm not sure how long we will stay with this...maybe until we feel we've had enough?! I'm using the Opal Wheeler books to read from and will also be playing some of his pieces throughout the day. I've also checked out the Classical Kids CD's from the library and the kids LOVE those!! (I might try to invest in those a little later on).

Our Beethoven pictures.
Well, that's it! That's how it went today. Tomorrow is a light day, only Math, Phonics/Reading and Spelling for Biggest Sis. I will introduce the Artist and Composer tomorrow as well.

Now don't worry, I'm not planning on blogging every day so don't move me to the junk folder just yet!! I just wanted to share our first day back at the books with you all!! Hope you all had a great day as well!!

We have now finished our first week and I have such peace about what we are doing! Things went so well this week! I know that peace isn't only about things going well but I'm telling you I just know that the Lord has placed these curriculum products in my path.
We recieved our Helen Keller book and began reading it today. The girls didn't want me to stop! We are suppose to be reading it for 20 days but I'm not sure they will last that long!! ;) Our genre is biography so before we began the book we did an activity so that the kids would understand what a biography was. They were given a bag and were instructed to choose 5 things that describe themselves, some of their likes, hobbies ect. They were excited about this and did great explaining why they chose what they chose. It really helped them to cement in their minds that a biography is a book about the life of a person that is written by another person. We are going to enjoy the story time part of the lessons a lot! I think that when we are done with the book we will watch a video about Helen Keller (we've actually checked one out from the library in the past) and maybe do an activity where we have to do certain things while we are blindfolded or something...I don't know we'll see!

With their items:

For spelling one day this week I had Biggest Sis spell out her words using these small alphabet beads that I got at a used curriculum sale. She did great and then Daddy spotted her spelling this out...

I just love getting these little notes!!! Makes me feel great and wonder at the amazingly unconditional love that a child can have for a mom that makes so many mistakes! Precious!!

We started Big Sis in on her RME workbook and that little one is flying through it! She is such a great reader!! We are just having her do the first few lessons in the workbook and will pull out the manual when I notice things not clicking as quickly. I am also having her read from some readers that I picked up *for free* at a curriculum give away. They are the older Sing Spell Read and Write books. I actually really like their old timey pictures!! Big Sis is reading through them and doing amazing!! Here is a close up picture of the workbook. It looks wonderful!!

We also started our composer study today. We are going to spend the next 6 weeks or so getting to know the music of Beethoven. I've been playing his music throughout the week and the kids seem to enjoy listening to it. I was kind of worried at first because they've not grown up on it as their Mommy has never really had an interest in classical music, however they've taken well to it and I am loving it too!!
We are using the books by Opal Wheeler to read from (we also have the companion CD that included snippets of his songs that you play as you read from certain parts of the book). As I read to them today they colored on a sheet that I had printed out from the CD. It was a nice time and at the end they were able to tell me what happened in the part that we they paid attention!! Yay! I also checked out from the library the Beethoveen Lives Upstairs cd by Classical Kids and plan to play that these next few weeks as well. It is a wonderful CD and I was captivated by it the whole way home from the library. They have already listened to the Mozart one and really enjoyed it so I suspect that they will enjoy this one too!
Coloring during the story.

All in all it's been a great week and I am looking forward to what lies ahead of us! There really is no place like homeschool!


  1. It looks like you guys are off to a great start!!! : D Good job, everybody!


  2. What a wonderful post! I enjoyed reading it. What a fun homeschool!


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