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Back to School

January 16, 2011

What are we up to now, week 17?  Something like that.  We did some light schoolwork last week after celebrating E’s first birthday and after a weekend spent turning our schedules upside down and figuring out new weekly checklists, dove back in to just about everything this week.  It’s been good.  Routine is good.

So…we’re now schooling Tuesday through Saturday, and let me say it was really hard to get through today.  It just felt like the longest week ever, although mostly I’m feeling worn down from a sore throat and runny nose.  It feels like allergies more than a cold, except it’s January and what is there to be allergic to?  Anyway, I haven’t felt that great for most of the week.  The boys have however, after being sick through Christmas, and with new weekly checklists, all of them (on different days) got up before I did and got to work on their own.  I don’t know how long that initiative and enthusiasm will last, but I’m enjoying it while I can!

D and I did Katy and the Big Snow for Five in a Row.  We learned about personification, snow, snowplows, not giving up until a job is done, maps and compass roses, counting by 5s (with a horse booklet), and read two great books: The Story of Snow and Snowflake Bentley.

Of course we cut snowflakes as well to decorate our front window.

American History was our big subject the past two weeks.  We read about Little Bighorn and other Indian wars, the Spanish-American War, the Brooklyn Bridge, immigration, Reconstruction, and the Gilded Age both in Story of the World and our Time Traveler’s study.  It was kind of redundant at times.  C has also read biographies of Sitting Bull, John Deere, and Henry Ford recently.  The boys all made narration cards of the Indian wars and the explosion of the Maine in Cuba, and A did copywork of quotes from Albert Einstein and George Eastman.

The Indian Wars cards were the first time I’ve really had A write his narrations completely on his own.  It was a struggle at first, but by the fifth one, he was feeling much more confident.  I struggle with writing myself, and it’s the one subject I’m very hesitant about teaching.  But I’ve been listening to Susan Wise Bauer’s lecture, “A Plan for Teaching Writing: Focus on the Elementary Grades” and it has really helped me feel more confident myself about where we’re at.   Especially this week as we’ve attempted all of our subjects again, I see just how much time we spend on writing, spelling, and grammar skills.  Some days it feels like overkill, but I know it will pay off in the long run.

Speaking of spelling, I decided to start All About Spelling with C and was able to buy a used copy.  It came on Monday and boy, was C excited!  (Are all children thrilled to get schoolbooks in the mail, or is it just mine?!)  I really like it and it seems to click with him, although it was hard to get him to segment words into single sounds.  It took a long time to get him to blend when learning to read, and now we’re asking him to undo that, but he’s catching on.  We’re up to step 4.  D actually wanted to join in as well, but had an even harder time as he’s thick in the blending stage of reading right now.  He’s up to lesson 40 in his reading book and is really starting to get it without me practically putting the words in his mouth.  It’s exciting to watch.

Actually we never really got to all of our language arts components this week as I couldn’t find my schedule of what pages to do when, but A did the 4-step analysis of 4 more sentences and got more grammar in his Latin as well (adjectives this week).  He began lesson 14 and C did lesson 8.  They also both did 4 writing assignments in Writing with Ease.  C still struggles with dictation, but did a fabulous job this morning on the dictation of his narration about Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle.  I can see that what we’ve learned in All About Spelling is already helping him figure out how to spell words.

We did five days of math this week and four last week.  C and D are working hard through Math Mammoth and C finally feels confident about math.  A is cruising through fractions in Singapore 4 days a week and Life of Fred the other.

I didn’t quite finishing organizing all my school materials over Christmas break and science is still floating around somewhere so we didn’t get to it, but we jumped back into geography and reading Paddle to the Sea. There is no way we’ll finish this geography course this school year, but it’s completely an extra so I don’t feel bad about spreading it across two years.

Surprise, surprise, we also did some art and music this week!  I’ll detail those plans in a separate post, but I think that about covers it.  It was a very full week, but it feels good to be back to work!

Oh!  Just for fun we watched the old Around the World in Eighty Days movie from the 50s on Wednesday.  We all liked it, although the book was still better of course.  We also listened to Return of the Indian and began The Swiss Family Robinson. The boys also started working on a P-38 model with DH.  The older two had fun painting all the little parts and pieces.  I think that will be their Monday project for a while.

D helped too, just long enough to get silver paint on my kitchen table.  And everyone has enjoyed playing outside for hours in the snow the past several days as it’s the first time it’s been above freezing since the end of December.  I should have taken pictures of the snow fort in the back yard, but I’ve enjoyed staying nice and warm inside and playing with my baby!  He’s just recently become really interested in his toys.  He’s also discovered he can climb bookcases and get into my pantry, but that’s a post for another day.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 16, 2011 8:23 am

    It sounds like a good week to me. You fit so much more into your school days than we do! I still don’t do FIAR with Henry. I know he gets a lot of books read to him but nothing like I used to do with Sophie when she did FIAR exclusively. I guess the younger ones just get things done a little differently.

    My kids get excited about school books coming in the mail too. Then when it is actually time to do them they suddenly aren’t that excited about them.

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