Thursday, August 13, 2009

School Days

When this posts we will be in the middle of our 22nd day of school. I am so relieved to have that head start by beginning in July! We really enjoy learning together so much and the daily routine is great! I thought I would share a picture of what our day of schooling looks like...

every photo is a fun link!

We start our day when Noah wakes up. (ha ha!) Truthfully though... our day usually begins between 8-9am whenever Noah wakes up. We have breakfast, then do our morning chores. Which includes:

making the bed of course! That is exactly the flair I have when completing this daily ritual! I have not always been disciplined about this but in getting the kids to learn how to do it, I have made myself also do it... I am up to about 5 days a week now! Impressed?! ha ha!

Then it's time for a morning workout:

We do however many 10 minute sessions we are up to for the day, including cardio and upper body strengthening. Katie and Noah each have their own hand weights made from empty vitamin containers with about 6-7 stones in them. Noisy, but fun!
Sometimes we do our chores after working out, it just depends on our mood.

Then we head downstairs for the rest of our "school" day. We begin with pledges to the American flag, Christian flag, and Bible. Today we started learning some songs also, like "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Then it is time for our devotional and prayer. I picked this book up recently at McKay's Used Books as an alternative since I could not afford to purchase the Abeka Bible Curriculum. I am SO happy that we are using it instead! I have NEVER read a more relevant and fun/easy to understand children's devotional. If you click on the picture you can see what another dad had to say about this book. It is SO good!

Right after our prayer together we have journaling time. Katie and Noah look forward to this more than just about anything all day! We spend some time about once every other week coming up with ideas for journal questions. Then they draw whatever they want to answer the question for the day then they take turns sharing them out loud. It can be so amusing what they come up with and it gets their "brain wiggles" out for the morning by letting them just DRAW for a bit. I also put in journal topics so we get some real "thinkers" in there, and sometimes I say, "draw anything you want" which they love also. During the sharing time they get to take turns and listen to each other and it also gives them experience putting their thoughts into words as they explain their drawings. Then we clap really loud for each other which puts a big smile on their faces! Next it is time for calendar. We don't spend as much time on this as in previous years.

They already know their days of the week, months, etc. We pretty much just find the date and circle it, talk about any important events. We don't discuss the weather either anymore, ha ha. We actually have moved on to a more of "daily language" activity where they write the date correctly and we correct some sentences together about what is going on that day. (adding capital letters where needed, punctuation, spelling, etc)

Also combined with their calendar time we are learning poems for recitation. This has been a favorite of theirs as well, not sure why. We learned "The Elephant" in July and are working on "The Secret" for August. We will probably do some Bible memorization as part of this time as the year goes on because the curriculum only provides one poem for every two months. They love it and recitation is a lost art in my opinion.

After calendar we get into the nitty gritty of the work. We are using Abeka for the bulk of our learning this year. It is a strong and advanced curriculum that is challenging and I feel secure that they are learning everything they need to know for their age.

We do handwriting practice/lessons, Phonics and Reading, Language and Spelling. We are using the Abeka Math workbooks, but I am also using some of the resources I have from our previous Math Curriculum, Right Start. It uses an abacus like this one and teaches mental math and alternate ways of learning concepts rather than JUST memorizing and counting. I think this will be a great combo!

After we finish lessons with the "3 Rs" we do some logic puzzles or brain exercises from various workbooks or games. Then we have a rotating schedule of what we finish out the day doing together.

One of the things we will be doing is lapbooking. The topic will vary throughout the year. For example, we just started a lapbook all about Apples and Johnny Appleseed for the month of August/September. It will involve researching facts about apples
, Johnny Appleseed, coloring, comparing, reading books, etc.
(this is not our actual lapbook, just a photo I found online)

Another thing we rotate doing is Art "class" together. This is a wonderful art curriculum that combines learning concepts of art, looking at famous artists' paintings and critiquing them, and then producing artwork that uses the same techniques or ideas. We have done two lessons in this series so far and we have greatly enjoyed it. In fact, it is something we have been doing together in the evenings after Corey is home, so we are all enjoying it together!

Staring soon (when we get our supplies!!) we will be having music class together in the evenings as well. I plan to use "Music for Little Mozarts" and begin to teach Katie, Noah, and maybe even Corey (we'll see how long he lasts! :) to play piano. I am very excited about it and hope we get our supplies soon. We got the piano moved, which was the biggest hurdle, so lessons will be coming soon!
When we're not doing the art and music classes in the evenings, or lapbooking, we do Abeka Science and/or Social Studies and/or Health lessons from their textbooks.
We finish our day with...

Or late afternoon snack, depending on when we got started for the day.
So, there you go. That's what our typical home school day looks like. It usually takes between 3-4 hours to do everything since there are only two of them. So much of it can be done with both of them at once, and a 15-20 minute lesson for phonics/reading and math one on one is about the max a 5 and 6 year old can take. Combine that with their individual written work and we have a full day!

We are on an average of 6 weeks on then 1 week off schedule for the year, but we'll see how it ends up. Right now if we stay on schedule we will be finished with our year at the end of May since we started in July and will take 2 weeks at Christmas and in the spring in addition to our other weeks off. That way, we still have the entire month of June off!

I am very excited about our school year!


Karen said...

Great post...I enjoy reading about their schedule...although I would love to be a fly on the wall to listen in on some of the lessons....

EmileeHopeBinkleyTurner said...

Cute post about your school day! I love home school moms!! You are so creative with adding in so many links!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing! This being my first year of homeschooling, this was great to read. It helps me to see how other homechool moms schedule the day. Jill