Friday, April 6, 2012

Planning (part 2)

So when you have that whole nesting thing going on and can't actually do anything about it?

Plan the next school year.

Seriously- plans are made and books ordered.

I've done as much in Baby Girl's room as I can do without moving, lifting or bending in ways I shouldn't. Everything that can be washed or cleaned or prepared for her arrival has been, well... washed, cleaned or prepared.

So in the evenings when I have that urge to work on just about anything I've been focused in on finishing up school plans for this next school year. I had always intended to at least have plans written out before Baby came so that I wouldn't have to scramble to figure things out in May/June in order to start the year in July, but I didn't think I'd have everything done down to the week.

And trust me- these plans will change to some degree as we start to live them in July. But this next year is planned as a continuation of last year, not as a separate entity, so many of the things we began this year will flow into next year. It is so nice to know what is working and to be able to stick with it!

New This Year:

1. Adding Ezra as an official student. It's really just a formality with a little more work for me (since I have to actually track his hours and keep a portfolio for him this year) because his work will be remarkably the same as it was this past year. His main job is to go about the business of being a 5-year-old boy, but he is also very different than his brother and has been begging for his own handwriting book and to learn to read and to "PLEASE have a math journal!"
Who am I to say no to a request like that?

2. Focusing a little more on science and history for Ender. Our primary concern for first grade has been fostering mastery in handwriting, reading and math. Without those three things it's really difficult to move forward in other subjects, so that has really been the focus of the year. We do also read about people and within history and science topics, but it's been very informal and the first item marked off the list if time ran short on a school day.

I'm changing that this year, planning a few weeks to introduce and explore new topics in history and science followed by "time off" to allow us to follow whatever topics Ender finds particularly interesting,

3. And of course- Baby Girl. That's going to be a new one on all of us, and I'm looking forward to it!

4. A change in math program. We switched in January from Singapore to Saxon and Ender has been one happy math student since then. I *never* thought I'd use Saxon, mostly because I used it as a student all the way through school and as a seriously non-mathy gal just the cover of the book gives me shivers. For my very mathy son? Love at first sight. It makes sense to him with very little instruction from me and the workbook pages get right to the point.

Same as Always:

1. Sticking with the narration and copywork suggestions from Writing With Ease. We don't use the workbook because I like to use whatever literature, history topic or science topic we are currently using, but I'm easily able to keep up with choosing copywork for Ender. I plan to add some dictation in the second semester as long as Ender shows he is ready.

2. Using our own book lists for science and history topics and literature. I've looked at many many book lists and packaged curriculums and I just can't find precisely what I want. I don't like to be told what to read or do each day (and in fact I'll probably NOT do it just because I was "supposed" to...) and I truly do enjoy building the plans myself. I know many families love to be able to "open and go" with a program, and I do something similar- I just happen to build those daily plans myself.

3. Keeping our daily rhythm. Our morning includes time together and time working alongside each other on our individual projects. It works well for us so why change?


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Spring/Summer Food

Knitting season is going to slow down for me in the next few weeks- with baby coming and finishing up this school year knitting will slow and we'll start months outside with baseball games and garden time and picnics. Making things never stops, it's just a season full of different kinds of projects.

I always look forward to these next several months where we are able to eat so fresh - from our garden, from the gardens of friends and family and the farmer's market. And my mind has been stuck on spring/summer gardening for the last several weeks as we plan for our new outdoor space.

I warned the boys that our edible garden will probably be small this year (I'm trying to be reasonable here- new baby just as we head into major planting might just be too much for me this year) and that we will be found more frequently at the farmer's market this year. And all they can ask about is when the rhubarb will make an appearance in our kitchen.

I think it's safe to say that the appearance of rhubarb signals the beginning of spring for them in our kitchen, and for me as well. I found myself hunting down rhubarb recipes (both old favorites and new possibilities) in late February and it led to a big list of all the things we want to make this spring and summer.


Watermelon Granita (and made with other fruits as well)

To try:

Blueberry Butter (maybe substituting some other fruits too for a variety of butters?)

.... And many more planned from Canning for a New Generation and a few other favorite titles.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Learning In Progress, March 2012

We are slowing down for the year and only have about 2 scheduled weeks of school in April. We've worked hard to get our hours in early this year so we could afford to truly take time off for baby. When we finish up our hours in the next few days we will continue with math, daily reading and faith even though we are technically "out of school" for the year and I'm sure the boys will continue making projects as usual!

Ender is 6 years old, in first grade.

Ezra is 4 years old and having a very relaxed K4 year because of his desire to be included in our school time. Very little is required of him on a daily basis, but he often chooses to read along with us or work on various projects of his choosing.

** Reading Ender's weekly assignment from church every week.
** Started working on the extra verses flipbook for Awana Wingrunner
** 30 minute Bible Study with Brian each week, Genesis 5.
** Ezra- memorizing his weekly verse for Awana Cubbies.

** Ender completed Lesson 36-47 in Saxon Math 1A
** Continuing calendar skills with learning to write dates.
** Worked with the hundreds board and was able to complete the whole board without the guide AND with all the numbers mixed together in a pile- he was quite proud of this accomplishment since it took 45 minutes and he completed it without a break.
** Ezra worked with the spindle box and also began to work with the hundreds board in groups of ten. We also talked about counting by tens.

Language Arts:
** Copywork and narrations based on our history, science and literature readings
** HWT (yellow)- p. 60-75
** Ezra: Moveable Alphabet practice with CVC words, working with short vowels. We used words he knows to write silly sentences with the MA.

** Watched Animal Atlas on Netflix
** Narrating
from Christian Liberty Nature Reader K, letters K, L and M
** Read independently from Christian Liberty Nature Reader 1
** Worked on his own project: Making an "Animal Encyclopedia" from his own animal drawings and some animal coloring pages and arranging them by biome.
**  Spent time outside talking about the future planting plans and helping make some yard decisions.

** Scrambled States of America game
** Maps, Charts and Graphs A-  p. 14-25
** Memory work- the names of the continents and oceans, the countries in North America

** Amanda Bennett Unit Study- American Government, week 1

History/Science/Literature: (These are read together unless marked IR)
Let's Go Rock Collecting by Roma Gans
American Tall Tales by Mary Pope Osborne
Yertle the Turtle by Dr. Seuss
The Big Brag by Dr. Seuss
America: A Patriotic Primer by Lynne Chenney

Memory Work
no other memory work this month aside from geography and verses.

Working on baseball skills with daddy.

Fine Arts:
Ender: daily violin practice
Lots of free art time.

Ender's Free Reading:
Magic Treehouse: Revolutionary War on Wednesday
Magic Treehouse: Twister on Tuesday (started)
several picture books.
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