Friday, October 14, 2011

First Day

First day of first grade--homeschool!  (Complete with princess hands.) 

Though there's been no posts to show for it, we're back in full swing of the school year.  Homeschooling again, while T tags along.

We are using Five in a Row for our main curriculum.  Each book we row becomes such a lovely journey, I wish we could do each one in all the manuals.  I am so glad I found this curriculum that is children's book based.  I recently came across these words from Honey for a Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt:
Children and books go together in a special way....Take all the words available in the human vocabulary and read them from the dictionary and you have only a list of words.  But with the creativity and imagination God has given human beings, let these words flow together in the right order and they give wings to the spirit.  Every child ought to know the pleasure of words so well chosen that they awaken sensibility, great emotions and understanding of truth....Somehow a limited, poverty-stricken vocabulary works toward equally limited use of ideas and imagination.  On the other hand, the provocative use of the right words, of a growing vocabulary gives us adequate material with which to clothe our thoughts and leads to a richer world of expression....Books help children know what to look for in life.  It is like developing the taste buds of one's mind as a child learns to savor what he sees, hears and experiences and fits these into some kind of worthwhile framework.  What is unfamiliar becomes close and real in books.  What is ridiculous helps children see the humor in their own lives.  Sympathetic understanding is a generous by-product of sharing the emotions of others in stories.  Books are no substitute for life, but a keener pleasure comes to life because of books.
Makes you want to pick up a good book to read!  I'm looking forward to the possibilities of the coming year.

For math this year we are using Singapore Math.  I was torn between Singapore and Horizons.  B, with his strong math background and teaching experience, favored Singapore.  Then I found that the local used curriculum store had a pre-owned set at K's level for a good price, so that settled that question.

Phonics will be a mixture of an A Beka seatwork book I found at another used curriculum sale, Making Words and other phonics games/activities I have in my files.

Reading will be ongoing practice and periodic comprehension excercises.  K already enjoys reading so much and does a lot of it on her own.  She often asks about the words she can't figure out, which leads to varying discussions about the material.

Writing:  Last year we focused mainly on learning correct letter formation.  This year I'm using  Draw Write Now and lessons based on Ruch Beechick's teaching philosophy.  (To teach reading we read, for writing we write.)  She favors copywork and dictation from quality writing as a way to teach children to write.  For K's level the copywork/dictation are very simple and accessible.  I'm also going to give K the chance to do her own creative writing, and she's excited about "publishing" her own stories.

We have a Jesus Time every day.  Last year I used a children's Bible story book as my main source for teaching Bible lessons.  We spent a week on each story and I used other Bible story books and teaching ideas to help K learn the stories.  This year we are using the Five in a Row Character Supplement book.  It has all the FIAR books and has scripture passages/verses to go along with the themes of each book.  There seems to be enough to spend one or two days with each idea, depending how long we row that particular book.

And this year we are also participating in a homeschool co-op.  I'm glad we have the opportunity for this, last year we started too late in the year to get involved.  I am actually teaching a class, too.  It is a group games class where the kids will get to play games with a larger group than what is usually feasible when one has only a small number of siblings.  It's been strange to be back in  teacher mode for a group of kids.  In a funny way it's been kind of like picking up where I left off--I quit teaching just before K was born and at the time it seemed kind of abrupt.  One day I was teaching kids like I had for several years, then the next day I was not.  Now it's like the sewing needle has poked back up through the material; K was in utero when I left off, now she is the age I used to teach and I am teaching a group with her in it.  I've felt a little rusty, and in ways it is a totally different teaching dynamic, but K seems to really enjoy her co-op days and T is starting to feel more comfortable with it, too.  He wasn't too sure about it to start with and asked if we could go to BSF like we did last year.

So, that's an overview of this year.  As I write this we are already into our third FIAR book, so hopefully I can soon get caught up on what we've been doing.

I think I'll close with a photo I meant to post last year when we had a review day at the end of the year.  I gathered all the FIAR books we'd rowed and K held her favorite.  I wonder what will be the favorite this year.

1 comment:

Dana said...

Wow, Gladys Hunt hit the nail on the head. That is so articulately put, and it makes me grateful for all the worlds we've gotten to immerse ourselves in through words.

Congrats on a bright start to the new school year!