first day of school, 2011

Posted by in family, family fun, homeschooling

i wish i could bottle the excitement and enthusiasm of our first days back to school. we would all need a good dose of today’s optimism come february. and then again at the end of march.

our first full days back to school are so exciting…a new schedule, new workbooks, new stories, new pencils. even the boys get giddy over it all!

we’re kicking off school Charlotte Mason style by taking advantage of the weather and Nature Studying until it’s too cold to be outside for longer than 10 minutes.

the idea of a nature study with three young boys has sent me running in the other direction for the past few years. but i think they’re now of the age where i will be able to handle it, we can actually get something learned while we’re outside, and Adam practically begs to bring all of nature indoors any way. i think he and i will have the most fun in this endeavor.

today’s nature/science study was met with much excitement. these boys adore anything that doesn’t require sitting at the kitchen table with a pencil. although they were excited to come back into the house and record all the things they “discovered” outside in their BRAND NEW nature journals. i know i need to keep up on this to continue to make it more interesting than just “what do you see? what do you hear?” i love some of the ideas i’m getting from other charlotte mason style bloggers. i’ll share them in the coming weeks.

the walnut tree compound leaves are always the first to change color. this is a big sign that summer is ending.

Adam’s Curriculum for 2010-2011: I’m going to let Adam do most of his topics choosing since he is FULL of questions lately, and this is the age when a child will learn so much because of their desire to learn the craziest, funnest things is FULL. i love teaching this age because i can sens their love of learning is still fresh and big. for instance, Adam’s current desire for school this year is to learn the following: “I want to learn about how a whale spits out that water on their head!” and  “I want to learn about how a seed turns into a big leafy plant.” and (my favorite) “I want to learn how to read without doing the talking thing…” which is reading silently (like he sees me doing with my books). i remember Rowan asking me once why he can’t hear me sounding out the words when i’m reading my books.

He’s beginning a spelling program with his brothers (Spelling Workout, Level A), and he joins us for our Bible class (“Telling God’s Story” by Peter Enns). He’s also continuing his math lessons (Right Start Mathematics) that we started last spring. The boys love math. So opposite of their mama!

Rowan and Sawyer’s Curriculum for 2011-2012…is changed up a bit this year. We’re still doing their levels in math (Level B for Sawyer and Level C for Rowan). After this morning’s first review lesson, I’m shocked with HOW MUCH THEY REMEMBER. we haven’t done one math exercise this summer. i can’t believe that we’ll be right back in their lessons by the end of the week without nearly as much review as i thought. i credit the curriculum in this. they are learning math in such a way that they understand how numbers work. there is no such thing as memorization. rowan remembers what 5×3 means not because he memorized a flash card that gives the answer, but that when he enters 5 beads 3 times on his abacus, he always gets 15.

We’ve ditched Spell to Write and Read this year with these two. I’ll introduce the phonograms to Adam this year as he conquers learning to read, but I’m DONE with it for Rowan and Sawyer. There was much rejoicing this morning when I pulled out their new Spelling curriculum (Spelling Workout, Level A and B). They loved it. Who knew they were WORKSHEET types?

I also started their writing program. They both began Writing with Ease Year One, and I can tell Rowan will fly through the lessons, and Sawyer will take just a bit longer. But I’m glad they’re both doing a writing as well as grammar program from the same author, at the same level. I love these gentle, classically-based programs for writing and grammar (my favorite subjects!). They laughed at my absolute giddiness upon introducing them to their new writing worksheets.

All three started their piano lessons today. Kenny takes his lunch break and teaches each of them. Adam’s back on track this year, and he promises to practice. He told Kenny he wants to play the “hard songs my brudders play.”  I admit, it’s nice to have the piano in the background again.

I wasn’t nearly as organized this year as I have been the past three years. My bookshelves are a mess, our school supplies aren’t organized, and I only have partial lessons plans in my planner. But today went so smoothly. I started the day with a run, came back and made the boys their favorite muffins, and we eventually started with Bible around 9:00. no schedules, no time limits, no strict rules.

just simple, organic learning.

i love homeschooling.