Tuesday, August 16, 2011

August 16, 2011

The boys started Kindergarten on Monday of this week so today makes our second day of school. Yesterday I helped Ben and Nick create an All About Me page, including a first-day-of-school picture and some information about what they like at this age.

Age: 5 and 3/4 Height: 45 and 1/4 inches Weight: 44.8 pounds
My favorite food is: Cookies and toast with peanut butter
My favorite toy is: Legos
My favorite sport is: Soccer
My favorite thing to pretend is: anything with Aunt Kathy
When I grow up I want to be a: policeman

Age: 5 and 3/4 (actually, he will be 6 at the end of Sept!)
Height: 46 and 1/4 inches Weight: 48.4 pounds
My favorite food is: Cookies
My favorite toy is: Legos with police and jails
My favorite sport is: swimming
My favorite thing to pretend is: The sick man lying on the side of the road and Nick and Aunt Kathy find me and take me to the doctor and the doctor (Aunt Kathy) bandages me.
When I grow up I want to be a: policeman with a police truck

So far, this is how our routine goes. We start our school day around 9:00ish. This gives the boys some time to play and me some time to start a load of laundry or fold one, if I left one in the dryer the night before, and unload the dishwasher and clean up after breakfast, etc.

We start with a devotion and prayer, while sitting in the living room on the couch. On Mondays we read from an ABC Bible verses devotion book. I really like the Bible verses they use so we are going to be reading one devotion per week from this book and memorizing the Bible verse. The rest of the week, we read our devotion from the book "Leading Little Ones to God". The boys are also working on memorizing one character card per week. Nick is memorizing self control and Brn is memorizing perseverance.

After our devotion, we move to the kitchen island counter and work on writing. The boys each have a calendar notebook and they add the number for the current date on the correct day of their calendar. Then they update their 100's chart with the number for how many days we have had school so far. When we get to 100, we will go do something special together. After that, they do two pages of writing, each page is practicing one letter of the alphabet. We are using Handwriting Without Tears for this. Sometimes they first practice writing the letter on a small slate before trying it on their workbook page.

After writing, we do phonics and/or spelling. I had planned on taking turns, every other day and I may end up doing that at some point. For now, phonics is going pretty fast for us so we are doing a little of each. We are still using The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading for phonics and we are using All About Spelling (Level 1) for our spelling program.

The last thing we do, for now, is Math. We are using Singapore Math 1A, which is actually a beginning first grade math program. The first unit was suppose to last a week and we finished it in two days but I think we will really slow down on the second unit. It will likely take us longer than what they estimated.

So far (only two days in:), the boys are really enjoying school. Of course, it is still new and interesting at this point so I'm sure there will likely be some push back at some point....maybe. Who knows, maybe not so much if we keep it moving and keep it interesting.

We are also reading another Little House book. We had already read the Big Woods and on the Prairie so now we are reading on Plum Creek. We usually read a couple of chapters before bed. We need to make some additional time for the boys to each read to me but we also need to get to the library to get some books for them to read. We are at a point where I have a hard time knowing what would be a good book for them to read. They were each taking turns reading a book about sharks the other night before bed. I think it was an I Can Read book, or something like that, and it was rated for 1st or 2nd grade. They did pretty well with it but there were some large words they had never seen before that they required help with, which is fine. I guess we just need to go to the library and look around and maybe ask the librarian what level she thinks might work. I think they are probably at about a mid to end of first grade level but I'm not really sure. I will also encourage them to read to themselves during the first 15 or 20 minutes of quiet time, once we get some library books.

Since the boys are ahead in reading and that is really my top priority for Kindergarten, I am planning to do school 4 days a week this year and our 5th day will be used for library trips, homeschool co-op and anything extra we find interest in, such as geography, science and history type stuff, although we will not be using a formal program for these. We will also be doing some work with music theory, since Ben is taking violin lessons. Nick is no longer taking lessons, for now.  He will still join in when we are learning music theory at home though and he will have to go to violin lessons with us when the dad is working, every other week.

At co-op on Fridays, the boys will both be in a p.e. class and also a childrens' choir, two Fridays of the month. The fourth Friday of the month, the boys will be doing some sort of community service project with co-op. I can't remember what the first Friday of the month is but I don't think we are doing anything that day. The boys will also still be in swimming lessons and soccer, both once a week.

So, that's it. Both yesterday and today we all had a fun time with school. Today, when I told the boys it was almost time to start school work, they both shouted down from upstairs, "OK, I like school" "School is fun!". So far so good. The question is how long will it last?


Noah said...

Sounds great! Isn't starting exciting!:) I always love the start of a new year. We started yesterday as well (although my day was a bit bumpier than yours sounds - today was much better, thank goodness) and we're reading Plum Creek too!

Noah said...

Sorry about that. Actually, this is Tonya. Noah must be signed in....

Jana H said...

Everything sounds so great. I love that the boys are enjoying it. I'll be praying that they stay interested for awhile. You're doing a great job. Miss you all. And thanks for the awesome visit. Love to all.