Wednesday, September 3, 2014

First Day of School

As most of you know, I am a home schooling mom. As anyone who follows me on FB or read my last Friday's post knows, I'm not thrilled that school is back in session already.

Where, oh where, have the past 3-1/2 months gone? I know, I know. Most teachers don't get 3-1/2 months off school. I need 3-1/2 months to recover from the last year, relax, and then get re-enthused for the new year.

Maybe I need 4 months. 'Cause I was having a hard time getting my enthusiasm on.

Labor Day I bit the bullet. And it was just the impetus I needed to get excited! (read in an excited voice!)

I threw away old papers. And broken crayons. And old school books. I emptied out the drawers and my beautiful corner hutch cupboards. And then I sorted new books, and made nice and neat stacks in the hutch.

Somewhere between the bags going out of the house, and the orderliness happening in the house, I started getting anticipatory. In a good way.

I sat down with Mr. Hippie and looked at our new curriculum, and I ordered two books to fill in a gap in our history curriculum. They should arrive sometime before or after my wine shipment this week. The one will ease the arrival of the other.

I jest....

We are doing a lot of things the same way as the past 2 years. We are, of necessity, shaking some things up.

We are still doing fun Friday school. I believe in the power of ending the school week on a positive note. We are still only schooling 3 kids. We are still emphasizing the core triumvirate of reading, writing and history. You thought I was going to say math? Ha! 

We do math too. Monday through Thursday.

Freckles and LC are both doing math, spelling, grammar and handwriting every day.

All four kids have a 30 minute reading time in the mornings also. I have a partial reading list assembled. I have to do more research on appropriate books that fit our historical time period, but we are diving right in on some of the books. BMV and LC are both reading independently. Freckles is reading to Meres. I feel like he needs the aloud practice and she needs the listening practice.

We are switching some things up. BMV is now a middle schooler. He's in that really awkward, smelly stage, but that really has nothing to do with school.

Being in 7th grade, he is no longer doing spelling or grammar. Instead, I have purchased a new writing program for him. It is a 2 year course that focuses on creative writing. We'll pick up high school level grammar again in high school.

BMV is also doing an online typing course and math.

Another change-which ties in with the middle school concept-is that we will all be learning Spanish this year. I bought a course through Fluenz. It sounds good. I still have to figure out what foreign language study is going to look like for all of us. We will start Spanish next week.

A third change is that we are doing Science every day. I bought the Apologia General Science course with the student notebooks. It looks involved, but each assignment is supposed to only take 30-60 minutes per day. LC will join the boys for the daily readings and any experiments. Both boys will do their notebook work on top of that.

I do heavily emphasize history, and Friday fun school is based on historical time periods. Last year we studied from 1600 to 1800 AD. This year we are moving back several thousand years. We will be studying ancient history up to Alexander the Great. (we will not be touching on any Greek history. That will be next year.)

So, basically, last year we studied 200 years. This year we are studying 3500 years. It will be lightening fast, but I think it is doable. I have our syllabus mapped out. We'll listen to lectures and read what we can, and make a many layered timeline and read the Epic of Gilgamesh. It will all be epic. Possibly.

I also am going to introduce a poet and poem every month for the kids to memorize. These will probably have little to do with our subject matter, though if I can find poems to tie in, I will. I am toying around with doing some ancient style art-like cave paintings and Egyptians writing. (I'd spell it, but I have no.idea.)

Anyway, that's what our year looks like from this end. I'm sure I will be updating where we are at as we go along.

Happy First Day of School! And, we survived our first day of school....