I JUST realized that one of the good things about the local school district moving to a 4-day school week (and us following suit) is that I actually have a tiny built in time on Friday to maybe possibly kind of sometimes blog about our week!
This was our first official week of school for the school year. Honestly, I was not prepared, since we'd only been home a total of 7 days (split up with a 4 day trip in between) after our family reunions and before the start of school on Monday. Yeah, I really, REALLY wasn't prepared.
Back in May I'd outlined our goals for the upcoming school year and researched curriculum options because we were finally going to be able to purchase some resources. We still may be able to, but as of now, I'm still creating, for better or worse, all of our materials. So, basically that left me recreating some of (all of) our plans for the year. As of Monday, I only had Sam's semester planned out. But, we started anyway!
First, Monday morning we left around 7:30 to go up to ShowLow for some errands that couldn't be postponed. They ended up taking longer than planned, and we got back home around 12:30. I...can't remember what we did the rest of the day. Chores and stewardships, and me planning, I'm pretty sure.
By Tuesday morning I had our schedule hung up, our incentives hung up, and was roughly more ready. We got a few things done (copywork, spelling) and then during our morning break we headed to the library to stock up on a few materials for the week. We got home, read some of our great library books, had lunch, and finished the day with some history reading (were learning about Ancient Rome) , math, literature and more.
Wednesday we were starting to feel the rhythm again, and the kids were happily settling into our routine and working together. By this time, I realized I had 4 students this year instead of 3! M, S, B, sure, but also a VERY gung-ho James!! B and J did some handwriting and shape making, some drawing, a self-portrait, and some counting. B has been eluding me for his whole life with figuring out which hand is dominant. I always offer him something and let him pick what hand he uses, and he only every so slightly favors his left hand. But, interesting find! While we were doing the self portraits he ended up with a pencil in each hand, drawing each symmetrical side of his picture with each hand - does that make sense? Right hand drawing the right portion on his portrait, and left hand simultaneously drawing the left hand portion. So, I'm not really sure what to do. I really wanted to work more on his handwriting this year, but to make progress I want to figure out which hand is dominant, and I have never been more baffled!! Have any of you experienced anything like this?
Anyway, back to the day - S and I read Ben and Me for about a half an hour, he did his copywork and spelling practice. His spelling was ball kicks while spelling out loud. This method has been super effective with kinesthetic M, but really proved to just be distracting with S, so we bailed and just wrote them again. He also reviewed his 4 times tables ball-bouncing with me. He's pretty excellent at everything mathematical conceptually, but rote memorization? It's not his thing. I think both are pretty essential, but I'm thinking we may cycle through the times tables conceptually with a fair amount of review, 1 #/week, and then afterwards focus on the memorization and drilling? I'm not decided yet. He also played a time-telling game. We also did some astronomy for science, just reading about the solar system, the universe, relative sized and types of celestial bodies and planets. S also did a self portrait that was pretty adorable with a big toothy smile and lots and lots of freckles. He practiced piano for a bit, and was done for the day with school.
M read in My Friend Flicka and wrote the first part of her 4H story, that goes in with her fair submissions. She did 8 times tables ball bounces with me (those are the ones that stick the least in her head), studied the same astronomy pages as S., and drew a picture of our planets in orbit around the sun. She spent some time on her self-portrait, and especially tried to figure out her nose - they are so tricky to draw!!
Thursday M read, did times tables and time telling, practiced states and geography, and mostly rested and watched some shows from the Smithsonian app we have, about ocean life and sharks.
S did his copywork and read with me through chap. 8 in Ben and Me, did more 4 times tables and time-telling, built some roman arches with legos and blocks as we read about the colloseum and aqueducts, played chef with the little guys with our favorite homemade playdoh, and more.
B practiced his B's and drew a bee, counted with me, shaped playdoh into snakes and then letters, and played chef. He and S and J also got out our kit (we awesomely got to take home from the local primary school alomg with a few other supplies when they were moving) of animals, and sorted hundreds of cards, making a huge mess, having a lot of fun, and learning a bit, too.
On Fridays, because we try to keep our lives scheduled close to the local school's schedule, we will be doing short days - just reading, math concept review, and a few short online videos having to do with either the history or science we learned about during the week. After that and their home responsibilities, they are free to play with neighborhood kids. Also, M has her 4H sewing class on Fridays now, too.
So, all in all, better than nothing, but a lot of room for improvement for me. I still need to get more planning in, prepare more ahead of time, and encourage them to work more independently when appropriate. I hope this next week will go more smoothly!