Tuesday, August 30, 2011

First Week of School

Well, we did it. We finished our first official week of school {yeah!}. And without any serious meltdowns or temper-tantrums...........from the teacher anyway, lol.

I decided to go with My Father's World again. We enjoyed it last year and, while I debated on coming up with something on my own to save on money, in the end I decided (well, truthfully my husband decided) my sanity was more important! I'm just not very reliable when I try to come up with my own lessons. I tend to not do them rather than figure out how to. So MFW is a really good fit for us (read that ME, lol) as I don't have to do a lot of teacher prep or planning of my own. I can just open the manual and go!

Munchkin doing her reading assignment.

I also decided to stick with pretty much everything else we were using, although, I did switch our writing program. MFW recommends Writing Strands (level 3 for Munchkins age), but it just really didn't work for us. Both she and I were ending up frustrated every time we worked on a lesson out of it. So, after a little research, I decided on Wordsmith Apprentice. So far we are really loving it. She loves the idea of being a reporter and the lessons are short enough to keep her interest, but challenging enough that she has to really think and apply herself.

I've also added in a few things. First is A Reason for Handwriting Transition. We've used this book (and the one before it) before, but it was rather hit and miss. I decided to more "formally" schedule it this year as I think her handwriting could use some help. Second is a workbook called "Comprehension Detective". I've felt like her reading comprehension hasn't been as good as I'd like considering she is reading above grade level. So I got this book to work on a couple times a week to try and improve that area. I also have a book of Multiplication Practice Tests (that comes with a CD as well) and Times Tales that I will add in as I see a need. Right now they are not scheduled, but I have them on the shelf ready to pull out if needed.

I started Peanut with MFW Kindergarten earlier this year. We've taken some time off here and there, so we are only finishing up lesson 12. So far we have been really enjoying it. I've been trying not to go too fast or push too hard because Peanut has needed more time to be "ready" for school. But I do think we are finally there {yeah!}. I'm hoping to be able to move into MFW 1st grade after the new year.

Peanut working on her Picture Cards
(notice the Ocean poster from week 9 in the background?)

Little P has been mostly tagging along with both Munchkin and Peanut. (All three of the kids participate in most of the group stuff in Creation to Greeks, although Munchkin is the only one I "require" to do the notebooking and other written assignments.) He knows most of the songs in the Kindergarten program and is starting to recognize some of the letters. But he's not ready to do more yet :o). He does frequently do his own version of the worksheets (both from K and CtoG) and has his own notebook to put his schoolwork in.

Little P working on a coloring worksheet.

Little Bits has thankfully been napping during school time. She has become somewhat of a handful, always wanting to be involved. However, her involvement usually entails taking all the pencils out of the supply tote, dumping the crayons out and throwing them around the room, or writing/coloring on my lesson plan! Occasionally she likes to take whatever worksheet one of her older siblings is working on, which prompts them to grab for it, usually resulting in said worksheet getting torn. I'm hoping that by the new year (when she'll turn 2) she may be ready for some more independent toddler activities and not be so focused on getting into whatever her siblings are doing. (Hey, I can dream right?!? LOL)

Peanut and Little P working on their individual worksheets.

This was supposed to be a post about our first week, but it seems to have turned into a post about our curriculum for the year! Mostly that happened because I don't have much to report on this week. It did go well, we got a lot accomplished. We studied Creation and started our timeline (picture of that coming soon!). We also did our version of a Sabbath meal. That was fun and the kids really enjoyed it. We may try to do it again sometime. They did have a science experiment, but daddy did that with them, so I can't really give an update on that!

So, that's our first week in a nutshell and where I see our year going. I hope to get a post up soon detailing some of the scheduling and organization that I have implemented this year, but I need to get pictures taken first :o) Hopefully I'll get to that in the next day or two. Until then...


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A new schedule

A couple weeks ago, I saw THIS post with the idea of a visual schedule. I immediately loved it! I've tried a schedule several times, but every time I failed. I've mostly followed the MOTH system, but I always seemed to "fall off" the schedule and never figured out how to successfully get back on. However, I have noticed that Peanut does much better with a schedule. She needs to know we are doing this, then that, then food (she's all about the food, lol). So I've been trying to come up with a way to do a schedule that works for both of us. I'm hoping this idea will be a perfect fit. It's still a schedule, but easy to change on the fly if necessary.

Now, this post will also show that I am not a very good blogger, lol. I failed to take pictures of each step, so only have pictures of the final project. I'll do my best to walk you through how I did it, though =)

First, I created a document in word with all the items we would need on our schedule. I added a clip art that "matched" the item to make it easier on my non-readers. I then printed them on regular paper, 5 per page. I cut them out and glued them on a slightly larger piece of scrapbook paper.

I then glued it on some foam board. Finally, I added a strip of magnetic tape on the back.

My Hubby then took the cabinet doors off our old BBQ and mounted them on the wall for me. Wala! Ultra cool visual schedule.

Close up of the top panel.

Close up of the bottom panel.

Wanna know what the best part is? I used materials I had on had, so it only cost me $3.99 for the magnetic tape! We haven't "officially" started using it yet (I only got it finished last night, lol), but I'm really excited to start. I really think it will help us stay in a routine.

Background Papers and Embellishments Created by Marie Stones