Wednesday, August 29, 2012

First-Grade Launched!

Origami day! World culture, art, geometry, fun!
If Brother-Bug were in school he would be starting Kindergarten next week. But he's days from six and we've been doing Kindergarten level work for 2 years now. I asked him what he wanted - more Kindergarten or to move on to First Grade. He decided to go forth and First Grade it up.

I love our plan to teach subjects in month long blocks, but we are loosening that structure for the moment, to be more flexible with the beginning of our new baby's life. Instead, here are some of the up and coming adventures in our first grade plan:

1) Have a baby. Incredibly educational, and a good reason to put out usual plans on hold. Baby-Bug is coming in November so much of the autumn will be spent getting ready for that addition. It's been really sweet to see Brother-Bug get all excited and to help explain things to Sister-Bug. He remembers a lot from waiting for her and he's doing a great job of helping us all get ready for a new baby.

2) Daily school time. We are focusing on 10-40 minutes most week days on "school time" when we sit at the table and focus on an educational project of some sort. I believe that this daily practice is the lesson in itself.

3) Hand writing. This is how we start off our school time. I print out a d'Nealian worksheet for each day and he loves it. A longer post (rant) about hand writing will be posted eventually.

Working with patterns. Basic math. 
4) Lots of math exploration. I've mentioned my Dad's wife in previous posts - she was a teacher in an amazing school in North Carolina for 30 years. She shared her manipulative-based exploratory math curriculum with me. What a blessing! I'll write more about that later also.

5) Science Club! I gathered several families from our homeschool group and we are meeting once a week for our K-2nd graders to do an experiment together. Exciting! This will combine learning, socializing, and parental-networking all it two hours a week. It's a homeschool win!

6) Papa-Bug was a political-science major, and loves an election. We will be using the Presidential Election as a great opportunity to learn a little about how government works. Already Brother-Bug is fascinated by the electoral maps at 583.

7) Ballet, just like last year. And also working on more formal piano lessons.

It looks like a lot, all written out like that, but in reality we spend 1-2 hours a day engaged in "school". The rest of the time we are playing, reading, questioning, and exploring. And who knows what will change as we move through this third-trimester. Of course lots of other adventures will find us - hikes, explores, canning peaches (today!), reading aloud, story telling, drawing... We would have to lock ourselves in an empty room to prevent learning from happening!


I am keeping Sister-Bug involved also. Each day for school time she gets to select a coloring sheet and color it with  her special "school crayons" while I work with Brother-Bug. Sometimes we mix it up with beads to string, or other 2-year old appropriate activities. School time is her favorite time of day and I'm glad she is already getting used to the daily habit of sitting down together for some focused learning time.

Sea shell coloring. Special crayons. She's happy. 

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