first day of (home) school

This post is from my old blog and is more than 2 years old now, but I thought it might be helpful for new homeschoolers to get an idea of what that first day of homeschooling looks like.

We started school on August 29th.

I originally planned to do my Week One We Made It OH WOW post that first weekend, that weekend was packed. And the following week was filled with holiday (Labor Day), then increasing illness that led to a sick day on Friday. So here we are!

V usually gets up at about 7:30, so I was terribly amused when 9 AM rolled around and I went upstairs to find her like THAT —–>

She’s been totally psyched to start school, though, so once I lured her out of bed (I got her pink stuffed kitten Sharity to say SHE was going to have breakfast with me and do school instead of her) and she was dressed, her bed made, the dog cared for and breakfast eaten, we headed up to the library-turned-schoolroom.

We started the day off with calendar time. I’d snagged this puzzle at Target for a buck, and she LOVES using it.

After we settled in, we took a look at Philippians 4:12:

“Do all things without murmurings or disputings.”

We discussed what murmurings were–complaints, whining, unkind things said quietly–and that to dispute meant to argue. We talked about what kinds of murmurings and disputings happened around the house, and she lit up.

“Mom!” she said. “When I was in bed last night, God told me not to fight about school!”

My mouth kinda dropped open and all I could think was, Thank you, God! Later in the week she’d tell me she didn’t hear His voice with her ears, but it was kind of rumbly. 🙂 I guess Hollywood got that one right.

We prayed together to have good attitudes, and that Uncle Joe, who was starting grad school that day, too, would have a good first day. Then we moved onto Language Arts.

The Five in a Row curriculum had been suggested to me as a foundation for the first years, and my dear friend Amy from Sweet Peripety lent me her books to look over. The curriculum is based on (mostly) award-winning picture books and covers Social Studies, Arts, and Language in unique ways. It also includes some Science and Math, but it’s pretty light on those things, so I thought with supplements in those areas:

A) I would love it

and

B) She would love it

Which is all I needed to give it a shot. The problem (and it’s a very large problem, actually) with Five in a Row is that many of the books are extremely rare. For example, we have a field trip with a local homeschool group coming up to visit the Underground Railroad sites in Salem, so I would love to do Who Owns the Sun? by Stacy Chbosky…but it’s retail on Amazon for $129.

$129.

Yeah, I can’t do that. So I’m thinking about using a book like Henry’s Freedom Box instead.

I did already have several of the others, and snagged a few at the Friends of the Library bookstore. One of these was Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans. And since V’s been interested in France since her first viewing of Ratatouille, I figured it’d be a fun jumping off spot for us.

With Five in a Row, you read the story aloud one time every day for a week. As the student gets to really know the text and pictures, you have conversations about different parts of the text. From the ivy that covers the house (biology) to the “twelve little girls in two straight lines” (math – counting by twos and art – symmetry), you’re using an interesting and fun book to begin to explore the world.

V wasn’t reading full pages when we started on Monday.

By Thursday, she got annoyed when I tried to help her. She lost steam about halfway through, but she was sight reading and sounding out the first half.

On Friday, I read the book to her and asked her to listen for the rhymes. Then we went back through it and I had her point out the rhyming words. Some were on the same page, some were on the opposite, others on the other side of the pages. Some were easy “vines / lines” and some were more difficult “DAN-TON-ten-six / appendix.” But she caught on well, and it was cool to hear her figuring out the cadence of the spoken text.

This post is getting LENGTHY so I’m gonna cut it short and recap the rest of the (awesome!) week later. To end: here’s V and Daddy on Wednesday — the first time she’s reading through it herself. Remember we’d only read it twice before this.

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