Today was our first day of school along with the rest of the world although I wasn't taking pictures of my kids in their backpacks as they headed out the door. I didn't take any pictures though they did seem quite excited to get back in the swing of things after such a long lazy summer. And we were very lazy this summer... and for the first time, I didn't feel a bit guilty about it because I know how hard we work the rest of the year. So... here is our plan. I ordered most of my books in early August though I will be quite honest and admit I needed to run out yesterday and pick up a few things we were still missing!
1. Classical Memory, Socialization (Ha!), Public Speaking, Fine Arts, Science, Field Trips
The kids will participate in our local Classical Conversations co-op on Tuesday mornings. This will fill my "need" to know that my kids can sit in a classroom like setting, obey another teacher who isn't their mother, meet other kids, and get some fine art studies I will likely not be able to fit in this year even though I'd really like to. This will be our 3rd year of Classical Conversation memory work and we will focus on the Middle Ages (c450AD - 1600AD). Our history studies will link with our literature choices this year and I continue to enjoy piecing the history puzzle together and learning with my kiddos. I volunteered to organize the fall field trip and we will be looking forward to a trip to the Butterfly Center at the HMNS. I am also looking forward to not teaching this year... it will make my Monday evenings a lot more peaceful than they were last year. We had to pay a bit more for my option not to teach, but it is worth it to me this year.
We will continue with Singapore Math. Emily will complete 4B/5A. We started with decimals today and I am quickly seeing her move into big girl math. Even though math isn't her favorite, she continues to do very well in math and accepts that it is one of those things that isn't going away. She still doesn't like too much discussion on the part of me being the teacher but at least has learned to be more respectful with the understanding that I won't talk at her too long... as long as she proves she understands. David will complete 2B/3A this year and is excelling in math. He is a full year and a half ahead of where he would be if he were enrolled in school. With this at the back of mind, I always proceed cautiously and make sure he fully understands concepts before we move on but he just tears through it all so I guess he has a math brain. Lia completed the first half of Singapore's Earlybird Kindergarten Math last year but struggled with the second half and understanding numbers to 20. I wasn't confident she got the concept that 15 is the same as a ten and a 5... so we are going to spend the beginning of this year slowly reviewing numbers and trying to work our way back to that book.
Emily would study formal logic in 7th grade if we continue to follow our classical curriculum. During 5th and 6th grade, Emily will warm-up for the study of formal logic by learning how to reason her way through problems rather than simply accepting solutions that I give her. She'll do that by working through logic puzzles which I hope will shape and strengthen her ability to solve abstract problems. This year we will work through the puzzles in Mind Benders and Building Thinking Skills. Today was her first day in Mind Benders and she enjoyed the puzzles so I don't think this will be difficult... by the way I was already humbled today when Emily reasoned her way through these problems quicker than I could process them and in turn got frustrated with me! Oh well, these books seem like a good fit for her so we'll just go with it.
Emily continues on with Lively Latin and will start Big Book 2. She loved this curriculum last year because of all the ancient roman history the teacher weaves into the lessons. I love it because it combines the study of Latin with history and art appreciation of famous paintings. She weaves in English grammar with the Latin grammar and analyzes all the derivatives to help students discover the meanings of tough English words.. And Emily does this curriculum completely by herself. Score. I am patiently waiting for the Song School Latin 2 DVD to come out in September so we can continue with this program. Everyone in our family enjoyed Song School Latin 1 but it was the supplemental DVD that made this program great. There's this Latin speaking monkey, Simeon on the DVD and the kids just ate it up. I sure hope it comes out soon!
David is preparing for his 1st Holy Communion this year so I have been investing some extra time with him each night. We are using Faith and Life, the second grade text, Jesus Our Life for his catechism lessons. I used the first grade text with him last year and really enjoyed our talks. Each chapter is divided into 4 days worth of discussion and it is laid out really well. I am really enjoying re-learning my faith with him each night and also appreciate that our little talks rarely take more than 10-15min. There is also quite a bit of reading straight out of the bible, which we enjoy as well.
Emily is also using Faith and Life but she studies her lessons online and continues to enjoy this independent study. Lia and Emily often listen in on David's lessons so I think the whole family is getting something out of these preparations. David will also attend sacramental preparation activities once a month at church. Chris was in charge of taking Emily to these sessions the year she went through it so he will plan to do the same with David unless he is travelling. David and I will also read several books as part of his bedtime routine. Right now we are reading First Communion Days, a collection of super-sweet stories about children receiving and preparing for their 1st Communions.
We selected Apologia's Exploring Creation with Zoology I, Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day and do science as a family. Each child has a notebooking journal. David and Lia have the junior variety with coloring sheets included while Emily has the one for older kids... but she makes copies of the coloring sheets so she can color too! I read the chapters aloud around our coffee table and stop to ask the kid's questions or to discuss something interesting. We often supplement with YouTube videos about the interesting topics and invested in the lab kit so my life is easier when it comes time to do the experiments. My kids live for the experiments! I have to say our Classical Conversations memory work served us well for Chapter 1 today when we discussed the Classification of Living Things. My kids can chant from memory: Kingdom, Phylum, Class and Order, Family, Genus, Species! So they were all over it and kept nodding their heads that they already knew that stuff.
And that is enough for tonight... I'll work on the Language Arts stuff and whatever else I forgot for my next post. It is a school night you know! Although, I must brag that I love our school hours. We eat breakfast about 9:30 and start by 10:00. It is easy living for this house of night owls. ;-)