Yesterday was our very first day school. We had such an amazing summer (and more about that in another day or so), but it is also great to be back in the groove again! I started the day with my new morning routine (I’ll talk about that more in another post too!), but it left me organized, energized, and ready to go with the kids!
ED, of course, was the first one up, but by the time we had breakfast on the table DD had joined us. LD was up shortly after that (miracle of miracles for my 12 year old!) We read for just a bit and then wandered into the homeschool room.
Since today was our very first day back, we actually had quite a bit of general “stuff” to go over. We always change things up slightly when we start back to school and this year was no exception. Last year, the kids started doing a number of things on their own. I had daily checklists for all three kids. But, I found that used quite a bit of paper and by the end of the year I realized that needed a change. The kids suggested having all of them on the same sheet… and I re-worked our checklist to include things we do together as well as the things the kids do individually or with me. I think that will work a lot better because at one glance I’ll be able to see what we have left for the day. If the kids complete one activity, they just put the first letter of their name under that day. Here’s a glimpse at that:
We have six main subject areas:
- Language Arts
- German (the kids’ foreign language)
We cover a number of different areas under each of our main subjects. You can see that most easily with our language arts... The kids all do independent reading (novels… or books for ED). And, as many of you know we still use a homeschool writing workshop (this link will take to you a post about some of the resources we use in our writing workshop). Today, we had an abbreviated writing workshop.
The format will be much the same as it has been for the past couple of years (LD said Writing Workshop is his FAVORITE subject! That’s such a wonderful thing to hear if you’ve read our journey with writing.)
I’ve written in great detail about our Writing Workshop (here’s a post about the materials we have on hand in our writing workshop). Here’s where we keep everything now… We always have a timer because our writing workshop is generally in two parts. Part I is when the kids read about writing (or I give a mini-lesson on writing) and Part II is when we all sit quietly and spend time writing. We kept both parts quite short and will build up time slowly in the coming days/weeks. On the shelf below are the writing workshop books and the kids keep their journals in the colorful bins below.
In the first part of our Writing Workshop we spend 10 to 15 minutes reading. In other posts, I’ve mentioned some of the writing books the kids have read during this time. This year, ED will be reading through Write Source: Student Book Hardcover Grade 3 (affiliate link) My others read through this a couple of years ago and hopefully it works well for ED as well. It talks about the writing process. This year, my older two will use literature selections to take a closer look at some of the writing elements (like plot, setting, mood, character, etc. etc.). I got these (used) last year and both DD and LD seemed to like these fairly well. DD will use McDougal Littell Literature Yellow Level (affiliate link) and LD is using McDougal Littell Literature: Student Edition Grade 8. (affiliate link)
Finishing up with the checklist I was talking about… we will cover spelling, grammar and vocabulary through the year, but in general we spend a week (or two) on one area and then rotate to another. Handwriting and typing are areas the kids work on on their own. Today we started back with spelling. DD was really excited to do Spelling City again (we make our own lists). She and LD will switch between some work in All About Spelling (affiliate link) and some work with spelling lists… and ED started back with All About Spelling (affiliate link) and did a quick review of the Long A sounds. (pictured below)
LD and DD have been reading the Joy Hakim books for history. This year they’ll be reading through book 3 ( A History of US: From Colonies to Country: 1735-1791) (affiliate link). This is the perfect time for them to watch Liberty’s Kids.(affiliate link) LD watched that series years ago and loved it. Of course, that was one of the things the girls were excited to do!
I had everything printed out and ready to go, but somehow we didn’t get to our geography activities yesterday. We’ll start with that today. Because we did SO much traveling this summer, I printed out a U.S. map and am going to have the kids color in and label all the states we visited in our three big trips (one to Florida, one to Minnesota and one to Maine). That makes U.S. geography much more meaningful, right?!
We’ll also start on the U.S. and World Fact sheets that I made earlier this summer. I want to be sure they know some basic information (like the largest countries, the countries with the most people, the longest rivers, highest mountains, etc.). You’ll find that packet here: World Facts Packet. It’s funny that we’ll be going over the tallest mountain in the U.S. today with everything that being covered in the news! Mt. McKinley is being officially renamed to Denali. I need to change that on the answer sheet!
A week or two ago, I went into quite a bit of detail about the resources we’ve chosen for German this year. The kids started on the new CD set that we got called Living Language German (affiliate link). They really seemed to like practicing with the new CD and book set, Living Language German (affiliate link). So far so good!
We’re also set for German Conversation Practice… This fall we’ll be working on things like… What’s your name? (See more about the family vocabulary activities we started last spring here.) How old are you? Where are you from? What’s the weather like today? What day is it? I’m sure I’ll talk a lot more about those soon in a separate post (for those of you learning German) very soon, but here is a sneak peek some of the cards sets I made.
The kids are pretty excited about their music this year. ED is learning a piece on the piano that is coming along nicely (New World Symphony). LD heard the recorder being played and is excited about learning that. We’ll be doing some duets together. And DD is starting flute lessons today in fact. We arranged for lessons via Skype, which is a good option for us so we don’t have to drive around (yet again!). She is super excited. And of course, we have a lot of fantastic materials (for learning music notes, music notation etc.) that we’ve printed out and have ready to go: Free Music Curriculum.
Science and Math:
We didn’t really get to science or math today. In science we’ll be doing units on chemistry and the ocean. ED is going to do some very short units reviewing some science topics (like rocks and minerals, biomes, etc. using some of the science books we have). Math is just a continuation of where they left off last semester.
So, that was our first day in a nutshell! The kids raced through to mark off as many things as they could on the checklist… even though I said it was going to be a light day. The girls were excited and got MUCH more done today than I would have required them to do. Hope that motivation keeps up!
That’s about it for now! Happy Homeschooling!! ~Liesl
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.
You might be interested in these related posts (I tend to write a post like this at the beginning of the year):
- What Are We Covering for Grade 4 and Grade 6 in our Homeschool This Fall?
- Our Homeschool Curriculum (Grades K, 3 and 5)
- Our Homeschool Curriculum (Grade 2 and 4)
That’s about it for today! See you again soon here or over at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page!