This was a short month for us since J spent a week away, but it’s still amazing to see how much we covered in such a short amount of time! We’re really happy about our current groove, and J is more than excited to do some school each day.
All About Reading (Level 1)
This month brought along some new letters: i, v, f, z, o, l and w. It’s really opened up a whole new world of words, and it’s clear it’s starting to spread out to actual life and not just when doing his reading. J’s favorite part (besides the stickers at the end of each lesson) is that he’s reading the short stories now. He got through four this month. I love having him read to me, and he is SO proud of himself. The confidence this program builds is my favorite part.
We finally saw the switch from super easy review to learning new concepts! J has been loving math the entire time (it’s his favorite subject, by far), but I was ready to start seeing him challenged. There was still some triangle identifying and practicing writing numerals, but he was introduced to place values: units, tens and hundreds. I was nervous that the jump would be too much for him, but I keep underestimating my boy when it comes to the math world. It made perfect sense to him, and he took to it immediately. He didn’t need any help in identifying triple digit numbers, but he’s coming from a place of understanding when he says every single number he sees anywhere now!
Nancy Larson (Kindergarten)
We finished Unit A: Exploring the Human Body and Five Senses by really getting into those senses. We are now about halfway through Unit B: Investigating Healthy Habits. He’s been learning about nutrition and exercise. We’ve been covering all of the main food groups and learning how to identify them. He’s really enjoyed working in his booklet, Investigating Ways to Keep My Body Healthy, since he feels like he’s writing his own book. There’s been no complaint about the snacks from the boys, either!
Artistic Pursuits (The Way They See It)
I’m still concerned that this level was a bit below where J is actually at, but not so much that I’m worrying about it. Both J and G are really enjoying the activities that go along with it, and that’s what art is all about! This month, we talked about using different colors and explored watercolor which brought a beautiful underwater scene to our house from J. We also had some fun with the visual motivator lesson by doing it at the farm! It called for us to go to a body of water and draw the experience. Since they have a lake there, it worked out perfectly! J really brought in some detail, while G just enjoyed coloring on the dock. We’re a bit behind schedule in art due to the crazy schedule that October brought, but we’ll catch back up. Eventually 🙂
What a fun week! Even though we were just as busy as we were last week, it seemed to flow so much better. J zipped through his lessons this week with minimal issue (except for his first sight word- the; it’s killing him!). He even got his fluency sheet for AAR Lesson 4 done already today! I’m so impressed by how quickly AAR is building his confidence in reading. He’s so excited to start his first stories next week. He really enjoyed his science lessons this week, especially regarding his sense of smell and a sliced banana! Since last week was so nuts, we missed his art lesson last week. The boys were both excited to pick that up again today and were super thrilled at being able to do a messy project.
As far as outings go, we started out our week at Homeschool Day at the Houston Children’s Museum! We didn’t do anything special there that we wouldn’t have been able to do any other day, but it wasn’t nearly as crowded and J was amazed at how many homeschoolers there are in our city. He thought it was so cool to see older kids, and he kept remarking to me that everyone there “except the adults” were homeschooled just like he is.
On Tuesday, we had our Open House for the family to come over and see our little “school.” J was so excited and proud to show off what he’s doing, and he always loves having family come over. My parents spent the night (also exciting for both boys) and took the boys and I to see the Sharks! exhibit at HMNS, which, obviously, J loved. The biologists/curators were amazing there, as always, and were answering our questions and letting the boys touch a fossilized megaladon shark tooth. They were even both given a shark tooth from the Cretacious time period, so J is super proud of his new cool shark teeth that lived with dinosaurs.
The rest of the week consisted of our normal activities- swim, Little Gym, MOPS, chiropractor and even a trip to IKEA. We have a low key weekend planned and then we’re off to another crazy week!
J took a week class over the summer through the Museum of Fine Arts, and he was all over it. He’s always loved to color and do all things artsy, and he was in love with the class and all of the fun stuff he got to do. Our hope was to have him in their semester classes, but the homeschool time doesn’t work in our schedule and the regular after school classes would mean a nightmare of driving in rush hour home from the Museum district. So, we opted for Artistic Pursuits while he waits to take a few more classes next summer. He’s used to be able to do free-form art in any way he likes while at home, so it was a bit of a mind-set change for him to have a plan of attack. Having an art box that he can only use during art was extremely appealing to him, though, and his eyes sparkled when he saw the great huge box of crayons he gets to use! Two weeks in, and he looks forward to doing “Art Friday.” Little brother has even gotten in on the action! It’s been amazing watching his little creative muscles grow, and it doesn’t hurt to have a few pretty new pieces of art to display!
Now that we’ve been going for about two weeks, I believe we’ve found a groove that’s working for us. I’ve updated and changed some things around from my initial planning, and I’m feeling good about our plan for the year! J has been really flourishing at home and loves telling everybody he’s homeschooled. I’m very confident that we made the right decision!
Our schedule is loosely based on a four day week- Monday through Thursday, with Friday being art day (which he loves!). During each week, we’re going through one lesson in All About Reading (AAR), Math-U-See (MUS) and Artistic Pursuits and two science lessons (Nancy Larson). Every day, I beging with a short reading from What Your Kindergartner Needs to Know, he works on some BrainQuest pages while I read, and we read a short story together.
Here’s a general approximation of what our lessons look like during the week (changes a bit based on what the week’s lessons call for, especially in AAR):
Monday: review previous AAR lesson, watch video and learn material for next MUS lesson Tuesday: new teaching for AAR, practice sheets for MUS, and a science lesson Wednesday: worksheet for AAR and practice sheets for MUS Thursday: worksheet for AAR and/or fluency page, final sheet for MUS, and a science lesson Friday: Artistic Pursuits and a craft, usually from Kiwi Crate
It’s been taking between 20-45 minutes each day, depending on the day. Usually, we tackle school after his nap/rest time (when he starts begging for it!), although it’s moved around a bit based on our schedule. Even on the longer days, it hasn’t been much of an issue to keep J engaged. He even calls them his reading and math games, so I guess we’ve been doing something right even if it was just choosing the right curriculums!