It’s back to the grindstone! We’ve had four weeks of school, plus an extra week thrown in where Sassafras went to science camp. Things have gone surprisingly well. Our days are pretty full with me trying to juggle all the kids and spend individual time with each one. I think I’ve finally settled into a routine to keep track of everyone. This week has also introduced soccer practice! Thankfully, practice is on the same night for all three kids!
Doodlebug has been busy with Operation Potty Training. There have been some bumps in the road, but overall it’s going well. If all else fails, her training underwear make for an excellent scabbard for her sword. Meanwhile, she’s been taking cosleeping into unchartered territory.
Preschool consists of anything that keeps her occupied and keeps her from coloring on the table….or the walls. A piece of construction paper and some scissors usually does the job. She likes the few Lauri toys we have, and she likes to sort her shapes. Little Man taught her how to sort by color. Her favorite books are currently Llama Llama Red Pajama, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, and Hippos Go Berserk. I could quote all of them in my sleep….backwards.
Little Man is such a trooper. He’s been working through Explode the Code Primer C and Singapore Earlybird math. For the past five weeks, he’s been learning to read, already completing the first five Bob books. We spend our reading practice time with a dry marker board and some magnet tiles. He likes to write the periods at the end of the sentences. (The other day on one of his drawings, he had put a small circle in the corner. He said, “That’s a period ‘cuz I done.”) Speaking of drawing, I’ve noticed that his drawings are more like what you would expect from a 3 yr old. They’re mainly circles and scribbles. He doesn’t draw stick or symbolic figures or really anything at all. He actually has very good fine motor skills, so that’s not the problem. I’ve also noticed that he has trouble duplicating patterns with objects (like arranging squares in different patterns). So this week I guided him through drawing a lion, a tiger, and a frog using Usborne’s I Can Draw Animals. This is mainly to help him observe something and then try to copy it. He did really well!
For Little Man this year, I started with Sonlight’s p4/5 curriculum, which is what I used for Sassafras and Z-man when they were 4 yrs old. Some of the books were okay for him, but the storybooks just didn’t have enough pictures in them. He was completely zoning out. So this week I made the decision to save p4/5 for Kindergarten and to go back to Sonlight’s p3/4 curriculum. We read many of the stories last year and he really enjoyed them. When I pulled some of the p3/4 books out again this week, he said, “Oh! I love these books!” It confirmed my decision.
Z-man is my 1st grader! When I can keep him focused, he does pretty well. He’s doing much better in math. He spent the summer playing with C-rods and doing Singapore math. He’s now on the second half of Rod & Staff Grade 1 Math, with some Life of Fred thrown in on occasion. I plan to start him back on Singapore once he knows his facts through 10. Z-man has also started All About Spelling Level 1, First Language Lessons, Writing with Ease 1, and Explorer’s Bible Study. He’s also working extra hard at learning the continents, oceans, and US states this year. I’m hoping one day soon he won’t say “Georgia” when I point to Europe! This year is also the start of piano for the Z-man. (Yes, I think I’m crazy! I’m chewing on a lot!)
Sassafras is now my big 3rd grader! Oy! She’s continuing on the next level in all her language arts programs, including All About Spelling 5, Writing with Ease 3, and First Language Lessons 3. She diagrammed her first sentence today. Woohoo! Let the fun begin! (Yes, I’m a nerd.) For math she is continuing in Rod & Staff Math, Singapore Math, and Life of Fred. Latin this year is Latina Christiana I. Her new subject this year is CLE Reading 3, which I’m loving! She’s a great reader, but this program is going to help her think critically about what she’s reading. For literature she will be doing a combination of Tapestry of Grace literature and selections from Veritas Press and Ambleside Online. She is currently reading The Magician’s Nephew. In piano, Sassafras just started level 2 of Bastien. Let the scales begin!
This year I’m combining Sassafras and Z-man in history, science, art, and music. In history we have covered John Adams, Napoleon, the Industrial Revolution, Thomas Jefferson, and Lewis & Clark. Sassafras and Z-man started off the year by making a salt-dough map of landforms. Little Man even helped to paint it. We’re trying to do some notebooking each week in history. Below is the Z-man’s page on Eli Whitney and Sassafras’s pages on Napoleon and Lewis & Clark. The latter uses free lapbook pieces I found online.
For science this year we’re doing Apologia’s Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day. We’re doing the notebook journals that come with the curriculum, and both Sassafras and Z-man are really enjoying them. Our two experiments so far have included testing gliders and an air pressure experiment. I think they threw gliders for at least an hour!
For art and music this year, we’re using Harmony Fine Arts for Grade 3. Right now our artist is Diego Valazquez and our composer is Handel. Our art projects so far have mainly used oil pastels. This week they were supposed to draw a jug on a dark background.
So that’s the gist of what we’re doing this year. Busy, busy, busy. I need lots of prayer and a cup of strong coffee to get things off to a good start each day! I’ve also been getting up early and exercising in the mornings, and I think that is greatly helping with my stress level. Starting in September we’ll be doing the Homeschool on the Move program at the YMCA. We’ll also be starting our enrichment class on Asia once a month. China, here we come! Make that busy, busy, busy, busy!
One last item of miscellaneous news: Our moonflower, which Sassafras started from a seed, is finally blooming.