Foundations Classical Academy is in session! Week 1 of first grade has been completed! It’s actually been a very chaotic week. I still haven’t figured out how to manage all the kids, clean the house, and complete school at the same time in a nice, orderly, calm way. However, by the grace of God, everything got done this week, albeit in the midst of chaos. The result: I’m exhausted!

I thought I would share our schedule for those who are interested in such things. Initially, I had written out a schedule with specific blocks of time devoted to different tasks. However, I realized that it would set me up for failure if I got off track (which is bound to happen with four unpredictable, small children), so I abandoned that idea. Instead, I have a general idea of when we should start in the morning and what we need to accomplish before lunchtime. In my mind I organize things sorta like legs of a trip:

LEG ONE: I get up at 6AM, ideally, and at 6:20 AM, in reality. I’m still working on being ideal (aren’t we all?). My goals are, at the very least, to get dressed, empty the dishwasher, start a load of laundry, and pour a cup of coffee before the kiddos awake. I’m doing really well if I actually get to eat breakfast and finish the cup of coffee!

LEG TWO: The kids wake up at 7ish, get dressed, make their beds, eat breakfast, and brush their teeth–in that order. (This order is very important because food is quite motivating…especially for the Z-man.)

LEG THREE: This leg takes 45 minutes to an hour. At 8ish, I work on Scripture and catechism memorization with Miss Sassafras and the Z-man. Afterwards, Sassafras practices the piano for about 10-15 minutes. Little Man is, thankfully, finding something to occupy his time during all of this. Doodlebug is sleeping or smiling at everyone from the highchair. I usually need to feed her about 8:30ish, so once I’m done with that, we’re finally on to LEG FOUR.

LEG FOUR: Math. I spend the first 15 minutes or so introducing the math lesson and making sure Sassafras knows exactly what she’s supposed to accomplish for that day. I then let her work independently on her math. Now at this point things get a little fuzzy. I want to accomplish two things: Z-man’s work at the table (10-15 minutes) and reading to Little Man. Initially, I thought reading to Little Man would come first, but unfortunately, he doesn’t know how to end reading time in a very pleasant way. So, I’m still working on making this leg of our day go smoothly. It doesn’t help that anytime I’m not directly engaging either the Z-man or Little Man, they’re usually screaming at each other in the living room over toys. So, I try to spend as much time as possible with the boys while Sassafras does her math. Doodlebug is wherever she is happy, whether it be in my arms, or in the highchair, or playing with toys on the beanbag chair. Once math is completed, goldfish crackers are distributed and LEG FIVE begins.

LEG FIVE: Language Arts. Mondays and Wednesdays include writing, spelling, & grammar. Tuesdays and Thursdays include writing and some review in the Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading. Fridays are optional for spelling & grammar. Sassafras usually takes a short break once she’s done with language arts, and I do the laundry shuffle. I have no idea what the boys are supposed to be doing at this point, hence the chaos that I mentioned earlier. Doodlebug is usually taking a short nap or screaming that she doesn’t want a nap and then usually needs to be fed before LEG SIX.

LEG SIX: This leg begins with Tapestry of Grace (History/Bible/Literature). This could include any history reading, lapbook, or activity sheet. I have TOG scheduled separately so I know what I want us to do each day. TOG is followed by science on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and is followed by geography on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We’re usually done with all of this by 11:30 or so. (The limiting reagent is how fast math was done earlier.) Chaos continues with the boys.

LEG SEVEN: Lunch.

LEG EIGHT: My goal is to have Little Man and Doodlebug down for a nap by 1:30. Sometimes I do more reading with him before his nap. Once they’re in the bed, I do Sonlight’s P4/5 reading with the Z-man and Sonlight’s Core 1 read-alouds with Sassafras. I have my own little schedule for the latter. Two days a week, I also read some from a worldview study, Who Is God?, with Sassafras. She also reads to me at this point. This year she will be working through Sonlight’s Intermediate Readers 2. I would say that all of this takes 45 minutes to an hour.

LEG NINE: I’m not a spider! This leg has any weekly projects, art, and music lumped into it.

After leg nine, I’m usually trying to do some chores (I’m trying Motivated Moms.) and start supper. At some point, the little ones start waking up, snacks are distributed, email is checked, my to-do list starts to look blurry, and if I sit down any longer than it takes to nurse the baby, then I would probably fall asleep. I give baths, if necessary, before supper, which is at 6PM. By 7:45 the kids are piled in the bed and daddy is doing a devotional with them. Once the kiddos are in the bed, I tie up loose ends, take a shower, practice my guitar (this only happened once this week…I’ve got to work on that), tinker on the computer some, stagger off to bed, and pray for God’s grace for the next day.

So there you have it. I’m still trying to work out the kinks……

Sassafras (6 yrs):

Miss Sassafras had a very busy week! She started Tapestry of Grace Year 1 with ancient Egypt, where she learned about life along the Nile River. For her project, she made an Egyptian Paddle Doll. Even though it’s made of cardboard, it is currently displayed on her bed….in front of her Cinderella pillow. She will study Egypt for two more weeks. In TOG geography, she reviewed the continents and oceans and learned some definitions of major landforms, such as peninsula, oasis, plateau, etc. We also started a lapbook that will cover unit 1 (9 weeks) of TOG.

Math was probably her toughest subject. We didn’t do as much math over the summer as I would have liked, and as a result, she’s somewhat rusty on her addition facts. She gets easily discouraged and quickly becomes unfocused on what she’s doing. I had to use the word “diligence” many times this week concerning math. She completed five lessons in Rod & Staff 1 (she’s somewhere in the middle of the curriculum) and week 1 in Singapore Primary Math 1. In R&S math, she started the 8 addition family.

In language arts, Sassafras began First Language Lessons, Writing With Ease 1, and All About Spelling Level 1. In FLL, she started learning about nouns as names of persons, and she memorized the poem “The Caterpillar” by Christina Rosetti. Last summer, she wrote that poem in a lapbook on butterflies, so it took her all of one day to memorize it. In WWE, she did great with narration using passages from Little House in the Big Woods. I was surprised at how much detail she remembered. In spelling, she worked on memorizing the 26 phonograms. She only had to focus on the multiple sounds of the vowels.

In science, she began a general introduction to animals in God’s Design for Life. She’ll start on mammals next week. For a read-aloud, we started Charlotte’s Web. In art she worked a little in the Art Fraud Detective book and also learned about secondary colors. In music, she watched lesson 1 of Melody Lane and learned about the string family of the orchestra. She practiced piano every day. (BTW, we just bought tickets to the Winston-Salem Symphony’s three Discovery Concerts for Kids. $80 for our entire family to go to all 3 concerts, including the fun pre-concert activities that include trying out some of the instruments. Woohoo!)

In Scripture memorization, she memorized Psalm 42:1, Jeremiah 29:13, and worked on Deuteronomy 10:12-13. She also worked on question 104 of the Baptist Catechism which asks “What is the visible church?” Yes, I know that all sounds insane. What can I say? She’s a sponge.

Z-man (4 yrs):

The Potty Monster was still lurking this week. Die, Potty Monster, die!!!

The Z-man has been working hard at being a boy—getting sweaty, playing with his light saber, doing destructive things with toys, etc. In preschool each day, he did a lesson in Singapore’s Earlybird Math, a few pages in Building Thinking Skills, and a couple of pages in Get Set for the Code (phonics). He completed week 1 of Sonlight’s P4/5. He also tinkered a bit with starfall.com and fought with his brother.

The Z-man finally finished memorizing all of Psalm One (woohoo!) and began working diligently on question 16 of the Baptist Catechism, which asks “What special act of providence did God exercise towards man when he was first created?” The answer is “When God had created man, he made a covenant with him that he should live and enjoy all the benefits of creation, but that he would die if he forsook the obedience that comes from faith. God commanded him not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and thus forsake his child-like dependence upon God for all things.”

Little Man (2 yrs):

Little Man had quite an eventful week. For a couple weeks now, my hubby has been asking him (jokingly) every night and every morning if he wants to throw his pie (pacifier) in the trash. Every time he has been saying no. (Note: He only uses his pie while he sleeps.) Well, on Tuesday morning he agreed to throw away his pie and tossed it in the trash. Thankfully, my hubby retrieved it out of the trash when he wasn’t looking. So, anyways, I thought I would see how it would go that day without his pie. Well, naptime came. He screamed for about 35 minutes and then fell asleep. He slept for about 25 minutes and woke up screaming right where he left off. At bedtime, he cried from 8PM-10PM and then fell asleep. At 12:30AM, he woke up crying right where he left off and was basically hysterical. I caved, gave him his pie, and order was restored. In the morning he looked pleasantly surprised that he had his pie. I was tired.

We’re in the middle of trying to get him some speech therapy through North Carolina’s Early Intervention Program through the CDSA. Someone came out on Thursday morning to evaluate him in the areas of fine motor skills, gross motor skills, cognitive abilities, etc. I was so thankful that Little Man was cooperative! He scored ahead in some areas and slightly behind in a couple of others. He had no major deficits. To qualify for services, he has to be 30% deficient in one area or 25% deficient in two areas. His speech evaluation from last month revealed that he was 24% behind in “expressive language”. That doesn’t include anything about his speech articulation (or lack thereof), which is his main problem. So, CDSA is going to send another speech therapist out next week to evaluate his articulation and possibly do another general speech evaluation. Little Man has made great improvements over the past month and has added many words to his vocabulary. It’s just that his words are in his own language!

On a different note, Little Man played with the shape/color sorter this week. I’ve worked with him some in the past with sorting the colors, but he’s always needed help and I was never sure if he quite understood. Well, this week he played with the sorter by himself. He asked for my help a couple of times at the very beginning, but then he was able to sort all of the colors by himself! Woohoo! Go, Little Man!

Doodlebug (4 months):

Doodlebug has been in her spica cast for 2 weeks now and is doing great!! To pass the time, she does crunches (see pic below). I’ve been trying to encourage her to start an “Abs of Steel for Babies” class. You know, bring in a few extra bucks…. I think she’d put any aerobics instructor to shame! Who says babies have to have flabby bellies?!

I am thankful to the Lord that she is such an agreeable and happy baby. Oh, by the way, for anyone (Mom, Grandma, etc) who is concerned, Doodlebug is strapped into the highchair. I know it looks like she’s about to slide off!

Me:

I just have one thing to add. The fact that it’s late Friday night and I’m exhausted and I’m still writing this report shows just how stubborn I really am.

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