Thursday, August 1, 2013

Our {early} First Day of School

I can't believe it is August.  Where is this year going?  It seems to be flying at a super-quick pace.  Didn't we just start summer?  And I know we've kind of sped things up by starting school, but if you could have seen Ella's enthusiasm you'd understand why I did it.  Also, I just tend to do whatever my children ask as long as it's not too unreasonable.  

The excitement about school started when Ella suggested I get all of our books organized Monday night.  It was when I spread them all out that I realized a major perk of homeschooling is having an excuse to spend lots of money on nice books. 

We chose to go the Core route at Sonlight, and last year was an introduction to different cultures around the world.  This year is part one of two, and we're starting at the beginning (which is "a very good place to start").  I love starting at the beginning.  Preludes, introductions, books in a series, I always start at the beginning.  Usborne has really great books, but they definitely operate on the theory of evolution when it comes to the beginning of man's history.  So yesterday Ella was introduced to the fact that some people believe we came from monkeys.  She laughed and thought it was the silliest thing she'd ever heard.  KJ always puts things better than I can; he told Ella last night that when you don't believe in God, you have to make something else up as to how we got here.  He's right, of course.

Having a curriculum for James wasn't my original plan, but when a local mom advertized Sonlight's 4 and 5-year-old pre-K curriculum for almost half price, I jumped on it.  If nothing else it's just nice to be given a schedule.  It really does take so much pressure off of me.  We've only done about a day and a half with James, but from what I can tell we'll be reading lots of classic children's books and poems:  Peter Rabbit, Brer Rabbit, Mother Goose.  The language arts concentrates on learning the sound of one letter a week and practicing writing.  Those were really my main goals for James this year:  learning letter sounds and practicing handwriting.  I'm not going to push him as far as how much progress he makes; I just want to make sure I teach him diligently so he has the same opportunity to learn as my first-born.  

Our first day went well.  I tried to stay relaxed and just do each activity, not worrying about the time, and in James' case, even if we did everything on the list.  Yesterday went even better, and I'm sure we'll get into a groove of having two students.  I think it's good for James to learn the concept of school and having a little more direction in his day versus bouncing between playing Mario and asking to play Mario.  He was very dramatic about trying to write his name staying in the lines.  I gave him lots of breaks to play cars while I taught Ella.  Ella stayed just as enthusiastic on day two as day one.  She even, on her own initiative, continued to practice spelling "eighth" over and over until she got it right.

Ella's reading my childhood copy of Charlotte's Web.  That was the first book I ever read in one sitting.  For some reason, sitting out in the backyard reading that book is a vivid memory for me.

Sweetest Girl

Oh, and what do you do when you really need to do something for yourself before company comes over?   - i.e. exercise and shower - You get your oldest to instruct your youngest in his worksheets of course.  Ella told me she could be my substitute teacher.

I just love those two.  I love James' little baby-soft cheeks looking over his work.  Part two of our new venture has begun.

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