Weekly Wrap-Up: Week 1/2011

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Yeah! We all lived through our first week of school. There were a few scrapes, bumps and bruises, but nothing permanent.

The boys had a great first day at their one-day-a-week program (the dog didn't go):

As for the school work - it went something like this:

We finally have a plan that I hope will work. We will continue to memorize the verses that our hybrid program sends home, as well as study the Christian character trait they assign each month, but we're moving our daily devotion/study to dinner time. Dh has agreed to lead; he's doing a fabulous job (he's much funnier than I am). We're using a new book called Long Story Short, and it goes through the Old Testament in very short, manageable pieces, while showing how each weekly topic points to Jesus. I was skeptical of it's claim that it only takes 10 minutes a day, but it's true. All of us are loving it!

The year I've dreaded has arrived: the boys are studying completely different time periods for history. It IS more work for me, as I predicted, but it's also proving to be easier in some respects, because the discussions are a little smoother one-on-one. I guess it's like many things, and much of the outcome will depend upon my attitude.

4th grade - Bearclaw is starting the "modern" time period, from 1850 to the present. This week we looked at the huge British Empire during Queen Victoria's reign and also discussed the increasing tension over slavery in the U.S.

I began reading Courage to Run as a family read-aloud, which is based on Harriet Tubman's early years. We also listened to the beginning of Oliver Twist on audio, read by Dick Cavet. Unfortunately, he read so fast, even I had trouble following it, so we never finished it. We'll try again in a few years.

Finally, we discussed the work of George Mueller in England on behalf of poor orphans. We listened to and audio recording about him from Your Story Hour, which the children enjoyed.

1st grade - This is Shortbread's first year of narrating for history. In the past, he has followed along with our history using coloring pages, maps, and projects, but now he has his own history narration book and he'll be doing the same things he saw his brother doing over the last few years.

Bearclaw is reading a biography of Abraham Lincoln. He made the classic "milk carton log cabin" by attaching pretzels to a sawed-off half-n-half container (no school cafeteria to provide the 8-ounce milk carton) with royal icing:

1st grade -
Shortbread's first literature book is The Real Story of Creation. I do most of the reading to him, and then he narrates to me and works on the literature assignments.

4th grade - Bearclaw is feeling pretty comfortable with language arts this year, as his spelling, vocabulary, grammar and writing curricula haven't changed since last year. He's humming right along with much less dawdling. Halleluhia!

1st grade - Shortbread has not yet started spelling, but for handwriting and phonics, his class is using Saxon Phonics. The jury is still out, I guess, but the work seems rather dry to me. Conversely, I'm a big fan of the grammar curriculum, First Language Lessons. Bearclaw and I used this in first grade, and we both enjoyed most of the lessons.

4th grade -

Yeah! Bearclaw has moved on to Primary Mathematics 3B, which is from Singapore Math. So far, so good. Of course, it 's mostly review now. He did manage to figure out one of their methods for mental calculation that I just couldn't get. You know, old dog and all.

1st grade -
Shortbread is zipping along in Primary Mathematics 1A. He is definitely a math guy.

With Bearclaw in 4th grade and Shortbread in 1st, I'm beginning to see this year as the last year I'll have "young" children. Because of this neurosis, I have decided to chuck formal, classical science and cling to what's left of their childhoods with nature study.

We're using the "Handbook of Nature Study" blog, by Barb, who is also the Harmony Arts gal, I found out. We purchase her "getting started" packet, with the first 10 lessons and some sketch
pages. I'll try to post pics of our adventures.

Here's our first nature "walk" with some local friends:

It evolved into a sand/dirt castle building session, but we did see a black rat snake slither down the opposite bank of this creek, and then two frogs jumped into the water from the area where the snake was. Later, another snake swam down the creek a little ways from us.

We fear slightly that the next trek might be a bit of a let down. At least for them.

That's it for this week one! Only 35 left...

Comments (269)

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Yay! What a great week for everyone. Personally, I'd enjoy a nature walk just fine in which I did NOT see a snake, but that's me. We liked FLL, too, back in the day. And you're right about the lessons one-on-one being a bit easier; often I have the girls narrate readings to me separately. It works best that way. Plus, I don't have to hear from the second narrator, "I was going to say that!" when the first narrator steals her thunder.

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