Friday, August 30, 2013

Week 4: A Day in the Life, Kindergarten

Although I missed the official “Blog Hop,” I thought it would be a neat idea to share a typical day in our homeschool. I especially thought this would be great to look at from year to year as our homeschool grows and changes.

5:50AM: Alarm goes off. I turn it off and lie there and think about how I should get up and go for a walk. Or go ahead and get ready for the day. I've been up 2-3 times during the night and fall back asleep.

6:45AM: Wake up to Anna and JJ’s feet pattering, or stomping, into the room. Cuddle up and tell them to be quiet so they don’t wake anyone else up.

7:00-7:15AM: Finally get up and get ready because I have to.

7:30AM: Wake up Nate who has to be at work at 8:00AM and iron his clothes. Make the bed. Meander out to the family room to pick up and check email and Facebook. (Remind myself after 2 minutes what a waste of time Facebook is and remind myself to not check it again.)

7:45AM Kiss Nate good-bye and help him find his belt, wallet, and/or phone. Try to figure out what I’m going to fix these kids for breakfast and remind myself I need to work on a new menu plan. Tell the kids to get out of the kitchen and into the big room so they don’t wake the baby up. Greet Lily good morning.

8:00AM Start breakfast. Remind Lily and JJ of their pre-morning chores. (Get dressed, clean room, make beds.) Tell Anna to quit crying and/or to quit grabbing stuff of the cabinets and/or “No, you can’t wake Christian up.”

8:05AM Get Christian out of bed because Anna woke him up. Hopefully, find the time to nurse him and not forget to...

8:30ishAM-9:00AM Eat Breakfast. Read a chapter from The Child’s Story Bible, review catechism, and work on scripture memory. (Currently the Nicene Creed.) Tell Anna to sit down and be quiet. Tell JJ he’ll have to wait for seconds until I’m finished eating. Possibly wipe up spilled milk.

9:15AM-9: 45AM: Lily and JJ finish morning chores. (clear table, brush teeth, Lily-clean bathroom sink, JJ-sweep floor). Tell Anna to quit getting into the toothpaste without asking. Change any diapers that got missed before breakfast and cloth the little littles. Stop Anna from splashing her feet in the bathroom sink. Help kids with chores and attempt to clean kitchen during this time.

10:00AM- Realize Christian has been following me around for 15 minutes crying and he’s ready for a morning nap. Lay him down for nap. Start school with Lily. Lock JJ up to play with his Playmobil without being bothered by Anna. Explain to him that if he didn’t get so upset about her playing with it she would leave him alone. She’s just doing it because she knows it bothers him. Put up baby gate so Anna can’t get to Christian’s bedroom door.

10:05AM-10:20AM Math with Lily. Ask Anna what she’s supposed to do during school. Anna whispers, “Kyiat.”

10:20AM-10:25AM Handwriting with Lily. Redirect Anna to be quiet, possible pull her up in my lap.

10:25AM-10:35AM Reading lesson with Lily. Encourage Anna to sit quietly on the couch with a blanket and a book.

10:35AM: Lily runs to play with JJ. Read books to Anna and play with her. She loves patty-cake. She also loves to be tickled. Check off what I’ve done so far and try to do some chores before lunch.

11:00AM Continue daily housekeeping or go outside. Break up squabbles. Keep Anna busy. Check SCM forum and email. Try not to check Facebook but do it any way.

11:30AM Begin figuring out what we’re going to eat for lunch. Decide my kids eat peanut butter and jelly entirely too much...but that’s what they’re having again. Heat myself up some leftovers. Peel and cook Christian some apples.

11:45AM Talk to Nate on the phone. Finish making lunch. Get Christian up if he isn’t up yet. Change diapers.

12:00PM Have lunch. Feed Christian. Depending on the about Picture Study or read poetry or a fairy tale. Or forget that I’m actually supposed to do this.

12:30PM Clean up kitchen while kids dance around the living room. Tell Anna to quit climbing on the school table.

12:45PM Change out laundry and wonder if it’s 1:00 yet.

1:00PM Decide to wait on laying Anna down to match up her and Christian’s naps more. Relax and play with the babies.

1:30PM-2:00PM Lay babies down for naps when they’re ready. Usually Anna goes first.

2:00PM Read a chapter of a literature reading with Lily and JJ.  Read JJ a book of his own.

2:15PM Practice Piano with Lily.

2:30PM Tell JJ he can play with Lily a few more minutes.

2:45PM Put JJ down for a nap and sing to him.

3:00PM Read History with Lily. (We’re trying to work in science some as well.)

3:30PM-4:00PM Quiet time if no babies are up. Otherwise, keep babies happy while I piddle around folding clothes, cleaning up, looking on computer....

4:00PM-4: 30PM Start dinner. Keep kids quiet. Tell Anna not to wake JJ up.

5:30PM- Nate’s home. Sigh. We spend the rest of our evening eating dinner, cleaning up, and playing outside at home or at a park.

As I typed this out, I couldn’t help but think...this is the way it normally goes but I really don’t have as much free time as it appears. I also spend a lot of time walking around and getting distracted by all there is to do! (Like feeding the cats, dog, and bunny rabbit, or cleaning off the porch where the dog drug in a rabbit, or picking up a bag of whatever that Anna dumped out, or getting crayons out of Anna and Christian’s mouth, reminding Lily to keep her crayons get the point..) I spend so much time disciplining and redirecting and keeping little people out of stuff that much of my day seems rushed. After putting it out there, it does seem I could make better use out of some of my time. I also realize, every day is different. Like on Fridays after the babies are asleep we work on our composer study...listening to the orchestra. On nice weather days, when Christian wakes up from his morning nap, I decide we need to get away and head to Crockett Springs Park for lunch. We usually play there for a couple hours. And Saturdays are completely different although we do things that could be considered “school.”

So there it is. I believe it will be interesting to see how it changes over the years. I know it will change drastically as the kids get older. And as much as I hate to admit it now, I’m sure I will miss these days. Even amongst all the daily stress, each child of mine is such a blessing in his or her own little way. I really do enjoy them...most days.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Monday, August 19, 2013

Sounds of the Orchestra

Here is a nice little resource we found today while reading Meet the Orchestra. We enjoyed listening to the instrument sounds while we read about them and looked at them in the book. It was fun to imagine the animals playing the pieces that demonstrated the instruments' sounds.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Drawing with Children: Lesson 1, Part 2

For our art lesson this week we are still on Lesson 1. The entire lesson would be too much to cover for a typical five-year old in my opinion. I try to aim for thirty-minute lessons. We still haven’t actually gotten into the drawing lessons yet. We’re still learning how to look and identify parts of the picture.

This week I gave Lily her chart for the Elements of Shape. Using the Monart method a picture can be broken down into these five elements of shape.
  • The Circle Family- anything roundish that is empty with no color. (i.e., the top of a glass, looking through a paper towel roll.)
  • The Dot Family –anything that is roundish that is fill in with color. (i.e., a coin, the bottom of a cup)
  • The Straight line Family – a line without a bend. (i.e., a yardstick)
  • The Curved line Family – a line with a soft bend. (i.e., a rainbow, the letter “C”)
  • The Angle line Family- a line with a sharp bend. (i.e., a spider’s leg, a staple)
Our lesson consisted only of illustrating the different elements of shape. We discussed each element of shape and then spent time drawing it. Throughout the next week we will move around in our environment, look at a picture, and analyze what we observe to see what elements of shape we can find while we look at the objects.
This lesson was difficult due to circumstances and not content. It is very important to have minimal distractions and I had a baby crawling up my knee and time running against me. I hope to plan better in the next lessons to give us a better experience. I, personally, am impressed at my ability as I begin to draw two dimensional objects by breaking the image down into these elements of shape.
Next week I will introduce Lily to a few different warm-ups that we will complete before each drawing lesson.
Just for fun, here are a couple of Lily's "pre-drawing lesson" drawings.
She drew this looking at the back of a marker box.

This is the bird she drew after watching me do the first lesson for Drawing with Children on my own.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Week Two Review: Still Tweaking

This week I continued to tweak my original plan a bit. I notice as the days go by I become more and more relaxed and remember that one of the reasons we want to homeschool is flexibility. I’m gradually doing away with a firm schedule of subjects to cover on particular days and flowing more with what the day allows depending on the circumstances. I am also realizing the importance of getting into Charlotte’s actual books more on my own to understand her philosophy better.

During week 2 we covered math (writing numbers 0-20), a reading lesson (word building with –ug, -it and review), handwriting, and catechism daily. Along with our catechism we are memorizing the Nicene Creed. Which we are all still working on...except Lily, who I’m quite sure could memorize the entire Constitution and Amendments if it was read to her a few times. We also sang our hymn before, during, or after breakfast. I found this version I like particularly well.

Piano is also an every day “must-do.” She is continuing to pick it up quickly and I can see her confidence building.

For our arts studies, we looked at a couple of pictures in Come Look with Me by Gladys Blizzard. I highly recommend this book and will probably buy it.  We listened to The Carnival of Animals on Friday before rest time and read pieces of My First Book of the Orchestra by Peter Smith. (Which I can't find a link to on Amazon and makes me even more thankful for our living books library!)

I ditched Little Pilgrims History because it seemed too text-booky...yes, I know that is not a word. We read two chapters out of Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans and enjoyed this book more than LPH.

Geography has been X-ed out temporarily. I was kind of just flopping around aimlessly and have decided to just do it briefly along beside history pointing out different places in our readings. I hope to combine Lily and JJ next year and do Paddle to the Sea and a more AO-like geography.

In Science we are on Day One of Creation and are studying light. We spent a day tracing our shadows on the driveway at different times to see how they changed as the sun moved across the sky. Lily then drew a picture for her Creation Notebook. We are continuing our study of the moon phases this month and have located the North Star. We also got to spend a couple of days playing in the creek and that’s just Nature Study disguised as fun!

Lily only did the Spanish app a couple of days this week. I hope to find some way to get foreign language in because I think this is the best time to learn a new language. However, it is not a priority or a necessity in our life.

We will finish up All of a Kind Family this upcoming week. With our literature readings and our other readings, I’m holding off on narration. Lily is only five and the CM approach would say wait until they are six. Even when she turns six I plan to only do one a day or even every other day and gradually work her into it. I can tell what we read is settling on her little brain by her comments on the book when we pick it up the next day or the questions she asks when we are reading a new chapter.

And that I believe was our week! (Other than art, which I will post about later.) JJ is doing great keeping himself occupied with his “school only” Playmobil(r) Roman Coliseum and Anna is just meandering aimlessly around prayerfully staying out of things. She has school activities to keep her busy, she just can’t manage to pay attention for five minutes or not dump them out everywhere. She is doing MUCH better than the first week though.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Drawing with Children Lesson 1 Part 1

We found some time on Saturday to do our art lesson we weren’t able to do on Thursday. Nate was home and the other children were napping so it was the perfect opportunity for Lily and I to get thirty minutes of quiet time. I hope to journal our way through the lessons because this isn’t a “open-your-book-and-draw” type of art lesson.

Briefly, I’ll just explain that Drawing with Children uses the Monart Method for drawing. If you want to know more about this particular method, the book has an excellent explanation on the theory behind it. You could also just follow THIS link.

I am using Donna Young’s breakdown of the lessons in Drawing with Children for guidance. If you own the book, you will find it can be very overwhelming and confusing to figure out exactly how to teach each lesson. I’ve owned the book for a year, have read up to and through Lesson 1 twice during that time. I was so grateful to find Donna’s lesson plans for the book.

Our first lesson was to determine Lily’s starting level. I pretty much knew it would be Level 1, which is appropriate for five year olds. However, I allowed her to “test” through Level 2 to see how she would do. I was very surprised. Below are photos of her results. She did very well on Level 1 and almost completed Level 2. The starting level exercises are to duplicate the general structure of the image with the same components. Exact size and confidence of line are not important. Each image gets progressively harder as you can see. The top line is what she was duplicating in each of the lower lines. I made our own sheets with more space to give her an opportunity to fix it if she didn't like it.
Level 1 Exercise

Level 2 Exercise
After determining her starting level, we experimented with our supplies. We are using broad tipped color markers, fine tipped color markers, and a couple of very fine tipped black Sharpies. I hope to eventually buy some better supplies, but I thought starting out what we have is sufficient.
The purpose of this exercise was to see the different techniques the different markers can make. For example, do they blend and smear together? Do they make thick lines or thin lines? What happens when you use the side of the marker? What happens when you hold the top tip down on the paper for a few seconds?
We “experimented” for a little while. We had to make an agreement not to make any particular shapes but to just scribble lines. After a little while I caught Lily making hearts so we finished the exercise and she made a note for her daddy since all the supplies were already out.

I still have high hopes for the lessons in this book. And did I say how surprised I was at Lily’s duplicated drawings?

Friday, August 9, 2013

Kindergarten- Week 1: Our First

We have officially finished our first week of school. Truth be told, we had a very rough start. The two year old wasn’t having it. When attempting “room time” she knocked the baby gate down twice trying to get out. The pipe cleaner and bead activity I had for her resulted in dumped out beads and beads in the mouth. She lost her privileges needless to say. Each day got a little easier along the way and before I knew it, I praised my sweet two year old for how well she did during school that day. I say we still have some rough days ahead but all is well and it is all worth it.

Through the first week, I noticed things that I needed to do differently or leave out. I’ve noticed on most days my daily check off list is not completely finished and I’m actually OK with that. I could see Lily getting considerably tired through the afternoons and realized I needed to back up and ease in a little. She even took over a two-hour nap on Thursday and skipped drawing. That’s big because art was for sure going to be her favorite part. (Actually much to my surprise, building things with science is going to be her favorite part. I’ve even considered dropping everything and just building stuff. She asks every day!)

Lily, 5, playing with her baby doll after school

We managed to do scripture memory and catechism, math, a reading lesson (word building with –at, -en), handwriting, and literature reading every day. She made a 100 on her first math test, which is great! We did place value and that just seems hard for her little brain.

 For science she started her creation notebook for 106 Days of Creation and read Yellow and Pink. After reading we talked about evolution.

For history we began reading History for Little Pilgrims. We didn’t finish the chapter as I only have it scheduled for one day a week. I’m considering dropping it and just reading a chapter from Stories of Great American for Little Americans once a week. If I do this, that chapter will replace our literature reading for the day.

We also did a quick geography lesson by completing a floor puzzle of the United States and reviewed what a compass was and direction.

We met Edouard Manet and listened to Peter and the Wolf. We also read Meet the Orchestra by Ann Hayes (I keep catching JJ staring at Concert in the Tuileries that is hanging on the fridge. :) ) I introduced our hymn of the month, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. They all loved having their own sheet music and sang loud and proud during breakfast! We also managed to read poetry three days during lunch.

Lily played with an app on my phone for Spanish a few days. I actually let her do this on her own so she doesn’t feel so pressured. I really do see how her little brain is trying to grasp all this change of schedule and want to give her room to breath.

Lily had her first piano lesson this week! She was very excited and has picked it up very well. I’m not sure she thinks so and had a little “break down” on me yesterday during practice about how hard it was. We were able to have a discussion about not giving up and that it’s fine to mess up as long as we pick back up and try again.

We hope to do some observation of the night sky starting tonight for nature study. We’re going to record the moon phases and find the North Star.

I have been most impressed by Lily and JJ’s morning chores routine. They’ve been working on getting dressed, making their beds, and cleaning their room all before breakfast. After breakfast, they’re clearing the table, brushing their teeth, and each have an assigned chore to complete. They have really been doing an exceptional job at this. Habit training is a very necessary part of a Charlotte Mason education and we have much needed work in this area! We are also continuing work on the habit of obedience.
Although we had a rocky start, I’m very pleased with our first week. Getting it all recorded makes me realize how much we actually accomplished. My goal is to give my children a feast of ideas to make their own relations with the world around them. I believe God has given us a good start and my prayer is the Holy Spirit will plant the seeds of knowledge in their minds and hearts!