Monday, August 21, 2017

First Week of School 2017

Our first week of school was a lot easier than I had envisioned.  It wasn't all rosy but it sure flowed a lot better than I thought it would.  The first week is usually a lot of trial and error trying to find the right routine and balance.  It took us a few days but I think we have a pattern down that will work well for us this semester while in the States.  I set up a school area in our dining room and the boys sit around the table and do their work each day.  We all seem to like it and so far we are off to a great start. Here is some of what we covered in Week 1.

I changed Bible curriculum this year.  We went from Abeka to Positive Action Bible.  I am really hoping that I will love it.  The weekly lessons include a Bible story, a character trait, and a memory verse.  They will also be learning a hymn a month and two choruses.  This month their hymn is "Living for Jesus" and the choruses are "I'll Do It All For Jesus" and "Jesus Loves The Little Children".  Our theme for the first few weeks is Trusting God's Promises.  This week we looked at several of God's promises in the Bible and had the story of the flood.  At the end of the week we made a rainbow craft.

In language Ben spent the first week doing readiness skills activities.  That included a lot of cutting, gluing, and coloring.  He also did several activities like sorting, tracing, sequence, and finding objects that are alike and different.

For his Language Arts I am using Sing, Spell, Read, and Write.  He is also doing A Reason For Handwriting Level K.

He was excited to finally get to watch his very own math video.  He has watched his brother do that for the past few years and now he gets to do it too.   We use Math U See for math and we begin each week by watching a DVD that explains the concept that we will be learning that week.  They both love watching the instructor Mr. Demme.  I like having the DVD to introduce the lesson and then I spend the week trying to help them understand it. 

His first Math U See lesson.   He is using the Primer level this year.  

Cruz is using BJU Press for Grammar and Writing, All About Spelling, and A Reason For Handwriting Level T.  He will do manuscript the first semester and will transition to cursive writing the second semester.  He does Sonlight for Reading and Math U See Beta for math.

We chose to begin Sonlight this year for History and Literature.  I am so excited about it!  We are doing Core A which is for ages 5-7.  I waited for their ages to line up before we began.  They will do this together.  This year they will be learning about world cultures.  I think it will be a very interesting study for all of us.  Living cross culturally really helps us understand the differences in people and places.  We began with a lesson on dinosaurs (which they loved) and moved on to how the first people lived.  We learned about their clothing, shelter, and how they hunted for food. 

watching videos about dinosaurs

reading dinosaur books

We learned that some people lived in caves and would draw pictures of animals that they had killed on the walls .  We looked at some cave drawings and then did an activity.  I had Cruz pick an animal that he would like to hunt and draw a picture of it.  We then boiled some tea and he painted his paper with it to make it look brown like a wall. (That was a stretch but he enjoyed the process).
sponge painting with tea

Cruz's cave drawing

They had to use natural materials and try to build their own shelter.  Here they are trying to construct a teepee.  They worked all by themselves and did a pretty good job.

We are also using Sonlight for Science this year.  I really struggled with changing Science curriculum this year but I think I am going to like doing this one just as much as the other.  We have used Elemental Science the past two years.  This year we will have three days of lessons and then the fourth day is experiment day.  That will be their favorite day of the week.  In Week 1 we began a study on weather.  We learned about clouds, seasons, the earth, and the sun. Their experiments were on air.

We went outside to see our shadows.  We checked them in the morning, at noon, and late afternoon to see how they move.  It was a cool visual for the boys.

In the middle of the day his shadow was  beside him.

We made a poster about the seasons.  Cruz had to draw and Ben had to find and cut magazine pictures. 

Doing an experiment about air.  They had to fan their papers over a finish line. 

on your mark, get set, go!

Science has always been their favorite subject.

This year in Art we began using a curriculum called Artistic Pursuits.  We are doing book 1.  The first unit is called What Artists Do.  It will cover the activities that artists engage in when making art (composing, imagining, looking), how to use the materials of an artist (watercolor crayons, pastels, pencil), and the various types of subjects artists work from (landscapes, people, still life).  The activities are designed to broaden a child's awareness of the world they live in.  In this first unit they will explore drawing and painting.  Each week we will look at a different work of art and answer some discussion questions about it.  They are then given an art assignment to complete.  Our first lesson was called Artists Compose.

This is the picture of art we studied this week.

Their activity was to paint something they see everyday in their home.  They wanted to draw their fish.  Instead of just drawing the tank I challenged them to draw the area around their fish too.

Cruz has always enjoyed art activities.

They drew with watercolor crayons and then used a paintbrush and water to finish their work. 

We love using watercolor pencils and crayons.

Their fish sit on this end table.  This is the view they tried to draw.

Cruz's artwork.  He included the couch, fish tank, table, lamp, candle holder, and doorway.  I thought he did a great job.

Ben's artwork

Our reading for the first few weeks of school comes from these books.  We read a chapter a day from The Boxcar Children and a few pages a day from The Arnold Lobel Book of Mother Goose and The Llama Who Had No Pajama.  Cruz's daily reading assignments are from The Beginner's Bible.  He reads a story a day.  All of these assignments are from our Sonlight curriculum.

 afternoon free reading from library books

As you can see we had a full week.  It was busy but also a lot of fun.  That's one week down and thirty five more to go.  From the way things look I am thinking we have some great learning days ahead.

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