Monday, August 29, 2011

First day of school

Today was our first day of school, and although a part of me hasn't felt "ready" to start this school year because of how chaotic this summer has been, there was a large part of me that took comfort in some of our old routines making their re-appearance. The kids were SO excited to start this year. I know Graham's excitement will probably last throughout the school year, but I'll be lucky if Isaac's will last until the end of the week! :)
Isaac did really enjoy our "Road Trip USA" geography curriculum that we started today. I also realized, once again, what a great reader he is (and how much work on math he needs!).
Graham started the "Letter of the Week" program today and loved putting his "A" on his ABC tree. He did some coloring, some cutting and pasting, some worksheets and watched "Letter Factory."
I am excited to spend this precious time with my boys.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Our School Room 2011-12 (double click photos to enlarge)

With baby on the way, we had to make some major modifications to where we do school. The old homeschool room has now become Graham's new bedroom (Graham's old room will become baby's room), [you can see it here] and the downstairs family room is now our homeschooling area. I have had to let go of some of my desire to make this room "pretty" in favor of it being useful. But, my goal was to make it a useful room for us, but to still hold on to some cute decorating elements. The big rugs on the floor wouldn't be my first choice, but I have to "try" to protect our carpet somehow.
The hutch we inheirited from our old house in Ankeny. My mom was using it for the past couple of years and I recently reclaimed it. It needs a new paint job, but that will come another day. It holds art supplies, activites and school supplies. The kitchen table was our old table and was in storage. This will make a perfect work area for Isaac. Double click to enlarge.

I have wanted to do this art line for the kids' projects for quite some time. Love the quote.

Graham's work area:

A new addition this year is our chore chart. I have come up with 2.7 million different chore charts and behavior charts over the years. I hope I can stick with this one.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Updated curriculum choices for 2011-12 school year

I have recently changed my mind about a couple of curriculum choices for second grade. Instead of Expedition Earth for Geography, we will be doing Road Trip USA to focus on United States geography instead. We will be doing world geography with Expedition Earth next year.
Also, instead of A Reason for Handwriting, I decided to give A Beka writing (cursive) a second try. We started it last year, but I felt as though cursive needed to be put on hold to improve his printing. I have since come to believe that his printing may never be top-notch, and he was actually writing neater when we were doing cursive. He writes a lot like his dad, and his dad is a great cursive writer.

Isaac, Second grade

Phonics/Language Arts/Spelling: A Beka
We used this for first grade and he is reading great, so I assume it worked well enough to use again! Plus, I found myself omiting very little of the lesson plans, which is my litmus test for a good curriculum.

Mathematics: A Beka
We used Developmental Mathematics this year, and it was OK, but I thought there was a lot missing. I really like the comprehensive approach of A Beka. Plus, the workbook pages are kid-friendly with their colorful pictures. They also tie a lot of the story problems, etc. into geography, which I think is an added bonus.

Literature/Supplemental subjects: Five in a Row
I have wanted to use this program for awhile now, and decided to take the plunge this year. I will also be including Graham in on this portion of Isaac's studies. There are some great, free accompanying lapbooks to FIAR books out on the internet, so we will also be working on those.

Geography: Road Trip USA
This is a great, inexpensive download from Confessions of a Homeschooler (although there are accompanying text books that you need to purchase). We will be traveling the USA, learning about each state and memorizing capitals.

Penmanship: A Beka cursive

Bible: AWANA, various
I may supplement our AWANA Bible memorization with something else, not sure yet.

Graham, Pre-K:
Christian Light ABC Readiness Workbooks. These came on the recommendation of a friend with lots of homeschooling experience who said these are the best.

Confessions of a Homeschooler's Letter of the Week curriculum. This has been hanging out on my harddrive for months, and it is looking forward to being used! I have my ABC tree ready to go for next year!

I'll also be supplementing these two choices with lots of fun activities, various workbooks I have on hand and preschool packs.