Hula Girl’s First Day of Kindergarten!

Today was a wild success. When Hula Girl first came out of her room this morning, I was standing in the hall doing laundry. She said, “Hooray! It’s Monday! The day I get to start school!” It was all smooth sailing from there. (Kid takes after me- school is always so much fun!)

We said our family memory verse at breakfast, and lo and behold, Hula Girl, Jonathan, and I can say Ephesians 4:32 perfectly now, so we got to put it in the box and start a new one! (Monkey Man listens with interest but makes no effort to actually say the verses. I figure he’ll join us in time. He’s only two, after all.) Our new memory verse is Psalm 119:30. We’ll start working on it as a family when Jonathan gets home for dinner tonight. That’s what I LOVE about this scripture memory system– it’s something we’ve chosen to do AS A FAMILY. I might review it a couple of times a day with the kids when Jonathan’s not here, but we aren’t moving on to the next verse until EVERYONE (who is old enough) has it. And then we will continue to review each verse multiple times per month. Love it.

After our verse, I read the ESV version of Genesis 1:1:26-31; 2:7, 20-25. The kids did a quick narration, telling me what they heard in the passages. Then we prayed for our Compassion kids. Finally, I read “Bed in Summer” and we talked about how silly it is that we get up in the dark in winter and go to bed in the daytime in summer. Monkey Man then requested that I read a picture book to them, so we read Eric Carle’s Rooster’s Off to See the World.

We took a 30-minute break after breakfast to wash dishes, switch the laundry to the dryer, brush teeth and hair, and get dressed. Monkey Man HATES to get dressed. He would spend all his life in jammies if I let him. I totally get it. I hate real clothes, too. Jammies FTW! But I convinced him to at least put on some fleece pants and a thermal shirt. It’s cold here today!

Next, we spent an hour switching back and forth between the couches in the living room and the dining room table. We completed the bulk of our schoolwork:

  • Natural History- Chapter 1 from Paddle to the Sea
  • Math- Math-U-See (MUS) Primary level, lesson 12B (addition)
  • History- “Sword of Damocles” from Fifty Famous Stories
  • Copywork- “Be kind to one another” from Ephesians 4:32
  • History- Chapter 1 from Island Story

Monkey Man trailed along after Hula Girl and me and he worked with her unit blocks while she completed her math worksheet. He was actually pretty good at it! I quickly drew a couple of unit bars on his blank paper and asked him to match them with the proper unit bars. He got them all right on the first try, without counting! For example, I drew a unit bar with three units; he put the 3 bar right on top. I also asked him to “put some together” and he was able to add 1 to any number just by saying the next number in sequence. For instance, I put the four and the one down and said, “Put the four and the one together. How many units does this make?” He replied, “Four, five. FIVE!”

I discovered that I’ve set the right time allotment for our work, even though I allotted too long for some subjects and too short for others. It’s a wash. We were ready to go out for our nature walk at exactly the time I’d predicted, so yay! We went outside with coats and mittens on today! We picked some of the wildflowers that are blooming around our house right now. We talked to a neighbor who is moving tomorrow. We examined thistle plants and discovered some small succulents thriving in the middle of a rocky field down the road. Hula Girl’s favorite discovery was a patch of bushes with teeny weeny pale blue flowers. These flowers are so tiny that you can’t even see them from an average person’s perspective; you have to be short or bend down! The flowers have four petals and are at the very tips of long wiry stalks with needly leaves running the length of the stalk. Hula Girl decided to call them “fairy flowers” because they’re so tiny a fairy could pick them. And because fairies love the color blue. (“Like my eyes, Mommy!”)

When we got home from nature study, we sorted through our wildflowers, trimmed them, and put them in the press. (Our flower press is AWESOME. My dad made it out of two pieces of plywood that have holes drilled in the four corners. Then he put a screw in each corner and it’s all fastened together with wing nuts. The wing nuts screw down and press the flowers super tightly in between the pieces of plywood. Gorgeous.)

Our next activity was Hula Girl’s reading lesson for the day, which she flew through. I was glad to see that it was slightly more difficult than the first two lessons, though. Just enough change to keep us on our toes; not enough change to throw us off our game. When the lesson was over, the kids got to spend 45 minutes doing whatever they wanted to do. Monkey Man hid in the shower curtain (not even kidding) while Hula Girl went to her room to create some “projects.”

At lunch we talked to Jonathan and listened to our folksong. Then we read three picture books. Then it was time for me to put Monkey Man down for his nap. Hula Girl disappeared, again, into her room to color, write, and glue. When I went to get her, she had created at least seven different compositions. Here’s my favorite:

MomMom

That’s me, at the dentist. Obviously. And my name is MomMom.

After rest time today, we’ll have tea and do our picture study. Jonathan baked cookies for the kids last night, so they’re excited for their tea today. Somehow I can bake them cookies all day every day but DADDY’S cookies are more exciting. 😉

So, all in all, today was great. Having school in our lives helps keep us organized and pleasant. We don’t have too much time to dwell on the downside, and I love the way our day is designed to give us periods of activity interspersed with periods of relative calm. I can’t wait until it’s really summer, so we can head outside in the sun for more of our lessons!

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*Kindergartenish, Here we Come!

*Kindergartenish– www.amblesideonline.com lists the academic levels as Year 0, Year 1, Year 2, and so on. There is no kindergarten to speak of. But, by golly, I want my kid to be able to say what grade she’s in! 

Tomorrow is an exciting day for us. Hula Girl is starting Kindergarten!

Yes indeedy, it’s a strange time of year to be starting school. I spoke with several teachers and students who are literally counting down the hours until summer. Haha! However, Hula Girl is dying for some intellectual stimulation, and I’m more than happy to provide it! I’ve been looking at all sorts of homeschooling resources. I’ve learned about different homeschooling styles, made pro/con lists to highlight each curriculum’s features (or lack thereof), and done a bit of soul-searching and praying about what I really want to see out of all of this. In my last post, I described some of the options I considered, and how we ended up going with the Charlotte Mason method.

Most of my posts about school will be written so that I can share our progress with family members, and so that I have records of where we’ve been when I look back on it all. With that said, feel free to keep on reading along! I’d love it if our journey is somehow helpful or enlightening for someone along the way!

So I’ll just jump right in with what we’re going to be doing this year, shall I? Hula Girl and I have been avid readers throughout her entire life. So when I visited Ambleside Online and looked at the Year 0 curriculum guide, I found that we had already read every single book on their guideline, along with all the extra books recommended by the collaborators on the website. So I called my friend who has been doing CM with her daughter for a few years now, and I asked her what she thought of me going ahead and starting with Year 1. She knows where Hula Girl is and she gave me confidence that Hula Girl can handle it. So that’s where we will begin!

The books we will be reading this year are:

History: Early history (55 BC to 1066 AD), and people throughout history.

An Island Story, by H.E. Marshall
Fifty Famous Stories Retold, by James Baldwin, selected chapters
Viking Tales, by Jennie Hall , ch 1-11

American History Biography

Benjamin Franklin, by Ingri D’Aulaire
George Washington, by Ingri D’Aulaire
Buffalo Bill, by Ingri D’Aulaire

Geography

Paddle to the Sea, by Holling C. Holling

Natural History/Science

The Handbook of Nature Study, by Anna Botsford Comstock

James Herriot’s Treasury for Children, by James Herriot
The Burgess Bird Book for Children, by Thornton Burgess

Poetry

A Child’s Garden of Verses, by Robert Louis Stevenson;

Now We Are Six  and When We Were Very Young, by A.A. Milne

A Child’s Book of Poems, by Gyo Fujikawa

Literature

The Aesop for Children, by Milo Winter
Beautiful Stories from Shakespeareby Edith Nesbit
The Blue Fairy Book, by Andrew Lang selected chapters.
Just So Stories, by Rudyard Kipling
Parables from Nature, by Margaret Gatty, selections.

Additional Books for Free Reading

Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White
King of the Golden River, by John Ruskin
Peter Pan, by James M. Barrie
Pinocchio, by Carlo Collodi
The Red Fairy Book, by Andrew Lang
St. George and the Dragon, by Margaret Hodges
The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams
Little House in the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Pocahontas, by Ingri D’Aulaire

Other Stuff We’ll Do:

  • Bible: We do a week-long study of a passage of scripture, and we do fun activities related to the verses.
  • Scripture Memory: Our whole family is working on memorizing scripture together, using this awesome scripture memory system found at www.simplycharlottemason.com
  • Reading: Hula Girl can read, but not well. I’m taking her through Teach your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. Then we’ll work on some other reading material.
  • Math: We’re using Math-U-See. I like it. I figure we’ll finish the primary level by September, then we’ll start with the Alpha level. Hula Girl is good at math, even though it’s not her favorite thing to do. The constant struggle here is to make sure I’m not boring her with too much practice but that I’m giving her enough practice to solidify the concepts in her mind.
  • Nature Study: We’re combining this with drawing for now. We go for nature walks every day. We look at what God’s made for us. A couple of days each week, we bring our sketchbooks or clipboards and draw what we see. I plan to start using other media to record God’s wonders soon.
  • Handicrafts: Hula Girl has mastered the art of making pot holders on the loom. This term she will learn to embroider (HA, and I will learn with her!), and we will also be creating some beautiful gifts for family members for Christmas gifts.
  • Copywork: This is what it sounds like. Hula Girl copies sentences to practice her handwriting and to review important passages of scripture, lines from songs, phrases from books, verses of poetry, etc.
  • Composer/Picture Study: Each afternoon we have tea and listen to a specific composer while we look at pictures created by famous artists.
  • Folksongs/Hymns: We listen to and sing these during housework.
  • French: I am going to order the Nallenart “L’Art de Dire” curriculum to use informally. A good friend suggested we do French in a time when we’re just hanging out. I’m thinking we’ll do it in the car. Captive audience. 🙂

So, that’s a lot. What are we actually going to do this week?

Current Memory Verse: Ephesians 4:32

Current Hymn: “All Praise to Thee, My God, This Night”

Current Folksong: “Pick a Bale of Cotton”

Sunday (today):

  • “Sunday Stories” with Daddy- “The Terrible Lie” from the Jesus Storybook Bible
  • Reading lessons 1&2

Monday: (Mondays and Thursdays are the heaviest days as we stay home all day and can accomplish more!)

  • Bible- Read Genesis 1:26-31; 2:7, 20-25
  • Poetry- “Bed in Summer” (Child’s Garden of Verses)
  • Natural History- Chapter 1 from Paddle to the Sea
  • Math- Math-U-See (MUS) Primary level, lesson 12B (dealing with place value)
  • History- “Sword of Damocles” from Fifty Famous Stories
  • Copywork- “Be kind to one another” from Ephesians 4:32
  • History- Chapter 1 from Island Story
  • Nature Walk
  • Reading- Lesson 3
  • Picture Study- Van Gogh’s “Bedroom in Arles”

Tuesday:

  • Bible- Make people and animals from playdough, use to narrate story of God’s creation of Adam and Eve and Adam’s naming the animals
  • Poetry- “A Thought” (Child’s Garden of Verses)
  • Literature- “Wolf and Kid” from Aesop’s Fables
  • Math- Math-U-See (MUS) Primary level, lesson 12D (dealing with place value)
  • Literature-Whale” from Just So Stories
  • Copywork- “tenderhearted, forgiving one another,” from Ephesians 4:32
  • Nature Walk
  • Reading- Lesson 4
  • Picture Study- Van Gogh’s “Bedroom in Arles”

Wednesday: (This day is quite light due to Hula Girl’s dance class in the morning)

  • Bible- Narrate Genesis 1:26-31; 2:7, 20-25
  • Poetry- “At the Sea-Side” (Child’s Garden of Verses)
  • Literature- “Lesson of Faith” from Parables of Nature
  • Nature Walk/Nature Study
  • Reading- Lesson 5
  • Picture Study- Van Gogh’s “Bedroom in Arles”

Thursday: (Mondays and Thursdays are the heaviest days as we stay home all day and can accomplish more!)

  • Bible- Read Genesis 3:1-24
  • Poetry- “Young Night Thought” (Child’s Garden of Verses)
  • Math- Math-U-See (MUS) Primary level, lesson 12E (dealing with place value)
  • History- “Sword of Damocles” from Fifty Famous Stories
  • Copywork- “as God in Christ forgave you.” from Ephesians 4:32
  • History- Chapter 1 from Island Story
  • Nature Walk
  • Reading- Lesson 6
  • Composer Study- Brahms

Friday:

  • Bible- Felt board re-enactment of “The Fall”
  • Poetry- “Whole Duty of Children” (Child’s Garden of Verses)
  • Literature- “Tortoise and Duck” from Aesop’s Fables
  • Math- Math-U-See (MUS) Primary level, lesson 12F&G (dealing with place value)
  • Copywork- “Praise God from whom all blessings flow” from “All Praise to Thee, My God, this Night”
  • Nature Walk/Nature Study
  • Reading- Lesson 7
  • Composer Study- Brahms

Saturday:

  • Bible- Narrate Genesis 3:1-24
  • Nature Walk
  • Reading- Lesson 8

I’ll update tomorrow once we’ve gotten through the day to let y’all know how we fared! 

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