Monday, August 29, 2016

Our First Day

We did it!  We finished out first day of homeschool!  It really went much better than I anticipated. The boys even said it was better than they thought it would be.  I'm sure this won't be the feeling every day, but I plan to enjoy it for the moment.

Here's a rundown of our day:

8-8:30 - Got dressed, made beds, ate breakfast
8:30-9 - Circle Time (yoga, prayers, intentions)
9-10 Main Lessons/50 States project
10-10:30 Math
10:30-11 Recess
11-12 American History, Spanish
12-1 Lunch, free play
1-2 Reading and Literature

Once everyone was dressed and ready to learn we warmed up with a little yoga.  The boys have taken a few yoga classes with me at the Y this summer, so they have a little knowledge about the basic poses.  We worked on a few cat/cows, sun salutation and tree balance poses.  Then we sat down at our table, lit a candle and read our intentions for the day (from the Waldorf Essentials post here). We added in the Prayer of St. Francis since that has always been a favorite of mine and Will was going to be learning about him today. We concluded circle time with the thoroughly delightful book This is My Home, This is My School by Jonathan Bean.

Will's Grade Two form drawing
The boys are going to be working with the 50 States as an independent activity while I alternate Main Lessons with them.  Today they did the first few pages in the activity book.  Going forward they will alternate writing about two states each week, with Jack memorizing capitals, and completing activity book pages.  Today Will's Main Lesson from Waldorf Essentials started with a form drawing.  Will found this very challenging and  really enjoyed working on the form. The Main Lesson was on St. Francis so I told the story and he made an illustration.  Tomorrow he will summarize the story verbally and we will work on a written version to go with his illustration.

Fourth Grade form drawing
Jack was not quite as thrilled with the challenge of the form drawing, but I think it was a really good exercise for him.  He did enjoy drawing the compass rose and coloring it in.  We talked about map features and looked at several kinds of maps.  I drew a map of our neighborhood on the blackboard (which I made with a piece of plywood and chalkboard paint this weekend, and realized it is a total mess because it rubs the paint when propped up against a wall, ugh).   During this time Sean (age 3) played with the chalk and wrote in his purple notebook and colored, happy to be a part of everything.

We came back together to brush up on math skills.  Neither boy really understand how to add large sums by lining up the numbers by place value and carrying.  Seriously.  And, they are amazing at math.  Thanks, common core.  We quickly remedied that situation and added large numbers.  Everyone was ready for a walk to the little playground, especially Sean.

On our way home from the playground, we picked up those empty water bottles from around the treehouse fort in our neighbors yard and had a talk about leaving places better than how we found them.  In Judaism, a good deed is called a mitzvah, and so we decided to try to do one together each day.

We gathered on the couch for American History storytime with Leif the Lucky.  The boys were pretty into it.  Viking ships and baby polar bear wrestling matches are very exciting!  We talked about the Native Americans and Columbus and "discovering America," as well as geography.  We should finish this book up tomorrow but will spend the week exploring the concepts more in depth.

Our final joint subject was Spanish.  I had recently read that you should teach a foreign language the same way we teach babies English - with picture books!  I love this concept.  We read a counting book today.  They remembered most of the numbers at dinner this evening, so we will go back to this one again.

After lunch and some free time we moved on to our Brave Writer literature units.  Jack chose Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Will selected The Mouse and The Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary.  They each read a chapter.  We got the audio book on CD at the library for Will, because we are worried we may have pushed too much with our early reader, but he chose to read today.  The option is there if he wants to use it.  They wrote out their dictation passages and we discussed grammar, vocabulary, spelling, punctuation, possession and parts of speech.  I really love the concept of learning this all through dictation.

Wow, that was a busy day!  They worked on loom bands (I know, not the proper Waldorf handwork with plastic and neon colors), legos and played outside until their friends got off the bus.