Friday, September 07, 2007

A (First) Day In The Life...

I hope you have had a good week! As I posted Wednesday, we finally got started this week. Since my blog has become sort of a "digital journal" for me (since I don't *gasp* scrapbook or rarely even get pictures developed!) I decided to snap some pictures during our first day...

The kids loved their back-to-school flowerpots. Once they had checked out the schoolroom, which is sort of like Christmas morning (in the "let's-go-see-what-we-got" sense... not that the first day of school is a holy moment here or anything, LOL) we headed to the kitchen.

We enjoyed a back-to-school breakfast of sausage balls and muffins. We lingered at the breakfast table and read part of Live Like A Jesus Freak (a Sonlight book from last year's list that we didn't get to.)

Once they got dressed and did their "morning routine" (list of what to do in each morning... I'll post those sometime!) they came downstairs to the schoolroom.

Kyle got right to his math. It's his least favorite subject, so he wanted to get it out of the way. I've decided to start him in Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra, even though he's not through Math U See: Zeta yet. The Zeta book focuses on decimals and fractions, so when he gets to that chapter in TT Pre-Algebra, we're taking a MUS break to solidify those skills before he gets back to the Pre-Algebra. It may take longer, but that's okay. He really liked his first lesson, and he likes that format. He didn't know, though, NOT to write in the book. After me erasing it as well as I can and remaining cheerful (while hoping it won't affect the resale value) I decided to photocopy the practice set pages for him, for now...

It looks dark outside, doesn't it? That's because it was pouring down rain! Here Bethany is checking her assignment sheet for the day, deciding what she wants to work on first. She decided to do her Chinese lesson.

She headed to the family room so she could use the Pimsleur cd's with the cd player. Each day she is doing two of three things for Chinese: Pimsleur cd's (audio), Rosetta Stone (visual), and Chinese in 10 Minutes a Day (written). Today was Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone, 15 minutes of each. (I may increase it to 20 or 30 minutes each.) I had carefully loaded her Rosetta Stone on the school laptop, but of course I couldn't remember the password or find where I had written it. I ended up having to uninstall and reinstall it. There is now a sticky note in the instructions, reminding me of what it is. I shared that with you in case our school days come off as looking "perfect" or in case you think I really have it all together... I assure you that is not the case! My son's Switched on Schoolhouse Language was the same way! I thought I had it all ready to go, but I had to go into the "teacher" application and finagle it, too. These are things I prepared back in July! Oh, well...

After working for awhile, my sweet mom came over to visit and have a music lesson. While watching "The Sound of Music" lately I realized that I had never taught my kids the "Do-Re-Mi" (Solfege) scales and the accompanying handsigns. She's only taught that to thousands of kids in her 35+ years of teaching, so I asked her to come bless us with her expertise. We had a great music class! Here she is using the book Patterns of Sound: A Practical Sight-Singing Course for Young Voices. (You can find it here. You scroll down the page and it's on the right.)

Our school mascot, Zacchaeus-the-weenie-dog "chilled out" during music class. He can't do the hand signs because he doesn't have opposable thumbs, so he just listened...

Then, of course, they ended up at the piano. Here she is teaching them about the pentatonic scale (five-note rather than eight-note scale.) Did you know you can play "Amazing Grace" on all black keys? Try it! (Start on C-sharp) In all my years of music study, I had never heard this.

After Gram left, they got back to their books for awhile, and then it was time for lunch. I have decided to have a certain thing for lunch each day (except Fridays) to help streamline lunchtime. They both were glad about this. (I wasn't sure if they would think I was taking away a freedom!) That day was make-your-own-pizza day (with English muffins, pizza sauce, pepperoni, mozzarella and a toaster oven.) They thought that was fun!

After their lunch break I worked with one and then the other on different subjects. At one point I came into the schoolroom to see Kyle helping Bethany with her Word Roots. The first lesson was a pretest on your existing knowledge of word meanings (to show the need to learn the roots, I suppose.) She was baffled by words like "synchronous" and "mesocracy." Here came Kyle to the rescue. He has an uncanny way of figuring out terms like that (he does very well in Latin) so between his brain and her electronic thesaurus, she got some of them.

A fun surprise! Dad came home during the middle of the afternoon! With the storms in the area, some of their jobs were rained out. He and Kyle enjoyed reading some science together.

Then, for some "first day fun" Kyle got made a "concoction" of his choice from one of our most-used resources, The Ultimate Book of Kid Concoctions. He chose to make a volcano. We've done this on numerous occasions, but I suppose one can never tire of combining baking soda and vinegar and making it spew. Especially if one is an eleven year old boy.

Not quite as "concoction-oriented" as her brother, here is Bethany reading her science. Her science experiments start next week. I have always, always, always combined as much as possible, especially science and history. Last year for seventh grade, she wanted to go more "textbooky" so she branched off (as well as did a small science co-op with a friend.) I still try to combine as much as possible, even though they both like to do their own things. Since we're not doing any co-ops this year, for all of the earth and space experiments and demos I will be combining them, since those are two chapters in Kyle's book as well. I love it when we're all together, and if I'm going to set up a big ole solar system or make something explode, it might as well be for all of us! I'm looking forward to getting into their science this year.

They worked hard this week, and it feels good to be back into a routine! I'm tired, though, and it's only been three days! But it's a good tired. I think it's going to be a great school year. I love, love, love teaching my children at home. Even on hard days, there is such a comfort knowing we are doing just what we are supposed to be doing, and they are right where they need to be. Every single year I feel like God has given us a gift.

I hope your school year has gotten off to a great start. Thanks so much for stopping by!


Linda said...

I've decided to visit you at school as well. What a delightful day Cyndi. I just felt so blessed sharing a bit of it with you. I pray you will have a wonderful year.

School for Us said...

Looks like a great start to a new year! I'm glad you took time to share it with us.

Jenny in Ca said...

Cyndi, wow-what an interesting-neat day! I loved all the photos and journaling, the part about your dog not having thumbs made me laugh out loud. Have a great year with your kids, thanks for sharing with us.

Amberly said...

Okay, you're making me want to get into school so badly!! We plan to move in October, so at least by the first of November we can get on a set schedule with our new curriculum. We will have very few breaks for the rest of the school year!!

Love the picture of you and your kids!

Anne said...

Thanks for sharing! I feel the same way you do -- it's a good tired, and I'm so thankful for the privilege of having my children home.

It's great to peek into your family's school. Have a wonderful year!

Jennefer said...

Wow! It sounds like you are off to a great start. Thanks for sharing; I'm learning so much from moms further along this road than I!

I wanted to let you know that I linked to your blog in my Week 5 Report. I love your quote, "To teach is to learn twice" and I referred to it in my post.

Blessings on another wonderful week and a wonderful year!

lori said...

I check in here's such a great way to see another homeschooling family at work!
It looked like a wonderful day..and you mentioned that it was raining..I would LOVE a rainy, school day..we are not seeing much rain these days in the Peach State!
Thanks for sharing...
Here's to a wonderfully, blessed year..
peace in HIM,

Sherri said...

What a great first day! I love reading about other's schooling experiences...peeking into their daily routines!


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