This week we kicked off our 2016-2017 school year! Every year I make my kids take a picture on the stairs.
Here is a glimpse into our week …
Our first day started wonderfully . It was all about putting routines into place. I created a morning checklist for my daughter this year. We practiced it all week and she got the hang of it rather quickly. She is expected to do a few chores and then complete her independent spelling practice and Calendar Notebook before the day begins. I am using this great free calendar notebook from Homeschool Creations. This routine has freed up so much time for me in the morning and gets her moving .
After this routine we are all showered and dressed and tend to meet up on the couch for our Morning Basket. In our basket we are currently reading “The Complete Tales of Winnie-thePooh” -such an amazing living book. Both kids are loving the stories and pictures in it. We also do a children’s poetry book. We are currently working on memorizing two poems. My son (who is 2) will typically write on a white board, climb in my lap and just travel from one thing to another during this time.
After our morning basket our daily schedule varied quite a bit this week. One day we had a doctor’s appointment so we took our math with us.
I decided to go with Mammoth Math this year and supplement it with an interactive math notebook I found on TPT as well some Montessori activities and Math games. Mammoth Math is a great affordable math program that I printed out at home and put into a three-ring binder. It is wonderful for mornings on the go. She can basically grab her notebook and a pencil and we can work on it anywhere.
During our school time I try to remember to play some classical music on Pandora. We have a few different stations, but our favorites are classical music for studying ,classical piano and solo guitar. It creates a very relaxing atmosphere and everyone seems to delve a little deeper into their work when it is on. While my oldest is working, I am typically going between helping her and setting out activities for my toddler. I will spend some of my time planning and organizing or just cleaning the house. I try to be available and productive.
We are also working our way through Moving Beyond the Page again this year. We absolutely love this literature rich program. It has so many fun activities that are literature based, but incorporate all subjects. This week focused on communities. We read the Country Mouse and City Mouse and worked on studying and making maps. First, we looked at a map and read all of the building labels and key features of the map. Another day she made her own map by walking down our street. We went out first thing in the morning (Since it has been so HOT!) and I pushed the little guy in his bike while she walked with a clip board and labeled all the streets and important areas of our neighborhood.
This was such a great learning experience and so much fun. We added streets, street names, fire hydrants and fire exits, as well as bushes, trees and trash cans. She really enjoyed it.
The next day we made a 3D map with buildings . We folded templates from Moving Beyond the Page into rectangular prisms and taped them onto a poster board. We reviewed solid shapes and the talked about what we would put into the map and what the buildings would be. We included things like a hospital, library, police and fire stations (important community features) . Then, she connected everything with roads and added parks and lakes plus a large community parking lot. She labeled everything and colored with crayons.
This year, I designed a writing schedule based on writers workshop and using a writers notebook. We are currently reading key points from the book A Writers Notebook by Ralph Fletcher. This book is a great introduction on how to make a writer’s notebook and live like a writer. I combined the ideas in this book from some of my own and we spent the week building her own writers notebook.
For the cover of her notebook she made a Map of her Heart. This activity was so fun and spurred such deep conversation about who she is. She added pictures of things, people and places she loves. We talked about nouns a little with this activity. Then she connected all of these aspects with rivers or roads and colored it beautifully. This picture will be on the cover of her writers notebook (a 3-ring binder), so that when she needs writing inspiration she can look back to it.
One morning this week was interrupted by our pest control company. We woke up to ants in the kitchen and had to have the house sprayed. So, after finishing her checklist and morning calendar book we took off to the library! Homeschooling is all about rolling with the punches and being flexible. I like to have a handful of activities I can go to if we need to get out of the house. This can be a trip to the library, nature walking , a museum field trip or just a walk to the park. It was so hot this week we opted for the library. I also had some books on hold for our current science unit – The Moon, so this was a chance to grab those. Our library has a great website where I can search for books and request a hold on them. The librarian will pull them and put them on a shelf for me with my name. This saves so much time and keeps me organized.
We are starting off our month long moon unit very simply. We spent one day making a KWL (Know, Want to Know , Learn ) chart. My daughter already knows a lot about the moon but there is so much more she wants to learn and discover. She decided she would like to write a letter to NASA or an astronaut. This is something I hadn’t thought of so I am super excited for it. We also started a moon chart, to map the phases of the moon, and made a moon phase book. This was a fun activity. I cut some black construction paper in half and she drew and labeled each phase of the moon in white chalk. I will be Writing a post about our Moon Study Unit and will include more pictures and information there.
We worked our way through our Loop Schedule a bit. You can find more information about this on my Bringing it Homeschool instagram @bringing_it_homeschool . On our loop schedule we have included a year long USA Unit. This week we started by talking about American symbols. We both drew a picture of a bald Eagle and watched educational videos about it on Discovery Streaming and Youtube. Next, she colored an American Flag and we discussed how it was created and what the stars and stripes stand for. We watched a video on Brain Pop about the flag and then sang ‘You’re a Grand Ole Flag’ along with some YouTube Music. We are putting all of our work from the USA Study into 3-ring Binders. If you haven’t noticed , I love organizing with binders. I find they are easy to grab when we are working on them for some amount of time. I also like to have her work ready to go, in case we do homeschool outside for a day or go on vacation.
Some of our other weekly activities were sewing, soccer practice and a fine art class that I drop Addy off at.
This week she decided that she would like to start writing a book of Poems. She created some rough drafts in her journal for the poems she had in her head. We will work on the spelling and punctuation and then she will copy them into blank books I bought at the Target Dollar Spot. The poetry book was 100% her idea. I get so excited when she comes up with activities for us to work on. She is often much more creative than I can be with our school work.
My toddler worked on some fun activities this week too. He had fun stringing cut up pool noodles onto yarn with a chopstick and we also died cooked spaghetti for him to have some sensory play with. He used play dough scissors, tweezers, muffin cups and toy dinosaurs to play in the spaghetti.
We finished off our week with a trip to the splash pad with some other homeschool friends. This was so much fun. The kids played for hours while the mom’s planned and talked about upcoming field trips.
And so, with full hearts, our first week of the 2016-2017 year is in the books! It was so wonderful and I look forward to sharing the year with you! What was your highlight of the first week of school?
*** I am not sponsored by any of the curriculum that I included in this post. All ideas and opinions are my own and I was not asked to provide them***