Monday, September 08, 2008

A Day in the Life

I took some pictures of our school day today so I would have a record of how things went, and to show others who are asking me questions...just what do you do to homeschool a kindergartener? Keep in mind I've pretty much created our own plan, loosely using materials recommended by the Mother of Divine Grace and the St. Thomas Aquinas Academy programs.

We start with a simple morning offering prayer I made up, and then we say the Pledge of Allegiance and the Texas Pledge along with one or two patriotic songs. These are the flags we painted last year but still need to laminate or frame/decoupage and hang on the wall.

We try to start lessons around 9am. Today we started a little before 9, after waking up around 8! I heard the school bus drive by as I was dragging myself out of bed :) On Monday mornings we start with journal time to write about the weekend. Mary Clare narrates/dictates what she wants me to write and then she illustrates. Oh, and we had school in PJs today, fairly normal occurrence around here.

Close-up of her journal story about Daddy's Birthday and then a "poem" about rabbits she made up on the other side.

I offer to let Ellie dictate a story but she likes to write her own! She keeps herself busy while I work with MC. Oh, and she learned how to write a "P" and a "B" while writing this "story"!

Next, we practiced Mary Clare's current poem, "The Rainbow" by Christina Rossetti. I found it online and thought she would enjoy the topic and it would challenge her a bit since it's 10 lines. She did some of the poem-practicing while coloring a page of a random coloring book for a "break".

Her poems and narrated Bible stories are in plastic pages in a binder. It would probably be easiest to have one binder with tabs for poetry and the different narrations (Bible, journaling, nature), but we have a separate bound notebook as a journal. I like the paper with room for pictures at the top, and MC does too! She loves to illustrate but also loves to do it quickly! Ellie is working on a poem too, "Happy Thought" by Robert Louis Stevenson. I'll try to put videos of the poems up later this week.

We move on to math. I pretty much let MC choose the order of the subjects while I choose the subjects , and we end up covering everything in about an hour. Mary Clare is really enjoying Math U See. I am also really impressed with the approach and think it is a great fit for our family! I am fairly good at math but never learned all the good "tricks" to help me with memorization or to keep me from counting on my fingers. I love that it uses just one type of manipulative and tells you exactly how to use the blocks. The DVD is very helpful for me; I'm not having MC watch it with me just yet. Here she is showing a 3-digit number for her "test" today.

Then she (and Ellie) wanted to play with the blocks for a few minutes.

We're still trudging along through "100 Easy Lessons" for phonics. Neither of us is crazy about it, but I haven't found anything else that is grabbing me right now. We've done this on and off for over a year and we're on lesson 27. We're doing it every day now, though, so hopefully we'll make some headway soon. This is the part of school she likes the least...reading.

Ellie plays with the Leap Pad while we do phonics.

Today we ended with our bible lesson. On Mondays I usually read a new story in our Children's Bible. The bible I chose isn't necessarily a "Catholic" one, but one I bought at the Catholic bookstore because I really liked the illustrations.

Today we read "Jacob's Dream" and tomorrow she'll narrate it back to me and I'll write it out. We'll probably have to read it again before she narrates because she won't remember it all. She'll illustrate it tomorrow or the next day and may have me add on to her narration if she wants.

After a good 45 minutes of school time with a sleeping baby, I go to check on sweet! I love babies first thing in the morning!

And so, that was our Monday morning. We had ballet this afternoon and everything went fairly smoothly for a Monday. I hope the rest of the week continues on this track and that that Hurricane Ike stays FAR FAR away from here. We're going on a big camping trip this weekend with our homeschool group, so we're praying for good weather and healthy families.

Hope everyone had a happy Monday and a wonderful Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary! (We celebrated Friday so we didn't do anything special today) Happy Birthday, Blessed Mother!


Neen said...

I love Math-U-See also. If you have a computor try the color phonics. I have used most of them and we all like this one the best. It seams to be very helpful and not too too costly. We used 100 easy lessons. It was a waste for a few of mine, others it worked great. In case you don't know Donna Young's website has printable letter handwriting sheets that match up to the lessons. Your kiddos are so happy!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE the picture of your sweet little guy waking up! There is nothing like a sweet baby in the morning. He matches your sheets too!

So hey, I've been thinking about Kindergarten for Felicity for next year. Just looking around trying to decide what I want to do. Which level of Math-U-See are you doing with MC? MUS has appealed to me since the first time I heard about it. I'm just interested in what level is appropriate for Kindergarten.

Blair said...

Thanks, Neen! I will totally check out Color Phonics, although I'm hesitant to do a computer program because we're all already way too addicted to our computer (we don't have TV).

Andrea, I responded on your blog. We're doing MUS Alpha this year! But if I had started when she was 4 or 4.5, or even 5 without a previous math program, I would've started with Primer (we used Singapore K last yr).

Kristen said...

It sounds like our girls have flip-flop personalities! Mariana is my "do it your own way" girl, and I am wondering how I will school her! Still working on getting her involved! It sounds like you are doing a great job of involving Ellie! She seems a lot like Allia...eager to learn and participate! Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Blair thanks for the info! I'm thinking maybe I would like to do a more formal math program with her for the spring semester. She's very logical and task oriented, she does well with that kind of work even though she's only 4! By then she will be on the brink of 5, so I think that's a great idea.
Did you like Singapore K? I was just looking at it and it looks interesting. Knowing what you know now, would you have used MUS Primer instead? (Sorry for all questions!)

Blair said...

Andrea--yep, I would have done MUS primer with her last year and plan to use it with Ellie next year. I have friends who love Singapore, and I liked the K, but still like MUS better and think it's best to start at the beginning with it.

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