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September 13, 2004

Ramblings on School Days

Today was our first "real" day back at school for the 2004-2005 school year. Between the Family Conference last week and the boys getting sick, we pushed off the start again, until today.

The little boys, C3 and R5, are still getting into the rhythm of dyetski sad. Bringing lunch in their lunch boxes is still the highlight of their day. (What wasn't the highlight of my day--finding a used "balloon" on the front steps of their school. I kicked it into the bushes.)

I'm amazed at how much easier it is to "do school" with only two children. Reading aloud to T6 and J8 went so much more smoothly, and the interruptions were question-asking ones as opposed to wiggly-children ones.

One of our family traditions is new toothbrushes for all major holidays--the first day of school, Christmas, birthdays. (And since there are spaced out throughout the year, it's a pretty effective toothbrush-replacement reminder.) Last week R5 saw some Winnie-the-Pooh toothbrushes. So this afternoon they were all presented with their Pooh, Piglet and Tigger toothbrushes.

The boys have a natural affinity for math. I've been concerned about missing any foundational steps, so we're still working through basic Saxon workbooks. But their mental math--wow! I'm really impressed and need to evaluate what would really be best for them. (I also realized the Saxon books I have are almost finished, and I need to order more.)

Our history/literature core is focusing on Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome--and the Bible history that corresponds to those times. For our Greece and Rome units, I'm drawing heavily from Classical Kids: An Activity Guide to Life in Ancient Greece and Rome. We also have some related Sonlight and Veritas Press resources, as well as a smattering of books we've found here. I'd like to order D'Aulaires Book of Greek Myths. Hubby is going to start back with historical bedtime stories soon. I'm toying with the idea of doing a little intro to Greek and Latin as we discuss those civilizations, but not focusing on the languages intensely.

J8 is a voracious reader. We're finishing up some of the phonics foundations with VP's Phonics Museum, and doing more reading comprehension and oral reading this year. T6 is reading, but hasn't really "taken off" yet--though I can sense he's just on the verge of it. We're also continuing to work on phonics with VP materials.

For our morning circle time, we're reading Bible stories related to the time periods we're studying, memorizing the children's catechism, learning some new hymns, reading some poetry, and working on the ABC Bible verses. I'm constantly amazed at how quickly and eagerly the boys memorize these! I have the catechism, hymns, and Bible verses printed out and in notebooks for each boy. (It's so weird to think back to how my Mom homeschooled us before computers. . .)

Notice the absence of any planned science. Important, of course, but not a big focus this year. We'll likely read a few Usborne and DK books and talk about whatever the boys are interested in. T6 loves whales and oceans, so I'm sure we'll be doing some informal schooling related to that.

I want to do more hand's-on learning related to art this year than last year. We have some great books and museum visits planned, but little experiential art. We're still considering music lessons. We know a great piano teacher, but the boys are also interested in violin and guitar. (And honestly, the lesson costs are much more affordable here than in the States.) We also have planned play dates with The Girls until they move--one of the highlights of our week.

Ironically, we are in desperate need of a family vacation after this crazy summer. We're still trying to firm up travel plans, but our big dive into school is going to be more like wading. . .


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Sounds great! Nice to hear about your school.

Posted by: Carol at September 14, 2004 02:14 AM

Alexandra, email me about books :-).

Posted by: Carmon at September 14, 2004 04:34 AM

Sounds like you are going to have a great year! We also love toothbrushes - they are a staple in their shoes on St. Nicholas Day, along with the chocolate coins.

And I'm so glad you posted the link to the ABC verses - they are perfect for my my 4s and 5d! Thanks.

Posted by: Liza Q at September 18, 2004 11:16 PM

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