Our official first day of school is August 24th, just hours away now. We all have been enjoying the much needed break from all the books and regular school year activities. Our mornings have been much more relaxed these days. I have enjoyed waking up to a bed full of smiling and giggling girls—and simply hanging out with them for as long as our tummies allow (at some point one of them starts begging for breakfast).
We have also really enjoyed road trips
Celebrating Lourdes’ birthday!!
family visits to places both near and far
and some amazing food
felt the glorious sun on our faces
and some much needed personal time away, just hubby and I
Summer break has been very good to us
But school is ‘just around the corner’ literally, and Khari and I have been working hard to put the final details in place–moving furniture and organizing our space. This year my school planning fell way behind because during the months that I normally begin planning for the upcoming school year (February –April) we were moving and settling into our new home. I was way too preoccupied with getting through this year to even think about the next.
Alas, things are in place and I am so excited to share with you our plans for the brand new school year!
This year Niara (1st grade) and Lourdes (Happy PreK3) will be at the table together for most of their studies. Lourdes has been my most challenging child to plan for this year because she wants to be involved and do everything her sisters do and is a beautifully busy and curious three year old. So when I sat down to plan, I planned with her in mind first.
Each morning we will begin with our morning huddle. During our huddle time we practice days of the week, months of the year, seasons, the date, colors, and patterns. I don’t have a particular curriculum that I use for this part for Lourdes. Niara completes her Saxon Math Meeting work during the huddle time. Our huddle time is also theme-based. We are starting the year off with “All ABout Me“.
After huddle we do math. For Niara I use Saxon Math 1 (if you are interested in reading my review of Saxon Math click here). Lourdes follows along during math and enjoys practicing her counting, cutting and pattern skills.
Our Language Arts program is comprised of four major compartments:
For our phonics program I use a couple of resources. Niara will be working through Explode The Code, Book 1 this year. She enjoys this series and looks forward to doing it. She also will be working through Reading Made Easy by Valerie Bendt. In addition to this program she will work through little book readers from McRuffy Dynamic Phonics and Reading, Kindergarten,We don’t really do the worksheets, I really just use the reader books. I also read literature to the girls. This is a very special time for us all. The girls love cuddling on the couch and I enjoy reading stories to their young hearts. Our first book is A Mouse Called Wolf.
Niara will complete First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind for grammar this year.
For History we will use The Story of the World, Book 1 (for my review of this program click here). This is a literature-based history program that starts at the beginning, the Ancients. We work through the book by me reading a chapter story at a time. The girls will do coloring pages, map work and will put together a lapbook (for a free lapbook template click here). I also like this program because it lends itself beautifully to younger children as well so Lourdes can fully participate.
I am really looking forward to Science this year with the girls. We will be focusing primarily on Life Science and Living Things. Both Niara and Lourdes are nature lovers in their own way. Niara loves flowers and Lourdes is very much interested in dirt, wind, and trees. I approach science with full blown curiosity. I don’t follow a canned curriculum but do use several resource to guide our learning and exploration, and encourage their inner investigator. In addition to our Science class, Niara will be taking a Silly Science class with our Co-Op this year.
Niara is super-excited that she will continue ballet with the Washington School of Ballet and that she is in level Pre-Ballet 2. She will also take gymnastics for the first time this year. Needless to say she is already bending and flipping and I am holding my breath.
Lourdes’ big sisters feel it is their sisterly duty to teach her everything they know. In addition to her sister’ classes she will also be taking a movement class with our co-op called My body Can Move!
Even as I type the words, I still can’t believe that my first-born is in 4th grade. Where has the time gone?!
Lela will be starting Saxon Math 5/4 and we will be using the Companion DVD to provide her instruction with her lessons. Her father will be working closely with her this year for math as math is one of his favorite subjects. Me, not so much!
Like her sisters, her Language Arts program is divided into different compartments:
Literature & Composition: I construct Lela’s Literature and Composition program and have had so much fun selecting a wide variety of great reads for this year. To see what we will be reading click here. In addition to reading and studying the books, Lela will also be participating in a Mother/Daughter Book Club. Her composition class will strengthen her understanding and execution of the Writing Process and through varying essay styles and structures. She will also be working through Writers Express Skills Book: Editing and Proofreading Practice.
For grammar she will continue with Rod & Staff, using 4 book. She is a grammar girl like her momma and is excited to learn more diagramming (that’s my girl!)
Current Events is a brand new edition this year. Every week Lela will choose an article from and complete a mini current events report on it. This is what the first half of the year will look like. During the second part of the year, she will add writing her own ‘Current Events’ stories from what is happening around her neighborhood. Click here for a FREE copy of our Current Events template .
For Science we are continuing using Houghton Mifflin Science, Level 4 series. We used this program for 3rd grade and she really enjoyed it. I loved the fact that it was effective, well organized, easy to follow, and used a lot of ‘household’ items for the labs.
For History we are doing something a little different. We are stepping away from The Story of the World and will be using instead Harcourt Horizon’s Grade 4: American States and Regions. I will be sure to let you know how it goes.
Home Economics: This year Lela will begin a home economics course using Family Consumer Science Lifepacs. The curriculum not only covers cooking, sewing, and health, but Christian character and building good relationships as well. I am really looking forward to discussing these topics with her.
Physical Education: Lela will continue her ballet instruction with the Washington School of Ballet. She is excited about this year because they really practice the jumps. She is also starting gymnastics. Like her sister she has already begun bending and flipping. Pray for me!
Sewing: I think one of the most exciting things for Lela this year is her sewing class. She has had a sewing machine for quite some time, but she also has a momma who doesn’t know a thing about sewing. Lela has a passion for fashion (she actually wants a mannequin for Christmas) and spends hours sketching outfits. Needless to say when I saw our co-op was offering sewing I knew I had to sign her up. This year, along with learning about the basic parts of a sewing machine and the fundamentals of sewing, she will sew pants and a bag. I simply can’t wait!
Photography and Year Book is another class Lela will be taking with our co-op. I am excited to see what she learns this year – especially photography tips she can pass along to me!
Our Electives: All Together
Christian Studies Lela will be helping to lead our family’s daily devotions. Our devotional time helps us get on the same page as a family and put our everything in His proper perspective. This year we are focusing on the purpose and power of prayer and Khari and I hope that each one of us will deepen our prayer life. The girls will also be working through Studying God’s Word, Book E by Christian Liberty Press. Although the book is for 3rd-6th grade students, I will tailor activities to the little ones as well.
For music this year the girls will continue learning the guitar. Thanks to their auntie, all three girls have their own guitar. Their cousin teaches them and it is such a rewarding experience to watch the bigger kids lead the young ones! In addition to their guitar lessons, we will work through Great Composers, Book 1 this year.
For art we are trying a brand new (to us) program called Home Art Studio. I am not a visual artist. I just didn’t get that gift. Khari on the other hand is a very talented drawer and all three girls follow him. They love drawing (it keeps them busy for hours) and I so enjoy looking at their creative offerings. I am super excited to see the wonderful creations we all will create (yes, even me—I will be a student as well) this year. The program, which is done via DVD mixes art instruction (color, lines, etc.) with art history. We are all starting on Level One.
We also will be studying Spanish this year. Lela will be taking a Spanish class with our Co-Op. In addition to her class I will teach the little ones (and reinforce what Lela is learning in her class). I will be using Song School Spanish. This is a new program for me and I hope it works. I tried Flip-flop Spanish last year and it just wasn’t a good fit for us. So hopefully this one will provide us with what we need.
Whew!! That was lengthy!
If you have any questions about anything please feel free to contact me. Also, if you have used any of these programs, I would love your feedback along with what you’ll be learning this year. And as always…
Stay Encouraged, Be Blessed & Have an AWESOME Year!
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