I am trying to post a little wrap-up of each week of grades seven, four and five year old kindergarten year throughout the 36 weeks I have planned for school this year. I hope this will encourage mothers that are homeschooling multiple children (or who want to but are worried!), and encourage mothers that even homeschooling children of multiple ages who are far apart in age is doable. You can find weeks nine and ten here and and further in back posts you can find a post pertaining to the first two days of school this year which gives insight to our general daily rhythm.
Changes in the Air: I alluded to changing our daily rhythm due to seasonal changes and also to feeling as if we need a greater dose of movement each day. I have also found at this point in the school year, almost a trimester complete, that with three children I need to have more of a schedule with times than a rhythmic flow in order that all the children get what they need. That is a large change from past years when I really had more of a flow than set start times and end times, etc. So I am still meditating on this, but right now I am thinking we will start at 8 with prayer, connecting with each other in love; 8:30 walk our dog; 9 start with our little kindergartener and his daily work and this can extend with our thirteen year old helping him as 9:45 is about the latest I can start with our fourth grader. So whilst I am working with our fourth grader, our seventh grader can assist him and then also do some independent work in math or rough drafts of summaries and creative writing pieces whilst he plays by himself. At 11:15 our seventh grader would be with me, with our fourth grader and kindergartener together. Lunch at 12:30 and rest. At 2, several days a week I would like to do crafts and handwork and several days a week do the requirements for the presidential fitness awards. I have not figured out where to put foreign languages in this nor music practice…so I am still thinking. For my own sanity, I don’t want to do any school past 3 and several days a week I would like to end earlier than that. Thinking!
Kindergarten: This week was mainly an autumn circle, fingerplays and seasonal songs, making broth and soup, making banana bread, and the story of the Pumpkin Motel found in Suzanne Down’s “Old Gnome Through The Year.” There is still whittling going on as our oldest shared one of her wooden animals that she started with him and he is whittling and sanding quite happily. However, I still feel there needs to be a bit more to his day so I am thinking about that in relation to the rhythm/schedule above. I am happy he has friends his age to play with many days of the week because as a third child and with his personality, he seems to crave that.
Fourth Grade: This week we are solidly into local geography. We began with a trip to our local historical society on Monday, and learned about the history of our county and how our entire county was Cherokee lands, what happened when our river was dammed and how that formed a lake that overflowed some of the plots that were given to settlers. We also learned about some of the historical restoration projects that are ongoing within our county. The volunteers there were extremely kind and patient with us! The next day we wrote a summary about our county with a pretty border with many of the names of the cities within our county. We then looked at the geographic regions of our entire state and free hand drew a map and labeled it with a key. We have looked at each geographic area and written a summary on the coastal plains which make up most of Georgia’s land, and talked about each area and what kinds of agriculture and animals and plants are there, where do most of the people live, places we have visited in each area. We spent a day on the Okefenokee Swamp and also the barrier islands. The last thing we touched upon were the many rivers of Georgia, how they widen and slow and wind when they get to the plains, and we will look next week at Georgia’s rice production of the early settlers, and then cotton and transportation. We also have a few summaries to write this week, another look at the major rivers and their important role in our county, and a salt dough map to make of our state on a piece of plywood. We still have up until Thanksgiving in this block, so we have plans to go on several field trips as well. I hope to use time in our last week to visit the history center and the new Delta museum, along with a small Cherokee museum several town away.
We are currently reading a biography of the childhood of Theodore Roosevelt, (which also ties into Georgia), which I plan to tie into our next Man and Animal block, and at night we are reading “A Little Princess”.
We are also working hard every day on addition and subtraction facts and our multiplication tables (we are going over all of them except the 6s and 8s are still left). We have played a game of Sequencing Numbers each day in addition to a lot of math practice in movement. Next week I also want to work into adding and subtracting with and without carrying and borrowing and hope to dig into a review of short division and then long division prior to Christmas. We are also working daily on spelling; this is extremely, extremely difficult for our fourth grader that ties into visual memory challenges and other areas. At the beginning of this year, any of her own writing was mainly composed of consonants or if a vowel was included it was typically the wrong vowel for the sound. Our eye doctor let me look at a copy of a mainstream spelling program he is scoping out to help his homeschooling patients and I have borrowed their idea of vowel and consonant chunking, etc with colors and working with the same passage for a week with a final dictation writing at the end and I have seen some improvement. I have also been reading the book, “The Gift of Learning” for methods regarding ADD, Math and Handwriting problems. That has been a help.
Seventh Grade: My seventh grader has proclaimed our American history block of Colonial times and the American Revolution (which we also go over again next year and look at the Dutch, French and Russian revolutions, along with the Industrial Revolution as well) her absolute favorite of the year so far. I think this really spoke to her as a thirteen year old and she is very proud of her work.
This is our work so far in this block:
- We read “The Birchbark House” and drew a drawing of the First Americans and wrote summary
- Summary: The First Discovery of the Americans with a map of the areas of European settlement around 1620
- A drawing/map of a typical New England Village
- Summary: The Pilgrims and the Puritans
- Summary: Roger Williams and George Calvert
- Map/drawing of a typical Southern Plantation with a summary about plantation life, and the terrible “triangular trade” that involved slaves, and our own state’s colonial plantation history. Georgia actually had banned slaves and rum at its beginning, and Savannah’s population dwindled down to about 300 people as everyone left to go to the Carolinas. We wrote a little about our own state history.
- Summary: Pictures of beavers and the French-Indian War, the role of the fur traders and trappers in settling our country (and the role of the fur-bearing animals here!)
- Picture of a lady Liberty with an eagle and a writing about “What is An American?” We looked at the still-read book “Letters of An American Farmer” and also at the life of Eliza Pinckney
- The lives of Sam Adams, Thomas Paine, and Patrick Henry – we talked about the Magna Charta as well, which we will circle back to in our world history block
- The famous poem and ride of Paul Revere with a map – also discussed the writing of the Declaration of Independence
- We discussed the battles of Saratoga, what happened at Valley Forge, and Yorktown; a brief look at what happened in our state at Savannah, and will finish with the Constitution and Bill of Rights
This block has been a lot of drawing and maps and writing; I really wanted more hands on projects to do so we may extend some of those into the afternoon the next few weeks. We will also be starting our Perspective Drawing block this week. Originally I wanted to do chemistry here, but the block would have had to have been divided with Thanksgiving week, so we will do Chemistry in December first.
Our oldest has done a lot of Native American bead looming this week with those tiny seed beads and she is also pretty proud of that. We have reviewed something in math everyday including business math, geometry and algebra. We read “The Birchbark House” in this block as mentioned, also a book about the ladies of the Revolutionary War and their role, and the iconic “Ben and Me”. I also have several good books she has already read, such as “Phoebe the Spy” and “Johnny Tremain” (which I would like to re-read this year with her).
I would love to hear what you are up to!