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 week twenty-three here and further in the 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.
Living With The Seasons: We are still in Lent and enjoying the beauty of this quiet season. I was in a family Sunday school class last Wednesday night. We gathered on the playground and then the children climbed to the top of several different playsets in order to gaze at the beautiful full moon. We talked about the Cherokee names for the full moon, prayed for the children’s needs, went to the Memorial Garden (a contemplative garden) and by flashlight read a hand-cut paper book based off the song, “What a Wonderful World” and prayed again with each child holding a prayer stone. Several children knew that song and sang the words. What a lovely night, and a quiet, still time of year to feel close to God and His creation.
I transitioned our Winter nature scene to St. Patrick and his deer. What a joy to remember St. Patrick’s words and life this season.
Kindergarten: We are back to Suzanne Down’s “Old Gnome Through The Year”. Our son said he missed Old Gnome and his friends, so for March we are doing the story, “Old Gnome’s St. Patrick’s Day Fun”, and a movement journey for circle written by Nancy Blanning called “A Pot of Gold” . The weather has been mostly nice, and there were opportunities to play with friends many days this week out in nature, so that was nice. Painting, drawing, cutting and coloring rounded out the week.
Fourth Grade: We have moved beyond the head-trunk-limb classification of animals we began in the first Man and Animal block, and now past the metabolic-limb/nerve-sensory/rhythmic system classification we started in this block into categories of animals. We have done birds and spent a good deal of time here looking at classifying birds in a way that would make sense to a ten-year old (you could do just land/water birds, songbirds, birds of prey but I had a few more categories of birds). We looked closely at the eagle – in Kovacs’ book, but also in Jim Arnosky’s “Thunder Birds” and Jean Craighead George’s “The Eagles Are Back”. With help, our fourth grader composed a little report about eagles, which she dictated to me and I wrote on the board. We corrected it, and she copied it. We also spent time looking at and listening for our state bird, the Brown Thrasher. I then used the description of birds and fish found in Roy Wilkinson’s little booklet “The Human Being and the Animal World” as a gateway into the land of fish and some of the ideas in the Christopherus “The Human Being and the Animal World” book to look more closely at fishes. We are moving into the talking about the watersheds of Georgia and the fishes of our state, particularly the bass family (the largemouth bass is our state fish), that lives there , and then we will talk about the oceans off our state’s coast and our state whale.
Seventh Grade: This was a big week in learning about the human sexuality and the reproductive system. The main resources I used included Linda Knodle’s “Human Fertility” book and the wonderful ebook from Rick Tan over at Syrendell, “Let’s Talk Biography and Biology” (see Syrendell for more details http://www.syrendell.com/). I also used some of the ideas in my back post about sexuality, and a document from the Antioch Orthodox Church regarding friendship and deeper topics here: http://www.antiochian.org/PVC I especially enjoyed the part about genuine versus artificial friendship and the different levels of friendship. More about this block in a separate post as it really is too long to discuss here.
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I know I keep commenting on these posts and I keep saying the same thing (I think our 4th graders have some similarities), but I find it so reassuring! I especially appreciate that you still take dictation for your 4th grader. I do this too. We also sometimes ‘share the pencil.’ If she writes on her own, it may take several days to write a paragraph or two. (We do this, too.) We are also on an animal block. We are moving slowly. We just did some birds, but want to return to do our state bird as well. Currently, we are studying elephants. Warmly, Nicola
Yes, I am glad you find these snapshots helpful. Our fourth grader went through a year of visual therapy, which is partially why I write for her and pick the writing carefully, but I don’t know many fourth graders who really enjoy writing and re-writing rough drafts of summaries before one is “good enough” to go in a Main Lesson book. I think fourth and fifth are good years to do things this way, really and toward the end of fifth move into the writing and re-writing stage when children are writing their own summaries (but also still have some summaries that are copied and some that are dictated if the child can spell well enough).
Thank you so much for doing this weekly series. I look forward to it so much every week! I’m really benefitting a great deal from this, and all your writings about the early years. I have a four year old daughter, turning five in August, and reading such a clear and concise weekly wrap up of 5 y.o. kindy is really helping me wrap my brain around planning for next year. I hope you will keep this series going for a few weeks AFTER the school year, too…I’m curious about how to transition a little one from the solid rhythm of school into a more free-form, open summertime. Tell them what is happening? Keep doing Circle Time and story? I look forward to finding out in the months ahead!
Thank you Chris. As to the summer question, I have done things differently probably when my children were so young, like yours. I did keep a rhythm going with a little circle time and story in the morning, cleaning (summer is my deep cleaning and purging time), homeschool planning and then the pool in the afternoon. I still have a little one, but I also have older children and so we still have a little rhythm like that, but more days out with friends and such for our teen. Things have a similar foundation no matter what ages your children are, but some things shift…
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