The kids are officially back in school and while we're considering the next 3 months a "Transitional" semester to finish wrapping up 2nd Grade material that we didn't complete yet (for example, our MathUSee Beta), I am going to go ahead and call them 3rd graders. When we start full 3rd grade curriculum in October, then I guess they will officially be 3rd grade lol
A few family members have asked why would we start back with school so early and not let the kids have a full summer vacation. I look at it like this - it is currently in the triple digit temperatures outside every day and will be until probably the end of September. The kids can't even go outside and play comfortably until well after 7-8pm. There's nothing fun about that for them. It makes more sense to have them do school work rather than just allow them to play on their electronics or watch TV and instead enjoy breaks when the weather is much nicer during the daytime.
|Temps Like These Don't Make for a Fun Summer|
I will be posting soon the entire curriculum that we're planning on using for the 2016-2017 school year. We are going to be following the AmblesideOnline curriculum with a mix of Y1-Y3 curriculum. I'm seriously wishing I had discovered AmblesideOnline two years ago but as I am late to the game, I'm trying to play a bit of "catch up", so to speak. Year 1 and 2 offer so much wonderful material that I just couldn't bring myself to allow the kids to miss out. As most of the Year 1 reading is pretty simple and quick, we will be combining it with Year 2 and 3 material in the hopes to eventually finish both and start a solid year 3.
For the remainder of the month, the kids will be working on the song "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" as their folk song. The kids are having so much fun with this song and I have heard Ashleigh singing it to herself at night when she's suppose to be going to bed. We're not working on a worship song this month because I want to devote a whole month to the songs we're learning so instead they have just been revisiting other songs we have already learned (Our God Is An Awesome God, Prayer, Drops in the Ocean).
We have been reviewing the story of Adam and Eve by reading passages out of the book of Genesis. The kids already know this story very well, both because of previous lessons as well as using Veritas Bible. However, I learned something new when we did the notebooking page for the story of Adam and Eve. I do not remember the scriptures stating Adam and Eve had a two pet rats named Yuki and Nic (which just so happens to be the names of Ashleigh's pet rats). I'll let it slide this time, as it is nice to see Ashleigh actually writing something imaginative instead of just copying what I have dictated to her. Garrett stuck to a pretty basic Adam and Eve story for his notebooking in which he simply wrote "Adam and Eve ate the fruit that God said don't eat". Garrett is a young man of very little words LOL
Both kids have been working on the cursive letter A this week. Ashleigh had a bit of an advantage in this as she had previously done the New American Cursive workbook during a review last year. However, I wanted Garrett to start learning to write in Cursive because I have read that it is easier for autistic kids over printing. Garrett did really well with it and I hope that this is a good indicator as to how he will do with it long term.
|Garrett's Practice for Cursive Upper and Lowercase A|
We distributed the various reading selections throughout the week. For week 1 of AO Y1 we read the Aesop fables The Wolf and the Kid as well as the Tortoise and the Ducks. We read the first chapter of An Island Story and learned about Albion and Brutus. We also read about The Sword of Damocles from the book Fifty Famous Stories Retold, How the Whale Got it's Throat from the book Just So Stories, and A Lesson of Faith from the book Parables from Nature. Each day, we also read a poem from A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson.
The kids also started back up with their poetry memorization from IEW. The last poem the kids had was The Vulture by Hilaire Belloc. After a quick review to make sure that they still remembered the previous poems, the kids picked up and started memorizing After the Party by William Wise.
For our math assignment, we are continuing to use MathUSee Beta. This week we completed unit 16 which covers Thousands and Place Value Notation. We also used CTC Math for extra practice with our column addition.
For Geography, we are doing three different books: Paddle to the Sea by Holling C Holling, Elementary Geography by Charlotte Mason and Home Geography for Primary Grades by C.C. Long. We covered simple directions such as Front, Back, Left and Right (which the kids already knew). Then we read the first two chapters of Paddle to the Sea. In addition to the book, we are using a unit study and also the Google Lit Trip that goes along with the book. We did a quick experiment that demonstrated how water travels from higher elevations to lower elevations (such as with the Great Lakes) using measuring cups at the kitchen sink, which the kids then also associated with waterfalls. We also discussed how the sun melts snow and that the run off of the snow melt then runs to the river.
|Monkeys on Google Earth|
As mentioned, we will be using a Google Lit Trip to map out the trip Paddle-to-the-Sea takes through the Great Lakes and to the Atlantic Ocean. These Lit Trips use Google Earth and include route that is pre-mapped out for students that coincides with each chapter of the book. This meant I had to install Google Earth on our computer. Garrett has since discovered Google Earth and is absolutely addicted. Every afternoon after school he spends hours finding things on the program. He calls me to the computer almost constantly to show me railroad stations, Stonehenge, Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, the Pyramids of Giza, and the Empire State Building. I had to laugh when he freaked out to find a Statue of Liberty and an Eiffel Tower in Las Vegas. Just a few minutes ago, while I was writing this, he called me to the computer as he had found a group of monkeys on a beach grooming each other. I can see many, many, many virtual field trips in our future.
|Where will he go next? Garrett's Google Earth Setup|
We are currently working on a review for a foreign language program called Foreign Language for Kids by Kids and so each day, the kids have been watching a DVD that exposes them to immersion Spanish. Currently we are watching the first video of the DVD which is called Basketballs Aren't For Breakfast. Can I say now that we are absolutely LOVING this program?? I simply put the video on for them to watch while I made their lunch. Are they learning? Well, two days ago, Ashleigh told her dad she wanted him to go to the store and buy some pequenas manzanas (small apples) for her to have at desayuno (breakfast) because she said "Me gusta pequenas manzanas" (She likes small apples).. Yeah, I would say she's learning. I do believe she's enjoying Spanish much more than she's liking Latin.
|Ashleigh identifies Peru on the map.|
In addition to learning Spanish, the video talks about a trip from Washington DC to Lima, Peru. This gave us a great opportunity to find both locations on our map and discuss how the official language of most countries in South America is Spanish (with the exception of Brazil who's official language is Portuguese). We can now add Peru to counties we can identify in South America (they already knew Brazil, Chile and Argentina).
We are still continuing with our Nature Study for 3rd Grade. In 2nd Grade, we completed the Burgess Animal book so we decided this year we would tackle the Burgess Bird book. We worked through Chapter 1 this week which had us learning about the House Wren. After reading the chapter, we did some research on the House Wren and the kids completed notebooking pages for the bird. We are hoping as we start to learn and recognize each bird, we will be able to do some serious bird watching on our nature walk and identify these species in the wild. In addition to the Burgess Bird book, we are still notebooking the weather daily and we will be using the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock which we will start with next week. We are going to Yosemite National Forest in 9 days and are hoping to do quite a bit of nature study, bird watching, nature photography and notebooking/journaling while we are there as it will be a great opportunity for the kids to see something outside of the creatures we find in a desert habitat.
Schoolhouseteachers.com has a wonderful spelling curriculum that we have used in the past and so we started the Schoolhouse Spelling Lower Elementary Charlotte Mason LE List 2. This week they worked on the words Shepherd, Lord, Shall, Lie, Besides, Waters, Green, Soul and Paths. Part of the activities they did with their spelling list this week was to being learning to proofread and find mistakes.
Garrett is still working with his Forbrain headset and his reading. It's amazing how much his confidence in his reading has grown because of the Forbrain headset. Reading use to involve LOTS of tears and cries of "I Can't".. Now, he finishes a passage and he gets really happy and explains "Mom, I can do it. I can read". While he's currently still reading Level 1 books, I have a feeling we will be switching to Level 2 or possibly Level 3 before October.
Finally, the kids are starting to learn how to do more things around the house. This includes cooking and various chores. This week, Garrett has been learning how to load and start the dishwasher properly. (Next week, Ashleigh will learn).
Overall, we had a really great first week. Mom's got her own homework to do over the weekend as we received a new review item today as well as the Answers in Genesis All-In-One curriculum for The Pilgrims Progress so I will be having to get myself familiar with both of those and see how best to incorporate both into our schedule :)
But thankfully, I have m planners all set up, including my trusty "Ugly Schedule"..