Our first day of home school first grade was Monday, August 29. Here’s what we did:
7.00am– everybody wakes up and we have a family cuddle before splitting up to start showers, coffee, breakfast, etc. We go to set up the table in the Homeschool Dungeon and realize one of the table legs is missing a screw and we will have to make a trek to IKEA at some point to get a replacement. So the kitchen table it is. This means that, for the rest of the week, I will be schlepping books up and down the basement stairs. Sigh.
8.00am– Telling God’s Story Lesson 1: Peter reads Luke 15.8-10, with commentary, to the kids. We do the “Lost Coins and a Secret Message” activity, which I had prepared the night before. I put ten quarters on a rimmed baking sheet, stuck squares of paper to them reading, “H1,” “E2,” “I3,” “S4” and so on, and covered them all with cornmeal. Then the boys took turns searching for the “lost” quarters under the cornmeal (the activity says to use a paintbrush, but I didn’t have one handy so I just asked them to stir around gently with their index fingers instead) and putting the letters in order on the activity sheet. The question on the activity sheet: How does God feel about you? Secret Message Answer: He is joyful.
I will write a separate post about this later, but I’ll note briefly here that I am very happy that Telling God’s Story starts NOT with the fact that we are wretched sinners but with the fact that God loves us. Love comes first. It comes before sinfulness, even before creation. Before there was anything else, the Trinity existed in a communion of love. The story starts with love.
9.00am– Peter leaves for work. We start our math. Colin is working on multiplication and doing some exercises that demonstrate the commutative property. He is a little rustier than I expected him to be, so we start slowly. Note to self: next summer, schedule some review days. Marky is working on filling in a number chart, and is also a little rusty.
Well, I *think* he is rusty. Marky…is going to be interesting. Colin is easy to motivate: he’s naturally curious anyway, and he thrives on approval and praise. Marky’s primary motivation seems to be winning. If I can play something up as a competition with Colin, he is more likely– but not certain– to engage and put in some effort. Hmmm.
After math, we work on handwriting. I have built in some review on this before we take up new stuff. Marky is practicing his “frog jump” capitals from Handwriting Without Tears. Colin is reviewing some lowercase letters. Colin is progressing fine here, but he keeps wanting to hold his pencil underneath his hand rather than on top. I just keep reminding and gently correcting him; eventually he’ll pick up the correct habit. Marky seemed afraid to put the pencil on the paper too firmly, resulting in light, quavering strokes. Once he gained confidence he began to progress quickly.
All of the above took a good hour and a half, since I kept having to stop and nurse the baby or change a diaper or whatever. I didn’t mind; it’s a pleasant pace.
10.30am– snack break
10.45am– We move to phonics based reading instruction out of The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading. Reading is something we do all the time around these parts, so Colin is not rusty at all; it is clear that he is far beyond his current place in the book, but I am going through all the lessons to make sure we cover all the bases. I may, however, crank up the pace on them and pick up two lessons per day in week two.
Marky resists reading– he resisted at first almost to the point that I thought he had somehow forgotten everything, but when I said, “Okay, this can be the last sentence and we’ll work on it more tomorrow,” he read it promptly and without a hitch. Again, with Marky, it’s just going to be a case of figuring out appropriate motivation, because when he wants to do it he is perfectly capable. Because I don’t want it to be a battleground, I am breaking his lessons up into two or three parts for the moment.
…to be continued…