Tuesday, June 25, 2013

An Honest Look Back on First Grade

The first grade school year came to a close in May.  We continued on with a few lessons and then we closed the books and took a good break.  We all needed one.  Now after we have been away from the books I look back to August to see what the goals were and what we were going to use as far as curriculum.  If you want to see what that look like click here

Longer Breaks
We started early back in July. We did this in hopes that we could take longer breaks during the school year when we needed them.  I think that it worked.  It helped us not get so burned out especially during the crazy December days.  I didn’t feel stressed out in December like I usually do so this was a definite plus.  I wonder if taking some Friday’s off during the longer stretches would help ease the stress. 

I am still very happy with the McRuffy reading curriculum.  I think that they are still teaching in a way that makes phonics make sense.  There were days that the worksheets seemed like it was just a lot of work to do in one day.  In those times we eased up and didn’t do it all in one sitting.  We still have a few more lessons that we need to complete before we go on to the second grade year curriculum but I think that we are going to stick with it. 

Reading Eggs - Where children learn to read!About December Mickey was getting frustrated and I decided to take a break and do something different.  I bought a subscription to Reading Eggs.  It was reasonably priced and it helped Mickey gain confidence in her reading skills through games.  It also gave mom a bit of a break from being the teacher.  She worked on this through much of December where our school days were not as formal.  We both loved it. 

We continued on with McRuffy math.  It was fun and Mickey enjoyed doing her math problems.  It has a lot of fun games for her to play and the lessons were short and so some days we could do 2 or 3 lessons.  As much as I like it and Mickey likes it.  I have decided to switch Math programs for 2nd grade.  The reasoning is that she can find the right answer eventually.  I want 4+4=8 to become second nature and right now it is not.  I will share in an upcoming post what we are going to use instead. 

Road Trip USA
This learning our different states.  I used the curriculum that I bought from the Confessions of a Homeschooler and information that I found at about.com.  About.com had several different coloring pages that focused on a certain part of the state study.  We have not finished learning about all the states but we are enjoying our journey.  We also found a facebook group that we linked up with that exchanged postcards Product Detailswith and that was so much fun!  She did not get all 50 postcards but she got a lot that she then created a scrapbook on.  It was so much fun! 

We also read some of the books by Ann McGovern “If You Live in”.  We loved learning how it would be living in the colonial times, or the American Revolution.  It was also a way to get in some American History.  These books held a lot of interest for my girl who prefers real stories rather than made up ones. 




We had intended to try out two different science programs.  We ended up staying with Real Science 4 Kids and we are going to save the apologia science for when she is older.  We stuck with real science 4 kids because it was at the right level for my child. She loved the experiments and she grew in her love for science.  The Apologia was going to a lot of work for me to bring it down to the level that she would get all that they were trying to teach.  So we ended up with Chemistry and Biology.  And she LOVED it. 

We originally bought a sample of Artlier art lessons.  We did 3 out of 6 lessons.  When she was doing her art lessons she enjoyed it.  However, we found more fun creating our own art projects that were not “lessons”.  We will more than likely try it out again this year and see if we get into it more than last year.

I had planned to use What’s in the Bible series.  I just did not pull them out.  We are going to use it this coming year.  I just have to figure out how since we had a very full plate with her Awana verses this year.  She did great and finished her book and her extra credit book by the end of the school year.  I love that Awana uses music to learn the verses.  It just wouldn’t be the same without the music.  I just wish that they had the extra credit book set to music.  This would help this mom who isn’t a singer or songwriter and has to make up tunes for the verses. 

Sparks Curriculum Sample  WingRunner Handbook Music CD


So that is how our year went.  I felt more comfortable with what we were doing and feeling like I actually knew what I was doing this year.  I feel confident going in the next year.  I will be adding a student so I hope I am up for the adventure.  I think that this year was definitely a success.  How was your year?  What would you change?  What did you want to get to that just didn’t get pulled out of the drawer?  How are you going to make the next year an even better year? 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Importance of One on One Time

I have two children.  In our family I am the parent that is often home alone with the children because my loving hubby is on the road providing for his family.  So getting one on time with my kids doesn’t happen.  I get plenty of time with my kids but sometimes the one on one time is difficult. 

We were up visiting Grandma while my girl went off to zoo camp during the afternoons.  This left my son and 4 afternoons of one on one time.  We loved it.  We went to the zoo and aquarium, saw some dinosaurs and hung out at home.  I loved it.  I have had a lot of of time with my girl because she was the only child for 4 1/2 years.  So it was refreshing to have some of that with my son. 

I found as much as I needed to have that time that my son also needed that time.  He needed to know that he was important.  He also got to determined the schedule of what we were doing.  He didn’t have to wait on big sister he was running the show. 


At the aquarium as I imagine him talking with the sting ray.


Swimming at the Aquarium


There is nothing as much fun as pretending to be a dinosaur.


I can just hear Nate coming up with a plan to go climb that T-Rex


Being the King and asking for a train ride


Being perfectly content to ride the train.  Made his day and his week.