Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Our First Day of School

I was nervous and excited.  Son was just excited.  I had been planning for months now, and today it was finally here.  Our First Day of School.  

We woke up, I made him a good breakfast and gave him vitamins, and we started off at the dining table.  There I showed him the day of the week, the month, the whole date.  We reviewed the days of the week and I told him September is his birthday month and it has 30 days.  We have a daily calendar we flip and also a monthly one where he crosses off the previous day.

After Calendar, which only takes roughly five minutes, we start working on Math.  I've made it short and sweet, with completing only one page of our MCP Math Level K book.  I'd rather explain concepts well before moving on to the next.  We also make use of manipulatives when necessary.  This day we used the abacus and real nickels to explain money and its value.

After Math, we read Susan Blue, a short poem in Poems to Read to the Very Young.  Son loves poems. We read it three times.  The third time he repeated after me.  By the end of the week, he would have it memorized.

After poetry, we worked on shapes from the Italic Handwriting Book A.  We work on them until he's got nice shapes of good form and then we have our 15-minute break.

During the break son can go to the bathroom, have a quick snack, drink some water and play with his little sister.  I try to impress upon him the importance of getting everything done before school starts again.  I also try to give daughter some focused attention too at this time.

After break, he plunged right into phonics.  I use a combination of Tanglewood's Really Reading program (on this day) and Spectrum Phonics.  Son is particularly skillful at this, and wows me with his knowledge.  Hmm, I think.  Perhaps I have underestimated him.  He's on the brink of reading right now, already reading many simple three-letter words.  Not bad for a boy who just turned five years old.  Needless to say, I'm proud of him!

When we're through with our phonics page, we read a simple book.  We're halfway through our Now I'm Reading! for Beginning Readers by Nora Gaydos.  They're fun, and engaging for son.  In the beginning there are visual cues, which will gradually be phased out as he keeps recognizing words.  He reads aloud for at least five minutes, then begs to read more.  My rule is: read until he gets tired.  As soon as I see signs of fatigue or disinterest, we move on.  I want him to enjoy reading, and so far he does.

Last but not least, we do our Literature (read-aloud).  Our first day it was Good Morning, Chick by Mirra Ginsburg.  Son loved it (as did daughter).  We read on the couch, nice and cozy.  I do the Peak with Books literature curriculum and I pick activities to do throughout the week.  I love this gentle introduction to literature for young ones.  What I like even more is the flexibility of it.

Our first day was idyllic.  No complaining, no dawdling, no sour faces and exemplary obedience. We got off to a wonderful start.  Now if only all days were like this!

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