Monday, September 07, 2009

First Day, First Year

Son was so excited to be starting school yesterday. So was I! We woke up, had breakfast at his favorite place, and walking back home he saw a hermit crab. I caught it and we brought it home, read about hermit crabs and how to care for them and put him in a gallon-sized container. Besides lady bugs, butterflies, sow bugs and spiders this is Son's first "pet". He also scooped up lizard eggs a day or two before. Totally impromptu, but perfect for our first day of school. 

First we did Virtues, which is basically reading a story or poem out of the Children's Book of Virtues and discuss. We read a poem about Little Fred going to bed promptly as told and how easy it was for everyone when he did that. Although Son didn't live up to his promise of going to bed promptly when night came, he has a goal to work towards al to the end of the week. We can keep working on that habit as needed.

After Virtues we did Math, which consisted of teaching the lesson of subtraction. Ds really got it and gave examples himself with counters (in this case markers). He did six sample problems then out of the workbook another 3 problems and he was done. Today we are going to work on three more for practice. We are using MCP Math and I don't want to frustrate him with too many problems, but have him see how useful math is and certainly have him practice.

We did Poetry focusing on Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses. We read The Whole Duty of Children. Son likes poetry, and is working on memorizing this during the week.

In Copywork he wrote down the first sentence in the aforementioned poem, which reads "A child should always say what's true". Not bad for our first day. Son felt compelled to squeeze all his letters on one line, but otherwise he didn't do a bad job. Not great either. I made a mental note to work on his penmanship as he hardly did any writing at all during the Summer.

Bach is our composer for the first half of the year. We read a bit about his times, the 17th century and the Baroque period. Then we listened to one or two pieces. He worked on Phonics while we listened to the last one. It was enjoyable, and Son was interested. He really likedthe music and Baroque architecture too.

Son completed a page in Spectrum Phonics finishing up words. He did flawlessly.

After that, Geography was exciting as we got to go outside and set up our rain gauge that Husband had previously fashioned out of a large soda bottle. We dug a shallow hole (Daughter was keen to help) and set our rain gauge in there so it wouldn't topple. At least we hope it won't. It's all a learning experience, eh? We also determined together what day each week we would check our rain gauge. We decided Monday was the best day.

We used Calculadder for our Math drill. I explained to Son what was expected and in two minutes he was supposed to fill out a whole page of numbers. He got to about half. That's OK, because today we try again. He has 16 tries. I'm confident he'll work on his speed without sacrificing relative neatness.

Ah, History. I've been excited about this for at least two years. We're doing Story of the World Volume I: Ancient Times. I read him half of a chapter.  This is what he came up for his first narration: 

Lesson: What is History?

We can tell our parents and grandfather then we know something and tell people it. That’s what we learned. 

Historians learn about the past by reading the writing on the buildings and by reading letters.

He had trouble with the last sentence as he couldn't remember the word "monument", but I thought it was a good first start. I'm sure he will do much better as the year progresses and I'm not worried about it.

Reading is an easy subject for Son as he loves to read. I picked something a bit challenging for him, Robert McCloskey's Burt Dow Deep-Water Man. It's more difficult than I thought because it has some sailor terms even I'm not familiar with, but Son seems to enjoy it and understand it, so we're moving along. Since it's long I have him four pages at a time. He can't wait until today, he said yesterday to find out what happened. This is always a good sign.

In Literature I read to him aloud from Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories. I read the first story, How The Whale Got His Throat. I don't know how much Son understood but he asked a few questions that made me see he didn't understand some of the old terminology that I could grasp from the context. It is an old story, after all, but hence the more challenging for him to listen to and considered true literature. I'm working on reading with expression. Seems to make a big difference. 

Our First Day was a success. Son did complain that it lasted a long time (a whopping total of 2 and a half hours compared to his Kindergarten an hour and a half), and asked me for a break in between. I told him I would institute a break from now on. I think a 10 to 15-minute break wouldn't hurt. Even adults have those kind of breaks in between conference sessions. When Husband came home, Son said his First Day was awesome. 

Things to work on: distractibility, attentiveness. Varying the lessons a la Charlotte Mason is an excellent idea and keeps him interested.


Carrie said...

Congrats on a great first day! :)

celticshores said...

Sounds like a wonderful way to start off the new school year!