Sunday, August 22, 2010

2nd Grade: A Day in the Life

Welcome to a day in the life of homeschooling at my house! Please note upfront that what I am about to write is when things go well and fall into place. ( We've already had a day where everything fell apart and we had to throw in the towel... or should I say grab a towel since we all got wet!)

To begin with, the boys are up at 6:20 AM every morning and ready to hit the floor running! Ugh. I finally started telling them to let me sleep until 7:00 and that has really helped. They get up and play in the toy room nicely until about 6:45 - that's usually about the time I hear the first scream or fight. LOL! A whole 25 minutes of not fighting. Boys!

We have really been lazy with our early mornings so far. I generally check my email and make coffee and breakfast (usually a random combination of fruit, milk, sausage or cereal/granola).

They continue to play or sometimes watch PBS cartoons (Curious George and Dinosaur Train are their favorites). If all goes well, everything finally comes together about 8:30 or 9:00. The tv goes off and I corral all the boys to the dining room table.

We work for about an hour at the table. Generally, Will is doing his handwriting or spelling words while I do the dishes and the other two boys do PreK worksheets. Then Will moves on to his reader and reads it out loud to everyone. After his reading, I'm usually finished in the kitchen and can give them more personal attention. Will and I move on to his Language Arts worksheets that go along with the story he just read.

And right about now, Wittman (age 3) is screaming for "MORE SKOO WORK, PEAS!" :) He's a workbook-aholic. I'll usually give him scissors to start cutting up the page he just work on and he's happy again.

Nathan (age 4 1/2) is pretty content to do whatever. That's just his personality. Sometimes he gets frustrated and gives me a "No moe skoo work - ever ever!" but I'll try to calm him down and tell him that he doesn't need to do anymore, but he does needs to sit at the table with us. Inevitably, he'll sit for about 30 seconds and then pick up what was frustrating him and try again. :)

Once the handwriting and LA portion of the day is done (which is the hardest for Will) and depending on everyone's attitude, we will all take a small break or I'll tell them they can take a play break while I read to them (Bible and/or World History). I've got some big-time kinesthetic learners on my hands. It amazes me how much they comprehend while they are busy doing other things. Personally, my brain would explode - give me paper, pen, and a quiet lecture please. :)

After the "break" we'll do some math and maybe some science. This is where it gets hard though because RightStart Math is really more of a one-on-one kind of curriculum and very teacher intensive. It's not really possible to teach 3 different levels at the same time so usually the two little boys are off playing again. We are wizzing through the math lessons right now, though, since they are mostly review... which is nice!

We usually eat lunch around 11:00 - 11:30. My boys are not big breakfast eaters, so they get hungry early. There is usually a long break period after lunch where I hop on Facebook or do laundry. Usually Facebook. :)

Nap time for the two little guys is around 1:00. So at about 12:45, I start rounding them all up again and have them all lay down in their beds and listen while I read a chapter or two from Charlotte's Web. Then Will and I leave the room for them to nap.

Will gets a book that he can read quietly by himself. When he finishes a book, he gets a sticker on his reading chart that we started mid-summer. The rewards are: Picnic in the park, Ice Cream, Chuck E. Cheese, Make a Pinata, 1 hour computer time, Make cookies, Visit the Dog Pound, New Train.

After reading, he is allowed to turn the tv on for 30 minutes to watch CyberChase on PBS. From 1:00 - 2:00 is MY quiet time. YAY! I'm usually folding laundry and watching Days of Our Lives, but hey... it's quiet and it's my time. :)

Around 2:00 Will comes in and asks for some computer time on He likes the Ruff Ruffman games which are more on his level.

Starting next week, I'll probably incorporate TyperIsland before PBSKids.

Will usually gets a good 30 minutes of computer time before Wittman wakes up and then it's his turn. Then Nathan will wake up and it's his turn.

Then they have free time to do whatever they please. Right now it is way too hot to even go outside, so we are all generally in the house for the day. The boys love leggos and Kid Kinex! Will usually has paper with him at all times writing down his stories and drawing pictures.

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Friday, August 20, 2010

2nd Grade: First Co-op Day

Last year, I only took Will to our co-op days, but I've decided to bring all the boys this year! Whew. :)

For the first day of our co-op meeting, Preschool - 3rd grade met together as a class (these were later split into two classes of preschool and K-3). Here's the large class getting ready to warm up for PE.

Although it was a really pretty day, the ground was wet with lots of dew so they met inside the gym for a good bit of the class, but were able to go outside to enjoy the parachute! The kids love this!

After PE, the kids go inside for American History. (Last year the history class covered the Seven Wonders of the World.) There is a different homeschool mom at each meeting leading the history class on her assigned topic.

After history, we all meet in the auditorium for chapel. Here are the boys in the auditorium and Will being a helpful big brother. :)

After chapel, we eat lunch and then have the final class of the day where they are learning all the names of Jesus and what they mean. They are also learning songs about Jesus in sign language and working on a lapbook. Today they asked the kids to work on a poster with the different names given to Jesus and of course, Will had to incorporate a train! :)

After school there are club meetings. The clubs we are participating in this year are 4H, Book Club, and Contenders for the Faith. I am also in charge of the yearbook this year and Will is helping me take pictures. :)

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Friday the 13th

The day went just like a Friday the 13th should... horribly. Nothing went right. Nothing was easy. One boy wanted his pancakes cut up. One not cut up and no syrup. Another with syrup in between the pacakes and on top. Each boy wanted his fruit sliced or cut in a different way. Each boy was VERY DEMANDING on Friday. It was awful and it was not my most patient of days.

School was slow. Will complained more than usual about writing and eventually broke into tears. "Mama, maybe school is just not for me!" Which led to a conversation about how it's the United States law that children get an education - whether at home or in a school building.

We talked a little bit about how if I'm not doing my job and if he'd learn better with someone else then maybe we should consider going back to school. I try to be open to that possibility and let him know that it's his choice; I don't want to force the issue either way. In the end he calmed down a bit and said he'd rather stay home.

And then there was another upheaval after another upheaval. I don't even remember what happened, but it sent ME to my room behind locked door in tears. :(

Thankfully, my MIL called shortly after that suggesting we go out to the new splash pad before naps. It was dreadfully hot, but we needed to get out of the house and burn off this morning's trials. So we dropped (inside) school for the rest of the morning and went out for some fun (AKA Physical Education)! ;)

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up

Ok, I know this is supposed to be "wordless" Wednesday, but I have to add that Nathan was wearing Jeff's laptop backpack (without the laptop in it) and it was so heavy that he was literally swerving to stay upright and eventually just fell over! LOL! Will had to help him up!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tiny Talk Tuesday

‎William, age 7 1/2... almost 8!

"It's kind of like an exhaust pipe that brings water down from the gutters" when asked what a "downspout" was for our vocabulary lesson from Charlotte's Web. I love the way his brain works! :)

  • A friend recalled the following about Will when he was about 4 years old: In Bible class, the teacher had all the kids blindfolded and passed around coffee beans for them to smell and Will's reply was "smells like Books-A-Million"!!!!

Wittman, age 3

The new big word for him is "actually". So cute! He pronounces it "ack-chew-wee". "Ack-chew-wee, Mama, it was bofe of us." (both of us)

He's also become quite the tattle-tale. Good, bad, or indifferent he's always letting us know what his brothers are doing.

Nathan, age 4 1/2

Loves to tell "jokes". They don't make any sense, but he loves it! :)

"Mama, I got a joke for you. Why did the cow jump over the moon? Because it jumped backwards!"

"Why did the cow jump over the tractor? Because he jump, jump, jumped!"

He makes these up on the spot and is so proud to do so! He's a hoot!

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Monday, August 9, 2010

2nd Grade: Week 1

There was a lot less fan-fair for the first day of school this year. I didn't even take a single picture! Shame, shame! :)

We started right in on the Sonlight curriculum and I must say that I LOVE having the curriculum planned out for me! For some reason it makes me feel like I'm doing what I'm *supposed* to be doing because somebody else made it out. Ridiculous, I know... but true. :)

This year I decided I would start a habit of bringing the other two boys to the table and give them work to do as well. So far, so good! Witt is a great little student who just wants "more, more, more!" He loves to cut and color. Nathan really likes mazes. I have gotten MUCH use out of my subscription to Enchanted Learning already - totally worth the money!

Our second day of school was accompanied by Will's first sick day! Sore throat, sinus drainage, and a headache. We kept the day simple and I read from Charlotte's Web and we reviewed the comprehension questions.

The fever was still around on Wednesday and Thursday, but Motrin kept it at bay and we were able to forge ahead with some Astronomy and handwriting. We tackled the readers and read-alouds and made up Tuesday's sick day!

He even came to me on Thursday saying, "Mom, I know I'm still a little sick, but I feel well enough to do a little math I think." So you know what I did? Dropped everything I was doing and taught not one, but TWO lessons in math! (We're still in the review section so it's pretty quick.)

By Friday, the fever was gone and we just continued on with a regular school day.

It is already evident that the hard part of this year will be all the writing. I'm still allowing him to do many things verbally because of it. I figure that as long as his handwriting continues to improve and he understands the concepts we're going over verbally, we're on the right track.

It'll all come in it's own time. :)

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Second Grade Curriculum Choices

Not Back to School Blog Hop

What we're sticking with:

RightStart Math (we'll be in Book C this year)

This is the only one math curriculum we've used, so I have nothing to compare it to, but we both absolutely LOVE this curriculum. It is FULL of manipulatives, games, and mental work. I feel like this curriculum sets an extremely firm foundation on how/why math works; it is not a memorize-and-then-spit-it-back-out curriculum. I love that it attacks math through so many different angles. It is EXACTLY what I wanted and I can certainly see me using this for all three of my boys. It is definitely worth the price tag.

Getty Dubay Italics (Book C this year)

" Letter shapes remain the same from basic italic to cursive italic, eliminating the abrupt leap from "ball and stick" to looped cursive seen in other programs."

If you are not familiar with cursive italics, here is a sample page of children's handwriting.

What we're adding/changing:

History/Geography; Language Arts/Spelling/Phonics

At the end of 1st grade, Will's confidence in his reading skills was low. He could read, he just didn't think he could and because of that I decided that we needed to focus a lot more on reading in 2nd grade. Focusing on reading led me to Sonlight.

The further I looked into their program, the more I liked it. I like that the Language Arts works around the books they are reading, so they are familiar with the material and it's not something else that is totally new. I like that the History and Geography are also intertwined and that the weekly spelling words share the same phonics rules. I also like that there are lots of wonderful books from which we'll be reading and learning; it's not just memorization. I couldn't have hand-selected these books any better myself. And I especially like that all of the lesson planning is done for me! ;)

The price tag was a little steep, so I bought everything used through the Sonlighter's Club Forum.


The subject for 2nd grade science came from Will's request. (Actually, it came down to Space or Dinosaurs. :) ) I have heard many great things about Apologia and now that I have their book and notebook in hand, I can see why! These books are written on the child's level, but still gives all the details that crave. The notebook is going to be a wonderful tool with copy work from the Bible that goes along with the lesson, places for illustrations and notes, and vocabulary crossword puzzles.

I'm excited about the different projects, too! It's more than "just create a replica of the solar system with balloons" (although that is in there!), but there are more ideas like:

  • Make a model of Stonehenge out of clay
  • Make craters in a bowl of flour
  • Learn how radar is used
  • Make a telescope
  • Track the phases of the moon
  • Make clouds
I'm hoping to have lots of pictures for our science projects this year!

We will also take at least one field trip to the Space & Rocket Center! Science is going to be so much FUN this year! :)


Will's reader for the first 24 weeks of Sonlight's curriculum is The Beginner's Bible and we will use this as a review of Bible stories. In addition, we will also be working through the two books of A Child's Book of Character Building.

Other Activities

Typer Island - Typing Instruction for Kids. Will used this a little bit towards the end of 1st grade. We're going to try to continue it a little further in 2nd grade at least once a week.

Music - I'd like to teach Will how to play a recorder. I played one "many moons ago" and really enjoyed it. He has expressed some interest in learning piano as well, but that's going to have to wait. :(

PE - Now that Will has recovered from the tendon lengthening surgery, he should be able to ride a bike and jump some rope! This year I think we're just going to focus on some of the "little things" that he physically couldn't do before. :) We're also going to look into Spring soccer.

Cub Scouts - Will is now a Wolf Cub! Since we're moving, this will be a completely new pack for us. I hope it will be a fun-filled year with lots of great, new friends! :)

Homeschool Co-op - We will continue meeting at least twice a month with our co-op group. He will join in the 4H group again as well.

State of Alabama- Easing into studying the state of Alabama, we'll be using the posters I from Legacy and begin with the environment, state bird, flower, etc.

Hopefully I'll find some time to review our 1st grade year as I just realized I haven't done that yet. Oh, and our 1st day of school will be August 3, 2010. We will begin with 4-day school weeks and then after we move, we'll transition to 5-day weeks (I hope).

I'm so ready for school to start. The chicken pox and heat have kept us cooped up in the house for far too long with*nothing* to do. I look forward to some routine in our days again. I think the kids are, too!

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