We have completed 6 days of 1st grade. We are currently 1 for 6 on good days.
I suppose that isn’t completely fair. There have been great moments in each of those 6 days, but there have also been tears, angry, frustration, raised voices, and MUCH complaining in those 6 days as well.
Yesterday was probably the worst day yet as I completely lost my temper with Emory, never mind that he was practically screaming at me. I feel pretty terrible about the whole thing. I am the mom after all and I should be able to dig deep in those moments. Emory is…struggling in all areas of life right now. But it is hard to remember that in the heat of the moment. And we are all wearing thin right now. August is definitely the worst month of the year for us. It is like this every year….I just seem to forget how bad August really is each time it comes around.
I have crammed our school day with all sorts of things. Our main curriculum this year is Sonlight Core A with Grade 1 Readers. I knew with the potential for moving at any time during this school year I needed something that was mostly complete for me to follow. Of course, as soon as I started planning, I started changing things up. That Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction tends to keep me from just “following along”. But the core package gives me structure and framework and I do not have the time to reinvent 1st grade! I have almost completely revamped the History part of the core. I have rearranges, added lap books to expand on certain topics, and honestly I just totally changed it. The science portion has remained mostly the same, although I have added in more activities and labs because you know….science teacher here!
(As an aside about the science curriculum….because I was a science teacher I am very particular about my science curriculum. It is difficult in the homeschool community to find more secular options to science. We are not creationists. I have no problem teaching all the ideas and theories in science but I refuse to exclude whole entire scientific ideas (evolution). I like the Sonlight science program. They present the information and leave it up to the parents to decide what and how much to teach and explain. They acknowledge there are different ideas and schools of thought and encourage parents to have conversations with their children about the particular beliefs of their family. That being said….we don’t study evolution or creationism in 1st grade so we are pretty good for now!)
The Language Arts part of the core I am following exactly. The Core suggests using Explode the Code to supplement and we are doing that as well. Reading comes easier for Dean than for Emory so he probably doesn’t need the extra supplement BUT I also think it is good for building a very strong reading foundation. Emory needs reading instruction in as many forms as I can provide and he also needs the repetition. His motor planning speech problems extend to reading and it is very challenging for him. But he is doing great so far.
Our Math program is Math-U-See. We are currently reviewing some math concepts before jumping back in where we left off in May.
We also have a handwriting program, do Spelling-You-See, and are completing a daily Geography assignment.
Each day looks like this:
Math, Science, History, Spelling-You-See, Handwriting, Explode the Code, Geography, Sonlight Spelling Words for the Week, Sonlight Reading. Reading and Science also have written work to complete each day. Thursday is Science Fun! day when we do specific labs and activities.
After the disaster of yesterday I have decided I am going to change some things up. The boys already get to decide what order they complete their work in. We always do History and Science together but most of the other things they do separately because they are in different places in their learning. For now I have decided to drop handwriting and Spelling-You-See. Last year handwriting was a favorite activity, now it is one of our biggest battles. So, I am going to set it aside. They still have handwriting practice during the school day between spelling words, written assignments for reading and science, and other activities. I am not scrapping handwriting but we are going to set aside the dedicated workbook for now.
As for Spelling-You-See, they really enjoy doing SYS, but it is a redundant item in our day at this point. I think seeing so many required daily activities on their schedule is overwhelming right now. I have split our year into 4 twelve week quarters. We are currently in the Fall Quarter so I am going to move SYS to the Winter Quarter and see how we are doing at that point.
I am still very much a public school teacher and tend to “hit the ground running”. When I was teaching public school I had so much curriculum to get through by certain dates that we didn’t have any time to lose. It is hard to switch that person off, but homeschool isn’t public school. We don’t have to rush and hurry and prepare for a state test. We get to take our time and explore and really build strong educational foundations. One of my main goals with schooling the boys at home is to build life learners who love and enjoy learning. I want them to be curious about things. I want them to be thinkers, not test takers. Having 1 good day out of 6 total days is a red flag. It means I need to tweak and refine what we are doing. And I get to do that!
I have no doubt that 1st grade will end successfully. We will find our groove and settle in….eventually!
*I am not receiving anything from the links above. I have purchased all of our curriculum components. I am just sharing what we do!*