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Archive for August 1st, 2010

Just wanting to throw down my latest thoughts…


We started “first grade” this summer to ease  ourselves in a bit more into being a bit more rigorous. We still just do 1-1.5 hours a day at this point. This fall I’d love to increase our workload to 2-3 hours a day, but that is including some creative stuff like art and music. I’ve got our curriculum all finalized and almost finished working out our Fall 2010 daily lesson plans. I’ve been following this 50+ page thread on WTM forums on how to organize using files/crates, and gotten some good ideas from it. I don’t think I’m going to go that far, but it has given me some ideas and inspiration. I may get some use out of the Workbox system and Loop, although again, I probably won’t follow the method 100%. I think I’ve gotten ideas from all the major planning/organization methods that are making their rounds this time of year.

I’ve divided our subjects into three groups. Core, Support, and Enrichment. (I just came up with those names  out of the top of my head just now, hehe.)

Core is most important and first on our priority list. Right now they are only Reading and Math (although that may change). This fall, we’ll have finished our formal phonics reading program, but we’ll continue to practice reading and gain fluency. We’ll keep working on our ETC workbooks for as long as they work for us. For Math, our main math program is RightStart, and we’ll do 20 minutes 4 times a week. Because Satori now doesn’t like to finish the RS worksheets, we might try a bit of Math Mammoth worksheets everyone has been raving about.  I’d love to incorporate MEP too a few days. This supplemental math will take 10 minutes a day, 4 days a week. Total for our Core is one hour a day. We’ll be tackling these first and then take a short break. We’ll be doing these Core lessons everyday, in some way or another.

Support subjects are those lessons that support our core. Some of these might make it into our Core down the road, but right now I’m not too worried about them. These subjects may be ones that Satori excels at and I’d actually like to slow down to give priority to our core. Or they are ones that I don’t think are crucial at this time, but they are definitely important and nice to work on, so I give them secondary priority. Our second hour will be filled with Support subjects. These are Handwriting (we’re starting cursive), Spelling, Grammar, and Writing. Due to Satori really enjoying creative writing, some of this might seem to go at an accelerated pace for a first grader. Handwriting and Spelling will be our usual curriculum – Handwriting Without Tears and All-About-Spelling. Grammar and Writing we are trying out some new stuff, while still keeping First Language Lessons and Writing With Ease. These two programs seem too easy for Satori, but I like the memorization, narration, and copywork that these programs promote. We will be adding Growing With Grammar Grade 1 and Write Source Grade 1. Support lessons will be done 2-3 times a week.

Enrichment subjects are subjects like history, science, vocabulary, art, music, logic, geography, etc… Not totally necessary, but so much fun! I plan to really ramp up our Art now, and we are thinking of starting Notebooking for subjects like history, science, and nature study. I’ve made some changes to what we’ve done in the past so we shouldn’t get so far behind in history and science. Enrichment subjects will be tackled 1-2 times a week.

By thinking of our subjects in this way, we’ll get our priorities in order and make sure we get the most important things done for sure and done first.

When I get some time, I will flesh out our First Grade curriculum Fall semester, as I do every semester and talk about our choices in a little more detail.


I’m adding a bit of creative inspiration to our great room, I’ve got some great ideas for an art table, writing table and birding watch to place in our main room, while still hopefully retaining a room that we can still hang out in and not be overwhelmed by messy homeschool stuff. We’ll see.

Here’s a photo of David putting together our new art table:

We’re back in Colorado and looking forward to taking it easy at home for the next few months! I need a day or two and then I’ll respond to any website emails and comments.

Here’s some photos of our last 12 days from visiting my parents (Grammy and Grampy) on their Wisconsin farm.

The weather has been cooperating, and my Dad was so proud of his crops!

Soybeans starting to grow.

We drove around on this new vehicle to check out all the fields.

Maddie our Golden is getting old and we had to pop her in the back.

We got to visit Great Grandma down the road!

Satori and I made this froggie stepping stone for Grammy.

And of course, Satori now is sporting a new little bob haircut! We’re all loving it.