Sunday, September 2, 2012

1st "Official" Day Back To School

 Monday, August 20th was our "official" first day of school. We school year round with a month off here and there, but the school district dictates how many days and hours we need to be in school each year. To make the counting easy, we pick a day in August to "officially" start. Here's a little glimpse into our first day.

It's our tradition to go out for breakfast on our first day back. This year the kids picked Burger King.  Isn't it great having your picture taken with a mouth full of food?

At 9:00 we all meet in the living room for our morning devotional. We always start with a hymn and a prayer. I've found that working on hymns through the week helps the boys participate better in sacrament meeting on Sunday because they are familiar with the words. We also take this time to talk about a gospel principle relating to our theme: Adam fell that men might be: and men are, that they might have joy.  -2 Nephi 2:25. We also work on memorization. This could be Articles of Faith, The Living Christ, The Family Proclamation, scriptures, etc. We also do a quick review of the daily schedule and I find out what has already been accomplished that day.

No uncomfortable school desks here! We do have a school room, but the last few years the boys have migrated to doing their work wherever they are comfy.

In past years, we have been very structured with what we learn and when we do it. Nate has always thrived with a strict schedule. That's something that a lot of children with Asperger's need. As he get's older, he needs to be able to do better with change so we are working on that. This year he will know what he needs to do for the whole week and then work on structuring his own day. We will be here to help him make a plan- but he needs to take ownership too. He also has days when he won't be home much (art class, swimming, youth 4 freedom group) so he needs to learn to schedule around those activities.
One of the things I love about homeschooling is that my kids can do the things they love. Nate is very academic. He loves to read- especially the classics. He has a notebook full of papers he's written and notes he's taken on books and historical figures. He wants to be a scientist some day, so he reads a lot of science text books and studies the lives of mathematicians and scientists. Mason loves to create. He has built a playhouse out of scrap wood, loves legos, and loves to make crafts. We have a craft cupboard in the school room that I keep stocked full of supplies so he can make "projects". I really think the 4 R's are important- Religion, Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic, but after that they get to decide what to study. Mason studies Spanish, while Nate has decided to study Latin this year. Mason wants to focus on animals and astronomy and Nate has decided to follow a stricter science curriculum (Apologia) because he wants to be a scientist. In history, we will be studying ancient world history. Nate will pick his own books and keep a history notebook, while Mason will do more hands-on activities and books he's picked on his level. There's so much more we do- a post for another day!

No half-eaten lunches at our table! My kids never wanted to eat PS lunches unless it was pizza day. I really don't think they were that nutrition on most days either. Around here we try to have plenty of fruits and veggies and save the sugar for after school hours. Nate's favorite concoction- pizza tortillas. Mmmm.....
Our current lunch read is The Black Stallion. When the kids were younger it was easy to get them to sit still and listen to a book if I occupied them with food! It's a tradition that we've continued even though they are older. 1 chapter everyday with lunch. Sometimes 2. Some of our favorite lunchtime reads have been The Great Brain series and The Little House on the Prairie series.

Music is a really important aspect of our day. There's nothing better than having the house full of hymns and other great music in the middle of the day. Being homeschooled gives the kids an opportunity to really focus on their music studies. If they had to put in a full day at the local school and then come home for homework, chores, scouts, and instrument practice, I don't think they would love it like they do.

So- there's just a little peek into a normal day around here. Some days are smoother than others, but I wouldn't trade any of it!


Lynette said...

Thank you for such a great glimpse into your school day! My oldest is only 8 (almost 9), so it's nice to see how things can be in the next few years...I started reading to the kids at lunch about a year ago, but then I got out of the habit. Reading your post makes me want to start up that habit again. :) :) Thank you again for a great post!

Megan said...

Your house is so clean during school time! Your boys are so cute! I WILL do better this year with learning hymns. I love how you run your homeschool. :-)

Jennie said...

Lynette, it does make a big difference when they get a little older. This post would have looked TOTALLY different a few years ago!

Jennie said...

Megan, I just pushed the junk out of the way to get some good pictures. Our house is usually a wreck!