Friday, July 08, 2011

Caroline's First Day of First Grade!

Yes, we have started school again! Caroline told me, "Mommy, I'm glad we're doing school again!" :)

We have begun school this early so we can get a head start before Baby 3 is born in September. It will be a slow start, as we have several things happening here and there, especially things like OB appointments for me, every two weeks now! So, we began our day with Circle Time - new and improved since Kindergarten. We will learn new monthly hymns and do various money counting/comparing/exchanging, review and learn more counting patterns, and do a bit of language arts work on the easel each day. We'll continue doing calendar and saints of the day, along with some songs and rhymes for Cecilia.

Here is the official first day of school photo... we were all wearing white shirts today, and you will soon find out why if you keep reading this post!

New colored pencils for the first day of school... I debated ordering some really nice ones online... it is easy to want to do that when you see or hear about really nice art materials online... but practicality needs to win out more often. I think I'd rather have babies than expensive school supplies. :) So I got a pack of 50 Crayola colored pencils at Wal-Mart... they all just barely fit in this jar (which formerly held Trader Joe's almond butter).

Here is something else I have added to Circle Time this year: the pledge. I found this poster in my old school stuff - who knows where I got it; I used to teach 3rd and 4th graders and would have insulted their intelligence by posting this in my classroom!

For Cecilia, I am also doing this activity to teach about Jesus as the Good Shepherd and how we are like His sheep. I got this here from Catholic Icing and printed it off and assembled it... we will go through the Bible story once a week and Cecilia can re-enact it herself as well.

I gave Caroline an elementary spelling inventory since I have never assessed her spelling before. I thought it would be helpful to have and do one maybe each year for comparison. It is really interesting to see how the spelling patterns evolve...

Here is our schedule for this year... still somewhat tentative, but I think I like it mostly the way it is. We will try it out this way for awhile and see how it goes! You can see it larger by clicking on it.

Here's an ongoing project... we will add to it over the years. It is a liturgical year binder with several tabs... we can put projects, copywork, coloring sheets, narrations of saint stories, etc. in here. I got the idea from Catholic Mosaic - we will be reading several of the books on their booklist this year, I hope.

Here are the shelves in the schoolroom... the top shelf holds some of the books we will be using. The shelves below are the "work activity" shelves. Last year, I put an assortment of activities for the girls to choose from as a transition between breakfast and beginning the school day. That didn't seem to work out so well over the long haul, so I am trying something new this time: work trays. There will be just one or two items on each tray, changed each day. This way, there is no confusion over what is to be done! Caroline will also have her journal on her work tray twice a week along with a monthly list of topics from which to write about. Cecilia's tray is still optional at this point... she can use it if she is feeling like being included in "school," or she can do her own thing... either way, this is how I get the dishes done after breakfast each morning! I am also going to get her doing more water play and "helping" wash the dishes with me this year, I think.

Here's our new file crate, with a hanging file for each week. I have filed the Old Testament copywork verses for each week in here, along with the First Timeline images for each week. I also have a file for each month, and there are liturgical year coloring sheets, projects, and copywork from saint books filed there. Looking back, I think it might be overkill this year to have a file for each week... I had a file for each letter last year, which worked well. As more work is added (and more kids are "enrolled" in Hycliff Academy!), this will probably be a good system... not sure yet if I will be keeping each year's crate and then pulling them out in future years or combining all the kids' stuff into one crate for each year...

Here are most of our books for frequent use: my planning binder and the liturgical year binder, Caroline's math workbook, The Earth, our children's Bible, the First Timeline book, the First Communion Catechism, and Angel Food for Boys and Girls Volume 1, to be used alongside the catechism using this handy chart from Wildflowers and Marbles.

I found this Old Testament timeline to go along with our Old Testament studies... we will read a story from the children's Bible each week, and then Caroline will retell it and illustrate it. I also found this laminated map in my old school posters... we will use it for our family geography studies in which we will learn about the places where Caroline's grandparents and great-grandparents were born and grew up... this will be part of our social studies curriculum, along with the timeline.

Here's Caroline writing in her journal... her first entry ever was on the topic of the first day of school.

Here's Caroline illustrating the cover of her Old Testament book... she chose to draw Noah's ark on the front since she is already familiar with that Old Testament story.

Here's the finished cover. I love these books... they are blank with about 20 pages in each, and you can get them lined or unlined and in various sizes. I got them from Emmanuel Books.

And the first day of school happily coincided with Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-A! For those who might be unfamiliar, I like to call this "Dress like a cow, get free food day." If you go in a complete cow costume, you get your whole meal free... chicken, fries, drink, and if you are lucky enough to have a Dwarf House Chick-fil-A, then you can sit down on the wait side and get a free salad, too! So the girls and I had made headbands with ears and a bunch of spots the day before, and I made each of us a tail by braiding yarn together. We also made "Eat Mor Chikin" signs like the cows wear.

Cecilia the cow

Caroline the cow, with a small cow... I think that one is "Cowie"

And they got to say hi to the big cow!! He came by our table a couple times and batted at the girls' balloons, shook their "hooves," and cradled their stuffed cows like babies. Cecilia used to be unsure of the big cow... when she first met him, she was about one and was a little disturbed... the thing is BIG! Today, she decided on the way home that she wanted to pretend to be the big cow... so I told her, "The big cow doesn't ever talk, does he? All he does is wave." So Cecilia then acknowledged everything anyone said to her by simply waving, which Caroline thought was hilarious. It was a fun way to end our first day of school!

I guess this post covered a lot of our curriculum for the year as well... any other families want to share what you are using for homeschooling this year? I got a lot of our ideas here from Mater Amabilis - they have each year's curriculum listed on their website.


Karen said...

We dressed like a cow and got free food on Friday, too! Once VBS is done I'll have to post pictures of our cow costumes.

It looks like Caroline's first day of first grade was great.

Jane@Dandelion Wishes said...

It all looks wonderful!

Carrie said...

Looks like a lot of fun! We've never done cow day....I really despise crowds.

Lisa said...

Wow, Erin! What a wonderful school year you have planned and you are so organized!! Can you please, please come here and help me! I've bought a lot of stuff to use in the upcoming school year, now just to figure out a way to use it all! lol! :-) Looks like Caroline had a great first day of first grade! I can't believe she's in first grade already! God bless you all!

Melanie said...

I gave my girls a developmental spelling assess. too. They haven't progressed much over the last year--I guess I better get busy on that!

Please let me know when you have doctors visits. The girls are welcome to come over. My classes are done, so we should be around most of the time.