The school year is going along great so far. At the moment, they beg me each day to do school. I am constantly amazed with how smart my children are (yes, I know any mother would say that ... but mine really are!!).
Joseph - 1st Grade
Stephen - Kindergarten
Jeremiah - Preschool
Eva - Preschool
Mary - Preschool (because she INSISTS that she is old enough to do "school" too).
The four oldest are currently doing Math-U-See Primer. They are learning to count numbers, write them, and simple addition. Mary is learning to write her numbers.
We're using "How To Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons." Joseph is up to lesson 59, and doing amazingly well. Stephen and the twins are reading 1 sentence stories in lesson 20. And Mary works daily on lesson 1-3, practicing her S, M and A sounds. Of course, she insists on doing this. She thinks she's capable of anything the older kids do (and I believe her).
Joseph and Stephen are also very involved in BookIt. They are reading 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week. They've almost earned their first pizza! We've been reading Hank the Cowdog, Charlotte's Web, library books of their choosing, and a handful of Eloise Wilken's Little Golden Books.
Mary is also learning the ABCs with some Dora flashcards that Nana bought her.
We're using "A Reason for Handwriting" for Joseph this year. I like it so much, that I think I will start Stephen on it next semester. He does a little practicing writing letters and words everyday, then at the end of the week he uses the skills he learned to write out a Bible verse on some pretty decorated paper. I would've loved this as a kid.
Joseph is flying through "Art with a Purpose - Artpac 1" that we bought at Rod and Staff. I'm really impressed with this package. Of course Joseph loves it -- he seems to be gifted with a natural ability for drawing and art in general.
For the rest, I've been using "Color, Count and Cut" which was also bought at Rod and Staff. Been a bit disappointed with it. It seems to be more appropriate for younger children than age 4 (which it is recommended for). Next semester, I will be starting Stephen on the Art with a Purpose, and having the other kids play around with the "Color by Number for Little Hands" instead.
We've also been using the "Make and Do with the Millers" from Rod and Staff. This has been a fun book, filled with paper projects for them to color on and glue stuff on to. Right up their alley.
I kind of have the feeling that Stephen and Jeremiah are going to be more interested in a more physical kind of art when they are older -- sculpting or pottery, maybe. Weaving, perhaps. I'm going to enjoy introducing those to them.
We've done some experiments so far. They've grown lima beans with their Daddy. Hopefully we'll get to do sea monkeys soon. We tried to grow rock candy, but that flopped. I'll have to do some more reading on that.
We put an egg in vinegar for several days, and let the vinegar eat away at the shell. We then talked about the importance of brushing their teeth, or else their teeth may be eaten away by all the germs :D They've been pretty good about getting that done.
Joseph and Stephen are observing the weather -- they go out each morning to see how cold it is, then come back in and mark it on their calenders.
Rod and Staff has a wonderful music program for young children. We are currently using their "Music 1" book -- and the best thing about it is that it's shape notes! The kids have learned all the shapes from do to ti, and are learning the basics of rhythm.
Each child has been assigned a subject:
Joseph - Space
Stephen - Caterpillar/Butterfly
Jeremiah - Birds
Eva - Fish
Mary - Flowers
Each week, we read a book on their subject, and I have them draw pictures in a journal about what they learned. We'll be doing age appropriate projects for each subject as well. At the end of the semester, I'm going to have them write a creative story on their topic -- they've done this before, and have really enjoyed it.
We have a coloring book that we bought from Rod and Staff that divides The Lord's Prayer up into about 12 pages or so. They are slowly coloring through it, and we say the verses each day. They should have The Lord's Prayer good and memorized by the end of November! :)
David and I are already planning for the next semester ... we've got some exciting things to look forward to. Namely, Texas History and the Alamo!