If you’re just joining in, you might wish to go read my first two posts about Real-Life Homeschool in the Creative Madness Mama Blossom School. On Day 1 I talked about a general hour by hour what’s up schedule, and on Day 2 I shared a library day. Some how I blinked and Wednesday and Thursday were past, but then that’s life around here. Let me think, Wednesday was our first attempt a unit study day and Thursday was a normal day. Today is going to be a 3Rs and unit study day.
So… What is a normal or average day for us? (Now this makes me feel like I’m sharing secrets, or something is tucked in after leaving the powder room while people look on. Not sure why, but discussing fully what we try to call school makes me feel like I’m opening myself up for judgement and I’ll fall short. Yet isn’t that every homeschool mama’s thought?) I’ll skip the time mentions for this post, but you can find more on that in my first post.
First the princess OrangeBlossom wakes up in her three year old imaginative play glory and heads into the library to attempt to play quietly. I usually wake up a little bit into her play and like to close my eyes and pretend I can go back to sleep while Almond lies nested in my arms. Either she needs me, or he wakes up and I get up for the morning routine and do a subtle prod to the AppleBlossom (sunlight, air filter off, talking about her nearby) to get her to start her day. We eat breakfast and then it’s time to get down to business!
- AppleBlossom is 5.5 years old, she will turn 6 in the end of July and is near to completing what we’ve named her K5 year (and is our First Grade curricula). In the next year we’ve gone back and forth on what to do, but the current consensus is to continue similar material and read read read for a “First Grade” year. I think.
- OrangeBlossom is 3.5 years old, she will turn 4 in the beginning of August and has about a split second interest in school about once a week. While her sister was doing a full Junior Kindergarten at this age, this little sister is more interesting in the fairy tales in her head, singing, dancing, and just being a kid. She flips through books she cannot “read” and follows her big sister along learning from a kid-osmosis at this time instead. After all, what is it people keep telling me? She is only three.
- Almond Blossom is 8.5 months old, he is traveling along the edge of the couch and teething his fifth and sixth tooth. He is trying his first people foods and really crawling with speed. He is contemplating whether he will walk before nine months like his sisters and what every object in the world tastes like after he’s held it in his hands. He loves his sisters and his mama and never wants to be alone and when it’s time he is daddy-only boy and nobody can stop him from convincing them otherwise.
I do not stick to a strict schedule. It’s more of step 1, step 2, and so on check list for me. As to what curriculum we’re using? That’s a complicated answer. But the main thing for us is Memoria Press Classical Core First Grade with Seton First Grade English and Religion and substituting MP Phonics and Spelling with Barefoot Ragamuffin’s English Lessons Through Literature and Reading Lessons Through Literature (Spelling). We also have a few other things thrown in, but this is what we really get done.
We start with Opening Recitation, which varies slightly from day to day. Three days a week it is a general for the week and adding new facts each week of the school year. This builds off of what we did in Kindergarten and what we did in Junior Kindergarten (both Memoria Press full curriculum – you can see a review series for each in my archives). Next we get out our Barefoot Ragamuffin’s Wayfarers Ancients Lesson Plans and jump into our Language Arts. Again it varies slightly from day-to-day as its MWF ELTL and phonogram review and Tu/Th RLTL and reading for ELTL often. Yesterday for instance we read in the Just So Stories, Aesop’s Fables, and the read Lesson 24 in ELTL 1 which included a poem, and a line of copywork. Usually there is also a sentence grammar lesson, but not this day. On a RLTL day, I get out the iPad and read from my ePDF her spelling list and she phonetically writes things out and we discuss why the words are spelled the way they are or discuss what a new word may mean. We have recently just finished all the sub-1 lists and started into the real lists, so now when we finish List 2, we also read the Elson Primer Reader Story 2 and so on, also in the ePDF. (Kathy-jo’s materials are awesome and she is a wonderful mama to work with in partnership to teaching your kiddos in a “Classical Mason” type way!) We also do Logic of English Foundations B on these days, often more than one lesson at a time.
Next we jump into math. As I said we’re planning to continue the first grade year, so I’m not too worried about go-go-going with this as we are doing it and reviewing it and so on. So with that said, math varies slightly on the source from day to day. Our main math is Rod & Staff Beginning Arithmetic 1 Part 2, but when she’s on plan with the Memoria Press Lesson Plans or ahead, we substitute with Seton Mathematics 1, or Math Mammoth 1A. In the afternoons, she also plays on the iPad with MathSeeds apps we downloaded when they were free (right now I think they still are!) or she uses her Kindle Fire HD 6 in FreeTime on the IXL app (I love the IXL app and you can head back to read that review if you’re interested). We also just do life math in general conversations. We have not spent as much time with flash cards as we should, but this is on my list to get to… someday. Hey, maybe within the next year?
Snack time. She’s in charge of fixing it. Go play, let the baby sleep and so on.
Next is snuggle school. Here we insert Seton’s Religion and English on the couch. Then I guide a book choice and she reads to me. Usually related to whatever we’re studying (who knew I was already encouraging a semi-unit study approach?!) and she also can choose whatever she wants to read to me and we read until lunch, or she doesn’t want to read anymore.
After lunch… if the day has gone well and things have been accomplished I encourage that we’ll go outside if we can get the rest done. When I say done, I don’t mean finish to page X-Y-Z, I mean more than she does something headed in the completion direction. Then she’s off to Memoria Press Copybook, New American Cursive and MP Cursive Worksheets, and then Enrichment. If she sits and gets it done, this can take minutes and the rest of the day is hers. Outside to play. Watch the Disney princess of the week, explore with the Wild Krats, or learn some character with Daniel Tiger. If she takes forever, there is no TV or movie and outside might get bumped to another day. She is only five, so I’m not overly concerned about the bottom line, but our version of a bottom line is that she has to diligently try, collapsing and whining does not win any favors. And most days, are incredible days.
Enrichment varies from day-to-day as to what we do, but it all stems from the Memoria Press First Grade Enrichment Guide. Literature choice, Music and Art, Poetry, Social Studies and Culture studies, and Science. It’s always fun and now I realize, a bit like a mini-unit study.
Then it’s quiet/nap time. If she wants to sleep, she sleeps. If she wants to read, she reads. She can also draw or paint or sew. She can go any avenue she likes, as long as it’s productive and semi-educational. After everyone’s awake and before the Enginerd gets home it’s a free-for-all play time.
Every person I met seems to have a different opinion. Some people are really impressed by the scholastics of AppleBlossom, others think I’m nuts that she can outright read chapter books and I’m not just encouraging the alphabet and counting. She loves learning. She loves workbooks. When we try to just have kid-led days, behavior was atrocious and I understood the desire to send your kids off and let someone else deal with them. But when we did a little of this and a little of that and stickers for completion were involved as well as amazing knowledge and stories to fill her mind she begged for more.
Egyptians fascinate her. She thrills to tell people about how King Tutankhamen really died as modern science has proven and discussing the possibly purposes for pyramids in the ancient days. She loves discussing astronomy and identifying space objects. She is enthusiastic about animals and plants and how the interact with each other. Fairy tales and pretend color her imaginative play and she is always protecting and/or saving her sibling from one evil or another. The Boston Tea Party makes her giggle every time and she stands up really tall when she is discussing Abe Lincoln and she jumps and shouts every time the TV mentions Barack O’Bama (Mama! That’s the current president!!) She love the rain forest and gets excited whenever there is an example of it or an animal within in and it leads to tangent conversations. Narnia is a favorite read aloud, and Oz thrills her, Uncle Wiggily and Brer Rabbit amuse her. Classical music makes her discuss emotions and what the composer must have been thinking and art work makes her discuss time periods and mediums of use. Her favorite part of the day is when daddy, the Enginerd, comes home and she fills his ears with things she’s learned or explored. All the while she is teaching and interacting with her sister and brother. She is showing them care and friendship. She can read as long as she wants and snuggle while doing so. She can have a snack whenever and just stop to dance or play for a bit to get the wiggles out (or in for energy!). This Blossom School life is so appropriate for her and works beautifully, even on the off and hard days.
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