We are really doing well with first grade. For some unknown reason Big Brother is really excited to do any work deemed “first grade” in a way he has never taken to Kindergarten. I have no idea why. There are still attention struggles, he IS after all a six year old boy, but in general he seems more interested in school.
We are moving in to First Grade slowly; one subject at a time. We are also finishing up kindy work that we have not gotten done, and most of the work simply melds into the new grade anyway (such as Exploring the Code; we finished Book 1 and have started book 1 and ½ ; next will be Book 2, we’ll simply continue book to book as we finish them).
We have started grammar. Big Brother is flying though First Language Lessons. We are already up to lesson 22. We are covering nouns; and proper vs. common nouns and he doesn’t even seem to need the explanation. We are currently memorizing his address (place), and finishing learning to spell his full name (person). He is doing much better at replying, and discussing, with full sentences too. We are also discussing and trying out the concept of narration, and I’ll start to demand more of that in a more pure form, from him after summer break. Currently he is practicing narrating well known stories (the Three Little Pigs) and describing and telling stories based on pictures of famous art. As of now the grammar is not really challenging and he is [picking it up with only “one time” of going over it.
I just ordered our new spelling program too. I had hoped it would arrive in time to start spelling this week. It, did, finally arrive today and it looks like we’ll be starting on lesson 6 (1 to 5 are simply letter sounds). In a few weeks of starting spelling, I had planned to order our new math program. Right now we are working on memorizing our addition math facts; by ‘timed pages’ (that we do not yet time) and flash cards. I just ordered a CD for the car so we can start listening in the car (since about 75% of our trips are 30 minutes or more one way, listening in the car is an excellent tool for us). We’ve been working on math facts for a while, but I am just now getting serious with it. I am now really pushing it and expecting him to commit them to memory. Memory is one of his greatest strengths. I want to get moving on the math facts before we start the new program. I suspect we’ll review them as we get started in our new math, but I want to start getting them down now. We’ll continue with MEP for First Grade, only doing one or two lessons a week, not four or five. (I am, excited to see, they now are making answer keys, some of the mental math is challenging in a year or two I may be needing the help).
I have ordered a new planner. A little treat for momma for the new grade. I am really happy it has room for 9 subjects, that way I’ll have room to plan Little Brother as well as my First Grade Big Brother. Little is asking, begging, for school each day. It will be good for me to plan more for him. I am also excited that the planner is all 7 days, not just 5. We do a lot of work on weekends; especially if Daddy is gone we’ll have a mostly normal school day. I use my planner not only to plan but as a record book and it will be nice to have a place to record accurately what we do. The bottom of the pages is a place to keep an ongoing tally of hours per subject, since that doesn’t apply to us I may end up covering the bottom with white address labels to make myself more note space. It will take a time of living with my new planner before I am totally sure how I plan to use it.
I have also ordered 2 student visual planners. I am really excited. One for each boy. I plan to prep the night before and be able to hand them to the boys in the morning. Opening them they’ll find all the “tasks” to be covered for the day. As we complete them; the boys can remove them and put them in a DONE box; or move them to the other side of the planner, I am still working on that. I need to handle them to be sure how I want to work the system. That way they can both see from the start what has to be done for the day; and what is left at any given time. I am toying with do I want to have a set order (that is we do the things from the top to the bottom as I have them in the planner) or do I want the activities and subjects to be choices (letting the boys choose the order we do things in, while understanding we have to do all of them). Not sure where I stand on that either yet.
I got a catalog from christianbooks.com about their home school sale and found The Story of the World in it! Very excited since that is the history program I chose for our First grade History. Buying though the sale I’ll save just under 20 bucks on the three books we need (story book, activity guide and test booklet). I am really excited about this. So after a couple of week of spelling being added (starting next week) I will be able to start History!!! Math will have to wait till 2 or 3 weeks after that, which is fine as that gives us more time on math facts.
So we are gearing up nicely and slipping into First Grade without too much of a bump (so far).