We're back from our vacation and recently settled in from our move, and that means that we year-rounders are back to school! It's funny that we're beginning today, because it's also the first day of school for public schoolers in our district, and the kids and I usually celebrate NOT Back to School Day as a holiday, but honestly, I just could not wait one more day to get back into our routine. I'm busier, of course, when I spend half the day doing school with the kids, but I crave the order, and frankly, I think the kids do better overall when they're put to work every day.
MONDAY: Will has finished her schoolwork for the day, but Syd, who slept in until a whopping 10:30 this morning (still getting over our vacation, I think), hasn't even started. I made plans to go and collect her from the yard, where she's eating a late lunch and playing, at 3:30, which will give her time to do all her school and do her chores before dinner (all chores MUST be completed BEFORE dinner in order to earn one's dollar). Monday is the day that I do a little enrichment for the coming Math Mammoth units, so Will watched a couple of Khan Academy videos on the order of operations, and then discussed them with me (she kept trying to insist that society is being held back from great discoveries by its insistence on adhering to the order of operations, but I explained to her that nevertheless, one must learn the conventions of a subject before one can break those conventions), and Syd and I are going to make Roman currency out of clay to practice Roman numerals.
I've put us back at the beginning of the verb lessons in First Language Lessons; I'd like to get both books three and four completed this year with both children, and then we can work on such interesting composition studies!
Syd needs more encouragement to read books that are NOT comic books, and Will, although her mispronunciations are super funny, needs more troubleshooting for correct pronunciation, so I'll be asking them to read formally to me for a while--they read to me and to each other often, but I take care not to hyper-vigilantly correct every word when they're reading to me for pleasure. During this time, however, I will hyper-vigilantly correct every word. This morning I taught Will how to correctly pronounce "suite" (hint: it's not pronounced identically to "suit")! I just ask Will to read me a chapter of one of the books that she's currently reading, but I choose Syd's book, and then ask her to finish it on her own. Currently, we're alternating between Dog Diaries and Horse Diaries; they're at the perfect level for her, and I don't scream inside my head listening to them like I do when she reads me Rainbow Magic.
The kids' horseback riding instructor now asks them to research a new horse breed each week and prepare an oral report for her; she also sometimes has Will research an additional topic, if she's asked about it during the lesson. I've got a time set aside on Mondays for this research, especially since it often involves so many little tangents; today, researching the kathiawari, Will and I looked up the Kathiawar peninsula on Google Earth and then spent some time on Youtube watching the sport of tentpegging. Will also looked up and memorized the definition of "cribbing."
We had our first day back at our volunteer gig after a month off, and it was wonderful to be back! I got to man the brand-new meat counter, and even though I thought that I would hate it (all that meat!), I actually loved it (so many people to talk to!), Will was my Assistant Meat Manager and took over for me during breaks (she could probably man it by herself, but I'm afraid she'll tip over and fall into the chest freezer), and Syd shadowed the garden intern and apparently ate her weight in freshly-picked tomatoes.
TUESDAY: The kids will be starting the third and fifth grade Math Mammoth curricula, and we're starting spelling back up (I'll *probably* try to run a Scripps spelling bee through our homeschool group again, so we'll *probably* keep going with spelling as a subject until then).
We're done with Latin, though! I ended up not loving our Latin book by the end of it--I just felt like the kids didn't come away with a lot, you know?--but I'm banking on enrolling them in a children's foreign language class through our local university in the fall, so we'll take a break from languages until then.
I was starting to feel like the kids were just marking time with cursive, as well, so now I'm going to be spot-testing them as we go, and making them repeat work if they forget a letter. Will's print handwriting remains atrocious, so she's GOT to have good-looking cursive!
I had wanted to do this paleontology unit study before our dig, but moving house got in the way, so we'll do it now! I had also wanted to start Waldorf-style form drawing, but there are so many relevant Draw Write Now pages that are at the kids' (and my) level that we can keep working on drawing skills while focusing on new content elsewhere.
WEDNESDAY: Horseback riding class, Magic Tree House Club, LEGO Club! The kids have also had a long break from aerial silks, and I know that they want to go back, but I've got to figure out how to put it into the schedule, first. Maybe in September?
THURSDAY: For US geography, for now, I've decided that I'll just have the kids memorize their states and capitals as a spine, and then we can study new states as we see them (including some upcoming units on South Dakota and Wyoming!). I've got fun, new memorization games to introduce each week and play throughout the week--well, I *hope* that the kids think they're fun!
After the kids have cursive down, I plan to move this weekly letter-writing to their handwriting spot and start with some meatier composition, but for now the kids DO have correspondence to keep up up! Syd wants to write to the lead Barbie designer at Mattel to tell her some ideas that she has for Barbie hair care items, and I'm going to have Will work on making Indiana postcards for our postcard swap, which we're woefully behind on.
FRIDAY: The kids love to start Girl Scout badges, but they don't always keep that same enthusiasm all the way to the finish--with a little encouragement, however (and an assignment or two), Syd ought to be able to finish off her Bugs badge pretty efficiently, and Will her Animal Habitats. Both have done most of the meaningful content that I'd wanted for them, and just need to get that last check mark or two.
A short pioneer unit study is a good fit with what we saw on our road trip, so I *think* that I'll be doing it through these Little House lapbooks. There's a LOT of content in each lapbook, so my idea is to have the two kids collaborate on each one, and then we'll keep the enrichment activities, such as baking sourdough biscuits, to our free time.
SATURDAY/SUNDAY: We have NOTHING scheduled this weekend--yay! We might be able to do a couple of fun family activities (the kids have already declared their plans to see Planes: Fire and Rescue at the drive-in on one of those days), but we'll have closed on our old house by then, and with the dissolution of our real estate empire, I suppose that we should also think about, I don't know...
P.S. A neighbor saw our yard sign (yes, yard sign!) for Spots, and came over to tell me that he'd seen her in his backyard--weeks ago, of course--and to let us know that there are actually a couple of streets of houses WAY back behind ours. So we'll be figuring out how to get over there, then putting out more flyers and talking to more people tomorrow evening. I keep trying not to get my hopes up, but I don't feel sick to my stomach right this second, so I must have done so anyway, sigh.
Keep sharing her flyer as you can: