After tons of planning and getting everything just right, God decided that the first lesson of the 2010-2011 school year at the Academy of Zion should be for Momma ~ a lesson in flexibility and patience. He decided that before I get into teaching the girls about Ancient Egypt or baleen whales, before I teach the Princess how to read or the Fairy how to spell compound words, that I needed to be reminded that Home schooling is about more than just the Three Rs and History ~ it is about family, compassion, love and the freedom to be flexible and patient.
Just like in any new-to-homeschooling family, the week began with a Momma who was nervous about exactly how things would play out. It began with a Momma who half-contemplated waiting "just one more day" to get things just a little more organized.
After getting my nerves in check, we dove right in. We had a wonderful first day of school. We took a leisurely family walk with the dogs. The Princess and the Fairy both completed "All About Me" pages, complete with adorable self portraits. They enjoyed some time on our tire swing and on their scooters. After our break, the three of us put on our aprons and baked some delicious Raisin bread. We took a tour of our "school" ~ discovered all of our notebooks and supplies, discussed our schedule and how things would go this year, learned the expectations for each of us. We even completed several Mind benders together ~ super fun brain puzzles! After the basics, we got a little messy and had some fun painting (Momma discovered something new about herself ... more on this later). And, finally, we headed over to the library to pick up more books for the coming weeks (Momma's been requesting TONS of books for all of the great things I have planned). The first day was wonderful ~ it went at a comfortable pace, Momma wasn't stressed and the girls were excited to finally get this show on the road. God blessed us with peace on day one.
We were to get into our actual "lessons" after that leisurely first day, which we did. I was happy to report that we had gotten to everything I'd wanted to on that second day (except for Math ... I know, I know, "math is so important" ... Hey, it was only day one, some schedule tweaking is always needed at the beginning of the year!).
Then, God decided it was time to teach Momma that lesson about flexibility and compassion. Tuesday night, the Fairy started to feel bad and ended up going to bed with a fever. By 1:30 am, she was in my bed, absolutely miserable and needing nothing but Momma's love. Her fever was so high she was hallucinating "smoke" coming off of the blankets! Needless to say, Momma and the Fairy got next to NO sleep that night. So, day 3 began our lesson in patience. Week one turned out to be a week of caring for a sick child and balancing that with the needs of a very active and NOT sick child. It's now Saturday, and I think the Fairy is finally starting to feel a little better. She did have a fever when I put her to bed last night, so she's certainly not at 100%, but she's doing better. We'll spend the next two days getting rested and ready to hit it hard next week.
I'm happy to say, though, that even with being sick we were able to get a LOT accomplished this week! Let me break it down for you:
I read A Lesson of Faith to the girls from the book Parables from Nature by Mrs. Alfred Gatty. We also ended up reading Stellaluna this week.
The Three Rs
The Fairy managed to read six books this week, even with her illness. She's working on her 100 Book Challenge, which we hope to finish by the end of 2010. She did review all of the basic phonograms with me in her Spelling class and even spent some time on her first sick day playing with our Word Builder tiles. In addition to that, she completed two days worth of copywork and even sent a letter to her Nanu (all on her own).
The Princess had a great week. We evaluated which of the basic phonograms she already had mastered and which we might need to review a bit. She made the letter "L" out of modeling clay, both capital and lower case. Today she enjoyed making PINK (her favorite color) Mosaic letter "L"s and completed two pages of handwriting practice with the letter (you guessed it) "L". On our sick day, she and I enjoyed a game of Go Fish using letter cards and emphasizing the sounds they make as we played. She also read four BOB Books to me this week and completed four pages in her phonics workbook. She is such a great student ~ she actually LIKES to do workbook stuff (though I don't include too much of that in my curriculum choices). Like her sister, she chose to send a card to her Nanu as well.
This week we were lucky enough to do art two days! This is quite an exciting thing in this house! We painted our gifts for the girls' Nanu and Gammy this week, and on Thursday the girls made Rasta T-Shirts for Daddy's birthday. Unfortunately, we did not make it to our homeschool co-op due to illness, so the Fairy did not get to make African masks this week. That's ok, though, I told her we could make some at home when we study Ancient Africa in December.
This week we discussed the many paths to God and drew a picture narration of what we learned for our Spiritual Lessons notebooks. Momma broke out this awesome shell we have from Daddy's young days in Hawaii. We pretended it was a mountain and explored the multiple routes one might be able to take to the top. We discussed how this could be used as a metaphor for ways to get close to God. We talked about how one could choose any one of the paths to get to the "top" and that no one path was more "right" or "wrong" than the other. The girls really enjoyed this metaphor. This year we will be learning the lessons of some of the greatest spiritual teachers ~ Jesus, the Buddha, Confucius and Lao Tzu.
Jah's Creation (Science)
We didn't get too far into our science lessons yet this week. I read the first chapter of Genesis to them as they colored pictures for the front of their notebooks. We talked about how even though we now know that the earth is much older than 6,000 years and more than likely God didn't necessarily create the world in six DAYS, we still know that He DID create it. We talked about how Genesis 1:29 supports our family's beliefs about being vegetarian; that God gave us the plants and the fruits for food. Each of the girls narrated what they'd learned to me as I wrote down their words. Very cute, by the way!
This week we did manage to do MOST of what I had planned in our history studies. We learned that there are two ways that we learn about history ~ Historians read documents, letters and journals to determine what happened in the past and Archaeologists dig up items from the past to learn about the people who lived there. The Fairy was VERY good at her comprehension of what I had read to her ~ she answered every review question with complete accuracy and narrated back to me very well. The Princess is young, I guess I will just leave it at that. She will get there. After our Story of the World (SOTW) reading, the Princess drew a picture narration for her notebook and the Fairy dictated a narration to me as I typed it out for her.
To really drive the idea home, we had a family archaeological dig on Friday. Daddy and I buried several items in sand in a roasting pan. Then, the girls made a grid with yarn that divided the dig into four equal sections. The Princess dug sections C and D, while the Fairy dug sections A and B. With each item they discovered, they brushed it off and "cataloged" it (the Princess drew a picture of it on her chart, the Fairy wrote down what she found). It took longer than their attention spans might have liked, but it was a lot of fun. Next week we will discuss what artifacts they dug up and what they taught them about the people who lived here.
We will be studying Bach for the first six weeks of school. This week we listened to Bach Orchestral Suites while we were completing some or our written work.
In addition to my plans, the Princess spent some time drawing horses this week and the Fairy made a doll out of fabric, cotton balls, a needle and thread. Both girls also spent some time modeling with the clay this week and helping with Daddy's birthday decorations and "party" preparations. They also watched the DVD for the book Stellaluna (multiple times) and learned all sorts of interesting things about bats. And, of course, they've had their fair share of time out in nature, learning to appreciate God's beautiful creation!
All in all, I have to say that we had a very successful first week, especially considering the setbacks. Please excuse the super long post ~ this blog will be for me to talk about lots of things, but these Week-in-Reviews will be a way for me to keep a record of all the things we do in school. This is for friends and family who want to know what we're doing, for the state if I ever need to show proof that we've been doing something, but mostly for our family. I want the girls to be able to look back at all the wonderful things they've learned and activities they've done as they get older. I hope you enjoy reading about our journey down the narrow path ...