Friday, August 26, 2011

And It's Here...School Week 0 (Zero)

Gabriel started school this week.  He's officially a school-aged kid.  He's in kindergarten this year, but since he did the kinder curriculum last year for preschool, he's doing first grade this year.  As I've said before, I completely believe in "better late than early" but having two advanced big brothers, this kid was ready and willing to start, and he did great.  We kept the option open last year to take it slow and spread the kinder curriculum over more than a year, but he loved school and was eager to do it on time. 

I have the same willingness this year to let hime take longer than a year if need be.  I've done this first grade curriculum with Matthew and this is where they really start reading the hard stuff, learning all of our crazy phonics rules that may or may not apply but you pretty much have to figure it out by trial and error.  So we'll see what happens.  He is five with a November birthday and is already reading soft vowel words well.

I call this week zero because the older boys won't be starting until next week.  Yes, just two weeks after we've moved across the country from Texas to Florida.  I like to do something special for the first day of school but didn't get to it this week with Gabe (one week after moving), so I want to reserve the title of "First Day of School" for when I'm prepared for a little something special. 

So week zero for Gabe turned out to be a good week, taking about a half hour each day.  I went shopping for house stuff on Thursday, so we ended up doing both day four and day five school on Friday, but day five school for Gabe is strictly an exploration (science) day, so it's easy to make up whatever we need to from the week. 

For Bible, Gabe will be memorizing several verses from the book of Proverbs this year, and his reader is a simplified book of the Bible as well.  For some reason his head starts hurting whenever we work on memorizing though, but I at least get him to repeat the verse for me everyday. 

After Bible, Gabe works on his reading workbook, which for the first couple of weeks is just handwriting and letter sounds review.

He's also practicing even more handwriting to eventually make into a scroll when he's finished with all of the letters.

Speaking of scrolls, Gabe made a clay jar to replicate those used to store scrolls in the past.  It started out tall but ended up short and fat by the time it finished drying.  And the lid somehow got broken to pieces. 

After the phonics part of schooling, we move on to math, which has been a review this week as well.  We've only been doing 'number of the day', Gabe's 100 chart, calendar, and reviewing money so far.  He'll start his workbook next week.  Or I guess I should say he'll continue his workbook.  He was so excited about starting it when I ordered it (actually, he kept begging me to order it so he could do it), that I let him start it this summer. 

As we count up to 100 on his 100 chart, he collects a piece of corn in his cup.  Once he gets to ten pieces, he'll glue them to a craft stick and use it as a ten-counter.

For art this year, we are just going to be looking through some classical art books we have.  There is a drawing book also, but my kids draw so much for fun that they don't care for instructional art books.  The older boys still do one with their curriculum, because they can always improve their tecniques, but having Gabe do one as a requirement would cause a lot of battles I believe, as Gabe is the most stubborn of the boys.  But observing and talking about the painting in this book has been going well.

And science is always popular in this house.  Gabe's using a book called Things Outdoors for the first months of school and the first lesson was about dirt and animals who like dirt.  Good for a boy who always seems to get dirty!

The hands-on activity that went along with this week was a big hit with Gabriel and easy to do, which makes me happy.  We simply poured some honey on a piece of bread, set it next to an ant hill, and watched the ants go crazy eating it.  It was neat to see the first couple of ants see it, go back to the ant hole and tell his friends, and then tens of ants came streaming out. 

Of course Gabe wanted to taste the sweetness too.

I have to admit I was wondering if this would make our yard popular with the ant community in our little city.  Ughh, I've already been attacked once when walking barefoot to the mailbox.


And that, my family and friends, was week zero of school at our house.

Have a great week!