Saturday, July 19, 2014

Back to School 2014-2015 ~F Week One

We started back to school this week. The kids adjusted to our new schedule with minimum complaints. I explained to them that we would be focusing on writing and grammar this year. They did very well on end of year testing last year, but the testing does not look at writing. I know they are struggling in this area and I want them to become more fluent and prolific in writing so that everything else will be easier. This goal was not met with thrilled cheers.

It is our tradition to have Box Day on the first day of school and look at all of our new loot. This year our financial situation is tighter than ever, so I mostly collected things from the art cabinet or my gift giving box for the first day. The kids did not realize that most of these things had been found around the house forgotten on shelves! I do plan on buying one or two things to present at the beginning of each five week unit (we plan to do five weeks on, one week off this year). I still need to buy our Math Teaching Textbooks, the next spelling level, and a few other miscellaneous books. We talked about each item on the table and what subject it represents.
  • Foot bath, peppermint soak and nail brush ~ All of these items will be used in our coming-of-age lesson plans. We will be focusing on hygiene and self care. Our motto is the three R's of being a preteen ~ "Responsible, Respectful and Refined".
  • A lap loom and a hand spinner for making yarn ~ We are introducing handicrafts back into our curriculum this year. Little Red Riding Hood was over the moon about the loom.
  • The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook ~ One of our goals for life skills this year will be doing lots of cooking, and I am hoping that both kids will be making complete dinners a few times a month. Tom Sawyer loves anything about Harry Potter and often checks all kinds of cookbooks out from the library, so I couldn't resist this combination when I saw it at the bookstore. We will be working through this book for the next few months.
  • J. K. Rowling biography ~ The kids will be reading and writing a report on one biography a month this year. 
  • Cube Bot ~ The little purple box holds a cube bot. This represents the kind of quiet toy that the kids can fiddle with during literature time when I am reading to them.
  • Quick Pix and multiplication workbooks ~ The Quick Pix game is supposed to be very fun and help increase a child's recall speed. Multiplication is the only math we are doing for the next five weeks in multiplication. I want to be able to shake them in their sleep and get the right answer to a math problem ~ LOL.
  • Composition books ~ The composition books are for their morning journal time. These journals are to be filled with all things happy and positive so that they can look back on many happy memories at the end of the year.

This week we started a Beyond Five in a Row unit study on The Saturdays. We love the story so far. What a great book. We will be doing lots of FIAR activities associated with the book next week. We also completed Attack on Pearl Harbor and listened to all of the radio recordings of WWII in our book, We Interrupt This Broadcast. We did at least one writing activity every day and lots of language arts workbook pages. This week I assigned a certain number of workbook pages but noticed that Tom Sawyer took the lazy way out by doing only the easiest pages in the workbook. Some things never change it seems. Next week, I will be assigning specific pages!

We could not resist these pens at Sam's. We are kind of pen snobs around here.

All the Rest ~ We had an amazing amount of play dates this week. One of the downfalls of starting school before everyone else does is that our friends still want to play. We squeezed in four play dates this week because everyone's schedules seemed to finally work out this week to get together. So we did school in the morning and played in the afternoon. My To Do list is really long for next week. I have some catch-up to do. We also had a break from physical therapy this week because the therapist was away. It turned out not to be a good thing, since Tom Sawyer's other knee popped out (but not all the way out). He has been in pain every day for the last few days. Apparently, cerebral palsy and puberty are just a bad combination. His already very tight and stiff muscles just can't keep up with his bone growth. I am hoping that they can find a way to prevent his other knee from going out. They may need to brace both knees. He will be starting aquatic therapy in the next few weeks on top of PT.

When do you all start school?

Blessings, Dawn


  1. Sounds like a great year you have planned. We need to have some spa days at home too! I hope the kids enjoy the year.

  2. Sounds like a fantastic year you have planned. You always come up with the most creative ideas. I feel a little burned out right now. I hope to refocus and start lesson planning next week.
    My girls love the book she's reading. We have many others also.
    Will be praying for Tom Sawyer's knees!

  3. Everything looks so awesome Dawn. Love all the ideas and curriculum you have. Five in a Row was one of the most favorite things Keilee ever did. We LOVED it. Praying for Tom Sawyer's knees and that this a a wonderful school year for you all!!

  4. I love how thoughtful you are in your planning! I am reading a book you might find interesting called "Boy Writers" that a friend gave me. Some good insights on boys and what motivates or hinders them from writing. :) We aren't starting school for a few more weeks - after getting my oldest two settled in college. :)

  5. We enjoyed the Saturdays a lot! Of course it gave my children all sorts of ideas and they asked for an allowance...LOL.

    We officially start school sometime between now and September. ;) We're doing summer lessons right now and normally I would plan to start adding a subject back in each week starting next week. However, Mason has a double surgery 2 weeks from today and we'll have an adjustment period afterward with a big cast that will complicate his medical care (nightly enemas especially) so I'm not setting a start date yet. Life is school sometimes, right?

  6. I thought I left a comment here, but if it didn't go through...all your plans sound wonderful - very I'm looking through all our books, and wanting to dive right in :) We don't "officially" start back until mid-August or maybe even September, but try to keep the learning happening even while we're playing through the summer.