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So our first week of homeschool has been a success! It wasn’t quite “normal”, due to the holiday and having to take my dog back to the vet during one of my free mornings without the toddler, but the kids learned a lot. Here are some things I’ve learned:
-A strict schedule is NOT going to happen, and I kind of like it like that. This is a hard transition for me. I have been trained to adhere to a schedule, and letting go of that kind of feels like taking off training wheels. As long as I have a general direction to go in and things I’d like to have gone over with both boys by the end of the week, it’s all good. With a toddler running around it truly is like a circus in our house. So I take opportunities for learning as they come and take breaks when needed.
-Spending the entire day in pajamas is okay. Yoga pants, sweatshirts and t-shirts have become my normal attire. So comfy and quite economical, if you think about it. Less laundry, my makeup lasts longer because I don’t use as much, as does my shampoo. Don’t judge.
-Shockingly, I worry less about my house being clean now than I did when I was working. I still want it tidy, but I’m not a crazed maniac about it anymore (although I will leave that up to my husband for the final word). Cleanliness equals organization to me, which equals calm. But now I’m quite calm and have actual time to do my dishes so they don’t pile up by the end of the week. It’s nice. I can get used to it.
I’ve realized that literature study must happen when my toddler is at preschool. There is just no way around that. My oldest already gets distracted easily, so trying to read about hobbits and dwarves with my youngest constantly interrupting? Not going to happen. Chemistry will be the same, but we’re starting that next week. Everything else can pretty much get worked on amidst the tornado that is my 3 year old.
This week I introduced the Southwest Region of the United States with a short video found on YouTube and by cracking open our U.S. Atlas. He did a lot of the research on his own using the informational passages I had purchased from TPT. It also made for a perfect activity for him to work on while we were at a speech appointment for my toddler. We studied Texas a little more in-depth, touching on the regions of the state, elevations and climate. By the end of the week he had his lap book completely filled in with information and we began working on our salt dough map of Texas! Next week we will do a study on the Navajo and he will finish his salt dough map.
The salt dough map was so much fun! My son said, “This is so awesome!”, so that was all I needed to hear! I cut a piece of cardboard out for the base, printed a large Texas outline map from this site, and my son cut it out before taping it to the cardboard. He traced the outline with marker and then we took off the template to reveal a perfect outline of Texas! Making the dough was super easy and fun (4 cups flour, 2 cups salt, 2 cups water, 2 Tbsp cream of tartar, mix with hands). He began filling in the map with the dough based on the elevations of Texas we had learned about and used sculpting tools to create some of the major rivers.
I thought he did a fantastic job! You can really see the elevations when looking at it straight on. We will let it dry and begin the painting and labeling next week (if I can find the colors of acrylic paint I need at the craft store!!)
We also got through two chapters of The Hobbit, and I am proud to say that he is really enjoying it! We began with an author’s study on J.R.R. Tolkien and even wrote is birth/death down in our timeline book (which I am loving! He just writes dates in as we learn them across all of the subjects he is learning. We’ve already been able to compare two events when we wrote down when Texas became a state and found it was only a few decades before Tolkien was born!)
I love the worksheets I purchased to go along with each chapter. Right now I am walking through it with him, but eventually I’ll have him look back and fill it in on his own. It has allowed us to have many conversations regarding what is going on and has helped him gain a better understanding of each chapter. We touched on deciphering tone, character (there are 15 important characters introduced in just the first chapter!), summarization and lots of vocabulary.
We worked on lots of different skills this week: counting, cutting along lines, concepts of big/small, matching, jack-o-lanters vs. regular pumpkins, silver polishing, shapes (star, crescent, diamond, square, triangle, heart), painting, and snaps/buttons/zippers/buckles.
Little man LOVES these Do-A-Dot daubers. We have tried a few brands, but these are the best because they are squeezable.
Yes, I am now one of those moms that makes pumpkin pie scented play-doh. Haters gonna hate. But it’s only because I now have time to do it, y’all. And I love autumn. It’s my favorite season and I am integrating it into our schooling as much as possible! (Let it be known that after all of this he mixed all the colors up together.)
This is the little guy’s fall sensory bin made out of random stuff I had in my fall decorations box. We sorted the items by type, worked on patterns with the pine cones and pumpkins, counted out the pine cones, and lined them up according to height.
Looking forward to another fun week next week!