Summer School

After our two week family roadtrip, I started getting excited to start homeschooling.  I wanted to do some "summer school" for a couple of reasons.  One - I needed to know what materials I would need in order to plan for packing purposes.  Once I figured out the general plan for the year, I was able to make a packing list for school supplies that I would need for those topics I would teach while in Argentina.  Two - I wanted to get us all in "the groove" of school every morning for at least a few hours.  My original intention was for everyone to be up, dressed, and fed before 8, but it's summer and we enjoy our pj's!  Often, our schedule for the mornings looks more like this... breakfast, chores, school, then finally dress for the day.  There is just something so wonderful about having my cup of coffee, sitting at the table with the kids, in my comfy pjs.  Can't beat it, and who am I to limit learning styles, right?  I think my learning style is comfort.  (okay, so these pics show us all dressed for the day... but now you know better, right?)

I am glad I started early.  Although I miss heading to the pool when it first opens, I am much more confident in the whole idea of homeschooling.  I have had a chance to figure out our daily school agenda, the curriculum goals I want to cover each month, and the books and materials I want to use.  Within that link, there's a lot of my planning spreadsheets, if you're interested in that stuff!  I must say, that choosing the books is tough.  I originally thought I would do literature based learning in units, but soon realized that it required a lot of outside materials.  When I have access to a library, this is my preference, but I won't be that lucky while we're away.  So, my next idea was a full blown curriculum by mail (i.e. Calvert).  This was a great option, and one that many boat schoolers choose, but it was a bit steep for our budget, and I figured the money spent to get my teaching degree should enable me to do much of the teaching myself.  Many of the homeschool "curriculum in a box" that I looked at didn't leave much room for teacher creativity, and while I know this appeals to those who aren't teachers by trade, it wasn't for me.  Finally, I found myself walking the aisles of a local teacher store and found a good baseline curriculum called Horizons.  It offered me a dependable foundation, covering all the skills for First Grade, but I felt I would have the freedom to incorporate my teaching style and experience into it.  So, we use that daily for Reading/Phonics and Math, and then I create Writing activities to go along with what we are reading.  For Science, I simply got some grade appropriate non-fiction books that we will read together and learn as we go.  In Social Studies, the main focus for First Grade is maps, and our travels will give us loads of experience in that department!  Then I decided to do a Five in a Row lesson once a month for fun.  It offers that literature based style I love, and I can incorporate it easily into the schedule!  I'm sure "mommy school" will continue to morph into what works for our family, but I am thrilled to have had this time to plan and practice!

This week we've started learning about Ecosystems in our science unit.  And today was our first Field Trip to see Cave of the Winds in Colorado Springs.  We were able to compare and contrast what we learned about Desert ecosystems with that of the dark, damp caves.  The kids had a blast!  Michael kept exclaiming, "That's beautiful!" as we saw stalactite, stalagmite, column, flowstone, and ribbon formations!  Very cool.  And one of many field trips we'll take in the near future!

Cave of the Winds - Colorado

Family Field Trip!!!


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