Saturday, June 4, 2016

First Day of School 2016-2017!

Yesterday was officially our first day of school for the 2016-2017 homeschool year! It was great, and I believe I can say that the new curriculum we have chosen for the year is going to be a huge success!

We began our morning with breakfast at about 7:45 followed by prayer and chores.

At 8:30 we began our school day with Bible. Since we are studying the life of Joseph in A World of Adventure, we started off by watching VeggieTales' fun retelling of Joseph's story The Ballad of Little Joe. It was a hit with both boys, and it really was a fun way to introduce our Bible reading for the day. While I read Genesis 37 aloud and we discussed the story, the boys worked on coloring pictures of Joseph and even made their own coats of many colors using large paper grocery bags.

Our next subject for the morning was Language Arts, and our activities tied into the Bible lesson for the day. Big Brother learned the Greek root word chronos which means "time," and he started creating a vocabulary matching game. So his writing assignment was to write three sentences telling things that happened in the story of Joseph in chronological order. Then the boys made the first pages in their "ABCs of Ancient Egypt" booklets. Today's page, of course was J is for Joseph, and they pasted the pictures of Joseph they had colored earlier onto these pages.

Big Brother practiced his cursive handwriting.

Little Brother enjoyed learning about the shape and sound of the letter J and finding the J magnet in his alphabet set.

Once Language Arts was finished, we were ready to dive head first into Social Studies by enjoying a special "Taste of Egypt" snack (complete with a "finger bowl" just like the Egyptians would have used!) while reading from a few of the library books we had checked out on Egypt.

By this time, Little Brother was asking to go watch The Ballad of Little Joe again, so I fixed him a little "Taste of Egypt" bowl to enjoy in the other room. (He came back in several times for seconds...and thirds...)

Big Brother and I read sections from several different books while we snacked on the floor. We read about the Great Pyramid and the Sphinx of Giza, several different Pharaohs, the flooding of the Nile, and the mummification process. Pretty interesting stuff! We had to watch our time because we could have easily spent the entire day like this. Big Brother said this was his favorite part of the whole day, and I am pretty sure I agree!

One book I want to especially mention that we are using that did not come from the library is called Unwrapping the Pharaohs. This is a Christian-oriented book that gives a Biblical timeline for the history of Ancient Egypt. We just skimmed here and there yesterday, but we are really looking forward to digging into this book and especially meeting the different Pharaohs of the Bible. There is a DVD with this book, and we may check that out on Monday.

Big Brother recorded the different foods we ate for our snack that would have also been eaten by the ancient Egyptians.

For science, we read from several books about deserts and especially about cacti and other desert plants. For a little fun hands on learning project, each of the boys planted their own little cactus seeds!

We paused at about 12:15 for lunch. Over lunch, we talked about all the interesting things we were learning already. After lunch, we played the Worlds of Adventure quiz board game that is part of the AWOA curriculum to review what we had studied so far. This was a very fun way to review and check Big Brother's comprehension.

After our game, we enjoyed some singing time for Fine Arts. I chose a couple of short prayer songs to start teaching the boys: "Change My Heart, Oh God" and "Holiness." Little Brother catches on to song lyrics and melodies so quickly, and he was singing right along with us in no time! After the busyness and excitement of our day up to this point, some quiet singing was very refreshing.

We are re-using parts of our 3rd grade R&S math curriculum from last year rather than going on to 4th grade just yet. I thought a year of review and more hands on math activities would be beneficial for Big Brother. For our first day, I kept math pretty quick and simple. First I quizzed him orally on some multiplication facts. Then he did a few rows of division facts on paper. And to add in some fun, I introduced him to the world of cuissenare rods. He learned what numbers each color rod represents. Then I had him use the rods to show me all the different addition and subtraction facts for 10.

Big Brother's next assignment after math was typing. We have Mavis Beacon's Keyboarding Kidz, and it seems to be very good. Big Brother actually started using this program for fun during our break so he had already completed a few lessons. Yesterday he spent 30 minutes working on his typing skills with Mavis Beacon's fun lessons and games. In today's world, typing and computer skills are very important, so I want Big Brother to get a good start.

To end up the main part of our school day, Big Brother spent some time reading from a library book he chose about Howard Carter, the man who discovered King Tut! He was finished by about 2:15.

Meanwhile, Little Brother and I finished up some laundry and dishes together. Then after reading a quick story or two, Little Brother spent a little time playing his toddler preschool app on my phone while I stretched out on the couch for a much needed few minutes rest! Little Brother very rarely takes a nap during the day anymore, so I have to grab a little quiet rest time whenever I can!

Later in the evening, Big Brother and I took some pictures as part of the 4-H Photography curriculum we are working on together.

And that was our busy, fun first day of homeschool for the year!

We are all looking forward to more to come!!!!

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