Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Back to School - Day 1 of Our Middle Ages Unit

After a long Christmas break, today we were back to school and started A World of Adventure Unit 4: The Middle Ages!

We actually kicked off our study by watching a few different Robin Hood movies we had checked out from the library over the past few days. This really helped me introduce Big Brother to this interesting time period in a fun way.

It's been a while since I have done a "day in the life" post, so I am happy to share a glimpse into our day with you.

6:30 a.m. - I get up, get dressed, exercise, and spend some time with the Lord. I'm reading through the book of Romans right now.

7:45 a.m. - I hear the pitter-patter of Little Brother's feet coming down the hallway. We snuggle a bit, I direct him to the potty, and he gets dressed for the day.

8:00 a.m. - Big Brother's alarm clock goes off. He groggily makes his way down from his top bunk to turn it off and read the note I have left beside it telling him exactly what he needs to do before school time. I do this because #1 - He's not a morning person (which he gets from me) and needs some direction for how to get moving with his day and #2 - He struggles with auditory processing and responds best to written instructions. He heads to the shower to wake up while I start pulling a simple breakfast together.

8:15 a.m. - We eat breakfast then Big Brother practices piano for a bit. Then he vacuums the living room and sweeps the kitchen while Little Brother puts a load of laundry in the washer.

9:00 a.m. - Our school day officially starts with prayer time together. I set out a castle play set, and let the boys play with some knights as I read them our Bible lesson from Revelation 3:8. This verse will tie in with our literature selection later on in the morning.

After Bible time we recite the nursery rhyme "Baa, Baa Black Sheep" together and discuss what this rhyme meant to the farmers in the Middle Ages. Then we recite it again and clap the rhythm. Little Brother enjoys clapping along and making "baa" sounds.

Next we do a quick multiplication drill with flash cards followed by a note reading drill at the piano.

Since we are studying plants for science during this unit, next I read From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons. There is enough detail and information in this picture book to be useful to Big Brother, but it is also short enough to hold Little Brother's attention.

Then Little Brother heads back over to the castle playset and I read St. George and the Dragon aloud. I point out that this book won the Caldecott Award for its brilliant illustrations. This story is obviously quite exciting, so Big Brother loves it!

We checked out some CDs of medieval music from the library, so I turn one of them on now. As he listens for a while, Big Brother chooses a picture in his Life in a Medieval Castle and Village Coloring Book to begin coloring. I take the opportunity to work on a page I have been coloring in one of my adult coloring books. Little Brother does some scribblings with markers and practices naming the colors. It's rather peaceful.

Next we grab our current literature assignment, The Door in the Wall. This book is set in England the mid-1300's. We go over some new vocabulary, read the first section aloud, and I ask some comprehension questions afterward. During this time, Little Brother watches a few educational video clips on his PBS Kids Android Tablet.

10:30 a.m. - Big Brother is eager to actually "do something" now after doing so much listening and talking. So we decide to go ahead and start our unit science project: an herb garden. He is going to grow his own dill, thyme, oregano, mint, and chives to be used in some yummy recipes later in this unit. He fills little yogurt cups with soil and carefully plants the seeds. He makes labels for each cup and gives each a little water. Then we place them in the window in the boys' bedroom.

11:00 a.m. - We clean up our mess and pull out our atlas and globe. Big Brother finds England and we review some basic geography. He finds London, the River Thames (and complains about how it is spelled), Scotland, Ireland, the North Sea, and the Atlantic Ocean. I quiz him on directions (North, South, East, West). Then I give him a few minutes to read about England in his atlas while I take Little Brother to potty.

Once Little Brother is settled once again, we Google King Edward III who is king at the time of The Door in the Wall and check out what Wikipedia has to say about him.

11:30 a.m. - The boys are asking for food, so we go ahead and take lunch and a break. After we eat I go hang up some laundry and check my email and Facebook. Little Brother does some coloring and roaming around, and Big Brother plays Robin Hood with his LEGOs for a while.

12:30 p.m. - Little Brother declines a nap today, so I allow him to have some more tablet time. Big Brother and I read about monks and then he pretends to be a monk while doing his cursive copywork for the day.

Next we discuss some figurative language from our literature selection and learn a bit about the Cockney English accent.

In today's reading section from The Door in the Wall we had read a detailed description of the main character's bedroom. So for his writing assignment today, Big Brother composes a paragraph describing his own bedroom.

1:30 p.m. - We play a round of our "Worlds of Adventure" quiz game to review all the things we had learned about today. This is great for reviewing all the new vocabulary words and special terms we have encountered throughout the day.

1:45 p.m. - Big Brother independently completes his Rod & Staff math lesson for the day. He's reviewing his 5's multiplication facts today.

**2:00 p.m. - With his scheduled work all completed, Big Brother decides to turn on the medieval music CD again and do some silent reading in the library books we checked out about knights and castles.

And that was our school day!