first day 2012

September 12, 2012 / by admin

Our first day went so well.


We sent Carrington off on the bus, she has a 45 minute bus ride every morning!  Happy to report she is loving high school so far.


We also had our cake-for-breakfast-only-because-you-go-to-school-at-home tradition.


Always a hit.

So, let’s talk curriculum, shall we?  Finn (who would have started kindergarten this year) is flying through The Everyday Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading.  We’re also working on handwriting, going back to basics a little bit because he takes quite a bit of time forming all those pesky letters.  He’s sitting in on all of the things Ellie is doing too, and he has picked up a lot.


Ellie (who would be going into 2nd grade), is reading so well.  She is devouring books, sometimes two chapter books in a day.  Her latest kick is The Boxcar Children (by Gertrude Chandler Warner, you know the old classic ones, there are dozens).  We’re using The Complete Writer (level two, by Susan Wise Bauer) after happily finishing level one last year.  This is really an awesome book, it focuses on comprehension, meaning we read an excerpt and then she needs to answer my questions, in complete sentences.  This was difficult in the beginning, and she struggled with it so much.  What a difference a year made though, of constant practice.  (I will mention that Finn, on the other hand, is able to recall details from the stories without even thinking twice, so I’ve concluded that brains just work differently.)


Grammar is being covered by First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind (level two, by Jessie Wise).  Both Ellie and Finn enjoy this one.  It covers memorization, basic grammar such as definitions of nouns/pronouns/verbs, copy work, poems, etc.


We’re also using Spelling Workout Level B, which is technically a late first grade level spelling book, but we are needing to start there.  She writes phonetically (SO cute, I secretly wish it would pass in the real world so I never have to correct her) so she’ll spell “telescope” like “telluhskope”.

For math we’re using Math Mammoth for the first time.  The format is such a welcome change from Saxon, which we used last year.  Saxon was really solid as far as content, but teaching it was like pulling teeth for me.  She’s also practicing a lot with various iPad apps, I’ll have to do a separate post on the ones we use.


Image courtesy of

I love the idea of learning history from the beginning until present, and the Story of the World series does just that.  The idea is that grade 1: The Ancients, grade 2: The Middle Ages, grade 3: Early Modern Times, grade 4: The Modern Age.  Then repeat that cycle in grades 5/6/7/8 in more depth, then again for grades 9/10/11/12 in even more depth.  This corresponds to the grammar, logic and rhetoric stages in a classical education (again, I’ll have to post more on this philosophy in a later post!).  I found it to be way too advanced for Ellie last year in first grade though, so we’re working through it this year and we’ll probably catch up over the next two years.  I’m really confident that it will provide such a great grasp of history that we’ll stick with it for a while.  Of course we’re supplementing with books from the library on whatever subject we’re studying (hence the pyramids, we’re in Egypt right now).  The book is in story-form, but comes with an activity book that has maps, coloring pages, other activities to complement the topic, etc.


So that’s the majority of what we’re using this year.  I promise to update you in a few months to weigh in on what’s working and what’s not.  I’ll also give you a run-down on what we’re doing for science, I left it out because it’s mostly hodge-podge, sort of just following their interests.  Which, for us, is what homeschool is all about.

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