Saturday, July 31, 2010

Weekly Wrap-up: Our First Week of School

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Improper fractions...

Exponents and variables....

Transitive and intransitive verbs...

Contemplating sovereign grace...

And defining the word "pickle" to students with limited English knowledge.

That pretty much sums up this week, the first one of our new homeschool year.

Michael and I began our jobs teaching English last week and technically school started for the boys then.  They worked in summer bridge workbooks and read while M and I taught our Korean students.  However, this was the first week that we cracked open the new books.  And wow!  Those books contained some doozies of lessons in them.  I said more times than I can count on my fingers and toes, "When did my baby get big enough to do THIS?!"

Each morning the boys and I began the school day at 7 a.m. with Bible reading and chores.  By 9 a.m. we began our group lessons.  I decided to stagger the introduction of subjects this year since I have the added responsibility of teaching English (you can read the plan at the bottom of the blog), so in our group lessons, we only began history this week.  I spent the remainder of the time working one-on-one with each boy, going over his DGP and math work from the previous day and preparing him for his individual work to be completed later in the day. 

Because I have used Singapore Math for 5 years and DGP for 3 years, I did not do any lesson planning before teaching either subject.  We have an established pattern with both of these curricula, and I don't need to do much beforehand to be prepared to teach from them.

At least that's what I thought....

When I opened the 6A textbook and saw the first unit title, "Algebraic Expressions", I nearly passed out!  Now, Singapore Math stresses algebraic thinking.  Always has.  But there's a difference between "algebraic thinking" and setting up an actual equation and solving for x, or y, or p, or whatever.  All I can say is I am really glad Singapore has emphasized developing that type of thinking from day one because I was totally caught off guard.  Orville, however, sailed through the unit, and I take absolutely no credit.  Thank you, Singapore!

Then I opened his 6th grade DGP book and had to go grab a paper bag for breathing exercises.  There are slight changes to the format each year as the grammar advances, but the step from 5th to 6th seemed like more of a leap.  I found myself explaining transitive and intransitive verbs, predicate adjectives and nouns, direct and indirect objects, and dependent clauses... among other things.  I heard the voice of my 8th grade English teacher echoing in my mind many times this week.  She was my grammar Yoda, and I could hear her whispering to me...  use the Brown Book, Dawn, use the Brown Book.

Speaking of my 8th grade English teacher, I sure hope she never reads this blog....

I don't have time to stand at the blackboard to rewrite and fix my mistakes 50 times each.

And I make a lot of them on here.

Like I just started a sentence with a conjunction.

And I just started a sentence with "like" and treated an independent clause as a complete sentence by ending it with a period....

And...

... oh, this blog would bleed should she ever edit it because she is just that good.  Please forgive me for not living up to my potential, Mrs. Quarles, and thank you for preparing me for this week.  :)

Moving on....  

By 11:30, we were done with history, math, and grammar and took a break for lunch.  I let the boys enjoy some play time while I worked on other "stuff" (I'm too tired to think of  a better word), like lesson plans (both for home and English), an upcoming bday party, and homeschool association (here it comes again...) "stuff".  At 1:30, we left for English school.

While Michael and I taught our Korean students, the boys completed their independent work.  For Wilbur this included math, Rod and Staff reading, cursive writing practice, Shorter Catechism memory work, DGP, and anything else M or I want to include (like memorizing math facts).  Orville completed his Ominbus reading which took most of the three hour block.  This week he studied the book of Genesis, reading the entire book in one week.  He also read Chosen by God, by R.C. Sproul, as his secondary reading assignment and completed a math page, his DGP daily assignment, cursive practice, and Shorter Catechism practice each day. 

By 4:30 we were all back home.  We prepared and ate dinner and cleaned up.  Then Michael led Orville in the discussion portion of his Omnibus study while I listened in and graded papers, we had family worship, and everyone completed the final chores of the day.  If the boys completed all the work and responsibilities by 8 p.m., we allowed them to play on the computer or watch a video while I did more grading/planning/association stuff before bed at 9 p.m. This is when I gave lots of kisses, tucked everyone in (including all the plush toy birds), and crawled to my bed myself.

All silliness and joking aside, God has blessed us this week.  He has blessed our abilities to teach and to learn and given us the grace needed moment by moment to meet each new challenge.  He has given me the strength to do more than my achy, tired body should be able to do.  Our home has not been filled with busy-ness this week but with purposed living. The joy of all the fruitful work, discussions, reading, teaching, and living is hard to describe and I could ramble on for hours if I began to try.  I will, however, give the Lord praise for the work He is doing in and through us and pray that He alone is glorified through our work in our home and community.

I will end by quoting a well-know Bible passage that came up in our studies frequently this week and sums up our week nicely....

He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.  Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint
Isaiah 40: 29-31

Blessings,
Dawn

3 comments:

Heather said...

I snuck over to read and am impressed that you are not in bed napping today in order to recover. So good to hear all the new schoolbooks are good, and you are confident you are on the right track, after the first week. That is always a good feeling.

Kellie said...

I'm fighting temptation to be envious. : ) We worked hard on school last week too -- but we were trying to finish up things from the 2009-2010 school year!

I'm right with you on the grammar. It's one of my favorite subjects, but you sure wouldn't know from reading my blog! Just think how bad it could be if we hadn't had good teachers!

Sounds like a wonderful first week. Congratulations!

Homeschool Dawn said...

Heather- It is a good feeling. It was really a good week of school.

Kellie- Oh, don't be tempted. It is a pace that I am only maintaining for a short season by God's grace. I have a nervous breakdown day scheduled for Aug. 17!