Get Ready

Well, it’s been awhile. As is common for us summer proves to be crazy every. single. year. This year is no exception.

We spent three weeks in Istanbul in April/May waiting on new visas. We finally received them and came back to new email accounts, two tour groups, a summer intern, and other general craziness.

As of today our hot water has been off for an entire month. I’m really ready for more hot water than our small tank will hold. Today I gave all three girls a wash-down for the first time since Tuesday. And I’m feeling good about that, all things considered. Hubby left yesterday to do some research for a new tour and will be gone until Thursday. Just in time for us to start our school year next week.

Yup. I’ve decided to go all crazy and start in mid-summer. My reasonings are thus: summer is hot. Maybe it’s not usually in the 100s or anything here, but anything over 80 and my kids are complaining about the heat (and let’s face it, I’m from Alaska. So I’m thinking those complaints, even if I’m not voicing them). So we are going to get some school done in the hottest months here so that hopefully in September we can enjoy some of the cooler weather. I’ve decided what we’re doing this year and am excited. I know I’ve probably bitten off a bit more than I can chew but I am not set on finishing everything. And I honestly think we’ll be fine. Here goes.

Noel (5):

*will continue with GoPhonics, although very slowly. She’s completed level 1 (kindergarten) and I’m just going to work with her mostly on handwriting, forming her letters correctly, pinching her pencil correctly, and so on. She tires easily from focusing too much on fine motor skills. So we’re going to work on those some but not much, 5-10 minutes a day. Beyond this I’ll just keep having her read to me…BOB books, basic Dr. Suess, etc. I want her to learn how to spell her last name this year.

*will be moving onto Math-u-See Alpha (1st grade). She took the placement test and placed here, so we’ll be working on this, even though it’s technically a year ahead of her. We’ll take it slow.

Lane (7):

*will be graduating from GoPhonics and moving onto BraveWriter’s Quiver of Arrows. This is copywork based on novels. We’ll read the books together and then she’ll have a bit of copywork to do each day. For writing we’ll be doing BraveWriter’s Jot It Down, which is FUN and takes a lot of the stress out of writing. I want to build enthusiasm and excitement about writing so we’ll be taking it easy this year and doing this. Noel can join in if she wants to. I also got Lane a cursive book so she’ll be working on that as well.

*is moving on to Math-u-See Beta.

Both girls:

*Sonlight level A (World Cultures) History/Bible/Literature. This is basically a lot of good read-alouds. Biographies, fiction, Usborne encyclopedias, etc. It seems like a lot but I have learned one thing over the last two years and that is that we do reading together well. They love it, they remember what I read to them, and it’s low stress (other than Raye interrupting a million times, but there are ways to work around that).

*Berean Builders Science in the Beginning. One science book, one fairly short lesson per week. I also bought Into the Forest, which is a game about the food chain. We’ll be playing this along with CAMP and Bug Bingo for science/nature, as well as nature journaling when we can get outside.

*Beautiful Feet Books’ Character Study. This is around 10 picture books with lessons accompanying them with questions to draw out discussion about worthy and good character traits to have. Very low stress, low-key, based on picture books.

*Russian. They will attend a Russian class with my teacher/friend once a week. In the spring we may move this to twice a week, depending on how we’re fitting everything else in.

*Geography. I bought a map. A puzzle of Europe. Some picture books about time zones, the world’s weather, different cultures, mapping skills, and so on. As we read our read-alouds we’ll find where they take place on the map (and globe, too, if I can get someone to bring one to me). And we’ll pull out a coloring page, open the atlas, etc., and learn about the country where our read-aloud or picture book takes place. I might be the most excited about this because it’s pure fun and delight-driven learning.

*Poetry Tea Time. My kids have really enjoyed Where the Sidewalk Ends this past year. I bought a couple more poetry books and this will be a weekly thing for us.

*Religious stuff. We’ll be memorizing some scripture with Sonlight, but we’ll also be doing our own. Currently they’re working on 1 Corinthians 13. It amazes me their capacity to memorize. We’ll also be learning some new hymns, or ones they’ve heard before but not often enough to know well. We’ll sing the same one every day for six weeks and hopefully they’ll learn at least 5-6 new ones this year.

*The Arts. I’ve purchased a book on Van Gogh and Discovering Great Artists. We have Global Art and will do one art project per week. I’m also hoping to send at least Lane to an art class each week. We may try to get Noel into piano lessons of some kind…she blew me away a couple of weeks ago when she made up a song on a friend’s piano that actually sounded like a song. The kid has never had a piano lesson and only gets to play on a friend’s keyboard occasionally, so I was floored. We’ll see if she’ll be willing to try it out in Russian. And depending on the time we may try to put both girls into a gymnastics class or something. It will really depend on the time of day it is and how close it is…I can’t be trekking across town in winter with three kids and no car.

So there it is. I’m getting ready. Next week we start. I’m excited about the routine…I’m not so excited about teaching my kids to actually sit and listen and do school work by somewhat of a routine/schedule. We’ve gotten all our work done up until now but have been pretty loosey-goosey about it. This year will be different.

I’ll try to remember to post an update on how it’s going before we’re halfway through the year! Hopefully now that I have almost all of my curriculum picked out and ordered I can start focusing on other things.

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