The “first” week of school

The nice thing about home schooling is we never really stop learning or getting out of the learning mindset. We really like doing “school” and so I have just continued doing it all summer. The area we moved from started school the first week of September. Even though Bakersfield starts a few weeks before that, I decided to keep with the September start date because that was when I always started school as a kid. It was also when our new dance season was starting so it just felt like the right “start” date for the year. If we ever decide to link up with the public charter school’s home schooling program here, I will probably have to change my start date, but for now we are keeping with September.

I decided to tier in our subjects for this school year for a few different reasons: I knew I wanted to kind of focus on learning to read and literature at first, I don’t really have the space for all of the school stuff we are going to be getting this year in this apartment, and I am not completely sure we’ll even be getting to math and handwriting (I’m just not sure they are ready for it). Keeping all of that in mind, a couple of weeks ago I finally ordered our reading curriculum, All About Reading, and the first few books from our literature curriculum, Five in a Row. We officially “ran out” of the Before Five in a Row books a few weeks ago and so I was just kind of improvising (hence The Lorax week). We have some Kumon workbooks, a few other preschool worksheet books, dry erase activity boards/books, as well as some Melissa and Doug learning toys that we were getting a lot of use out of.

My Amazon Prime membership ensured the literature books showed up immediately and we were just waiting around for the reading curriculum which got here yesterday. Last week I went ahead and eased into Five in a Row with The Story About Ping. I followed some of the stuff from the book, but I also scoured the Internet for other ideas, a map of China, the Chinese flag and a few other things. We watched episode 1 of this Wild China series (free streaming with Amazon Prime) which focused mainly on the Yangtze River region. The HD cinematography of the wildlife was really great! We went out to our favorite wildlife park to feed the ducks. It wound up being one of our shortest park trips thanks to an untimely potty accident that I was completely unprepared for. I did find this site that has great ideas for what to feed ducks instead of bread though, which I kind of already figured was bad for them.

I sat down with our curriculum last night and got a general plan for the week and a more detailed plan for today. Having the reading curriculum here makes me feel so much more organized and fills out our school day so much more nicely. I also got around to taking “first day of schoool” photos this morning. Here are some pictures from last week and today:

Our first week of dance went great. Sprout was pretty crazy (running around the classroom anytime the teacher took her eyes off him and encouraging others to do the same), but after a talking to at the halfway point he stopped running around the classroom. He said he had a lot of fun. Bean thought her first week was a lot of work and she missed her old teacher from Thousand Oaks. There was quite a bit of complaining on the way home, but I’m hoping she’ll get used to her new teacher and have fun.

Using colored pencils to make drawings of ducks, boats, and the Yangtze River.

Bean’s drawings of “the boat with two wise eyes” and the page from the book used for inspiration.

Feeding “Ping” and all his aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, and friends.

Prep work last night to prepare for this morning.

This is what I had to work with for the group photo. Bean was so full of attitude this morning and threw everyone off.




Since there was so much to do with music and sound in our book this week, I used the “sound as vibration” section of our science book. We made shakers, rubber band guitars, listened to and felt vibrations from a triangle, and tried to play the harmonica like Lentil. This, I kid you not, is the exact face Sprout made every single time he plucked the rubber band guitar, as if it is the finest instrument known to mankind. It was cracking me up so much.

I showed the kids where Ohio is on the US map in comparison to us. Quote of the day from Bean after we get done with dance this afternoon, “Mama, we haven’t been to Ohio yet. We need to go there right now. Let’s drive. We haven’t been to China yet either, let’s go there too.”


Filed under Family, Homeschooling, Kiddos, Parenting

4 responses to “The “first” week of school

  1. Liz

    Looks like an awesome first week. We started our homeschool “year” August 1st because we are taking the whole month of December off to focus on service projects. Do you feel like you have to add a lot to your Five in a Row. We’re using it too, but I always add to it because it never feels… complete (?) enough.

  2. Lisa Wuertz

    That is exactly how I feel about FIAR. One of the main reasons I wanted to do it was that it seemed from the descriptions and reviews that it was all-encompassing, but I just find that it really isn’t. That is why we are supplementing with other curriculum for other subjects.

  3. Liz

    Yeah, we use it as a supplement to other stuff we do. I like that I can customize it to my 1st grader and my kindergartner. And the books are all great but it feels kind of like a rip off. I love that you are focusing on reading and literature. That’s one of our focuses too. Our other big focus is the arts. Mainly because we live in a college town so we have some great resources on that level.

  4. bandofbrothers

    such cute class pictures!!!!

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