Saturday, September 1, 2012

First Week of School

Whew!  I'll be honest.  This week started off rough!  After nearly three weeks of travelling and being home for just a couple of days, my brain was fried before we even started the week.  Thankfully, it ended well.

First, I'll share some pictures from our trip to Michigan.

Enjoying ice cream at the Blueberry Festival in South Haven

Beach/Dune Pictures in South Haven

Beach/Dune Pictures in South Haven

Blueberry Picking

Yummy Blueberries!!!

Beach at Big Sable Lighthouse in Ludington

Beach at Big Sable Lighthouse in Ludington

Big Sable Lighthouse in Ludington

Big Sable Lighthouse Keepers Porch in Ludington

My new bike!

Family Picture on top of the Dune Climb in Sleeping Bear Dunes
The girls and the friends they met at the campgound.  Some were friends we knew from home who just happened to be there camping too!

Even Maggie was chillin out!

Ok, onto school.

When the girls arrived at their desks on our first day, this is what they found...

They each have a new binder, Katie has new Lorax pencils, and Emily has new duct tape. :)

We're not in a full-blown schedule yet. We'll be closer next week. Does anyone else ease into school like that?

Our Bible study this year focuses on the book of James.  The first day took quite some time.  It should have taken about 30 minutes, but took us 90!  Yikes!  Don't get me wrong, I love me some Bible time!  But spending three times what we should have really wasn't a great start to the day or week.  I should have stopped after 30 minutes to continue it later.  Live and learn, right?  Bible study the rest of the week went fine.

Our history lessons reviewed some of what we touched on at the end of our last school year.  We studied Christopher Columbus more in depth, along with other early American Explorers.  So far, I really like all the books we have used so far: Building a City on a Hill, Exploring American History, The Last 500 Years, and Story of the World, Vol. 3.  I love that each book covers similar information, but provides it in a way that doesn't seem too redundant.  The girls narrate (retell) the stories and write summaries to go in their history notebooks.  These activites teach so much about communication skills, organizing thoughts, writing, spelling, vocabulary, and more.  And they don't even realize they are learning so much!

Using Answers in Genesis Science: The World of Animals excites me.  I really love these books.  We've used Answers in Genesis before an really liked it.  So I'm not surprised that we were immediately drawn to science this year.  We discussed Creation vs. Evolution, which was fantastic discussion.  I feel like my kids are really starting to get it!  Answers in Genesis: The World of Animals does a great job at explaining theories and providing information based on the Truth of Creation.  My Father's World also has extensive notes in the teacher manual that describes various scientific theories about life.  This rich material really helps me to have some background information that helps me to answer questions my kids have.  I didn't read it all to them.  We just casually discussed some of it and I really think it gave the kids a better understanding, not only of Creation and Evolutioin, but also of how powerful and creative God is!

One other thing I want to mention about science is that Katie and I both LOVE her Complete Book of Animals workbook!  She has always been an animal lover, so this is right up her alley!  She gets to choose (from a certain section) the animal page that she wants to complete each day.  This gives her a sense of independence.  The pages are colorful and provide information that is easily understood at her age.  She is so into this book that she can't wait to tell others (especially her big sister) what she learned that day!  Now that's what I call learning!!!  Best of all, she insists on reading the pages for herself, as much as she can.  You have no idea what a big step this is and how greatly it is already improving her reading skills!

For now, both girls are working in their Spelling by Sound and Structure spelling books.  I'm allowing Emily to do hers more casually, without testing her.  I'm not a big fan of testing on a list of words, especially at her age.  She learns better by putting the words to use in writing.  So, I picked up a Charlotte Mason Spelling Wisdom book that we will start in the next week or two, in addition to the workbook that she will continue to work through more casually.

We even made time for music and a little bit of art.  I'm trying to teach Emily how to play "This is My Father's World" on the piano.  We don't have Then Sings My Soul that is recommended by My Father's World.  But we do have Hymns for a Kids Heart that seems to work just as well.  We also began our study of the composer Schubert which was surprisingly interesting to the kids.  We listened to that while driving to the pet store for crickets to feed our frog.  Whatever works, right?

Art came in the form of building ships to sail in our vast waters of the bathtub!  The girls both were very creative with their building.  They did this a few years ago, so I was going to skip this activity.  But they really needed something fun and hands-on to do, and this was perfect.  The girls put much more detail into their ships this year compared to a few years ago.

Maggie was learning right alongside us...
Check out the look on Emily's face! hahaha
And Katie was sure to have Julie, her AG doll, hold the flag for the Pledge of Allegiance...

I think that about sums it up.  I'm thinking that we might spend some time this weekend making a world cake.  The girls will enjoy decorating it, and of course, eating it!

Linked up with Weekly Wrap-Up


  1. Hi Lisa, visiting from the Wrap up. I love all the top pictures of your Michigan trip. I have an only daughter who is 12 and she LOVES lighthouses. Living in Alabama we have never seen one 'for real'. :) Your first week looks really productive too. Love the boats. I love finding blogs of Moms with daughters and I will be back to visit. :)

    1. Oh , thank you so much for stopping by to read my blog! Lighthouses are so much fun. I hope your family will make your way to one someday. :)

  2. Was so interesting reading another Mom's take on the first week of MFW Exp. to 1850. We are on the same year and just completed our first week, too! :)
    Hope this is a great year for you!! :) I'll be tagging along! :)