Saturday, August 5, 2017

The First Homeschool Week - Complete!

Here is a picture of Daniel's assignment sheet.
This is actually for week 2. 
Every child has one of these so they know
what to do each day.

Monday - The first day of our homeschool year started out with homemade doughnuts. Yum! Kids woke up at their own speed. Some started right into school work while others took their time. It was a bit chaotic because everyone needed me to show them their new papers/subjects/books as they were ready for them. Monday is new lesson day for math so I do a lot of one on one teaching on Mondays. We made it through and just enjoyed ourselves. Midafternoon found me grocery shopping and then heading to physical therapy with Mason. We finished off the day by surprising the kids with $5 pizza. :)

Tuesday - The second day of the homeschool year and the first day Daddy was back to work for the week was lovely. The kids knew what to do for most things so they didn't all need me at the exact same moment as often. I only forgot to prepare one thing - Makayla needed a newspaper for writing today. I ran to the store and grabbed a local paper and a national paper. At 10:30am it was time to run Makayla to the veterinary office she's working at (shadowing) every Tuesday. I don't know how many more weeks she will continue but for now they're happy to have her and she is happy to go. On the way there she shared that one thing she loves about it is that every day is different. You just don't know what you'll see in surgery or appointments until it happens.

Some of our space books for science this month.
The rest of the kids were happy to learn that our first science topic is space. We gathered around the table and I passed around stacks of books on all sorts of space topics for them to peek at. Some of the books I will read aloud while others they will read on their own based on interest in the topics. I told them we plan to do stargazing and to observe the solar eclipse this month. We will also observe the moon phases this month starting tonight. The full moon is in 6 days and then we will watch it slowly disappear. 

More of our space books.
I also started reading aloud a constellation book called Zoo in the Sky (aff) that has shiny silver stars on the illustrations. Here is a picture from the book:
Shiny stars in the constellations.

Piano took up our midafternoon hours and then it was dinner time. I made taco meat and beans for Taco Tuesday of course. Some kids do tacos, others do taco salad. I even have a few who prefer to have just cheese and lettuce in their tortillas and then eat the taco meat/black bean filling with a spoon.

Most of the kids have a binder for their school work on this shelf. 
Makayla keeps her work somewhere else. 
These are some of our books for this year.
Wednesday began with an orthodontist trip for Joseph to get his palate expander installed. By the time we got home several kids were already doing school work, one had opted to begin his chores first, and the littles were just playing. It's a beautiful thing to see kids dive back into routine! I sat and checked over math, did reading lessons, and then worked through Algebra 2 with Makayla. Stretching those math muscles - ouch. After morning snack I gathered the history group and we read about the Chippewa Indians. Our first read aloud for history is The Indian Book, a Childcraft Annual from 1980. The 3 oldest in this group are also reading a book independently for history. Joseph chose The Sign of the Beaver while Emma and Daniel chose Indian Captive: The Story of Mary Jemison.

Joseph is doing the research phase of his writing project right now (from Brave Writer's Faltering Ownership, it's a report). He's chosen to write about the San Francisco earthquake in 1906. He's reading a book about it as part of his research.

Just like every other day this week we also listened to a chapter of our current book for Homeschool Book Club. We are working through Tuesdays at the Castle (aff) by Jessica Day George. We usually listen during a meal or snack time because full mouths = quieter kids.

Dinner tonight was pancakes and bacon. Yum!

The kids played a game most days once their work was done.
This is Forbidden Island. They were happy to win and make
it off the island before it sank!
Thursday - A nice at home day that started with breakfast (of course). I bounced between kids as they needed help. Oliver had a big milestone - he finished up his very last All About Reading level 2 lesson! He's excited to move on to level 3 next week. Caleb is loving his Draw Write Now for copywork. He draws one of the pictures one day and does the copywork the next. Today he drew several birds in a tree.

Emma started plotting the map for her writing project. She chose to write about an imaginary island chain (Brave Writer project from Partnership Writing, but she doesn't want me to partner with her, she can do it on her own). This project is neat because she will create a map of an island chain where each island is a separate country. She will then make individual maps for each country with geographic details and write a history or dossier of each country (what it is like to live there, the government system, religions, animals, laws, etc.). It's a pretty big project so she's planning to work on it for our first 6 weeks.

Dinner tonight was lasagna, rolls, fruit, and salad. I'll be honest, 6 kids don't like it, 3 do. I happen to love it, so I still make it occasionally. They get the option of just eating their allotted rolls (yep, we have limits - picture 3 rolls per person x 11 people = 33 rolls.), fruit, and salad. They tend to top their rolls with a nut butter of some sort, butter and honey, or jam.

This is our homeschool mascot Arnold.
He is a pygmy puff from Harry Potter. Cute and snuggly!
Friday - Today just sort of happened. Nothing out of the ordinary, just following the routines of our homeschooling and home. It's a comforting end to the week. Everyone was happy to finish the first week back to school. There is just something satisfying about checking off those assignment boxes.

Daniel's mailbox he made for writing.
Daniel is enjoying his first writing project - it's a Letter Box (found in Brave Writer's Jot it Down book, though he's doing all his own writing at his age). He delivers letters to people and then watches for the flag to go up on his mailbox when he receives letters in return.

Dinner tonight was crockpot beef stew. I love when I can spend five minutes putting food in the crockpot in the morning and then voila - dinner cooks itself!

We made it through the first week! I love homeschooling - it's a blessing I don't take for granted. If you are interested in our curriculum plans for the year check out this post: Our Homeschool Curriculum for 2017-2018.

PS> Want to see what is up with our family and homeschool more often? I'm trying to post on Instagram this year to capture the everyday moments along the way. You can find me as @tristanrowlee there.


  1. Love how you homeschool routine fell back into step so easily. I hope ours does in another week. We had such a tough year last year. Hopefully, this one will go smoother.
    Blessings, Dawn

  2. So, was your "yum" about the pancakes, the bacon, or both? Didn't pancakes make you gag just a few weeks ago? :) I'm glad you're feeling better!!!!

    What a lovely, lovely week.

    It almost . . . almost, but not quite . . . inspires me to look forward to starting school again.

    1. The yum was for the bacon! My nausea is a lot better though, which is wonderful.

  3. Love the simple assignments sheets! And we might need a Pygmy Puff for our Hogwarts themed school year! ;)

    1. Ours was given to us but I just searched Amazon for Harry Potter plush and saw pygmy puffs, Buckbeak, Fluffy, Hedwig, Fawkes, Fang, and more. ;) Here's the link:

  4. Love how you were able to get right back into your routine! Love the Pygmy Puff as well!

    We can't wait to get back to school ... but first to finish summer break! ;-)

  5. How do you plan ahead for the week and get all the materials together? I was all geared up, ready to pull things out and get started, then everything fell apart when the transportation for my oldest to the Adult Transitional Program didn't come through and I have to drive her to school, which is 10 miles away, each way, and pick her up again. That's 40 miles a day on the road! We weren't home at all Monday and Tuesday. Tuesday was particularly horrid and looked like this: Get to school at 8am, back home to feed the dogs and then to PT 9am-10, home again to feed me and the cats then go waaaay across town to our adaptive gymnastics 11am-12, I ran an errand while they were there, then it was back across town to enroll the dog in obedience training at 1pm get a condensed first class since we missed the first one, then back to the school for pick up at 2pm, back across to Costco for gas and groceries, then home.

    Did you create your weekly calendar yourself?

    1. It is hard when life is packed so full of out of the house things! A few things that come to mind for me are to first do as many errands as possible on Saturday (grocery shopping for example). Also, on days when you are going to be out, be sure you pack food for you so there is no running back home to eat (and feed those pets before you leave).

      I did make the weekly calendar/assignment sheet myself. I just opened Word, created a table (it's a simple button push) and labeled the rows/columns. I save it and each week I adjust what days assignments are on. For example this week Monday was blank because we took a day off, history was moved to Tues/Thur, and Science was put on Wed/Fri.

      Planning ahead for the week - I actually sit and plan 6 weeks ahead. I read over lessons, print papers we need, and if I'm really on top of things I collect science experiment supplies and put them in a box. So if you look at my 1st and 3rd grader's binders right now they have a pocket divider with enough copywork/drawing papers printed out to use every week until our break week. The Fix It Grammar pages for my 4th, 6th, and 7th grader got printed for the 6 weeks and put in their binder.

      Then when it comes down to the weekly prep I'm already set. We just do the next thing. After 6 weeks we will take a week off and I'll print/prep/read over the lessons for the next 6 weeks. The only thing I am actually doing on Saturday for prep now is to adjust the week's assignment sheets with new math pages (lesson 11 becomes lesson 12) or adjusting which days things are assigned on if we have a day where we have something taking us/me out of the house for a while.

      Another key is to keep as much as possible all appointments confined to the afternoon, when we've already finished school for the day. Today for example Joseph has to be back at the orthodontist so we scheduled it for 2:50pm.


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