We couldn’t wait to start school in the fall and decided to just dive right in. My thinking is busy times come and we take a week or two off here and there, but when we can fit it in, we do. Gotta love that sort of flexibility.

We started off with Right Start Math, and I’ve been adding in our other curricula one at a time. As of this week, we do math, All About Reading,Five in a Row, and Handwriting Without Tears about four days a week. Charlotte participates in everything but math for the most part, but kinda like a buzzing bumblebee. She tries, runs away, does some other activities I take out for her, joins back in, etc. Dexter, however, is still loving Right Start (I’m amazed at how quickly and easily he learns what I consider to be slightly advanced things….he easily recognizes quantities of 1-10 without counting them, looks for parallel and perpendicular lines everywhere, can tell you that a square is just a special rectangle, etc. it’s really fun). All About Reading has been a blast as well. We tried one lesson of Level 1 before the PreReading one came in but it didn’t go so great. Not bad, just not amazing. I started out with PreReading instead and it was an instant hit. I found a Ziggy puppet used, and though I was suspicious of whether it was necessary or going to work with Dex, I decided to try it out anyway. I need to record him when we use Ziggy. It’s absolutely hilarious because he is just giddy the whole time. Everyday when I say it’s school time he begs for Ziggy to join us, too. Such a silly boy. So he’s breezing through the material, but that’s okay. He is enjoying it and Charlotte joins us for a good part of it. I was originally going to skip over most of the ‘art projects’ but the kids love that part so much that we do them. I was hesitant to do PreReading since he already knows the letters and letter sounds, but it also teaches syllables, rhyming, word boundaries, and reinforces what he already knows.

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Too fun!

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Handwriting Without Tears fits in nicely because AAR has us do ‘something more’ with every letter we talk about, so that’s usually when I include handwriting. We work in his workbook, do Wet-Dry-Try, use our homemade letter pieces, or use our homemade Roll a Dough Set. I also just finished a homemade See Stamp Screen Set that they enjoy. I love their manipulatives, it’s just been fairly easy to make cheaper versions. His writing has already improved a lot since we’ve been more formal with how letters are formed, instead of just make the letter anyway you can. We sing “Where Do You Start Your Letters?” often. Charlotte has the My First School Book but still just scribbles over the whole page. The other manipulatives have been really helpful for her though as she’s learning to recognize that she can form the letters herself. I don’t think the workbooks were very necessary and probably wouldn’t buy them again, but we do use them since we have them.

Five in a Row is our most recent addition to the daily schedule. I’m trying to tell myself we don’t have to be perfect rowing every book and can always row them again, so that I don’t avoid tackling a book. Last week we rowed The Carrot Seed since I had some gardening work to do, too. We planted some beans in paper towels to hang in the window and watch sprout (which they did, then Charlotte took them down, and ripped them apart), we put a cut carrot in a jar of water and watched it sprout, read the Parable of the Sower and the Seed and watched a YouTube version, and we read some other picture books about gardening. He made some drawings for me to make into plant markers for our actual garden, too (I’ll photocopy them smaller, crop, and laminate, then attach to some sticks to put in the garden). We also weeded and talked about profiles in the artwork in the book, and the colors of the pictures in the book.

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I want to try this with Starr Lil’s.

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How does a typical day look here? We start off with the kids waking up, getting dressed, eating breakfast, and then playing for awhile with each other. It’s like they wake up everyday and need to make up for the lost time that they didn’t get to play with each other while they slept (though they do share a sibling bed, so they potentially are playing in the middle of the night…). After they start to settle down with whatever game they’ve made up (and I’ve done dishes, or laundry, or some other awesomely fun task), we do school time. I try to always end with painting or play dough or something they love the most, and then I prepare lunch or snack for us to have while they finish up. Next, we do some more housework typically, like vacuum or clean a bathroom, and then off to the gym or off to run errands. Then we are home, have outside play time and make dinner, fit in some swimming, then it’s bedtime! With lots and lots of reading in bed together. I still prep their boxes of work the night before, with one box for each subject (science gets a spot on the shelf). I just read ahead and see if there’s any materials we need and put them in the boxes. Over the weekend, I read through he whole week in case there’s anything to be purchased.

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I love that they can just get their little box and start working!

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Anyone else do school year round? What does a typical day look like for you?

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