We hope your new school year is off to a wonder-full start!
I’ve taken back-to-school photos of my kiddos every year since S was 4-years-old. I used the same cardstock signs every year. It was our back-to-school tradition. As you can see in the photos below, we try not to take ourselves too seriously!
2014 – Pre-Kindergarten and Mommy’s Little Helpers (x 2) – Wagstaff Road, Paradise, California
2015 – Kindergarten, Preschool, and Mommy’s Little Helper – Wagstaff Road, Paradise, California
2016 – 1st Grade, Pre-Kindergarten, and Mommy’s Little Helper – Dover Ridge Lane, Durham, North Carolina
2017 – 2nd Grade, Kindergarten, and Preschool – De Sante Lane, Paradise, California
2018 – 3rd Grade, 1st Grade, and Pre-Kindergarten – De Sante Lane, Paradise, California
This year we needed new signs and I was delighted to find a reusable chalk board sign at TJ Maxx in Grand Junction, Colorado.
We decided to forge ahead with S (age 9) in 4th grade, K (age 7) in 2nd grade, and B (age 5) in kindergarten.
Here’s what we are planning on doing for our homeschool/road-school this year.
I’d like to start each day with “morning time”. You can read my post, Morning Time in our RV, for all the details about that. After that, we’ll move on to “seat work” (a term from a Ramona book by Beverly Cleary). Seat work includes Math and Spelling workbooks. We are using Math Lessons for a Living Education and Evan-Moor’s Daily Word Problems. We are also using Building Spelling Skills by Evan-Moor.
We’re still finishing up our workbooks from last year before we start the new ones for this year. I had really considered repeating 3rd and 1st grade this year due to the chaos, upheaval and unrest caused by our displacement due to the Paradise Camp Fire. In the end, I decided to go forward and see if we can catch up this year. If not, I’ll just repeat 4th, 2nd, and Kindergarten again next year.
B finished his preschool workbook so he got to pick out a new kindergarten workbook at Costco in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Anyone who is able to complete their “seat work” with a positive attitude earns a sticker for the group reward chart. The 3 kiddos are working together, as a team, to earn a group reward. The rewards are things like a new chapter book or a new DVD. Not everyone always gets a sticker for the day. It is important to me that they are not competing against each other to earn rewards. I don’t want to add any elements of sibling rivalry to our day if I can help it. If they all earn a sticker for the day, they earn the group reward faster. If someone is having a bad day and doesn’t earn a sticker they aren’t missing out on the reward or falling behind on their own. When you look at the chart, you can’t tell who is earning the most/least stickers. Yay for teamwork, and helping brothers and sisters to be best friends!
Afternoons usually include some combination of Legos, pretend play, outdoor activities, field trips, errands/chores, listening to read-aloud books, and computer “games”. Computer games are Reading Eggs, iReady Lessons, or PBS.com kids games.
We are learning about American history through American Girl books. The main characters in all of the books are girls, but both of my boys like the stories very much. The books are well written, teach good life lessons and bring American History to life! We highly recommend them. There are even a few DVDs about some of the characters to check out. My dear friend, F.M. from UT has been helping me replace the epic collection I lost in the Paradise Camp Fire. My friend, J.H. from TN has found 2 American Girl cookbooks for us too! We are searching thrift stores everywhere we go to add to our collection. Right now we are reading, Meet Felicity.
I’m excited about this doodle journal, Happy, Sad, Feeling Glad by Yasmeen Ismail. I’m not yet sure where it’s going to fit best into our day. It’s geared for younger kids, but when it comes to dealing with emotions after catastrophic disaster, I think it’ll be okay to go with a “younger” book. The doodling pages with discussion prompts will be good for the kiddos to process how they are feeling about everything. Sometimes it’s easier to talk about difficult things when our hands are busy doing something else. Using cute animals to discuss difficult emotions can also make it easier. I’ll keep you posted and let you know how it goes…
Speaking of empathy skills and emotions, I have to tell you about this wonderful picture book, The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld. My friend, L.T. sent it to us and it’s amazing. If you know anyone who has young kiddos and is going through a difficult time, send them this book. The child in the story builds an epic block tower and then it is destroyed. Many animals come to “help” the child but none of them really help, until the rabbit comes along and just listens. This is such a good book for teaching kids about empathy. My kiddos loved it. It’s all such a beautifully constructed metaphor and so perfect for us right now.
Getting back to our homeschool day, in the evening, we read stories and have drawing time. We’re continuing to alternate between 3 series of books: Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder, everything ever written by Beverly Cleary, and The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner. Right now we are reading, The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary. I also like to read a chapter from The Bible Story by Arthur Maxwell and a few poems from Something Big Has Been Here by Jack Prelutsky before bedtime.
🍎 What are your back-to-school traditions?
🍎 If you homeschool, what curricula are you most excited about?
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