Thursday, September 8, 2011

Back to Home Learning!

This past week marked the start of our home learning year! Despite the boys' groaning (mostly Blake) leading up to the start up of lessons, we had a wonderful first day! There was only one little hiccup in which after Jacob's eager participation in circle he said "school sucks" when I announced it was time to move on to main lessons. I attribute his attitude to a late bedtime the night before (it was only an hour, but every minute counts with this guy!). After some time away from the family, he was ready to rejoin us with a much better attitude and the rest of the day went great!

As in previous years, we start our morning, after chores, with a walk around the neighborhood. I find that we all do better when we start our day with some fresh air and an opportunity to get some wiggles out. This also allows us to notice the changes in our neighborhood that come along with the shifting of one season into the next. I think we were all suprised to find several beautiful fall leaves! We collected them and then added them to our centerpiece (which already had several acorns gathered from the last time we were in the woods). Fall is my favorite season and I love being able to bring autumn's beauty indoors!

After a quick drink we move on to a short circle. This is when we say some verses and poems, do some action rhymes and a circle games for MaKenna. The boys tend to get a little silly and rambuncious, but as long as MaKenna can keep up, I don't mind. It is a great way to come together and start our day with some fun! The boys still do NOT want to sing any songs, however, so I am just going to work those into our day for my sing songy girl. After circle, we move on to main lesson (for Jacob) and independent work (Blake). After our snack, then we shift and I work with Blake until lunch time.

I was so happy to see Blake pick up his knitting again. He did this completely on his own! I think the fact that I sewed up some new handwork bags for the boys gave him some inspiration to create himself. Here he is working on a potholder for MaKenna's pots <3 I plan on working in some scheduled handwork time into our weekly rhythm. This will allow me to help Parker with his finger knitting as well.

I planned the beginning of the year to be fairly "light" in anticipation of easing back into our rhythm. What I didn't know was that the boys were going to fall back into it so quickly. It was almost as if we didn't have a summer break at all! Jacob is doing a short 2 week form drawing block and Blake is doing a month long local geography block. I don't think I mentioned it here on this blog, but I decided to continue on with first grade material with Jacob this year as opposed to moving on to 2nd grade. I had some reservations last year as to whether or not we should begin and decided to move forward anyways. While I don't regret that decision, I also don't think he is ready for 2nd grade. So with some tweaking (I essentially divided one year into two!), I have created a year where we can go further into the material than we were able to last year. Despite these weeks being a review, Jacob hasn't complained so I think I made the right decision!

We ended our first day celebration with some homemade cupcakes. I ran out of butter for frosting (I never seem to keep enough butter in the house!) so powdered sugar had to do. I don't think the boys cared as they gobbled them up. We did manage to make them last all week!

With the start of a new year come some new materials as well! In addition to the handwork bags I already mentioned, I also sewed up two new crayon rolls for Blake and Jacob's block and stick beeswax crayons. They use these crayons not only for lessons but for free drawing as well. I wasn't sure if they were going to like them as my friend Chrissy had already made one for Blake that he never uses (sorry Chrissy!), but it turns out that they love them!

It's a good thing too as I had to create my own pattern which wasn't so easy for this beginner sewer! I was pretty happy with how they turned out and am so glad the boys are too! I think I need to make two more and set them aside for Parker and MaKenna before I forget how I did them!

It was a wonderful first week back and I am now even more excited for all the learning that is to come! We have some great field trips planned in the coming weeks for Blake's geography block as well as for some fall fun!


  1. The crayon rolls look great! I am going with a similar, more compact design because our work/craft table doesn't have a lot of room for large crayon rolls. I'm so excited for this year - I think it is going to be wonderful for our little circle of friends. <3


  2. I love reading all about the beginning of homeschooling as we are just beginning our journey. I also made a block crayon roll-up for my son, but I like your version best with both the block and stick crayons...hmmm,maybe I'll have to redo this! Have a great rest of your week!!!
    xo Jules

  3. Tanya, this is great- I love the crayon holder! I made some a while ago out of wool felt, and have no idea where they went. . . odd. You've inspired me to make new ones!
    Our children also got back into the swing of things more smoothly than I thought they would too.
    And I'm sorry, but I had to laugh about "School sucks!" Haha!
    <3 Mel