Wednesday, September 05, 2007

First Day of Kindergarten

I love homeschooling- or should I say "carschooling"!

Today we started our school year. Shawn had a meeting in Anaheim, so we all got up just before 6:00am and loaded the car with our books, binders and basket. After terrible traffic, while Grace looked through the books I had picked for our Duck theme, we finally got to the park near his office, and began our "morning lessons" with a nature walk. We looked for signs of fall, we gathered some huge leaves for our Nature Mantle and we saw ducks, a crane and a grey squirrel with the longest tail I have ever seen!

Next we chose a table under the shade, near the lake and after filling in our Nature Walk Tracker (weather, observations, funny happenings) we did "Circle Time"- funny since there are only 2 of us, but the activities are the same even if we aren''t in a circle. I read 2 poems, one called Good Morning and the other an Animal Poem, with movement. Next we sang 2 songs- If You're Happy and You Know It, and a duck counting song. This will stay the same for the next month- Grace will learn one each week. Next we waddled in a square (the shape of the day) and pointed out all the red things we could see (the color of the day). We finished Circle Time with a brief finger crocheting story and some verses to accompany the handcraft.

After rushing to pick daddy up, we discovered he was running late, so we read the 2 chapters in Frog & Toad are Friends for our book club while we waited in the car.

She loved the 3 Kitten folders I picked out for her so much, she decided to color a picture of her favorite.

At the next stop (another of Daddy's appointments) Grace decorated the cover of her new binder with stickers and we listened to the CD I got from the library (Frog & Toad Original Broadway Cast). I didn't tell her what it was and she was thrilled to make the connection between one of the songs and the story we just read.

We all had lunch on the patio of Chapporosa Grill, one of our favorite OC lunch spots, we had their "signature" Strawberry Salad, a Mediterranean Veggie Pita, and Cantaloupe. It was all delicious and Grace colored a first day of Kindergarten self-portrait on the white butcher paper covering our table.

Our last stop was my Drs office. Since we were an hour early we sat in the car under a shady tree, Daddy made calls for work and I read The Ugly Duckling to her. She then watched the DVD I got from the library, called The History of the Ugly Duckling.

At my Drs appointment she got to watch as the Sonographer showed us her new baby... sister- all the fingers, toes, and little tiny nose! It was amazing and the baby wasn't in the least bit shy so we are fairly certain she is a SHE.

Grace has enjoyed hanging out in the homeschool room in the evenings lately, so she dictated to me what she remembered from our Circle Time for her Circle Journal, and we we finished up our Main Lesson Block, reading Lifecycles of Ducks, and talking about what we learned and any examples we had seen at the lake that morning. Did you know their webbed feet have no feeling?

Next we read the story she narrated to me the night before called "The Invisiballs" (more to come on that one!) and for her Practice Time, she wrote her favorite words (that she knows how to spell) up on the whiteboard. We finished by her dictating "In Her Own Words- What I Learned Today" page.

Finally she spent about 20 minutes playing with the create an Ice Skating Show game on, changing the moves and music. She has been very into what feelings music evokes. The other day we heard the Pink Panther theme on a jazz musical station I was listening to and she said "I don't like this song, it sounds sneaky." Right on target! With her Barbie Skate Show last night she told me her favorite song was the slow sad one because it sounded like she was alone and her love had left, and the ice skating moves looked like that too.

She thinks she wants to ice skate instead of gymnastics this year, and tap and tumble. We'll have to wait until we get access to the educational funds with Sky Mountain. We meet with our ES today.

All in all I think it was a fantastic first day. I love the flexibility and rhythm of our new style -Waldorf flavored, Theme Unit, Unschooling. Today she asked if we could do the Nature Walk and Circle Time tonight after park day. She does seem to have a little "brain burst" after dinner, it's nice to be able to accommodate her! Our basic 4 components (Nature Walk, Circle Time, Practice Time and Main Lesson Block) will stay the same, it's a matter of interest and events that guide us to the opportunities to draw her into them and reinforce what we learn throughout the day. It is also very nice to have a basic plan over a theme, with reading selections, media, art projects, songs, and activities to bring in.

She doesn't really know there are 4 components I am trying to cover- I am doing it as organically as possible, with none of the "Now it's time to" phrases. If I start doing something with interest and enthusiasm- truly for myself and in the moment, of course she wants to join in- she always does when I am doing something for myself! And we have a lot more fun. This style and attitude has been developing all summer, and now that I have a loose structure and preparation I feel more able to do it casually.

Happy Homeschooling!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What an awesome first day!
I wish I could blog about our days as well you do. I think it would help me reinforce what we are up to. I might consider it since this blogger site does seem to have a lot of great features for that purpose.
Can't wait to hear her baby sister's name choice. How exciting!


Shawn last finished Da Vinci's Last Supper in Nov! No time for puzzles this fall- can't wait until we are in our own place again!!
Are you a puzzler? Want to trade?