Friday, July 12, 2013

Our First Week Back to School

For a tour of our schoolroom, check out a Sneak Peek Into Our Classroom.
 School is back in session and I must say we've had a nice week. Jonathan is in kindergarten. Ryan is a second grader, and Caraline is a fourth grader. They are not so little anymore. They are growing up way too fast. I hear this all the time, and I've known for years that it's all too true.

We worked through the first three full days in My Father's World: Exploring Countries and Cultures, deluxe package. MFW includes everything except English and Math which we also completed. We had a day of appointments which included dental cleanings for all three, vet appointments, and a trip to a local aquarium fish supplier, and a field trip day in Atlanta. Our first week back is always at slower pace.

Changing it up a bit...

As far as our normal lessons go, I did something new this year. I followed MFW's suggested outline for the order in which we complete each subject. The children loved having this structure. Before, I would list what needed to be accomplished for the day and have each little one complete their individual activities (English, Math, Spelling, Handwriting, Reading) in whatever order they chose and do our group activities when the timing seemed like a good fit. I thought it worked well this way, but this new structure might be working better.

Below is a picture from Day 1. In the top two pictures you'll find the kids filling out passport applications, writing out checks for their passports and labeling their envelops for "mailing."  We will be traveling the world this year.

Also pictured is Jonathan cutting out a spiral. He adores Kumon cutting workbooks and worked through quite a few pages this week. We also found a few breaks in the rain for a little PE and nature study, too. We have four blue bird eggs ready to hatch any day now! (I'll try to make a special post about how a typical day looks for us soon...I do have a Pinterest board with most of our curriculum choices.)

Daddy taught a Geography lesson this week. I don't have a picture, but he read from Maps and Globes, a book you can find on Amazon and demonstrated with an orange how map makers have a tough job making accurately proportioned maps of a round Earth. As suggested in MFW, he used an orange, with continents somewhat outlined by me with a Sharpie, to represent the Earth. He divided the peel into four sections, peeled it and laid the sections flat. He did an excellent job explaining! On another day, he gave Caraline a spelling test. I hope he continues to want to teach what's in my teaching plans, (He already teaches other valuable lessons everyday.) when he's available; he's an excellent teacher!

I think the above picture is a good representation of how exhausted we all were by Wednesday night. The girls had just gotten back from the vet. Little Betsy reacted poorly to the anesthesia and the doc had to completely abort the surgery (spay) the day before. She was absolutely fine once the anesthesia wore off, thank goodness. Our big girl Sandy did great and handled the surgery with no problems. Our vet kept both of them a total of 36 hours just to make sure they were both ok.

We felt lost with the dogs gone. Caraline commented on how empty our house and backyard felt without them. It was so good to have our girls healthy and back home. We have medicine to give to both twice a day for the next week. Then we will just have Betsy's eye drops for cataracts to give twice a day.


I just love this mama, baby and teepee Caraline made out of a paper towel she colored brown with a marker, tape and writing paper. Her creativity amazes me.

Mommy, Daughter Time
Caraline and I had a mother daughter date one evening. We went to the movies and watched Despicable Me, 2. It was a cute movie. Caraline would tell you there is too much love in it, as in all sequels...The time together though is what we valued most. It's special and so important to make individual time with our little ones.

Field Trips!

GA Aquarium
Friday we spent the day in Atlanta. We had originally planned to start our day at the zoo, but it was extremely crowded. We couldn't find a reasonable parking place so we continued on to the aquarium. Jonathan LOVES the tomato frog, and they just happen to have one. I got a map of the aquarium and had the little ones practice their map reading skills in between exhibits.

Fernbank Museum of Natural History was our next stop. Our membership expires this month and we needed to use our IMAX tickets. We chose to see the documentary Under the Sea on the BIG screen. The kids enjoyed it a lot, especially since the screen was mega sized!
They said no flash photography, so I think that means it's ok to take a picture as long as the flash is off. This is one of the last scenes in the forty-five minute movie. My iPhone would only capture about 50% of the screen, but this face...oh, this little face is so adorable!

We spent the majority of the rest of our stay in the Sensing Nature Exhibit. One could easily spend hours playing with all the cool experiments.

The first picture is just outside the museum. This is a ritual for the kids. They must step on the dino feet. They've been doing this since our very first visit - Caraline was four, Ryan two and Jonathan a tiny baby being carried in a sling. The rest are from the Sensing Nature exhibit.
 More of the Sensing Nature exhibit and the bottom two are from an Animal Encounter lesson. Jonathan asked many good questions and answered many, too. His communication skills, at just five years old, are very well developed. And he isn't shy. All three answered questions. I am a super proud mama.

Once back home, we picked up the fish we ordered earlier in the week. We hope to have baby guppies and Mickey Mouse platys soon! They are live bearers and having these little guys as part of our schoolroom makes for many wonderful teaching moments.

This picture from the back of the local fish supplier's store warms my heart. I love my children.

We are linking our Weekly Highlights with our friends at Homegrown Learners' Collage Friday and Weird,Unsocialized Homeschoolers' Weekly Wrap-Up and Great Peace Academy's This Week and Teach Beside Me's Share It Saturday
Homegrown Learners

This Week @ Great Peace Academy


  1. Thanks for sharing your first week of this year's homeschooling. I enjoyed it! My babies will have to teach Nana some things they learn.... :) You are an awesome teacher. Sounds as if you have some help teaching this year. :)

  2. Wow, great post! Sounds like a fun week! I didn't know Despicable Me 2 was out, we loved the first one! Will definitely have to add that to the Summer bucket list...

    Just curious, if your school year starts in July when does it end, or do ya'll school year 'round? We go a "normal" school year (with all subjects) but have fun workbooks during the Summer for Math and Language Arts and daily reading time. (I have 2 littles, kinder and 2nd.)

    1. Thanks, for stopping by Bobbie.=)

      Like you, we still do read alouds and work on Math and LA year round. Where we live, (Georgia) summers can be brutal so having the majority of our break during the spring is ideal for us.

  3. What a fun field trip! I love all the places you went.
    Blessings, Dawn

    1. Thank you! And thanks so much for stopping by, Dawn. =)

  4. What a wonderful and busy week! I especially love the idea of using the orange as a globe :-)

    1. Thanks! It was a neat idea =) We enjoy using My Father's World.

  5. Sounds like a fun week!!! Love the tradition of walking on the dino tracks! I am sure it will be something they remember forever :)

    1. Hehehe! Thanks =) I remember your little ones walking the tracks last year, too!! =)

  6. Hi Hope.
    Stopping in from Weekly Wrap up. Wow what a busy and fulfilling school week!

    I am also hosting a weekly week in review link up, called "This Week..." I would love for you to stop by and link up.
    Looking forward to getting to know you a little more.

  7. Happy first week back Hope! Looks like its all under control! Love the field trip! huzzah to week two coming up!

    1. Thanks, Melissa =) It's a little under control. I just wish there were more hours in the day - but don't we all! Thanks for stopping by.

  8. Ok -- I need to know about the fish supplier's store? Where is that??

    Hope, you're such a great homeschooling mom! So much fun and learning last week!

    1. I am having trouble thinking of the name! I think the name is the Fish Garden. I need to stop by and I'll pay better attention.

      And thanks =)

      The kids really enjoyed having A. over today. She did a fabulous job! I can't believe how grown she is now...


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Thanks for taking time to comment. I appreciate each and every one! =)