Tuesday, August 23, 2011


It's official.... school has started here at our little Catholic academy.

Last Friday I received our approval form from the local school district.

This is the first year that I've had to officially notify the school district of my intention to homeschool. I submitted our course of study and book/resource list and I received the official "excuse from compulsory attendance notice." Phew. Now comes the real work!

We actually attempted to kick off our school year last week. The boys received their "schultutes" (a German tradition) filled with some goodies and school supplies.

We made time capsules, which we will open at the end of the school year. The boys each traced a hand, wrote their name, narrated some of their favorites things, listed some things they want to learn this year, and drew a self-portrait. I measured them with a length of ribbon as well.

We put all of these items into a toilet paper tube, wrapped it with tissue paper, and decorated it. I got this idea from Pinterest  (http://pinterest.com/pin/98088649/).  It should be fun to open them at the end of the school year and see how much the boys have learned and changed.

We kicked off the year with a study of habitats. Here's Ray playing a game, matching animals to the habitat in which they live.

 Here's Adam drawing a desert habitat.

 We have been reading about habitats and creating some dioramas of some of our favorite habitats.

We had some help from some friends! Here's Jackie, who helped a whole bunch with our awesome rainforest habitat diorama:

 Here's Alana, who decorated this Arctic habitat.

Ray created this pond diorama all by himself.

 Adam created this "African Plain" diorama all by himself.

 Last week we had fun with habitats and we did a lot of reading, but we weren't quite ready for much more schoolwork. So this week we are adding in some more elements of our school schedule... I guess we're "phasing in."

Yesterday was a beautiful day, so we went to a local park and studied the pond habitat. We had a great time searching for critters. The boys made some nice sketches and we read a few books about ponds.

After that, we headed to our downtown library (which we LOVE). The boys played some computer games while I gathered books we need for the next few weeks. Then we sat down at the table and cracked open their new Phonics and Math books. They don't look thrilled in this picture, but they did enjoy their lessons and they did a good job.

 Today we did a little bit more.... getting them back on track with their "learning to read" lessons, working on memorizing a short poem, doing Math and Phonics, learning about Saint Rose of Lima, reading together, and doing a few "food chain" activities. So, each day we'll keep adding more elements until our routine is set for the year.

Ray is on board and ready to roll. Adam is having a bit more trouble letting go of his own "creative agenda" to do some work that I want him to do. I am trying to be gentle with him, yet set some boundaries for school time.

Finally, check out our new school room clock ----

I actually found this gem at Kroger for $19! I was looking for a bold, simple clock and I was going to put the "minutes" numbers around it. When I saw this, complete with the "minutes numbers" in red, I snatched it right up. It really looks great and will be helpful as we continue to learn to tell time!

Please pray for us as we continue to settle into a new rhythm of learning around here.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like you are off to a great start! We do the back to school cones too, love the capsule idea, think we may to try this! Hope you have a lot of fun with habitats and hope to see you all soon!