When we started school last month, I wrote a little about what our plans are for this year. Jenna started My Father’s World (MFW) Adventures in US History 2 weeks ago, and my plan is to do a little review each week. But first, I wanted to share our classroom setup and a brief intro into what we’re doing.
This is our school space. I always imagined having a dedicated area for school full of cutesy things all over the wall and such, but we don’t have room in our house for that, so we do school in our dining room. I actually find that I really like this arrangement!
A few years ago, the wall with the hutch was just a big plain wall, and I wanted something for more storage. Mainly for my overwhelming amount of craft supplies, but also in anticipation for starting to homeschool. So, I made a rough design of what I wanted and my Dad and Cory built it for me as a birthday gift!
I finally “splurged” and bought a pocket chart calendar. I have been wanting one since Jenna started school two years ago, and I have been loving it for our calendar time in the mornings! I hung it on our chalkboard easel so it’s easy to put away if company comes over. The only other obvious school items that I leave out are the kids’ supply boxes and the map of the US and the Pledge of allegiance that are hung on the wall.
Here is a closeup of our “school cupboard”. I keep Jenna’s daily work stacked in a pile and Connor’s workbooks on another shelf. There are also stickers, whiteboards, books to use later, and several other random things. Flashcards and manipulatives such as cuisenaire rods are kept in the drawers.
The kids each have their own supplies bucket with glue, crayons, scissors, eraser, and pencil. Jenna’s also has colored pencils, and Connor’s box has a dry erase marker, eraser, and flashcards. It’s nice to be able to just set their boxes on the table and not have them getting up and down for things they need.
I try to keep things fairly simple in the supplies area. It’s really easy to want to go overboard during the back to school sales though!
This is the curriculum we are using for Jenna this year:
History: MFW Adventures in US History
English: Language Lessons for Today
Science: 1st Encyclopedia of Science, Science with Air, Science in the Kitchen, and Birds, Nests, & Eggs
Spelling: Spelling by Sound and Structure
Math: Horizons Math level 1
Foreign Language: Complete Book of Starter Spanish (starting later in the year)
Art: Not using a curriculum, just adding in art projects throughout the year
Music: Piano Lessons
Reading: Books at her level from the library or our bookshelves
Other: Field Trip Journal
Some of the changes we are making to the current curriculum are as follows:
*Instead of having a timeline of US History on the wall, we are gluing our timeline pieces in chronological order into a book (found in the Target dollar spot).
*We are not currently doing the Bible lessons in the MFW curriculum. I may eventually write a longer post explaining our decision for this, but the short story is that we focus on Bible during other times in the day/week and I want our time spent primarily on the academic portion during school time.
*We only do school 4 days a week because of Cory’s work schedule, so if there is something scheduled in the Friday spot (it’s generally just nature walk days) we fit it in during our school week. This is part of the reason the MFW curriculum works so well for us! The schedule is four days of school, with Friday being an easy day to catch up or an exploration day.
I also have these printouts in her school binder. She uses them in the morning during calendar time. The 100 days sheet was from Teachers Pay Teachers, and the other two sheets are free printables from Confessions of a Homeschooler.
Jenna’s school day is broken up into two parts. The first half is in the morning and she does calendar time with Connor, and then she either works on an assignment she can do alone (usually copywork or coloring) while I work with Connor, or we all do science, art, or storytime all together.
This has been a great time for her to practice being focused on her own work while Connor is busy doing something else. It is really hard for her to not be nosy and watch him the entire time, so it is a work in progress!
The second part of her school day happens when Connor goes down for his nap. This allows us time to work without interruptions. We currently spend about 1.5-2 hours on school per day, so I am fully prepared to allow for more than one school year to finish this curriculum. The best thing about Jenna being ahead in most subjects is that we are allowed more flexibility to do everything at our own pace!