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Psalm 78
. . . we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. .
so the next generation would know them . . . and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Edwards Academy Kick-Off

"Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God."
-William Carey

"Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure."
Philippians 2:12-13

Our 2011-2012 school year is into its second week, and we've adopted this rallying cry from William Carey as our school's theme for the year.

In our seventh year of homeschooling, we're studying the nineteenth century with Tapestry of Grace (Year 3). We continue to highly recommend Tapestry of Grace, which has been the backbone of our classical studies for these seven years, but have mixed up our other curriculum choices this year.

Here's a round-up of our students and studies:

Tobias (Kindergarten)
Math U See Primer
Veritas Press Phonics Museum
Tapestry of Grace literature and history selections
Plenty of library books, puzzles, playdough, watercolor painting, and free play
Physical Education class at the Y (but not until second semester, when he is 6 and eligible to enroll)

Lane (3rd grade)
Rod & Staff Mathematics Level 3
Rod & Staff English Level 3
Rod & Staff Spelling Level 3
Rod & Staff Reading Level 3
Alpha Omega LifePac Health
Apologia Science: Astronomy
Tapestry of Grace History, Geography, Writing and Literature
Physical Education class at the Y (twice a week)

Sydney and Hope (6th grade)
Saxon Math 76
Mother Tongue (OOP) English Grammar
Rod & Staff Spelling Level 6
Alpha Omega LifePac Health
Apologia Science: Astronomy
Tapestry of Grace History, Geography, Writing and Literature
Physical Education class at the Y (twice a week)

Because we have a kindergartener this year, as well as a toddler in the mix, we're trying a few new things in our schedule. Most of all, it is challenging to juggle the time I spend in active teaching, making sure that each student gets the instruction they need in addition to their self-study.

Toby Time
In our daily schedule, Toby follows up the first hour of school with 15 minutes spent with each of his older siblings. His "Activity Time" with Lane is often an outdoor recess break in our backyard, while the weather is appropriate. Alternate activities include puzzles, games, blocks, or other school-only toys. Following this, Hope and Sydney each spend 15 minutes reading books to Toby. This is a win-win, because as they read the Lower Grammar book selections from Tapestry of Grace to Toby, they are enriching their own study of history and literature. (If you think picture books are only for pre-readers, you're badly mistaken.)

Morning Time
This is the most significant addition to our homeschooling routine, and it is probably the best scheduling change I've ever made. I know, that sounds like hyperbole, but I mean it.

Morning Time (which I learned about from Cindy) is a catch-all name for about an hour and 45 minutes of our morning that is spent together, gathered around a table. For Cindy, Morning Time is an opportunity to cover several subjects, specifically art, composers and music, poetry, hymns, folk music, Plutarch, and Shakespeare. (For free Charlotte Mason reading list and curriculum plans, check out Ambleside Online. For more information about a Charlotte Mason education click here.) Our Morning Time varies a bit since we follow a slightly different emphasis with Tapestry of Grace.

Here's a glimpse into what we do in Morning Time, and specifically what we're studying this week:

Scripture Reading: Right now we are reading a chapter of Proverbs each day and discussing some of the verses as we read.


Hymn: "God of our Fathers." We sing the same hymn for roughly four weeks.

Pledge to the Flag

"All About Today" with Toby (a wall chart with the calendar, weather, etc.)

Poetry: This week we are reading "The Tyger" by William Blake each day. As I read the poem, the kids write down some observations about the poem in their notebooks. I ask them to consider something different about the poem each day, such as descriptive words, similes or metaphors, or rhyme scheme. Occasionally we'll have more than one poem in a week, but we'll repeat our poetry selection every day of the week.

Civics: I'm calling this category "Civics" because we are spending most of the year reading through the U.S. Constitution and the Amendments, including the Bill of Rights. We are using Our Living Constitution as a guide through this process, reading and discussing a little each week. For instance, this week we read Article I, sections 4-6, discussed what these sections mean and learned the names of the current House and Senate leaders, as well as the names of our state's Senators and Representatives, and their party.

Grammar Jingles and Sentences: We listen to the Shurley Grammar jingles and classify a few sentences together.

Composer and Music: This week we read about Beethoven and began listening to some of his most important pieces. Our composer choice is tied to our Tapestry of Grace studies, and we don't always have a new composer for the week. When we do, we read about him during Morning Time on Wednesday and the kids make a notebook page about him. We'll be listening to Beethoven at various times, during school hours or as we go about our family life this week.

Artists and Art: We are doing both art appreciation and art during Morning Time, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We have a couple of different resources to help us study great artists and their works. For art class, we're using ARTistic Pursuits Grades 4-6 Book 1: The Elements of Art and Composition. So far, this is working very well. On art days, the kids work on their art project as they listen to me read aloud.

Read Alouds: We also use our Morning Time for Tapestry of Grace read-alouds. Sometimes this is the actual TOG read-aloud suggestion, sometimes I read selections from history "spine" books, sometimes I read books about the missionary or church history "hero," which is currently William Carey.

On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, when we do not have an art project, the kids work on penmenship, TOG map work, or add to their States and Presidents Notebook. This gives them something productive to do as they listen.

It is difficult to keep our kindergartener engaged during Morning Time, and sometimes he is more easily involved than other times. He is free to slip away from the table and play quietly on the floor with a puzzle or blocks for part of the time, and I also give him pattern blocks or watercolors to occupy him at the table at other times. Sometimes this is more effective, sometimes less!

Lydia, by the way, naps during Morning Time.


Laura said...

I always love your nitty-gritty homeschool posts, in addition to all of the theological ones. :) Is it hard for you to imagine having 6th graders? It has been odd for me.

Meredith said...

Wow! I loved reading about all your plans for the year and how you go about meeting everyone's needs. It sounds fabulous. May your students be enriched in all the Best Ways this year ahead and may He bless you richly as you teach and guide them. You are a wonderful inspiration.

Mrs. Edwards said...

Yes, Laura, I was reflecting about having 6th grades as well. In our city that is the first year of middle school (I still don't think of it as "junior high" though!), and it just doesn't seem quite right!

Thank you, Meredith. You are such an encourager!

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