I bumped up our start date to July 5th! Everything was ready and we needed to get back to structured days. We took a very slow start. In fact, my main goal of July wasn’t really academics. My main goal was figuring out our new routine with two officially schooling and two tots! There was a lot of trial and error this month as I attempted to figure out a routine that would serve everyone’s needs well. By the end of the month, I had pieced it all together and going in to August, we have a pretty solid routine down. With the ages my children are, I know this routine will not stay the same all year long and it will need to be tweaked here and there. We have a starting point that I feel pretty good about and that is what I wanted to accomplish in July!
Little Bug was so eager to begin All About Reading Level 3. She is flying through it, doing about 1 lesson per day. Originally, I had planned to alternate between AAR and AAS, doing each two times per week. I quickly realized that was too much to manage. We will focus on AAR for now and still review the spelling rules from AAS Level 1 and save AAS Level 2 for later this school year.
We are also working through First Language Lessons Level 2. We started Level 1 last year and did around 20 lessons or so. I decided we could move to Level 2 because Level 2 reviews a lot of what is learned in Level 1. Little Bug is making a Grammar Notebook where she will write definitions and word lists. This feels like an excellent prep for Essentials without going overboard on curriculum that isn’t necessary.
Besides All About Reading and First Language Lessons, Little Bug reads chapter books at a vicious rate. She already has logged 84 chapter books for June and July! Little Bug enjoys reading in the early morning before anyone else is up since she is the early bird of our house!
Sweet Pea started All About Reading Level 1 and she now claims she likes reading more than math! Oh, I can’t sing the praises of AAR enough. I absolutely love teaching my children to read using this magnificent program. Just like her sister did, Sweet Pea enjoys playing with the letter tiles, practicing her letter sounds with the phonogram cards, playing the games and reading the adorable stories from the reader. At the end of July, she’s finished the first 5 lessons and is ready for more! I secretly dwell on the fact that I still have two more coming up that I hope I can use AAR with as well. I cherish these days watching light bulbs turn on as my children learn to read. Besides teaching them the Word of God, teaching them to read is probably one of the most important things I can teach them. And…they need to learn to read so, one day, they can open up the Word of God and read it themselves!
Before we begin AAR each day, we do 1-3 pages of Explode the Code together. These primers (books ABC) compliment AAR so well. It gives Sweet Pea extra practice with letter sounds and handwriting. I like that I am right there as she completes her pages so I can give handwriting instruction as needed. She completed Book A in July and is starting Book B.
Little Bug is in LightUnit 108! She is beginning to learn to carry while adding! This is a frightening concept for me to teach as I have never had to teach it before, however, CLE makes it seem so easy because it teaches concepts in little bite-sized nuggets that build and build on each other until one day you realize your child is doing the hard concept (like carrying while adding) with ease! CLE Math is just brilliant.
Sweet Pea was thrilled to start her first LightUnit in CLE Math 100! I am so incredibly thankful I found CLE math in time for all of my children to benefit from it. Sweet Pea completed the first 15 lessons in July.
Instead of trying to teach history and science each week, we are going to focus on history during the first semester (July through December) and then focus on science the second semester (January through May). I knew I couldn’t add in a formal history curriculum this year without overloading myself (nor is it necessary with my children at these ages!), so I gathered many books about American History to read aloud to my girls. To help the stories, events and people stick in their minds, I bought them each a drawing notepad for just over $3 where they can draw or paint a picture about what they learned after we read the books together. We read books about Christopher Columbus to begin our studies and at the end of July, we are reading books about the Pilgrims. We are reading books in chronological order, but I plan to come back to the Pilgrims and read some more books around Thanksgiving.
We are also listening to Story of the World during lunch. We have already listened to the first 3 CDs of Volume 3. Jim Weiss is the storyteller and he is a fantastic storyteller and a family favorite!
Little Sarge is my challenge this year, simply because of his age (not quite 3)! He is the sweetest little boy you will ever meet, but it is nearly impossible to teach the girls and manage him at the same time. His attention span for reading books is phenomenal so I am including him in our Bible reading time and scripture memory. (He is so adorable saying our memory verse!) After Bible reading, his sisters go off to work on independent work and I spend the next 15-20 minutes reading books to the boys before I get Sarge into Room Time and Beau down for his morning nap!
In the picture above, Sarge was having “Table Time”. He does join us for the last half our or so of our morning school time (when we are doing CC Review). He is really into “writing” right now! He kept wanting me to write “A’s” for him on his paper.
As I mentioned above, Sarge’s attention span for books has grown greatly over the last several months. He wants to read picture books instead of board books. I have been surprised many times at the length of stories he will sit and listen to!
We made the trip to Dave’s parents’ house for July 4th and enjoyed a fun morning of playing on their property, doing fireworks (at 1o am, haha!), enjoying lunch together and then heading home in time for the boys to get an afternoon nap. We even got a decent family picture of the six of us together.
A few days before July 4th, the girls decided to make a big American flag by taping paper together and painting it red, white and blue! It was a fun project for them to work on together and we still have the flag hanging in the dining room! The American Flag is a beauty to behold!
On July 26th we went to the zoo! It was Beau’s first time going to the zoo. We met up with a friend of mine I had not seen in over 3 years! It is interesting how I met Jennifer. Back in the day when we were both blogging about our infertility journeys, I came across her blog one day and noticed a picture of her sitting in a NICU chair holding her son. I immediately recognized the chair she was sitting in to be the same chairs I had sat it nearly a year prior when Little Bug was born and in the NICU! I sent her a message and asked if she was in my city and, low and behold, she was! That was the beginning of a special friendship that would develop. I went up to the NICU to meet her and her son. A couple years later, Jennifer was instrumental in our adoption of Sweet Pea! It was so nice to spend the day at the zoo with her, her husband, my parents (who came to help and take my boys home for their naps) and our seven children!
Beau turns 1!
At the end of my Homeschool Highlights July 2016 post, I shared about our failed adoption. Now at the end of this post, I am writing about little Beau’s first birthday! He has now been home over seven months and he is a joy and delight to our entire family. It is hard to believe my baby is one. We are leaving the baby phase, which after all we went through to become parents, is very bittersweet. If I am being honest, it is mostly sweet. I love babies and I have enjoyed all four of my babies, but I am ready to move into the next stage of life!
And that was our July! We are off to a grand beginning to the new school year. Year round schooling always makes me feel ahead of the game as we already have 19 school days under our belt and it’s not even August yet! Year round schooling gives me the flexibility I need in this season of my life!