Saturday, September 5, 2015

First Grade in Our Home: Fall 2015

James, age 7, is now 'officially' in first grade.  He has a summer birthday, and could have been 'officially' in first grade last year if we had wanted him to be.  However, he is a bright boy whose social and emotional maturity lags behind his academic ability a bit.   All that to say that we have progressed at his academic ability level at home regardless of his grade-level on paper, while keeping him in a younger age group for official purposes such as co-op, Sunday School, and testing.   I say all this again as a disclaimer that my intention with this series is to be DESCRIPTIVE of what is currently happening in my home with my particular students.  These lessons have been planned with their needs and abilities and our overall goals in mind.  I share to give you a peek inside of our home, just as I like to get a peek inside the homes of others from time to time. :)  
You can read other parts of this series here:
And get the big picture of our daily routine and how all these pieces fit together here:
James began AmblesideOnline Year 1 in January, and we left off for the summer at about the halfway point.  So his 'core' curriculum this year involves completing the rest of Year 1, and then moving along to Year 2, probably after the Christmas holidays.  He is a strong reader, which is reflected in my plans for him.
While waiting for me to work with Elizabeth (my kindergartener), James has a short independent work checklist which includes:
  • Math drill sheet or page from Singapore's Challenging Word Problems 1 workbook
  • Drawing - choosing from a drawing drill sheet or one of our drawing instruction books (2x per week)
  • Mapwork - coloring and filling in places on his map of the United States (our current map drill focus).  He adores maps and has been known to ask for blank maps to color for fun.  (2x per week)
  • Independent Free Reading: a chapter from either The Burgess Bird Book or a free reading book.  I am encouraging him to try to remember at least one thing to tell me about what he has read, as a step towards eventually being able to pass off more of his school books for independent reading.
  • Review Memory Work: He reads over his current Scripture and Poetry memory work selections, which we will later review together.
Together we spend 45 minutes to an hour doing the following together (depending on length of readings):
  • Buddy Read a section from the Treadwell Reading Literature Third Reader (which quite honestly he is ready to graduate from....but he loves doing it so....  When he finishes this, I will probably start buddy reading from some of his assigned school books and expecting a narration from that reading, again as a step towards transitioning to independent reading of school books) (5-10 minutes)
  • Read together a selection from the AO Year 1 list - narrating orally and doing any follow-up map or timeline work. (10-15 minutes)
  • Math Lesson - He is almost finished with Singapore Math 1A. (15-20 minutes)
  • Read a second selection from the AO Year 1 list with oral narration, etc.  We also read a bit of poetry and practice his current Scripture and poetry memorization selections. (10-15 minutes)
  • Return to the table to do copywork.  I am sitting with him while he does it even though his letter formation is good to help train him in what Charlotte Mason calls transcription - the act of copying word-by-word rather than letter-by-letter.  This helps to strengthen the visual memory and is a stepping stone to dictation. (5-10 minutes)

And that's it.  He's usually finished with all his school work for the day by 11am and free to go play. :)

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