Homeschool Archives: Our 2008-09 Year

2008-09 FOCUS: Unit Studies and some Basic Skills


My Format-2008-09 School Year

`Each week has itís own theme:  

Sept.: With September lessons starting, we added a more complex structure to our weeks: Each day, we strive to accomplish 7 aspects of the school day-Calendar work, basic skills (Math and Phonics work), Bible study theme and Bible verse, journal writing, Kate's spelling list and read aloud.  This is in addition to the special science/math/social studies/art activities that come about with our specific week theme.  We do 4 day school weeks, leaving the 5th day for review or catch up.

Week 1- Fall/Fire Safety/Johnny Appleseed; Read Aloud: "Meet Felicity" from "American Girls"

Week 2-Fall unit continued here

Week 3-States, "Flat Stanley" (some fall still thrown in)

Week 4-States, "Flat Stanley" unit continued here (some fall still thrown in)

Oct.:  *school first week;  off Oct. second week until Nov. third week Ė one month off; Basic Skills

Week 1- Halloween/Pumpkins/Scary Animals (bats, spiders)


Week 3- Native Americans/Thanksgiving/Turkeys

Week 4- Native Americans/Thanksgiving continued

*Letters to baby, Journal baby arrival

Dec.: *off week 4 until Jan. week 2 for Christmas break

Week 1- Christmas theme; Read Aloud: "Heidi"

Week 2- Christmas theme

Week 3- Christmas theme

Jan.: *Start again 2nd week of Jan.

Week1 - Winter/New Year's/Special Birthdays/*Mozart's Birthday

Week 2 - Winter/Winter Animals (Arctic)/Martin Luther King, Jr.

Week 3 - Winter/Winter Animals; Read Aloud: "White Fang" (adapted to 1st grade level)


Week 1 - Groundhog Day/some Valentine's

Week 2 - Valentine's

Week 3 - Valentine's/President's Day (Lincoln and Washington)/*Mardi Gras

March: St. Patrick's Day, Spring, Birds, 100 Unit (Everything's a 100!!)

April: April Fool's, Easter, Arbor Day-Trees, Earth Day-Recycling

May: May Day, Cinco de Mayo, Summer-Oceans, Memorial Day-Armed Forces Day, Mother's Day

Summer '09: Flag Day, Father's Day, Independence Day, Colonial Days


*Extra Units: Ancient Civ. or Nutrition Thematic Unit (Part 2) or Solar System Thematic Unit or Countries and Continents with States review.



`Each day, we strive to accomplish 7 aspects to the day:

*Calendar work-Print a calendar off and go over the month and day of week each day.

*Basic skills (Math and Phonics work)

~Menu of Basic Skills work to choose from-

`Horizons Workbooks (Kate, Phonics and Math; Dom, Phonics and Math).

`Various worksheets: Kate, money; Dominic, patterns, sorting, etc.

`Extra practice: Kate, money, 10ís, teens; Dom, tracing numbers, letters

`Kateís First Grade Readers, Reader's Theater

`Flashcards for Dom: Letters, Numbers, Phonics, Sight Words

~We switch it up and do different basic skills each day. Although, we try to stay consistent with Kate reading form her Readers each day.  Also, we group skill; for example, we will do money for a week, or place value for a week, or vowels for a week, etc. whether that work comes from Horizons or a worksheet.

**Bible study theme and Bible verse-They Memorize a memory verse from Scripture each week.

 *Journal writing

*Kate's spelling list-Kate writes each word 5x. Then she writes a sentence using each word. Finally, by the end of the week, we test on the words.  Our spelling words come from themed reading we get from our trade books each week.

*Read aloud

~This is in addition to the special science/math/social studies/art activities that come about with our specific week theme. 

`We do 4 day school weeks, leaving the 5th day for review or catch up.

`Each week has a set of trade books we use to support the theme.

`Finally, we use very specific binders and notebooks to track our progress:

*Bible verse notebook, Journal binder and Kateís spelling notebook.




Start here: Week 8 (in Sept. '08): Fall/Fire Safety and Johnny Appleseed, continued

Weeks 9 and 10 (in Sept. '08): States, "Flat Stanley"

Week 11 (in Oct. '08): Halloween, Pumpkins, "Scary" Animals/Bugs (spiders, bats, owls)

Week 12 (in Nov. '08): Thanksgiving and Native Americans

Weeks 13-15 (Dec. '08): Christmas

Weeks 16-18 (Jan. '09): Winter, Winter (Arctic) Animals, New Year's, Special Birthdays, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mozart's Birthday, Chinese New Year's

Weeks 19-21 (Feb. '09): Valentine's, Groundhog Day, President's Day (Lincoln and Washington), Mardi Gras

Weeks 22-25 (March '09): St. Patrick's Day, Spring, Birds, 100 Unit (Everything's a 100!!)

Weeks 26-29 (April '09): April Fool's, Easter, Arbor Day-Trees, Earth Day-Recycling

Weeks 30-33 (May '09): May Day, Cinco de Mayo, Summer-Oceans, Memorial Day-Armed Forces Day, Mother's Day

Summer '09: Flag Day, Father's Day, Independence Day, Colonial Days

*Looking forward to early next year, some new things we have not yet themed around: Sept.: Labor Day, Sept. 11th-Patriot Day, Grandparent's Day

Oct.: Sweetest Day, Columbus-Explorers,

Nov.: Elections Process, Veteran's Day

*In addition, Some units we  did not get to this year: Solar System, Ancient Civ., Nutrition Part 2, Countries/Continents, Dental Health, Crime Safety/Community Service, etc.




Homeschool Archives: Our 2007-08 Work

2007-08 FOCUS: Heavy on Basic Skills-Phonics, Reading, Read Alouds and Math with manipulatives. Below were our extras':

Past read alouds:

*"Alice in Wonderland" and are continuing with books that either take place in England or were written by British authors (our theme for February and March in Reading.) - Spring 2007


*"Little House on the Prairie"; Little House Series, Book 2 (January's Reading theme was Pioneer Days.) - Spring 2007




Past Projects:



Among other things!!: Science outdoors, measurement experiments, wind experiments, etc.

*Art - Dominic is working on illustrating 2 Eric Carle books.  "My Very Own First Coloring Book Set" contains the actual books; "Very Hungry Caterpillar" and, "Very Busy Spider" by Eric Carle.  However, the pages are left blank for the children to color their own illustrations. Very cool!

*We bought Kate an Art set.  We like to let her have free art time to paint and draw.

More-Native Americans; Pioneers - Laura Ingalls; Medieval Days - Visited local places in  England, Scotland and Wales (many castles!); Victorian Era - Again visited local area in England; 


Dates: Spring 2007



Past Field Trips

Just some of many left unlisted!

*Woburn Safari Park

(February 2007)

*My cousins came in to town and we went all over doing "field trips".  We went to Cathedrals, a castle, Hampton Court Palace, Cambridge, etc.  For details on where we went, see our England travels page on this site.

*London Aquarium

(January 2007)

~We went in January! It was so great!  We saw three sharks, got to touch a small ray, saw seahorses, jellyfish; all kids of stuff! 

*Thurleigh Farm, England, (December 2006)

~We went today, Dec. 12, Tuesday! It was great. The kids had a snack, played on the indoor play center, visited Santa (or "Father Christmas" as some of the British children call him), went on a tractor ride and fed ducks, geese, pigs and rabbits. 


Past Kid Activities:

*Winter 2008-09 (Germany)-Kate, Dom and Grant are starting a ~Homeschool CoOp group in Jan. '09.  They are all three still in ~Awana Club. Kate starts ~Girl Scouts.

*(She is a Daisy Scout.  They have bi weekly meetings -crafts, stories, community helping, etc.-and they also have some really great stuff planned: Spring Camp -possibly in Poland-Summer camp, "Thinking Day"-like a Geography Fair-and "Daisy Doings"-a pajama party sweet treat day. :)

*(The Homeschool CoOp consists of mothers getting together and teaching each other's kids different things.  Kate is taking drama/arts and crafts and Native American History pockets.  The boys are in a themed room (theme yet to be determined).  All 3 participate in PE class.) 

*(Besides CoOp, the Homeschool group also does: Christmas party, Birthday bowling, various get togethers and field trips, Field day coming up in May,  etc.)

*(The Awana Clucb is really helping the kids learn key Bile verses by memory! Not only are they learning verses, they are learning key aspects to our faith-names of the Bible (The Word, Scripture, etc.), they are learning about Missionaries, learning to tell their faith story, etc.) (For fun, the have various themed nights-crazy hair night, crazy hat night, bring a friend night, upcoming-pajama and slippers night-night at the movies and popcorn, etc.  They have had a Christmas get together and they every so often have Awana store, in which the children spend their "Awana bucks" they earned from hard work or bringing their Bible to Club, on little trinkets.)

*Fall 2008 (Italy)-Kate is active in-AWANA (A kids' church club designed to memorize Scripture verses

and earn badges by doing projects.)  She is also involved in Ballet.

on Fridays, and Kids' Church each Sunday.  Dominic is active in AWANA and Kids' Church; and Grant is a brand new "Cubbie" in AWANA! (and goes to Kids' Church).

*2007 (England)-Kate is was in TBall and Awana.  Late '07, Kate, Dom and Grant were in "Team Kids", a Bible Club in my hometown.

*2005-'06-While at the British Montessori Preschool, Kate and Dom took Yoga and French classes.  Kate was also in Awana; and 2007-Ballet and T Ball.




Impromptu Lessons:  Kate came up to me one day and said, "Mom, I want to learn about fish." So, Kate and I got on the computer, and we looked up fish. Luckily, I came across a site, made by a teacher, that had a power point presentation on the basics of fish.  So, Kate and I went through it.  We read a "Nemo" book, and looked at fish in a workbook I had.  Finally, we went and looked at and talked about the fish in our fish tank.  See link  for the power point we found on the internet on fish. (1st grade level) (Spring 2007).

We  focus on:

Basic skills: letters, phonics, learning to read, writing letters, basic math, months, seasons, etc.; teaching through various themes and units.  ( I like "Teacher Created Resources")

Reading: Kate is really becoming a strong reader! We are going to work through a reader program through "Horizons", a Christian publisher; and by reading several regular trade books together.  She also reads from a First Grade Reader series published by Horizons.

Writing: I am big on journal writing! It is a great way for the kids to practice and I allow Kate to use inventive (phonetic) spelling for now.  Dominic dictates to me and I write for him, then make him write one or two words off to the side on his page.  Kate also has a spelling list this year! We will start with 5 spelling words first semester, then 10 words second semester.


Basic Social Studies: Ancient Roman civilization - Visiting places here in Italy (Pompeii, Rome, etc.); also, Kate and I are going to touch on American History.

Included in basic Social Studies, we are going to take a look at various states and countries using Highlights, "Top Secret Adventures" and "Which Way USA" programs. 

Basic Science: seasons, animals (classifications, habitats, etc.), food and nutrition, the 5 senses, the human body, weather, ocean life, dinosaurs and space; to include basic health issues like good hygiene, fire safety, etc.

Math: We are working through the "Horizons" math workbooks for Kate and Dom.  Plus, a lot of math we do is hands on pertaining to our units or themes.

It is important for us to include lessons on:

 Bible Study and Scripture memorization: We are going to take a Bible Story per week, and work on memorizing one age appropriate Bible verse per week.  We are also going to learn about basic missionary concepts, and learn about specific missionaries.

Some extras we like to do but are not in our everyday schedule...

Art: The children will have opportunity to free paint and draw; also, we will learn about specific artists (children's book illustrators to start), and kinds of art (music, dance, paint, sculpture, etc.)

Music: The children have access to a keyboard, trumpet, three guitars, children's bongo drums, tambourine, etc.  We play several types of music in the house; and Dave gives lessons to the children, informally. 

Foreign language: Spanish and Italian:  We are learning Spanish in several ways.  Of course, we watch "Dora"! Also, we have Spanish teaching computer games, Spanish books, and I have some Spanish workbooks for Kindergarten age level I plan to start using.  We are learning Italian strictly by immersion!  The kids can count to 5, say hello, goodbye, good afternoon, evening and day; all in Italian.

Sign language:  We are using to learn the basics: the alphabet.  When we have that down, I have three workbooks we plan to start using to learn sign language.

P.E.: We have several books on homeschool physical ed.  They teach games you can play with  a minimal number of people. Also, we go to the playground, the kids play outside; as they get older, they will join sports teams.  We also teach basic exercise moves.

Kate has already taken one term of ballet.  We plan to give her the opportunity to join dance and gymnastics as soon as it becomes available.  Dom wants to join martial arts and soccer.


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