Tuesday, August 28, 2012

First Day of School

Yesterday was our first day of school around here.  Caleb, as you can see, started 2nd grade and Piper is doing some honest to goodness pre-K work now.
For Caleb, we are using the same curriculum that we've used the past few years, My Father's World.  I really have appreciated the way that this curriculum ensures that we hit all the important academic information while still teaching them the Biblical principles that are just as important.
This year, our daily work includes the following:

  • Bible: This year in Bible, instead of just hearing a Bible story and learning a verse every week, we are talking more specifically about Jesus, who He was, who He is, what He did, etc.  I think that this more focused attack will be something that both the kids will love.  Piper is sitting in on this part of the curriculum this year now.
  • Spelling:  We have integrated the spelling curriculum from Rod and Staff, which is a very good, organized, do-able way to teach spelling for kids our age.  This includes weekly spelling tests, which we will complete every Thursday, to ensure that he has a good starting place and foundation for this important skill.
  • History:  Last year, we just did a very brief discussion, once a day, about Bible stories.  We enjoyed this, but Caleb and I were both really hoping for a more traditional history curriculum and we got it this  year.  We are still doing Biblical studies, but during the Bible part of our curriculum, and are doing a study of the United States.  We will read books about the discovery and founding of our country, as well as learn about all the states, something that Caleb loves to hear about and will love studying this year.  Piper is participating a bit in this now too.
  • English: I was surprised when I looked at the English part of our curriculum this year, as it asks a lot of the student.  We only do an English lesson 3 days  week, but the 4th day (we only school 4 days a week) is something called dictation.  Basically, I read a sentence or series of sentences and Caleb writes them.  The other 3 days, we are learning sentence structure, parts, differences between words (there, their, they're), etc.
  • Science:  Caleb and Piper love science, so they are super excited about this year's set of experiments. We've got some fun things planned during this part of our schooling and the kids are asking everyday if we can work on science!  That makes my little scientific heart happy!
  • Math:  This year, our math curriculum is Singapore math, which is a great system for a kid like Caleb. The way this is taught is to have the child look at the math problem and be able to quickly decipher an answer and move on.  Caleb has always loved and looked forward to the math part of our day, but last year consisted of the lesson and then page after page of practice problems.  This just served to bog him down and make him frustrated in the process.  Once Caleb learns a concept, he doesn't usually forget it, so once we are done he wants to move on.  This type of math curriculum will allow us to do just that.
  • Art:  We had an art curriculum last year, but honestly we didn't do much of it at all.  Art is something that I struggle teaching and doing, but the only part of our art curriculum that is needed is the first few weeks, which I am doing with the kids now.  I never have had much interest in doing art (crafts are a totally different thing, though!) but I'm not going to deprive my children of the opportunity to love it!
  • Reading:  This year we've got a couple of places embedded in our curriculum dedicated just to reading.  After our history lesson, we have a time called book basket time where Caleb sits and reads anything of his choosing for a set period of time.  During this reading part of our curriculum, however, I will be reading various things to Caleb and Piper as well as letting Caleb read to me from those same books, all of which are history based.
  • Foreign Language:  The only thing that I wasn't thrilled with with regards to the curriculum was the fact that they want us to purchase a computer driven foreign language curriculum which is kind of pricey.  I'm not completely convinced that Caleb needs this for 2nd grade, but we are going to start a more simple foreign language curriculum next week that will get him up to speed for this computer driven set for either Spring or Fall.
Piper is doing some handwriting work and is participating in the Bible, history, science, reading and some of the art part of our curriculum this year.  Other than that, she is just doing some sorting work, coloring, Play doh, etc.  Just typical 4 year old work, just to get her used to the process of school so that next year's start in Kindergarten isn't such a jarring experience.
I think that this year is going to be a good year and I'm looking forward to all the fun we're going to have!

Thursday, August 16, 2012


It seems I've lost my blogging mojo.  I just can't seem to get back into the swing of blogging.
It's not for lack of things to say or things happening, I just can't seem to get it together enough to write about these things.
Things around the Mathis house have been hard, in really every sense of the word.  Some of which, I attribute to summer being a very difficult time for us, historically.  So, I'm hoping that with the end of summer and the beginning of school, MOPS, Cub Scouts (that's new.  See, something to write about.), etc, I'll get back into the swing of writing again.
A girl can hope...