Saturday, February 23, 2013

Adventures in U.S. History Week 1

Homeschooling Miss M has been quite the adventure. We started with pre-K and she outgrew it quicker than we completed it!  She learned to read when she was four, so I didn't see any point in doing a kindergarten curriculum.  We went straight into first grade.  She outgrew that too, but we were so near the end that I decided we'd press on and finish it anyway.  Finally the day arrived for us to begin a new year of school.  I know, I know, it's weird to start a school year in February, but hey, we homeschool!  Plus, if I start now and school on through the summer (which I plan to do), then we can take off November and December when we get busy with birthdays and holidays!

I made posters to greet the kids on the first day.
As I mentioned before, we're using Adventures in U.S. History by My Father's World to which I added the the recommended language arts, Singapore Math, and Rosetta Stone Tagalog.

They picked out their "best clothes" to wear for the first day.
The first week was a blast!  So much so that on Friday Miss M begged to have school the next day even though it was Saturday.

I Can Do All Things is a great name for an art book, don't you think?
We made a timeline and learned about Leif Ericsson.  I love the notebooking pages that come with Adventures.  We have never done any notebooking before, so I wasn't sure how Miss M would take to it, but it turns out she loves it too! She loves to count her "collection" when she adds another page to her notebook.  And several times when Hubby came home she ran to get her notebook and show him what she had done that day.

Leif Ericsson notebook page.

We did a science experiment with water and salt and two raw eggs.  Miss M always loves anything hands on!

Make an egg float in salt water.

Science experiment notebook page.
Miss M has a fiercely independent spirit and loves to be able to make her own choices.  She especially enjoys being able to choose her own books for Reading.  She loves to write and draw, and I've been seeing significant development in both areas which makes me all the more excited for this new year.

Reading with animated expression to her little brother.
Our week ended on an atypical note.  Hubby stayed home from work both Thursday and Friday as we were slammed with a massive winter storm.  The snow fell at a rate of 2-3 inches per hour!  Last year we only had a half an inch of snow the entire winter!  We spent lots of time birdwatching and then shoveling ourselves out after the storm.

The birds mobbed our seed feeders during the snowstorm since other food sources were inaccessible.

Ten inches of snow!

Snow drifts!
Friday we went on our Nature Walk. I had instructed Miss M to pay attention to her surroundings and find at least one thing she could draw, color, label and add to her notebook after our walk.

On a nature walk as a family.

When we came back, she pulled out "a burr" from her pocket.  I was surprised because I didn't know she had brought it with her, but she was thinking ahead!  She got out paper and colored pencils and drew it while I looked it up in our nature book.  Turns out it was a seed pod from a sweetgum tree.  I am no artist myself, so I was pretty impressed with her ability to draw it so recognizably! She was just tickled to add it to her Nature Journal!

Miss M's Nature Journal page
Next week we'll add in a few more subjects (there was no math or foreign language in this week's lesson plan), and see how that goes, but I have high hopes for this curriculum! It seems to suit us better, and I feel like Miss M didn't get burned out from her lessons so that there were several times during the week that she said things like, "Mama, I think I'm going to write a paragraph in my best cursive, okay?"  And she did!  If our homeschool curriculum does not replicate "school at home" but encourages a love of learning, then it is a good curriculum in my book!

Making a snow angel on our Nature Walk.
P.S. Don't you just love the "bow" Little Guy picked out for his first day of preschool?  Preschool, by the way, is going to be 100% informal...I just didn't want him to feel left out.  He can join us when he wants, but I won't force it.  He's having a brain spurt as it is and keeps surprising us with the things he knows that we didn't know he knew.

Come see what adventures we had in Week 2!

The rest of our adventures:


  1. I love your family's approach to homeschooling!

    1. Thanks! I'm definitely learning as I go along. Sometimes my preconceived notions of how things should work just don't jive with reality. :-)

  2. What a great first week!!
    Thanks for sharing your non-traditional starting of a new grade in Feb. -- I have a recently turned 5yo who's ready for 1st grade, too. But because of a nearly 7yo who's still doing 1st grade work (and going slowly) I've been afraid to actually start the 5yo in 1st grade work. I'm still not quite sure what to do!
    Oh, the joy of homeschooling! :) I'm so glad the 7yo is at home so she can go at her own pace. And that the 5yo is home too (Even though her pace is FAST!!!)

    1. One of the great things about "grade levels" when homeschooling is that you can call it whatever you want. Call your 5yo's work "kindergarten," but give her work that's appropriate for her level. That way the older one won't feel badly, but you can let the younger one do the 1st grade work. :-) It's wonderful letting your kids work at their pace!

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your homeschool journey! I'll start Adventures by MFW in a few months. I can't wait ;)

    1. You're going to love it! I think I'm having more fun than the kids are! Thanks for commenting!

  4. I like your blog! I wondered if those science notebook pages were something that you made or what?

    1. Thank you, Laney! Yes. I made the science notebook pages and kept them handy to grab as needed throughout our year. They're available in the Files section of the MFW Adventures group on Facebook. :-)