First Day of School! First Day of School!

Presenting, for the first time ever, the students of Linker Academy!

It’s a good thing homeschooling frees us from stereotypes!

In all seriousness, today is a big day because it’s our first official day of homeschooling, ever!  So I thought I would post pictures of our schoolroom so that you can see the before.  At the end of the year, I will have to post pictures of the aftermath. 

Here is our school wall!  Right now, my little childhood table is on this wall.  When Josh finished building our new dining room table, we will make the current dining room table a permanent school room feature so that we have more space for multiple children to work.

We have several beautifully large bulletin boards because, once upon a time when our church still had its own building, Josh and I were in charge of selling things out of the building.  We were told to throw away the bulletin boards we couldn’t sell.  Ummmm…we didn’t.  (With permission, of course!)  The U.S. map was in the dollar bin at Target!

The paintings Ava created when Melanie was babysitting her.  Melanie is super artsy and believes in letting children paint on actual canvas!

One day, I would like to have quotes [that I like!] about education on the top part of the wall.

Our marker board!  When Cynthia had moved into a new house, someone had left huge framed prints of cottages that she didn’t want in the house.  She wanted to throw them away.  Ummmmm…I wouldn’t let her.  (And it’s conveniently exactly the size of a piece of poster board, so I didn’t even have to cut anything!)

Our pocket thingy!  I found this in the Target dollar bin, and I know a lot of teachers use them, so I got one.  I’m not sure what it’s supposed to be for, but right now it’s housing our schedule!

My husband’s awesome pallet creation that has changed this room forever!!!  Someone had free pallets by the side of the road, so Josh picked them up because, fortunately,  he follows Pinterest and knows that you can make anything with pallets!  Only two of them were the same size, so he sanded them down (which took a sweet forever because the wood was OLD!), added some wood that he had leftover from other projects as legs, and built me the prop storage that I’ve been wanting!!!  Look how beautifully my props fit on the top of this thing!  The plan is to build some shelves on the right hand side of the structure for me to use for curriculum.  The sewing machine fits on this, freeing up the sewing table for me to use as a computer table in the living room.  I love this.  I’ve been leaving the office door open just so that I can see it when I walk by.

Here’s my “teacher’s desk.”  And there’s also a book case that, once I get it cleaned up, can be useful.  Nothing special or organized about this space, yet, but I wanted to show how it backs up against Josh’s side of the office.  The way we have it now, we can put up a baby gate between the wall and the cabinet the printer sits on so that the kids, in theory, can’t mess with Josh’s stuff.  The desk is the one that my friend Michelle gave me after she read that I needed one on the blog.

The only “expensive” thing we’ve bought to prepare for homeschooling is the new printer.  The printer that we had wouldn’t use the black ink cartridge (???), and since I pretty much only need things printed in black, it was super expensive to keep buying color ink cartridges that it was using to make black.  So Josh found a good deal on an office jet type printer so I can print in black to my heart’s content!  (It will also come in handy for printing things for church – that’s what I was using our old printer for last year!)

Our curriculum box!  Eventually this will all be on the shelves that I mentioned, but right now it’s in a super stylish diaper box.  The teal binder is my “teacher book;” it has a Classical Conversations lesson planner I printed off of Half a Hundred Acre Wood that was really a blessing, as well as any other teaching material that is not in the books.  The purple binder is Ava’s – it’s her favorite color!

People that don’t care about curriculum can skip over this part, but I already know that homeschooling parents like to compare notes, so if you’re interested, here is what we’re using (or planning on using!)

  • Bible:  Just Mom and Me Having Tea by Mary Murray (I feel very little pressure here since the government will not care if I do Bible study or not, so I picked something we already had that looked fun and bonding!)
  • Math:  Singapore  (a lot will be review but I wanted her to learn their concepts from the beginning)
  • Grammar:  Shurley English
  • Spelling: Rod and Staff Grade 2  (They don’t offer a first grade level, so I went ahead and ordered 2nd grade…I figured if it does end up being too much, I can save it until next year.  This was a last minute decision and it hasn’t come in yet, so right now I’m using 1st grade spelling lists I found online.)
  • Writing:  I plan to give writing assignments based on the things she is learning…it is the Classical way!
  • Science:  In CC, Ava will learn science facts every week.  I plan to elaborate on those each week.  My mother-in-law has passed on some science textbooks to me, and we can go to the library for information if needed.  (Example:  Next week, the science fact is about biomes.  A 5th grade text book that I have has a section about them that we will use, and I found there are great online resources for flash cards and worksheets about biomes!)
  • History:  A HUGE part of CC is memorizing a timeline of the entire history of the world.  Half a Hundred Acre Wood has a great book list to go with every week’s history topic.  I have already started putting together a list of books that are in our library system that correspond with the book list.  I am going to try to mainly stick with the library, but we may end up purchasing (or putting on our Christmas list!) some books that look particularly good that the library doesn’t have.  We’re not starting history until next week, so I’ve yet to get that going.
  • Geography: I don’t think I’ll be super intense with this, but CC will cover a geography topic each week, so we will do some work labeling maps (which there are plenty of online – and we purchased a cool dry-erase map at the practicum!)
  • Reading:  We are really just going to continue the reading habits we started over the summer.  I read to both Ava and Izzy (over the summer, it has been The Chronicles of Narnia,) and Ava is required to read independently for an hour and keep a record of what she has read.  I will have her write about what she reads and may sometimes even give her multiple choice quizzes or something like that, but I don’t want to take the delight out of reading!
  • Fine Arts:  I plan to do Fine Arts on Fridays, because Izzy will be home on Fridays and I think it’s something he can also enjoy.  We are going to use a free curriculum that covers 8 artists (and corresponds with books that are, fortunately, in our library system!), and I want to try Classical Storytelling to start exposing them to classical music in a fun way.

Our co-op orientation is tomorrow, so hopefully I will have a better idea about memory work and Latin after that!

Here are the read-aloud books I’ve set aside for after we finish Narnia!  I’ve been collecting them at the thrift store (25 cents each!), consignment sales, and my parents’ house.  I’m not a shop-a-holic, but my one real weakness is children’s literature!  (And I realize that most of these are on a level that Ava could read them by herself, but I want to read them, too – K?!)

So that’s the current state of our school room!  Josh has been super awesome to put all of that together for me!

SO, as I mentioned waaaaay back at the beginning, today was the first day of school!

Ava’s school day started off at 6:30 this morning – with P.E.!

Josh is the official P.E. coach, and for the first semester he has chosen to do Couch 2 5K with Ava!  Here they are after their first run.  Josh is showing off the app that they are using.  (I told Ava that, when I was her age, we had to use stopwatches to time ourselves!)

After Bible study and chore time, we had a few minutes so I THRILLED my children by saying we were going to take first day of school pictures.

See?  Unbridled joy!

Well, the props helped a little!!

And of course we had to take turns being Class Clown and Teacher’s Pet!

Then it was time to get serious about some Math!  Here is Ava learning about number bonds:

At this point, I wanted to run around the house saying, “I taught someone math!”

It may not be my strongest subject.

And here she is practicing with the cool laminated number cards her daddy made!

Our first lesson with Shurley – classifying things into groups.

First spelling test, which she claims was her favorite part.  Rats, she got them all right!  I will try to stump her again tomorrow!

First writing assignment!


And geography!  I picked a simple personal geography project that Ava and Izzy could both do.  (His pre-k doesn’t start until September!)

Just so you don’t think I’m like supermom or anything, this is what Egan did for school:

And this, for the most part is what Izzy did:

I am still trying to work on letters with him, but I’m going to have to figure out how to time things to be able to do that. I think one of the trickiest parts of homeschooling for me will be keeping the boys busy – I DO NOT multi-task easily.  I think, while we are waiting on PreK to start, we may resort to “Dinosaur Train” to occupy the boys for half an hour!

Well, all that goes to say, we made it through the first day of school!  Only 179 to go!


5 thoughts on “First Day of School! First Day of School!

  1. Pingback: First Month of School! (AND my FIRST ever free download!) | karathecucumber

  2. Pingback: First Day of School! First Day of School! (2016 Edition!) | karathecucumber

  3. Pingback: First Day of School! First Day of School! (2017 Edition) | karathecucumber

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