First Grade – Week 2

Well, we finally have finished what I’m satisfied with calling week two.

Yes, it took a while and it was spread out, but we had good reason! And we did some things that counted as “school” over the time period. Just not a full week.

As I’ve mentioned, our friend from England came for a visit. This meant we tracked her flight, talked about transportation, and she was even kind enough to take photos from the plane. (Terrifying!) While she was here, we played games, chatted, and continued to work on reading.

I’m already running into a problem trying to do Ambleside – too little hands-on work. Now, don’t get me wrong. I understand we haven’t gotten a real good start. But I also know my son, and when he puts the thought into actually asking for something different, I listen. He likes the stories. He prefers the geography and natural history over everything, plus he adores the Fifty Famous Stories Retold (Yesterday’s Classics). He likes studying British history.

I also added in A Child’s History of the World (Calvert School) [1997]
, because I wanted him to have that background and I didn’t want to start that book in the middle in year 2. That is where the problem is coming in. He has requested more hands on. So we added in cave painting when we talked about the Stone Age. He wants to do more hands-on. He wants to mummify something, make a pyramid, dress like Greek, pretend to be a Roman.

On the one hand…we can keep doing what we’re doing and just add in a little here or there and let him play at being a Spartan or Roman after lessons are done. Just slide something in every so often.

But on the other hand – he wants to dig in and stay a while. Not move to other things so fast. And I get that. I love that he’s interested. This is how I have always done things with him really, outside of the 3Rs. Love spiders? That’s science, we’ll stay there a while. Like Peter Rabbit? We’ll stay there a while and use it to teach everything from counting to writing. So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised really.

I am well aware of his age, and yes, he’s the child and I’m the parent. But I also have always told him that certain things, like learning to read and write, are non-negotiable. He must learn to write, read, and do his math. Everything else we can talk about and work together to figure out how best to cover it. Just like we negotiate on breakfast or lunches, what he wears, and so on.

He might be seven, but he’s perfectly capable of letting me know what he wants and why.

My take on it was that hey, you like these books. We just really started and we haven’t fully given this a chance. You enjoy what we are doing. Why change so soon?

His reasoning? He wants lapbooks. He wants to make things, pretend, and be whoever we’re studying. He doesn’t want to read about a Spartan and move on. He wants to know who they were, why they were warriors, why were they so feared, what did they wear, and anything else he can find out. 50 Famous Stories Retold sparked his interest and now he wants to dig into it.

Originally, I was playing to use a unit study curriculum called Layers of Learning. I didn’t because I was concerned it would be too much work for me. But with the way Boobear is…I’d rather try to meet him halfway at least than say, “well, I know I said we’d negotiate, but we’re doing this because it’s easier for me.”

This isn’t about me. This is about him, how he learns best, and making it something he loves rather than fights.

So, our compromise?

We will continue to read AO Year 1 selections. These will be read during Morning Meetings and either an afternoon story time or maybe bedtime. Or maybe just during the morning meetings. We’ll continue reading Paddle to the Sea, 50 Famous Stories Retold, and possibly Our Island Story (though that one might be pushed back to year two when we do middle ages, if we continue with the cycle this way.) We’ll keep reading our natural history selections because he loves them and it’s sparking interests in science. Most of the stories are short and easy to discuss, or easy to break up, so it won’t actually add much time.

We’ll also do the unit studies, starting with prehistory and the first farmers and dig in, doing hands-on projects and recipes and so on. On paper, it looks like it will work. He wants to do lapbooks on Greece, Egypt, Rome, and Mesopotamia – fine. We can do that. He loves lapbooks and he’s proud of the ones he’s already made. He likes notebooking, so we might do some combos or even alternate.

We’re going to be drowning in lapbooks if he has his way. I have a feeling the folks I order ink from are going to be making me their best customer!

And of course, we’ll continue the 3Rs and working on narration.

Ah, homeschool – where you constantly are running to catch up with your kid and wander into ways of learning and teaching you never planned on trying.

We’ll see how it works. It might work out great, and we’ll be able to do the combo without problems (good thing I was already adapting AO!) or maybe we’ll decide that no, one is better than the other for us.

On one of our nature walks, we discovered a home down the street has a chestnut tree! They were falling all over the place.

Since he was so interested and wanted to do something like a caveman, we set up his tent and he “cave painted”. We looked at cave paintings, talked about the Stone Age, what it might have been like, and why they might paint on the walls of caves.



And here’s his cave painting. He decided that some cave paintings are actually maps, telling about a place, so his is a little family, their domesticated wolf (from a book called The First Dog that talks about, well, the first dog,) their cave, bushes and grass near it, where a pond is, and where the sun rises. watermark3


From CHOW (Child’s History of the World) we also talked about the Bronze Age. Again, utter fascination. When Papa Bear got home Boobear tried his best to explain to him how man found fire, then copper, then tin and mixed together made bronze and how so much was made of bronze. Then came the Iron Age.watermark4


We’ll have to see how it goes. It might be too much – but with him, there is really no telling. Not until we actually do it. It might actually end up too much for me! In which case, Papa Bear might find himself recruited for a project or two.

‘Til next time,


About LilBearsMama

A homeschooling, work at home, mom and wife. A wannabe novelist, book junkie, and coffeeholic.

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