August 31, 2010

New beginnings

Another school year is starting filled with new books, new energy and new schedules.  The beginning is always a mix of a bit of dread and excitement.  Sadness the summer and its freedoms are coming to an end and hope for what the new year has to offer.  Today was our first day back and it is very gradual : introducing our schedules, new books and plans, getting our school and bedroom work spaces ready.  As is typical the children were ready to go back before me.  This year it was our 6th grade daughter who was pushing us all to start early.  The rest of us could have been content waiting a few more weeks.

We started out with some read aloud time which is always a favorite.  This year we are starting our day reading a passage of the bible, working on the kids version of reading the entire bible in 90 days.  We also started a new book Window on the World by Daphne Spragget, recommended by a dear friend.  This is a Christian book that introduces a variety of countries throughout the world and emphasizes hard times in the country and prayer points for each nation.  I am using it as part of our bible time rather than history or geography but it touches on some of those topics.  Today our read aloud was Afghanistan and we touched on topics such as civil war, world war, freedom vs. oppression, courage, Islam and Christianity, jihad and terrorism.  We ended this time with a family prayer for the people of Afghanistan, along with the missionaries, aid workers and military in the country.  I really enjoy starting our day this way and think it will be a powerful resource in our studies this year.

This week math, spelling, and some language arts are the emphasis as we slowly move back into our school schedule.  Our textbooks and resources have not all arrived yet in the mail because I waited to order them until just last week as the school year always seems to sneak up on me.  We are starting math off with worksheet reviews I print from the website, The Math Worksheet.  I started using this website two years ago for test reviews and last spring I tried out the paid subscriber section which I have decided is worth it.  You can build custom sheets and reuse them because the sheets utilize a random generator.  It is perfect for back to school reviews and test prep topics as well as for extra practice on particular topics.

Reading seems to be our challenge this fall which is unusual for our family.  This fall though I have one student who loves reading but can't find any interesting and appropriate material to read that the child has not already read, one reluctant reader who thinks everything is boring and one reader who needs a bit more confidence.  I never really expected reading to feel like pulling teeth but it currently does.  Still they have to read an hour a day, I don't cut them slack in that one area even when it is frustrating or less than enjoyable.  Maybe some day they will thank me, or they will grow up with reading issues they can later talk about as an adult, at least I will have the confidence that they are all good readers and have been exposed to many good books through the years :)  


  1. My son is reading The Guardians of Ga'Hoole. Have you tried that series? There are about 15 books, I think. He is 13, but it seems appropriate for younger kids.

  2. Thanks for the suggestion Nicole. She loved that series but read it a few years ago. She is working her way back through old favorite series right now so I would not be surprised to see her pick that one up again as well.

  3. I'm sure she's read of these, but here's a few my daughter has recently been reading.

    The Theodosia series by R.L. LaFevers
    The 39 Clues series by various authors
    The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander
    and the Books of Bayern by Shannon Hale

    Good luck. When my oldest is out of "good" books she's a grump!

  4. Thanks Jen she has not read the Llyod Alexander series we will have to give that a try.