Sunday, October 7, 2012

Back to School!

It's official, we are back in school! I spent most of the evening Thursday finishing lesson plans and gutting out a corner of my kitchen/laundry room for our classroom. It's small and cramped, but gets the job done.

This years bulletin board theme is monsters in school. I thought that would be cute for Fionn since he loves monsters and dinosaurs.

I was up with Sean at 6am (The sun wasn't even up yet) and let me tell you, it wasn't fun without coffee. (Still can't have caffeinated drinks due to Cystitis.) I had the kids breakfast ready by 7am and had everything cleaned up and ready to start by 8am.

I decided to start off with Fionn one on one. Since I only need to spend an hour or so on his classes per day, I thought I'd get him started first. He had Religion, Math, Phonics and Handwriting. Since he already knew most of his letters and sounds, it was a breeze going through the Phonics worksheet. Setons' starts out with T. He ready enjoyed sounding out the words on the page. He also liked writing the "t's" as well. I think he may get bored with it pretty quickly though. Like I said before, he already knows most of these letters and there sounds. I might have to do two lessons in one for some letters.

He enjoyed handwriting as well. They started him off with downward strokes, basically the lower case "l". In the picture to the right, he is using the "two finger" spacing between each line. He was so cute writing his lines and so proud of himself.

Cian has a lot more classes this year, which is good because he is very lazy and tends to not "try" in classes. History has already become a problem this year. When I read to him, he isn't listening at all. He couldn't answer a single question in the review correctly. He is bored with subjects like Religion and History, which have a lot of reading involved. I'm not really sure how to deal with this problem. Do any of you home schooling Moms have any advice/suggestions?

On an improved note, he is doing very well in Phonics and Spelling. I thought Spelling would be a challenge, but he is grasping the concept of spelling out the word instead of just sounding out the letters pretty well. (Remember, Cian is one of my special learning children.) His first list has words like as, cat, fat, an, fan, pan. All easy for him to sound out.

He has come a log way with his handwriting as well. I am seeing a HUGE improvement with letters like "B" and "A". These were letters he couldn't write last year.

Declan has a big load this year. He is rapidly realizing his classes get harder as he gets older. A good example, Vocabulary. Instead of the book giving the word and definition on the page for him, he now has to learn to use the glossary in the back of the book to look up the words. He is also having to pick out an incorrectly used word in a group of 4 sentences. The first group of sentences used the word "miser". I actually had a hard time with that one myself. I had to take a picture of the group and text it to Sean for the correct answer. (The book doesn't give the correct answers.) He gets frustrated with it and gets mad.

Reading is another big subject this year. He is required to read and write a book review each quarter. His first book is The Small War of Sergeant Donkey. I've never heard of it myself, but it looks interesting. He is also required to read these books in the evenings only. Class time is for book work and required class reading. He was not thrilled with having to read a required book on his own reading time. (He is currently reading Huck Finn at bedtime.) He also has to fill out a worksheet as he reads for brainstorming. Again, he is not thrilled.

His class work has gotten much harder as well. He is currently reading short stories out of This is Our Land. The first story is Henry Huggins and Ribsy. He must read the entire story one day and is then given a list of possible topic sentences for a paragraph. He must go back through the story, find the page and paragraph that the topic refers too. To Declan, this was like the world ending. You would have thought I had asked him to write a 2000 word essay on how a plant grows. He also has a workbook too. Today he had to read a poem, answer a few questions about the poem, and then write his own poem, answering a question from the poem questions. (Kinda hard to explain.) He HATES writing anything, so you could only imagine the tantrum he threw. I can see it's going to be a long year....

It's only been three days, and we've already had our share of distraction and disruptions. (Liam took Sam out of his crib upstairs and had him running amuck yesterday.) I am constantly having to stop class and go fish Liam or Lizzie out of a closet, bathroom or garage (don't ask). I also think I need to hang a tacky blanket from our kitchen entrance because Declan tends to crank his head around to watch whatever the little ones are watching on TV in the living room. I also seem to end up with at least one toddler sitting at the table at any given time. As cute as they my be, they don't help much with keeping two very distracted boys concentrating on their lessons. Throw in two barking, chewing on everything dogs and tuns of laundry, and you've got one mama going crazy. I honestly don't see how you do it Jamie Jo. I think I need a lot more prayers In my life.

Since it has taken me three days to write this post, I think I'll quite before I have to add another day and leave you with a few cute school pictures. Have a great week everyone. GO PATS!!!

Cian's First day of 1st Grade

Declan's first day of 4th grade!

Fionn's first day of Kindergarten!

Our classroom wall.



  1. Congrats on getting back into school! My suggestion for Cian, is it possible to find a different curriculum for him just in Reading and History? If Seton's isn't working for his learning style, maybe another program would. Good Luck and take it one day at a time!!! =)

  2. I love your classroom. Getting up that early is crazy...I remember working for a farmer one summer and milking cows at 4:30am...then getting up to a job at 6am for a year and a half while in college then the hardest to me are the 3 mo. of a newborn. We are tough women!

    1. Thank you Christine! Getting up that early is for the birds, but we didn't get up until 8 this morning and we are barely halfway through school right now. It's going to be a long

  3. Arly--you are doing great!!! I don't have are doing better than me!!

    Your kids are so cute!

    You don't want to know how late we start....(well, except my oldest, he starts really early, it's his goal to be done by noon or even 10am)

    One big thing that has helped me, especially with all the pumping I need to do is to have set things for breakfasts and lunches on school days, that way there is no thinking, we just know that Wednesdays is pizza, etc....

    You are doing super!


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