Last week we completed our first 4 week school block and it went better than I had hoped. The kids maintained that new excited-first-week energy for the whole block. There were only a few tears and those mostly when I was having a bad day!
Ishaan’s main lesson block was Old Testament stories. We looked at the stories not from a Biblical or religious perspective, but more as one might study Greek Mythology or Norse Myths. As part of this block I had Ishaan learn to write out the Hebrew alphabet. I found lots of practice pages online with little arrows showing how to form the letters. Clearly I don’t expect him to read Hebrew or even remember the letters, but it was more an exercise in form drawing of sorts and also just to learn a bit about another language. After practicing on gridded sheets, he painted watercolor paper in plain blue and we cut each sheet into 4 parts. On each part he wrote out one Hebrew letter and its name. We are stringing them up across the dining room (school room) and it looks great.
Ulka’s main lesson block was Reading. She knows all her letters and most of the common sound combinations so now it is the exciting part of putting it all together. She is ready and eager to read and it seems to be coming quite easily to her. We are using the Autumn Story from The Four Seasons of Brambley Hedge by Jill Barklem as our base. Each night I read her a segment and the next morning she tells it back to me. I pull out and paraphrase a small section and write it out on the board for her to read. I like this way of doing it because she gets to hear a story that is brand new to her and she loves it. She has to listen carefully so she can tell it back to me the next day. When she reads from the board she knows the story so she can sort of guess at the more difficult words to help her along, but she isn’t prompted by pictures. I think this method is working well for her. To practice her hand writing and letter formation she has to copy out what I wrote on the board and then she does her own illustration. The whole process takes quite a while and she gets pretty tired out. She is also working on a mini Math block learning counting by twos and threes and regrouping numbers using little glass gems and stories about Princess Ulka and her gems and how she shares them with her friends. She likes math and begs to do it, so it’s not really even like work for her- especially if she can do school in her leo.tard so she can take a quick break to work on her back walkovers!
We have also been working a lot on coloring with block crayons, and all three of us are showing great improvement! I love starting the morning with 20 minutes of drawing with the kids. I think that is part of what has really helped our days to go smoothly. It is a sweet and pleasant transition from morning outside time to school time.
Since I didn’t know how the first block would go, I scheduled this week as a catch up week and I am so glad I did! Ishaan has some drawings and Hebrew letters to finish up. Also, we are having an incredible Indian Summer and the weather is amazing so we are taking advantage of that and having more time outdoors, working on the clay oven, playing, gardening, and of course lots of apple picking.