Tuesday, May 31, 2016

AO Year 1, Day 1

After a few weeks off from school, we started 1st grade today.  What a fun day it was!

It was our first official day of using the AmblesideOnline curriculum.  I've known for about a year that this is what we would go with and have been planning it since then.  So it was a very big day for me to actually start!  I have been sooo excited about this curriculum, and now I get to see how it works for us.  I gathered all of our supplies and showed the books to Kyla.  (You'll notice the only "school" books are handwriting and math.  The rest of the books are simply excellent literature, designed to enhance the mind, increase the vocabulary, and broaden the horizons.)

We started off with Nature Study.  (This was the part I was most nervous about in this curriculum - nature is really not my passion, generally speaking.)  After breakfast, we went for a walk on this gorgeous morning.  At one point, I told the girls to close their eyes and just smell.  The world smelled just like it had come out of the wash after the heavy rain we had last night.  We picked three things to identify and brought them back to the house.  One was brome grass.  I knew what it was, but I wanted Kyla to have the experience of looking it up and making a connection with it.  The other two were wild flowers, and I had no idea what kind of flowers they were.  It is the perfect time of year for Nature Study!

We brought the items back to the house and looked in our Grassland Plants book.  We found the brome grass and excitedly identified the yellow flower as goatsbeard.  The purple flowers we had picked stumped us.  I eventually asked the wonderful AO Facebook group, and someone correctly identified them as dame's rocket.  They are very similar to phlox, but they only have 4 petals.  Kyla was excited when we finally figured out what it was!

We chose to draw the goatsbeard in our nature journals.  Pardon my amateur drawing!  (And the fact that by the time I took the pics, our flower had wilted significantly.)

After our nature journals were completed, we did circle time.  I read a poem; we did our art study; and we worked on learning our colors in Spanish.  Mary Cassatt is our artist for this term.  Her work is beautiful!  We will study (in other words, basically just admire and discuss) a new print every two weeks.  Hopefully in the course of those 2 weeks, we will look at it at least twice.  It will also hang up where we will walk past it and notice it.

Out of When We Were Very Young by A. A. Milne 

Next, we did our two assigned readings for the day.  I read to her, and she narrated back to me what she had heard.  Our first reading was from Genesis.  Here is her narration.

Then we read "The Sword of Damocles" from 50 Famous Stories Retold.  I was so excited to read this story.  I've heard references to it on both Madame Secretary and Downton Abbey.  :) Kyla's narration wasn't as good on that one, but I thought she did ok for the first day.

Kyla read to me from Cowboy Sam and Sally for 15 minutes.

We finished up our school day with copywork, handwriting, and math.  When she read the sentence she had to write for her copywork, she knew immediately that it was from the story (Damocles) that we had just read.  My writing is the top line; hers is immediately under that.

Our school day lasted about 2 1/2 hours.  When I think of all we accomplished in that short time (nature study, drawing, poetry, art study, Spanish, Bible, history, reading, copywork, handwriting, and phonics) I'm once again amazed at the gentleness and yet the rigorous nature of this amazing curriculum!  And Kyla truly enjoyed it all!  We're looking forward to continuing this adventure.  :)

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