The Harkey Blog

Monday, August 21, 2006

First Day

Today has been the first day of school at the Harkey home. Remember when you were a kid and you couldn't sleep the night before school started? Well, Maitlyn was up until at least 11:00 last night. I had been trying to talk up the start of school, but I didn't intend on creating that level of excitement! Anyway, homeschooling is a beautiful thing. The schedule says we're supposed to eat breakfast at 7:45 and start school at 8:45, but I don't think the kids were even awake by 8:45. I am glad that I didn't have to wake Maitlyn and send her to her first day of Kindergarten in tears because she was so tired.

So, what do we do all day at "homeschool"? you ask. Well, there are a lot of homeschooling philosophies out there, believe me. We prefer the classical education model, but that is not something that you really jump into at five years old. For kindergarten, a more laid-back approach is necessary, I think, unless you want to make your child completely stressed out. So, we are focusing on the most important skill that Maitlyn will need to continue her education: reading. We started phonics instruction with her when she turned 5, and we are continuing that. In addition, we are reading to Maitlyn and Elspeth as much as possible, trying to focus on really great books--Little House on the Prairie, Narnia, etc.

Here's what our day today looked like. (Don't worry, I don't plan to give the blow-by-blow account of all of our other days.) We started with Bible and reviewed the story of Joshua at Jericho. We used this really cool inflatable cube on which I wrote comprehension questions. Then the girls tossed the cube and answered the question on the top. They thought it was pretty cool. I have also learned that the cube is great for kicking.

Then Maitlyn and I worked on phonics. We've taken some time off at the end of the summer, so we reviewed a lesson we had completed before. She enjoyed spelling words with a magnet board and sounding them out. Then she read about 16 lines of text very confidently.

Next I read a few books to Maitlyn, Elspeth and Amelia. Then we talked about the calendar. What is a day, week, month and year? We learned a little rhyme about that. We counted days to various events. Maitlyn accurately pointed out that a month is not four weeks. I explained that it was close to four weeks. I don't think she was convinced.

Next we had preschool time for Elspeth. She picked puzzles as her activity. She did all of the wooden puzzles we own. Maitlyn chose a more difficult jigsaw puzzle out of a book about the ocean. We read about great white sharks and whale sharks. Maitlyn said that a Great White Shark is probably about as fierce as a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Sounds good to me.

For handwriting practice, we got to do something fun. We painted on the easel, practicing our downward strokes. Maitlyn and Elspeth both participated in this fun activity.

The grand finale was our first science "experiment". We made homemade Gak. Maitlyn learned the term "chemical reaction". If you know Maitlyn, you know she LOVES art, but she said that the Gak was her favorite thing of the day. I helped her to call two of her friends to ask them about their first days. She told them we made Gak.

After official school hours, Brett taught Maitlyn about all the continents, the poles and the equator. Then later he read a part of Wind in the Willows to all the girls.

We had a lot of fun today, and I am looking forward to a fun year. The plan is to read, read and read some more, then do hands on things that inspire a love for learning.


  • Um...can we re-create GAK at community group tomorrow night?

    Her first day of school sounded like lots of fun.

    By Blogger Shelli, at 12:05 PM  

  • Yeah for the first day of school!!!!! Sounds like there was a lot of learning going on. Tell Maitlyn and Elspeth hi for me. Can Amelia say my name yet??? ;) Miss you!


    By Blogger Virginia, at 4:35 PM  

  • So, do they call you "Ms" Mom during school hours? Just kidding! Great job, teach!

    By Blogger Heidi, at 3:42 PM  

  • I'd rather be in your class than grad school. As far as I know making GAK is not on any of the syllabi for my classes.

    By Blogger IND, at 8:30 PM  

  • The Harkey's updated their blog. Is this a sign of the apocalypse?

    By Blogger James Miller, at 10:39 AM  

  • can i enroll?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:03 PM  

  • Chemical reactions, huh? It sounds like Maitlyn has a bright future ahead of her!!!

    I love reading all of these stories about the girls - they're just so real and an awesome testimony of sorts. Keep it up - you're a great mom, Elise!

    By Blogger Shelly, at 10:53 PM  

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