Tuesday, September 25, 2012

First day of school 2012!

After our looooooong school year last year (our last day was August 20), we finally started back to school on September 24. Our break was just a little over a month long, but some days it felt so much longer than that. We actually got a lot accomplished during that month, but that's a story for another post. I discovered this year, that a month is about all the break we  need, though. By the end of the last week, they were bored and grumpy. It was definitely time to get back into the school routine.

Here are the kiddos' first day of school pictures.

A special start to our first day of school-chocolate chip pancakes. Yum!
7:00 came really early after getting to sleep in for so long!
I didn't get to place my curriculum order until last week, so we are improvising for the first week or so until everything comes in and I have a chance to organize it. After searching everywhere for a topic we could all do together, I decided we would do a unit on the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). I found some things that they all can enjoy and some things that I can adapt a little for the older two.

First, I read to them Galatians 5:22-23 and the Fruit of the Spirit story I found at DLTK. Next, we made a "fruit of the spirit tree" on the sliding door.
 For the first day, we just added the leaves, then we'll add one fruit each day as we talk about it. We're using the fruit from this craft from Christian Preschool Printables for our tree. The kids like that it's kind of silly with all the different kinds of fruit growing on one tree.

Next, we made mini-books, also from Christian Preschool Printables, that will go in our lapbooks at the end of the unit.
As each child finished their book, I sent them outside with a timer to jump on the trampoline for 5 minutes to give them a little break. Landon did his five minutes and came in asking for another five so he did Sierra's five minutes with her. As they came in from their break, they did copywork (followed by another 5 minutes on the trampoline for Landon) and journal (followed by 5 minutes on the trampoline for Landon. ha!) then went back outside for some free time.

I surprised them when they came in by telling to sit down at the table immediately. They were all wanting to go wash up, but I told them they had to wait. I had a plan!

We were going to start a science experiment that I found at Growing in PreK. I cut an apple in half and we passed one half around the table touching it with our dirty hands. It was pretty gross by the time it went all the way around.

We put that half in a jar labled "dirty".  The other half we put in a jar labeled "clean".

We're going to watch it for a week or two and look at the difference. I haven't decided totally on how I'm going to make the connection between the moldy fruit and the Fruit of the Spirit, but I have some ideas.

I had them all go wash their hands then and we started science journals for our apple experiment. I love how you can see the progress from Landon's through Dakota's books. 

Next, I cut apart a copy of the mini-book we made earlier and we used it to help memorize the Fruits of the Spirit. We started with them face up on the table. Each person took a turn reciting the fruits in order while looking at the cards. For the next round, we turned the first card over and did it again. Then, turned the second card over, then the third, etc until we could name them all without looking.

By that time, it was time to eat lunch and get ready to leave. I had an afternoon appointment in town so we had to call it a day a little earlier than normal. 

It was a pretty good first day!