school is back in session

This year I am using a curriculum called My Father's World: Adventures in United States History. I chose this curriculum for Ivar's 2nd grade and Elsie's 1st grade because every mom I ever mentioned it to always said, "Oh, the year we did that was one of my favorite years. There's so much good stuff in that year." And I can totally see why! 

Every week we are studying a different slice in US History through extensive books lists they recommend based on each topic. The books have been fantastic and we are learning so much.

This also means that I depend greatly on getting the recommended books from the library from week to week. When I realized this early in August I made a crazy decision. I decided to start our home school on August 13th, three weeks before Labor Day. I didn't mention this to many people because I remember last year a friend told me she was starting early and I felt behind before I began! But this just worked best for us this year (we needed routine!) and it means I have returned our library books two weeks before other mom's using this curriculum would need them.
Our first week was on the Vikings. I was supposed to buy student sheets for each kids to color, but I was too cheap and decided I could probably figure out what they wanted us to do and then make up our own sheets. Part of the curriculum is to make this timeline on the wall and it was supposed to be clip art included in the student sheets, but because I didn't have them I asked Ivar, my awesome artist, to draw a scene instead. What he comes up with each week is so, so awesome. (All based on the pictures from the beautiful books from the library.)
For the record, this timeline may be up on my walls for the rest of my life. And in my room at the nursing home when you come to visit me in my 90's.
It's been a pretty great start this year. I absolutely love the curriculum we are using. That is just such a gift. Soon we will begin studying each state and the national parks that are in that state. And each day we begin with a lesson on all the different names for Jesus. Then the science lesson corresponds to that name for Jesus. This week we are learning all about Light, and talking about what it means that Jesus is the Light of the World. Next week we learn about The Bread of Life and learn about yeast. It's just so rich and fun and creative.
This was our first day of school. That week set the stage for learning all about America, hence these little graham cracker flags with cream cheese, jam and frozen blueberries. I improvised with what we had on hand! Also, our dress code might be a wee bit lax at this school...
Other than that, I am still pretty minimalist when it comes to supplies and materials for home educating. I got a bin for each kid to keep their own books and supplies in because I remember LOVING my tote tray in my elementary classrooms. And the big kids love it too. Hattie keeps 3-ring binders (that match Ivar and Elsie's) toys, crayons, picture books and left over snacks in her bin and Alden really loves to crawl in and out of his bin.

So we're off on the right foot! Two years ago I began this home school journey quiet leery and uncertain about the whole thing, but I'm so grateful we are doing this now. It's really exciting to watch my kids learn and so rewarding to choose this path each day. There definitely are challenging moments, but the rewarding moments far outweigh those other ones. Mostly I like that we are all together.

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