The end of our first year homeschooling, and what a year we had! Happy to say we fared well. Here, our weather tree is a symbol of our journey. We started in September with a bare tree on a very clean blackboard, which you can see on this blog post. Leaves were placed on this tree each day to tell what kind of weather we were having. Well, we live in New Mexico after all, thus many sunny yellow days. And what do those amazing chalk scribbles symbolize you ask? My toddler's testament of our colorful journey this year! Teaching first grade with two toddlers alongside our 7 year old is one way to test a mother's patience and skill! Thought we would share a few examples of some things we worked on this year. At the beginning of each main lesson we started with form drawing. Like the TaiChi of written work, form drawing is a discipline in which one must focus the mind, thinking only of the crayon in hand, and the motion and form the hand is creating. This exercises fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, patience and skill. It can be a cornerstone in pre-writing and math, and it warms the mind and spirit to learning. I was instantly won over by form drawing! The following is one of the form drawings from the end of our school year. Language arts began by giving each letter in the alphabet a personality, each of these letters embodying one of the characters in a story I told. Then each letter was given its own large page in the main lesson book, and special attention was given to forming each letter slowly and correctly. Simple Spanish lessons were part of our year, with drawings to accompany the words we learned. For our math lessons, we strayed from our Christopherus curriculum a bit and used math gnomes for learning the four math processes. I used a story from this blog, which gave each gnome a very important job to do. The gnomes were Gnome Share, Gnome Minus Takeaway, Gnome Add and Gnome Times. We used these little guys and their sacks of jewels to learn the four math processes, hands-on. These sweet guys stole our hearts, while making math friendly! First grade pedagogical stories were told and sprinkled throughout the lessons. Then a synopsis was written and a picture drawn. A love of learning comes naturally when creativity and art are the gateway. As we know, children are instinctively artists, so it is natural to learn through art. I never thought I would be teaching my children, and I am still not sure I would call myself a teacher. Whatever the title, it is a joy to be part of my children's life in this way. And now... we're off to play!
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