Homeschooling: Our First Block

This school year I’ll be posting regularly on what our homeschool looks like – what we’re studying, projects, field trips, etc. These posts aren’t meant to be a complete picture, but more like a glimpse into what we are doing and how we are learning and (hopefully) growing in our homeschool experience.

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The curriculum we are using for first grade divides subjects up by blocks. We spend a week or two or four on one particular subject for Aria’s main lesson – form drawing, language arts, math, nature/science, etc – and then switch, giving ourselves a break to absorb and mull over what we’ve learned and work on something new. Later, the same subject comes back around and hopefully knowledge of it has solidified and deepened in the meantime. Other subjects – handwork, cooking, etc are taught in a similar fashion, with shorter lessons taking place once or twice a week for a few weeks, until it’s time to switch.

For the past two weeks our main lesson has focused on form drawing -the drawing of various shapes and line formations – the study of which helps students properly write or draw letters, numbers, shapes, etc. We focused on lines and curves and the various ways they can be drawn. The forms were introduced with a story, each form an animal – the hummingbird flew in a straight line, geese a series of shortening lines that form a wedge, the snake slithered along in a series of deep curves while the dear leapt in gracefully long arcs…and so on. I drew a chalk drawing that was repeatedly referenced during the two weeks and which showed each animal’s form and we practiced each form – and combinations of them – by drawing on paper, the chalkboard and our sidewalks. We found lines and curves in nature and in architecture. We formed lines with our bodies and walked the lines of our hardwood floors and curves made of finger-knitted ropes.

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At the end of the first week, Aria created the first page in her form drawing main lesson book – the textbook she will create throughout the year from what she’s learned on the subject – showcasing some of the forms we’d been working on. The final day of the block, she copied my chalk drawing with all the forms from the story into that same book, a permanent reference and reminder of what she’s learned so far.

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At the same time we practiced our forms, we were working on recall. Each day, Aria remembered more and more of the story we were using and by the last two days of the block she was able to tell most of it on her own – including a poem at the end – with only a bit of prompting. Each block this year will include at least one such exercise, with me first telling the story, Aria helping me, then Aria telling it to me.

Next up, a block on letters, where the forms she’s learned these past two weeks will be utilized in the correct formation of the letters. I’m interested to see how this goes. Aria taught herself to read over the summer and can write some, so knows her letters pretty well. If I’m right, though, this block will help smooth things out for her, solidifying and clarifying her knowledge (so she confuses “b” and “d” less frequently, for example) and help her to write more correctly (right to left, with spaces between). More on that soon, after our Michaelmas celebrations.

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