Homeschooling: It's not what we do, it's how we live.

Back to the Daily Grind

So this morning was our first day back ‘in school’. It went much better than I was expecting. We got a nice, early start, and amazingly had very little of the adjustment-struggle that has usually peppered our first day back… though come to think of it, it’s the second day that’s usually more painful. I guess we’ll see!

We started out with Math & Handwriting. We’re not using a real math curriculum right now, we’re just drilling multiplication tables with LittleBoyBlue and still working on place value with PeaGreen. Have I ever mentioned how much I HATE place value? My poor baby is struggling so much to get this, so we work on it for a day or two then go to something else and then come back to it.

LittleBoyBlue is working on cursive. Loverly Husband and I disagree on teaching cursive. I think we should, he does not. He’s a printer, and so does not see the value in it, especially with the increasing reliance on typing… but since I’m doing the lesson planning, we’re doing cursive. One of the moms of’s forums mentioned that cursive helped her dc with word spacing and the size of the writing; I’m hoping that we see similar results.

We worked on our Constitution lapbook (I’ll have the page up on that soon) and a few worksheets that we did orally. I think that had a lot to do with how easy the day was overall. Instead of having them write, write, write, I let them tell me and I wrote it down. It’s hard as a parent to know how much you should push when it comes to something like that. I know that if they were in the classroom, they’d probably have to write more than they do at home. But their enthusiasm and participation is so much better when they’re not struggling to write. we have yet to find just the right balance, but I suppose we still have time.

We’re starting their Love Notes Journal today, so I’m interested to see how involved the boys will be in that. I also found, courtesy of FreelyEducate’s Facebook page. That is a neat little site! PeaGreen used to love writing his spelling words into a story and illustrating it. This is a neat way to do that – and more. I’m looking forward to introducing the kids to it.

All in all, a really great first day back 🙂




14 responses

  1. Jana C

    I am glad you had a good first day.

    What are you going to use for math ?? I have always found the visual aid of an abacus to be helpful in place value.

    August 30, 2010 at 8:03 pm

  2. We have Saxon 3 and will be getting into that this mod. We were supposed to start it in M5, but ended up doing a workbook first. Now that LBB is well into the multiplication tables, I think S3 will go more smoothly.
    We do the morning meeting thing as it is in Saxon anyway – I still need to order the workbooks that go with it before we get started.

    I may get an abacus. I’ve heard that before, that it helps with place value but I forgot – thanks for the reminder!

    August 30, 2010 at 8:16 pm

  3. Sounds like a great first day! Love, love, love the Story Bird resource. Will definitely be introducing that to Firefly.
    RightStart Math has place value cards and an abacus. Maybe those would help? I think you can buy stuff separately from them, not just in a whole kit.

    August 30, 2010 at 9:04 pm

  4. Isn’t that so neat?!
    Jana suggested Mammoth Math as well. I’ll look into RightStart, too. Thanks for the suggestion!!

    August 30, 2010 at 9:54 pm

  5. About handwriting — research shows that the fastest and most legible handwriters avoid cursive. Highest-speed, highest-legibility handwriters join only some, not all, of the letters — making the easiest joins, skipping the rest — and tend to use print-like letter-shapes for those letters whose printed and cursive shapes disagree.

    Learn more at and especially at

    Some resources for teaching writing with the above in mind:

    Kate Gladstone
    Director, the World Handwriting Contest
    Founder, Handwriting Repair/Handwriting That Works

    August 30, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    • Thanks for the links, Kate 🙂
      I agree – I write like that; a bastardization of print and cursive. I think most people do. I prefer that my kids learn both methods and then let their own style emerge. Learning both methods gives them options. While I agree that cursive may very well be on its way out, I don’t want my children to grow up ignorant of how to read or write script. I am a firm believer that unless I know all of the options, then I can’t make an informed decision. That carries over into my educational philosophy for the kiddos {wink}

      I will take a look at your site though.

      August 30, 2010 at 10:47 pm

  6. I have a question about their Love Notes Journal, is it just where they write about things they enjoy or is it something else? We have journals and I’m always hunting around for prompts for it. So far I’ve had our oldest write about what he wants to learn about this year, and then share his favorite part of a history lesson.

    August 31, 2010 at 2:00 am

    • We’re using it as a communication tool – they can write about anything they want – if they can’t think of anything, I’ll tell them to write something positive that happened that day. I’m not asking them to write every day – this is just a ‘fun’ thing to better communication, for us, anyway.

      They have a journal, journal, too. I think we’re going to alternate between that, handwriting and copywork, and leave the Love Notes for just extra stuff.

      August 31, 2010 at 10:37 pm

  7. I have the same discussions with my husband about cursive writing. He also doesn’t see the value in it. My daughter’s printing is not the greatest so maybe I should give it a try and see if it improves her overall handwriting. Thanks for sharing.

    August 31, 2010 at 3:27 am

    • It can’t hurt! I’m seeing small improvements – it seems like cursive is easier (but we started with D’Nealian print, not block). There’s a font program that has a ‘D’Nealian to cursive’ font that costs about $50. I don’t have it, but if the boys don’t catch on, we may invest in it.

      September 2, 2010 at 12:32 am

  8. Glad you had a great first day back!

    My husband writes in sloppy, all-caps print. Drives me nuts, and I can’t read it half the time. I was torn on whether or not to teach her cursive, but my daughter asked to learn. I figure I at least want her to learn how all the letters are formed so she can at least read it, which she can’t right now.

    Storybird looks great! thanks for the link!

    August 31, 2010 at 7:45 am

  9. Sounds like a great first day!
    Cursive has been great for my DD with dysgraphia. It has helped her writing fluency and even her printing. Plus it doesn’t take much time to learn it (15 min. max a day?). I figure after they know both they can pick or do the bastardization technique. As long as I can read it, I don’t care! =) I totally agree that being able to read cursive is important b/c not everyone writes in printing (and my kids learned to read cursive before writing it – in Kinder – b/c that’s how I’d leave notes, etc.). Good luck with it this year! And with everything else… it looks like a good start!

    September 1, 2010 at 3:08 pm

  10. PS – Don’t you love FreelyEducate????

    September 1, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    • Yes!! I’m so all about the free and cheap 🙂

      And yeah – as long as it’s legible, that’s really all I want.

      September 2, 2010 at 12:33 am

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