Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Day in First Grade - Part Two

In my last post I talked about the first hour of Bubba's typical school day. If you missed it, catch up here.
Now, let's continue.

After Bubba finishes all his getting started activities he begins his computer work. It begins with logging into the school's website for attendance. Then checking his school email and my school email. Then the fun can begin.

Bubba logs into Little Lincoln. This is the curriculum the school uses. His computer time is split into four cycles. He has an Adventure in Midlandia followed by a video teacher and then, occasionally, a game.

Adventures in Midlandia is a radio story that is about five to six minutes. It takes place in a land called Midlandia where a group of animals, who behave strongly human, live. They are lead by Chief Tatupu who guides the kid council on a new adventure every week. The kid council consists of eight human children who visit Midlandia two at a time every day. The kid council helps the Midlandians solve problems that are happening in the community or help to outwit the Midlandian trouble makers - the Inks. The story also ties into what the next video teacher is going to be talking about.

There are five different video teachers. Mr. Reed Moore: the reading teacher, Ms. Marianne Mapple: the Social Studies teacher, Mrs. Walden: the writing teacher, Mrs. Triggle: the math teacher and Dr. Algae: the science teacher. Each teacher has a five minute segment to introduce or expand on a topic.

After the video segment there might be a game for Bubba to play. There are usually two games in one day to be played. The games reinforce key concepts of the day. Bubba looks forward to the games as he sees them as a break from school rather than key learning times.

Finally to complete the cycle he has a few workbook pages to complete or sometimes a science experiment or an art project.

Now repeat that three more times.

Sometimes Bubba likes to mix it up and he'll do all the computer work first, then all of his workbook pages. This tends to lead to whining though. He really likes doing all the computer work at one time. (Secretly, so do I. It allows me to have more time to get some work done uninterrupted.) However, Bubba does not like having to do all that writing at one time. When we proceed with school this way he asks for lots more breaks and school ends up taking longer. So, usually, we we finish a cycle completely before we move on.

Bubba has three courses outside of Little Lincoln. On Tuesdays we add his Arts Alive course. This is a self paced arts program. It does not have to be done on Tuesdays, that's just when it works best for us. Each unit focuses on a theme. Each lesson takes that theme and talks about it in music, drama, literature, art or dance. The sixth lesson in the unit is a spotlight on an artist. So far we have seen a musician and a children's book illustrator.

On Thursdays, Bubba has an Elluminate session. In this class he logs into a virtual classroom and has a more of a traditional "brick and mortar" type of learning. His teacher that oversees all of his work logs into the class and teaches all the students who log in math and/or reading and writing. Bubba loves it. He logs in and wears his headset that has a microphone attached. The teacher puts things onto the screen for the students to look at and answer questions. She can have the students answer by "raising their hands" or can call on them and allow them to talk with the microphone. She also splits the students up into small groups to work on a worksheet together. Bubba is having fun with this and is now shooing me away from his computer so he can do it on his own.

The last course that Bubba has is his gym class. There is a lot of leeway with this course. He needs to complete a certain number of hours of physical activity. I have to admit we have not started this yet. Being a very active five year old boy, I am not concerned. I could have logged some things into his log book already, but haven't yet. So long as he is active it counts as gym hours. He could take a lesson (dance, martial arts etc.) or do things on his own (wii dance, running laps, etc).

That completes a school day. Princess sleeps through most of it which is helpful. Next year, I plan on starting her in some school time too. With Bubba I used a great curriculum called Letter of the Week. It is a free curriculum by a homeschooling mom of four. I also adapted her Country of the Weekand Science of the Week curriculums for Bubba this year. We add it when school is over quickly or if he is bored on weekends. I am also looking into Confession of a Homeschooler's Pre-K curriculum also called Letter of the Week. This is only $10 for a full year of activities and games. I will make this decision next summer, when I can better determine what Princess will be ready for.

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