Since we love books so much in this house (in case you couldn’t tell) our first homeschool year is going to be largely literature based.
As of right now I think our actual language arts program will be fairly unstructured since the goal for grade one language arts is to pretty much teach children how to read and Raeca is already reading a few grade levels above where she should be at. That being said I thought it might be fun for us to do a few picture book studies with some structured activities here and there.
To be honest, my initial inspiration for this idea was the Five in a Row curriculum, I really like a lot about FIAR, but do you know the one thing I don’t like?
The book selection.
It almost seems sacrilegious to say (write) it but it’s true. A Story About Ping and Blueberries for Sal are two books I just can’t stand (I realize I’m pretty much alone in this). So I got to thinking, maybe I could create something similar with more modern books that we really love.
So I started with one of our favorite authors, Kevin Henkes, and one of our favorite books of his: Chrysanthemum.
Chrysanthemum, a sweet little mouse, loves her name, until she goes to school and the other children make fun of her for having a name that is thirteen letters long.
I just love this story, the truth is, children can be mean and this book is a great introduction to teaching kindness and respect and I find it a great way to start up our first homeschool year.
Even though this book is set in a school I find it just as applicable to us as homeschoolers, take this past weekend for example, Raeca is really excited to be homeschooled but one of her friends told her this weekend that “homeschooling is boring” (said by a kid that has never been homeschooled) and we were able to have a good conversation about it afterwards. Chrysanthemum is a great way to start out the school year and teach kids about kindness and respect, homeschooling or not.
I wanted to start our study out by learning about character traits (positive and negative) and did an activity with Raeca where she drew a picture of herself and she picked out and wrote down ten of her character traits. I found it was a helpful activity for me as well, now that I know what words she associates with herself I find myself trying to praise and encourage her when I see her using them.
In addition to character traits I’ve added in lessons for math, art, social studies, music, language arts, physical education as well as Bible verses and a Bible story. We’ve worked on one of the math lessons together already but I’m planning on saving the rest for when we officially start our school year in a week and a half.
As a teacher I didn’t really enjoy creating lesson plans, probably because I felt restricted to curriculum and lessons I didn’t really enjoy but I absolutely loved putting this picture book study together. I thought this study may be useful to others as well so the Chrysanthemum unit is up in my shop.
Since I enjoyed putting this picture book study together so much I am sure I will be doing more in the future (got any great books to request?)!