April in our homeschool – 2021

This year our April was spent focused on Greek history (fifth grade!) and animal legends (second grade!) along with re-joining society as our kids picked up extra curricular activities, my husband and I recieved our first vaccine shots and we ventured to our favorite farm stay and the coast for a weekend adventures. Last month’s anniversary of the pandemic felt pretty bleak and this month we’re feeling optimistic.

Fifth grade

Greece, you guys! We couldn’t have enjoyed it more. I wrote a separate post about all of our favorite resources for Greece because there were just so many. In March we spent three weeks on the Greek Myths and then in April we spent three more weeks on Greek History. I don’t know if I was asleep during ancient history when I was going to school, or if maybe I was never taught it ….? But I am learning right alongside my kiddo and it has been so fascinating. I included Macedonia and Alexander the Great in our Greece block and that was great fun.

I used History Quest: Early Times as the primary source for Greece, and there are so many fantastic supplemental books available. It was a little different than studying Ancient Persia or Assyria or Babylon where there just aren’t that many books out there about those cultures.

The beginning of Greece.

There were lots of opportunities for additional enrichment, and we haven’t even had the Greece meal we’ve been planning yet!

One of my eleven-year-old’s favorite projects was writing an essay about why she would prefer to grow up in Athens or Sparta. I had her read three books about Athens and Sparta from a child’s perspective and then she wrote a persuasive essay about which place she would have preferred. She chose Sparta.

Sparta vs. Athens.

Second grade

In April I switched my seven-year-old from Lavender’s Blue Homeschool’s first grade curriculum to the second grade curriculum. He absolutely loved the animal legends and the humor in them suited him perfectly. He never did really resonate with the first grade fairy tales like his big sister did, but these trickster tales are right up his alley.

Animal Legends for second grade.

He is also plugging along with reading. We are using All About Reading Level 1 and it’s interesting … at the beginning of the year we were getting through maybe 1-2 lessons a week and now he pulls the books off the shelf first thing every day and we’re doing 3-4 lessons a week. (The lessons that require reading two stories I always spread out over two days.) This is the dance of homeschooling! We pick the resources and we make them available but we also don’t force things and if we are paying close attention then the child gets to lead the way.

All About Reading Level 1.

My seven-year-old is also doing awesome with math and is nearing the end of Primary Mathematics’ 1B book. I didn’t realize the book gets to vertical addition and subtraction by the end and had a moment of hesitation, because my oldest didn’t tackle that until third grade in Lavender’s Blue. But I explained the concept and he was off and running. We haven’t even had a chance to cover place value yet. I’m so grateful to have more than one go-around with this homeschool thing because this time around everything feels less precious and I can relax and respond to the child in front of me, and I don’t have the Waldorf police perched on my shoulder, whispering in my ear about how and when things “should” be done.

A new addition this month now that he is kinda sorta in second grade is a daily independent assignment. All year I have been sitting next to my seven-year-old for ever second, ready to help him with his lessons. But he sees his big sister doing independent work daily and he was keen to have something of his own. So I purchased The Good and The Beautiful’s second grade handwriting and he likes finishing out his day with that, especially because it always includes something to draw or color after he finishes his handwriting.

Self-directed writing inspired by Ninjago!

I’m realizing that next year I’ll have a kindergarten section to add right here! I’m deep in planning for next year (mostly focused on my two big kids) but am also starting to think about the fact that my baby will be five next fall. (Sob.) It’s time to start thinking about how circle time will reflect that and whether I want to start a gentle introduction to the alphabet and numbers, like I did with my second child. These days my littlest is super happy to play independent while her siblings “do school” and she will sometimes appear by my side and ask “is my play buddy ready yet?” (This is in reference to my seven-year-old.) So I’m certainly in no hurry to rush her out of her dreamy play life but want to have a few resources lined up for when she’s ready.

Thanks to @schoolnest for sharing this on Instagram!

Mother Culture

This month has been all about flexing my socializing muscle, which had sadly atrophied over the past year. I’ve seen a few friends in person, have been doing some park get-togethers with another homeschool family and we took two weekend getaways. This month has been unseasonable warm, so of course we went to the coast and it was freezing cold and raining.

Cannon Beach for my husband’s birthday.

In April I was …

Reading: The Four Winds! I loved this book. Normally a substantial historical fiction book like this will take me a month or more to read, but I read this in six days (and basically ignored my family). It’s such a powerful story about a women living through the Dust Bowl in Texas who went through the unthinkable to protect her children. Highly recommend. I also loved her other books: The Great Alone and The Nightingale.

Listening to: The Family Dance Party playlist on iTunes is basically my life right now. Anytime I need my kids to pitch in around the house, this is our music.

Watching: I’m embarrassed to admit the level of obsession I am currently having with Masterpiece. It’s so dorky. This past month my husband and I have watched and loved Jamestown, Sanditon and now we’re on to Poldark.

Self-care: Now that I have my own bathroom (meaning we don’t share with our children anymore) I’ve been investing in some nice-quality products, which is totally new for me. I’m loving this face wash, and this hair towel and this face oil. If you have wavy / curly hair I found some great nuggets in this blog post from I also got myself some new pajamas and they make me very happy.

Cooking: My family is currently on the Paleo diet as we ease of off a healing regimen of one of my kiddos. Some recipes we’ve been enjoying lately include this banana bread, this banana chocolate chia pudding, these zucchini muffins and lots of very simple protein + veggie meals.

It’s hard to believe we’re almost to the end of the school year! I like to wrap up formal lessons by Memorial Day weekend, although this year I think we’ll go one week beyond that so we can fit in Rome for my fifth grader and a block on trees and conservationism that I created myself and am super excited about. Until next month …

Fun at the farm with day-old baby goats!

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