Friday, August 9, 2019

A Gentle Feast: Our 2019 Cycle I // Form I Year

Summer has somehow slipped away and here we are, on the verge of returning back to school. Back-to-school brings about various reactions from parents. Relief, excitement and/or maybe some sadness?

As a homeschooling mom, I feel like we're transitioning from the laid-back summer schedule back into "game on" mode. Our family thrives on routine but outdoor time was priority this summer. Summer t-ball, swimming lessons, fairs and park time was really refreshing. It had been a looooong winter! Now it's time to focus on school prep.


Last year, I used My Father's World's Kindergarten curriculum along with Singapore's Earlybird Kindergarten Mathematics books for my oldest son, which was perfect for our first year of homeschooling. Now with E in 1st grade and W in preschool, we will be following A Gentle Feast, a Charlotte Mason inspired curriculum that easily accommodates teaching multiple students. As I gathered books and resources over the summer, I have been getting more and more excited about this! The literature is rich and beautiful - something I know the kids and I will both enjoy.

We will be studying Cycle I: Columbus, Conquest, & Colonies in Form I, which is for Grades 1-3. The readalouds will be shared as a family, toddler and all, and First Grader will have individual study for Language Arts and Math. Preschooler will have his own individual study as he would like. Though preschool should be mostly outdoor time, great books and play, I'll have a little something planned for him too.

Disclaimer: I am not compensated for this post but will receive a little $ if you use my A Gentle Feast affiliate linkThank you :)

A Gentle Feast: Our Cycle I // Form I Year



Morning Time:

Starting off, we purchased the Morning Time plan with our A Gentle Feast curriculum because it has all of our MT resources in one place. I love that! We dabbled in Morning Time last year and it felt like an overwhelming amount of resources to keep track of. Now it's mostly all in one place!

Our Morning Time book includes a Term Plan (for all 3 terms) and a weekly breakdown of our daily Bible readings, memory passages, hymn study with the sheet music, poetry, picture & composer study and our fables/tales for Form I. No more digging through papers. It's all there!


A couple of the resources we will be using along with the Morning Time book are Then Sings My Soul (excited for this - it's the background story of each hymn) and two books that we already owned, The Aesop for Children and Let's Speak Spanish.

It seems that Foreign Language is not considered a Morning Time subject with AGF but that's where I placed our Spanish lessons last year. I'll probably end up moving it when we get started.


Julie Ross, the author of A Gentle Feast, also created a Spotify playlist for each of the cycles. After purchasing the curriculum, you have access to numerous online resources that Julie has lined up for the curriculum. I really was happy to find a layout of Spanish lessons in her Foreign Language Plans along with French, German and Latin options.



Language Arts:

First Grader will be using 100 Gentle Lessons in Sight & Sound: Level 1 this year. I felt like the MFW Kindergarten curriculum gave him a great start in reading and wasn't sure where to place him in AGF.

Overall I think Level 1 will be a a great fit. Reviewing what he learned last year will be very helpful and we can move on to Level 2 (which is currently backordered) when he is ready. Writing up this post reminded me that I totally forgot our Handwriting curriculum! On that now :)

As for Preschooler, we will gradually work through Simply Charlotte Mason's Delightful Reading 1 kit that I have on hand. He's very interested in what his big bro is doing and enjoys doing his own school lessons as well.




Geography & History:

This book list is full of so many beautiful living books that we will be sharing as a family. With three kids in the house (some school age, some not), that means even Preschooler and soon-to-be two year old will listen in on the read alouds.

Will a two-year-old sit through all of the readings? Likely not. I plan to have snacks ready and a special play box for him to use during school. Narration will be expected from First Grader and I do usually ask Preschooler if he would like to say something before his older brother narrates.




Nature Study:

We will be working through Exploring Nature with Children with our co-op as well as in our regular lesson plans. The Burgess Animal Book and Birds of the Air are two new-to-us books that we will also be covering this year.


Math:

Because Math isn't included in the AGF curriculum, we are sticking with Singapore Math. E loved Earlybird Kindergarten Mathematics;. On to Dimensions Math 1A we go!



That's a peak at our Cycle I // Form I Year with A Gentle Feast! If you would like to try AGF for yourself, they are offering a two weeks free trial now. That was my first taste of the curriculum that won me over!

Monday, August 5, 2019

Artie3000 | Academics' Choice Review

Recently the coolest hands-on STEM learning project arrived on our doorstep...


Meet Artie 3000 The Coding Robot:

Artie 3000, a coding robot by Educational Insight, makes coding a creative and fun process for kids. He comes with four washable markers and follows code to create designs! Along with the markers, a quick start guide and pre-coded design activity cards are included. Artie 3000 does require 4 AA batteries that are not included in his box. (Thankfully we have a plethora of those at home!)


Our children are 6 years old, 4 years old and 1.5 years old, which is a little younger than the 7+ recommendation for this coding robot but we have still had a great time with him. The quick start guide is very easy to follow and set up is quick. Artie 3000 actually has a built-in WiFi server and connecting him to our Macbook Pro was a breeze. I expected the process to be much more complicated!



Our first test run with Artie was his easiest pre-coded design: a square. We made a few squares of different sizes and then played with the angles and the Repeat function to make crazy designs. The kids also enjoyed removing Artie's markers and driving him around like a "remote control" robot.



I feel like we tested only one of Artie's many capabilities. His quick start guide is simple enough for beginner coders (like us) yet he has other coding applications for advanced users of high-level, multipurpose programming language. How cool is that?! 

Basically as my kids grow in their coding knowledge, Artie can grow with them.


We tested out one of the pre-coded designs that featured a "Move right by 6mm" command that we weren't able to find (couldn't see how to "move right"). I'm not sure whether it was our error or a problem with the directions but it wasn't a huge disappointment to the kids. With my kids being in the early years of STEM, Artie was an absolute hit. His designs weren't perfect but that doesn't matter to a 4 & 6 year old. They love thinking up new coding directions for him and then watching Artie execute!

Artie 3000 is an excellent first STEM robot! He has introduced my boys to the basics of coding while fueling their creativity and creating lots of laughs. He has been a blast!


Visit CodewithArtie.com to watch how-to videos and to learn all the cool things Artie can do.


Disclaimer: As an Academics' Choice Advocate, I was sent these products free of charge for my honest review. All opinions are my own.