Ancient Egypt, First Grade Plans, Time Off

16 Jul

This past week Stiggy’s been learning about ancient Egypt. We’re supposed to be on a break, but he’s so keen that I just didn’t have the heart to tell him that he needs to wait until September. We’re continuing with reading/phonics (reading real stories and doing a page here and there from his phonics workbook), but not much else.

Normally I share our resources, but for this topic I think that’s pretty much a waste. There are so many resources available that even our crappy library has a ton of books for children on ancient Egypt. And anyone can do a google search and find resources, so I’ll just list a few particular goodies:

Egypt: Beyond the Pyramids (Documentary on You Tube) I think most of this was beyond Stiggy, but he still really enjoyed it, and so did I.

Tombs of Ancient Egypt: National Geographic video. Nice little intro (or review) of the topic.

Ancient Egypt colouring pages

We’re using Story of the World, volume 1, along with the activity book. After buying the guide, I wasn’t sure we’d use it, but it’s great. It provides the geography practice (along with the blackline maps) that we need, has great supplementary book recommendations, narration prompts, review questions, and more. Stiggy wasn’t keen on colouring pages before, but in the past few months he’s been enjoying them more, and he’s loving the ones in the SOTW activity book. He’s also really enjoying the notebooking. I photocopy the student pages so that if he wants a ‘do-over’ or a second copy of something, I can give him more copies. I’ll also be able to use it for another child, if one ever comes along, and sell it on later. We’ll round off our studies with a visit to a Musuem (not sure which one yet; they all seem to have an ancient Egypt display).

For those of you using Story of the World (at any level), Barefoot Meandering has some nice weekly planner sheets (And other planning sheets).

Stiggy’s also come down with the flu, so we’ve put things on hold for a few days. He’s been watching lots of Top Gear, sipping juice, smearing himself with Vick’s Vapo Rub, and allowing me to dote on him. And I do dote. Really dote. I think I do this because I didn’t get that as a child. I may have when I was really little, but I have no memory of it. All of my memories of being ill include me alone in bed. Bored. And from about the age of 10 or so, I was left home alone if I was ill while my mum was at work, and had to do for myself. Now, I’m all for independence and kids learning to do for themselves, but we all need a bit of TLC when we’re ill. I know when my husband is kind and dotes on me when I’m ill, I recover more quickly. So, I do spoil Stiggy when he’s ill. But I know when he’s better, and when he starts to recover, I expect things to return to normal. He’s young yet, so he doesn’t usually try to milk it, but I expect he will as he gets older.

Anyway, I’m hoping to do some ‘spring cleaning’ during our ‘break.’ Go through old clothes, descale the iron, polish my leather shoes and handbag, dust the plants, defrost the freezer (of all my appliances, this is the one that I wish would die so I can get a frost-free model. Who knew they still made frosty fridges?! I left the appliance-choosing up to hubby when we first got married…never again.), and lots more fun cleaning projects.


The Well-Trained Mind first grade curriculum is quite meaty. I’m not really sure how Stiggy is going to cope with all of it, but we’ll take our time, adding in new subjects slowly. I’ll be redoing my middle sidebar to reflect our new curriculum. I’ll add resources as we add new subjects.

I was somewhat surprised with Writing with Ease. I expected something far more difficult. And I’ve realised that our writing lessons can be grouped with reading. I can follow the theory of WWE and use the formula they outline and use the reading selection as our sources. He’s going to be doing narration and copywork anyway, and that’s basically what WWE is all about (at this level, anyway). But every few weeks she tells you to add a new skill, look out for this, expect longer narrations, etc. Seems easy enough; writing won’t really be a new subject, per se. WWE is basically a guide to copywork and narration (at the first grade level), what should be expected as the child progresses, and how to develop those skills.

I was quite worried about the cost of the first grade materials, but after some brutal weeding of my wish list, I’ve realised it’s not so bad, and it really helped that I’d bought ahead (risky, really, but it’s paid off). Some of the things I’ll need a few months from now can wait. But I’ve bought most of our spines. I still need a globe, balance scale, and a few other books. I’ve been doing lots of planning, too, which is always fun.

Here is a timetable I’ve created. I have no idea if we’ll stick to it, but it was fun to make, shows just how intensive first grade is, and it may come in handy. Reading refers to reading practice, and literature refers to the reading selections in the Well-Trained Mind such as Aesop’s Fables, Homer, etc. And although I have science listed everyday, it won’t necessarily be done every day. It’s our one truly unschooled subject. I also don’t think we’ll do history 3 days a week, probably just 1 or 2, but we’ll see.








Monday & Tuesday add:




Wednesday add:




Thursday & Friday add:





Are you and/or your kids a fan of Beatrix Potter? Did you know she wrote a book for older children? Not many people have heard of The Fairy Caravan.


2 responses to “Ancient Egypt, First Grade Plans, Time Off

  1. Clare

    July 16, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    Michelle, I'm soooo jealous! How exciting to start first Grade. Andy and I had a couple of days in the Cotswolds and I read that chapter of WTM while we were there. I've ordered OPGTR, and poor Jude isn't even 4 yet. I'm torn at the moment between Ambleside Online and WTM, but I just so loved their 4 year cycle, how it all fits together, their ideas for notebooking etc, that WTM is winning at the moment (or I'll spend ages trying to mash the two!).

    PS – could you put a 'search' gadget on your blog? I think I remembered you talking about OPGTR vs 100 Easy Lessons, but couldn't find the post. Please don't if it seems too much like I'm stalking your every word 😉

  2. Michelle

    July 16, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    Clare, I've added a search box, but if you scroll down to my labels and click on 'learning to read,' you'll find the posts you're looking for.

    But please bear in mind that my initial opinion of OPGTR wasn't very good. I didn't really look beyond the first few lessons. I now think it's great, although it's almost too thorough. 🙂 This is easily remedied by skipping a few of the lessons.

    100 Easy Lessons is great, but isn't exhaustive in terms of phonics instruction, and the orthography became a problem for Stiggy. I love how it teaches blending, though.

    If I had it to do over again, I'd teach the phonics rules myself and just have him read from real books, helping him along the way. Hindsight is great, isn't it?!!?!? 😀

    I love Ambleside, too, and we'll be using some resources from there, particularly with science. The 2 work really well together. I start with Ambleside, because the booklists are so concise and 'at a glance,' and many of the resources are available free online, then I take out what I don't like and fill it with WTM. I have to admit, we're mostly WTM at the moment, although some of our resources could have come from either, such as our math.

    I certainly don't think you're stalking my every word, lol! When I'm interested in a resource, I love to read how it worked for others. I was really keen to use Writing with Ease and Writing Strands together, but didn't think it was doable. Another blogger's comments about her experience using both programmes made me realise I could do it. It's always useful to read about others' experiences.

    Have fun planning! 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: