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Karl was very excited about his first day of school; he'd mentioned many times that he couldn't wait to do formal schoolwork.

Today started off with the German tradition of a Schultüte, which is a cardboard cone filled with stuff for a kid's first-ever day of school. This is normally given at the beginning of first grade, but we've chosen to do it at the beginning of Kindergarten in our family. A picture of Erika giving Karl his Schultüte )

He then completed his first written schoolwork -- a few pages of Explode the Code 1, a page of Getty-Dubay Italic Handwriting B, and a couple of pages of Miquon Math's Orange Book.

Photos of Karl doing his schoolwork )

He seemed to enjoy it. The only part he really didn't like was needing to play on his own while I was coaching Erika through the work she couldn't manage to focus on. Sigh.

Once she finished, we went to the local homeschooling group's "Not-Back-To-School Picnic," where we saw lots of people we knew. Erika spent a lot of time reading (she's on the last Percy Jackson book), while Karl mostly ran around on the playground.
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Erika had seen this paper with lines on the bottom and an open area for a picture on the top, and she asked to use it yesterday to write a story. Unfortunately, we ran out of time when she'd written three words.

We got back to it today. I encouraged her to spell the words herself, but she asked me for confirmation that they were spelled correctly at the end of each word.

Picture of her paper )

Frankly, I am astounded. This is the first sentence she's ever written. We've done no work on spelling, and very little work on handwriting. She only needed help with two of the words in the sentence -- "going," which she originally spelled "goeng," and "store," which she originally spelled "str." I did spell the names of some of the animals in the picture, like "guinea pig," for her.

And I think the picture is pretty cool, too.
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Well, today was it -- Erika's first day of Kindergarten.

We dropped Karl off at preschool at 8:00, and headed over to a cafe for second breakfast. After noodling around there for a while, we headed to Cabin John park so Erika could play on the playground in between her schoolwork. I think this would have been fine, except that a wasp kept visiting us, and Erika is scared of wasps. One actually stung her earlier this summer, which only exacerbated the problem. So her concentration was a bit off. She was also especially fragile about getting the wrong answer today, which limited the amount of work we were able to do.

After a while, we decamped with the intention of hanging out at a nearby library, only to find that they don't open until 1pm on Mondays and Tuesdays due to recent budget cuts. Oops -- I didn't even think to check. So we did some more schoolwork in the car, and then headed back over to the school to pick up Karl.

Overall, we didn't really get that much done this morning, but it was fine for the first day. Our accomplishments for the morning were:

  • She completed one Miquon Lab sheet, on subtraction.
  • I read one chapter of a book on Antarctica aloud.
  • She spent 15 minutes reading a book about penguins aloud.
  • She found the South Pole in our atlas and marked its position on her map of Antarctica.
  • She read the first 35 of the 100 "sight words" Kindergartners in our local schools are expected to know by the end of the year, but didn't want to continue after she didn't know word 36 (been). Interestingly, she read "been" just fine in an actual book later on, so I think the random out of context list threw her.
  • She wrote the first three words of a story before we ran out of time.
  • She did enough running around at the playground that I'm considering it an instance of "PE".

She also had a piano lesson with John after he got home from work, and I read a chapter of a German book out loud to her at bedtime.

Tomorrow we're planning to come home while Karl's at school, so we'll see how that goes. We've got a fairly time-consuming art project lined up for tomorrow morning.

A few photos )

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