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Dolphin Valley Academy - North Campus

A Day at Dolphin Valley... 05-06

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We're not tied to a schedule, but our day does have *some* organization to it...

Mornings
Mornings will find us rolling out of bed when we finally feel like it, or when the young toddler in our midst decides we should be up (usually it's the latter).  Brian's off to work before Laura and the kids are awake.  A little bit of morning television on PBS, followed by breakfast and getting dressed (Natalie feels that it's critical to the start of our day that she be dressed for school - to me it matters not so much, lol).  Once breakfast is cleaned up we do calendar, and both of the kids take part.  Then it's time to work on our Letter of the Week - this is very loosely based on what we did with Natalie a couple years ago.  Mostly consists of reiterating what our letter is for the week, and doing some art, craft, or activity that begins with that letter - A week they made Alligator puppets; C week we baked cookies.  Andrew enjoys it for about 10 minutes, and then he's ready to move on to something else.  Natalie says this is the favorite part of her day.
 
Once Andrew has left the table, Natalie does her language arts lesson for the day (we're doing year one of First Language Lessons by Jessie Wise).  This is either grammar, picture or story narration, memory work, or copywork (ie. handwriting) related to the grammar lessons.  After that the kids have freetime, and Laura starts getting ready for whatever is next on the schedule - is it History Club?  Parkday and music?  Does mom need a karate class that morning?  That pretty much wraps up our morning!
Three days per week the morning also includes our Africa lesson, which often contains a science component.  You can learn more about what we're doing by clicking on the Africa link up above.

Afternoons
After we've had lunch, it's more playtime (see? I'm no slavedriver! ;) and then naptime for Andrew.  We use his naptimes to work on those subjects that require heavy one-on-one time - primarily phonics, reading, and math.  Natalie is starting out the year using Singapore 1B, which is roughly second semester, first grade math.  She's doing really well with it, as she did when we used Singapore a couple years ago.  It's a good match for her.
For phonics we are using Phonics Works, sold through the K12 company (the curriculum we used through the charter last year).  Natalie had a lot of success with it last year, and we decided to stick with it.  As we get settled into the start of the year we are really focusing on building up her sight word vocabulary.  Those are her biggest stumbling block to reading right now, since her phonetic skills are quite good.  Phonics also includes spelling and some dictation.
Often Natalie does her handwriting session in the afternoon - nothing too long, just a couple sentences or a short list of words.  We are using the Handwriting Without Tears program that came with our phonics curriculum.  Natalie has really gorgeous handwriting!
Assuming we get a good nap out of Andrew, this is also time for Natalie to get some time to herself for play, to drag out board games to play with mom, or to play on the computer.  Often when Andrew wakes up the two of them will watch a movie until dinner time (they are very much into musicals!), and then play outdoors once it has cooled off.

So that's our day - sort of a nice mix of "school" time and free, child-led playtime.  The kids seems happy with it (well, Natalie was unhappy with our afternoon lessons at one point.  It turns out she really wanted to get stickers when she did her work.  Solved that problem rather easily! LOL), and as long as it's working for all of us, we'll stick with it!