First Grade Homeschool Week 1: Archaeology & Volcanoes

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We did it.

We survived our first week of homeschooling.

The transition has certainly had its fair share of challenges, but it has been fulfilling in a raw and beautiful way, too.

I’ve decided to start a journal of sorts, documenting our progress over the next year as we spend our days learning and growing together. If nothing else, the entries will serve as a good addition to the records I keep of the boys’ work and fond memories for us to enjoy somewhere down the road.

Since we’ve only completed our first few days, I won’t pretend that we know what we’re doing. It will be a month (or more) before we establish a good routine. For now, we are feeling our way through the days, shifting and readjusting when things don’t quite work the way we’d like them to.


We read the first chapter of The Jesus Storybook Bible this week. I also showed the boys my Bible and journal, and talked about what I’m doing when they see me reading and writing in it most mornings. We flipped through the books and pages for a bit and talked about how it is God’s living Word and what that means. The boys also watched What’s in the Bible with Buck Denver: Volume 1, which is pretty silly, but lots of fun.

Language Arts

Sonlight Language Arts 1 

The Week 1 lessons were super easy for Jacob, and I could tell that he was a little bored. I’m hoping the activities will get more challenging for him as we go.

I also bought both boys a journal that has a space to draw pictures above each entry. I’m allowing Jacob to write his own sentences without correction to start off. There will be plenty of time for that. For now, I just want him to enjoy getting the hang of it. Logan will simply do a sketch, and I will dictate what he tells me about his drawing in the journal area.


We’re still waiting for our copy of Life of Fred: Apples to arrive (overseas problems), so we started off with an abacus and this simple Disney math workbook I happened to have tucked away in a closet. So far so good.


Logan is loving his Star Wars workbooks. He will work in them until he gets bored, and then I will let him color or build with Magna-Tiles while I work with Jacob.


We all agree, the highlight of our week was getting our hands dirty (literally) as we learned a little bit about archaeology from the introductory chapter of The Story of the World, Volume 1: Ancient Times.

My husband and I roped (or should I say yarned?) off a small section of our garden we aren’t currently using for the project. In each quadrant, we buried a selection of things that belong together (for example: a knight sword, shield and armor in one area; a pan, a ladle and a plastic bratwurst toy from the boys’ play kitchen in another) for Jacob and Logan to uncover with their shovels and brushes. The eye protection wasn’t necessary, but wearing it sure made them feel cool.

Each boy dug for artifacts in two quadrants.

Afterward, we had the boys draw what they found in each section on a simple grid I made with Excel. We also answered a few questions about the “artifacts,” like “who do you think these items belonged to?” and “how do you think they used them?”

I love this picture of barefoot Jacob pondering his sketches.

Afterward, we watched The Magic School Bus‘ archaeology episode (Season 3, Episode 6). There’s a book that goes with it, but we couldn’t find it in the library.

For our (mostly) weekly family pizza and movie night, we introduced the boys to Hollywood’s favorite archaeologist, Indiana Jones (“Mom, why does he look like Han Solo?”).


While we are still waiting for our science books to come in, I let the boys pick a topic they’re interested in learning more about. They chose volcanoes. We found some cool books at the library, and I had all of the ingredients for an old-fashioned baking-soda-volcano experiment on hand. They loved watching the volcano bubble over their dinosaur toys. Logan had fun giving his “friends” a bath afterwards.

We also checked out a few more books about archaeology, since the boys seemed to really *dig* the subject. Ha!

Nature Study

This week, we managed to meet our “spending time outdoors for at least an hour” objective aside for one unseasonably chilly rainy day. Both boys have holes in their favorite pair of rain boots, so we have some shopping to do.

We went to a park to feed ducks and have a picnic, we enjoyed a handful of trips to the playground, and we went on a hike through hilly countryside trails by our house.

The hike was our favorite. The boys brought magnifying glasses and binoculars, and we went on an “I Spy” adventure of sorts. We spotted a huge slug, corn ready to be picked from their stalks, mushrooms and wild blackberries.

The most exciting part of the trip was stumbling upon a herd of free-roaming cattle that had somehow found their way out of a section of fenced farmland. It appeared to be a few mamas with their babies. We did our best to steer clear of their path, and we watched them from a safe distance for a bit.

Cow crossing.

I spy a pair of energetic little boys who lost their shirts somewhere along the trail.

Art & Music

September’s selections are Cezanne and Bach.

For our first art project, we did this simple apple still life lesson from arTree to learn about background and foreground.

I am encouraging Jacob to draw what he sees. I love that he added the spots on the apple and the chairs in the background.

Jacob’s apple still life

I’m not going to make Logan participate in art lessons unless he really wants to. I was excited he gave it a go this time. He drew the apples and the table, and then he got a little bored and started doodling in the white space. So cute.

Logan’s apple still life

We enjoyed listening to a Bach CD we picked up at the library. The great revelation of the week came when Logan recognized one of Bach’s songs as having been played in an episode of Garfield and Friends (many thanks to our local library for stowing away such classics in its children’s DVD section) we’d watched recently.

Foreign Language

On Sunday, we started the first chapter of 52 Weeks of Family German together, and we have been practicing our basic manners at the dinner table all week. This is going to be fun!

Service & Character Training

For our first service project, we baked a pair of apple pies with the intention of sharing them both with neighbors. However… one of the boys (I will let you guess who) decided to give the top of his crust a good lick just as I went to put it in the oven.

Make that one pie to share with neighbors. 🙂

Jacob’s favorite part was getting to use a (butter) knife to slice the apples. Logan enjoyed snacking, and spent more time nibbling than filling up the bowl. Love it.

And that wraps up our first week! Whew!

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One comment

  1. Jeannine Jacoby

    This was such fun to read. Sounds as if everyone is enjoying home school.


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