Tuesday, August 17, 2010

First Day of Kindergarten


Grace’s much-anticipated first day of kindergarten finally arrived!  We have been literally counting down the days, marking them off our wall calendar.  I really had NO idea what to expect the first day, but it was great!  When we wrapped things up before lunch, she grabbed my arm and said, “Mommy, can we do this every day?  Please?”  Mission accomplished.

I know it won’t be sunshine and roses all the time.  There will be challenges.  We had a small one today.  But, I can already tell homeschool is going to be a wonderful experience for us both.  I am so thankful to be ABLE to do this.  I am so thankful for a husband who WANTS me to do this.  I am so thankful for a daughter who BEGS me to do this.  I am so thankful.

Many of you have asked what our typical day looks like.  We’ve only just started, and I’m sure it will evolve as we work out the kinks, but I’ll share what has worked for us so far.

I get up at 7:00 and exercise for about 45 minutes.  Grace usually wakes up between 7:30-8:00.  We eat breakfast and get dressed/ready for the day.  Grace meets me in the schoolroom to start at 9:00.  I like to start with Bible time.  We work through a simple devotional together.  Next I like to practice memory work with catechism and  Bible verses.  We finish with a short prayer time, asking God to bless our learning.

Next we have our calendar time where we learn the current day, date, year, etc.  We check the weather and record the forecast.  We post our letter, number, shape, and color of the day.  We keep track of how many days we have been in school, learning place value.  Calendar time takes about 10 minutes.

Next we move to phonics.  The curriculum I’m using has daily lessons with corresponding activities and worksheets.  We’ve been spending about 45 minutes on these lessons.  It’s a lot of oral practice and auditory learning.  I save the writing component for later.

Next we change gears and do math activities.  The curriculum is very hands-on, using manipulatives and games.  This is a great way to break up the more stressful phonics/language arts activities.  Math is Grace’s favorite part of the day!

Now that she’s had a break with math, we go back to writing.  We use dry erase boards and worksheets to practice the letters we have learned. 

Since writing can sometimes be frustrating for her, I like to move into a fun craft activity next.  I try to mix it up and use different materials every day. 

We end our school day by reading books together for a while.  Sometimes we might play an educational game.

All together, our kindergarten day takes 2 1/2 - 3 hours.  We finish before lunch! 

I love that we have our afternoons free to do other things.  Yesterday we attended orientation for her new ballet class, which begins next week.  Today we went to the science museum and played for a couple of hours.

I’m very happy with our schedule and I’m excited to see what this year has in store for both of us!

How To Make a Pillowcase Dress


A couple of weeks ago, I invited two of my SAHM buddies over for a sewing playdate.  Between the three of us, we had nine children from age 4 months to 7 years old.  Despite the chaos, I managed to teach my two friends how to make a simple pillowcase dress for our daughters.  It was a really fun time of fellowship together!

I promised to post step-by-step instructions, so here goes:

Materials needed:

  • 1 yard cotton fabric
  • All-purpose thread that matches the base color of fabric
  • 2 yards 1/2”-1” coordinating ribbon (Get more if you want to sew ribbon around bottom of dress above the hem)
  • Fabric scissors
  • Pins
  • Basic sewing machine
  • Fray Check (optional)

  0151.  Cut two identical rectangles of fabric.  Length should be the desired length of dress from neck to hem plus about  3”.  Width should be about 18”. 

0162.  Place right sides together.  Pin fabric together with identical pins 6” from top on each side for sizes Birth-2T.   Pin 7” from top for sizes 3T-6.  Pin 8” from top for larger sizes.  With right sides still together, sew 5/8” seam from marked pins (armhole) to the bottom hem. 

018 3.  Press both seams open all the way to the top, including the armhole opening.

0194.  Reinforce armhole by sewing down one side, turning sideways across bottom of armhole, then back up other side.  

020 5.  Make casing for ribbon.  With dress still inside out, fold back a double casing a little larger than the width of coordinating ribbon across top of dress.  Iron it flat to make the sewing easier.  Repeat for other side of neckline.

0216.  Sew  both seams very close to bottom of casing.

0227.  Make hem.  Fold a double hem around bottom of dress.  Iron and sew.

0238.  (Optional).  Sew extra ribbon a few inches above the hem.  It’s still just as cute without it!

0249.  Cut ribbon into two 1-yard lengths.  Thread ribbon through casing on both sides with a safety pin.  

025 10.  I like to cut the ends of the ribbons at an angle and seal it with a little amount of Fray Check to keep it from unraveling in the wash.


Here is Grace modeling the dress I made for her at our sewing party.


You could also add a coordinating strip of fabric around the bottom, separating with a pretty ribbon.  The possibilities are endless!


Happy sewing!