Friday, September 9

Pre School!

This week was our first full week of school!  Well, we started on Tuesday since Monday was labor day. :-)

Beth is 4.5, which means she technically isn't kindergarten age yet.  After lots of thought and prayer, we decided to start her on a homeschool kindergarten curriculum but still call it preschool, and just take it slowly with her. We chose a classical, Catholic curriculum called Mother of Divine Grace, and it's pretty much fool proof.  ;-)  It spells out everything I need to do with each subject, but allows me the flexibility to deviate if I want or need to.  And since I'm using it as preschool, we're planning on deviating a lot!
My small little compilation of our books.

I love the ideas of Charolotte Mason, Maria Montessori, and sometimes I think unschooling is pretty neat (though I'm too much of a wimp to try to pull it off!).  Since the MODG curriculum seems a little dry to me, we're definitely jazzing it up with some of these other ideas and theories, plan to spend a lot of time outdoors doing nature study and playing, and of course, just reading some good books.

My feelings on public versus homeschool are still up in the air.  I feel very drawn toward homeschooling for several reasons, the biggest one being that I truly believe that God put us together as a family for a reason. He entrusted me with my children's souls, and my number one priority should be getting their souls to heaven.  I'm not saying that this couldn't happen by them going to public school, but it sure could change their journey quite a bit, and that is a risk that, at this point in our lives, I'm not willing to take!  Of course I worry about whether or not it's the right decision, but knowing that I'll take this one year at a time brings me peace- if it's wrong or not working for us, we will cross that bridge when we get there.  And the first question people as me is, "But how will they be socialized?"  I feel confident that won't be an issue!  In fact, I've heard members of our homeschool group joke that if anything, their children are over-socialized and don't spend enough time doing schoolwork!  We are members of a very large, very active homeschool group, and we participate in those activities, play with friends, go to the library and museum, do quite a bit of shopping, etc.  I am not confining them to the permiter of our lot; there will be (as there always has been) plenty of opportunities to "socialize!"  The next question people ask is when do I do it... Well, Jack still naps in the morning!  We get our serious work done then, and plan other fun activities while he's awake.
my daily schedule
So without further ado... Here's what we did for our first week.  (I won't post this every week, but I'm sure many are interested in how a typical week will look for us!)  We will have school Monday- Thursday, and spend Fridays doing outdoor activities, having playdates, or doing special activities.  Here's my new and improved schedule- and I actually stuck to it about 90% this week!!!
Poetry:  We worked on memorizing the poem Rain, by Robert Louis Stevenson.  To my surprise, Beth and Luke had it memorized by the third day, so we decided to add to the lesson plan by practicing nice posture and a created a small presentation for Daddy for Friday afternoon.  This is the video from Thursday's practice session, which was pretty funny.  The had so much fun doing this!  Next time I think we need to add props!  (This video is from our practice yesterday, today's presentation for Daddy involved quite a bit more giggling!)

her illustration of the poem
Handwriting: The letter "A."  This was probably the most challenging part of our week, because my goal is to teach Beth the correct strokes to write her letters.  I think we'll avoid this workbook for awhile and do fun activities for handwriting, like practice writing letters on a ziplock bag full of shaving cream or paint!  I want this to be fun for her and definitely don't want to stress her out!

Math: We started with figuring out how many numbers she can identify.  One game we played was I showed her a number and asked her to build me a tower using that many blocks.  She loved this game.

Religion: We started at the beginning: Genesis!  We read in her children's bible the story of creation a couple of days in a row, then Beth illustrated what she remembered and narrated it back to me.  This was her rest time project one day- I set her up in her room with her crayons, colored pencils, and paper, and she worked in her room while the boys napped and I worked downstairs.  I also have a separate program that we'll dip into when we have some extra time.
Reading/Phonics: We are moving a little faster than the syllabus suggests because we had started Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons a long time ago!  Beth can read easy words, so we will continue to work through this book and practice lots of sight words.  We're also reading lots of library books, like normal, and are about halfway through Charlotte's Web.  My goal is to purchase 3-5 new books a month, to build up our library with a lot of good wholesome books, that all of the children will enjoy for years to come!

Science: I have a supplemental book from a different curriculum that has science "experiments" that we'll do once a week.  This week we guessed if certain household items would float or sink in a bucket of water.  They also loved this activity; we collected items around the house, hypothesized whether they would float or sink, then performed the experiment.  A true science experiment. ;-)

 Art:  I'm not sure how I feel about the art program recommended by the syllabus.  This week was sort of fun but I'm not sure how much we'll enjoy it in the future.  We had cards, similar to postcards, that each had a different painting.  We attempted to memorize the names of the paintings, played "memory" with the cards, talked about the different elements of each painting, and chose our favorite and our least favorite.  Beth's least favorite in this group was called Woman, Bird, and Star by Joan Miro.  I thought it'd be fun to try to copy the painting, so we spent awhile working on our own works of art!
What was in our folders at the end of the week, where we keep our papers for daddy to examine when he gets home from work!  From left to right: Beth's drawing of creation, Beth's version of Woman, Bird, and Star, the real painting card, Luke's version (drawn mostly by me), and a page of stamps that Luke did.
Music:  We have a CD we're supposed to listen to but this week we had two new CDs of fun kid's music so we listened and danced to those instead!  We also use rhythm stickers, shakers, and I just ordered some scarves for us to dance with too!

Generally, Luke joins us in our activities.  He memorized Rain with Beth,worked on letter recognition while Beth and I worked on handwriting, did science, art, and music with us, and of course wants to hear all the stories I read!  I can already tell he has a very different learning style than Beth as he's much more active than she is, although he loves to read just as much as she does!  Beth is content to sit and draw for an hour, Luke doesn't sit still for more than a few minutes at a time!  I hope to learn a lot more about different learning styles and how to best help him learn as he seems like he will need something a little different than Beth.

Overall, our days have a wonderful flow; I've stayed on top of housework and meals and I feel like my days have more of a meaning.  What's best is that the kids are having a blast!  Beth and Luke are really getting into everything, asking to "do school," and Jack loves playing and dancing alongside us!  I'm sure I'm still on a high due to how well things went this week, but I feel confident that we're going to be successful!


Wally said...

Great job, teacher! Love it. I can tell that you are having fun with it too.

moma schmerb said...

You are a great teacher and mom extraordinaire! Ryan's not too bad either :D You've got some really blessed kiddos!

grandma c said...

You are off and running! Sounds like you have a very full schedule...don't forget to schedule grandparents in at recess time. :) Uncle Josh and Aunt Ramona, the scientists, would really approve the science experiments. Loved the video!

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