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Homeschooling April 2013 Part 1

This is the very first part of the wonderful month we have had in homeschooling so far. I cannot begin to tell you how wonderful it has been, but I can begin to tell you how we figured it out.  For the past few months, we were having a hard time homeschooling because of scheduling issues.

This is what the problems were: K was going to daycare for 3 hours in the morning so I could homeschool A and take care of some home chores. When he was in the toddler room, he would come home around 11:45am and he would go straight to nap for 2 hours. Then, we would have snack and homeschool for a couple of hours in the afternoon until 4:00pm when it was time to start making dinner. It was great!

But when he moved to the pre-school room in December, he stopped napping at that time. He wouldn’t nap until about 2:00pm and then he’d wake up at 4:00pm and there was no time to homeschool. I couldn’t homeschool for long after he’d come home from daycare because he was way too wound up and wasn’t focusing too well.

I thought and thought and had that “aha!” moment when I decided to ask if they had an afternoon opening at daycare. They said yes (after a month or two) and we immediately started a week-long trial.  My husband and I wanted to make sure we were doing what was best for him, so we gave it a whole week, not just a few days. He did so well almost every day at daycare that we made the switch. But that is not what convinced us to change our schedule. What convinced us to go for it, hands down, was that we had an amazing experience homeschooling.

I am elated! He is loving it and so am I. We are getting so much done now and we are both enjoying the one-on-one time.

This is the first of all four parts for this month. Hope you enjoy it. I’ll try to explain as much as I can. Some things are pretty self-explanatory.

Our day’s schedule:
1.  Circle Time
     –  We sing about 3 songs.
     –  We do the “left and right” activity. I’ll post a video of this soon.
     –  We do the “north (up), south (down), east (right), west (left)” activity.
         I’ll post a video of this, too.
     –  We do ordinal numbers from first thru twelfth.
     –  We repeat the 7 continent song. I’ll also post a video of this. It’s cute.
     –  We talk about the United States map and recognize the states where some of
        our family members live.
     –  We do calendar (date, weather, days of the week, months of the year).
     –  We talk about the day’s activities (schedule for the day).
     –  We talk about immediate and extended family’s birthdays (months so far,
         but soon, I’ll incorporate the dates as well).
     –  We go over the basic and advanced geometric shapes (see April Part 2
        for a picture of some of these).
     –  We go over the number train (count by tens to one hundred and count
        from zero to one hundred, then we find random numbers on the train
        -see April Part 2 for a picture of this, too).
     –  We go over an animal (cat, dog, duck, cow, etc) in 7 languages (English,
        Spanish, French, Chinese, Portuguese, German, Italian); a different one every day.
     –  We go over the colors in all the 7 languages above (he is repeating after me
        right now, except for English, but he will eventually read them and pronounce
        them correctly by himself).
     –  We go over the numbers (0-10) in all the 7 languages above (he is repeating
        after me right now, except for English, Spanish and Chinese, but he will
        eventually read them and pronounce them correctly by himself).
2.  Devotional
This is where we do one of the following:
     –  K sits on my lap and we either read a Bible story from one of his toddler Bibles.
     –  We read a book with a Bible story.
     –  We color pictures in a Bible story coloring book.
     –  We use our felt kit and retell Bible stories using the felt background and shapes.
Then we talk about prayer requests and we pray together.
3.  Desk Work
This is when K sits at his little table and I sit next to him with a box of materials.
I have folders for each day of the week in the box.
Each folder has:
1)  a Pre-school multi-subject activity book (paper and pencil activities)
2)  a list of Dolch sight words
3)  readers in 3 levels of difficulty (easy, medium, hard)
4) a surprise activity (number flash cards, fabric marker -I’ll explain later-,
a pop-up book, a small musical instrument, etc).
In the box, I make sure to include a sheet of stickers to reward him when he
completes an activity successfully.
4.  Subject #1
This is where I teach him a particular subject, usually following the Montessori curriculum.
5. Subject #2
This is where I teach him a second subject, also Montessori.

That’s it! Haha. It sounds like a lot, but believe me, it all works well and flows
smoothly because I keep everything prepared and organized. I am definitely a
schedule and list person! I keep lists of lists! Ha!

Desk work

Desk work: These activities are for him to recognize the letters of the alphabet and
differentiate between upper case and lower case letter.
Leveled readers (this is the
most difficult level). We read a
different level each day.
Bible stories coloring book
Dolch sigh words list: I punch
holes in the cards and use
metal rings to keep the list together.
Montessori Math: Unroll mat on the floor.
Place numbers in order and repeat them a few times.
Then place them out of order and demonstrate how to place them in the correct order.
Let him do it by himself. Assess and provide feedback after he is done. Do not interrupt.
1) Once numbers are in order correctly, take the dots (counters) out of the box.
2) Demonstrate silently how to use one counter to represent each number.
3) Ask if he is getting what I am doing and ask him to express his train of thought.
4) Assess and give feedback (if he got the concept right, praise him for recognizing it;
if he is wrong, praise him for trying, but provide the correct information).
5) Make sure that odd numbers (1, 3, 5, 7, 9) have the single counter in the middle.
This will help when introducing the odd and even number concept later.
6) Let him do it on his own after the presentation.
7) Assess and provide feedback.
One of the extensions for this activity is to ask him
to make numbers (0-98) using the wooden digits.
In this case, we chose 28 and he found the
2 and the 8, put them in the correct order
(two first, eight second, otherwise, it’d be 82)
and then (on his own) he found 28 on the number train.
This is the 100 chart with wooden numbers (like the Scrabble letters) from 1 to 100.
1) We counted from 1 to 100.
2) We counted by tens to one hundred.
3) We looked at the chart and recognized how the rows start with the same number
(11, 12, 13, etc) and the columns end in the same number (8, 18, 28, 38, etc).
4) We got random wooden numbers and started finding them on the chart and
placing matching numbers with each other.
We didn’t do it for all the numbers, but for 20 random numbers, maybe.
Art: Used pipe cleaners.
I asked him what he wanted to make with the pipe cleaners and he suggested a caterpillar.
I did most of it, but he still collaborated with me and was excited to glue it on paper.
Montessori Sensorial Activity: Clothespins
This is an easy and cheap activity to put together.
All you need is about 20 clothespins and different baskets or boxes to clip them onto.
This helps with fine motor skills, coordination, and order of things.
I got a basket, a clear smaller box, and a pipe cleaner (for more advanced students).
Hint: You feel smarter when you wear a superhero costume. I highly recommend it. 🙂

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