Monday, January 31, 2011

This Week's Plan

This week we're back on the horse after taking all of last week off thanks to the flu. Turner asked about his "school work" all week last week but I was SO out of it between taking care of the kids, myself and then trying to get things sanitized.

Today got off to a slow start as I played referee. The kids are missing John and have been a little moody so there were lots of arguments and skirmishes. I had them take some time to paint wooden tanks that I picked up at Michaels.

Our letter this week is O. I'll be using lots of printouts from Confessions of a Homeschooler's blog and the boys will do some crafts for the words octopus, ocean and owl.

Today we'll be finishing up a Vanentine's countdown calendar. Turner is very excited about "ballen times" day and we have nothing better to do than little things every day! For 14 days we'll do things like give kisses, make Valentine's cards, mail packages to Grandmas and make treats. Turner really looks forward to things like that so I think it will be fun.

For gross motor skills we will be playing a few games with number and alphabet cards. Most of them involve racing or jumping.

Fine motor skillls will be practiced with our art and crafts.

Tuesday: I think we'll go to the aquarium and pray we don't get sick

Wednesday: Library story time and then we might have a play date with some friends

Thursday: Baking day, craft

Friday: Pizza and a movie night!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Scavenger Hunt

What to do when naps are late and you need to move little bodies? A scavenger hunt! 

I drew pictures of things for the kids to look for in the back yard (leaves, random nuts dropping from trees, twigs, soccer ball, acorns, grass, an ant and rocks). It was met with a luke warm reception because the temperature was dropping in the late afternoon. Tuner really enjoyed this and I think we'll add a more difficult list to our bag of boring afternoon tricks! 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Fine Motor Skills

This kid LOVES doing his school work and really keeps me on my toes. He's constantly asking if we've got things to do so every day I make sure to at least have his work boxes (4 of them) ready. In addition to those, I try to include a fine and gross motor skill task. Yesterday both Eli and Deaon were still sleeping so I got out a tack and used this worksheet from Confessions of a Homeschooler. He used the tack to poke holes in all of the dotted lines.

Our formal dining room is an awkward space for us at this time so I'm turning it in to a school/activity room of sorts. Even though Turner has expressed his wish to go to Kindergarten we'll still keep the area as a learning and exploring space as long as we're in the house. The kids are really enjoying all of the projects we're doing and, while his decision to go to Kinder is completely supported, I'm a little bummed. I'm really enjoying homeschooling but I guess I can't be selfish! I'll post pictures soon of Turner and Eli's work stations and how we're organized.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

This Week's Plan

It seems as though I'm over planning for just preschool but I'm just trying to fill in our days with activities that will ready Turner for Kindergarten. John will be spending the next few weeks out on the carrier and 1 mom + 3 kids = lots of room for error.

So, this week we're covering:

Letter: N using almost EVERYTHING from Confessions of a Homeschooler
Shapes: cube/pyramid
Numbers: 1-10 reinforced

Monday: short as we're preparing for John's departure and it's a half day of work for him.

Tuesday: introducing Nn during circle time, working on days of the week, and any of the fantastic printouts from Confessions of a Homeschooler. Art/Craft will be on the fly as we'll be taking John to the ship.

Wednesday: Library story time, picking out books, park date in the afternoon since it's supposed to be somewhat warmer and heading straight to Miss Grace's 2nd Birthday Party!

Thursday: Baking day, play, art, letter of the week.

Friday: Aquarium with our homeschooler group! After that we'll take it easy and make edible bird's nests and watch a movie.

I'll post more about the week with links so I can remember when it's Eli's turn!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Rice Sensory Boxes

Preschool work can only take up so much of your day! For times I want to keep the boys occupied but still learning, I turn to some of my favorite blogs for inspiration. 
This rice sensory box came from Pink and Green Mama.

The cast of characters.

I chose to keep it simple with primary colors.

Even Daddy got in on the action.

Starting to look like Fruity Pebbles. 

By using funnels, small and large utensils, and various other objects, Eli is getting
much better at pouring.

Turner has long mastered the skills.

The rice gets everywhere but we're on day 4 of the boxes and the kids LOVE them. I'm going to do a Valentine's Day box next and hide their favorite treasures: glass pebbles, cars and the like. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mastering the Mess

I think we're finally getting the hang of a day. 
Always the favorite of any child is working with art materials. Lately, we've been using lots of food coloring. 
Using water to play with primary colors.

After LOTS of trying, Eli mastered the eye dropper. 

Friday morning we made dough. I usually just have the kids stir up some "no-cook" dough 
but today we tried this dough and it's fantastic! Worth the two minutes it takes to cook. 
No time to fully incorporate colors! 

They played for over and hour and didn't fight ONCE! 

I was able to finish our circle time board and was admiring my work when I found this
 beauty of a mistake! I'm just glad I caught it and not someone else thinking I'm an idiot for even
thinking I could teach my kids! 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

This Week's Plan

This week we're covering our bases with letters. Turner knows all of the letters by sight but not by sound so I made sand paper letters and we're working on what the letter "says." The idea is Montessori based and the boys love them. I backed all the vowels on blue felt and the consonants on pink.

I'm not sure if it's the sand paper letters or the new technique I learned for introducing things that Turner takes to so well to. The information seems to "stick" more. 

This week we're also working on "close to home." Turner has learned our address and could recited it back to me after just hearing it once. We've studied a map of our area and, later we'll "zoom out" a bit to learn, eventually, about Chesapeake, Virginia, the US, etc. 

The 5 senses are also on our list. We didn't get to it before nap time but we'll focus on touch first. 

For math readiness we'll be focusing on putting items in order from smallest to largest and learning some new vocabulary words. Like most kids, he understands counting and can do simple math but I want him to really understand the value of the numbers. I will be working on the 'po man's version of the Montessori Pink Tower when my cardboard nesting blocks arrive.

In other areas, we're using just plain old fashioned crafts to talk abut winter. We're refining our week, too. So far we've been doing:

Monday: baking day
Tuesday: art/craft
Wednesday: library story time

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Movement Forward is Movement!

The last few months have been a whirlwind! I've managed to loosely do some school work but, it's about time we buckle down and really hack away at all the things Turner would need to know before entering a "real school" as he calls it. As with most things, we're taking this homeschooling one year at a time. Turner has really expressed interest in going to school, taking the bus, and having friends so all eyes are on the the kinder knowledge prize.

As of late, we've switched gears from Waldorf every day to more Montessori themed activities. I still love Waldorf and enjoy incorporating elements of that with Montessori. What? Opposites can attract! We're making it work. Using these two schools of thought really helps us to switch gears and keep things fresh. Doing anything with a ball of energy like Eli requires skill ...and I was never classically trained in Eli! 

I've spent the last few weeks planning out what we need to do and by when so that we're on a schedule of sorts. Obviously, ample error time as been planned in. We are a family of five, living like nomads, so I think of these things now! We will be traveling in the spring to spend some time in New Jersey while John is at school in Rhode Island so I want all the need-to-know things touched upon. While we're traveling we can shift our focus from ABC's to incorporating that existing knowledge in to fun things! 

I'm really happy with our decision to homeschool. John and I have discussed different situations: Turner going to Kindergarten and, perhaps, keeping Eli at home for a bit. I think a child like Turner, if paired with the right teacher, can be used to help other kids. Eli, on the other hand, may be labeled and I'll have none of that! 

More posts and pictures soon! We're doing good things over here!