I decided I needed to step back into my role as teacher for the kids and take a more planned approach again. I’d really fallen off the planning wagon when the kids went into speech (maybe a little after) and I want to get back on. When I mentioned doing “homeschool” to the kids they were all for it. Of course, they had no idea what it meant, but I’ll take the enthusiasm where I can get it! 😉
Since it was the first day of school for everyone in our community, I picked August 24th as our first day of Homeschool. I planned around the theme of “school” just because it seemed to make the most sense to me. I’ve got themes planned out from now until the end of October right now, though they aren’t set in stone. I’m hoping to have at least 2 activities planned per day. One will be more of a “sit at your table” type activity and the other will be more hands on. They will take turns with most activities, rather than doing things at the same time because I don’t want them comparing themselves with each other or doing things for each other. Here is how our first week went.
We started out slowly. We started by watching the Leapfrog Video “Let’s Go to School.” This gave them a better idea of what “school” is, since they really don’t have any reference. We then read D.W.s Guide to Preschool by Marc Brown and The Kissing Hand by Audree Penn. (To be honest, the reason I chose the second book is because I found a set of centers printables using the book and I already own it.) We talked about the different kinds of school they will have this year: Homeschool, speech, and zoo school (more about that later). We talked about what would be the same and what would be different from the stories we’d read (or saw) and what we would experience. We also played “school” with new school supplies (spiral notebooks, colored pens, pencils, etc.) and their dolls as students. Like I said, it was a pretty simple day.
The next day was much more structured. We read The Kissing Hand again, and then I introduced the day’s activities, which I got from Kinderbabies on Teachers Pay Teachers.
I started Kyla with the “Chester loves…” book. She was to trace the words and color the pages.
While she did that, I took Lucas to the entryway to spread out the alphabet matching cards. His task was to match the upper and lower case letters. I quickly figured out that he needed a little organizational assistance, so I sat with him and helped him get the upper case letters in order on the floor (he told me where everything went, I just helped keep it organized), then I left him to match the lower case letters to their upper case counterparts. I was actually super impressed with how he did!
Later we switched and Lucas did his “Chester loves…” book while Kyla matched upper and lower case letters. Again, I was super impressed. She only missed 2 letters (g and q) and it was a totally understandable switch! I had no idea they were already able to do this. I truly figured this would be my way of discovering which letters they didn’t know so we could focus on them a few at a time!
The last thing we did was work together to match words to pictures of school supplies. These were the same words that were in their “Chester loves…” book, but I still had to give a lot of verbal cues to help them. They seem to want to guess rather than look for the clues that will help them decode the words. Not to worry, the activity gave me some insight into what we need to work on!
Daddy was home Wednesday, so I wasn’t sure how homeschool would go. But surprisingly, it continued without a hitch! We started off the day letting N sleep in, so we went for donuts as soon as they woke up.
This day was probably their second favorite day of activities. We practiced gluing techniques! I found this “Top Secret Gluing Techniques for Beginning Gluers” from Miss Miner’s Monkey Business on Teachers Pay Teachers. I printed the practice pages for the kids to use and we sang the song together. They really enjoyed dabbing the glue over and over again and then getting the chance to make globs on purpose. They also practiced making frames and cutting on the dotted line. They impressed me, since I’ve never really let them use liquid glue before (just glue sticks). I know they’ve used it at Sunday School and Zoo School, but still didn’t know what to expect.
After they got the hang of dabbing the glue, I gave them each the Pattern practice from the Kissing Hand centers packet. They had a good time cutting and gluing. The abab pattern was no problem whatsoever for them. Looks like I’ll need to start giving them more challenging patterns to work with.
They still are pretty rough when it comes to their cutting skills. At one point Lucas even wanted to quit because he was having so much trouble. Come to find out, his scissors suck. I gave him some adult scissors and he did much better.
I also had to have them work at separate tables. Otherwise they pick at each other instead of doing their work.
Thursday was Math day. Again, I used centers from the Kissing Hand packet. I had one child match the 1-10 number cards with the number of Chesters (easy-peasy for both of them) while the other child traced their numbers and colored Chesters in a book. Unfortunately, they just don’t have the attention span to go through 10 numbers at a time. They did manage to get through #7 by the end of the day, but I can now see where I need to change my expectations.
We also spent a lot of the day counting. I now know without a doubt that they can count to 12, but “something happens in the teens” (if you’ve ever heard the CD that comes with Boogie Legs by Josie Bissett, you know what song was in my head all day!). I know what we’ll be working on next!
Friday was the day Lucas was looking forward to ALL week. I had realized last week that their computer skills are severely lacking because I never let them use the computer. They have experience with their LeapPads and my Kindle and phone, but all of those are touch screens. They do not have any experience with using a mouse or touch pad. So I’ve decided this is a skill we need to work on. I’ve told them that if they do all their work throughout the week they will get to spend time on the computer playing games (things like PBSKids and that sort of thing). This was the only way I could get Lucas to concentrate on his work at times. He woke up in the morning saying “We get to use the computer today! I did all my work!”
At first it was frustrating because the internet was acting super slow and there was a LOT of waiting for things to load. And he is still struggling with using a mouse (I decided that would be easier for him to use), but he’s getting better. He got to play games from Super Why on PBSKids and was very happy.
While Lucas was on the computer, Kyla and I matched colors to their words. This was another center from the Kissing Hand packet. It was designed to start of easy, with the word being the color it said, so matching it to the colored Chesters was easy. But I took it a step further, having the matched cards in front of her while she went through the Color book (all words were written in black) and figuring out what color to use for each page. It only took showing her how to look for the words with the same letters before she had the hang of it and was able to color every page.
When she finished her color book, they switched. Kyla struggled with the computer as well, but I expected that. Lucas did great with the colors and even completed his work just in time for us to go to a movie as a family (we saw Turbo, which they loved!).
Overall I think we had a very successful first week of Homeschool. Lucas may be in for a rude awakening on Monday when we start a new theme (family), though. He kept telling me that Friday was the “last day of homeschool” no matter how often I tried to correct him. Hope he likes the activities I’ve got planned!