Monday, February 3, 2014

Back to School…at Home.

We took a pretty long break from homeschooling around here. It was a bit unofficial, and we did still do educational activities nearly daily, but I needed time to get ready for the holidays. I handmade most of the gifts that we gave so a lot of my "free" time was dedicated to that process.

Prior to the break I had been planning lessons on a weekly basis, and sometimes Sunday night would roll around and I'd realize I wasn't ready for Monday so I'd scramble or do what I could until I could print off some of the supplies. I do all our lessons with what I have on hand, plus printables from the curriculum we use.  If I ever need a school/craft supply I know I can likely find it at my mother-in-law's house. If all else fails, the dollar store is an excellent resource as well. 

At the end of our break, just a few days before Ben went back to work, I decided to take a different approach to planning. I didn't like having to scramble to prepare something every single week, so I prepared all of January in one sitting. Taking notes on activities we would do each week, incorporating memory verses from the Wednesday night Kid Life program at our church, and printing what I needed took me about 90 minutes.

As I'm planning I take some of the content ideas from the 2 year old curriculum (shapes, colors, nursery rhymes, motor skills) to make sure Des is learning a few new things and Malakai doesn't mind the review. The the rest comes from the 4 year old curriculum (letters, numbers, science concepts, and more). Sometimes the higher level stuff interests Desmond and sometimes he'd rather play. While the site we use offers Bible lessons, I don't use them anymore due to the lessons the boys are getting at church. I don't want to bombard them with memory verses and stories, so I partner with what they are learning at Kid Life and occasionally add a character trait or new manners from the curriculum.

This month they've learned how to be attentive and forgive, about New Year, all the month's of the year, the difference between a square and a rectangle, the colors red and black, we reinforced last month's lesson about the seasons as we talked about the months of the year, they practiced both gross and fine motor skills as they solidified shape and letter concepts, Kai perfected writing g's and q's, and so much more.

{green glitter glued G's}

Another thing we changed after the holidays is the location of our "classroom". We recently rearranged so the boys could share a room and the other room because the "play room" which is now a perfect place to do many of our lessons. There is a LOT more space and Desmond can keep himself busy with toys if what we are doing doesn't hold his interest. Previously we were doing calendar time and math in our living room in the front of the house, which is usually blocked by a baby gate. This meant that Desmond would get bored and get into things he shouldn't, not matter how cleaned up it was. So I much prefer our current arrangement.

Lately Malakai and I have been discussing going to Kindergarten. It is not our plan to homeschool past PreK. I have the technical ability (for those of you who may not know, I'm a licensed K-5 teacher) but I don't feel like it's the best fit for our family. Perhaps this will change down the road, and thankfully I can always decide to homeschool later on if needs change. Kai is pretty excited to go to school when he once was hesitant. He didn't want anyone else to be his teacher, which I found to be pretty flattering. Still, we prayed about it and we just know that Kai is supposed to go to a local public school for Kindergarten. We read books and talked about what it would be like and now he's quite looking forward to it. We have an open house in a few weeks already, I don't know if I can even stand it!

All this to say, that halfway through the month we got sick and half of our lessons didn't happen the way I planned. I'm so thankful that Kai is such a little sponge, I know he's already more than ready for Kindergarten and just love to watch him learn and grow while he's at home. On to another month of learning at home with my boys!

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