Saturday, September 14, 2013

Pre-k Homeschooling: Week 1

I think I've mentioned this before right? Well we've started "homeschooling" Eliza (if you can call it that?). Last year she went to a mother's day out program and it was really great. This year we are just bouncing around too much to put her into anything like that but we still wanted some sort of structure and to keep teaching her things like reading and writing. So we decided to homeschool! 

Last week was the first week. Our theme was "A" for "Astronauts!" It took a little bit getting used to it but I think we are all liking it! Here are a few of the things we did: 
We are only doing 3 days a week right now. So we usually start at my mother-in-laws house where we are building our tiny home/living half of the week. 
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We usually start off the day with some sort of writing practice. I like to find these simple letter workpages online and just print them out for her. 
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The first day we just did some basic "A" stuff and learned about being in school. I let her decorate an "A" with stickers and then we read, David Goes To School and made a chart of the do's and don'ts of school. 
The next two days, we learned more about our theme- space/astronauts. She made her own planet the second day and made up a story about it. The third day, we made a space book about all the planets she learned about. Inspired by this space book
Here are a few of our favorite books that we had picked up the week before. 
When You Are Happy and You Are Stardust were Brandon and I's favorites. They're just as much for the adults as they are for the kids and very poetic. Pluto Visits Earth was a fun one to help learn about the planets. Eliza's Kindergarten Surprise was a lucky find, we read this on her first day of "school" (and many times after, she loved it!). And Silvia's Spinach was my pick, it was about a girl that didn't like spinach until she grew her own and then decided she loved it! 

I also printed out some of these space work pages for her to do but I'm not sure I'll do that again. It's a little too wasteful to print out 30 pages that you'll only use once and then throw away. I'll have to figure out some other way of learning that stuff! 

Gosh, so when I first decided on homeschooling I started doing my research and got really overwhelmed! I called my sister (an elementary school teacher) to get some advice and she helped me figure out the first steps I needed to take. 

First, I researched what we wanted to get out of this/what we wanted Eliza to learn this year. I used this mamma's list to help me build a curriculum and just a list of the basic skills I wanted to work on with Eliza. 

To plan our weeks out, I first started out by assigning a letter for each week for the rest of the year. Then I went through and decided on simple themes for every week. Last week was "A" so we did astronauts and space. I have a weekly lesson plan sheet with columns for literacy/writing, math/cognitive skills, science/nature, geography/world cultures, music/movement/art, and body care/p.e.. Each week I try to schedule at least one activity for each of these subjects, preferably one that goes along with the theme. 

So not too difficult. The hardest part was narrowing down the themes, there are so many out there! But once you've got that down, all you have to do is get on Pinterest and there is a never ending amount of ideas to get your started. I try to do a craft every day, some kind of writing, and reading. Every week we plan on going to the library to get some books for her theme and a few extras for bed time. The lesson plan sheet (which I'll have to post later) is a life saver. The week before, I can figure out everything I want to do, write it down, and then make sure I have everything and put it in her binder. Then when the next week comes, whether it is Brandon or I doing the lesson, we have everything we need and we just follow the lesson plan. 

Also, we created a morning routine with all of the fun things you're supposed to do in pre-k. I printed this weather chart, this season chart, made a calendar, and a laminated picture of a girl with no clothes (just an outline) so that Eliza could draw her outfit everyday. Every morning we go over all of them before starting with the rest of her lesson. Eliza's favorite part is running outside to check the weather and drawing her outfit!

So far everything has been going pretty well. It's nice to have some extra structure and it gives Eliza something to do while we are either building the house or working on store stuff. Plus it takes her mind away from TV and gives her some other fun things to do and learn about! The best part is being able to participate and teach her while making it fun. I really hope that at the end of all this, she comes out of it with a joy for learning. That's my biggest goal with this....The only thing she's missing is friends! But we're working on that. 

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