Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Kindergarten at Home

Our first day of home school was yesterday. Yay!
I thought it might be fun to share what we are doing for school, curriculum wise, so family and friends can have an idea of what exactly we are doing. Also, I found it very helpful to read other parents reviews and opinions on various school materials and thought, what the hay! maybe this will help someone some day.

Timothy will be doing three subjects each day: Bible, Language Arts, and Math. Our school sessions take roughly 45-60 minutes depending on the difficulty level and extra games or books we may read. It may take longer if we are learning a new concept so I'm trying to plan for that.  

I decided to go with Alpha Omega's Lifepac Series for Language Arts and Math for several reasons.
1) I'm very familiar with it from the years I was home schooled and I really like the format.
2) They are Christian based materials that reflect the values we hold at home.
3) Timothy is a very logical, quick thinker and a visual learner. Textbooks work best for him.
During his year+ doing preschool I experimented with many different methods of teaching in order to see what works best with him. Timothy doesn't like to color, at all. It bores him. He likes arts and crafts that serve a purpose and can be done quickly.
When Timothy picks a book to read 80% of the time he will pick a non-fiction: animal encyclopedia, bug book, or book about vehicles and heavy machinery. When we went to the dinosaur museum he wanted to know what each dinosaur ate, where they lived, and how fast they could run. 
4) It is already divided into suggested lesson plans with optional activity suggestions. With three little ones, a hubby working from home, and all the other things I have to manage I just don't have time to research, gather materials, and find worksheets that go with a more eclectic method.

In each of the workbooks there are "helpers"- two dogs named Sam and Jip. They are the ones who ask Timmy the questions and explain the lesson. I honestly didn't think he would love having them as much as he does.  

If I was to ask him to print what his name is, how old he is or where he lives he would probably whine. But when I tell him that Sam and Jip are 5 and 6 years old and want to know how old he is he can magically write the number 4! 

Nathan does the Bible lesson with us. I purchased My ABC Bible Verses by Susan Hunt for our Bible lessons. It combines learning the alphabet with a bible verse and then has a story that coordinates with the verse to help the children understand how it is applied. I chose to do one verse a week. Monday we identify the letter, read the verse and then the story. After the story we practice saying the verse three times then pray and begin our lessons. 

Tuesday through Thursday we practice saying the verse three times and then read another book that deals with the subject. This week our verse is Proverbs 15:1 which talks about using kind words, conflict resolution, and being angry. 

Books We Are Reading
I Was So Mad by Mercer Meyer
A Children's Book About Teasing by Joy Berry
A Children's Book About Fighting by Joy Berry
The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Teasing by Jan and Stan Berenstain
*Harriet, You'll Drive Me Wild by Mem Fox 
(this is a good book to show children that even Mommy's get angry sometimes)

Friday is when they get to try and say the verse themselves. If they can they get to put a sticker on their chart. I'm still thinking of some kind of reward system to go along with the chart...maybe doing something fun (ice cream, movie theater, small toy) for every five verses. Not sure yet :)

I had considered doing school only Monday through Thursday and leaving Friday as a more hands on type learn-and-explore day. But, seeing how we can accomplish everything in an hour there will be plenty of time for finger painting and bug hunting. We will figure it out...It's only week one!

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