Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Our First Day of School, Homeschool

Today was Stevie's first day of preschool....at home.  At this point in time, we have decided not to go the regular preschool route.  I may or may not write about our reasons, but if you're really interested, I'd be glad to talk or email about them, so just leave a comment.  Anyway, I decided to do some of the regular first day things because we'd do them if he were going somewhere else, so why not do them here too?  I wanted his picture, we had a pancake breakfast, I still need to trace his hand (put it on a ring and do it every year to see how he grows), and...we had to make an emergency milk run to Wegmans.  Oh well.

In case anyone would find what we're doing useful, I thought I'd post what our school day generally looked like.  Stevie's 3, so it was short and to the point.  We're only doing 2 planned days a week right now with a few extra activities sprinkled in through the week.  Afterall, learning takes place all day on a variety of topics....so I don't need to press the seat work too much at this time. I am also trying to be conscious of his weekly therapies...and those demands on his little self...he needs time to play and be a 3 year old boy too.

Our little school room:

Ok, nuts and bolts:

We began with morning prayer.  Then we did the weather chart: looking out the window, singing "What's the Weather?", and spinning the wheel to match the weather.  The calendar was next, which Stevie loves from Sunday School.  We used an unsharpened pencil for a pointer today.

Next month, the calendar will be filled in for each day, but we're only technically doing 2 days this week, so I decided to just do the final week in August until September.

Then we moved to our pockets.  Stevie liked this!  
We are going through the alphabet for most of the year, one letter a week. Stevie only knows a few letters, so I wanted to do some basics.  (He struggled so much with speech and saying nouns for his needs, like milk, that abc's were certainly not on our radar.)  So, in the left pocket, is a letter A flash card from the Dollar Tree (the pocket envelopes and many posters are from there too).  I loved the crispness of them and the realistic photos instead of cartoons that are hard to distinguish.  Stevie was able to pull the card out and tell me it was an "apple."  We talked about how apple starts with A....super brief phonics...and how A is the letter of the week...showing him the A's on the flash card.  (I also liked how they highlight the beginning letter of apple...you will see in the pocket chart.). 

I then told Stevie to take the sticks out of the envelope on the right.  One has "A" friends and families (cousin Abby for example) and one has our A verse, "All things were made by Him." John 1:3.  We talked about how we'll pray for the A's during prayer time.  Then he repeated the verse broken up after me, as I did simple motions.  He's never been into the motions, but I will keep plugging away because they help for memorizing the verses.  I used the big craft sticks...instead of paper or whatever, so that when we have finished our A week, they will be placed in the little black pail shown on top of the bookshelf ($1 in Target dollar bins).  When they are inevitably carried off or pulled out (by Miss Lydia or intentionally by us), we can review our verses and remember the A people in prayer again...as well as whatever other letter sticks may get pulled as time goes on.  

Then while on our blanket, we read about God's creation to go with our verse...and God creating Adam (A) and Eve.

We repeated our verse and moved to the table with our A box...and A sticks and flash card.  The craft sticks and card were put in the pocket chart.

Inside the A box were items we had on hand and colored pictures from a phonics teaching book I had.  He was free to explore the things, saying what they were, and I would say "a, a, apple, apple starts with a."  He repeated.  He loved the box...obviously recognizing some toys, but he thought it was fun, taking them out and setting them up on the table.  We talked about how God made the apple, acorn, ant, etc.  All of the pictures went into the pocket chart ($1 at Target in their seasonal dollar bins...I also got a super cute apple pocket chart for a dollar at a garage sale...wahoo!).

The black A on the outside of the A box is a bulletin board die cut letter from a pack at the Dollar Tree, and the blue foam A is from a foam abc puzzle from the Dollar Tree (umm, I love that store).  The additional letters from the pack and puzzle will be used each week in the box and for other letter activities!  Getting our money's worth!  I put the toys and A objects back in the box...but since school time, Stevie and Lydia keep diving in because they love it.  I would like to have it for review on Thursday and through the week...we'll see, haha.

Then we made our A craft, the alligator, with music playing.  This craft idea is from here:

After the craft, we moved back to the blanket with our A friends stick and closed our school day with prayer, including the A friends.

Stevie really wanted to do more, so then I set up the painter's tape A on the floor for him to drive his trains on.  Sort of a pre-writing skill and extra emphasis on our A theme.

I will probably have similar activities and sensory play things for the end of our time if he wants to keep going.  I think he just really soaked up my attention and wanted more (Lydia was napping).  He didn't have therapy today either, so he had more brain "steam" and energy.  We also already had snack before we began...just due to the time we can start (around 9:45 or 10am)...again dodging therapy sessions and trying to coincide with Lydia's nap...as long as she will. :)
Basically, the plan is for Day 2 of the week (Thursdays) to be a repeat...but the book will be about apples (the basket on the floor contains all A books, ours and from the library, and Stevie's Bible).  I will do another post after that day to show our project and "stuff."  That is also our basic schedule for the rest of the abc's.  We'll have a new verse, Bible focus, craft, pre-writing practice, and extras for each letter.

The sprinkled activities (that happen outside of our "classroom time") planned are: nature walks to find things God made, looking at apples inside and out (cut open) and eating them, watching a movie about airplanes from the library...probably more times than I can count, reading extra library A books, reviewing our memory verse each day, and praying for A friends...as well as making a note or picture for them to let them know we love them and prayed for them.  Obviously, throughout our day there are unplanned teaching moments too. :)

That's our plan for the next 26 weeks in a nutshell, haha.  Sorry for being long winded...just didn't know if other people would be interested.  At the end of those weeks, my general plan is to move into counting with Creation and colors with the Fruit of the Spirit, which will end our "school year."  We'll see!

Still smiling after day 1! I need to print this picture...because it shows exactly how I want our mother-son relationship to be!

1 comment:

Rachel said...

LOVE it! such cute ideas!