Some people may be surprised to hear that it takes me a long time to plan a week of kindergarten (1-2 hours). The reason for this is that we don’t do a lot of bookwork/workbook learning, so it’s not simply a matter of ‘doing what’s next,’ as our reading lessons are, and as it will be as Stiggy gets older. We do a lot of activities like sandpaper letters, writing in sand, art projects, hands-on math activities, science concoctions, etc. I have a lot of resources for these things… a lot: books, websites, documents I’ve put together with ideas recommended by others, my own ideas, and ideas from Internet. I’ve also created a document called ‘learning resources’ which is divided up by subject and lists everything I have for that subject. Here is a sample:
-Internet (lots of websites)
-Math file on computer
-Educational Activities document (with tons of math activities)
–The Ultimate Book of Homeschooling Ideas
-Math for the Very Young
-Modern Curriculum Press Mathematics K
-Non-Fiction books from library
-Math story books
-Imaginative play (booklet)
-Match # card with amount of marbles
-Playing with till to learn adding, subtraction, and money skills
-Card games like war
-Bundles of straws (to teach units)
-Candy and outdoor thermometer
-Dot to dot
-Measure beans or rice
-Other Montessori manipulatives
-Sand paper numbers
= same as
– take away
x groups of
/ divide by
I have blank lines at the bottom of each page to list any new resources.
Instead of wasting time each day looking through all my resources, I sit down with everything on Friday and jot down a few things that look good. That way I only need to glance through a few ideas each day instead of hundreds.
I’ve taken a more relaxed approach to our reading lessons, shortening them or not following the instructions exactly, and things are going much more smoothly. I’ve also cut back a bit on the workbook pages so we can do some other things. Our dictation sessions have changed as well. Instead of having Stiggy write out the dictations, he’s using magnetic letters to spell out the words. I’ve arranged the letters on a cookie sheet in alphabetical order, so he doesn’t have to spend ages hunting for the letters. When he’s finished, he puts the letters back in the proper places. He loves doing this. (I get the dictation sentences from 100 Easy Lessons…much easier than making them up myself).
We’re still plugging along with Handwriting Without Tears. We’re nearly done with numbers now and I’ve seen a big improvement in his writing. Stiggy likes to ride this little ride-on toy (that he refers to as his ‘car’) around the house and then write his ‘lap time’ down with dry erase markers on little strips of paper that I’ve laminated. He uses sticky tack to put them on the wall. His numbers look much better than they used to.
We’re really enjoying our daily poetry readings. I’ve recently purchased Lavender’s Blue, which is a collection of nursery rhymes, with lovely old-fashioned illustrations; Where The Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein (one of our favourite authors), and we’re borrowing The Random House Book of Poetry for Children which has been illustrated by Arnold Lobel. We are loving this book and are hoping my dear friend Lynn will sell it to us. (no pressure 😉 )
Stiggy had pottery painting this week. This has been a really great activity. He’s learned a lot about painting, has gained hand-control (so says the instructor), and has just plain enjoyed it. These mushrooms are his latest creation…all his work, by the way.
I’ve also begun something called ‘Mum’s Choice of Story’ (please forgive me if I’ve mentioned this already; I can’t quite remember). See, I read to Stiggy 3 or 4 times a day, but I never get to pick the story. So, this is a chance for me to read something that’s been burning up the book shelf but which Stiggy keeps turning down. Stiggy keeps trying to turn it into his choice, but once we’re settled down on the sofa reading, he loves it.
Stiggy’s taken a real interest in numbers, so I’ve got to start doing more math activities with him. We do some, but I think he’d enjoy more. We’re going to use Math Play (which is geared more for children just learning to count), Math for The Very Young, and Family Math. We’ll also use some resources from this site. We play a lot of games (Uno, Trouble), bake and cook, and just do incidental math. He also likes to count to 100 and will get a number chart or his abacus out. Sometimes he tries to count to 100 without any aids. I’m also trying to teach him about ‘double’ and ‘half,’ so along with some hands-on activities, I’m planning to buy this book.
We also did an activity that was a combination of math and handwriting. I set out an ice cube tray, clean tweezers, and a little pot of rice. Using the tweezers, Stiggy had to put one grain of rice in the first hole, 2 in the second, etc. This activity is good for building up those finger muscles.
I have managed to cut back quite a bit on my computer time, and things are much better. I have more time for other pursuits. I’ve also discovered that I’m not as dependent upon my yahoo groups as I once was. I tend to skim most of the daily digests now, and I’m not saving as much of the information as I used to. I created large documents with many pearls of wisdom from my groups, but I find I’m not needing to do that as often. I feel like it’s starting to come together and I’m gaining confidence and independence. The ‘theory’ of homeschooling is fun to read about, and informative, but the ‘practical’ side of it is where you get your sea legs…as with most things.