We had a short week school-wise: only three days. On Monday Stiggy and I went to our friends’ house and stayed over. My friend’s husband was away on business and she doesn’t like being alone overnight, so we stayed. Stiggy and my friend’s same-aged daughter played wonderfully well together all day Monday and most of Tuesday. My friend and I spent hours talking homeschooling.
We’ve begun doing more with math. I bought a book called Circle Time Poetry: Math from my other friend Lynn (as if I don’t have enough math resources, but anyway…). This is a fantastic resource. We did the first section called ‘Numbers All Around.’ There is a poem by the same title, which I wrote out in blue marker (our colour of the week). I read the poem, then we went around the house finding numbers and discussing what information the numbers give us. We played a rhyming game with the poem and counted the number of times the word ‘numbers’ appears in the poem. Stiggy loved all of this. We can’t wait to do the next little number unit. We also played with the beanbags by tossing them to each other and counting to 100.
As mentioned above, this week was blue week in art. I pulled out all of the blue art materials and Stiggy made several creations in blue. We also read Blueberries for Sal and a poem by Shirley Hughes called I Like Blue. For science, we played with eyedroppers and water: one pot of clear water, and one pot of blue, on waxed paper. This was also a big hit.
I’ve also purchased from Lynn a HUGE book called The Complete Daily Curriculum. I don’t know that I actually needed this book, but it is fantastic and has negated the need to troll the internet, which saves me not only time, but also money since I’m not on the internet as long and using electricity ;). The book is divided into lovely little units, like colour, shapes, seasons, animals, holidays, about me, weather, favourite stories, etc. For each little unit, there are circle time activities, story book recommendations, and other activities such as: music & movement, art, gross motor, language, listening, math, discovery, dramatic play, fine motor, games, writing, and others. Talk about a time-saver! I used to spend hours putting together units like that; now it’s all at my fingertips.
And the appendix is amazing: lyrics to dozens of children’s songs, finger plays, chants and rhymes, stories (actual stories like Caps for Sale, The Three Little Pigs, The Ant and the Grasshopper and others. No pictures, just the words), games and dances, recipes (food, art), props and concentration games, flannel board patterns (which could be used for many things, not just flannel boards), puppet patterns, rebus patterns, and other patterns. A great resource.
For ‘Mum’s Choice’ story this week, we read The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Grahame, who also wrote The Wind in the Willows. He had a mixed response to this story.
We’ve finished lesson 73 in Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. Stiggy is still squirmy during the story-reading portion of the lessons, but I’ve noticed a real learning spurt this week; he’s gaining real fluency. He’s also feeling pleased with his accomplishments and said he wanted to have a lesson on Saturday. I told him it’s good to have a break. A lot happens in the brain when we step away from what we’re doing; a lot of processing and sorting…a bit like feeding our brains a jigsaw puzzle and after a while a completed puzzle is handed back. I’ve notice this a lot in my own life. If I’m struggling with a knitting project, for example, it’s better to take a break, do something else, then come back to it later. Nine times out of ten it all clicks into place when I try it again. Even when we ‘get’ it, during our down-time the learning is sort of filed away in the right folder for easy access for the next time we need it.
We’re also following Year 0 of Ambleside Online. Well, it’s more of a booklist than a curriculum, but these books are fantastic; tried and tested literature for young children, written to engage children’s minds and imaginations, not merely entertain briefly.