Prepare For Homeschool - Week One

I am currently teaching my three year old daughter at home. It is not without challenge BUT I know that she can handle all of the work, activities, and knowledge that comes her way as a result. At this point, I'm fairly confident that I can handle it, too :) After much thought and encouragement, I've decided to share what we do at home with my Classic Mommy readers in the hopes that you, too, will be able to benefit from all of the time that I've put into this "school" thing. I've had a lot of questions from people asking about what we do, where to start, etc. so I'm going to post a weekly schedule on the blog for those of you that are interested.

This is only a guideline, and we often do other activities, games, and lessons on questions or discussions that come up while we're doing school. You might need to adapt this into something that works better for your own personal needs.

Week One of Pre-K Homeschool:

Learning To Read

Danger is currently learning to read. When I was her age, I was already reading the newspaper (it's true - just ask my father!) I haven't really worked with her until now because I didn't really want to push it. I want for learning to be fun.

We've started off pretty well by focusing on the basics - letter recognition and phonics - and moved on to simple sight words from there. This is pretty much our morning routine:

  1. Sing the ABC song while pointing to letters on an alphabet chart. (Do all uppercase letters, then all lowercase).
  2. This week's letter of the week was the letter Aa, so I had her point out the Aa on the alphabet charts.
  3. Use ABC flashcards to sound out the letters. We use homemade ABC flashcards based on the LeapFrog Letter Factory DVD. I had a set of the actual cards that came with the DVD, but they have since been destroyed. I found a great template for making them at home, but I don't have a printer (yet) and had to spend about an hour or so making them by hand. They turned out pretty cute anyway :) Each time I pulled out a letter card, Danger would sing: The A says /a/, the A says /a/.Β Every letter makes a sound. The A says /a/. **(Just like in the LeapFrog DVD).
  4. We also read poems that had the letter Aa featured heavily, and Danger helped me point to the Aa whenever we came across one. Also - we have the BOB Books (the Pre-Reader Collection is available at Costco for just $10 right now!) so we read The AB Book each day, tracing the large letters with her fingers.
  5. We got in some handwriting practice with the BrainQuest Kindergarten workbook pages for the letter Aa. I tore out these pages and put them into clear plastic sheets in a binder so that Danger could reuse them all week.
  6. I also made some sight word flashcards for Danger. This week, she learned to read the, am, an, and, as, at, big, little by reading the flashcards and then forming the words with foam bathtub letters. This is her new favorite activity.
  7. We also read a LOT of books every day, so every time we come across one of her sight words, I point at it and let her read it from the book. This way, she is able to recognize words through different types of font and includes her in the reading process.
  8. Danger made a letter Aa craft page by finger painting the letters onto a piece of construction paper, and then adding words and pictures that start with the letter Aa to the page.

All About Math

Danger really enjoys putting together puzzles and building towers and castles out of blocks, and I am very pleased that when she's playing, she's also doing math!

We are currently focusing on these main things:

  • Counting to 100
  • Making the connection between a coin and its value
  • Telling time
  • Light addition and subtraction (to ten for the moment)

While we use the blocks for counting and addition/subtraction, I've had to get a little more involved in the rest of the learning process and use other resources to help. This is how we usually progress:

  1. Count to twenty by reciting numbers off a number chart to warm up. She can count higher, but since we are learning about addition and subtraction at the moment, I don't want to make things more confusing.
  2. Read poems and sing songs that reinforce counting. One good poem for teaching subtraction up to ten is the Mother Goose poem "Ten Little Bluebirds." As we read this one, Danger is able to subtract and then count how many birds are left before we move on to the next verse.
  3. We use blocks to figure out what number combinations make the quantity ten. (0+10=10, 1+9=10, so on).
  4. Practice telling time: Time is a very hard thing to teach to children because they do not really understand the concept of time. For example, I told my daughter that she would be going to stay with her grandparents in a week, and she woke up the next morning fretting that we didn't pack all of her things yet :) I've broken up her lesson into a few easy-to-understand statements that I hope are making a difference. I will have to write a separate post on how to teach time to children, if you are interested, because it really is too long to include here.
  5. We count coins and figure out how many pennies are needed to make a nickel, etc. We also play "store," and Danger or I have to figure out how many coins to pay for a doll, a rock, and other small items.
  6. We also use worksheets from BrainQuest Kindergarten, Evan Moor's Skill Sharpeners Math Kindergarten workbook, and some wonderful math workbooks from the Target Dollar Spot and the Dollar Tree stores. I usually just tear the pages out and put them into clear plastic sleeves in a binder so that they are reusable.

Science

I'm very big into journaling right now. A lot of our science activities go straight into Danger's homemade Science Journal. We first discussed observation, and one of Danger's favorite things to do is to observe an item, list its characteristics, and then sketch it into her journal. This works out really well, because we also work vocabulary words into these lessons (a small leaf can also be described as tiny/miniature/puny/little).Β 

Last week, our science theme was Rainbow. We read a book from a Weekly Reader series called What Is A Rainbow? We used homemade color word flashcards and matched them to the correct color swatches. We then put the colors in order like a rainbow. We made rainbow art by writing Danger's name on a piece of paper and then coloring over the letters with crayons that match the colors of the rainbow. We were also able to observe and draw an actual rainbow from the rain! Good timing, right?

I plan to add in History/Geography and Bible studies to our schedule. Right now, I'm still looking for the best resources to teach those subjects (and it's best to work on reading and mathematics first, right?) I will most likely start incorporating those topics into our daily schedule in the next month or so.

I realize that homeschooling isn't an option for many families, but for those of you that are playing around with the idea - would you be interested in more homeschooling posts on this blog? What has been your biggest challenge with homeschooling so far?