Thursday, May 27, 2010

School at home

I don't think I've specifically blogged about homeschooling, although I often post fun things that Caroline is learning or doing. The truth is, I've been "practicing" homeschooling Caroline since this fall and it's been a huge success!! Despite practically everyone I know telling me that I'd be great at it, I had big doubts that I could be dedicated enough to do this. Praise God, I was wrong. It has been so much fun and I'm really looking forward to teaching my girls.

Caroline is only 3 1/2, but to her, school time is fun. She's always asking to do workbooks, and it spurs me on when I lack motivation.

I don't want other moms to feel "behind," so I'll confess... sometimes we go two weeks without doing anything. Sometimes we do something every day. On my new schedule, I plan on doing "school" every weekday for 30 minutes while Charlotte is having her morning nap, and we are lucky to get to it two or three times. But I figure, that's how many days most kids are in preschool, so we are doing good.

I thought I'd do a post and share my sources for many of the activities I do with Caroline (and sometimes Charlotte - some bloggers do directed stuff with their babies all the time, but I don't have that kind of stamina).

Lots of times, I'll spend an evening browsing some of my favorite blogs, and then then it'll be months before the idea pops back in my head and I implement it.

We started out with workbooks. Nothing fancy. Our first workbook was an ABC workbook from the Target dollar spot. I also find great workbooks at the Dollar Tree on 529. There, we've gotten other ABC workbooks, early thinking skills and math, and colors (some even have Disney princess or Sesame Street characters).

I get activity ideas from Children's Learning Activities blog. Most recently I made smelly jars. This is also where the fuzzies idea originated that many of my friends have used. And the color scavenger hunt was another fun idea I grabbed there.

Another blog I've started checking recently is 1+1+1=1. There's tons of stuff to browse around.

My mom got her education degree when I was growing up and has been a teacher for almost 20 years. I get lots of inspiration from her. I like brainstorming ideas when I think of something I want to teach Caroline. But if I don't have an idea, Google isn't very far away. That's how I ended up getting into worksheets.

Worksheets have been my favorite thing for the past 4 months. A few times (like 2 or 3), I've sat down and printed worksheets to store up for about five days worth of lessons, but most of the time, I'm pulling up my favorite sites while Caroline is getting settled into her preschool table and we work on them hot off the printer. I'm totally winging it. We may do ABCs for weeks and then I'll throw in some kind of early math concept. Sometimes Caroline requests a certain worksheet. This week I threw down three sets of worksheets and she got to pick. Anyway, the worksheet websites...

Kid's Learning Station is one of my favorites. I think we've done all of the phonics worksheets. The patterns, shapes, colors, and writing readiness (just tracing a straight or curved line is something preschoolers need to practice) are also good.

I used Kidzone for the worksheets when we began working on reading with the "at" words. I liked that there were pictures for her to draw lines matching the word... no handwriting required.

ABC Teach has the cut and paste worksheet that we used for number order (1 through 20). But you can go back to the main page and find lots of other stuff to use. We did this early addition booklet from the website this week.

Often, I modify how Caroline completes a worksheet since she can get frustrated with handwriting. After she tells me the answer, I lightly draw it and she traces it. Yesterday, we used some ABC stamps to stamp the correct answer. Or sometimes I write the answers on scraps of paper and I let her glue them in the blanks. I also draw dots to help her draw the square that is the next shape in a pattern.

I have some worksheets in page protectors in a notebook so Caroline can use a dry erase marker to do them over and over again... I got that idea from Michelle.

I also love DLTK's mini-books. Print out a few pages for the kids to color, staple it according to the directions, and the kids can read a book they made. How fun is that!! There are even some Bible ones available.

My mom has come across some fun manipulatives that teachers were getting rid of at her school. Sorting animals, veggies/fruit, chain links, chain shapes, geo boards, etc. Here's my current stash if anyone ever wants to borrow something. I usually try to have one or two set out for Caroline to play with.

Oh, and I have to say that my favorite part of "school" is the look on Caroline's face when we finish a worksheet and I tell her to put it in Daddy's folder. We started keeping a folder on the dinner table this month that her "school work" goes into. Kevin reviews it at dinner. It wasn't so much a great idea as a great solution to keep Caroline from wanting me to get up from dinner to go get her work to show off. She is just as excited to put it in the folder as she is when Kevin looks at it.

Thanks to anyone that read this whole post. I didn't mean for it to be so long, but some people had asked for my websites and I wanted to get them out there.


Dillon, Emily, Micah and Naomi said...

Thank you! :)

Mom said...

On the math, does Caroline combine her sets? When you have 2 stones and 1 stone on the addition sentence card...have her take her hand and physically combine them...slide them over past the = sign. Have her say, "Two plus one equals three." (instead of having the three new stones after the = sign). I know this seems silly, but some children don't understand that adding is combining without physically doing the action. You can also practice without the symbols. For instance, put 3 cotton balls and add one more saying, "Three plus one more is..." Then physically count them, saying, "Three plus one more is four!" Do this repeatedly with bigger and bigger numbers. Finally, have Caroline pick out a number sentence (horizontal and vertical representations) to match what the cotton balls show (3+1=4).

Same with subtraction:)


Carrie S. said...

So, when can I send Zack over? ;-)

Kelly Mc said...

i love the idea of the folder for Kevin to review :)