Friday, June 17, 2011

Summer "school"

So, I'm trying to find the balance of what a homeschool mom does during the summer.  I'm discovering that learning is such a way of life for us, that there is little getting away from it, even though it's summer.

I am enjoying the freedom of not having a "lesson plan," not printing out worksheets on Sunday evening, and not being expected by my children to perform circle time everyday.

Here's a little bit of our summer learning highlights...

1) Test out Charlotte's preschool curriculum. 

I purchased the $10 download of the Letter of the Week
 curriculum from Confessions of a Homeschooler.  It's over 1000 pages of activities for the alphabet.  I've printed and laminated selections from A and B so far.  Just to see how Charlotte liked them, we tried out a few. 

We did some dry erase tracing pages and she actually made a good attempt at a circle.

My favorite A activity was the capital/lower case Apple tree.  The tree has apples showing big or little "A."  Then I cut out another sheet that came with matching apples.  I put magnets on the back and Charlotte matched them up with the page that I laid in a cookie sheet.

There are also some extras that came with the pack, such as these shape pages.  We used them to sort some math manipulatives that we had on hand.

2) Make a science journal. 

Caroline has taken a shine to Sid the Science Kid this summer.  I tried it out after reading about it on another blog I follow.  Caroline really caught on to a banana episode and learned a new vocabulary word... decay.  So, we created a "science journal" and spent a week drawing a banana as it turned brown.  Then we went out of town for memorial day and our house sitter graciously humored us by taking pictures of the banana.  Then we cut those out for our journal.  We ended the project by making banana bread muffins.  Charlotte was the only one that liked them.

3) Found a new computer "game." 

I found out about some free math software from the Money Saving Mom blog and decided to give it a try.  It's called Funnix and you can get it for free through June 24th.  It came at a perfect time since I was really frustrated by testing out our Saxon Math 1 curriculum and working on the handwriting with Caroline.  We'd been writing 1, 4, and 5 in the lesson and it was torture.  Well, this program has a handwriting component!  Caroline is on lesson 8 and has been practicing writing her numbers on all of the printable worksheets that go with the lessons (and I get to keep my hair).  Yay!!

I'm not sure I like this tally mark system that it uses, but it is doing a lot of counting and it even encourages counting from a middle number... like instead of starting at 1 and counting to 10, it has them start at 6 and count to 10.  Something that's been on my list to practice.

It's a lot of counting and number recognition, so any of my friend's children would be able to start of with this even if they aren't ready for "math."

4) Practice handwriting. 

We've tried a lot of creative ways to practice handwriting.  I started writing out our daily schedule on our dry erase board this summer.  I think Caroline thrives on knowing our plan for the day, but it's just a matter of finding something that's easy for me.  I usually write down our activities for one day (errands, outings, fun stuff, cooking) and then chores in another area (make bed, put away laundry).  Caroline had me spell stuff for her this day so she could write it.

In essence, it says:
"play for 10 (minutes)"
"play outside"

5) More fun with stuff that mommy wants to use next year.  My neighbor took me to the Home School Store for my first visit.  I didn't buy anything (the new curriculum I wanted was cheaper online), but I did get these used Reading Rods for $4. 

6) Continue to get smarter : )

My goal this summer has been to teach Charlotte her colors and Caroline to count to 100.  I think we may hit the mark by August.  If Charlotte can just figure out the difference between pink and purple (hey, their both super girly) and Caroline can remember that twenty-ten does not come after twenty-nine (hey, makes sense, but then one hundred would be twenty, twenty, twenty, twenty, twenty).


Marianne said...

After reading this post, I just have to say that there is NO way that Charlotte is old enough to start schooling. I thought she was still a baby! Oh how the time flies! You are an awesome teaching mommy.

the_Tmac said...

this is great! love it that learning is fun - as it should be :)

tell me about your letter link you found. we downloaded 'learn your letters, learn to serve' - and really loved the serving aspect (ex. you bake banana bread and take it to mrs. bradford on B week), but thought the letter activities could have been better. do you love yours?