28 August 2015

Preschool at Home: Week 3

Thoughts on homeschooling this week:

I thought I'd discuss my homeschool personality a little bit. Every homeschooler has their own style. For me, for now, I'm growing into my own and discovering what works best with my little girls. Some things I'll do more for them, (i.e. Frozen-themed worksheets), but other things I do or don't do because I personally really like or don't like them. 

In my homeschool, I generally avoid activities I perceive as wasteful. I try not to print unnecessarily or use WAY too much paper--but, granted, these are little ones who need a lot of coloring and writing practice, so I'm not too stingy with papers, either. For their daily name writing practice and general letter and number writing practice, we use lined paper stuck inside a plastic page cover with dry-erase markers so that the page can be used over and over again. I don't like activities that use food for crafts that won't end up being eaten (i.e. rice or beans or noodle crafts). We lived in a non-sealed home in the tropics. Rice is notorious for attracting bugs, that's why I keep my rice in a tightly sealed container that I can only hope won't be infiltrated by weevils. I do not want food scattered on the floor attracting bugs into my home and I don't want to have to sweep or mop more than strictly necessary (I generally mop the house 3 times a week anyways due to dust).

I do like to put in a lot of variety into each day and keep things moving quickly so that neither students nor teacher gets bored. We alternate through physical activities and listening and writing and reading and counting and songs and computer games very quickly, never sticking to one kind of activity for very long--I find that sticking to one subject until boredom ensues does not enhance either learning nor proper school behavior.

Week 3:
Major Themes: The Letter M and Local Animals

-Check the weather and mark the weather on the graph (sunny, cloudy, or rainy) each day
-Write in the number of the day on the calendar each day.
-Point out which day of the week it is.

-Sing the Sing, Spell, Read, & Write letter sounds song.
-Sing the short vowel sounds song.
-Practice writing names. Counted letters in their names. Because Anna already knows her name, I am having her do all activities with her surname, as well. I have them circle the capital letter at the beginnings of their names.
-Practice writing upper and lowercase letters with workbooks
-This week we focused on the letter M and had several associated activities:
  -Found things in the house that started with the 'M' sound.
  -Listened to this Letter M song.
  -Asked, "Does your name have the letter M in it?"
  -Looked at the M page in our picture dictionary
  -We made minions with popsicle sticks. Found in this blog post. Mom already had yellow popsicle sticks in her never-ending stash of craft supplies and Anna loves minions, so this was perfect.
  -Made moons. I thought this craft was pretty cool, since it involved a lot of basic art skills. I had the girls trace around a small plate in order to create a circle outline on white paper, then had them cut out the circle they drew, then glue it to a black sheet of paper. Then, we took the white crayon, the one they always tell me is "broken" because it won't draw on white paper, and used it to draw stars all over the black night sky.
  -Made mermaids, using a printable from this blog post. These girls LOVE mermaids. This simple craft was the big hit of the week. I usually always have them do their own cutting for crafts, since they need the practice far more than I do, but this one I did cut out for them because they would have cut off their poor mermaid's arms with their current level of scissor skills. Teamwork, right?
  -Ate homemade muffins. Made by MaryGrace.
  -Made monkey masks (I got the printable from here).
  -Made the letter M with play-dough
  -Practiced writing the word Mom.

-Number flashcards up to 20
-Practiced writing numbers on whiteboard
-1-10 Dot-to-dots (pictured above)
-Played with our giant dominoes.

Anna: I Can Read it! and practicing sight words with flashcards. Books 1 and 2 from Sonlight's Fun Tales
Shiloh: this week I had her read letter blends with short vowels: ma, me, mi, mo, mu
We practiced adding an end sound, too: ma-t, mu-d, me-t, mi-tt.
Both:  Teach Your Monster to Read for 5-10 minutes a day.

Bible and Storytime: Week 3 from Sonlight Core P4/5 Instructor's Guide.

Days of the Week and Months of the Year: I use this days of the week song and this months of the year song.

Science: Local animals.
-We talked about all the animals that we see around our home. We talked about dangerous animals and what we should do when we meet animals outside (a necessary animal lecture, as our island is home to lots of stray dogs, wild monkeys, monitor lizards, jellyfish, and maybe even a few poisonous snakes.)

Storybook: If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff
-We continued the story. "If you give a mouse a....he's going to ask for go with it." This was highly amusing for me. Shiloh was pretty sure that "milk" was nearly always the answer--once I asked, "If you give a mouse some spicy chicken, he's going to ask for what to go with it?" And Shiloh answered "Milk!" while Anna gave her a confused glance and answered with the more logical "Rice." Shiloh does have a point, though, milk can pretty much go with just about anything. Maybe that's why she's always asking for milk breaks during school...
When I asked "If you give a mouse a hot dog, what will he want to go with it?" both girls shouted in unison "A hamburger!" which, for inexplicable reasons, cracked me up.
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
-Remember the moon craft? That totally counts as connected.
-We counted objects in the room and I had them point out and tell me what the different items in the room were called.
-With Anna only we listened to a recording this book being read in Mandarin. I haven't mentioned it as part of preschool, but Anna has an additional Mandarin lesson with me after lunch.

This week's unit was an intro to animals! In case you think my choices of animal vocabulary were somewhat random, they were actually very purposeful. I chose the animals that we see the most in daily life here, so yes, monkey fits right in with the rest! And we probably see more rats than actual mice, but tikus is used interchangeable for rats and mice, so I went with mouse since it matched the storybook and letter theme better:

Mouse = Tikus
Monkey = Monyet
Cat = Kucing
Chicken = Ayam
Dog = Anjing
Bird = Burung

-Looked for pictures of different animals in the books that we read and called them by their Bahasa names.
-Taught them a simple sentence structure with a different verb from the last two weeks:
 Saya suka ... {I like...} and Saya tidak suka... {I don't like...}
-We also listened to the Didi and Friends song BINGO every day, which actually kind of made sense since the main character was a cat aka kucing

Life skills: 
-They helped me put laundry in the washing machine and fold and put it away.
-They put chopped zucchini into the slow cooker for me.

Crafts + Play:
-Went to the playroom.

Previous Weeks: 
Week 1
Week 2
Donna said...

I'm so with you on the wasteful activities/crafts. I don't homeschool but between Girl Guides and camp I'm on a continuous quest to find great craft activities that won't end up in the garbage as soon as they go home. I also try to avoid using food (unless it will be eaten) because it seems so wasteful and disrespectful to everything that went in to producing the food. I love If You Give A Mouse a Cookie, one of my favourite books from childhood!

Unknown said...

I love this, Rachel! I love the way you lay everything out and are so intentional. What a great resource for homeschooling Mamas!

Unknown said...

This is great! My oldest is 3.5 and we really want to homeschool her but it's tough to know where to start. This is really helpful:)

Daisy @ Simplicity Relished said...

Aw! "If you give a mouse a cookie" is still one of my favorite children's books. Another favorite is "The Gruffalo"-- it's a more recent publication and it won a ton of awards!

Krystal said...

My kids love the Minions. I'm going to use that idea for sure!

Unknown said...

Impressive week! How old is your daughter? I will definitely be modeling my homeschool regime after yours :)

Unknown said...

Wow, great tips! You make homeschooling look so fun!

Jen Lud said...

That is awesome, I am so happy to read about your homeschooling personality. It sounds like you've got a nice balance between creative and sensible. I tend to think too creatively and would likely end up with bugs all over the house :) Also, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie is one of the best books of all time. They just put Reading Rainbow on Netflix - I was obsessed with Reading Rainbow when I was little. And sure enough, just the other day when I played it for my own little lady, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie was read :) Those girls are lucky to have you - and that's awesome that their mom has a craft supply to tap into now and then, too!

Unknown said...

Wow you brought up so many things that in a first world country I'd never have taken into account! Your activities still build knowledge and skill without being wasteful which should be a focus EVERYWHERE :) Great job

AwesomelyOZ said...

That's so awesome, love the little minion sticks. :) Ha keep teaching me some Bahasa! :) Hope their learning is progressing well, especially Bahasa. Have a great one Rachel :) -Iva

Unknown said...

Awesome! I homeschooled my kids for years and they are better for it! Good for you!

Unknown said...

I need to pin this so I can use some of what you listed to use with my preschooler. I like the idea of not printing any and everything that is on line, but choosing wisely.

Unknown said...

Well, I could not find a pin button.

Angela said...

So many great ideas!

Rachel said...

I have those hidden pin buttons, but i should pop up when your cursor hovers over the photo. :)

MomGlenz said...

awesome ideas! thanks for sharing...