Monday, May 17, 2010

A morning in the life of pre-school homeschooling kids

I hadn't really started using the teachers manual to "Sonlight" until today (we'd read a few of the stories on our own all last week) and for any of you who'd like to know what it's like to do some homeschooling at this age, I thought I'd share our morning.

First I read about five of the books they already had (board books and other short books I knew both girls liked with just one new one that I hadn't gotten from Sonlight.) Then I went to the teachers guide for Sonlight and for this age (the P3/4) there's not a schedule for each day, but rather a check list to complete. So, there's a lot more flexibility right now (which is nice with a two year old) and on some days (though not today) I'll work more specifically with my four year old to learn her letters and practice writing them (we use a little white board mainly.)

SO! The "first trimester" has a check list that reads

-- Read a story a day from the Bible and/or 101 Favorite Stories from the Bible.

-- Goodnight Moon (Harper Collins Treasury of Picture Book Classics)
* Cook and enjoy Cream of Mushroom Soup or Cream of Wheat. (I crossed those out as I didn't want to make them and wrote in one of my husbands favorites that I've never made which is Tapioca Pudding... same idea though.. it's a bowl of mush like in the story.) ;]

-- Baby Says (Harper Collins Treasury of Picture Book Classics)
* Build with blocks

-- Noah's Ark
*Ask questions about this book. Count the animals, name the animals, or make animal noises.
* Put a blanket over a table and use the under part for the ark. Bring toys that won't be left behind!

-- If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (Harper Collins Treasury of Picture Book Classics)
* Bake cookies and eat them with milk for a snack.

And the list goes on, but you get the idea. Anyway, I didn't have stuff to make Tapioca Pudding and decided to skip down to the Noah's Ark book. (Mainly told in just pictures so I was able to talk to my four year old about what the pictures were showing us.) When we got to the last page we sang a song together! I'd already made up the words a while back for our children's choir at church and it's sung to the tune of "Father Abraham had many sons, many sons had father Abraham..." Yeah, you know it! Then after each time you say "Right Arm" (wave your right arm the whole time you sing through it again) Then "Right Arm, Left Arm" (wave both arms while you sing the song again) Each time adding another limb in this order Right arm, Left arm, Right foot, Left foot, Turn around, and after you've got all your limbs working AND you are turning around at the same time while singing through the song you repeat all the limbs in order and yell "SIT DOWN" as everyone falls to the floor. Here are the words to match Noah's ark.

God gave a promise to me and you.
To me and you He gave a promise.
He made a rainbow. After the flood.
So lets just praise the Lord.

The girls LOVE doing this song as you can imagine and it gives me a pretty good work out too.

Then we put blankets over the dining room table and I crawled under with them and we talked about the ark and how we were the people who were obeying God so he was saving us from the flood (turning the story into an imaginative play time.) I also brought in our little "Fishing" game so that we could eat since the water was rising and it was raining. (Oh, and this was after we'd already found some stuffed animals to "save" as well.) Then I talked about the waters going down and sending out a dove and so forth like the story and after a bit we went outside of the ark and sang the song again!!! My littlest said "Aglen!" and my oldest was to worn out to do it for a third time, but I did and the littlest was so sweet waving her arms around and spinning with me.

Here they are on top of the "ark" (yes, I let them walk across the table, but only when it's a "fort" depending on your kids personality this would be too dangerous, but my girls know how to be careful and I find that saying "no" doesn't always teach them as much as my showing them how to be careful as they do things (touching things gently for instance is a good one... and of course, if they aren't gentle it gets taken away! Great incentive.)

I put some pillows on the floor for them to walk on since the waters were still receding.
After running around a bit while the littlest threw the animals into the water and the oldest "saved" them they lay down on the ark and I turned off the lights so that it would be "night" and they could watch the stars.

I didn't get a picture of the next thing as I started doing this blog post then, but they made it "day" again (asking me to turn the lights back on) and got the fishy game and fished for some breakfast. So cute.

There is is! A typical morning, reading, teaching, reinforcing the lessons and stories with playing or helping Mommy. And now the girls are worn out and I have time to clean up, do my own projects, or make lunch, or whatever while they continue to play (or watch a VegieTales like today... what can I say, Monday's are our rest day... we recover from the weekends on Monday so a quiet show seemed like a good idea.) :]

Incidentally I only spent an hour reading and playing with them and that momentum kept them playing by themselves and with each other for another hour! Before our "school time" I made my own bed and got ready for the day while my daughter made her bed and got ready for the day as well (with my help of course doing her hair and things.) Their day seems better as well when they start it with made beds and a tidy floor in the bedroom. :] I'm going through this
seven week organizing thing that has been SO helpful for me (as I'm really not good at keeping up with the house and so forth, but I'm determined to change so I will! It's been a few weeks and I'm feeling great with it all!)

This blog post has taken longer for me to do than all the school I described and my kids are needing me now, so don't expect many more of these detailed explanations of our school. But.. I hope that's enough to help some people out. :]

1 comment:

Heather said...

Thanks for this, it was fun to read and see how you used the Sonlight curriculum with your girls. Sorry I didn't respond to your note earlier, I have been sick and have just been barely making it through the day these days. I am feeling much better today, but I am still coughing up junk. Anyway, I am hoping to do Sonlight with Josiah at some point, but have to wait and see when I could buy the materials (need to save some money). I have been having some difficulties with J's behavior lately and am wondering if it would be worth it to have a formal-ish curriculum like this, but I supposed we wouldn't HAVE to complete it all in 36 weeks...I could space it out as needed. Anyway, I will keep thinking and praying over it.