Saturday, September 14, 2013

Back to School! Week 1


New school year, new challenges, new goals, new house :-) Like millions of other homeschoolers, I'm learning to navigate leading more than one child through their learning experiences. Having children of the same gender fairly close in age (19 months apart) helps make that process easier. Challenge is figuring out what speaks most to my youngest, here referred to as Doodlebug. When my older boy, Munchkin was that age I hadn't found a preschool curriculum that I liked so I pieced together my own.

We enjoyed the 3 year old ABC Jesus Loves Me curriculum so much last year, that I decided to go with their 2 year old  for Doodlebug (currently 2 years, 3 months) and 4 year old for Munchkin this year (currently 3 years and 10 months). Here after referred to as ABCJLM, is a play based curriculum that's both thorough and laid back. Apply what you can, make us of this precious preschool time, but don't stress, don't push your kids and have fun! They offer worksheets, crafts and books IF that works for your family. It gives us a structure with freedom in there and guidelines which my teaching style needs. The amount of additional ideas and support from their website, forum and facebook group is stellar. (No, I'm not getting paid, it's just so wonderful for our family and we are very thankful God lead us here.) We are all about that. Most importantly, it is faith based and that was critical for our family.

My first pick for Doodlebug was actually My Father's World and I did buy their preschool activity cards and corresponding Lauri educational toys. After doing a couple of activities for practice, I realized two things. First, I should have gotten their toddler package for Doodlebug. Second I would love to be that laid back since it's just for a 2 year old, but my heart wasn't in it to leave it at that. There are 72 activity ideas to guide learning with the toys, so we'll do two ideas a week to reinforce  and for variety. They are well made educational toys and I'm glad to have added them to our available resources.

For clarity and transparency, we do not get to every area of learning every week. Our focus is on Character, Bible Story, Book of the Week and what I call the big 4 for preschool academics: Letter, Number, Shape and Color. The information, fine and gross motor skills are more spontaneous and may or may not correspond with the suggested activity.  I have two young boys, moving around and aquiring new physical skills isn't an issue around here ;-) For our individual family, both boys focus on the same big four for the week at their respective paces. D is working on identifying all the four and M works on writing the letter, counting that number, cutting out the shape and talking mixing for colors- primary and secondary.

I am doing two bible memory verses and bible stories to follow each curriculum. I'm still working the kinks out of that so it will flow more smoothly than it did this week. I got some great suggestions from their fb group page from other mommies who do this with two kiddos.

Learning Posters for Week 1:

Note, since this was a last minute addition, we didn't have a chance to purchase the books of the week in the September supply order. We'll be substituting and/ or going to the library soon!

 Books of the Week (Note, We substituted The book of the week for the 2 year old with Red, Red, Red)

Bible Story Resources for the year:

Character Training and Devotional:

These books correspond with the Letter of the Week, that highlight Biblical Character and Bible knowledge and application on a preschool level.
Our favorites

Bible Stories are Creation (2) and Jesus & Peter Walking on Water (4):

Read and Share DVD version of the story. We read several versions  from Children's bibles as well. Next week I'll get the felt set out and let them play.

Great Veggie Tale video with a catchy song about Putting your Trust in God.
Faith exercise that reveals a star in the apple. M was skeptical that I was telling the truth until he saw for himself. Great conversation from this activity.

Drawing out the numbers and a picture from each day while singing the Creation Song. D started singing along and clapped for himself at the end.

Memory Verse:
4 year
2 year

For the 4 year old curriculum, they are introducing the Books of the Bible. I found a poster, flash cards and song on YouTube by Go Fish and North Point Kids to reinforce awareness of the titles and order.

Our holding spot for books and activities for the big four (letter, number, shape and color- the last two are in one box together) We spend one day focused on each. We point out what ever the respective ones are for the week in every day signs, TV, books, etc. We look for teachable moments like counting something where there is only one.  We wore our color of the week a couple of times. Point out circles on wheels for the trains and cars that littered around here. Play with and sound out the letter A with the toys, like animals, toy Ark we have, apple when we have a snack, etc.

Letter of the Week is Aa:
This great set of 52 books was given to us a few years ago. There are two short stories for each letter of the alphabet. They are great for letter recognition and phonics

Tactile letters for play. 
Additional Resource that will build 4 sets of letters at a time with heady duty plastic pieces that click together. Great for tracing and letter formation for Munchkin. Tactile and letter ID for Doodlebug.

Window Clings

Book stack

Number of the week is 1:

Color of the Week is Red:

After reading the Little Red Hen a few times, M asked for cake and wanted to help. So, to celebrate the end of our first week of school, we enjoyed making and eating chocolate cake together! D was pretty oblivious ;-)

Shape of the Week is a Circle:

Circles out of our apples for example

 My Father's World:

Cards and Toys


Table time:

Using only red markers and crayons to do shapes, letters and numbers

Scrapbooking tools for circle play

Fine motor, color changed in the sun so it was pink too

One of M's many race car drawings. He gets excited talking about them afterwards. 

On to next week.... we'll play with these educational cubes more too! Bye for now :-)

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