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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

"School" schedule

I guess I've been feeling a little stressed lately that right now in life it is solely my responsibility to educate the kids. I know Eli's only 2.5 but I feel like he could/should be learning a whole lot more than he has been. So I'm going to try to do a structured "school time" with Eli especially to help work on some of the basics like letters and numbers, etc. This is the schedule, but already I'm not sure how much we'll be able to follow, because Kevin's work schedule is so irregular. We'll figure it out and revise as we go, but here's the base plan. I'm totally just making this up, and I don't really know anything about this stuff, so if you have any suggestions, please share!

I want this school time to be 45 min-1 hr long every day (except weekends, that's the tricky part), each activity only lasting 5-10 minutes.

1. Calendar
2. Bible story
3. Letters
4. Numbers
5. Reading
6. Activity

Calendar - cross the day off the kids' calendar in the play room, talk about what day it is, if there's anything happening that day, and what's coming up soon in the week

Bible Story - read a story or lesson and then talk about how it connects to our life

Letters - (pick one) alphabet puzzle, flashcards, wood blocks, electronic toys, collage project, scrabble, or writing

Numbers - (pick one) count misc items, beads, blocks, identify numbers, or activity from learning book

Reading - free choice or from Winnie the Pooh Encyclopedia (obviously I'm the one reading here)

Activity - one on each day of the week
  • Art - project, play dough, paint, crayons
  • Discover - outside treasure hunt (like if there's something we read about in the encyclopedia), make ice, etc
  • Music - learn about different sounds and rhythms, learn songs
  • Shapes/colors - fill in picture made of dif. shapes, do puzzle, find shapes around the house, color mixing, play "I Spy", color sorting (laundry maybe? haha)
  • Self - learn about people, talk about face, hair color, name, family, etc
I just purchased the Slow and Steady Get Me Ready activity book (thanks, Julie, for the recommendation!), and I think I'll be able to pull a lot of ideas out of there for various segments of our "school time" to keep it fun and exciting. And there are lots of activities in there for Hannah too!

We have this game called Mancala. I have no idea how to play it or where it even came from, but I pulled it out the other day and realized how great this could be with Eli. We can do all kinds of sorting and counting with these beads! And Eli totally understands that as soon as Hannah's awake from her nap we have to put them away so she doesn't eat the stones!Another game we've pulled out lately for Eli is Scrabble! We can build words and talk about letters!


BellaMama said...

You asked for suggestions and you know I'm full of them! :)

Obviously, your children are smart-getting it from you and your hubby, so don't hold 'em back but really see how much they can do!
Along those line, attention span is probably at 1/2 hr, like a video length. Don't let it discourage you-you are also learning how each of your children will learn and how is the best way to teach.

Children love repetition, so even saying the days of the week or months of the year every day will have him learn it before you realize he has!
Sing the alphabet song (maybe he already knows them) using flashcards while you sing will also make the concept concrete.

Our 1.5 yr old sings her alphabet and counts to 10, then it goes into 18, 20/18, 20/40 and then she cheers herself!

Our 3.5 yr old is ready to start reading...she knows her letters sung and written and she can count to 15. She would easily begin to recognize words like cat and dog.

These are both girls, but my now 6 yr old boy learned to read at 4 and his older sister with him at 5. Our now 4.5 yr old is still working with 3 letter words and reads a limited amount-I need to pull out the McGuffey reader to give him!
(Which is a free download at the Project Gutenburg site)

You're doing great with so many activities. Children do love the variety. If Hannah is with Eli, you'll see her trying things and she will pass him like our 3 yr old has almost passed our 4 yr old!

Children also thrive on a schedule. Knowing exactly your schedule, I'd suggest doing 2 different school times, morning & afternoon, having the consistency of a time (no exact times required) will help him know what to do and free his brain for a learning time.
We just got back to our schedule of school after b'fast (any time from 8:30am to 12:30pm!!) and the children have improved in learning & behavior!

Hope this help or even just encourages!!

Oh, and always have fun with them--you'll always have children willing to learn anything!!


bp said...

That looks like a great plan.

It is hard for me to do the same time schedule every day with Caleb. I have a teacher planning book and write out the ideas for the week in it and the books I plan to read with him. I also put in the sidebar things we'll be doing on certain days, like our grocery day every other week and our library trip/food pantry on Wednesdays. I don't plan much for those days b/c I know we'll be gone most of the morning and when we get back it's lunch and then nap. I go by "themes" for two week time periods. Mancala is a fun game!

K,S, C and D the Dog said...

Sounds like you may have yourself the beginnings of a little preschool schedule. I'm sure he'll start having favorites. You could even throw in a day here or there for "gym" go outside and kick around the ball or something like that.

When I was teaching Kindergarten I used to find that doing the calendar was great when you put it with the weather and talking about the days of the week, months and seasons. There are a bunch of days of the week songs out there - I had a different day of the week song for each day but always started Monday off with the "Happy Days" song to get the kiddoes upbeat for a good week. (aka Monday, Tuesday, happy days, Wednesday, Thursday, happy days... etc. etc.)

We also started doing a letter a week and most of the activities were geared around that letter. I'd write down or have them cut out and then put up all the things the class could think of on the wall that began with that letter and we added a few each day. Then we kept adding to the list each week. By the time the year was over we had a whole classroom of "Alligators, Bunnies, etc, etc, etc, Yo-Yos" and more) on the walls.

Just some ideas. Email me and I can always send you more fun activities - I love the ones you've come up with thus far though - the kids always liked marble painting. And it was nice because it was so easy. Put some construction paper or cardboard with a block letter written on it into a christmas shirt box or something of that size a few drops of paint in the middle and about 3-5 marbles. Let the kids roll it around and around and around. Whallah the paint gets smeared and they have fun. Then cut out the letter and you have yourself a marble painted letter/number or whatever.

Marj said...

Looks like such a great idea. I love it.

Anonymous said...

Those are GREAT IDEAS!!! I know who's advice I'm seeking when it comes time for me to do this with our kids!!! That's so great that you are already thinking and working towards helping the kiddos learn! Touche, Sarah!

Mindy said...

I think you have great ideas already. The only thing I have to add is that sometimes I find my daughter doesn't want to do it and I don't always force the issue. But usually she thinks doing school work is great fun!

The Fischer Family said...

I've been wanting to start something like this with Jonah too, especially because his sister was a lot more advanced at this age then he is. I've looked around and really like the letter of the week program found here http://www.letteroftheweek.com/index.html
It bases everything around a nursery rhyme and a theme for the week. (Example: week 1 is all about cows!) You also work on a number of the week, a shape or color, etc. It's very easy to follow and all the books you would need you can find at the library. So just another example if you're interested. I plan on starting it next week and I'll post on Friday how our first week went so feel free to stop by!

Katy said...

Hi Sarah, I teach 3 & 4 year old pre k computers and K - 8 computers at a christian private school. I just wanted say that you might include a little computer time. I use some great programs that encourage early reading, math, and science! They are called Bailey's Book House, Millie's Math House, and Sammie's Science House. They sings songs, make rhymes, identify shapes, colors, letters, numbers, and even learn about weather! I also have some websites I use listed on my webpage: http://kmfj114.googlepages.com. Oh yeah and Mancala is a great counting game! Sounds like you have a really great plan set up! Good luck!

Sharon said...

Sarah, I think you are amazing. Truly.

It looks wonderful!

Oh, if you're ever looking for ideas, or even printables/arts & crafts, DTLK Kids has a ton for free, including bible based topics. I think we've chatted about this before? Anyway, sorry if I am repeating myself.