Thursday, August 20, 2009

Preschool Fun

Have I mentioned that I love school? Oh, yesterday. Right. But I do. I really love it. I probably haven't mentioned before the fact that I have known since I was four years old that I would homeschool. Its true. I always knew I would and have dreamed of the day when I could. You have no idea how excited I am that the day is finally here. Now I don't have the passel of children I hoped I would have by now, but that's okay. I am enjoying teaching my one precious little girl.

Today we blew bubbles. That's right. For school. How cool is that? (I never got to blow bubbles in school, but then again...I never attended preschool or kindergarten, so that's my problem right there) Up until today, I never would have classified bubble blowing as "school". But it stated right in her curriculum to blow bubbles. We usually blow bubbles about once a year because that is how often I think to get the bubble stuff out of the cupboard. Goodness gracious, but its fun. We should do it more often.

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I am really taking this physical education thing seriously. I write out in my curriculum notebook an specific "exercise" for every day that we have school. I vary it up too...so some days she jump ropes, other days we go on a walk. Today she rode her bike around the block. This was our second time doing so and I can't believe I never thought of it before. If ever I wanted to go on a walk, I would haul her heavy stroller out of the shed, buckle her down and push her around the block. I never gave the bike a single thought. My mistake.

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After just two times of riding around the block (last week and this week), she can now get herself over almost every hump in the sidewalk. (and when I say hump...I mean hump. Huge cracks where one side of the walk rises a good 3-4 inches above the other side) Today she even started steering crazily to show off her skills.

I knew homeschooling would be fun, but I never knew it would be this much fun. And Chloe loves it too. I thank God every day for the opportunity to sit and teach my daughter about His world. It truly is a privilege and I am blessed.

Tomorrow we are headed on our first field trip of the year. We will visit a pet store and hopefully have the chance to ask them some questions and maybe even pick up a book on kitten care or a little toy for the rascals. I better head to bed now before I nod off on the keyboard. Have a wonderful night everyone.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I Love Learning

Oh my goodness, how I love school. Even while I attended school I enjoyed it. I even love the math and science portions, although those subjects are not my forte. (I am more of an English/Literature/fairyland kind of gal) Teaching Chloe this past week brings back alot of my own school time memories. I am the kind of person who could very easily attend school the rest of my life...that is, if money and time weren't such an issue. (I have five college classes to my credit) They say there are people who are addicted to school. That could soooo be me.

I truly believe that I will thoroughly enjoy homeschooling Chloe. Whatever I didn't get the first time around, I have the chance to try a second time. (and hopefully this time it will stick)

I wanted to share with you a few things I learned this past week with Chloe. (and somethings I learned outside of teaching her too)

1) Men in Japan wear Kimonos
2) Kimono means "clothing" in Japanese
3) There is a difference between a rhombus and a parallelogram. (had you asked me prior to last week I would have suspected you were speaking to me in a foreign language)
4) Chloe doesn't have very good attentiveness skills. Neither do I. I suppose that is where she gets it from. We are both working on it this week.
5) a week without television does a body good (we haven't even entered the basement except to do laundry since James left)
6) Dulce la Leche coffee creamer does not taste good in Caribe tea.
7) Many of the nursery rhymes I have memorized are a lot longer than I remember. (did you know that Mary's little lamb got kicked out of school for causing a ruckus amongst the kiddos?)
8) Chloe actually hears and understands most of what I tell her...she just pretends not to hear me. (can you believe I didn't know that before?) Now I ask her to repeat what Mama just said and every single time she repeats it verbatim...even when I think she was visiting la-la land while I was speaking. She is one smart cookie who had her Mama fooled for the longest time.

And the best thing I learned this week is that I can make a lapbook myself. Yes, I can. I am so excited. Our next lapbook (we are still finishing up Corduroy) will be on Japan. Then I think I will make one on tea. A whole research project on tea...how cool would that be?

Anyways, I better sign off for the evening and check some emails. I will hopefully have a finished lapbook to show you tomorrow.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Lapbooking

My dear friend Melanie planted the idea of lapbooking in my head the other night while we chatted away over the internet. She figured it would be something I would probably be interested in and I have to tell you, she couldn't have been more accurate. It took me a couple hours of google research to finally figure out exactly what a lapbook was and what it was for, but in the end I knew it was for me.

We began our first lapbook Saturday evening while I was scrapbooking. I printed off some pictures for Chloe to color that didn't require much "work" or "teaching" with them so she could sit and color while I worked on my own stuff. We chose to do a lapbook about Corduroy. (the book written by Don Freeman) And before our first lapbook is even complete, I now have ideas for the next 100 books for us to make. Oh goodness gracious, but Melanie was right. I LOVE lapbooking. I even have ideas for lapbooks I want to make myself! Is that weird?

For those of you who don't know what a lapbook is, let me try to explain it in a way that makes sense for me.

A lapbook is like a scrapbook about a topic of your choice made from information you gather when you research your subject.

We have friends heading to Japan for a month long mission trip and so our next lapbook will be on Japan. It will certainly be interesting to learn about the place they are while we are praying for them.

Tomorrow we should be finishing up our Corduroy lapbook and then I will take some pictures of it (and maybe some video) to show you all what it is. So definitely, more information to come about lapbooks!

Friday, August 14, 2009

School Schedule

So, today we started Day 3 of our homeschooling and we are beginning to feel some sort of routine with it already. I am seeing how things flow best and adjusting and tweaking the curriculum a bit to fit our own style.

Today, I thought I would share with you our routine. First, we start the day with prayer and our Bible lesson (complete with Bible verse and character trait.) We sit on the couch for this portion of our school day.

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This is also where we read our storybooks and rhymes. Then we head over to the kitchen table for our school work.

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We do our workbook and our science here.

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Then, we head outside for our physical education and our gross motor skills activity. (the activities vary so sometimes they are indoor projects instead)

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I thought that was a pretty cool picture. I tried teaching Chloe to jump rope for physical education and I caught her mid-jump. We realized quickly that it would be easier to jump rope without her pinafore on so we took it off and that helped her get the rope over her head easier. After physical education and our activity, we head back inside for one more reading and then Chloe enjoys working with her shape blocks.

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Sometimes we add an art project in there like painting or something else. For music I have borrowed a classical cd from the library and we play that during breakfast. If she finishes eating before the cd is over, I allow her to dance around the living room before we start our chores. Chores are always finished before we begin school for the day. It helps Chloe to get out her energy too before we begin.

So, this is what our school day looks like so far. We will see how it goes for the next couple of weeks.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Physical Education

Even though James left today for his 6 month deployment, I went ahead and kept school with Chloe. I needed to keep my mind off things for a while and he needed to gather his last minute articles for packing. It worked well.

Yesterday was our first day of school and it only took us about 20-30 minutes to complete the entire thing. James felt that I could have taken more time with it and really explain things better. Today, I did. We spent over an hour for school and we had so much more fun too.

I also decided to add physical education to our school day. Today I took Chloe on a bike ride around the block. (after James left...I needed to get out of the house so I wouldn't cry all night long.) We haven't really given Chloe much opportunity to ride her bike much since we live in a townhome with a tiny backyard. There really isn't much room for physical education type play. The walk/ride around the block was perfect. I might incorporate more bike rides around the block into our routine. She needs the practice too.

Now, I am trying to think of some other things we could do for physical education. Here is my list of ideas so far.

~Roller skating
~Bike Riding
~Walk in the woods (or around the block)
~Kickball (soccer)
~Ballet (she is enrolled this year)
~Swimming (we just joined the local YMCA and will be signing up for swim lessons)
~Jump Roping (she really wants to learn and I haven't taken the time to show her yet)
~Running at the park (she loves to run back and forth...I could even set up an obstacle course for her to run through)

Does anyone have any other ideas for the physical education of a four year old?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

It Arrived!

Today marked the beginning of our exciting journey this year. The preschool journey. Our curriculum finally arrived at our doorstep today. We ended up choosing Sonlight curriculum because of the mass amount of books included. Many of you already know me...I love my books. It is one of my biggest desires to pass on this love of books to my children. (child, right now)

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We immediately tore into the box to see all the goodies inside.

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Oh the books! Glorious books!

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I don't think I have been this excited in a long, long time. Well...probably since Chloe's 4th birthday. Anyways, Chloe couldn't wait to get started and since neither could I, we began our first official day of preschool today. I was quite surprised that it took us less than 30 minutes. Wow! This will be a piece of cake. And most of it was reading out of storybooks. It couldn't have been easier. I am extremely pleased with our curriculum choice so far and I can't wait to see what this next year will teach us, together.

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I am starting school as early as possible (which was why I started it today on the very day the books arrived) so that we can take time off when James returns home from his deployment this spring. He will be gone for 6 months and I want to be able to have 2-3 weeks off when he returns so we can just enjoy being a family again. Also, we have put in for orders to Germany or England and so there is a strong likelihood we will be moving in March/April. We will know in September and I will be able to tell you then, where and when we will be moving.

Well now... I must be off to spend some precious time with my dear ones playing games for the afternoon. Have a fabulous day!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Which One?

Okay. I have narrowed our curriculum choices down to two. I can't quite decide which one to pick.

Sonlight
or
My Father's World.

Both look fantastic yet they are completely different. Sonlight carries mostly books, which I love. I own a couple of them already but most of them would make pleasant additions to our bookshelf. My Father's World, on the other hand carries more hand's on things like puzzles and lacing toys and such like things.

I have already purchased many of the four year old read-alouds found on Simply Charlotte Mason. Two of them came in the mail today and we began reading them this morning. Norman the Doorman by Don Freeman and When We Were Young by A.A. Milne.

Why is it so hard to pick a curriculum? I am actually debating buying both, at least for preschool and postponing the decision between the two until kindergarten. I have to be honest with you and mention that I LOVE all the books we would be able to read with Sonlight but I also love all the items for preschool play that we would receive with My Father's World. Has anyone ever combined these two curriculum before? And if so, what were your experiences?