Monday, January 13, 2014

Homeschool: What we are currently doing

I thought I would take a moment to share what we do every day in "homeschool" in our house. As a reminder, my boys are not technically in Kindergarten yet. Next year will be our official Kindergarten year. However, if I am being honest, I think both my boys are probably at Kindergarten level now.

I spend probably 1 to 2 hours a day doing homeschool-related activities. Somedays we do none. Some days we do more. Sometimes we do it on the weekends. Sometimes we don't.

All of these are very simple things that are EASY to do at home. None of these require really any prep work on my part. 

I have sets of 20 words taped up throughout our marble hallway. Each day, the boys practice their 20 words. Each time they read a word successfully, on the first try, with no help, they get one of their stickers on it. (On this particular wall, Isaac is a "star" and Sidge is a "ladybug.") Once they have all 20 stickers up, they have to read me all 20 words without any help. Then, when Daddy gets home, they have to read the 20 words to Daddy. If they do, they get to pick one grown-up in the house to take on a "date" to the neighborhood "Red Cafe" to get an ice cream cone on the next Saturday or Sunday. Once they complete a set, they move onto the next set. These sets are composed of both sight words (words that have to be memorized because they do not look like they sound) and words that they can sound out. They are really motivated by the date. Practicing these every day, literally takes less than 5 minutes. I try to do them everyday, including Saturday and Sunday.

Right after they finish their words, they go over to the U.S. map where I sing the State song to them while they point to the correct state on the map. When they remember one successfully, they get to put up their sticker. In order to earn a sticker, they have to confidently remember where that State is. Each day, we start again from the top: Alabama, and they go through and try to point to each state. I think it will probably take the entire school year for them to be able to identify where all 50 are.

I love these workbooks. The boys can basically work on these by themselves, with very little attention from me. They simply go to the next page, and start working. A lot of this huge workbook is practice writing letters and numbers and repetition with counting, shapes, and colors. None of the pages are too hard or require deep thinking. It is simple work that the boys can do without getting frustrated. They usually do 2-6 pages per day, and I try to do this every day of the week as well -- including the weekend. 

Nearly everyday, the boys each spend about 30 minutes on the iPAD playing different learning games. ABCMouse is one I actually pay for. (I believe it is about $8 a month). There have been a handful of other apps that I have decided to buy. The rest of the apps that the kids play are entirely free. I get a daily email from Smart Apps for Kids. They send me links to free apps of the day. I will download ones that look good, take a quick look at them, delete them if they won't work for us, or move them into corresponding folders (Abigail, boys, all kids, etc.) if I think they are good for us. They especially do a lot of math on the iPAD.

If you don't want to spend the money on ABC Mouse, here is another great alternative. My kids don't get into it quite as much, but it is incredibly well done. It is usually free (or very cheap) and allows me to create a different profile for each boy. Here is a link where you can read more for yourself. 

The above things are the only things we do every single day. After that, I try to vary it up. I come up with other activities throughout the week to do on the side. Some days we do these. Some days we don't. It depends on how I am feeling, how the boys are feeling, and what is going on that day. I spend very little time prepping for these activities. They are very last minute! Here's a few samples of the types of things we might do:

This morning I devised a treasure hunt for the boys. It took me all of five minutes to create. I tried using small words that they might have success in reading and kept my hiding places simple, as this was the first time we were doing this. It ended in the snack drawer where they could pick out a snack. (Somehow, Abigail appeared at just this moment claiming participation.) This obviously works really well since we live in such an incredibly oversized house.

We have been practicing money recently. I put the coins on matching cards so they can remember how much coins are worth. Then I put a card in front of them (the 4 in this picture) that they have to try to solve. Some, like 4, only have one right answer. Others might have multiple right answers and I'll ask them, once solved correctly, to try solving again differently.

Here is Sidge practicing counting by 3 with his building bricks. We had a few of these, and then the other day, I saw someone on the yard sale page here on Base giving them away. So now we have a bunch. We do all kinds of different math problems with these. And most of them are things I come up with on the fly. On this particular day, Isaac did money while Sidge made groups of three. And then I had them switch.

Lastly, a word about science. I actually ask JB to do a weekly science unit with them. He picks a topic, and then will watch a video on the weekend discussing that topic or read some books on that topic. For right now, that is how we have been approaching science.

Any questions? I'd love to hear them. Post away!

1 comment:

Joy Z said...

I'd say they are pushing 1st grade level for sure. Way to go Wendi!