This is going to be a monster of a post, so go get a cuppa something and get comfortable… =)
The NCHE conference was really, really helpful for getting me focused and excited about our upcoming first year of home education. I went to a lot of classes on homeschooling young children (since that’s what I have) and one class on homeschooling boys (ditto). David and I spent a lot of time walking through the book fair and talking to curriculum vendors. It was really nice to have some of the curriculum I am interested in for later explained to me in detail, and you can’t get that at the local homeschool bookstore.
That being said, I do feel like the conference speakers confirmed to me that I’m on the right track with my plans for our kindergarten year. I also have my own former NCHE speaker on hand to talk to me and show me her first year notebooks and curriculum and drag about 10 boxes of books down from the attic for my perusal. =)
Sooo, here’s my plan for this year. We will be homeschooling 4 days a week. Each day we’ll be starting our morning with this:
Prayer and devotions- I have multiple Bible story books, including the Jesus Storybook Bible, the Big Picture Storybook Bible, and lots of character training books. I will pull from those in rotation, read a short story, ask them what they noticed about it, and take prayer requests.
Sing a song or hymn- We’ll learn either a hymn, seasonal song with motions, or song about America every week.
Read a poem- I have a Child’s Garden of Verses by R.L. Stevenson, and I have every Shel Silverstein book ever written. We’ll alternate between silly and serious poems.
Memory work- We’re going to either memorize a short Bible verse per week or a short poem per week. The boys get a lot of Scripture memory through our Bible study, so I will be able to devote some time to poem memorization. I will probably use these for Scripture memory.
Calendar time- We will take down a calendar and check off the date each day. This is also a good time to occasionally sing a “Days of the Week” and “Months of the Year” song. I also bought this little book, and we’ll keep data on the weather about 3 months out of the year and plug it into the charts in the back.
We’ll do all of these things every day. After that, I’ll be using Five In A Row and other resources to do social studies with them.
1 day- Patriotism- On this day, we’ll say the Pledge of Allegiance and we’ll use a book on the 50 states to talk a little about an individual state. I’ve bought a laminated U.S. map, and we’ll put a star on each state as we talk about it. I will get books from the library to supplement, and we’ll use Wee Sing America as well.
1 day- Art or Character study- We will read our Five In A Row book, and then we’ll talk about one or both of these aspects from the information in the teacher’s manual. For example, when studying The Story of Ping, we’ll try to draw water moving like the artist does. Or we might talk about why it was a bad idea for Ping not to come when his master called him. As a way to introduce art on a K/pre-K level, we’ll put stickers of great works of art in this book and talk about them a little.
1 day- Science- We’ll read the 5 in a Row book again and use the science lesson there if its good. If its not, I will have science experiments planned from Janice Van Cleeve’s Experiment Books for the young. I also have her book on bugs, and it looks fabulous. We will be taking some nature classes from Parks and Rec to round out our science activities.
1 day- History and Geography- for this one, I’ll mainly be using Five in A Row. We have a large laminated map of the world that I’ll put on our school room wall. There are disks in the back of the Five in A Row book that correspond to the stories we’re reading. You put one on each country studied. For instance, with The Story of Ping, I will get books from the library about China, the Yangtze River, ducks, etc., and we’ll read those. We’ll look at YouTube videos, etc.
That’ll be our morning school session. I figure that it should take about an hour each day.
During lunch, I will be reading aloud to the boys from books like “Stuart Little”, “Homer Price,” etc. If I can’t read aloud because Ben is causing too much trouble, we might all listen to a read aloud on CD from the library. =)
While they play, I will play classical music on Pandora for them. Later in the year, I’ll introduce them to some quality classical music like “Peter and the Wolf'” by Prokofiev.
I will try to incorporate a recipe or food item that relates to 5inaRow every week. For Ping, I’ll just buy some rice cakes for snack. =)
We’ll be making a notebook for the year where the boys can draw pictures about what we’re learning and dictate stories to me. I’ll take pictures and print them out. This will be a nice way to go back and review what we’ve been learning all year.
These are all things that Seth and Evan can both be involved in this year. Evan can be involved as little or as much as he’d like to be, or he can play while Seth and I work. We’ll probably start out working while Ben is having his morning nap.
Notice, I haven’t said anything about teaching Reading or Math or Handwriting…. That’s coming up in another blog post….