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Advice to Make learning Fun Yet Educational (Sorry Long)


shehmeth
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Hello to All,

 

In advance I must apologize for the length - This is my First Post and I tend to give too much detail...

 

We're relatively new to homeschooling (the actual practice) but in terms of reading about it, we've been doing that for a long time...

 

I have a 5 year old Girl, we have been doing Kinder (Focus on English Reading-Phonics, Spanish Reading-Phonics, Penmanship (HWT), and Math (Horizons); with additions of the following as enrichment and not the main focus: Reading (lots of Books - her choice and mine - we often alternate), Vocabulary (Wordwise) Reading History, Reading Science and sometimes doing some experiments, listening to Latin songs (Song School Latin)-along to her favorite children tunes in English, French, Italian and Spanish-, we do a lot of listening to music and coloring from "Color the Classics" which she enjoys; and other areas as her interest is peaked)..... She loves the History stories (I'm using the A Child's History of the World) and the Science Readings (I'm using Real Science 4 Kids)...

 

We both take Violin Classes (Suzuki Method), she takes Ballet Classes weekly and she takes an Art Class weekly - she enjoys these activities very much..

 

She's very active - jumping up and down all the time, to the point that watching TV is an exercise: she dances to the "songs" or jumps up & down during the show... Although she can sit still when needed and can concentrate for long periods...

 

I'm a College Professor, and so my teaching experience is basically with Adults (i.e. sit there, listen to the lecture, let's do Discussion, let's do Essay reports, let's do quiz/test, etc.)... I'm doing a doctorate program, so she sees me reading and writing papers and filling out exams, and is a behavior she wants to emulate. My concern is that I lack ideas of making the class "Fun" / "Entertaining" (as I imagine the class should be for Younger kids, as gathered from the readings on the topic)... I do not want to simply do workbooks with her, or simply lecture her... As we move closer to 1st Grade material I'm getting increasingly worried and confused :confused: of what should I do...

 

Although there has been no complaint on her part about workbooks, or sitting down for the lessons, etc... I want to avoid this and not have the class be monotonous... In fact, she enjoys homeschooling and even on our days off, asks if we're going to do homeschooling that day... I understand she's 5 and it maybe because she feels like such a big girl, because she's taking "classes" - but I see this enthusiasm as a plus and would like to keep it alive as much as possible...

 

For her in "Preschool†I used the slow and steady get me ready book, we did a lot of reading, park play dates, Art, painting, Music (listening and the Violin), etc..

 

In Kinder now, his is what I've done:

 

Math: In the beginning I used to do the Horizons Lessons orally, but once her penmanship skills improved I let her do the workbook pages.... Sometimes I would use "counting" bears to help her count or do addition...

 

History: I would find her a coloring page or some image online to color related to the story, so she would color it while I read to her..

 

Wordwise: We do the activities and Games suggested in the Book.

 

Science: She loves when we do the science experiments - since the sessions of the chapters are short, and are written in somewhat interesting (and what she finds "funny" - although I do not know why) way, I do not have her do anything else while I read...

 

Color the Classics: Color a page while listening to the CD or reading the story about the composer.

 

Penmanship: Workbook.

 

Phonics: We've used The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading; using Phonics Pathways in order to review (when we need to review a sound, she doesn't like going over the same page in the OPG; we got Hooked on Phonics as a gift and she enjoys it much - she enjoys she gets a "book" to read every few "lessons†so we use that one as well. For Spanish phonics, we use only one Reading Primer & one Workbook.

 

Can you see the pattern? We do a lot of coloring pages and workbooks- and that's about it...

 

A we move closer to 1st grade, I do not what else to do or should do... :confused1: and this scares me a lot.. :scared: She's bound to get tire of simply coloring... in fact in some occasions she has told me "I'll listen.. I do not want to color"

 

As you can see, I do not want to something to do (game, activity etc) just for the sake of doing... I want them to enhance the lesson and learning process and have some educational component...

 

So any advice, ideas, best-practices will be truly appreciated... :thumbup:

 

Thanks..

 

Kate..

 

 

Mom of Two: 5 Year Old Girl and 1 Year Old Boy.

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My phonics concentration game is a favorite, there is a link to it along with some other ideas for fun on my page about how to teach a beginning reader:

 

http://www.thephonicspage.org/On%20Reading/newstudents.html

 

There was recently a whole thread about how to make school more fun, people came up with some great ideas:

 

http://www.welltrainedmind.com/forums/showthread.php?t=91298

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My DD will be 5 during your summer so I kind of know where you are at. We are now workbook free, but still doing plenty of learning. My DD HATES workbooks!

 

We do math using manipulatives, the Right Start games, Monti activities and online games. I have Math on the Level which promoted living math so we also read math books and if any math related opportunities pop up during the day we explore them. She does 5 written problems in her bound notebook each day. I write them in she figures out the answers and writes the answer.

 

Sounds like you are doing OK in the phonics/reading area.

 

We do copywork instead of a handwriting program, again this goes in her notebook but we don't do it everyday. On the days she doesn't copywork she might do a scrap book entry. She has a scrap book where she can draw a picture and write what it is about, not creative writing just factual like "This is a rainbow" etc.

 

We don't do heaps of colouring, although I do oblige when she asks. We do composer study while eating, normally afternoon tea because they are all quiet then.

 

History and science we have approached informally this year just through library books and such. Always discussing anything that pops up also encouraging narration.

 

We also get to the zoo once per week for a kids program. You could try a few field trips to relevant places.

 

We are done in a 1 to 2 hours and they play for the rest of the day or help around the house.

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lots of physical activity into your lessons, large motor as much as possible.

 

For example, when doing math drills, have her jump or run. When my ds was younger I would say a math combination, such as 3 + 2, and then he would run across the room, touch the opposite wall, shout the answer and run back. Anything physical helped him learn.

 

You can do that with phonics as well by showing the phonogram and having her do some physical activity while giving you the answer. As for writing, do it large motor on a white board before you try it on paper.

 

Spelling a word aloud with one jump per letter works great, too. You could call it "Jump-Spelling".

 

Well, those are just a few ideas. (I was much better with the little kids than I am with high schoolers.)

 

Blessings,

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My kids are 5 (will be 6 in June), 4 (will be 5 in August), and just turned 2.

 

Here are some things they love/have loved:

 

Math:

-Right Start Math:

Uses lots of games and several manipulatives. Very few worksheets if you compare to other programs. My kids *love* RS and often play the games on their own, in their free time.

-Math-U-See:

DVD teacher. Lessons are fairly short and I found them to be explicit in their explanation of concepts. Quick, easy, and fun...also uses some manipulatives, but with lots more practice worksheets. My kids enjoyed this quite a lot, but we have stopped using it because we are doing 3 other math programs and had to drop something.

 

History:

-Story of the World. Okay, so we have not officially begun this yet, but all of us are very excited to. We will be using the activity guide heavily, with lots of hands-on projects.

 

Spelling/Phonics:

-All About Spelling (phonics/spelling). I also make them do Explode the Code, but AAS is what they ask (repeatedly) to do. Lots of games and uses magnetic letter tiles to teach.

 

Science (Life Science for us right now): We are doing a combination of Otter's Science and Classic Science, with a few experiments per week. We will be starting NOEO Biology I soon. My kids are science nuts, though. We also bake with the kids, and they love to measure, stir, pour, etc.

 

Music: We have been listening to some stories on CD while in the car about different composers. They are called things like Hallelujah Handel, Vivaldi's Ring of Mystery, and Beethoven Lives Upstairs. I get them from the library and the kids really enjoy listening (and ask to get them again). We also listen to all types of music and use rhythm instruments/recorders/piano to learn about music.

 

Handwriting: We use Handwriting Without Tears to teach the kids to form their letters, and they enjoy this program. I just recently found out that they also produce HWT for older kids and will probably start this up again since they enjoyed it so much when they were learning letter sounds.

 

Phonics/Reading: We got the Leapfrog videos from Costco for $6/each (there are 4, I believe). They love these. We use Explode the Code, but that is not something they look forward to. I have used many "learn to read" books, and another is in the mail to me (The Reading Lesson) but none of them are what I would call fun. My kids have loved the BOB books, reading rods, time4learning.com, readingeggs.com, and lots of read-aloud time together.

 

One last thing I will recommend...We use KONOS very heavily. It is a phenomenal program if you are willing to do the work it needs, but it requires organization, time to prepare, and lots of planning. I do it anyway because my kids really look forward to our KONOS time. This is their favorite thing that we do.

 

Good luck and I hope you find what works for you!

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ElizabtheB

 

Thanks for the Links... I'll be sure to check out the Thread here in WTM Forum....

 

I checked out the link for phonicspage.org and their explanation of the Syllabary reminded me of the way the Spanish Reading Primer is organized... Pretty interesting..

 

Thanks for the Input..

 

Kate...

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lots of physical activity into your lessons, large motor as much as possible.

 

For example, when doing math drills, have her jump or run. When my ds was younger I would say a math combination, such as 3 + 2, and then he would run across the room, touch the opposite wall, shout the answer and run back. Anything physical helped him learn.

 

You can do that with phonics as well by showing the phonogram and having her do some physical activity while giving you the answer. As for writing, do it large motor on a white board before you try it on paper.

 

Spelling a word aloud with one jump per letter works great, too. You could call it "Jump-Spelling".

 

Well, those are just a few ideas. (I was much better with the little kids than I am with high schoolers.)

 

Blessings,

Diane,

 

These are great ideas... I like the "Jump-Spelling" One.. I can actually see her in my mind enjoying this.. Now that I think of it, sometimes when we're out and about, and we ask her a question as simple as "what you want for lunch?" she actually "Dances" as she gives us her response, with certain stops or pirouettes for emphasis.. - I guess because it was never done in "educational" question setting, I never thought of it..

 

Thanks...

 

Kate

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Do things orally instead of in a workbook. Have her call out the answers. Have her jump to the answers on index cards on the floor (or some kind of mat you may be able to buy). Let her roll around on a giant gym ball as you read or as you call out questions. Do jumping jacks for a math answer, or after a wrong answer (while calling out the correct answer).

 

Do games for math drillwork early on. There is the math lesson in the book, and then there is the drill where you are practicing math facts. That part doesn't really need a book, especially in the early grades. Learn several good games & alternate them over each week.

 

Standing & writing on the marker board can change the pace a bit over seatwork. She can write, or you can write & have her fill in blanks, edit your writing, etc.

 

Use lots of music. Swirl scarves to classical. Sing math facts. Learn a hymn or praise song for Bible time. For early grammar, watch Grammar Rock or listen to the Primary Language Lessons CD about parts of speech and sing along. Listen to history-related music during part of your lesson. Sing Spanish songs if you're learning a language.

 

At her age, I'd do as many activities as possible. If you're learning /a/ apple, eat apples. If you're learning about China, play Chinese checkers or try to dress in a traditional Chinese way. If you do science, do it outdoors & look at the real thing. Reenact stories.

 

Sounds like you're doing some of these, but keep it up! My youngest's in 7th & we still keep it somewhat active in order to increase retention.

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Amber,

 

Thanks for the feedback...

 

We go to the Local Aquarium -it ha two Monthly programs a Mommy & Me and a Homeschool Educational Program. This year we did the Mommy & Me one, we reviewed the content for both and she wanted to learn more about the animals presented in the Mommy & Me program (Sharks, Turtles, Invertebrates, etc) plus she liked the format: Read a Story - See the Animal and/or feed them - and do a Craft.

 

The Right Start games are those from RightStart Mathematics? Do you use any other Math Program? Monti Activities: Are these Montessori Activities, right? I was under the impression these could only be use in a Classroom setting because it needed a set a mount of children to work - how have you modified them for at home setting with a "smaller" class?

 

We haven't done any copywork yet.. I was waiting for 1st grade, when her Penmanship skills were better... I like the idea of the Scrapbook - we've done something similar - She likes to retell the stories of Dora, Diego, Max & Ruby and the Backyardigans, so sometimes I let her draw the Picture of the story (episode) and the she dictates me her version of the story/episode...

 

Thank you Amber for the tips for Math... Can't wait to hear how you've accomplish using the Montessori Activities..

 

Kate

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I notice as my son gets older, and has more work that is required by the state, that field trips are fewer.

 

While they are young, see if you can find 'please touch' museums, and go on nature walks. Grocery stores in our area give tours for hs'ers, and include talks about healthy eating, while making for a fun outing. A nursery near here gives tours on how they grow plants for sale - it was a fascinating tour of a business.

 

I'd also like to suggest you get the book "Pinecones in my Pocket" by Karen Andreola, and read about how nature study can influence learning in all subjects.

 

Giving young children an opportunity to have many of these experiences, which they get only a few times a year in a ps setting, help them develop their minds in ways books cannot accomplish.

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I try to add a variety of things. Science, History, and Art I am finding the easiest to add fun things to. We may watch a United Streaming video on a topic we are learning about (Magic Schoobus, Horrible Histories, or Liberty Kids), field trips as a family, do a project from Laurie Carlon's activity guides to enrich SL history, science projects, such as a butterflies huts, gel ant farms, watch tadpoles develop, murals we add to each week, we just finished the TCR My Body Unit, science kits, we do special art/craft projects around the holidays, etc.. These are the things my kids talk about most from years past. We also play games such as Snapshots Across America (geography), Muggins/Knockout (math), Bananagrams (spelling), etc.

Hi One i Michele,

 

Thanks... I've seen the Laurie Carlon's activity guides for Gardening and Camping (in research for our Girl Scout Troop).. can you give me a feedback on the ones you've used for Science/History?

 

Kate

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This may seem a little out there, but I wanted to share how I handled the early grades. My kids are in high school now, one graduating this June -- it goes by so fast!

 

I am in the camp that firmly believes that learning happens all the time, especially with younger children. I don't believe, even now in high school, that learning only comes from text books and curricula. It takes a leap of faith to just let life be the teacher, but aside from gently working on the 3Rs throughout the week, we did no formal schooling until 4th grade. We simply read lots of books, went to museums and the zoo and just about town or the neighborhood, watched documentaries and played games. There was a low table in the kitchen with little chairs and all the craft supplies a young kid could want, and they would create and draw to their hearts content most days. Or build legos for hours. It was a wonderful, magical time in our lives, and my kids are fine academically, and better yet, they are still imaginative and creative, still enjoy learning about the world.

 

The only thing I would do differently now is to use a fun Latin program for young children. We used Miquon for math, then Singapore, used a now out of print book to teach reading, and either used handwriting workbooks or did copy work. I followed their interests and would find every book I could on Dinosaurs or animals or airplanes, and I read aloud everyday -- Greek and Norse myths, classic literature, Harry Potter, let them read "twaddle" to their heart's content.

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JennW,

 

Not "out there" at all - in fact thanks for the input... To me keeping her Imagination and Creativity active as she grows up is an important goal...

 

I discussed with her what kind of things (Book, Topics, Field Trips, Experiments, etc) she would like to do in 1st Grade: she was so excited to give her input - so along with the planned topics I have we'll: Read a Puma Book; Learn about the Myosaurus Dinosaurs; Learn about Sharks & Cat Fish; Do field trips to the Zoo, Aquarium, Fire Station and Police Station; she wants to do a Puzzle that is Big and Tricky and one Puzzle about the Great Wall of China (we were there about 2 years ago, when I went for a conference and took her and my husband with me and she still talks about it and loves it); Learn about why people throw pennies in a fountain; and do a Coke Experiment..

 

Kate

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WIth my K son in addition to the little bit of workbook work we do I like creating learning centers/activities for him. SO For tomorrow I have his letter of the week basket ready( it is filled with books about thigns that start with that letter, toys that start with that letter, a snack that coorelates, homemade games/flashcards etc that start with that letter), this basket stays out all week and he can turn to it whenever he wants. Right now he is big on water colour painting, so I set u the easel somedays and somedays he uses the tables(the easel uses different arm muscles than the table so I like to use both), he paints and paints as much as he wants. This week is the letter B for him so he will have a bubble blowing "station" set up where he can blow bubbles all he wants, last week was letter A so we made apple prints.

 

Because my background is in daycare I tend to plan for him around themes, so right now we are doing a spring theme, ideas I have used in the past for him andmay use again, a "garden" center, I filled a small rubber maid with potting soil, gave him a small hand rake, silk flowers and wiggly worms I got around halloween and he can "garden" with it, I make homemade sorting games picking up little themed erasers, or craft items at the $ store and he sorts them into egg cartons etc. ANother time we did fire fighters, so I set out all his fire trucks with our collection of blocks so he could build buildings for the firemen to come put out fires. I approach all his lessons this way. Actually I do with some of the big kids stuff too.

 

I try to alternate between doing a sit down lesson and doing one of these themed activities, to keep him active and happy to sit for me when I need him to.

 

In general we do lots of puzzles and crafts related to the season, theme or topic of study. For example, he sits in on history with the big kids so he does the hands on activities with them, the most recent being the egyptian death masks they made last week. He also joins us for science and participates in the experiements. I also take a trip to the local reuse center to stockup on craft supplies( egg cartons, carpet samples, berry baskets etc), because I pay a flat fee no matter how much I buy I hand him a bag and he fills it with whatever he wants and we spend a couple days doing creative art with his recycled junk. Last week he came home with linoleum baseboard remnants, yogurt container lids, an embroidery hoop and construction paper. He put it all together at home with a box to make a car-the baseboard was his seatbelt, the hoop his steering wheel and his lids the wheels, he used the paper and markers to decorate the box. We do crafts like this often, they stimulate his creativity, keep him busy and don't require any prep time. I keep a stash of recycled items (cereal boxes, egg cartons, tp rolls, wrapping paper scraps etc) here along with glue, scissors, paper, and other craft items available for him (and the other kids) to create whatever they want.

 

We do monthly fieldtrips as a family, we used to do more but the big kids require more time home. The trips we took last month include a vet and a honey factory, we have a farm trip planned in the next couple months, a trip to the flower conservatory here, and whatever else I can come up with.

 

If she loves workbooks that is great but find times to do crafts, fieldtrips etc even if you have to actually write it into your schedule to make sure it is done.

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:scared::svengo:

I'm thinking my Littles are hooped. I never even thought of doing Latin with them, and Tazzie just turned 4 in Feb. Princess is 2.5, so at least there's still hope for her.

 

I'm joking, of course. I read your activities and honestly am just in awe. You're way ahead of the game from where I'm standing...I'm just now cluing in to classical education, and fumbling my way into figuring out what and how. Its especially challenging, when I also have a 10 yo that I pulled out of school mid grade 3, so we've been trying to repair the damage done from ps and figure out what homeschooling works for her. Threads like this are a great source of information, thanks for starting it!

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Impish,

 

Thank you..

 

We do not do any activities with the Latin - she just listen to the Songs - which are in english with Latin vocabulary in it.. She enjoys that.. that's about how much latin we do... From the Suzuki philosophy we've learned about Active and Passive listening and the importance of each - and we use the Latin CD (same for any other language CD or her Violin Music) that way - sometimes she actively listen to them and dance or sings the songs.. but most of the active is passive listening, the CDs are played as she doing something else (coloring, playing, etc)..

 

Kate...

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I notice as my son gets older, and has more work that is required by the state, that field trips are fewer.

 

While they are young, see if you can find 'please touch' museums, and go on nature walks. Grocery stores in our area give tours for hs'ers, and include talks about healthy eating, while making for a fun outing. A nursery near here gives tours on how they grow plants for sale - it was a fascinating tour of a business.

 

I'd also like to suggest you get the book "Pinecones in my Pocket" by Karen Andreola, and read about how nature study can influence learning in all subjects.

 

Giving young children an opportunity to have many of these experiences, which they get only a few times a year in a ps setting, help them develop their minds in ways books cannot accomplish.

Dear pbjmeyer,

 

I was looking for the book by Karen Andreola: Pinecones in my pocket in Amazon... But I did not find it with that title - I found: Pocketful of Pinecones: Nature Study With the Gentle Art of Learning : A Story for Mother Culture; I think this is the book.. But I just would like to confirm...

 

Thanks.

 

Kate

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Melinda,

 

How do you manage to Teach the older with the Toddler? I have a 1 year old (more active eery day) - so I wonder.

 

I wanted to do the Math-U-See (it seems logical to me) we tried the sample lesson they had (on Place Value) and although she understood the concept quickly - she found it to be too "boring" - in other words the page lacked color and "cute" things she wanted to see - like the Horizon Math has... So I decided to continue with Horizon Mat (following the advice from the WTM Book "Pick a program, and start on it. If the child thrives, stick with it; if she doesn't do well, switch to another program. Sometimes a child's mind simply is not in sync with a particular math program" (p. 117) ), I was however debating to add something else for variety, again I personally would like MUS if it were for me - and she could do it, if this is not the MAIN math program.. but since you've use RS and MUS, which one would you recommend?

 

I've used the that advice as a guiding principle for selection decisions for the other programs - in History in first we plan to use SOTW; we did CHOW now in Kinder, and she enjoyed the stories format.... and the little wits here are there.. Her favorite story is the one about the beginning of time, which I've read numerous time...

 

Thanks for the Music resources - they sound great, I'll check to see if my local library has them...

 

What I liked the most about HWT is that they have the books in Spanish and French (the workbooks not the teacher's manuals)- this way she still practices the same way of writing but with words and instruction in the other language...

 

I'll check Konos and see...

 

Than you so much for your Advice...

 

kate.

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At 5 I did a huge amount of read alouds cuddled up in bed. We would spoon and he could look at the pictures and sometimes I'd point out interesting words, like proper names, but for the most part it was just to teach the breadth and excitement of the world. I did sit down school no more than 30 minutes a day. I could have pushed more, but didn't see the point, and wanted not to alienate kiddo from school. I did Plaid Phonics A, pre ETC, EB into 1A math but everything else was more improv. For instance, we conducted in the car. Waltzes and marches are a good way to make it clear what the time is, and many a stoplight had us both waving away and counting 1-2-3-4 to Souza.

 

Everyone here kept saying "only 5" "cherish these early years" "you have plenty of time" "he will develop so much in the next year" I believed them, and they were right. The incredible difference between a just five and a half-way through 6 is amazing. Don't feel compelled to put out books for everything. I, too, read a great deal in anticipation, and felt a pressure to "get on with things", but children don't develop on your timetale and, in the long run, the best reading and prep I did is simply to go over somewhat more advanced material. E.g. I listened to the Vox Music Masters CDs before kiddo could follow them. An exception is good fiction. I'm so glad I discovered the delights of Trumpet of the Swan with my son. When the papa swan breaks and enters to get a trumpet for his mute son I thought we'd both throw a clot laughing.

 

Count the trees in the park. Clap out syllables and read rhymes (we loved Scranimals by Prelutsky), let her play with whatever she likes while good music is on, get a butterfly kit this spring and plant a garden. And read read read. All that coloring and workbook can wait ("she's only five, cherish these years, you have plenty of time, she'll develop so much in the next couple of years").

HTH

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How do you manage to Teach the older with the Toddler? I have a 1 year old (more active eery day) - so I wonder.

I set aside special time for him, too. Our schedule goes like this:

8-9: Math with Jared

9-9:30: Math with Hannah

9:30-10: Work with Nathan (or read a story - whatever he wants to do)

10-11: Language Arts with Jared

11:30-12: Language Arts with Hannah

12: LUNCH

1-3: Fun together stuff...science, social studies, music, art, KONOS, etc.

 

The kids are allowed to sit in on each other's lessons, if they do not disrupt. If they just want to be there and not participate, I will give them a quiet activity to do at the table. They are also allowed to do online lessons/activities (headsprout, readingeggs, time4learning, brainpop, unitedstreaming, once in a while Webkinz, pbskids) during the time I am not working with them.

 

since you've use RS and MUS, which one would you recommend?

I wholeheartedly recommend RS. My kids call it toy math and really enjoy the games.

 

we did CHOW now in Kinder, and she enjoyed the stories format.... and the little wits here are there.. Her favorite story is the one about the beginning of time, which I've read numerous time...

I'd love to know more about the CHOW program. It sounds like something my kids would enjoy.

 

 

I also forgot to tell you about Atelier Art (my whole family LOVES this, but it is expensive) and headsprout (online phonics program my kids beg to do).

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Julie in MN,

 

Thanks for your suggestions.

I like the idea of doing things orally - but then again, I worry about the ned to practice her Letters and Numbers... But I love your suggestions of jumping on answers on index cards & the jumping jacks - this is something she would enjoy so much...

 

I found the site for Grammar Rock - thanks for the suggestion, lots of information in a "hip" format.. ;-)

 

I loved: At her age, I'd do as many activities as possible. If you're learning /a/ apple, eat apples. If you're learning about China, play Chinese checkers or try to dress in a traditional Chinese way. If you do science, do it outdoors & look at the real thing. Reenact stories.

 

This is something she would really enjoy... I'm not a 100% sure of the reenactment - being just the two of us, I can imagine when our 1 year old is older it would be more interesting... But hey, I'm willing to give it a try ;-)

 

Thanks..

 

Kate

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Brandy,

I like the idea of Learning Centers.. In fact a few months back I organized her toys in Learning Centers (cooking, Art, Sports, etc)..

 

Can you tell me more of the re-use center? I know there's one here (close by) - I heard it mentioned in the news a few weeks back.. but at the moment, was cooking dinner so I did not really pay much attention.. You talk about a membership - how does it work?

 

She likes puzzles - so that's a great alternative...

 

Thanks..

 

Kate

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ElizabtheB

 

I checked out the link for phonicspage.org and their explanation of the Syllabary reminded me of the way the Spanish Reading Primer is organized... Pretty interesting..

 

Thanks for the Input..

 

Kate...

 

You're welcome. That's my website! I taught my daughter to read Spanish with the syllables, too, using La Pata Pita. Syllables work even better for Latin and Spanish than English, but have been very helpful for improving my daughter's reading and spelling in English.

 

We did the syllables on a whiteboard, that really held her interest more than a book. She also likes choosing the color of white board marker!

 

When we first started, little brother was 2, he got his own white board and marker, too. Luckily we have nothing too expensive, there were some marker incidents. However, it did keep him occupied!

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Brandy,

I like the idea of Learning Centers.. In fact a few months back I organized her toys in Learning Centers (cooking, Art, Sports, etc)..

 

Can you tell me more of the re-use center? I know there's one here (close by) - I heard it mentioned in the news a few weeks back.. but at the moment, was cooking dinner so I did not really pay much attention.. You talk about a membership - how does it work?

 

She likes puzzles - so that's a great alternative...

 

Thanks..

 

Kate

 

The reuse center in my city is great. People donate all sorts of things, from books and magazines to old cd's, records, egg cartons, coffee cans, paper, clipboards, craft supplies etc that they no longer need. Then we as patrons can go and pick out as much or as little as we want. For our city it costs $4 per visit, or if a registered non-profit $30 for the year of unlimited use.

 

I tend to stock up on books, I find a lot of old editions and classics that people simply didn't want anymore. Then As I go through each row of buckets(everything is sorted into buckets and bins), I hand my ds a grocery bag and tell him to find what ever he wants as long as he can put it to use. He usually hits certian sections first stocking up on envelopes, cards, notebooks(these are ones that half the pages have been torn out etc), clipboards or folders, and register tape. After he is stocked up on those things he scours the rest of the place for treasures.

 

On our last trip there, I got a set of time life science encyclopedias, a box of children's books and classics, a green garbage bag worth of stuff we needed for various craft projects, a parcheesi game, a wicker cornacopia for our thanksgiving display next year, and 4 new baskets to organize things at home(I love picking up baskets of all shapes and sizes there to hold toys, school supplies etc; so much prettier than plastic bins). Ds got all his "office" supplies as he calls them and all his gear to make his car. Total bill $4.

 

I also purge our craft stash from time to time and donate it to the center for others to use.

 

Our playroom is also organized into centers so they have dramatic play(all their dressup clothes, kitchen stuff, and baby dolls), block play/construction (blocks, lego, cars, mechano etc), manips, reading/relaxing area, gross motor area (which is actually covered in stuff waiting to be sorted and decluttered right now), and when I am up to it water/sand or craft area though we typically do those things upstairs in the kitchen. We do school on the main floor so that is where I create the mini centers for him to use. I don't think I will ever be able to get away from my daycare tendencies when it comes to organizing a room of toys/learning stuff lol

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Hi Kate,you got some really good suggestions, I enjoyed reading this thread myself. Here are a few things I have used with the 5/6 yr olds I've had:

 

FIAR (http://www.fiveinarow.com) or http://www.homeschoolshare.com if you want to see if a book you have has been done by another family. This is a great way to add activities and depth to the books or topic (animals or science stuff) you are covering with things other than coloring. You could use homeschool share to look up the name of a book you have or to look for books and activities on something you want to do. Lots of hands on stuff with printouts and worksheets generally attached. More "advanced" books like "Mr.Poppers Penguins" have chapter by chapter activities. All written by homeschool moms for other homeschoolers.

 

RightStart Math Games, get it with the game pack if you can afford to at this time. So many great games covering so many subjects. You will use this throughout elementary school.

 

Livingmath.net This is a great resource. I wanted to make math something that they just breathed. Math is "taught" using real books and tied into the history sequence. Spend some time if you can just looking through it. It has helped us over the years take the fear out of math. The books recommended are fantastic, often on sale, often found used for cheap. The Math Start books are great.

 

K'Nex and LEGO and Lincoln Logs and Gears, Gears, Gears: using plans to start building from. I make mine follow the plan once, photograph it then they are "free" to be creative. I find that following the plan gives them an idea of how to use new pieces and how to make basic shapes. They then use the pieces fully. K'NEX allows you to build your own kit. You choose which models you want to build and they package it with the child's name "Child's Building Kit" including a personalized CD with the instructions to print out as needed. Gears, Gears, Gears has two books with activities to help kids get more out of them and to teach science principals gently.

 

I second the nature study idea. If you want help starting " A Pockful of Pinecones" is a good read and then consider http://handbookofnaturestudy.blogspot.com . I ordered her ebook for under $10 to really get me going and it has been worth every penny. It just helps me get it done. I really liked the idea of nature study but needed help with structure. I really liked supporting a fellow SAHM.

 

Puzzles: Melissa & Doug as well as Lauri. These are long lasting so are good value. Once mine could do 40 piece puzzles I made them turn them over and do that way. Giant floor puzzles with 40, 60 and 100 pieces are great and cover a variety of subjects. Nice thick cardboard will last. You could also get into 3-D puzzles or the geography puzzles that only cover one continent at a time so they (and you ;) ) really learn that part of the world.

 

audible.com there are lots of places to get free audio books but we like Audible. They get one and we get one each month for a flat fee of $20 regardless of the size of the book. As long as it not volumes. All the classics as well as new stuff and popular titles. We burn to CD and listen over and over and over and over. After a while you get enough for a rotation and you get a mental break. We listened to "The Magicians Nephew" for what seemed like forever but they then are getting lots out of "Lion, Witch and Wardrobe".

 

Handcrafts. It's not that I want you to do the Charlot Mason thing -we do- its just that as an OT I saw so many kids that cant entertain themselves, product anything without an elaborate kit, or batteries its sad. Fine motor control, attention to task, attention to detail, pride in self, giving to others, creativity, self care ect. She is not too young to begin early sewing -start with a kit if you need it for you. Pottery, longstitch, latchhook, leather work, melty beads, woven potholders. Look for clearance kits or supplies if you are not familiar with these and hold them until she is ready for them.

 

barebooks.com is a great place to get blank game boards, blank books, art books. The possibilities are endless: vowels, food groups, planets, types of horses, backyard birds, textures, family members, 8 part of speech, ect.

 

Consider lapbooks or maybe just small folded books using the different folds for a creative way to show what she has learned. These can be worked on partially independently while you tend "baby".

 

Hope that helps some. You are well on your way to providing a great education for both of your children. Just remember that what you miss in first grade will NOT keep her out of Harvard. :D

 

 

Alicia in New Zealand

Edited by Alicia
spelling!
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