Growing Every Day

Posts tagged ‘lesson plan’

Organization: Daily/Weekly Sheets

Well, our one week break is over.  Today is the first day of our second six week session…and both kids are sick!

This is one of those days, I feel extra glad that we homeschool.  No call to the school.  No fear of falling behind on work.  Just wake up, and let them recover without worry or stress.

Onto how I use my Daily and Weekly Sheets:

Where I Start

This is my very generic sheet for the week.  We don’t do all subjects every day and I would lose my brain trying to remember what subject on which day.  So I made a very rough sketch to show what subjects what day.  I use this as my baseline for the weekly schedule.

Photo Aug 29, 3 50 05 PM

Weekly Sheets

It took some trial and error to whether I was a plan by the day, week, moth, year, etc. kinda gal.  I tried it all and came down to weekly planning.  On Sunday afternoon, I take a look at where we left off last week and schedule for the upcoming week.  I only plan a Monday-Thursday schedule, because we inevitably take five days (or more) to do four planned days of work.  Music and Computer are planned for Friday, but that doesn’t always happen at this point in time.  During my Sunday planning time, I make sure to collect all resources needed for the week and to print whatever needs to be printed.  I tuck it all away in our lovely rainbow drawers.  And I am set for the week.

Divider Tabs

I have a weekly plan for Builder and a weekly plan for Princess.  I really like this set up because if the kids get interested in one subject area and want to go on to the next lesson and even the next lesson and more, that is fine.  I have all resources ready to go and I can simply check off the lessons completed.  It doesn’t matter if some of Wednesday is checked off on Monday.  Our goal is simply to complete all lessons by the end of the week.  It works the other way as well, if sick kids, doctors appointments, errands, life, etc. happen throughout the week and we are left completing some tasks on Saturday, we can simply check them off and it still works for that week.  This provides the structure and flexibility that I need.

I keep these sheets on my desk through the week and then they get filed into the front of the kid’s binder when I begin to plan for the next week.  It is also nice, that these weekly sheets filed in their folders creates a record of learning at the end of the year.

Daily Sheets

These are the sheets that Builder and Princess use daily.  They each have their own spiral.  Every night I look at my weekly plan sheet and list out what I would like to be done for the next day.  I also include their household task for the day.

At first we tried using the weekly sheet for Builder and Princess to check off their completed lessons, but it didn’t seem to work well.  The weekly sheet is a bit overwhelming to them, so I started making a daily list and it has worked much better.  It is also teaching a great life skill of list making.  My hope is that as they get older they will begin to take over the job of making their own to-do list.  We don’t keep this spiral in the binder.  Though it could be kept in the binder since it is 3-hole punched.

It is wonderful to finally find a rhythm that is working for us.  This set up paired with our daily routine has helped us accomplish much this year already.

Your Turn To Play – What have you found in your planning that works or doesn’t work so well?

Organization

It has become blatantly obvious to me that I need to make a conscious effort in the area of organization.  We are 5 months into our learning at home journey and I can begin to feel a shift from “something we are trying out” to “let’s do this thing”!

Our learning year is from June to June, and I can feel that when Mason turns 5 years old (in June) that we will begin to move things to a new/next level.  A few more structured activities, a few more activities during the week, as well as a few more activities that Mason does more independently.  All of these things are wonderful and I am whole-heartedly looking forward to them.  What I am seeing now is the need to find our path of organization.

To be honest, it’s a little overwhelming.

When teaching public school, I had a whole classroom in which to organize work, manipulatives, supplies, etc.  Granted, I had many more students, but still.  We do not have any extra rooms, or much extra space in our home to use as a “school room”, not that I would be likely to do that anyway.  I know it will work.  I know there is a way.  I need to remember that I am creative, and that this can be done.  I also want to do this without spending an outrageous amount of funding on organizational items.  I will keep you posted (quite literally!) on how we obtain our organizational haven.

If you have walked this path and have ideas to offer – please feel free to comment below!

Week-in-Review

Math:

Lego Take Away

  • Several weeks ago, the concept of “take away” was introduced through Freddy the Front Loader, a learning activity found in the Lego Pack from walkingbytheway.com.  This introduced the concept of subtraction, so this week I decided to move into connecting the symbolic numbers with the concept.
  • I wrote a subtraction problem and we did the first two or three together.  Toward the end, Mason starting making his own problems.  This, as it always does, leads to the discussion of what happens when a larger number is taken away from a smaller number.
  • I refuse to tell students “this can’t be done”.  We had a conversation that if we take a larger number from a smaller number we don’t have enough!  In the coming years, this gives a foundation on which to build the concept of negative numbers.

Lego Take Away copy

Graphing:

  • While sitting at my desk, Mason found one of the die from the Fourth of July pack at 3 Dinosaurs.  He asked if he could do it.  I didn’t feel like finding it on my computer, printing it out, etc.  So, I quickly sketched pictures at the bottom to match the pics on the die and Mason set to rolling and graphing.  Gotta’ love the impromptu practice!

impromptu graph copy

Science:

Season Characteristics – Fall – Informal Assessment

  • Page 9, in the All About Fall pack from servingjoyfully.com, is a cut-and-paste Fall tree.  My plan was to use this activity as an informal assessment on what Mason knew about the Fall season characteristics.  While he was creating his tree, I asked him what he knew about the season of Fall.  I made sure to not give him any prompts besides, “What else?”.  I wanted to know what he had truly internalized about Autumn, not what I could trigger in his memory.

Fall Tree copy

  • After creating the tree, we used Page 10 in the pack to graph the different color of leaves that had fallen from the tree.  A great activity to blend science, informal assessment, math, arts-and-crafts, and cut-and-paste for fine motor skills.  Another big thumbs up on this 20 minute activity!

Extras:

Canvas Painting

  • We did a little acrylic paints on canvas boards and threw in some extra tools such as forks to experiment with texture.  Mason put tape on his canvas before painting so that it would create a fun design after the paint dried and we peeled off the tape.  Madison was simply more interested in getting as much color on her canvas as possible.  She also decided that playing with the bottles of paint was just as fun!

Canvas painting copy

Under Construction


under construction

Warning: Under Construction

As I sit to write this post, life is swirling around me.  After all, life happens doesn’t it.  I have many pictures in my head of what things should look like and how they should all shake out.  Then, at the end of the day or week, I look back and it’s just not what I thought it would be.  Sometimes this is fine, after awhile I start to wonder…is there something I need to change?

In regards to the past two weeks, I look back and reflect on activities I have done with Mason and wonder…have I done enough?  I don’t want to cheat him.  I don’t want to overwork him.  I don’t want to get caught up in the striving of planning four lessons a day, making sure to cover all standards for the week, etc.  I came from there, I don’t want to go back.

I have wondered this past week, if I should begin to get a lesson planner and go to setting plans down for the week.  After all, I am familiar with this, maybe it would work?  Then, I think to myself…Mason is four.  I’m really not ready to push the whole, let’s do a pre-scheduled school week structure.

Life is swirling.

I do have a feeling that there will come a day when I am more planned out in a process and procedure for learning.  I know the Lord will lead us into that which is right for us.  However, right now, I just don’t know what that looks like.  I don’t want to neglect, and I don’t want to push.  I want to foster Mason’s natural love for learning and foster new experiences.  There are times I am overwhelmed and wonder just what have I gotten myself into!  I know this is the path for us, and the path I desire to take.  I must also say that at times, I feel completely ill equipped for the journey that is ahead.  Yet I know, all is not lost and we are doing ok.  I think.

Week-in-Review

Handwriting:

Fall Tracing Sheet

all about fall image

Numbers

  • I noticed this week that Mason was having some trouble writing numbers, which he had been doing well with.  So, we used a writing workbook from the store that has pages to trace and write numbers.

Reading: 

Fall Word Search

  • Again we used the All About Fall pack mentioned above.  We used page 15, which is a fall word search.  I wasn’t exactly sure how he would do with this, since it was a little more involved than other word searches we have done.  He did great, and we were able to talk about each word and how it pertained to Autumn.  Score!

Science:

Season Characteristics – Fall Trees

  • Page 8, in the All About Fall pack, is a tree color-by-number sheet.  I was doing this more as an arts-and-crafts type project, but while coloring we ended up talking about two types of trees – those that lose their leaves and evergreens that  stay green through the winter.  A wonderful blend of art and science!

Image courtesy of Feelart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Comfort Zone

A trend is developing in our lessons.  

I find it easy and natural to quickly prepare math and language arts lessons, two areas in which I feel comfortable and confident.  I have seen this trend developing for a few weeks now, but didn’t give it much thought.  Armed with this observation, I am going to challenge myself to bring in a few more science and social studies based activities (areas I do not gravitate to naturally).

The coming of Fall is lending me a helping hand in this area.  One of our kindergarten standards in science is to describe characteristics of the four seasons.  So, we have already done a lot of talking about the Fall – change of weather, leaves changing color, leaves falling, wearing jackets, etc.  I downloaded a cute Fall pack from www.servingjoyfully.com.  It is a great resource of really cute activities.

all about fall image

In printing out and using this Fall pack, I made note that many of the activities were review for Mason (4 yrs).  However, more pages than I expected would interest Madison (2 yrs).  This is a great shift for all of us, I simply need to expand my searching in regards to lessons for Mason, and begin making a more conscious effort to think of activities on Madison’s level.

Week-in-Review

Math:  

Basic Facts Addition Practice – Addition Blackout

  • Write the numbers 2-12 on a piece of paper.  Roll two dice and add the numbers showing.  Cover up or mark off the number on your sheet that matches the sum rolled.  The first person to cover or mark off all the answers wins.

Basic Facts Addition Practice – Addition Bingo

  • We used the portion of the game that focuses on addition facts 1s – 5s.  The answers are on the BINGO cards, and the question cards have simple addition questions such as 1 + 4.

bingo copy

Reading: 

Sight Word Practice

  • Mason used the PowerPoint for Dolch sight words, Kindergarten List 1.  More details about the list and download option, here.

(K)List1 image

  • We then made a sight word “parking lot” to match the words on this new list.  Below is an example parking lot picture, but not the one that actually matches the (K)List 1 words.  Click here for more details on the “parking lot”.

Sight Word parking

Science:

Season Characteristics – Fall Trees

  • I went on a search for cut-and-paste activities, and this Fall Leaves download came across my path.  It is so simple and perfect.  As the kiddos are cutting and glueing, it gives a great opportunity to discuss fall characteristics such as leaves changing and falling, weather growing colder and more rainy, etc.  Not to mention, I absolutely loved seeing the artwork side of things, and how differently their pictures turned out.

MandM fall trees

The New

This was a week of new things.

In my many Google searches for educational resources, lapbooks keep coming to the forefront.  For those who aren’t familiar with such things, it seems that lapbooks are file folder games on steroids!  They are one or more folders folded and glued in such a way to create a book of activities that kids can complete and/or revisit time and time again.  They can house informational booklets, pictures, word searches, mazes, small games and activities.  You name it, and it can likely be housed in a lapbook.

With that, I thought what a great way to introduce a new topic.  Once I had decided this is what I wanted to do, I found a fun free lapbook, downloaded it and got stuck.  All of a sudden, it was overwhelming to see all the information that was in the lapbook, as well as the explanations of how to build the thing.  It was too much.  So after several days, I decided to simply do one of the activities that looked fun and useful from the math lapbook I had downloaded.

This is when I realized the key.

You don’t have to (and probably aren’t supposed to) complete the whole lapbook and then present it to the child!  You do the activities and then secure them in the lapbook as you go, a way to organize and store them.  Wow.  So simple, and yet very revelatory for me!  So the week before last we did a math BINGO game and this week a basic addition game, which both made it into our math lapbook.

This past week our family started the celebration of Feast of Tabernacles which continues through part of this week.  Being our first themed “unit” of such, we placed our activities into a Feast of Tabernacles lapbook.  Most of our lessons this week revolved around learning the history of the Israelites journey from Egypt to the Promised Land, as well as why we celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:33-43) – to celebrate that the Lord dwells or “tabernacles” within us through Holy Spirit, as He did with the Israelites in the wilderness, Solomon’s temple, and as He dwelt with us through the person Jesus.

Feast of Tabernacles activities/lapbook (so far):

  • Day 1 – build a sukkah (tent, or temporary dwelling) – This was much fun and we used it as a time to discuss the word sukkah and its meaning both as a simple vocabulary lesson, as well as how it tied into how the Israelites lived during their transition time to the Promised Land.

IMG_1311

  • Day 2 – coloring sheet and activity of how the Israelites camped around the tabernacle – I found a black and white image online and printed it for the kids to color (I would share, but I didn’t find any license and/or copyright terms.).  Then I created a fun matching activity to learn where each of the twelve tribes camped around the tabernacle.  Mason really liked this.  We first tried to match it from the coloring page, but the angle didn’t work so well.  This led to tweaking the final product which you can download below, which includes the first letters of each of the tribes – helping Mason match the tribes to where they camped.  We secured the coloring sheet and the Israelite camp activity into a lapbook.  I also made a small pocket to secure into the lapbook in which we could keep the tribe pieces.

day2

(click to download Israelite camp puzzle and tot version)

  • Day 3 – read and discuss the “God Tabernacles With Us” booklet – This is a simple flip booklet that we attached to our lapbook.  We used it to discuss how the presence of God first dwelt with the Israelites, “God’s People”, in the tabernacle, and then temple, then Jesus, then within us through Holy Spirit.

fot booklet

(click to download booklet)

  • Day 4 – Feast of Tabernacle word tracing – I created a sheet of tracing words that pertain to the Feast of Tabernacles.  I cut the side off a page protector and glued it to the back of the lapbook.  This way Mason can trace them over and over again.  We discussed each word as he wrote it.

fot tracing

(click to download word list)

  • Day 5 – look at a map showing the route of the Exodus – I found a map that was simple enough to not get bogged down in details (or unknown details).  We traced the map with our fingers, discussed the parting of the Red Sea with Moses, Mt. Sinai, and the parting of the Jordan River with Joshua (actually the priests as they stepped into the river).  We also discussed map facts such as how to tell land from water, and you could easily add in north, south, east, west, legends, etc.

These are the actual days lessons we have completed.  I am thinking that the next couple of lessons will be looking at and discussing Solomon’s temple, and discussing Jesus’ birth (which may well have been at the time of Feast of Tabernacles).  Pics of our fun:

Week-in-Review (other than the above unit!)

Math:  

Basic Facts Addition Practice – Addition Blackout

  • Write the numbers 2-12 on a piece of paper.  Roll two dice and add the numbers showing.  Cover up or mark off the number on your sheet that matches the sum rolled.  The first person to cover or mark off all the answers wins.

Introduction to 3-digit numbers – impromptu

  • I noticed Mason was playing a lot of games that involved three digit numbers, so we began to stop and work on how to say the numbers correctly when they appeared – wii sports game scores, Monopoly, numbers in the car such as speed and our gas milage (destination to empty) display.  This will likely turn into a more focused lesson this week.

Number Quantity

  • This was for Madison (2yrs), but Mason found it fun as well.  I numbered the places in an egg carton from 1-12.  Then, the correct number of beads are to be placed in each space.  It was difficult to get the beads out of the egg carton, so we used measuring spoons.  The kids thought this was a blast and the beads soon became “ice creams”, and they were scooping ice cream into and out of the carton!

sensory duo

Reading: 

Sight Word Practice

  • Mason’s reading has really been progressing recently, so I thought it would be good to begin to add to his sight words.  Using the Dolch sight words, I created a PowerPoint.  Each Power Point presentation is comprised of 10 sight words and a sentence to accompany each of the words.  This could be a great way to do a spelling list if desired.
  • I hooked the computer to display on our TV and Mason thought it was the greatest!  I will definitely be creating more of these Power Point presentations in the near future.

two slides

click to download List 1 and List 2

Just Do It

I have recently found myself caught up in a whirlwind of stuff.  There are so many free activities, lessons, units, etc.  This is a good problem.  However, I find myself looking for…

the next best thing 

I have a difficult time settling on an activity because what if the next link I click is the perfect one!  This week I have been brought back to a place of just do it.  We are definitely not short of time at the moment.  So, without wasting our time, I can do that great activity I found AND we can still do the “perfect” activity if it happens to be a click away.

As an example, I had downloaded a “limited time” free addition activity.  I wasn’t completely sure if Mason would like it or not.  Finally, I decided to just do it.  It was time to stop deliberating and decide to move forward.  He loved it!  It was an addition bingo game that is part of an addition and subtraction lapbook designed by Cyndi Kinney at knowledgeboxcentral.com.  He played it 3 or 4 nights in a row.  It was something he could do with me during the day, as well as sharing a game with Daddy after dinner.  It was amazing.  Throughout the week, Mason did over one hundred basic addition facts simply by playing BINGO.

bingo copy

Much of the uncertainty comes down to the fact that I have never before walked this road called homeschooling.  After ten years of teaching, I knew my curriculum.  I knew the “best practices” of teaching middle schoolers.  I knew the type of activities that really worked, and those that were big flops.  What I am having to remind myself is that I didn’t learn that overnight.   And so I am reminded and comforted with:

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” – Isaiah 30:21

There is grace on this journey.  Mistakes are lessons in learning.  We, as a family, get to learn together in the complete grace of the Lord.  Blessings.

Week-in-Review

Math:  

Basic Facts Addition Practice – Bingo

  • This is the activity described above.  We used the portion of the game that focuses on addition facts 1s – 5s.  The answers are on the BINGO cards, and the question cards have simple addition questions such as 1 + 4.  This is ultimately part of an addition and subtraction lapbook, that we will be putting together as we complete each activity.

Handwriting:

Tracing Letters

  • We are still making our way through the learning workbooks that have come at birthdays and Christmas and such.  Mason did a few more of these alphabet pages.

Disney alphabet book copy

Reading: 

Audio Book

  • I have been wanting an audio book for Mason to follow.  Not finding any I liked at the library, we happened across the CD that accompanies his children’s Bible.  He sat and followed along better than I expected.

Story Sequencing

  • Using the Blue’s Clues story sequencing cards (that I purchased in college!), Madison “sorted” the cards for him, while Mason put the four part stories in the proper sequence.
  • This was a great sorting activity for Madison.  She loves to find ways to be a part of it!

sequencing

Sight Word Practice

  • Mason’s reading has really been progressing recently, so I thought it would be good to begin to add to his sight words.  Using the Dolch sight words, I created a PowerPoint.  Each Power Point presentation is comprised of 10 sight words and a sentence to accompany each of the words.  This could be a great way to do a spelling list if desired.
  • I hooked the computer to display on our TV and Mason thought it was the greatest!  I will definitely be creating more of these Power Point presentations in the near future.

two slides

click to download List 1 and List 2

Word Fishing

  • From cardstock, I cut out eighteen 3″x4″ cards.  I drew six pictures that were ‘S’ words (snake, sock, etc), six pictures that were ‘M’ words, and six pictures that were ‘D’ words.  I then put a paper clip on each card and put them on the floor in a “pond”.  I attached a string and magnet to a pencil for both Mason and Madison – creating “fishing poles”.
  • Then the fishing began!  The objective was to first catch all the ‘S’ words.  If one was caught that was not an ‘S’ word, he would have to throw it back.  They both loved this activity as well!

Arts/Crafts:

Foil ‘Sun’ 

  • Mason is very interested in the sun, moon, stars, planets, space etc.  So as an art project, found in Alphabet Art by Judy Press, I cut out the letters s-u-n and several rectangles of foil.
  • Mason glued the foil to the letters and we will hang it as a mobile in his room.
  • There was also a flavor of Spelling to this.  I placed the letters on the table (out of order, stacked on top of each other) and asked Mason what word he could make.

sun

Day-by-Day

Keeping it honest here,

I will have to say that I did not put much effort into a focus of “schooling” last week.  In preparation to write this post, I started to reflect on last week and realized – I don’t remember a whole lot about it!  You know those weeks, where you just live it.  You walk through it and press on.  I love how the Lord prevails and toward the end of the week, I was able to come out from under the fog.

Last week, I decided that it would be fun to work within a theme of the Sun.  I did a little searching online, but as the last post stated sometimes there is just Too Much Help to wade through on the internet.  There are many units out there about the solar system, but not many just focusing on the sun.  I was having a hard time even knowing where to begin or what to do.  We did a craft or two, but it was a sensory activity that helped move me forward.

We poured out a good amount of regular table salt onto a cookie sheet (saw this on the web).  Mason enjoyed this and started writing his name, letters, and such.  Then I had the idea – the Sun theme.  I asked him to draw a sun.  Then I asked him to write a word that described the sun… he wrote ‘hot’.  Yes! I had a feeling I was onto something here.  He continued to come up with words to describe the sun.  Wow, a spelling activity within the theme of the Sun.  No striving, just flowing.

salt letters

There is a small part of me that wants to have a beautiful, complete, out-of-this-world (pun intended!) unit put together.  Yet, I know this is not needed, nor do I have the extra time in life right now to create one up front.  In the meantime, we will walk day by day exploring our sun, moon, stars, comets…

What activities would you suggest for a Sun theme?

Week-in-Review

Math:  

Counting Practice

  • While cleaning our utility room, I found a roll of Thomas the Tank Engine stickers.  Mason thought they were amazing and quickly stretched them as far as they would go on the couch.  Seizing the opportunity, I asked him to count them.

Recognizing Patterns

  • With the roll of Thomas stickers, there were over 30 on the roll.  I noticed there was a pattern every six stickers.  I asked Mason to find the pattern.
  • I also asked him how he knew the pattern was starting over.  I want to better understand how he is recognizing patterns.

stickers1

Basic Addition, Crayola Pad

  • A sheet of basic addition problems, purchased at Wal-Mart.

Crayola practice pad

Science:

  • We created a Solar System mobile.  This was a mixture of several activities that I had seen from an art book Adventures in Art by Susan Milord, and two other crafts online.  The mobile was a spiral mobile.  We made a circle of cardstock and stapled it together for the top – we used yellow paper to represent the sun.  The planets hang down each one a little bit farther to represent the distance that each planet is away from the sun.  I chose to use a smaller hole punch so that we could simply knot the ribbon behind the hole.  This was a fun way to work on the order of the planets.  Also, a great way to revisit the order time and time again.

planet mobile

Sensory Activity: 

Salt Letters (mentioned in post above)

  • We place a good amount of salt on a cookie sheet – Mason then went about drawing pictures, as well as letters, numbers, his name, etc.
  • I also classified this as a Spelling activity since he started writing words describing the sun.

And again, Mason worked on his calendar activities from RoyalBaloo.com throughout the week which covers some Handwriting, and Math – graphing, shapes, number awareness.

desk

Too Much Help

With the start of public school, I have been seeing many Facebook posts and emails regarding going back to school, supplies on sale, curriculum discounts.  I have had two reactions to this:

1)  A complete joy because of the freedom we have in not being tied to that schedule – AND –

2)  An extreme pressure toward finding a whole or partial curriculum.

I will preface this with saying, there is absolutely nothing wrong with pre-made curriculums.  Coming from a background of ten years teaching in the public schools, I am a fan of certain curriculums and not others.  I can see where specific curriculums work better in a private or home setting vs a public school setting, or for one student personality vs another student personality.  I get all of this.  What I have realized this week is the venture to find a curriculum when the Lord has told you not to is a bit futile!

I also discovered that walking this homeschooling journey is akin to parenting in general.  When I had my first child, I thought the internet would be my best friend.

Google to the rescue!!!  

Um…no.  With all the wealth of information out there, I quickly discovered that there was too much information out there.  Breastfeed vs formula, cry-it-out vs never cry, spanking vs not, cloth diaper vs disposable…you name it, the arguments are there.  All sides are right, all sides are wrong.  I quickly found my head swirling and my eyes shedding many-a-tear because I was worse off after my two hour search!

4 years into parenting and another child later, I finally came to understand.  When searching the internet all those times, I would end up searching for an opinion that already matched mine and it made me feel better about what it was that I already had a leading to do anyway!  Parenting is being me, with the Lord, training my children up as we go.  If I’m really not sure, I’m going to ask the Lord, or another person who is walking this journey with me and slightly ahead of me.

This same thing goes with homeschooling.  There are as many ways to homeschool as there are unique and individual families.  What is right for one is not automatically right for the next.  Some may be and look similar, some may look completely different, but they will all have their own flavor…as they should.  So I walk on, being my own flavor with the Lord.  I know the Lord has told me it is not time to purchase any curriculum, but to follow the leading of Mason and his interests.

My encouragement to you in your journey, be it life or homeschooling or fill-in-the-blank:  If you are following the true desire of your heart, don’t give up.  Stand on what you know is right, and walk on.  Today you may feel overwhelmed, tired, and stretched, but joy comes in the morning.  Each day is His and therefore, each day is yours.

Live it, Love it, Joy in it, Learn.

Week-in-Review

Math:  

Measuring in centimeters

  • My children love to empty my center desk drawer of all its pens, pencils, erasers, binder clips etc.  This time Mason had placed most everything from the drawer on the kitchen table.  This included a ruler that had cm on one side.  My husband explained how to line an object on the zero and find its length.  Mason spent the next 15-20 minutes measuring items from the drawer.

Lego Block Addition and Subtraction, Lego pack

  • Several months ago, I came across a free Lego pack by www.walkingbytheway.com.  Two of the pages included were addition and subtraction of blocks.  We spent most of our time doing the subtraction.  You place an amount of Lego bricks on the card, let them count, and then take some away while their eyes are closed.  The student then has to tell you how many you took away.  We made sure to restate the problem after each time “Six take away two equals four.”  This will really help when we are ready to move to writing these type of problems using symbolic form.

lego math

Reading:  

Matching Partner Letters (Uppercase to Lowercase), Alphabet Cards by The Learning Leaf

  • This was a fun review game.  It is the age old game of concentration using Uppercase and Lowercase letters.  I made a set of alphabet cards and we placed a 4 x 4 block of cards on the table (8 letters of the alphabet at a time).  Mason would turn over two, trying to match the uppercase letter with its partner lowercase letter.

alpha cards

(Click the pic for a free set of printable cards.)

  • Madison (age 2) was very interested in the alphabet cards, so I made a tot-pack for her.  I made templates with the Upper and Lowercase matches on them.  I placed two templates in front of her (4 letters at a time), and she had to match the alphabet card to the correct letter on the templates.  An example of Madison’s templates:

alpha tot

(Click the pic for a free download of the tot-pack templates.)

Word Family Practice, Starfall.com

  • We did 15-20 minutes on starfall.com working on word family reading, recognition, and spelling.  I saw him work on the -an, -at, -en, -it word families, but there may have been more!  If you have never used starfall.com, jump over and take a look, it is a wonderful free online tool.

Starfall screen

Never Underestimate

My lesson this week:  never underestimate.

I am seeing a beautiful blend of basic planning and inherent motivation budding forth.  It will help to explain using examples.  We have several educational workbooks that have been given to us and have thus far been mostly out of sight, out of mind.  In hopes to decrease the pile, we started working through these to use them up.  Sitting down to work on letter tracing:  my basic planning – complete two pages.  Mason’s inherent motivation – complete 5!

Another time I noticed this blend of basic planning and inherent motivation:  throughout the last couple of weeks, Mason has been more consistently sounding out words.  Out of interest, I asked if he could spell ‘and’ the other day.  He could.  This makes it a great time to move into the realm of spelling basic word families and sight words.  It came to me to write several letters on the ground and have Mason spell words by jumping on the letters in order.  I made sure to include the letters of his name so that there was a word with which I knew he was familiar.

Spelling Jump

(Madison enjoyed jumping on letters as well!)

Long story short…

Not only did he spell the words I thought up, he then started making words out of the letters on the ground.  Words I hadn’t even thought to ask him.   Then he said a word, realized one of the letters wasn’t there, and wrote the letter with the chalk himself.  Wow!  My basic planning – have Mason spell his name and a few other words.  Mason’s inherent motivation – spell given words, make my own words, include new letters.

I must pause and say, there is definitely a timing to this whole process.  There were a few times this week that I presented the idea of tracing letters and either it just didn’t fly, or only what I asked was done (and that with little enthusiasm).  In these instances, I didn’t push and we didn’t move on to other areas.  Most of our learning activities this week happened on Wednesday and then Saturday and Sunday.  There just seemed to be a “no go” on the other days of the week.  This, however, is the beauty of “doing school” from June to June on a 12 month cycle…plenty of time to flow.

Week-in-Review

Math:  

Collecting Data, Calendar Activity from RoyalBaloo

  • The only math we did this week was graphing the weather each morning with our calendar activity.  The activity is set up to do daily.  This is not something I’m willing to make happen everyday.  It seems to work better for us to do it once, maybe twice, a week – doing a few days work at one time.

weather graph data

Reading:  

Introduction to Beginning Consonant Blends, Blend Wall Cards by 3 Dinosaurs

  • Since sounding out words and attempting to read books is occurring more and more, we began to look at and attribute sounds to specific blends of consonants.  These wall cards helped with the sounding out of each particular blend and then I had Mason think of another word that started with the same blend.

Blend Wallcards

Sight Word Practice, Lego Pack by walkingbytheway.com

  • Reinforcement is always good, and we have a large supply of foam letters.  Thank you Grandma S for the foam letters!  I also found this great Lego pack at walkingbytheway.com.  So, we practiced color sight words, by finding and placing the correct foam letters on the words.  Since spelling is becoming a forefront concept as well, I made sure that once the word was completed, I would ask the question, “How do you spell blue.”  Since the word was in front of him, it simply gave him a chance to practice responding to that question.

MM foam spelling

(Madison’s version is on the right.)

Handwriting:  

Tracing and Free writing Letters

  • As stated above, we have several educational workbooks that I am ready to work through and lessen the pile!  The pages with letters A-D were completed this week.

tracing work

Tracing Numbers

  • Calendar Activity – writing in dates on the August calendar printable found at RoyalBaloo.com

Spelling

  • What we are now calling Spelling Jump.  It is the activity described in the blog above.  Writing letters on the driveway and giving Mason a word to spell by jumping on the correct letters in order.

Eyes to See

This is the first week using our New Approach of recording lessons as or after they happen.

I have to tell you, I was amazed.

In the previous method of making a list of activities to accomplish through the week, my focus (without succumbing to pressure) was to watch and see which of those specific lessons we completed.  This week, however, my eyes were opened to the amount of learning that truly takes place everyday, naturally.  The challenge this week was deciding what learning experiences to record!  Rather than having my attention concentrated on a pre-made list, I was able to see that when Mason decided to play with the circle math addition facts of 10 for fifteen minutes – it was a math lesson.  When we discussed the difference between cannon and canyon, discussing spelling, and looking up pictures on the internet – this was a science/language arts/history lesson.  I could list numerous other experiences throughout the week.

Don’t get me wrong,

I still have a pathway of advancement that will challenge and move the kiddos forward.  I even found that I personally want to keep a list for each child as to what is the next step in their learning.  For right now, I know the plans I have for them.  I know the next things I want to work on in reading and math.  The freedom is, as I create it or find it, then they can do it.  They are two and four years of age…I’m in no rush!

Week-in-Review

Math:  

Addition facts of 10, by The Learning Leaf

  • Mason rediscovered the two colored counters, with which we made addition cards.  He spent quite a bit of time not only placing the counters but really focusing in on the addition problems at the bottom.  Since the cards are laminated, I gave him a dry erase marker and he wrote in the answer on each, only to find out they all equal 10!  This will launch further exploration and experiences with the very important addition facts of 10.

addition cards copy

(click the pic to download these cards)

Exploring Doubles

  • After working with the addition facts, we took the counters and made two lines for a number.  For example – 4 is two lines of two,  6 is two lines of three counters.  Then it turned into questions such as, “What is two lines of 4?”  This was a lot of fun to watch him explore the concept of doubles.

Reading:  

Story Sequencing

  • While cleaning out the garage this weekend, my husband found a set of Blue’s Clues story sequencing cards.  Mason was very interested in these and spent the next 15 – 20 minutes working on them.  Four cards created a simple story, and he had to place them in the correct order.

Reading Practice

  • We also made a trip to the library this week, and came home with a set of fifteen Hooked on Phonics books in which each book focuses in on a specific vowel sound, as well as incorporating word families and sight words.  Throughout the week he read books #1-8.

Handwriting:  

Writing Practice

  • I pulled out our pile of activity/workbooks and Mason decided he wanted to work in one.  He did many mazes and other small puzzles, which are always good for practicing fine motor skills.  On a couple of pages, there were words to unscramble.  On those pages, I told him what letter to write next, so he was able to practice writing alphabet letters.

Coloring by Number

  • There were also two pages of color by number which is wonderful because he read the colors himself.  So really this doubled as Reading practice because of the sight words he was using.

Calendar Activity

  • Mason traced numbers on an August calendar up to the current day.  He also completed a shape tracing sheet that came with the calendar pack from RoyalBaloo.com (search for calendar)

August calendar

Geography:

Color and Name States

  • A US map was included with the calendar pack from RoyalBaloo.com (search for calendar).  Mason colored in and we named each state.  We will revisit this in the future to learn facts about these states.

colored map

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