Homeschool - One Hour In | Giftie Etcetera: Homeschool - One Hour In

Friday, March 13, 2009

Homeschool - One Hour In

I've decided that on days Ander and I stay home (most weeks, that's a Friday, and some weeks, it's two or three days, if there is a holiday or something), we will homeschool during the day. I have an education degree, after all, and Ander turned three this month. Unfortunately, all the three-year-old preschools that are near my work (essential criteria) don't start for his age until August, plus they don't have openings. So I figure we'll do a structured (or, really, as structured as preschool gets) day once a week until Pre-K. We also plan to put Ander in an activity this summer and I am looking into storyhour at the library.

I have some goals.

I have a letter of the day that we will work on. (It will probably be A for several weeks, since his name starts with A and it's an important vowel.) We will add saying the ABCs soon, but he pretty much can do that.

I will introduce writing his name at the top of every page of "homework." I mostly write it, though we trace the letter A together. The goal is for him to get familiar with the concept that we write our names on things we do. If he learns some letters or his whole name - BONUS! We are working on the proper way to hold a pencil, at my second grade teacher/sister's insistence!

We will check the weather and the calendar everyday. Later on, we'll add saying the days of the week and the months of the year, but not yet.

We will do a daily tracing/coloring activity. Today, we did tracing the wings of a butterfly and then coloring it. The teacher in my naturally prompted - are you coloring inside or outside the wings? (Not that it matters at this point, but a good way to review inside/outside concepts and the parts of the butterfly.)

We will practice cleanup time and transitions. This is the hardest part! Ander just wants to move to the next activity quickly. I learned to hide the next activity.

Ander really needs to work on coordination, so we practice 2 handed ball throws. Then we subtracted a hand by putting it behind our backs, and did 1 handed ball catches and throws. We pushed the ball in circles around the island in our kitchen and counted the rounds. I'm a big fan of getting kids - little or otherwise - active while learning.

Finally, we did a worksheet where we traced the letter A with our fingers and then colored it.

As I type this, we have out some Melissa and Doug architectual blocks (thanks, Parrain Brien) for free play, while watching the Leap Frog Word Factory Video (which has tons of focus on the letter A).

I'm taking careful notes of everything we do today, so that I can better plan next week based on Ander's needs. I'm also keeping all the activity sheets and taking videos/pictures, so I can track progress over time. I'm using a U/N/S (unsatisfactory/needs improvement/satifactory and mastered) system to note what he can and cannot do. Obviously, Ander doesn't know about that system. In a few weeks, once he is used to the idea of school, we will do a red light/yellow light/green light chart for behavior, but not yet.

He did get one timeout this morning. For projects where he works with me directly (like tracing and coloring the letter A), he sits at the big table. But for mere coloring, he sits at the little table (even though I am hovering and assisting, I don't want him coloring - anymore than he already has :/ - on my real table). He resisted sitting at the real table to the point of hitting me, so he got a timeout. I suspect he didn't understand that, yes, school would continue. He was liking it and didn't want it to stop. :)

Loki slept from 9 - 10 a.m., so all went smoothly. But Loki is waking up, and working him into this will be a challenge.

Have I mentioned that, the moment a school is available, I will not be homeschooling, Masters in Education degree or not? One hour in, and I am exhausted and running out of ideas.



Krumpledwhiskers said...

Go Natch!! I'm exhausted just reading that and all the more thankful that Cady goes to playschool, lol. You didn't ask for suggestions but I thought I'd throw one in here and ask for forgiveness for my unsolicited opinion. Have you looked into Zoophonics? Cady's teacher (she's an ECE teacher) uses zoophonics with them and Cady is constantly coming home sounding out letter and telling me about the latest zoo animal. If she hears a C sound now she's like "It's a C, like Catina cat!" The program is really great for their age.

And you know me. I'm a big proponent of "just let them play" at this age, but I'm amazed at how much Cady loves this program and it doesn't feel like her teacher is pushing learning.

Krumpledwhiskers said...

Oh, and could I send Cady to your school this summer while her school is on break?? :)

Dan said...

I was happy to discover your Giftie Etcetera blog today. I was unable to find an email link in your profile. I hope it's OK that I'm contacting you through a public comment. I've developed an educational program for Windows called SpellQuizzer that helps children learn their spelling words without the battle that parents often have getting them to sit down and write them out while the parents dictate to them. The parent enters the child's spelling words into the software making a sound recording of each word. Then the software helps the child practice his or her words. It really helped my children with their weekly spelling lists.

I would appreciate your reviewing SpellQuizzer in Giftie Etcetera. You can learn more about the program at There's a video demo you can watch at I'd be happy to send you a complimentary license for the software. Please let me know if you are interested.

Thank you very much!

Dan Hite
TedCo Software

Emilie (PW) said...

I've been trying to teach Hannah as much as I can already. I want to prep both of my kids for Kindergarten myself. I'm a former preschool teacher, too (didn't you teach preschool?). Plus, my mom was a kindergarten/elementary age teacher.

There are so many resources I pulled from online. If you ever are looking for something particular, I could probably find it for you.

Do you plan on doing any music & movement with Ander in your school day? I love the duo Greg & Steve. They're a little goofy, but their songs are great teaching tools!

Rachel said...

If you want, I'll lend you my copy of "The Preschoolers' Busy Book". It's a nice resource for easy, inexpensive things to do,and they're mostly educational, to one degree or another.