Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tot School/Preschool Curriculum & Co-Op

My wild & funny, yet sweet & cuddly Rylan turned 3 the end of May. This year we are OFFICIALLY beginning Preschool!!! You might be asking, "Well what in the world is Tot School?" Carissa from 1+1+1=1 explains it perfectly! Be sure to click on the quote below to read more about Tot School.

Here is another great link for Tot School ideas at Totally Tots.

Now my sweet Rylan LOVES to do school! He gets so mad if he wakes up from nap & realizes Brady & I did school without him. I've done some Tot School stuff with him & like the quote says above, I DO NOT FORCE HIM. I let him explore & when he's done, he can be done. Some days are awesome, & some days are not.

So what's Preschool? Well to be honest, not much different than Tot School, except that this will be the stuff where Rylan will need to participate in. He's a young 3 so I don't want to push him too hard to where he doesn't like school anymore, but he does have to learn to follow directions & do his work as well. To make it easier for anyone reading along, I will probably refer to Rylan's stuff as Preschool :)

For his curriculum I will be using Erica's Letter of the Week & various themed preschool packs from some of my favorites sites listed on the right hand side of my blog. They will be intermixed depending on the season & on what big brother is doing. I hope you tag along to see what all Rylan will be learning!


Rylan is doing a preschool co-op through our homeschool group this year. It will be use VeggieTales DVDs along with the VeggieTales: Values to Grow By curriculum. The classes will include DVD lessons, activity & coloring sheets, games, snacks, music, & crafts.

It meets the 2nd Tuesday of each month from 9am-11am & I must add that I wont have to stay with him! This is going to be so good for him for so many reasons!

I am beyond excited to see how this year plays out with Ry! I know God has amazing things for him & I'm thankful I get to be his teacher & guide!

Blessings to you all!!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

1st grade Curriculum & Co-Ops

Our school year year is off to a great start! We are in our 5th week of our 1st grade year! Around January every year I devote myself to a lot of prayer & research & more prayer & more research concerning schooling for my kiddos. I pray about homeschooling & I also seek the Lord as to whether I should send them to public or private school as well. My #1 goal is to do whatever the Lord is leading our family to do.

Researching curriculum can be VERY overwhelming!!! So many look good it can be a challenge to pick the right one for you & your child & not spend a fortune! Thank goodness for other homeschooling blogs where parents can share their ideas & opinions!

Last year I walked into the the store Ross & stumbled upon the book below. It only cost $4.99 & looked cute so I just bought it on a whim.

About a month later I really started to look into the book & fell in LOVE!!! It covered the 6 major subject areas of Language, Spelling, Reading, Math, Science, & Social Studies. The beginning of each week has a chart for the daily lesson plans of each subject.

Then the next pages have explanations of activities you can do that are listed in the lesson plans.

After that the book is filled with various full colored workbook pages for that week & other pages you can copy for the activities if you choose to do them. I struck GOLD! I knew without a doubt this would be my base for homeschooling 1st grade this year. The lesson plans are fun, detailed & you can pick & choose what you want to do or add to. Everything is right on grade level with some extra challenges if your child is up for it. The reading lesson plans cover a cute children's books or poems for each week. We enjoyed the ones we've done so far! The math goes at a great pace covering everything Brady will need for this year.

If I ever need supplements I of course use fun items from the Resource Center, printables from Makinglearningfun.com, or $1 workbooks from the Dollar Tree. We are also continuing with Hooked On Phonics First Grade for Reading & will be adding some Well Trained Mind stuff for Language & printing practice.

As far as our Bible curriculum goes I will just be using ideas from our Heart of Dakota book from last year, Christian Preschool Printables, & we will continue memorizing Scripture together. My plan is to just seek the Lord as to what to teach & when. Right now we are finishing up the Fruit of Spirit & then will learn about the Armor of God.


Every other Friday Brady will go to a local church to take 3 co-op classes with other homeschool kids 1st-3rd grade. He'll stay for 3 hours (which I can leave & head home to work with my 3 year old one on one!!) & will take Apologia Land Animals Science class at 9am, then at 10 he'll take a geography class 1st semester & an American Historical Figures class 2nd semester & at 11 a class on the fundaments of art 1st semester & a fundamentals of music 2nd semester.

Brady is also doing a few co-ops with our homeschool group. They each only meet once a month for an hour. His Book-It class is basically just doing a book report & project on any book within a certain theme & giving a presentation on it at the meetings & listening to the other 1st graders' presentations & eating pizza! I'm really eager about this since Brady has a bit of stage fright! I also signed him up for a Popular Mechanics class that will teach him about force, motion, & all things science related to that. I signed him up for it because it sounded fun & let's face it, I am NOT skilled in that area! :)

He's also taking a Music class that a dear friend of mine will be leading. In this one he will listen to recordings of classical music, learn the stories behind the great hymns. They will also paint to music, dance to a waltz learn sign language to a song, & take 2 field trips. I wish I could do this one!!!

I was very wary of all the co-ops but Brady loves to be with other kids his age & this year may be the only year he will be able to do so much. He's so smart & picks up everything I teach him very easily & I wanted him to be challenged in other areas, have other teachers, & meet other homeschool kids his age. If for whatever reason it doesnt work out then I'll just pull him out of whatever I feel is necessary, but I do have high hopes :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The 1st Weeks of 1st Grade & Preschool

Well here we go! A new school year has begun. As much fun as I had planned for the summer we all ended up restless most days. So I decided we would start school back the week after July 4th & it has proved to be a wise decision! I knew I had a trip & other things planned in August which would set us back & interrupt our usual "1st Days of School" fun & with new co-ops coming up I didn't want to get behind & feel overwhelmed like I often do when things teeter too far off schedule.

The 1st few weeks have been a genuine review of what Brady learned last year with of course some fun stuff thrown in. Our theme was of course "All About Me."

Brady had to draw a self-portrait by observing what he he looked like in a mirror.

His final product :)

Brady sorted pictures that related to the 5 senses into their proper category.We reviewed the 5 senses by experimenting with different tasting packs of soy sauce, honey, relish, lemon juice, mustard, & ketchup. This was Brady's face after tasting the lemon juice.

The boys enjoyed the fruity smelly markers & ended up with a rainbow on the tips of their noses. We also had a box filled with different items & the boys had to describe how each item felt before they pulled it out to see what it was.

I found a cute 5 Senses Lotto Game at the Parent Teacher Community Resource Center in our town. I've written a whole blog dedicated to the PTCRC you can read here.

Along with studying the 5 senses we also learned about various parts of our body. After learning about our heart & lungs we took our pulse & observed how our breathing changed after doing jumping jacks, resting, & running. We learned the fun process of how our food enters our body, what the stomach does to it, & how it leaves our bodies. Of course Brady thought that was the GREATEST thing! Poo humor does seem to get good laughs from any 6 year old or male for that matter :) We also learned about how our bones protect our insides & along with our muscles help us move. We read & acted out Eric Carle's book From Head to Toe. I HIGHLY recommend it! Super cute! We did our 1st science experiment of the year. We placed chicken bones in a jar of vinegar to observe what would happen to them over a period of time.

The vinegar began to dissolve the calcium in the bones & they got smaller. Brady was relieved to know that all the milk & yogurt he consumes will keep his bones strong! He loved learning about the name of some of his bones too. I'm blaming that on the fact his daddy is a physical therapist :)

Of course we practiced our printing, counting, shapes, colors & ABCs. Rylan isn't as easy to teach as Brady was at 3 :) He loves doing school but only wants to do it his way. Which isn't surprising knowing his personality. Nonetheless, I don't force him & we always have a great time. He is absolutely in love with puzzles. This one below I bought at Target for a $1 & he wants to do it over & over & over.

We began our 1st days of school reading the classic Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. Coming in September Rylan will begin the Letter of the Week curriculum by Erica from Confessions of a Homeschooler. Below the boys are playing with a Chicka Chicka Boom Boom tree & velcro letters we checked out from the Resource Center.

We worked on patterns, letters, & colors by making an ABC clothesline.

The boys have also enjoyed playing with these magnetic learning boards by Lakeshore that we check out from the Resource Center. Like I've said before, the Resource Center is like a homeschool momma's heaven!!

I assume many of you are back into schooling too whether it be homeschool, preschool, grade school etc. It is however that time of year again :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

2010-2011 School Year Review

This year my sweet Brady began Kindergarten! We chose to use Heart Of Dakota's curriculum Little Hearts for His Glory. I absolutely LOVED it! Brady enjoyed the Bible stories, memory verses & all the projects we tried with it. We used Hooked On Phonics for Kindergarten for Reading & Brady did amazing! He LOVES to read which makes me VERY happy! HOD suggested using Singapore Math & we really enjoyed it too! Cute worksheets & activity ideas helped keep Brady interested & focused.

Though by mid-October I was 9 months pregnant & slap worn out between a Kindergartener, a 2 year old & all the other things on my daily to-do list. Though I adore HOD, we had to stop. We continued memorizing Scripture, our HOP Reading & Singapore Math. Sweet baby K came Nov 10 and we took a break until December. This was when I discovered Confessions of a Homeschooler! Her ideas seemed so fresh & fun I had to try them! Through her site I also found many other fun homeschooling blogs with amazing ideas to teach toddlers, prechoolers & big kids.

I wanted to go back to HOD but I hated that I was so far behind in the curriculum, so I just began doing it my way. :) Each week we focused on 2 alphabet letters & discovered new words that began with those letters, made crafts, ate foods starting with those letters, etc. It was so much fun! Both big boys really got into it!

Click on these links to see some of the incredibly fun stuff we did! Letters C & M Letters O & T Letters H & V

When the 2010-2011 school year began Rylan started out in our church's Mom's Morning Out program. I never felt settled about it & eventually took him out & brought him home to teach too. Thanks to Homeschool Creations & 1+1+1=1 I felt confident in doing so. I found many great ideas for teaching him & ensuring he had fun while doing it.

We've already began our 2011-2012 school year so stay tuned for all the cool things we will be doing!