Over the past year or so, I've sort of dabbled a bit in homeschooling Sam. He is still little so it was more playing than anything else. It's been nothing short of awesome to watch him learn about the world around him. He's just so eager to know things. So fun!
He recently turned 4 and is suddenly wanting to know what letter words start with, and asking me what sounds certain letters make. He has the most amazing memory and is so very obviously ready for more than what we've been doing so far. So, Pinterest at the ready, I started to piece together a plan for the year. Nothing very serious. We're not following any sort of curriculum and I'm not planning on bogging him down with a ton of worksheets. Very much "Sam-led" learning, with just a little structure ;)
Knowing that we will have a new addition to our family in just a few weeks, it was important to me to plan out several weeks of lessons and activities so that I wouldn't have to worry about it on top of preparing our home for a new baby. I wanted about 6 weeks worth of prep done to take us to the week before I'm due, and then we'll be taking a break. So that's what I did! 6 weeks all prepped, planned and ready to go!
Today was our first day! It went remarkably well! I'm sure our 'schedule' and routine will shift and change throughout the year, but for now it worked perfectly for us! Here's a peak into our day!
6:40am- Kate woke me up 10 minutes before my alarm. I had wanted to give myself a little quiet alone time before the kids were up. Lately they've been getting up between 7:30 and 8, but, well... the best laid plans and all that ;) Lucky for me, she was happy enough to talk and sing in her room for a while and I still had my time.
7am- I did my own devotions. I use the app "First 5" by Proverbs 31 Ministries. It's awesome and I highly recommend it! You set an alarm on your phone so that the short, concise devotion is the first thing you do before getting out of bed. Wonderful!
I did some morning chores before getting the kids too. Since it's Monday that meant getting our sheets and towels into the wash.
7:30- Kids up! Sam immediately wanted to do school. I had to convince him to play for a little while so I could make us breakfast and get everybody dressed. He and Kate played in the playroom while I emptyed the dishwasher and made breakfast.
8:00- Breakfast and devotions together! This was a very sweet time that I think is going to end up being my favorite part of the day. We read a little of the Bible (the passages surrounding our weekly memory verse) and today's reading from a preschool devotional I bought a while back.
8:30- Sam was beyond ready to start school by now so he willingly cleaned up toys while I cleaned up breakfast. Which was obviously awesome ;)
Now we were ready to start! We are planning on starting each day with "Circle Time" (obviously not actually circle time since it's just me and Sam, unless Kate decides to join in!) We talk about what day it is, what season it is, and what the weather is like. Then we go over our weekly memory verse (Sam's memory is astounding! He's very good already at memorizing verses so I might choose some longer ones as the year progresses!). We chat a bit about the letter (although we're emphasizing SOUND rather than letter name) and the week's theme. This week, to get us started, our theme is "All About Me". Today was just learning and talking about how God made all of us to be special, and chatting about our family.
After our 'morning meeting' so to speak, we'll be having some fun with various rhymes, finger plays, songs, and games promoting gross motor skills. Today we did a rhyme called "God Made Me" and then played a round of "Where is Thumpkin" using the names of our family members for each finger.
After our circle time is over is when I plan on doing quiet, sit down activities. Things like matching card games, coloring, practice writing, etc. Today we did a little 'worksheet' of sorts all about Sam. Keeping it simple to ease us into this new routine. Kate joined in for some coloring!
After our quiet activity is when I plan on doing experiments, sensory play, crafts, activities, etc. Followed by (or preceded by, or interrupted briefly by, whatever seems to work that day!) specific work on letters/sounds. I'm using ideas from the booklet "A Home Start in Reading" by Ruth Beechick.
Today we used stickers to mark on our map where members of our family live (and some friends too!)
I knew our craft for today would be messy and I wanted to keep it til the end, so we did our letter activity now. Since 'A' is our sound of the week we went on a scavenger hunt for things that start with 'A'. Kate got a basket to fill too ;) Sam really enjoyed this! We'll be repeating the scavenger hunt every Monday I think for each of our sounds of the week.
Now we were ready for our craft! Sticking with the "All About Me" theme, Sam was going to paint a series of pages to spell out his name! Kate just painted one ;)
And that's it! All this took about an hour and 15 minutes (not including Bible time during breakfast) which seems to have been the perfect amount of time for a busy 4 year old. Future lessons might be a little longer depending on their content, or I might save some activities for later in the afternoon. The way I structured the 'school day' into chunks (Bible, circle time, song/rhyme/gross motor, sit down activity, letter activity, craft/experiment/game) makes it super flexible! We can add in as much or as little as we want to each individual section.
I am so happy with how our first day went and so is Sam! He really had a blast and that's the most important thing! We are ready and excited for tomorrow!