Last week was our final week of doing school together with Haddie’s cousins. We’ve decided to try doing school on our own now. We’ll probably do some activities or trips together occasionally and we may even share or switch curriculum back and forth starting in the Fall.
I know its the summer, but I really wanted to get into a routine again with Haddie. We have neglected her chore chart (I still need to post about that), and I’ve been really struggling with constantly battling her to clean her room. So, I’ve decided to get back to doing her chore chart everyday and trying to do some type of school activities (even if its only playing together and reading books) everyday.
I ultimately want to create an adventure jar (not sure if that’s what I’m going to really call it) with either slips of paper or written on popsicle sticks. Each stick or paper would have the name of an activity or adventure to go on. A lot of the ideas would be things I’ve seen on Pinterest that I want to try but that probably wouldn’t fit into a certain lesson type category. Some of them would be messy activities like making slime, edible fingerpaint, moon sand, etc. Others could be simple activities like going to the park, zoo, the beach, etc. I think I’ll use these for days when we have more time and flexibility or are just bored.
I also want to experiment with different types of learning and teaching styles to see what she (and I) like most. I want to try online games and lessons, hooked on phonics (have an old set a friend gave me), work on Spanish & Sign Language, do the millions of workbooks we have, do some fun Bible story activities, work on memory verses, etc.
I want to figure out how we both learn and work best together. How flexible I want to be in homeschooling vs. how much of a routine I need to create to be most productive and still enjoy it all.
And on a personal note, I want to find ways to be more productive myself with the house work, keeping up a good gym routine, doing better with creating weekly menus, actually cooking those planned meals and being consistent with my own devotionals times (which have been sadly lacking recently). I also want to make time to hang out with the youth who have more free time since it will soon be summer (starting after tomorrow!).
I know, it all sounds like a tall order….especially after I just typed it out! And we’re still in the middle of our adoption classes, which will still require 3 hours a week of our time, along with needing to get paperwork done and make a scrapbook of some kind. Once the adoption class is completed at the end of June then we will begin the slow process of being matched/choosing a child. Which then creates all new complications and excitement from changing schedules, exploring what to do with school in the future for 2 kids (!) and rearranging the house to accomodate another child’s bedroom (bye bye guest room or study?). It’s all so exciting and busy!
But anyways, back to the summer homeschooling. I know this all may sound kinda crazy since Haddie is only 3 (almost 4!), but I don’t want to waste time or be lazy about it. And I want to figure out a least a bit of what I’m doing before she gets to actual Kindergarten age and/or we add an older child to the mix.
So, here’s what we’ve done so far this week:
Monday: I seriously can’t remember what we did! Isn’t the horrible… I at least know we read some books. We typically read 2 library books before naptime everyday. And we started the chore chart routine. Oh, yeah, we spent hours cleaning, and rearranging Haddie’s room. I really like the way we ended up moving it. Her bed isn’t facing the door anymore so she can’t be so distracted during bedtimes (she has been really wanting her door left open). She got super excited about moving her room around. She was running around her room going “I’m so excited! I’m so excited! I don’t know why I’m so excited!” It was hilarious. After all that activity there wasn’t enough time for school since laundry and other chores were calling my name.
Tuesday: Haddie’s last dance class before summer. After we came home we did a few pages in her Erasable Sesame Street Alphabet workbook (did letters A-D) and the entire Sesame Street Seasons workbook (she liked it a lot). Both were from Twin Sister’s Publications. So far I have been highly impressed with their materials (we have the Spanish CD/workbooks, and Bible story materials). I like that you are allowed to copy for use in your own home, homeschool, etc.
Wednesday: Haddie spent the morning with Seth while I went to the gym. They learned a memory verse (Joshua 24:15), played outside (in her recital outfit. lol), and built w/ legos. After I got home, we started the summer reading contest/program from the library. Our library is doing this program where for every 10 books the kids read (you fill out/put stickers on pages they provide), you turn the pages in for a small prize and to enter the child into a grand prize drawing. I think it will be neat to keep track of all the books we read together to see how many we actually read a week. I’m going to also make it my goal to go to the library regularly to exchange books and probably try to go to at least a couple of the shows that they are putting on each week.
Thursday: I wanted to try using the computer today to see how she would do. So, we did one lesson on this free Spanish website: http://www.spanishdict.com/learn The first lesson is on Greetings and Introductions. We we watched the first video, practiced the sayings and did the flashcards. She lost interest before we reached the halfway point in the flashcards, but I got her to finish. The material isn’t specifically geared to kids, but I think I’ll try it a few more times before I search for a kiddy type program. At least I’ll be learning right along with her. I wrote down the words we learned in a notebook and I’m thinking about using index cards to make some flashcards to review orally with her (and for myself).
After the Spanish program (there are still about 4 more small sections that we can complete for that first lesson), I search preschool games on google and found the Nick Jr. page. I clicked on her age frame to find games geared for her. Then let her choose which game to play. We ended up playing the Dora Mermaid Adventure. The games are supposed to help develop the kids’ hand-eye coordination. I also like that the games help get her more familiar with the keyboard and mouse. She’s an Iphone master, time to move on, I suppose!
After the Dora game, I clicked on the Create button (at the top of the screen), and we played a couple of painting games: Spin painting and the sticker painting. By this time she was tired of trying to use the mouse and just told me what buttons to push. Finally, after that, we read a couple books and then it was nap time. Oh, and before we read, she cleaned up her room without complaint! I’m thinking this routine and chore chart is working great already! Her room has stayed consistently clean and quick to clean up at that. I really think that makes it less overwhelming for her to obey, which hopefully will lead to less fussing and battles! Win win all around! And now I can actually walk through her room without fearing for my life.
Well, I’m happy with how the new routine is going so far and I’m curious to see where we go from here.