Tuesday, August 21, 2012

First Day of Homeschool

Leah began Pre-K yesterday! We decided to start earlier than Labor Day since we were both ready to go. After the curriculum was delivered and some of the supplies were stocked on shelves in her playroom, Leah was ready to start and see what homeschool was all about. I spent last week putting together a bulletin board and got myself mostly organized and prepped.

When I reviewed the first lesson, the manual suggested having some type of introduction each day, to signal the start of school. The suggestions included a poem, a pledge to the flag, a prayer, or a song. None of those really appealed to me, so after thinking back on my Kindergarten teaching assistant days and scouring a few homeschool blogs, I decided to begin our day with Calendar Time. Talking about what day and season it is, as well as the weather outside, seemed like a natural way to start our day. Though it may be awhile until Leah truly understands the passage of time, the months of the year, and how to tell the date, being exposed to it will only aid her comprehension. There is also a section to label "Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow" so that she begins to understand those terms as well. Leah certainly grasps the concepts of whether an event has happened in the past or will in the future, but she'll sometimes refer to something that happened a few weeks ago as happening "last night". So, this will hopefully introduce her to some proper terms.  Leah very much enjoyed Calendar Time both yesterday and today!

Afterward, we moved onto our first lesson. We spent some time talking about school (some kids go to a specific school with other kids while some stay home with their parents), talking about our new supplies, where they're located, and the importance of putting things away when school is complete. We read a story together, discussed the concepts of "in" and "out", and listened to a short song that tied into our lesson. Interestingly, I thought the in & out lesson would be too easy for Leah and we'd be through it in no time. But I got to witness firsthand how you can understand a concept one way but need help when it's translated to another context. For example, we began by placing various objects "in" and "out" of a basket or small box. Leah whizzed through that, knowing what that meant, saying things like, "The crayons are IN the basket" when she placed them there. After this exercise, I presented her with an activity sheet of different animals that were either in an object (a bird in a cage) or out of one (a dog standing beside his doghouse). I asked her to point out a picture that showed "in". She pointed to the dog by his house and said something about how he goes in there. I understood what she meant, though she was skipping over the fact that right then, in that particular picture, he was not in there currently. So interesting how her mind worked. After some explanation, she quickly picked up what we were looking for and completed highlighting the various pictures, underlining the "in" pictures with one color crayon and the "out" pictures with another. She then colored the pictures however she wanted. When she was done, I asked her again to show me the picture where the dog was "in" or the cat was "out", etc and she completed it with no problem. Awesome. She learned!

There are certain objectives in this curriculum she does know. For instance, today we were supposed to introduce the color red. Leah already knows her colors, so I modified the lesson somewhat. Instead of presenting her with red objects to illustrate what color they are, I asked her to look around the room and find red objects herself. Then, I gave her a couple old magazines and asked her to cut out red pictures that she would then glue on a separate sheet of paper. She's still a scissor newbie, so this helped her work on those motor skills instead, while still sticking to the red theme.

One thing that I'm not quite sure of is how to modify our storytime. The curriculum provides a storybook in order to promote good listening and comprehension skills, that we read from at least once a day. Leah is used to picture storybooks while these stories I'm reading contain only a couple tiny illustrations in order to condense the curriculum material. She's claiming the stories are "boring" and I think it's because she doesn't have that visual to follow. Not quite sure how to remedy that one, or maybe it will just come with more maturity.

Otherwise, things are going well thus far. I am already enjoying the new routine and the extra quality time we're experiencing. I think this will be a really interesting adventure. :)

Leah created this red clay guy with no prompting from me. I love it!

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