Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Homeschool Update

We're roughly 75% through our Pre-K lessons, so I thought I'd update a little about our first school year. Leah often grumbles when I say it's time to do school, yet once we're in the middle of things she seems to really enjoy herself. When I tell her we're done for the day, she then grumbles that we're finished and asks for more. I'll take that as a good sign!

I've learned that she's very much a visual and hands-on type of learner. Auditory, not so much. She has to be able to see a picture of whatever we're talking about, or do a crafty project, or manipulate an object in some way. This is especially noticeable when I read a story or poem aloud. If there aren't any illustrations to go along, she zones out and can rarely tell me what the story was about. When there are pictures to match, she comprehends much better. Or, sometimes I wonder if she simply needs a few days to let something sink in. Awhile back, we talked about rhyming words. At the time, I thought she wasn't paying attention but a few days later, something triggered in her mind and she said, "Dog and frog, they rhyme! And cat and fat, they rhyme!" Just the other night, we were reading "Green Eggs and Ham" and she was pointing out the rhyming words without any prompting. Amazing.

Leah loves, loves, loves to draw, color, paint, and complete any sort of art project. So, I've incorporated crafts into the curriculum where there may not have been any assigned. For instance, the curriculum instructed her to work on a mural of wild animals each day for a week, as we discussed various types. She loved that project so much that I chose to do the same for a unit we did on farms. It wasn't part of the curriculum, but it completely enhanced her learning experience that week. I also added in those paper plate farm animals (thank you, Pinterest!) that are pictured above.

Another thing I've noticed over the past month or so is that Leah really enjoys unit studies - meaning she likes to talk about a particular subject for several days in a row. Since the New Year, our curriculum has given us, in addition to wild animals and farms, units on transportation, weather, and community helpers. We made a book for that particular unit, which Leah was SO proud of once it was put together. Each day, we discussed and colored pictures of two helpers, people such as doctors, lifeguards, librarians, repairmen, postal workers, and of course, policemen and firemen.

Leah has an eye for detail, or maybe it's simply an inherited OCD tendency, because she was always asking me what color the uniforms were. I told her or pulled up an image from Google, though I mentioned a couple times, "But this is your book and you can make them whatever color you like." Nope. Not Leah. It had to be realistic. Haha.

Overall, I really like our curriculum. We already ordered their Kindergarten level, since they had a decent sale for current families back in January. It's on the expensive side, though still substantially less than we might have paid had we sent Leah to private school. Mostly, I love that everything is laid out for me. Sure, I can include additional arts & crafts or skip over something that feels redundant, but all in all, I am very comfortable with it. I appreciate how gradual it is too. This year felt very relaxed, casual, and like an introduction to learning. While there are already many more activity and instruction books included in our Kindergarten box, none of it seems overwhelming or rushed. It appears to be a gradual extension of what we did this year. It's exciting!