1. We are going to start our day with our Circle Time and that includes Prayer, Pledges, Calendar & Seasons, Song of the Week, Story Time/Read Alouds, & Our Motto Chant (also, Devotionals/Bible Verse & Memorization are in our day and planned for this time, but they may be moving to another time slot) [TIME = 1 hr. = approx. 8:00-9:00]
2. The next three hours (a., b., c. shown below) of our morning will be versatile dependent upon weather/season) and the reason for this change is that we live in Texas and we were spending the coolest part of our indoors and then, it would be time for lunch and ... then, time for Caden's nap ... and that is also the hottest time of the day anyway. So, we were feeling like house hermits. I want to be able to have my kids outdoors for some part of their schooling day and doing some physical activities.
a. Outdoor Activities/Exercise/Outdoor Chore Time (i.e. Water Plants, Clean Yard Toys, etc.) [TIME = 1 hr. = approx. 9:00-10:00]
b. I was trying to combine teaching time with Sierra & Savannah (K & 3rd) and it was too distracting for Savannah. Savannah is probably ADD, although I will not consider medicating my child. I think we just have to learn to deal with it and teach her to deal with it. So, I have decided to make her my Assistant Kindergarten Teacher. ;) She will help me teach Sierra and partake in the activities that Sierra does while actually learning to be a teacher, too. During some of the activities that are easy to tie in some 3rd grader work she will do hers along side her sister (not anything that is going to take over the K time, though). Much of this decision is based on the fact that I know Sierra was robbed of much of my focus for her Pre-K time and now that has been happening with her K time. I do not want her to miss all those wonderful fun things that the K grade does. So, the following is what we did for today to provide an example of how Savannah will work with me to teach her sister: [TIME = 1 hr. = approx. 10:00-11:00]
-- I started them with a maze each which would be my "icebreaker" and that lasted less than a minute, but they liked doing that.
-- Review short vowel sounds (opening the barnyard doors from a craft done last week that was so cute). I had Savannah ask Sierra the name of the animal and it's vowel sound.
-- Review Creation Booklet (another cute craft book done last week). I let Savannah read it to her sister, since Sierra can not read it, yet. Savannah made a commnet about how cool the booklet was that her sister made. :) Love it! I did have to tell Savannah at one point that we do not criticize others "art techniques".
-- Practice Writing worksheet (half homemade) for some of the numbers 1-20 (randomly). I had Savannah say something like, "Sierra, draw a green triangle around the number 13, then trace the number. Circle the 7 with an orange marker and trace that number." We did this randomly with about 10 of the numbers. Sierra does not struggle with these concepts, so it is a great way to teach her to follow directions. She is one of those kids that you hand a worksheet and she just dives in and does it.... before instructions. Most the time she does it correctly, but other times not. This is also reinforcing the colors and shapes she already knows and teaching the numbers 11-20 that she still gets a little mixed up with. This is just an activity I developed on a whim. The reason I say it is "half homemade" is that her workbooks are workign on the number 2 still!! I don't want her to be held back from learning. I use the practice sheet for Lesson 70 for writing numbers 1-10 and I add a column that I write in light marker for the numbers 11-20.
-- Then, they got "starving" and I told them they could have pretzels while Sierra was doing a few simple worksheets (one for tracing, one for drawing, and two that are way too easy math for her, but she gets to color)... anywhoooo... their snack turn in to numbers (11, 1), then letters (A, E, F, H, I, K, L, M, N, T, V, W, X, Y,Z) and that was fun for them to be creative and reinforce letters.... of course, this was on a whim, too. We went over our time and we did not get to her letter writing practice, BUT look at what we DID accomplish.... two added "on the whim" activities and teaching Savannah to teach her sister. Also, Savannah did her own handwriting practice page while Sierra was doing two of the worksheets.
c. The other hour will be combined teaching for both of them for Science and History and we will do simple experiments/crafts during this time. Some of the more complex things might take place in the kitchen/outside or in the evening hours. [TIME = 1 hr. = approx. 11:00-12:00]
3. This will bring us up to lunch time. During this time they will be expected to help with setting the table, eating, clearing the table and help planning the Dinner Meal (by this I mean pre-prep like taking meat out to thaw, etc. and talking about what will be served). I seem to get so caught up in our day that I forget to plan ahead for dinner and we are eating out more or cooking really quick meals in a rush. [TIME = 1 hr. = approx. 12:00-1:00]
4. During the last hour I try to nurse Sahara, so that I can put Caden to bed for a nap. I still like to rock him or hold him because that is the only time I get to these days. So I put him down for his nap and at the same time will get Savannah started on Independent work. I have a folder for each day that I hand her that has her worksheets and a checklist of her assignments. Ideally, she would eagerly grab her folder and get busy checking off the work as she does it. That is what we are striving for, anyway. ;) I am here to help her where she needs it and teach new concepts. Savannah's checklist includes Bible reading, devotional reading for church, math worksheet, phonics reading time, story reader time, language worksheet, handwriting, science, and history. Keep in mind that she could already check off the last three because we did those with Sierra. Also, her devotional reading might be done earlier, too. Today Sierra came back in here and did Dot Marker art pages... Caden did one, too. Savannah did two pages during a short brain break. [TIME = 2 hr. = approx. 1:00-3:00]
5. Anytime after that Savannah & Sierra could do what we are calling "Centers" activities. That includes games, cards, computer, reading, puzzles, etc... and playing... less TV time, etc. We are not eliminating TV just yet, but I want it to be limited and I want to wean them off some of the shows that I feel are damaging to their spirits (I'll do a post on that soon).
6. I want my "littles" to be involved in as much as they can, but I am still working on how to accomplish that. Caden is content to run around the corner and pop in a JoJo's Circus DVD and play, but I do not want him spending his days in front of a TV. Hopefully, this schedule will allow more little projects he can participate in. I also am considering locking him in here with us via baby gates. I have an adjoining room that would be perfect once I remove the boxes of stuff that used to decorate this living room turned school room. The "littles" could play and have a grand time while under closer supervision.
I really did not plan to type all this detail, but it helps me reflect on my day. And who knows... maybe there is someone out there that can use this insight or adapt this schedule to their needs. I also hope that one day my children can read my writings and find it useful to apply to their own lives.
The decision is still pending regarding a curriculum switch, but this week would not be a good week for starting anyway. My husband was off for Labor Day, so we took it off, also. Our Co-Op starts Friday, so we will only have three full school days here.... so, I will chill some for now and keep digging in deeper. I will say this. I think what I have now (A Beka) is good when modified greatly. What I like about MFW is that is compiled in one lesson plan book and simpler to follow. A Beka has a lesson plan book for each subject and I basically teach from the student books. I rarely use the lesson plans. I pull all the crafts, learning games, etc. together own my own. Uh.... reading that I am thinking... duh! There's no wonder I struggle... that and my highly distractable beautiful daughter. :) For me A Beka's multitude of books is beyond overwhelming and like trying to put together a 5000 piece puzzle. There's the lesson plan, teacher key book, and student book and that is for EACH subject. I wish they had a lesson plan for all subjects... well, I probably wouldn't use it either. LOL! I'll likely switch to MFW... we'll see.