"Enjoy the LITTLE THINGS in life for one day you will look back and realize they were the big things."


What blog is about Intro

Come on in and sit awhile while I talk about the "Little Things" in life. I will share my journey of everyday life.... homeschooling, raising my children, homesteading, gardening, health and wellness, and real life.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Making Curriculum Work For YOU: Insects, Etc.

I mentioned previously that I would like to start sharing how I am adapting our curriculum to make it work for us. As homeschoolers I think it is easy to think we have to do everything in our curricula and do it all just the way they say to do. First of all, I think it is important to realize we can make changes.... as many as we want. It's okay to completely leave some things out, too. As well, you should feel free to completely add something that you want to study. The example I will use is My Father's World Kindergarten's Insect Week. The main focus for the week is insects with a strong emphasis on the ant. Our ants did not come in during that week and that was okay, because we had plenty to keep us busy and to study on. Besides that... in hindsight I can see how having the ants DURING the week would have been distracting to getting some other things done. The ants did arrive the Monday AFTER studying them and that just made the learning carry on longer and more naturally. I think it is good for lessons to "overlap". We can still move on to the next lesson study while we finish up or continue some of the previous week activities. I think it just drives the information into their brains better. I will admit this is a change for me... I did think I had to complete one week to start the next week, which was really frustrating for me. Sometimes we would only have one day of study left for a lesson and if we worked on that final day on Monday, then that would throw off our next week. I just can not keep operating that way.
Back to changing things, adding things, and leaving some things out.... It is so fun to do ladybugs, but I have to say that painting a ladybug stone was not high on my list of fun things to do. At first glimpse I thought it was a cute idea, and then insect week came. First of all, where we live you can not just walk outside and get stones. You have to settle for pebbles and little hands work better with bigger things (stones). I did not want to make a trip to a store to search out stones adn then have to purchase stones, nor did I like the idea of marking on a beautiful stone once we acquired one. I prefer them au naturale! ;) I did however want some simple craft to do and what better to work with than simple craft supplies like construction paper. I quickly grabbed some bladck and red paper and went to work with Sierra. It may look complex, but it is simple a black circle, a red circle cut in half, a half circle in black for the head, some small black circles for spots, and some squiggle scraps for legs and antennaes. After we glued ours together we added some google eyes. While Sierra was doing the gluing I decided it would make a cute little booklet with some easy phonics words. No big thing... just cut six (or whatever) squares of paper to make the pages and staple them together and tape the booklet to the back of the ladybug. As you can see in the pic I wrote in some simple sentences and guided her through filling them in. On the remaining pages we make a sentence story:
Page 1 = I
Page 2 = am
Page 3 = a
Page 4 = bug
Super simple and that was the point because Sierra could write this "story" all by herself. She was so excited to show Daddy when he came home from work. We also made a paper plate ladybug craft.... Simple.... paint the whole plate red, paint a head area black, paint a black stripe down the center, use a dot brush or dot marker to dot black spots all over the ladybug, add google eyes (etc), and add pipe cleaners for the legs and antannaes. Seems like you are just crafting, but in fact both these activitiies reinforce that insects have six legs and two antannaes each. I also, printed out a dot-t0-dot page for both my girls to do that was a ladybug. In addition to that we made insects out of wooden shapes. The girls glued the shapes on paper and then, colored the wood. We put together insect puzzles and talked about insects everywhere we went... even if it was a some odd object in Wal-Mart that had a bug drawn on it. It was okay that we left out some of the stuff in the lesson plans because we did other things and the learning still happened.
Another thing that I have found difficult is finding the recommend books and even if I do find them sometimes I think it does not matter what books you use. The Grouchy Ladybug was recommended for the Insect week. I could not find it at our library and do not have it here, so we just used other books. A friend told me that she was dissappointed that this book was recommended because it expresses such bad attitudes that she would rather not use as an example to her children. I ended up being glad we did not use this book and we found plenty of other great books at the public library and in our home library.
These are just a FEW of the ways we are making the curriculum fit us. We also do not use all the "reading plan" for teaching Sierra to read because she is a bit ahead of it already. Instead, I am pulling from other sources and just trying to figure out on my own how to teach her read, since she is interested and I do not want to hold her back from that. I have been making the file folder games and printing out free printable phonics readers that are available online, as well as, purchasing some phonics readers for our little library that is quickly growing. And that is the last thing.... I am gathering lots of books to have on hand, so we do not need to go to the library as often or purchase books at full cost. I buy books on the thrift! Our two local Goodwill Stores are a great source and often run sales for 10 for a dollar. There is another resale shop in my town that is super cheap (probably 25 cents... I never ask the price of stuff there it is soooo cheap and goes to a good cause). Garage sales are great sources for books, also. It has surprised me how many of the recommended books we have acquires this way. At the library a few weeks back I was looking for the book "Make Way for Ducklings" and they did not have it on their shelves; however, as I was leaving I thumbed through their book sale books and that book was there... for sale!.... for like 50 cents! I get so very excited about that kind of thing! I think God sends us EVERYTHING WE NEED!!!


  1. Love the ladybug. I love making books like this, it just brings it all together, when we can do things like that.

  2. I am still working on making our curriculum work for us. It is so gratifying when you find something that works.


I love comments and suggestions! I read them all and I am so thrilled you are taking the time out of your busy life to share your words with me! --Shannon

Note: If you ask a question, check back here in the comments for my answer or check the little box so it goes directly to your email (if available). (This way others who have the same question will be able to read the answer!)