May 16, 2012

Tinkering Around - Robot Themed Pre K Weekly Wrap Up

Phew it's Wednesday already, and I'm just not getting JZ's Pre-K post written from last week!  You would think I have four young children or something.  ;-)

JZ is currently 4.75 years old.

.Raising Rock Stars

This week we studied:
Unit 16 of RRSP
Unit Review - You Can Read

-All printouts are from RRSP or You Can Read unless otherwise noted.-

Theme - Tinkering Around (Robots)

Letter: Dd
Number: 16
Shape: star
Color: purple

JM's Tot School post is HERE.

What a blessed week we had.  I am so happy that we are homeschooling.  It is such a joy to watch JZ learn and blossom.  It helps that he is an eager learner.  He loves doing school time and often reads more than I ask him to or does an exercise more  times than expected.  I realize it won't necessarily always be this way, but for now I am enjoying every moment.  I can't tell you how excited I am to begin his kindergarten curriculum.  I feel like this year has been a great trial run, and I expect that we will ease into kindergarten smoothly when the time comes.

Anyway, I am rambling.  (If you have followed me for long, you know I do that often.)

Our morning routine has been fairly consistent:  Play time for the boys while I nurse the babies, breakfast, piano practice, play time while I tidy the kitchen and throw in a load of laundry, then up to the studio for school time once the little guys are down for naps.  We almost always start with our bulletin board.

On Mondays I read to the boys (JM doesn't always join us) from My ABC Bible Verses.  This week the verse was, "Do everything without complaining or disputing."  JZ and I discussed this in great detail, mainly instigated by him.  Throughout the week if he started to grumble when I told him to pick up his toys or get ready for bed I quietly reminded him of our verse.  He would think about it then thoughtfully ask, "How was that complaining?" or "How was that disputing?"  He wasn't talking back.  He was genuinely asking.  It was kind of cool.  That is hands down the best part about using the RRSP program which goes along with the book.  He is learning practical applications to Biblical principles.

After reading the story and answering the questions that go along with it, I have the boys point to various things on the board using their Handy Helpers.  They both know their shapes, colors, letters and numbers, so it really isn't about learning those.  It's my way of encouraging a Circle Time of sorts.  In the next few weeks I'll be starting Calendar Time.  I'm in the process of putting together a calendar bulletin board and incorporating all of the daily activities I want to include for JZ for kindergarten.  My plan is to slowly introduce them between now and the fall, so we don't suddenly one day add a dozen activities to our school day.

After Circle Time JM (if he chose to join us) goes to his trays.  JZ gets to decide whether to do his Reading Lesson, a page in his Sight Word Notebook, or one of his activity drawers.  He does all his drawers and his notebook every day, but the reading lesson is optional.  I don't believe in pushing young children to read.  We only pursue it as his interest holds.  Some days he wants to be read to, some days he reads to me, some days we do his reading lesson, and other days we do all three.

I don't typically showcase his drawers in the same way I do JM's trays, but it is a very similar idea. (I think I don't showcase them, because they don't photograph well.)  He has a three drawer set that he works through each day.  It is slightly inspired by the Sue  Patrick Workbox System, although no where near as structured since he is so young.  This system has been working well for us since December.  He knows once he has completed his drawers and one sheet from his notebook he is done for the day. Some days he chooses to stay in the studio and do more work, and other days he is ready to head outside to play.  I plan to continue the drawer system when we start his kindergarten work.  As a child I always preferred having a visible starting and ending point, so I try to show that respect to my children.  Obviously as he gets older (not in kindergarten) his work will take more than three drawers, but we will cross that bridge once we get there.

Here is a glance at his drawers for the week:



Since I mentioned that JZ's drawers are slightly based on the Sue Patrick Workbox System I should explain what is different about them.  For starters, with the Workbox system a child works in order from top to bottom.  I don't have the drawers in any set order.  JZ is free to do the activities in any order as long as he completes each one.  Second, one great suggestion by Sue is to include in each drawer everything a student needs for that particular task.  So if the task is copywork, a pencil, paper, and the sheet to copy would be included in the drawer.  If it is a copy and paste sheet, the sheet, scissors, and glue would be included.  I love this idea and see myself using it sometime in the future when I am schooling four children.  This eliminates wasted time as children go digging through supplies to round up everything needed, all the while possibly distracting siblings.  For now I don't include all items.  I put anything in the drawer that JZ might not know where it belongs, or perhaps if it's something he can't reach.  I don't, however, include markers, pencils, glue, etc.  This is done on purpose, because part of what I'm teaching him is how to get his own supplies and put them away when he is finished.

Alright already, have you had enough of me rambling on???  I don't blame you.  It occurred to me over the weekend that while I post what the boys do, I don't always post the thought process behind it all.

Now, on to his work from the week.  Using matching cards from a Toy Story pack from 1+1+1=1 that I printed, laminated and cut out, we played traditional Memory.  I need to use thick card stock next time, because he could see the pictures through the backside.

He traced the color words that corresponded to each robot in this pack from Homeschool Creations.  This kid loves tracing work.  I hope one day he has incredibly beautiful handwriting.  With the way he focuses and works slowly, I imagine he will!

Whenever JZ has homework for his music class I include it in his school work, so he doesn't have school, then music, then AWANA (which we also include in school time.)  That way once his work is done for the day, he is free to play!  This week he had to color the type of notes (quarter, half and dotted half) and the correct amount of boxes per beat. 

From the same above mentioned Toy Story pack he I made patterns for him to copy.  Then he made patterns for me to copy.  :)

I bought a Kumon Drawing workbook awhile back that I had very mixed feelings about.  I want my guys to be able to draw well (I complete stink and wish I was better), but I also don't want to box them in.  I prefer to give them freedom to draw, paint, and color as their imaginations lead.  Well, since I bought the book I decided to finally introduce it with a new package of colored pencils.  I'm so glad I did!  JZ loved it, and he did more pages than I suggested!  We talked about why each step was important and about making drawings dimensional.  He made some pretty great apples on his own later in the week.  I'm glad I bought this book.  I don't plan on making him work his way through it, but I have it available for use when he wants to continue learning.  The drawings get progressively more difficult, so I'll let him work at his own pace.

One day I set out playdough and a few accessories on one of JM's trays.  JZ quickly finished up his work, so he could join his brother.  A little incentive never hurts.  ;-)

JZ traced vowels in this booklet from Confessions of a Homeschooler.  After tracing he used the blank pages to draw each capital and lower case vowel.  

Anytime JZ finds a maze in one of his drawers he is delighted and quickly finds the correct path.  He doesn't like to get it wrong, so he eyes the maze first before drawing with his pencil.  This maze is from Confessions of a Homeschooler K4 curriculum.

I always print the weekly easy reader to go with the RRSP lesson, but I never make JZ read it.  I leave it attached to the bulletin board, and he can take it down to read when he wants.  So far, he hasn't missed a single week.  He often pulls it down when I'm otherwise occupied and reads it aloud.  :o)

He found the beginning sound of each color of robot and used a mini clothespin to clip the correct letter.  (The robot printables are from the same pack from Homeschool Creations that I mentioned earlier.)

We spent one more week reviewing sight words before moving on to the next unit.  I'm glad I took this time to let JZ review.  By reviewing I was able to see which words he didn't really have memorized when taken out of context.  (Sometimes he memorizes a group of words in order, so he knows the four sight words per unit together but not independently.)  Then instead of drilling him or making it a huge chore, we played fun games to ensure he knew each word we've learned so far.  Also, when we are reading together I make a point of letting him say the sight words he needs extra practice on.

One game we played this week was inspired by Shining Our Lights Preschool.  I printed, laminated and cut out the sight words and then hid them in a bin of craft sand.  The boys were delighted to run their fingers through the sand.  Each time JZ pulled a word out of the sand, he dusted it off and read it to me.  JM enjoyed pretending to read.  :-)

Without prompting JM started tracing letters in the sand.

To check out more fun we had this week, click the link below each photo:

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