Big news! JZ started kindergarten this week! That might seem odd with most children on summer vacation. This is a decision I made after much time spent in prayer and thought. We finished up the RRSP curriculum we were using. (I didn't blog about the last several weeks, because, quite frankly, I got burnt out on homeschool blogging. I mentioned in J-Bug's Tot Preschool post that I want to keep up with my weekly wrap up posts, so to avoid burn out I am only going to highlight some favorites instead of trying to include every single activity we did each week.) Anyway, back to my decision to begin kindergarten with JZ.
I considered breaking for a month or two after completing the RRSP program, but honestly, he is ready. I think I will be a year round homeschooler, (although I reserve the right to change my mind on that one at any time in the future.) I like the idea of year round schooling for two main reasons:
1. I'd like to avoid the "Summer Slide". I don't want to take a couple months off then spend a month reviewing what we learned the previous school year. If we are constantly learning and building on what we know, review is built in.
2. With four young children I have no intention of homeschooling five days a week. I don't think a five year old needs school five days in a row. He should be playing and spending most of his days outside. By schooling year round we can have the flexibility to do lessons three days each week instead of five and still stay on track with what JZ needs to learn. Of course on the non-school days we will read together just as we do every day, but there won't be any lesson plans.
Again, I reserve the right to change my mind at any given point. That's one of the beauties of homeschooling-flexibility!
Okay, on to my JZ's kindergarten choice. This was another decision covered in prayer. As much as I researched other curriculum I kept coming back to the one that first caught my eye, and I felt (and still feel) a peace about my choice.
We will be using My Father's World as our core curriculum. It combines my favorite styles and approaches: Charlotte Mason, Classical, and Unit Studies. The best part is that it is hands on. If you have followed my blog for long you probably know by now that we love hands on learning. I have no intention of putting my five year old at a desk to complete worksheet after worksheet. (Please note: if you choose a worksheet style for your child, I am not criticizing your decision. I am doing what is right for my son, and I trust you are doing what is right for yours.) I might not stick to the manual 100%, but I think this curiculum is the perfect starting point for our family for this year.
This past week we completed the two week introductory lesson. The first two weeks focus on alphabet review (which JZ has down pat) and learning about Creation. We did an extensive study of Creation back in January and February. (Unfortunately I never got around to blogging about the specifics.) So instead of taking two weeks for the introductory lesson I chose my favorite ideas from the teacher's manual and added a few fun games for JZ and combined it all into one week.
Each day we started with Calendar Time. Both older boys really enjoyed pointing out which day and month is was as well as figuring out yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Together we sang the days of the week to the tune of "Adams Family".
I called out different times, and JZ made the correct time on the Melissa and Doug Clock. Then I switched the hands, and he told me what time I set.
JZ worked on his Calendar Notebook a little each day.
I will write a post in the not so distant future about Calendar Time with the specific tasks for each day as well as where I got each idea.
Here is a glance at JZ's workboxes for the week:
We are very loosely following the workbox system. My reason for choosing a style of this nature is to keep organized and have everything prepared that I hope to accomplish in a day and also to give JZ a visual start and end point for school. He knows when the boxes are completed he is done with school for the day.
This exercise was for his music class.
JZ paired each picture with the correct beginning sound.
These cards were from a file folder game I printed off many months ago. I cannot remember the source. If anyone knows, please let me know, so I can credit appropriately.
People often ask me how I get everything done with so many young children. Typically school time takes place during the babies' morning nap, but I've learned to be flexible. One day Tank slept until after nine, so he wasn't ready for a nap when his brother went down. I put him in his space saver seat and served breakfast while teaching the older boys.
One day the four boys and I went for a walk. JZ took his Leapster Explorer with camera attachment and took photos as we walked.
That night I printed them and cut them out. The next day JZ sorted them according to God created and man made items.
Other activities we did this week are linked under each photo:
I compiled a round up of ideas for food play and how to minimize waste.
We made Chocolate Chip Protein Bars.
We experimented with making JELLO Glow.
As part of the MeMeTales Readathon we made Frog Puppets and explored a Frog Sensory Bin. If you haven't yet joined the Readathon I encourage you to sign up today!
Our sensory bin for the week was full of Glowing Waterbeads!
And finally, in case you missed my post yesterday, I am pleased to announce that I have teamed up with some fantastic bloggers and am now one of the co-hosts of The Sunday Showcase! Stop by and link up your favorite child centered ideas from the week. Feel free to link up more than one as long as they are child centered. (Educational, play related, cooking with kids, games, crafts, etc.)