Friday, September 7, 2012

1st Day of Homeschool: Up, Down and All Around!

Yesterday was not as I had imagined it would be. I have to admit... the start was rocky at best. This is the first year that I am homeschooling more than one child and what a difference that makes!

I have 3 girls: 4th, 2nd and preschool. Last year, I homeschooled only the oldest after having exhausted our local options for schools. This year, my youngest is old enough for preschool & the 2nd grader made the choice to switch.

After the intial emotions settled down; the oldest stopped telling the middle what to do; the middle relaxed and stopped comparing herself to her sister and the youngest fell in love with the projects, the day was altogether amazing.

And here's what I think turned it around: Flying Wish Paper.

The Flying Wish Paper was an all inclusive kit that I got at a local shop. Included were the papers, launching pads, pencils & matches. You write your wish on the paper (the girls wrote wishes for the coming year) and then crumple it up into a ball. Unfold the paper, press flat, roll into a loose tube and light. Right before it finished burning, it magically lifts into the air. The girls loved it!

Read Alouds: Nim's Island by Wendy Orr

So happy to have an old tradition of reading to the girls during lunch, snacks or anytime we need to stop and take a break. Lately, it's been Nim's Island. All 3 kids LOVE it!

The day before, I had taken them to a fabric store and had them each pick out fleece without knowing what for. Yesterday, while I read, they made "No Sew Fleece Blankets" (Here's the link to the video tutorial we used:No Sew Fleece Blanket). We used 1 2/3 yards of 2 colors for each blanket but I think 1 yard of each color would have been fine.

The project was a great success! Even the 3 year old cruised right along with her little scissors cutting the fleece. We'll finish up those today. These will be "Story Blankets" which will hopefully encourage them to snuggle up and read on the covered porch through our rainy fall season.

Setting up Reading Journals
This project is wonderful: helps with spelling, sentence structure, paragraph construction and more. For each book read, the girls will write a one page summary and draw an illustration to accompany it. To start the year, I provide a list of questions for the girls to answer. As they get used to the key questions to answer in a summary, I ask them to write them without prompts.

The best part of this project is the finished product. At the end of the year, the children will be surprised and proud to see how much they have accomplished.

Preschooler Storybook
My preschooler decorate the cover of her storybook pad. I wrote the block letters and she traced inside them. This will be her activity while her sisters work in their Reading Journals.


Lightbox Fun

A simple lightbox made from a shallow tote with a lid and a strand of battery-operated string lights that I purchased at IKEA entertains my preschooler for an hour a day everyday. For the first day, we used clear colored legos that I got at a yardsale for $1. She made letter shapes, towers, on and on. Search lightbox on Pinterest for 100's of ideas.

Here's what I know so far.
All 3 girls are smart as whips but express that differently.

4th grader: loves to read; is very methodical; goes from step A to Z in order; could sit still for hours.

2nd grader: warming up to reading; goes from step A to H back to C to J then something sparkly   catches her eye and she has forgotten about Z; needs to move every 20 minutes. Loves art.

Preschooler-Not reading, very verbal, wants to do the same work as her sisters despite my explanation that she is 3 and they are 7 & 9. Very methodical in her work.

Different kids, different styles. I knew and expected that and was somewhat prepared. But OH MY! Are their learning styles compatible? That is the question. We'll see what happens.

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