Thursday, December 20, 2012

Mid-Year Homeschool Review

We have 5 days until Christmas and about 2 weeks until we start the second semester of our homeschooling year. This was really the first year I ventured into homeschooling. I bought a curriculum this past spring and started using it after we got settled in Japan. The first couple of times I sat down to do a lesson with Thing1, I quickly realized that she wasn't ready for formal lessons. She became uninterested very quickly and didn't like being told what to do. It made me feel very discouraged, to be honest. I began doubting my ability to teach her anything.

But then I decided to change things up a bit. I don't remember where, but I saw an idea somewhere that helped me ease up on what I expected of myself and of Thing1. I bought a teacher's lesson planner and sat down every week/two weeks to look through my curriculum and write down what we were supposed to cover for each subject. Instead of trying to do every activity/lesson included in the curriculum, I just wrote down the topic they were covering. So, for example, under "Math," I would just put, "Introducing addition and subtraction."

Then, at the end of every day, I would open up my planner and write down everything we did during the day that might fit in with our homeschooling agenda. This method works so much better for me, and for Thing1. There were a lot of things we were doing during the day that easily fit in with our homeschooling curriculum. Writing it down as it happened, instead of trying to plan everything, helped me to see how much we are actually doing each day. And, because I had a snapshot each week of how she was supposed to be moving through the curriculum, I was able to easily find ways to incorporate those new objectives into our everyday activities.

Here is a glimpse of a week in December:

Reading/Language Arts:
  • Read "On the Banks of Plum Creek" every night
  • Did a sight-word matching game that I found online
  • Played some games on Starfall to go over new vowel sounds
  • Completed two worksheets, filling in numbers 1-50 and 50-100 (from
  • Worked on her dot-to-dot workbook with numbers 1-70
  • Counted out-loud from 1-100 in the car
  • Read a chapter from Life of Fred
  • Read book, "When Winter Comes" to talk about how animals prepare for winter
  • Watched a video about the water cycle
  • Watched a video about the seasons and a video about winter, in particular
  • Looked over a cloud worksheet together, listing and describing types of clouds
  • Colored some cloud printables (also from
  • Guessed what types of clouds we saw while outside
Social Studies/History:
  • Watching a video about winter holidays
  • Continued our daily calendar routines (marking off days, talking about what is coming up next)
  • Thing1 practiced piano on her own a couple of days
  • Printed off a painting by Georges Seurat to look at and discuss
  • Attended library storytime
  • Went to Mom & Me Yoga
  • Took Thing1 to 4-6 year old yoga
  • Took Thing1 to her Japanese lessons 1x/week

It may look like a lot, but we spend maybe 3 hours a week actually sitting down and "doing homeschool." Most of our learning happens throughout the day, when we're not sitting down at the dining room table. It happens on walks to pick up the mail, driving in the car, sitting on the couch while we read, or even watching a show on PBS.

I'm excited about starting a new semester with her, because there will be a lot of focus on reading. And once she is really reading on her own, I feel like the whole world will open up to her. I'm so blessed to have this time with my kids.

I hope you are all enjoying the holidays. I will try to update the blog with Christmas pictures, but be patient. It may take me a while to get to it.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

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