Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Addie's School Time

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As promised, today will be a review on our school time.  I will be covering a lot today, but hopefully it will not be too overwhelming.  I also have lots of pictures of us doing our school time... some you have already seen and a new one.  I am pretty proud of our little scholar.  I will be following a question & answer format to keep this from being one majorly long post.

When does it happen?

School time happens for us in the morning after we have had breakfast, I have given the house a quick clean (a walk through to make sure everything is in it's proper place, all breakfast dishes have been taken care of, etc.), we are both dressed (I would never have taught my classroom students while wearing pj's, so I refuse to teach my daughter in my pajamas), our laundry is washed and hung, and Addie's teeth have been brushed.

What we are doing?

We are learning the names of the presidents.  This is something new that I have recently added, so we are only on John Adams.  I love asking her who the man in the picture is.  The first time she answered me, I tickled her to pieces! My favorite part was when she said that George Washington was the first "present". Yes, my dear, he was a gift to our country.

We are also learning the names of the states and where they are on the map. She can point out Florida, New Jersey, New York, Michigan, and California.  These states are completely random sounding at this point, but they have been chosen based on a) where Addie lives (Florida), b) where Mommy lived when she was a little girl (New York), c) where Marky and JuJu from Team Mac live (New Jersey), d) where Daddy lived when he was a little boy (Michigan), and e) where a lot of movies are made (California).  Coming up soon are Georgia (where my friend Kathy and her sweet family live) and South Carolina (where one of Addie's cousins lives).

Addie can also look at the map of the collective United States and identify it as the "USA, USA!" The chant came from us watching the news last Monday after our troops had a victory over terrorism.  She kept hearing everyone chant "USA, USA!" and asked what they were saying.  I pull out our little book that we are using and showed her the entire picture on the front.  I told her that the whole thing was called the "USA, USA!" and we live in a little part of the USA.  It was a great way to use current events to teach a preschooler something new about where she lives.

One thing that we do is count while brushing her teeth.  Not only does it ensure that her teeth are getting a good cleaning, but it also is teaching her something new without her realizing it.  We count to fifty each time I brush her teeth.  I cannot even begin to tell you how surprised Brian was when Addie walked up to him one day and counted from one to thirty.  He called me over and asked if I knew she could count that high.  I just smiled.  Now, understand, just because we count to fifty doesn't mean she can recognize those numbers.  The Abeka math book that we used only went up to 15 and many of the number games we play using our Skip-Bo cards only go up to 12.  So our next field of study will be recognizing the higher numbers.

As I mentioned on Monday, I am going to begin teaching Addie Mommy and Daddy's real names, our address, and phone number. 

What books are we using?

In March we finished the two books that I had ordered from ABeka.  A few years ago, I went to Target towards the end of summer when they had the dollar section full of prep workbooks, learning books, and flashcards.  I found quite a few that were pre-school and 3-4 year old appropriate.  I kept them at the top of my closet until I felt that she was ready. 

She is ready!

We have already finished the Same and Different workbook, and we are almost done with the Numbers 1-12 workbook- maybe 3 more weeks in that one.  We are working in The Alphabets book which has letter tracing for each letter, and the Colors and Shapes book which covers all of the colors and shapes she already knows but gives her a reason to have more school time.

I have a book called Preschool Plus (Ultimate Skill Builder) which we are using as a supplement to the workbooks mentioned above.  It covers writing skills, patterns, pre-reading skills, money, colors, shapes, and numbers. 

Recently, I ordered the Hooked on Phonics ABCs: Premium Workbook which covers letter tracing, writing, and sound practice.

I also have an old, out of print ABeka K5 workbook that I have recently begun with her.  This one, I tend to pick through and use sporatically since it is a K5 book and she is only 3 years old.  Right now we are using the number tracing pages.  Tracing numbers and letters has become her love and joy right now. 

Are you using an actual curiculum next year?

No, we aren't. I have enjoyed piecing together a curiculum for her this year, and since I only have one more year before a structured curiculum is necessary, I am going to have a blast putting together her work for K4. 

The other reason that I am not using an actual K4 program is the upcoming birth of Squishy.  I know that I am going to have to take some time off from our school time (or at least slow it down a bit) and I do not want to feel the pressure of finishing a curiculum by a certain date so that she will be ready to begin Kindergarten. 

What are we are doing instead?

Reading is my main focus right now. Yes, we have done the Your Baby Can Read program, but I feel that phonics is very important for proper reading.  I have been looking all over the internet and asking other homeschooling friends what they are using for reading.  Right now, we are using the Hooked on Phonics (thanks, Aunt Faye!) approach, but I am also going to purchase the Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons book. 

What are some helpful links that I can use for information, books, and printable worksheets?

Most of the websites that I use, I have only used because Kristi from Team Mac found them and sent the links to me.  I cannot even begin to list all of them.  But these are my two favorite "go-to" sites for Bible and printable worksheets.  We also frequent this website for phonics review.

What do we use for our morning devotional?

Addie's "devotion" time happens with Brian in the morning.  He does his Our Daily Bread and read the Bible passage and article to her.  Our Bible time for school is based on the book See With Me Bible: The Bible Told in Pictures.  There are no words in this book except for a main point sentence at the end of each account.  The pictures are wonderful and colorful, and I love that Addie can pick up this book and tell herself the accounts based on the constant review.  Brian and I picked this up during my last teachers convention while I was pregnant with Addie.

We do about one story a week except for special times in the year.  At Christmas, we focused on the account of the birth of Christ by using our Nativity scene.  At Easter time, we focus on the Easter account by using the Resurrection Eggs (thank you, Team Mac!) and the movie The Miracle Maker - Special Edition.

What do we use for our evening devotional?

In the evening, we are going through the VeggieTales: 365 Bedtime Devos for Girls (thank you, Kathy and family!).  We really are enjoying the layout of each devotional- a verse to start with, a small application, and a closing prayer.  Then Daddy does a final prayer before the lights go out. There is also a devotional for boys.
How do we pick our memory verses?

We don't! The evening devotional has memory verses built into it. We learn and review the memory verse that is given until a new memory verse comes up in the devotional which can range from a week to a few weeks.  All memory verses are given hand movements.  Because of that, Addie learns her verses within a couple of days. 

Our most recent memory verse has been John 3:16.  I love how Addie recites it.  It goes like this: For God so loved the world that He gave His only a-gotten Son that whosoever beweeveth in Him should not perish, uh-uh (while shaking her head and finger), but have everlasting life (once she substituted absolutely safe for everlasting life- not trying to change the doctrine, just trying to pronounce the word.)

For those of you working with your prechoolers, I hope this was helpful.  It has really been exciting for me to be able to teach my daughter and to see the light bulb click on when she really catches on to something.  I look forward to teaching her new things and sharing with you, as always, what we are doing and learning.


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