When I asked Goose if she wanted to start “home school”, her answer was an enthusiastic YES! In true teacher form, I sat down and drafted eight weeks of instruction designed specifically for her. My tentative plan is to focus on a theme each week that incorporates one letter, one number, and one shape. We began last week with “A is for Apple”, which included the letter A, the number one, and circles.
We try to get out of the house for play dates, story time, gym class, or other outings so I only planned on doing home school three days a week. Also, Belly takes 2-3 solid naps each day so I figured those would be the best times for school with Goose.
Here are three highlights from “A is for Apple” week:
Goose is already familiar with the alphabet and the concept that all letters have different sounds. I want to work on her letter recognition and using manipulatives to form letters. She isn’t ready for handwriting, but we’ll get to that eventually.
To practice the letter A, we built A with play dough, went on an A hunt in several books, and used our fingers to trace A on different textures. Pictured here was her favorite letter identification activity. I just put a group of letters out and she had to find all of the A’s. I started with only two letters and we worked our way up to a large group, mixing them each time.
Although we’re starting with A, we will not be learning the letters in alphabetical order. Instead, we’ll go in order of frequency (how much they’re used in written and spoken language). Next week will be all about S.
Check out Kid Theme Dinners for fun, easy ways to practice letters with your kiddos while you prepare dinner.
After I introduced the parts of an apple to Goose, we made applesauce. I did this with a few of my kindergarten classes and it’s seriously so easy. We cut up four pounds of apples and put them in the slow cooker. Add a cup of water, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and leave it for 4 hours on high heat. You don’t even have to peel the skin off.
We came back a couple of times to stir the pot and observe how the apples were changing. They made our home smell amazing and Goose couldn’t help but taste some each time.
They’re really soft and easy to mash after 4 hours so you can stop there. I like to give them a quick run through the food processor just to smooth them out. The finished product is so sweet and tasty. Way better than store-bought!
Tear art is another activity that I used in my classroom. Basically, Goose had to tear red construction paper into small pieces and then glue them together in the shape of an apple. I definitely underestimated how difficult tearing paper would be for her. This is amazing fine motor practice for small children. Check out the determination on her face.
Once the paper was finally torn, she took her time gluing each of the pieces on the white paper. I was really proud of how focused she was through this process. I didn’t help her at all and I think it came out so cute!
Tear art took so long that Belly woke up. She played patiently while Goose finished.
“A is for Apple” was a huge success! Although I always find learning opportunities for both girls throughout the day, I’m glad that I’ve chosen to be more deliberate with what I am teaching Goose. I certainly intend to keep the fun in our days and make learning enjoyable, but I also think it’s important to prepare my girls with as much knowledge and experience as possible.
As a former kindergarten teacher, I know that the expectations for 5-year-old students are unusually high these days. Let’s just say things have changed since we were in kindergarten. Children who enter school with little or no academic experience are at a severe disadvantage compared to their peers. Now that I’m home full time, I’m conscious about extending my love for learning to my girls and making sure they’re developing a strong foundation for their eventual entrance into school.
The best thing about homeschooling is that I can customize everything for my kids. Goose has shown a lot of interest in “Green Eggs and Ham” so our theme next week will be “S for Sam I Am”. We’ll cover the letter S, the number 2, and ovals. And eat some green eggs, of course. Yum?
Are you interested in seeing our home school highlights each week? Are you working on anything special with your kiddos? Leave a comment and let me know!
Here’s how week two of home school went: Green Eggs and Ham Recipe
Take a look at some of our favorite books!
See how we survive outings!
Read my tips for potty training!