Archive for February, 2012

Preschool

I always say that I homeschool from birth. It kind of weirds me out when people talk about thinking about starting to homeschool when they have a five year old or something. There was never a time when I started to homeschool; it’s just how we live. I admit that our homeschooling has certainly grown more organized and formal as the children have grown. I always knew I wanted to homeschool, and my first child loved to read from the time she was born. She was my first, so I had no idea it was unusual that she would sit on my lap for hours looking at books and asking over and over what different things were. By 18 months she had organically learned colors, shapes, and about half the alphabet and their phonetic sounds. By organically I mean she just learned it out of her own curiosity. I never sat her down with flash cards drilling in lessons. She just pointed and asked.

At two she was asking me to teach her to read. I had been sure that I wasn’t going to be one of those parents who started early. I wasn’t going to push. But she nagged and nagged until I started to teach her to read. I tried phonics. Didn’t work. I tried teaching her whole words and then building stories based on those words, all building on each other. It was too hard, yes, even for me. 🙂 Then I found the Robinson Curriculum which introduced me to the McGuffey Readers. I also saw on a blog, now called Raising Godly Tomatoes, about how she had taught her wee ones to read with a flashcard system. I combined the two. That’s how my kids have learned to read at age four (except for my daughter who was younger.)

I have had four boys come after my daughter. Only my one-year old likes to sit and look at books. The others all chewed on books at age two instead of reading them. But at four they each started to learn to read. Right now I’ve just started teaching the third boy to read. My first step is always teaching the alphabet and letter sounds even though I don’t teach phonics until after they can read. I found myself not being consistent in presenting the letters to him, and he wasn’t able to just see it once and get it. He kept wanting to do school, but I kept not getting around to him as much as he wanted.

Now that I’m putting the older children’s school online, I’m doing the same with my 4 year old. It’s been a lot of fun. I’ve created characters for each letter and have been building a story incorporating them all into it so that there is repetition and review for each letter and sound. Here’s the letter C. (This is the boy version. I have a girl version of each letter as well. You have to click on “Play Flash Full Screen.” I do all of my blogging for free, so you have to do the extra click. You have to pay to get the direct link.)

Most of the characters are these fun drawings from Easy Child Crafts. I’m not at all a craft person, but having it all planned out makes it easy to just print out the craft. Thankfully my daughter loves crafts and helps out when she’s around. I do have some links to other crafts that can be chosen, but I always also have an easy paper craft as a choice for non-crafters like me. Most of the crafts are from DLTK and other ideas are from Our Crafts N Things. They both have ideas for every letter of the alphabet.

 Really my main goal of preschool is learning to read. Reading is what they need to do well in order to do well at “school.” They learn their shapes and colors and counting some by absorbing and some by asking and some by my taking advantage of learning opportunities. I’ve incorporated those things into my son’s online school as well, but just some. The focus is definitely learning to read.

You can see the beginning of his learning to read curriculum at the Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool. After learning the letters, he’ll do the McGuffy Primer by learning by sight the new words in each lesson, and then he’ll do the First Reader without learning the words separately first. Then he’ll do phonics. This all happens over two years. Then he’ll be an excellent reader just like his siblings 🙂

…Next time I’m thinking of writing on unschooling.

February 24, 2012 at 3:53 pm 4 comments

World War II part 4

Let me try and finish this up.

During our study we worked on 2 timelines. One is a paper timeline that we have been working on throughout the year. We don’t put tons of stuff on there, just  a bit for each decade. We put the musicians and artists we studied on there too. The timeline pieces are simple minibooks. You could also cut off the fronts and just use them as images. Right now I can give you the modern history music timeline minibooks, the modern history art timeline minibooks and the timeline decade pages. Our year of study started after the Civil War. Later I’ll have the regular history minibooks for you. In the curriculum there are links to learn about the musicians/artists and to hear/look at their work.

The other timeline we worked on was at timetoast.com. Here’s my son’s WWII timeline. You can add text and pictures to the dates and events you add, so it’s like an online lapbook 🙂  My son loves computers, so I like to give him written and computerized work. I do make him do the regular minibooks sometimes too because his small motor skills have always been a struggle. It’s good for him to cut and write at least some. You can’t just always avoid the things you aren’t good at!

Here’s a little worksheet I made up for my daughter (6th grade) to use with this site and this site and others to get the info.

There are some different videos and animations of battles that we watched: Dunkirk  Italian Campaign  D-Day  D-Day video for the older set.

We watched Truman’s inaugural address. We did this worksheet on the atom bomb.  My oldest did this exercise about why the bomb was dropped.

Below is the final exercise for the oldest group. My daughter doesn’t like to read in front of people, but she likes putting on plays. Let them dress up and act it out. It can be more comfortable than giving the speech as yourself.

  1. Now that the war is over. Look back. They say, “Hindsight sight is 20/20.” That means it’s easier to know what to do once you already know the results of your decisions. Read these arguments for and against appeasement. Color code the for and against arguments (you don’t have to follow the directions just mark each blue or red–or whatever colors you choose.) Decide what you think and choose to do either extension 1 or 2.
  2. You have to write to convince them. Have a strong introduction but even stronger conclusion. Leave them convinced that you are right.
  3. Read your speech to your family. Be fiery!

The end. 🙂

Next time I’ll write about preschool 🙂

February 17, 2012 at 10:23 pm Leave a comment

World War II part 3 redo

What happened to my post? I just saw that it was blank? I have to redo it. That’s annoying. But for you, I will do it.

I left off with Pearl Harbor.

My oldest student (6th grade) did some worksheets with political cartoons. I already gave you the link that contains one of them. Here’s one that I made up having to do with America’s resistance to joining the war. Both political cartoons we used were by Dr. Seuss.

My daughter's version of a propaganda cartoon. She didn't get Hitler's famous mustache right, but I think she did a good job.

Here is a coloring page for the axis leaders and a game I made to sort through the axis and allies.

My daughter watched a video series on the history of China from WWI through WWII. SKIP PART 4! I mean you can watch it if you want to, but I wouldn’t have a child watch it because of a description of a torture technique.

We listened to President Roosevelt declaring war on Japan. We watched this video on the fighting between the Americans and Japanese. We watched a different one for the older kids.

We read about the Japanese internment camps and watched a video about it. Took the “quick quiz” too.

We read about codes and technology during the war, even reading about pigeons and watched the movie Valiant. (I’m not giving you every link. You can find more links on the Links blog and everything we did on the year 4 history page on my curriculum blog.)

Part 4 to come…

February 11, 2012 at 3:47 pm Leave a comment


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