Friday, February 8, 2013

Homeschool Preschool Weeks 23 & 24

L and E are 3.5 years old.  If you read this blog you know that over the past 6 months I've been going back and forth between structured and unstructured homeschool time.  After spending too much time being told by the twins that they're too busy to play with me, I decided to just ring a bell (a triangle, actually) and tell them that it means it's Preschool Time and they need to hurry to their table.  I still set up 6 trays with various activities, but I keep them on the dining room table and pick which one comes next instead of letting the kids decide. This system has been working great so far and we're back to doing 'Preschool' twice a day for 30-60 minutes each session.  I'm always pulling out fun activities and new manipulatives so the girls get excited about our time learning together and don't mind getting pulled away from their dramatic play adventures for a little while.  Here's a sampling of the types of activities we've been doing over the past 2 weeks..

Reading and Writing

I always add physical movement games to our learning.  We're on lesson 12 in All About Reading and we're always playing reading games.  I'm excited to be moving on soon to some new phonograms and initial/ending blends since it seems we've been on CVC words forever.

All the CVC word practice has really improved their speed/fluency and confidence.  They're very excited about the prospect of being able to read stories to their dolls and stuffed animals soon.

The kids are also determined to learn how to write (so they can write letters to their dolls/stuffed animals, of course).  We've been working on both pre-writing pencil control activities as well as letter formation.  Both twins are left-handed so I've been stumbling a bit on how they are 'supposed' to form letters because they naturally want to make some of their lines in the opposite direction than they 'should'.  Honestly, I'm just going with the flow and focusing more on the end result (even I don't write my letters the 'recommended way').

Of course drawing is always a favorite activity.

For our read-aloud chapter books, we've finished up The Wishing Chair Again by Enid Blyton as well as Wolf Story by William McCleery.  We're currently reading The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden.  It includes a bit of information on Chinese culture which I'd like to integrate into some Chinese New Year activities this weekend.

Math and Logic

I've been reinforcing the math skills we've been working using games.  In the above photo, Bears and Turtle are playing a game where they each flip over a card and the one with the highest amount wins.  We tallied the scores on a whiteboard.



Working with Cuisenaire Rods has also been a favorite activity.

The girls have a lot of confidence in their abilities to complete patterns.  We always switch things up by using different manipulatives (usually $1 plastic toys)

We're also working on grid coordinates.  I pretended to be the air control tower and told them the coordinates of where to land each plane.

A lot of times we'll start a Preschool session with some simpler activities that they can complete independently.  This is good for warming up their brains before harder puzzles and also for getting them to focus and concentrate on activities.   They're always proud of their achievements and ask for more activities.

We've been having fun this week testing out a new activity to develop logic and mathematical reasoning skills.  I've super-excited about it, but I'll have to save the details for another blog post.

Activities that practice geometry and fine motor skills at the same time are a big hit around here, as well.

Now that we're (finally) getting back into a more structured homeschool approach, I have ideas for all sorts of neat things I want to teach the kids through fun projects.  Stay tuned to this blog as I'll be trying to post even more regularly.

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  1. Sounds like a great approach. My middle 2 boys (preschool and Kindergarten age) distract each other from doing preschool/schoolwork too. I am pretty ambivalent about what my just-turned-4-year-old does school-wise but some days it is hard to get the K'er to stop playing with his brother long enough to get everything done we have on our agenda.

  2. It looks like you've found a great balance between play and learning. I haven't seen a geo-board in ages; I should dig ours out of the crawl space and let my 5 year old loose with it.


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