Monday, January 20, 2014

Homeschool Kindergarten Lesson Plans - Week 20

We're starting to get back into a decent daily routine with our homeschool.  Baby brother (28 months) has been waking up early lately, so instead of trying to rush to get the girl's school done before he gets up in the morning, I've been doing circle time with all three kids every morning.  It's a lot of fun and I'm realizing that just because I see the twins (4.5 years old) as academically advanced, it doesn't mean that I should forget that they enjoy singing, dancing, and listening to me read aloud picture books too.  Then in the afternoon (while baby brother naps) we focus on a single 'subject':  Sunday is Latin, Monday is Social Studies, Tuesday is Art, Wednesday is Science, Thursday is Music, Friday is History/Geography, and Saturday is 'Virtues'.  It sounds like a lot but we totally play it by ear and 'school time' usually isn't more than 1-2 hours max these days.  This past week we learned about China, families, Benjamin Franklin, and more.  Here's a taste of how our week went...


Our topic was "families".  We read a lot of books about different types of families and had various discussions about how families grow, and about how a single person can be a father, son, brother, uncle, etc.. at the same time.  The girls filled out little books about their family.

We talked about all the fun things we do together as a family.  I love that E crossed off "Watch TV" since that's the one thing on the list we don't do together (although the kids get plenty of TV time on their own). 


We're studying China in preparation for Chinese New Year at the end of the month.  L made a Chinese flag by following a picture from the internet and gluing her stars in the correct locations.

We also located China on a couple different maps and globes.  The globe was the most helpful so the girls could see that it would be shortest to cross the Pacific Ocean to get there from where we live.  I also asked them to get some toys from their room and they were surprised to see that nearly all of them said "Made in China".  We talked about the route those toys might have taken from the factory to a store in Colorado and how they could have traveled (by train, boat, truck, etc..)

We've been using these amazing Calligraphy books - the first is a beautifully illustrated story that uses calligraphy images and the second provides step by step calligraphy lessons to help break down each symbol into its elements.  I can already picture how we can use this for a more intensive study in future homeschool years.  This year we just used watercolors to copy some of the symbols and to create our own.

L was very interested in calligraphy, while E did her own thing with the watercolors

I never force them to do school (though I may have to in higher grades), so if they just want to explore (or play) on their own, that is always fine.

We read a book called Three Pigs, One Wolf, Seven Magic Shapes.  After reading a page, each girl would use our magnetic tangrams to copy the animal or object shown in the story.  Even Baby H participated with his Tangoes Jr.  I made sure to explain that Tangram puzzles were invented in China, to tie it all together to our China unit.

The girls also did various activities and games with Mah Jong tiles.  I'll post something in more detail about this later.

Benjamin Franklin's Birthday

 For Ben Franklin's birthday on the 17th, the girls made a little kite craft that has facts about some of his most popular accomplishments.  In the morning they watched a movie Ben and Me so they were somewhat familiar with most of the inventions discussed.  Next year I have some great Ben Franklin books I'll be reading aloud to them. 

 I asked the twins to draw their own inventions.  E drew this robot that knocked things down and was mean to animals (which is why he got crossed off).

Math & Reading

The girls really enjoy "stations" where I place different activities (math, LA, writing, logic) around the house and they get their tickets stamped for each station they complete.

Most of these tasks are review so the girls can work on them independently. 

When I get a chance I'll post about what the "stations" in a typical session may include (mostly for my own reference so I remember what to do when H is the right age).

Read Alouds

We finished reading A Cricket in Times Square early in the week.   This is the second time we've read this book and it's amazing how much more they enjoyed (and understood) it this time around - it was like night and day.  I should probably go through all the books we read last year again with the girls (a lot I know for sure they have forgotten, like when I say "remember when such and such happened in the Wizard of Oz" and they look at me with blank stares), but there are so many more wonderful books I want to try out that maybe we'll just build up our library and then cycle through the books again in a couple years.

Right now we're about to finish Prince Siddhartha: The Story of Buddha.  It's interesting for both the girls and me and a great conversation starter about all sorts of interesting topics. 

The girls have been less than enthusiastic lately about independent reading.  I'm trying to increase the variety of materials - magazines, science books, poems, brochures, online materials, etc..  but they are still fairly resistant.  What's worked best so far is reading a book aloud to them and then asking them to read one or two sentences from each page to me.  L and I got through "Princess Posey and the Perfect Present" early chapter book in this manner this week.  They also enjoy reading "Little Bear" because I reward them with Teddy Grahams at the end of each page they read (nothing like bribery to encourage reluctant readers).

Fun and Games

Official "school time" is actually only a tiny part of our day - most of it is spent doing art, music, and lots and lots of dramatic play.  It's magical watching them invent their own creative games and get so much entertainment out of life - as adults we forget how to play so it's neat to be able to experience the wonder of everyday things again through my kids' eyes.

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