I love to combine subjects. The easiest subject to combine with another is reading or phonics. This puzzle mat game allows my kids to use phonics and science to identify and place animals according to their name. In a previous post I told you about finding these wonderful mats at the dollar store. They are awesome!
We have a tile floor so I had the kids place one letter per tile all across the classroom floor.
They had a blast!This is something you can use for beginning and and end sounds of the animal names. I then had them put the mat back together in order. This required them remembering where each letter went as well as working together.
This quick, easy, cheap game was a great way to reinforce their letters, and phonics.
Today was our first day of school!! I read these home school blogs where moms get up at 6 am have devotion time, make breakfast and start school all before 8 am. I admire those women and their ability to adult, let alone parent before the break of dawn but I am not that person.
So this is my schedule with the kids. I wake up carefully around 7:00 and try not to wake the AJ who sleeps with me to make nursing easier for us both. Once I successfully pry myself from my bed (I am not a morning person) I go into the kitchen, make my coffee and start breakfast (today I made pancakes with caramelized apples). By this time both SJ and KJ are up and on my heels. I feed them breakfast, talk to them about their dreams and whatever else the little people may come up with.
I then send them outside to play. I love sending them outside to play! They need the fresh air, imaginary, adventures and mommy needs some quiet time. Did I mention I am not a morning person. Well once they are in the groove of playing I finally get some quiet time with God, its about 7:45 now. I read the Bible, pray and I may read a devotion or book. Right now I am reading Rival by Lisa Bevere so far I love it.
I call them in at 8:45 to get their beds made by now the baby is up so its okay if they are loud. At 9:00 am school starts. We start with reading, geography, have a quick break then do math, science and history. Here is a look at our classroom.
We have not officially had our first day of school. I am still waiting for her school supplies from her charter school. Through the charter school I have funds allocated per semester to go towards school supplies and curriculum. This semester I ordered a lot of school supplies that I will be able to use for the next few years. Since the learning never really stops I am still doing fun teaching activities with the kids.
I LOVE to cook. I had some peaches that were on their way to being bad and decided to make a dessert out of them. I call this Caramelized Peach Puff Pastry.
- Cover the bottom of a hard bottom pot with an even layer of sugar and let it sit over medium heat. (Watch the pot refined sugar takes about 8 minutes to 15 start to brown, raw sugar takes between 5 and 10 minutes.) At this time warm the coconut milk.
- Once the edges start to darken stir until you the sugar is liquefied.
- Add the coconut milk to the sugar and stir, but the stove top on low. (If the sugar turns into a big hard ball keep stirring trust me it will go back to liquid form…eventually)
- Cover you pan with parchment paper I used a bread loaf pan.
- Place peaches on the pan
- Cover with caramel
- Top with COLD puff pastry
My kids love puzzles and I love saving money. At my last dollar store trip I found these awesome letter mats. I bought two one with animals and one with letters and numbers. I had the kids assemble it then KJ removed all the animals put them in a pile and put them back. This is great not only for his fine motor skills but also for his logic development.
As you can see he was pretty proud of himself for creating and completing his own learning activity. I am a firm believer that if you include kids in planning their activities then what they learn will stick. He also picks pretty good activities for a 3 year old.
My little people LOVE numbers they did not get that love from me but it is a love I try to foster. I happened to find some clothespins at the dollar store. It came in a pack of 50 so I will have to go back for more to make an even 100. I took out all the clothes pins and added numbers to them, the kids loved them. The ASKED to play with the stuff I got from the store. It was only fair I oblige.
KJ added clothes pins to dots I drew on a circular cardboard cut out. I just did one through 8.
SJ decided she would work on her addition. We put the clothespins on the floor randomly so she also liked having to “hunt” for the right numbers.
Lastly we put the clothespins in order on our activity rug. The three of us worked on this with occasional help from K. SJ did most of the work and was proudest when we finished. I will be writing the numbers to 100 on some additional clothespins sometime this week. This was a few hours of math activity the kids enjoyed for a buck!
While trying to navigate this sometimes overwhelming system I have learned there are many ways to start homeschooling.
1. Online Programs – Programs like K12.com allow you to work through the traditional school system but from home.
Pros: You child is on track with the state requirements, you have a teacher who you meet with weekly and your child learns from online daily. You are provided with all the materials you will need to teach from home including lesson plans.
Cons: Rigorous schedule, basic computer programs that kids may find boring, little room to deviate from plan. State testing (for those who want to avoid it), all forms including a record of vaccines or a religious exemption form.
2. Create your own school- Become a recognized charter school by the state, all you need to do is fill out a form and name yourself or whoever will be teaching the child as their teacher.
Pros: Complete control over what and when the student will learn, no testing, no vaccination records
Cons: No state testing may mean not being able to accurately track your students growth, must fund yourself, must provide own curriculum and lesson plans.
3. Public Charter Schools- Allow you to choose your curriculum as well as allowing you to choose what school materials you want to order.
Pros: Your tax dollars pay for your school supplies, the school has a per child per semester budget for you to use on approved school supplies. You pick the curriculum and design the learning environment. A teacher meets with you monthly to monitor the progress of the student.
Cons: You do have state testing, you have to fill out all forms including a record of vaccines or a religious exemption form.
We feel the public charter school is the best option for us. Its allowed us the freedom we want over or children’s education and the school supplies we may need are covered by the state. They do not cover any religious materials and the supplies are delivered to the teacher who then brings me what I need. She and I meet every 20 days for her to obtain samples and assess my oldest. SJ is the only one officially enrolled in school but since she and KJ are so close in age he tags along for most of her learning activities. This is our first year homeschooling and so far so good.