Sunday, January 29, 2012

Our 2012 "Curriculum"

Now that Christmas is over, I'm excited to get back to having some more intentional "Tot School" time with Grace and I'm hoping to start doing a little bit of "Preschool" work with Jonathan. I still don't want to do anything terribly structured-- I do believe that children learn best through play. However, Jonathan is very curious and I do want to be presenting him with lots of books and building some of his preschool "skills".

I recently read Clay & Sally Clarkson's Educating the Wholehearted Child. If you are thinking about homeschooling, I heartily recommend the book. In the book, they present the analogy of a house.

  • Discipleship Studies-- this is the foundation of a Christian home-education. If we're not teaching our children the Word of God, nothing else matters.
  • Disciplined Studies-- the study of the mechanics of reading, writing, math and logic.
  • Discussion Studies and Discovery Studies-- include history, science, geography, etc.
  • Discretionary Studies-- are the glue that holds everything together, these things are tailored to particular interests and talents of your child.

As we consider homeschooling our children, my plan is to work from the ground up. This past year with Jonathan we've been building a foundation of Biblical studies as well as some basic alphabet studies. Now, I'm hoping to add some more of the disciplined studies to the mix. Next year as we get closer to kindergarten, I hope to include some geography, science, etc. This model helps me to focus on what is the most important and add things in slowly without being overwhelmed at trying to do it all!

So, without further ado, this is what we're hoping to do in 2012:

Jonathan is three years old (as of Jan). Grace will be 1-1/2 through 2-1/2 through 2012.

Discipleship Studies: Bible & Character

We are continuing our study of the New Testament through June of 2012. Our monthly units will be:
  • Jesus the Healer
  • Jesus the Miracle Worker
  • Jesus the Teacher
  • Jesus the Storyteller
  • Jesus the Savior
  • The Early Church
 After June, I will decide whether we will do another one-year cycle of biblical history or do something else.

We use: The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes for our Bible units along with supplemental books that go with each unit.   In the evenings, we try to go through The Big Picture Story Bible with daddy.

For character training, we are currently using Right Choices by Kenneth Taylor. I'm still researching what we'd like to use after we are finished with this book.

Memory Verses: My ABC Bible Verses by Susan Hunt (this goes along with Raising Rockstars Preschool)

Disciplined Studies: Reading, Writing, Math, Logic

Reading (for both Jonathan & Grace)

  • Sonlight P3/4-- I'm interested in using Sonlight as the children get older. I bought the instructor's guide for P3/4 and am going to get most of the books from the library. My goal is to spread this out until Grace is old enough to do Sonlight P4/5 with us. I'm going to supplement some of the books with fun activities as well as use:
  • Before Five in a Row-- a literature-based preschool "curriculum".

Phonics (for Jonathan)

Handwriting (Jonathan):
  • Raising Rockstars Preschool- a wonderful, free curriculum from Carisa over at 1+1+1=1. This will also be used for Grace's letter recognition. We'll probably alternate this with Literature or theme-based units.
Math (Jonathan):
  • Beginning Math Reasoning- this is an award-winning book for 3 and 4 year olds. I hope to start going through this with Jonathan- it covers lots of concepts from counting through beginning fractions. He's already beginning to add and subtract, so I think this will be helpful. I'm supplementing with:
  • MathStart books-- living books which help teach math concepts (courtesy of our library)
  • Manipulatives- Unifix cubes, counting bears, etc.

So that's our plan for this coming year! It'll probably be re-worked several times as I see how realistic it is. But flexibility is one benefit of learning at home!

January In Review-- Homemade BeanBags, Cinnamon Rolls, First Art Experiences,

Tot School
Jonathan is 36 Months
Grace is 17 Months

Well, I need to get caught up on posting! Hoped to start last week, but a round of illness hit us (high fevers, respiratory infections, ear infections, pinkeye...). My poor Jonathan was miserable! He's finally feeling better so I'm excited to start some more activities with him this coming week. :) 

Here are some highlights of the last couple weeks (what little we did):

Colors- Grace and I have been trying to work on colors. Here are a few activities we've done:

  •   I made pairs of beanbags out of fat quarters ($1 per color at Walmart). I got a new sewing machine for Christmas and they were so easy to make (I'm a sewing newbie). We work on identifying colors and matching colors with these. They're also a lot of fun to throw!

Homemade beanbags

  • I've also been making her "color baskets". We put several toys of the same color in one basket and talk about the colors.
Our red basket.

Books & Vocabulary- Grace is talking quite a bit. Right now she loves finding books and curling up in our laps. She especially likes the books with pictures of everyday objects (such as Roger Priddy books). She likes pointing to the items and trying to say or repeat the names.

Cooking- Jonathan and Grace enjoy standing in the learning tower and watching us cook. They had fun watching daddy make homemade cinnamon rolls the other day:


Grace tried fingerpainting for the first time, as well as dot painting with our Do-A-Dot Markers. They also love coloring on our new easel they got for Christmas. Grace is a sneaky one though-- she likes to walk off with the crayons and color on other objects.

Jonathan got a paint with water book for Christmas, and he has fun painting the cars:

Motor Skills- After being cooped up, we went to our park district's open gym time. We were nearly the only ones there! It was fun and it let them get some of that energy out:

Grace was so tired by the end of the hour that she just laid down:

Thanks for visiting!

I'm linking this post up to:

Tot School at 1+1+1=1
Link & Learn at No Time for Flashcards
Sunday Showcase @ Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Still here...

The past couple months have been really busy with the holidays and my new job! I'm now working 5-7 hours a week doing children's ministry for our church. This really has been a wonderful opportunity- I feel like I'm using my gifting and my training to bless our church. Most of it can be done from home so I still have the ability to teach and train my little ones! God really put this in my lap unexpectedly and it's been a huge blessing!

This last month I was involved in launching a blog for our children's ministry with resources, activities and articles for parents. (Email me if you want the link). So fun to use my experience blogging to also bless the church!

The kids are doing well and getting big:

Grace is now almost 17 months old. She started walking Nov 19th. We were at a playdate and she just stood up and took 20 steps. Then she did it again and again and again. There's no turning back now!

In the last month her speech has also blossomed. She probably has about 30-40 words and is adding new words each day. Jonathan was a late talker, so this has been very fun to watch! (I swear when he began talking he spoke in sentences!) She tries to sing songs with us and we can often hear her walking around singing the ABC song (not the letters, but the melody).

She loves to snuggle in with a book and really just be into anything her older brother is doing!

Jonathan just turned three years old and is growing up so fast! Three has been presenting its own challenges but we're adjusting. Potty training is still going on-- yesterday he actually initiated, so there's a glimmer of hope! He's for the most part dropped his naptime so we've instituted quiet play/rest time. '

Lately he's been into Cars, Richard Scarry books, picture puzzles (I Spy, 1001 Things to Spot), Clifford books, and being energetic!

Bible-wise, we've moved into the life of Christ. This week we're discussing Jesus Calling the 12 Disciples. I hope to at least get back to posting our Bible lessons. We've also been working on practicing godly choices.

Jonathan has his letters and their sounds down, so I've been wrestling a little with what to do next. He's picked up on beginning letter sounds and rhyming words. He's not ready to write, but he pretends to write. We've been practicing a lot with pencils lately. He got an easel for Christmas and he enjoys writing on the whiteboard a lot. (As does Grace!)

Mathwise, he's counting fairly well. He gets up to 15 and sometimes to 20. His daddy does some basic word problems with him and he follows along well. He loves games! We got him My First Orchard for Christmas and he also received The Snail's Pace Race and Teddy Mix & Match for his birthday. He loves to pull out a game!

 I don't want to push him, but I want to challenge him. In fact, it seems like he acts up a bit more when we don't have at least 15-30 minutes of learning time. So I'm wrestling with what to do with him this year. I just bought the Teacher's Guide for Sonlight P3/4. My hope is to read all the books with him and Grace over this year or so. But I think he's up for a bit more of a challenge... Any suggestions would be welcome!

So that's our lives right now. Hopefully I'll be able to work blogging back in soon-- I do miss it!

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