Preschool 2012-2013

Zane is 3 this year and eager to do preschool.  Our plans this year are based on a “Letter of the Week” Theme.

These are our primary resources for our school year.

Letter of the Week Curriculum from Confessions of a Homeschooler.  I purchased this last year and really loved all the hands on activities.

A to Z Pre K Bible Story Lesson Plans from the Catholic Toolbox.  We are reading the Bible story weekly and planning a craft based on the Bible story.

DLTK’s Activities

Montessori Activities (Practical Life, Sensorial, and Language Arts)

Our Preschool Day

When we start our morning Zane participates in our  Faith and Virtues time.  After this my two older start on independent work while I do preschool time with Zane.  I have all my activities for our letter of the week in a box and plan a few things each day to work on him with.  I follow his lead on how much he wants to do each day.  Usually we spend 15-20 minutes together and then he works independently or watches a learning video, while I work with my two older on their school.  I involve my 1st and 3rd grader in our baking and art projects for our weekly letter themes.

Because I am a visual person, here is an example of what Zane completed for Letter “A” Week.

Ant coloring sheet, upper and lowercase “A” sorting, sorting ants by size, and an ant puzzle

Book about ants, letter “A” do a dot page, matching ant shapes, and matching ant numbers

Pictured below are the books we use weekly My Bible: The Story of God’s Love, Museum ABC, A is for Altar, B is for Bible, An Alphabet of Catholic Saints (not pictured)

Also pictured is upper and lowercase letter find, letter “a” phonics pouch, and Zane’s fingerprint apple tree to go with our Bible Story about Adam and Eve.

I have been setting up a handful of Montessori work on a shelf for Zane to work on for the week.  He has access to our Montessori materials but this highlights certain work and I am rotating practical life trays.

Bead stringing, Cylinder Blocks, Knobless Cylinders

Button sorting by color, spooning, bean pouring

Since we are 4 weeks into our school year I can say this is a perfect fit for us this year.  Zane loves his preschool time and when anyone mentions school he proudly says he does preschool.  I really enjoy the one on one time with him and I am looking forward to the rest of our school year. 

Moments from our week 4

Annika practicing her knitting. (yes she has crazy hair, dunking your head in the sand and water table will do that)

Zane came out with Jude’s hat and a soccer ball and was very serious about playing soccer. He could hardly see around the hat but was having a blast.

My sister and I got our kids together this week and had a field trip to a local nature center.

My sister and my nephew George.

Sweet baby George.

Annika my bug whisperer, that girl loves bugs.

Nature Walk

Zane saw Brandon highlighting letters and wanted to do it too. He was really focused.

Brothers wrestling.

Annika playing pretend and tucking in her baby.  Zane looks slightly distressed in this picture but that was part of his role as the baby.  He is very good at dramatic play.

Rainbow fish craft from letter F week.

Our first pile of fall leaves.

Button sorting activity.

Zane enjoyed the sorting.

Anytime he noticed that he put the button in the wrong spot he would take it out and make a dramatic “ahhh ha ha” laugh before putting the button in the correct place.

Moments from our week 3

Annika working on her letter “E” Do-A-Dot.  The kids are really loving these markers.

Zane also enjoying Do-A-Dots. I think Zane may end up being a lefty like his big brother.

I introduced block 1 of the Montessori Cylinder Blocks to Zane. Look at the focus.

Brandon working on putting buttons on our number elephant cards for “E” week.

A field trip to Botanica, we had to visit the butterfly house one last time before it closes for the season. Annika has always had a way with butterflies.

Cute sibling picture.

Annika loves to keep the crayons sharpened.

Jude spent about an hour one afternoon drawing illustrations in his Jedi Book.

Home School Organization

Since I have shared our curriculum selections for this year and our schedule and set up I thought a post about how I organize everything.

First I should say that I love to organize, I like to try to make things as simple for myself as possible.  I like for the kids to know where everything goes.  I don’t like clutter or not knowing where something is.  There are still a few areas that tend to get cluttered like my kitchen counters, because it a convenient place to put anything that I want out the way, but our school materials are well organized.  So here is what is working for us right now.

These are before and after pictures. I had some more materials that I needed space for this year so I purchased a 5 drawer organizer. I had just math manipulatives and language arts in that corner last year. This corner is just right around the corner from the kitchen table where we do our school work. This makes it easy for me to grab out the materials when we are starting that lesson.

Here is what is on top of the cart. We have our alphabet stamps, markers, and our art supply organizer. Thanks to my friend Debi who blogged about this art supply organizer, it was just what we needed. We did have the markers in the organizer but we had to remove them because my toddler loves to color himself so much.

The top two drawers of our 5 drawers has coloring and activity books, one drawer for Jude and one drawer for Annika.

The next drawer has our All About Spelling card and letter tiles and some of our materials for Connecting with History.

The next drawer hold our Noeo Science Biology curriculum, experiment kits, and books.

The last drawer has all our RightStart Math manipulatives.

Here is a picture of our “wall pouches” which is our workbox system. Here is a view of our bookshelf and other wall organizers. All I have to do is pull the books from the shelves for the lessons we are on for the day.

These are the shelves we have for our Montessori Materials in our hearth room.

Music and Art Shelf

Shelves for our morning faith and virtues time.  I plan a separate post to explain a little more about this.

School Year 2010/2011

I spent a lot a time thinking about and planning our school year over the past few months.  I spent a lot of time deciding what I wanted to use for curriculum this year and what worked last year and what subjects I wanted to make sure to include this year.  When I first was discerning whether to home school I read the book Real Learning: Education in the Heart of my Home, I love to reread this book.  This book introduced me to the  Charlotte Mason Method of education, which I then learned more about, and knew I wanted to use.  I also read a great deal about the Montessori Method when I started homeschooling and believe this method provides a great foundation in education for children under 6.  So as I thought about this year and what curriculum to use I knew I didn’t want a “boxed” curriculum but I didn’t really want to create all my own curriculum either and I looked again into using the curriculum at Mater Amabilis.  I had looked at this curriculum in the past but now it seemed to be the perfect fit for us.  Annika is doing the Prep Level and Jude is doing Level 1B for 1st grade. I am using most all the recommended books for the kids but of course making it my own too.  I am already loving their recommended books and I think it is the perfect fit for us.

So what does our day look like?  Well last year  I started using Sue Patrick’s Workbox System and I made this system work for us last year and the curriculum we used.  I have tweaked this system again to work for us doing Mater Amabilis.  I like the workbox system because it helps me stay organized and it gives the kids a concrete view of what they will be completing everyday.  Especially when things get busy it keeps us reminded of what has been done and what needs to be done.  Before the pictures I will tell you we are using the kitchen for table work.  Our small kids size tables are too inviting for toddler hands who like to grab at materials 🙂

Here is a picture of what I refer to as our “wall pouches”.  We work these from the bottom up.  They hold their seven lessons for the day.  When we complete a lesson they put their “sticker” on the wall showing it has been completed.  Some of the lessons are seperate and some we do together.

Close up of Jude’s wall pouches.

These are our workboxes.  When I have an individual lesson with one child from the above pouches the other child can work on the independent work from their boxes.  These are fun things for the kids, things I know they enjoy.

I put a little book shelf in the kitchen with the books we use for our lessons.  If you notice on the shelf their are plenty of library books and I also was able to purchase many of my Mater Amabilis books used or a few free from Paperbackswap.com.  I have a weekly schedule chart for both Jude and Annika with the days of the week and their 7 lessons each day and what book we will use for the day.  So in the evening I just use that chart and grab my items from the bookshelf, super simple.

I have a couple of boxes on top of the shelf, one holds our music cd’s and music curriculum and the other is my daycare child’s box with activities for him to do when Jude and Annika are working on school.

These are wall organizers that well need a little organizing right now 🙂  They hold fun activity books for the kids, my recipe binder, some paper for art, and other odds and ends.

This is our montessori area that is downstairs.

The kids and I start our day with a prayer and then work on school for an hour before our 2 daycare children arrive.  Then we take a break and go outside and play and finish the rest of the lessons throughout the day.  It’s easy to grab books from their pouches and take them to the living room to read while the toddlers play.  It is a pretty easy going routine and it seems to be working for us.

I plan to do some more posts about some of the resources/curriculum and books we are using this year.

Snapshots

These are snapshots of some the activities that the kids have been enjoying. Of course there is a lot of great playtime mixed into our day.

Jude has been very busy with coloring pictures from the movie UP, this week. His writing has improved so much this year, yay for committing to his left hand! He still switches a little but not as much as he used and it has made a huge difference.

Annika has been enjoyed working with modelling beeswax.


This photo has grass, sunshine and clouds, a house with a chimney, and our family. She worked on this for a long time.

The children have also been busy working with the Montessori Sensorial Materials.



Building is always fun. Yes Jude has some “mad scientist hair right now”.

We also have been reading One Bean and sprouted some beans this week. These are a few of the fingerplays we have been enjoying this week.

Back to our routine.

So Jude and I have started back to our one on one time during naps. Here is what we have done the past few days. We are on letter H. We are continuing to use ideas from Serendipity’s Along the Alphabet Path and incorporating in Montessori concepts. I am also trying to add in more art to our daily routine.

Yesterday we read from Along the Alphabet Path. Jude wrote numbers on his blackboard. I introduced a box with rhyming objects. He traced the letter H sandpaper letters and was given free time to draw with oil pastels.

These are different Thomas train faces that Jude drew. The stuff that looks like hair on the heads is their funnel, dome, and whistle, he was very specific about this. The different colors are the different trains.

Today: Letter H dot to dot, Read 1st page from The Holy Family Book, Wrote the number 2, Rhyming Objects, Introduced beginning sound card, and provided him with the ingredients needed to make icing for the cake we made this morning.

Jude matching the pictures to their letters.

Jude had all the rhyming objects matched.