Friday, January 30, 2009

I have unofficially started homeschooling J.W. and Nan. My decision is to use the Sonlight Curriculum, Singapore Math and a bit of my own ideas. I think it is important for the kids to have plenty of free play time. I encourage them to run and play outside when the weather is nice. We go on nature walks, play in the dirt, jump in leaves, pick up rocks, sticks or whatever they find. I do not feel that a structured curriculum is right for them at this point.

The idea that I have is that my 4-year-old needs to learn to read first then I'm going to focus on math and science. I believe that all subjects are important but want to emphasize science and math and make learning these subjects fun and exciting.

With math, he already knows his numbers and can count. I try to teach him everyday things without it feeling like "school". We discuss time and the calendar. He knows shapes and colors. J.W. was a late bloomer when it came to coloring. He just wasn't interested in sitting down and coloring. He does enjoy painting both with a brush and finger painting. He does like to draw on his easel. He also loves playing with play dough or clay. He also enjoys putting together puzzles. We started with the small 9 piece puzzles and now he is up to a 24 piece puzzle. We have to keep the puzzles away from Nan because she destroys them. For some reason my 2-year-old loves to tear things up!

With science I do not have a formal curriculum. Science is in everyday life. We watch the weather and keep up with the temperature, and weather conditions outside. We cook. We observe. We explore. We look at animals, insects and plants. I have a ton of ideas to do with him but find that right now the things we do everyday lend themselves to explaining science to him. I also do all of these things with his sister since she is with us all of the time, I don't exclude her. I believe it is very important for both of them to have a strong math and science education.

I am an equal opportunity teacher. Boys and girls will learn the same things. I will teach him to do laundry and cook; I will teach her how to change the oil in the car and how to use tools. I think in order for them to be well rounded individuals they should know how to do everything.

My son loves to do crafts. He likes to create things. I've found that it is fun to give him a piece of paper, string, scissors, and glue. He goes to town creating masterpieces. I also sometimes tear construction paper into small pieces and let him create pictures from that. Nan likes to do these things also. She makes a giagantic mess with the glue but she has fun.

Resources for Math, Science and the Arts
Kids Art Contest Accuweather.com This is a great site with information on weather. You can join and report on the weather as a team.
Core Knowledge Preschool Classroom Materials this is a great resource full of information. Scroll to the bottom of the page and there is a listing of resources "Core Knowlege Vendors" this has a ton of websites and places you can order catalogs from. I love catalogs. There are so many that it took me several days to order them. A must visit if you like catalogs.
NOAA's National Weather Service Weather safety and awareness publications. This page has a ton of information and PDFs