Saturday, April 13, 2013

A Typical Homeschool Morning

When we started on the adventure of teaching our kids at home, I had no idea what a normal day should look like.  Perhaps you are also wondering how to get started.  Let me share with you some of the details of this morning so you can get a glimpse into our routine. (My son is five and my daughter is three.)

Here are the resources we used for today's lessons.

We started off at 10:00 am with handwriting pages that I’d printed out from  Yesterday, I noticed that my son was not writing his e’s or u’s properly, so I printed out the worksheets for extra practice.  Some of the pages were too simple for him, so I gave them to my daughter.  She likes to be included, and my son is an extrovert and prefers to have someone else working with him, so they were both happy.  

While my son worked independently, I sat on the floor next to my daughter and we counted eggs on her letter e worksheet.  I helped her write the numbers in the box.  Then we colored eggs that had capital E and lower case e on them.  We also had time to do the letter u page.  Once we finished that, I gave Marisa markers and she colored her pages.

That gave me time to help Kieran think of words that started with E, and write out the word egg.  We focused on staying in the lines and writing as neatly as possible.  I could tell he was getting frustrated after one page of handwriting, so I gave him the option to move on to math.  He was happy to skip the letter u worksheet.  I decided we could tackle that tomorrow.

I gave my son a brief explanation of the two math pages and hopped back to my daughter.  She was done coloring, so we moved on to reading.  I used a flip chart to review the –at words she’s been learning to read. The few words she needed to sound out, my son chimed in and sounded out with her.  (He gets distracted easily, so I had to remind him to move away from us and get his math done.)

These are the activities I did with my daughter today.  

Since Marisa got through the flip chart so easily, I pulled out her Hooked on Phonics preschool book and we hunted for pictures that started with the letter L.  By the end of that page, she was getting antsy to do something else.  I let her choose some stickers for her good work, and then she was off to play.  She plays quietly and independently- which is a huge blessing- so now I was able to give Kieran my undivided attention.

I must add that throughout the time I was helping Marisa, Kieran was interrupting to ask for help, or just to show off his work.  He is a brilliant boy, but often needs reassurance.  He is progressing at being able to finish a whole page, but when we first started kindergarten, he was not able to do three problems on his own.  This may be typical for some kids.  Thankfully, they all mature eventually and get past needing someone to hold their hand all the time.

Back to math…my son is doing Horizons math book 1.  It is actually quite easy for him, but because of his struggle with handwriting we are moving through it at a slower pace.  Today he was enthusiastic about the pages and wanted to do two extra pages.  Great!!  This is the beauty of homeschool.  We go at the pace of each child.  Too hard, slow down.  Too easy, move ahead.  Not working, find something else that does. 

Here is a peek at some of the pages my son did today.

So, we breezed through math and moved on to Explode the Code book 3. I modified the assignment to focus on just the phonics and skip the writing portion.  Asking him to do more handwriting at this point in the day would have pushed us both over the edge! My son did well, but struggled with reading plate vs. plane.  This was a clue to me that he’s not really looking at the whole word, but just enough of it to make a guess.  I made a note in his book to practice more words like these next time.  

After Explode the Code, we moved on to our final assignment: short and long vowel words.  I have a list of 18 short vowel words on a page. I put a plastic cover over the sheet so we can write on it with a Vis a Vis marker, erase, and use it again later.  I had him read the word can, then I wrote an e behind it to make cane.  When we got to man/mane it prompted an interesting discussion on the definitions of mane, Maine, and main.  Once we were done, I made a quick note of the words that were difficult for Kieran so we can practice those next time. 

I got this idea from working at Sylvan.  It's a great way to help your child practice the silent e rule.

By 11:00 my son’s attention span was spent.  He was eager to run to the window and watch his daddy mow the lawn.  While the kids watched my husband, I made brief notes on my iPad for our next class based on the progress and struggles we had today.  It took me about five minutes to complete.

That’s a fairly typical homeschool day.  Although the official learning time has ended, we are never really done teaching.  All day we will have teachable moments where we are imparting something to them.  But that’s a post for another day. 

Next time I will post more specifics on the books we are using this year as choosing curriculum can be one of the most daunting parts of jumping into homeschool.  

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