Week two was a short week for us as Monday was a Public Holiday here in Malawi. We celebrated by having some friends visit from town who have a daughter Boo’s age. Boo doesn’t have many peers to interact with so it’s always a lot of fun when we can have a play date. On Tuesday we got back to our preschool homeschool lesson plans.
Literacy and Language Arts:
I drew these shapes with the letters we are working on for Boo. She practiced cutting out the shapes and identifying the letter sounds before pasting them to the white paper. Kooks of course also wanted to practice cutting so she got a set of shapes and practiced identifying the shapes and their colors.
We practiced writing letters on our chalkboard and making their sounds. We briefly introduced the idea that letter sounds combine to make a word. Boo loved showing me how well she was able to copy my letters but didn’t seem all that interested in the fact that knowing letter sounds could lead to reading words so we left it at that.
Last week we introduced the three letters Boo will need to know for the first Progressive Phonics Alphabetti book, and while she doesn’t seem ready to jump into sounding out words quite yet, she is very interested in learning more letters so we added s this week with a snake craft made out of a foil s, googlie eyes, and a red construction paper tongue. We have a huge hollowed out log close to the house that the littles love to play on. They know that it’s a great place for a snake’s home and that I have to inspect it before they can play on or around it. We talked about this and where snakes like to live then they drew a snake’s home on their paper with markers before they pasted on the foil s and practiced the s sound.
Cat from Teach Your Baby to Read had commented on my post Thoughts on how to Teach Reading to my Kids and suggested we start with letters s, a, t and then i, p & n because there are so many three letter words that can be created from those letters. Sounds like a good idea to me and so until we are ready to give Progressive Phonics another try we’ll focus on these letters.
Cognitive Skills and Math:
We made a cake out of playdough and counted out birthday candles for it. We had fun singing Happy Birthday to each other and taking turns pretending to blow out the candles. The playdough on top of the one candle is the flame, in case you were wondering.
Since the cookie cutter sort was such a big success last week, we did a similar activity with pom poms but this time we sorted them by size (small, medium & large). Once they were sorted we tried our luck with estimating. I asked Boo how many medium pom poms she thought were in the container and then we counted them out to test our guess. At this point I’m learning that a lot of our activities are really just introducing a concept. It will take repetition to really understand what an estimation is, but since she had already been successful with the sort, it seemed like a good time to introduce something that challenged her a bit more.
Boo is pretty good at counting but we haven’t spent much time learning numbers. This post on Mess for Less gave me the idea to write out the numbers one to six along with the corresponding number of dots on paper circles and place them in a muffin tin. We talked briefly about the numbers and then counted the circles and counted out the same number of pom poms to put in each muffin cup.
Science and Nature Studies:
I recently realized that I’ve never made popcorn with the littles. I bought a packet the last time we were in town and decided it would be a good way to start thinking about cause and effect. The girls helped me pour the oil into the bottom of the pan, and while that was heating we looked at the corn kernels and talked about what would happen when we put them in the hot oil. They will get hot of course! Once we heard the corn start popping I asked the girls what they thought the noise was. When I lifted them up to see what was happening, they were delighted and they were so proud of the snack they made!
We went on a nature walk to look for leaves and then used them to make leaf prints with paint on green card. I turned the prints into covers for nature journals that we will use in the weeks ahead.
We learned There was a Little Turtle, if you are interested and you don’t already know the words and motions Miss Tracey also has a YouTube video for this one. I thought I would build on that theme so we read Yertle the Turtle by Dr. Seuss and looked up turtles in our animal encyclopedia. We learned that they have shells to protect their body so I cut a turtle body out of construction paper and then the littles painted paper plates that we stapled together on top of his body to give him a shell. It was really easy and a lot of fun.
Yesterday my husband had to go into the workshop and we tagged along. He promised the girls a ride on a quad bike which did not disappoint, but they also had a fun, and unexpected, time with a group of kids that I wrote about in How Children Play Who Don’t Speak the Same Language at InCultureParent.
Self care is big for us right now. Seems like the things I would like the girls to be doing for themselves they are not interested in and the things they would like to be doing for themselves they are not quite capable of yet. We’ll keep plugging away.
We had problems with our internet this week and so we weren’t able to get online as much as we would have liked, but we continued to play on starfall when we were able. The girls both love that site.
This week was more difficult than last week. The girls (and I) were so excited about school last week and this week they seemed crankier and less interested, or maybe it was me! Either way, this post at Teach Preschool (The Chances at Preschool) was exactly what I needed to read, especially the note at the bottom about preschoolers needing a number of chances at the same activity to learn. I think I need to print it out and leave it somewhere that I’ll see it often.