Sunday, August 7, 2011

Homeschool Plan for the '11-'12 School Year Continued

I decided to use monthly or twice monthly themes to make Henry's learning more fun. Right now I'm looking for books, games, puzzles, toys, and items for the sensory bins to use with these themes. As a practice run I made a sensory bin for July and am working on a beach-themed bin for August. I will try to take Henry on some kind of trip at least once a month and I feel like the themes are a great way to tie it all together. Here is a tentative list of the themes I'm going to use next year:

- Apples
- Farm
- Trains
- Halloween
- Autumn Leaves
- The First Thanksgiving
- Christmas
- Snow
- Outer Space
- Valentine's Day
- Vehicles
- St. Patrick's Day (really a green theme)
- Dinosaurs
- Easter
- Growing Seeds
- Zoo Animals
- Bugs
- Around the World
- Rainbows/Weather

Homeschool Plan for the '11-'12 School Year

This year is going to be incredibly busy and tight financially, but I still want to make sure that Henry gets the attention and opportunities that he would have if he were in daycare or preschool.

A couple of months ago I wrote out a list of skills that I wanted to work on this next school year. Many of these were just a shot in the dark, I have no way of knowing which he is capable of or which he will exceed. Since the list was written he's actually picked up some of the skills on his own.

- counting objects 1-20
- potty training (if he is ready, I'm definitely not going to push this)
- phonetic reading of three letter words
- saying please and thank you (started doing this recently)
- learning colors/sorting by color (knows colors, will continue to solidify with games)
- recognizing some sight words if ready
- pouring liquid from one container to another
- setting a table and eating well with utensils
- stringing large wooden beads
- matching lids to jars
- using a dropper to drop liquid
- able to do a Montessori cylinder and stacking blocks puzzles
- matching fabrics of different textures
- identifying animals, babies, group names and sounds
- understanding cold v. hot, big v. small, open v. closed, on v. off, up v. down, in v. out, over v. under and perhaps biggest, smallest, coldest, etc.
- learning to be quiet and listen for a quiet sound
- listening to classical music (one composer per month to build appreciation)
- recognizing basic shapes (pretty good at this now, but has some trouble saying some of them)
- associating words/objects with the first letter sound (great with this)
- obeying simple commands, following directions (especially when it comes to directions like, turn around, it's behind you, etc.)
- drawing a counterclockwise circle
- transferring objects with tongs or large tweezers
- sweeping with a tiny broom/dustpan, wiping up spills, tidying up toys
- making own bed
- gross motor skills (tbd)
- naming clothing, ability to put on and take off some clothes

As far as what each day will look like we'll have to see how it goes. I am planning on "doing school" either three or four days a week depending on our schedule. Right now I'm thinking we will continue to start with the calendar time, then do a Bible story and possibly something crafty to go along with it. Then one to three other learning activities, some outside time, a little music while we play, and that's it.

I'm planning to have a new theme every two weeks, but can adjust to a new theme once a month if we need to. For September the themes I picked are "Apples" and "Farm", mainly because I was able to collect some books at a used book fair and good will. I also think it will be fun, easy and cheap to go to an apple picking place or farm for a field trip.

Summa' Time

We've been pretty laid back this summer. Most days Henry and I read books in the air conditioning and go for long walks early in the morning before it gets too hot. When Daddy gets home he takes Henry to the beach and if the water is gentle they swim in the ocean. Henry is absolutely obsessed with Thomas the train right now and will play with his little track forever. I think a Thomas themed birthday party is in the works for November!

On the learning front we are also being lazy. I made a simple calendar and each morning we talk about what day of the week it is (I figured we would start out simple). We sing the days of the week song:

(to the tune of the Adam's family theme song)

Days of the week, snap, snap
Days of the week, snap, snap
Days of the week, days of the week, days of the week, snap, snap

There's Sunday and there's Monday,
there's Tuesday and there's Wednesday,
there's Thursday and there's Friday,
and then there's Saturday.

Days of the week, snap, snap
Days of the week, snap, snap
Days of the week, days of the week, days of the week, snap, snap

We sing a few other songs and talk about what we did yesterday and what we will do today and tomorrow.

A few times a week I bring out his sensory bin. This one is fourth of July themed. The bin for August is a beach theme and I've collected all of the stuff but haven't put it together yet. I'm not sure if it has more to do with his own development or if the sensory bin is working but I've seen the biggest change in his fine motor skills this summer. He also plays with puzzles every day so that might be helping too. We usually do Starfall at night a couple of nights a week.

He still knows all of his letters and can count to 20, he usually speaks in two or three word sentences but sometimes uses longer ones. He is climbing like a maniac, and we had to get him a toddler bed after he got out of the crib. (Notice I said got out and not fell out, he actually maneuvered himself out pretty well, but we didn't want to risk it.) He still generally ignores other babies but likes to play near older kids.

Next up: my plans for next year!