Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Lessons From The Classroom - A New Year, A New System

After a crazy semester of school I realized that I had better get my act together fast.  I was losing momentum and it was showing in my kids attitudes toward school.

After evaluating this past semester we did finish all my goals, even with the adoption and living in Uganda, thanks to my mom and mother-in-law for helping us out (THANK YOU SO MUCH), but we just barely got through.

Areyna completed Kindergarten in December and is well on her way into first grade!  We are using Horizons Math and Explode The Code for phonics and reading.  She also has an additional reading time where she reads aloud every day.

Zeke has made it to Explode The Code - Book C and is doing fairly well.  After we finish book C we are really going to work on letter recognition and reviewing all his letters to prepare for the next step.  He still has a hard time retaining the letter of the week, even while we're working on it.  We're still working on figuring out the best way to help him remember:)  Teaching him has been such a challenge, but it has been really good for me (and my patience:).  We are also using the Horizons Preschool curriculum book for his math to help him with his numbers.  We are still on numbers 1-10 but he's beginning to catch on, I can just feel it, ha!

This year I wanted to find some fun activities to do that we could do in addition to their normal work to help motivate all of us and keep school interesting.  Some of the things I want to do are still ideas and haven't actually happened, but I think we've got a great start as I look back on this past month.

One of these new additions to our school day has been a fun site that my friend, Heidi, told me about.  It is called CurrClick.  You could spend hours on the site, but if you are just wondering what I chose you can do a search for "Remember Me Pockets for January".  It is under $5 for a whole month of January Themed activities and lessons, but you can also find many FREE lessons as well!

There is NO WAY we could cover all that this month had to offer so I planned one fun activity to do each week for our "group time".

My kids have learned the difference between an author (a writer of stories) and a composer (a writer of music), they have learned the format to write a real letter and how to address an envelope, and we have done several activities with oatmeal, because January is National Oatmeal Month, which EVERYONE should know, right, ha!

One morning we made regular oatmeal and placed several different toppings in the middle of the table and we let the kids pick and choose their toppings and then we made a graph of our families favorite toppings for the oatmeal. 

We talked about the health benefits of oatmeal and all the different uses for it.  It's been lots of fun.  Oatmeal is now a super affordable staple around this Via household! 

Zeke and I even baked oatmeal cookies last night!  It was fun to talk to him about measurements and ingredients.
In addition to our activity in our "group time" every day we are focusing on our Church's curriculum and doing activities and memorizing verses to go along with what they are learning in their classes on the weekends.  We follow up in the evening during family devotions as well!
One more thing.  I have got to be organized if this whole homeschool thing is going to work for us and I was running out of room in my 3-ring binder very quickly with all my new, fun material.  In my organizing and rearranging for baby #5 I pulled down our shoe hanger from our closet and have reattached it in the hall closet by our school room.  There are enough rows for each week for the month and enough columns to cover each day in the week.  It makes it easier to place my lesson plans for a whole month out after all the printables and worksheets have been prepared!  It has worked really well so far.

So, January is almost over and I'm excited to move on to February...oh wait, we're about to have a baby.  Sheesh, one of these days maybe life will slow down...or not;)
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