Last Year (2013)
Some of the things we started in 2013 didn’t last very long. One of them was our previous wall board. I played around and changed it a bit, and the “new version” seems to attract more attention from especially Mr.R, or he is just a little older and more interested…
Our alphabet work also didn’t continue much after we finished reading the storybook about the fairies. Mr. A really didn’t want to do any letter work and his “wanting to read” flew out the window. Now at the end of the year (2013) he has learned a lot of his alphabet letters, simply because he wanted to “search” for his favourite story characters on YouTube, etc. so I had to spell the words and names for him, and he obviously had to look for those letters on the keyboard. No, he isn’t reading yet, but yes, he knows most of his alphabet, and can actually recognise some words. His math actually boomed ahead, not to mention his general knowledge about animals and certain places that he saw in movies and we then discussed. A couple of landmarks like Big Ben, Eiffel Tower, the Jesus Statue, Statue of Liberty, are all familiar to him and he roughly knows where in the world you can find them.
With us taking a two-week holiday to the Cape both boys learned so much about South Africa (and of course the Voetspore dvds we watched before going), and they still mention the trip to the ostrich farm, the penguins, Monkeyland where they saw real lemurs from Madagascar, as well as the Bird Park with all those beautiful birds.
Mr. R is also learning his letters, albeit it going very slowly. I am of no mind to push him, as I believe PLAY is his main “work” until he is 7 yrs old. But no harm in introducing him to various subjects, especially when he shows a keen interest.
And so we went through the year, doing a lot of some stuff, and almost nothing of others, but after being evaluated by a child psychologist at the end of the year, I was glad to hear that she was actually impressed with them as, according to her, they were on par (and in some subjects ahead), happy, imaginative, mature, self-confident, eager learners, and looking forward to doing even more this year!
You never can tell especially when you are a new home school mom. Things work totally different outside the “normal” school environment and you cannot compare the two – at all! Never doubt yourself or especially your children – they are amazing little sponges that suck up everything that goes on around them!
Back to the Future… (2014)
I was told by the psychologist to continue in the same fashion as I did last year… but a bit more constructively meaning still a lot of hands-on, learn through play, but I must keep them busy, and bring in topics like countries that Mr. R seems to be interested in at the moment. So I sat down and worked out what our basics would be, and what the “extra topic for the year” will be. Our Topic of the year, is something that links various fields: geography, nature study, maybe some history, some math, words, etc. but I use one core book to work from.
Before I lay everything out, you will see that I am making use of various styles to teach the same thing: i.e. worksheets, physical manipulatives, dvds, reading aloud, etc. That is to cover their different learning styles. I use one of the products for a subject as foundation, something I can follow level for level, and then add these other activities to “break the monotony” or to cover their other learning styles. You can read more about different learning styles and how to adapt curricula to your children’s specific style at Custom Homeschool Curriculum – Jena has excellent, practical ideas, and her new book: Make Learning Fit is very informative.
Basics – Everyday in some form or another
Bible: (+- 30min.)
Jy Mag Maar Vra (You may ask) – are questions for/by little ones asking about God, is He real? How do we know that? What about Jesus? Can I do this? What about …? – 2 mornings a week.
Then there is the Child Training Verses/Bible set that I bought last year sometime. At this link you can read more about it. When I read to them from the Bible, it leaves a lasting impression – at the moment. We will focus on a specific topic 1x a week, but still use it in-between, whenever necessary.
The last two days’ morning Bible time will be spent reading from the Children’s Bible and then watching either a dvd Bible story or looking/reading the story from the Brick Bible. As Lego (actually blocks of all shapes and sizes) is currently a huge favourite, they enjoy these “bible stories”.
Moses in the basket, in the Nile River
Alphabet: (+-15min.)Mr.A said he is seriously wanting to learn to read this year, so we are trying out two programmes at the moment. I’ll continue with the one that works best for him, but at the moment it looks like he wants to continue with both!
The one is Japtraplees, which has a lot of repetition, but there are also some pictures and the repetition is more like a rhyme sounding like a tongue twister. Mr.R thought this great fun and has now joined us in repeating the vowel letters that Mr.A has to learn to say in quick succession. We will do this 2x a week (officially) at the moment, as they are repeating the sounds/rhyme even while we are driving around town, or when jumping on the trampoline! So basically they are doing it 5x a week unofficially
The other programme that I am using for Mr.A is the normal phonics based alphabet letters: Klanke sonder Trane. I started with the new Introduction book for Mr. A while Mr. R are doing two or three activity pages (maze in the form of the letter of the week, picture with hidden letters, etc.). They both seem to enjoy this as well, as there are lots of pictures, puzzles, mazes, etc. They are just not that interested in writing the letters, so I let them write only 2 or 3 proper examples of the letter. This we do only 1x a week.
On the fourth day they do “Letter Extras” where they have to form the letter of the week with clay (play-doh), with blocks or shapes, etc. They loved doing something similar last year, so I hope it will be greeted just as enthusiastically this year.
Both boys have almost finished Box-N-Dice level 1. They absolutely love participating in the short dvd lesson, and then continue with their own version or something similar to what they have just learned. I think we will have to buy level 2 before April, at the rate that they are going. 1x a week.
Then there are the activity pages that both love doing – Mr.R has one or two pages introducing a number to him, while Mr.A has a couple more, but it doesn’t take him longer than maybe 10-15min. to do these pages. These are a mixture of various worksheets. 1x a week.
Lastly they just love, love, love their Edupeg pegboard! Mr.A has to be told to stop now and go and play or rest, while Mr.R has only just been introduced to the Edupeg way of doing math. We will do this 2x a week, but actually it is only 1x, as I can’t work with both at the same time. While one works with the Edupeg board, the other has time off.
Day 5 – Games Day!
Day 5 or Friday is going to be our games day. We kick off with Bible lesson of course (dvd story or Brick Bible), then go on to learn chess (their decision), and play one or two other board games. Sometimes it might incorporate letters, numeracy, pictures, dominoes, or just hand-eye coordination etc. In between we will “unofficially” listen to different types of music, and I would really like to change our Friday tea time, to something more “formal”, or at least something special where we have to sit at a nicely set table, we have to learn to serve each other, and show respect and good manners. Yes, you do most of this anyway, but read “special time” here… Two Friday evening meals are however reserved for Expedition Earth, when we try some of the “local” cuisine from the country we are studying, that is if I can buy the right food, or make it myself. I am not very good with the latter, so my hope is on buying …
Those Extras or Special Topic(s) …
As both boys are currently fascinated with other countries, we will do Expedition Earth. We will do one part of a lesson every day of the week, but only every other week. So we will only do two countries a month instead of a country every week. They can’t wait to make the “traditional clothes” paper dolls, as well as all the other arts and crafts in this programme. I changed the passport to a “South African” one, and they have already decided who will be in charge of cutting the little flags that have to be stuck inside the passports every time you “arrive” at a country.
I am very excited as we are going to learn about places that I know the boys are curious about, for instance Petra which they saw in Transformers, the Jesus statue which they got to know about in the animation movie Rio… I just love Expedition Earth as there are so much incorporated into this programme. Not only are we learning about the different countries and interesting facts (Fun Facts) about them, we will be learning about some of their animals, plants, biomes (later), and so much more. For us to complete it in its entirety (at the rate I plan to do it) will take about three years! Two years for the countries, and another year’ for proper geography related things like what are volcanoes, marshes, mountains and rivers of the world, atoll, etc. You can make it fit your family, life- and learning-style.
Another programme which we started with last year, and will finish this year is Bushytale.
Bushytale booklets and activity pages.
The boys are now on the family pack where we receive one story booklet each month, but each boy receives his own sticker and activity book. The activity books are small enough to keep their interest but have different level of activities depending on the child’s age and ability. Mr.R is supposed to be on a beginner or pre-school level, but I had to “upgrade” him to gr.R. The same with Mr.A. As we do it the week in between the two weeks of Expedition Earth, it is still very much a relaxed atmosphere, but now we will have more time to read about the animals. Last year we only had two mornings, because of circumstances.
Extra Murals, Sport and ….. Socialization!
Ha-ha, I haven’t forgotten about these. We will continue with pottery lessons at Potter’s Place, although last year I did all the lessons while the boys played with the other kids. This year though, they will first do a little bit of pottery, and then go play. And no, there shouldn’t be any problems getting them to dirty their hands, as a couple of their friends from the HS group are also taking pottery classes. Nothing like peer pressure in a controlled environment 1x month.
If things work out as planned, they should also be able to swim 2x a week as well as participate in Playball 1x a week.
And last but not least – actually the most important because the group of friends like each other so much! Our HS group has grown from 7 kids to 10! The kids range in age between 3yrs and 10-11yrs (if I am not mistaken) and see each other frequently. As in all of life, we have our ups and downs in the group, but we are all learning to stick together, to appreciate our differences as well as our similarities, but most of all, I have found this to be a great, supportive group of friends. We can depend on one another, and as we grow and learn this, so do our children, and for that I am thankful.
Eish! This has been such a long post on all our future activities, and in some cases, not much have changed since starting last year, we will just be a little bit more relaxed, and knowing a bit better what suites, what will work and what not.
Please share your home school plans, or add a link to your page. We love reading about other families and what they are up to.
Have a wonderfully blessed year in Christ, our Lord and Saviour.