This homeschooling month has definitely been filled with many ups and downs. I finally finished my history and science experiment and can honestly say we tossed nearly all of it keeping only the Usborne Internet-Linked Ancient World by Fiona Chandler (What can I say? The girls love the pictures). Yep. History and science both went goodbye. That said, don’t think I went off my rocker just yet. I just had this epiphany that the three R’s really IS what it is all about at this stage of our school, so we are now focusing more on read alouds for both history and science as opposed to the inclusion of official “curriculum.” The result has been fabulous! My girls can hardly wait to start school now.
As a result of that change, I also revamped our workbox system. I’m still in the experimental stage so I’ll have to let you know how that goes next month, but so far, “less is more” as the saying goes.
Teacup’s View of Homeschooling
Teacup is continuing to work through the Encompass Preschool Curriculum and loving it. Some days she wants to do more than one day’s assignment because she enjoys it so much. Counting definitely comes easiest for her and her Preschool Workbook still excites her more than any other because it allows her to be “just like sissy.”
- C” is for Cat.
- Teacup playing one of her favorite iPad games for school
- Teacup caterpillar painting.
Peanut’s View of Homeschooling
Peanut continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Her reading has really taken off, and since we are primarily focused on reading, writing, and arithmetic with her, her concentration and enjoyment for school has once again mounted. In addition, she has recently taken on a love for drawing. If she is not reading a book, she is most likely in the sun room drawing a picture of her family, a rainbow, or a nature scene. If you knew her even six months ago, this would come as quite a shock, because unlike Teacup who even now enjoys to color, Peanut has always avoided coloring in her free time because she never felt she could do it “just right.”
This is by far the girls’ favorite part of homeschooling. In fact, we used to open with family time, and now we have switched to ending our school day with family time because it motivates them to finish their personal assignments so much faster. While this time usually just includes joint read alouds, Bible time, and foreign language, this month we had the joy of getting to do a few extra field trips too.
The first field trip was to the Oklahoma Firefighters Museum where the girls enjoyed looking at all the old firetrucks and memorabilia with their grandparents.
The second was a trip to my husband’s family farm where they spent many joyful hours riding in and climbing on the huge tractors. I don’t know if you can tell in the pictures, but even our dog, Snicker, enjoyed the ride on several occasions.
Finally both girls enjoyed some personal accomplishments and opportunities that they would probably say was a highlight of their month.
- As Teacup now tells everyone, “I not shy anymore,” and that is so true. I don’t know who unleashed her inner confidence, but this girl is going to definitely be a talking rival for her sister. She’s hysterical to watch and is such an encouragement to those around her.
- Peanut finally made it to the tip-top of our neighborhood park’s rope climbing contraption. Can I just say even this picture makes me nervous? And it is only showing the top half of the thing!
- Teacup enjoyed some one-on-one time with mom while sissy was in choir rehearsals. Her comment, “Can sissy go play with her friends everyday?” Ha! Well, once a week makes it pretty special anyway.
This past month we once again read over 50 books as a group and have developed several new favorites so for those of you looking for some great reading material for your 3-6 year old, I highly encourage you to try some of these favorites. My girls loved them!
Our Top 10 Children’s Books of the Month (In No Particular Order)
- Me and My Amazing Body by Joan Sweeney. This book provides a great introduction to the body parts and systems. I was amazed at how well my children understood their respiratory and circulatory systems as a result of this very simple but effective introduction.
- Silly Sally by Audrey Wood. Silly is right. This story is funny and one Peanut wanted to look at again and again to find the next silly character.
- I am Abraham Lincoln by Brad Meltzer. Maybe it was because this was one of Peanut’s first biographies to read or maybe it was because this story was about an amazing man. Either way, Peanut kept reading this story over and over for days. She was mesmerized by the fact that it was a TRUE story. In fact, her strong interest later led me to check out Abraham Lincoln by Ingril & Edgar Parin d’Aulaire, a Caldecott Medal, with very beautiful pencil illustrations and a more in depth look at the life of Lincoln. She loved it too.
- What Floats in a Moat? by Lynne Berry. This cute story explains water displacement and also introduces Greek scientist Archimedes who discovered displacement.
- The Family Book by Todd Parr. Sometimes explaining the modern day family makeup to a child can be a challenge. Not so with this book! The simple crayon-like illustrations explain everything from multi-cultural families to single parent families and more in a very non-offensive and easy-to-understand way.
- The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant. I just love the illustrations in this book. It’s a great book to read as a family before traveling to a family reunion or anytime.
- A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams. This storybook classic introduces saving and compassion in a very intriguing way. After a fire, the family together saves money for a chair for their mother. I might also recommend accompanying your reading with the Reading Rainbow DVD by the same name. Although slightly dated, it is still a fun watch for those in preschool and kindergarten.
- Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson. This classic is food for the imagination. What will Harold draw next? Could you draw that? I also recommend the scholastic video by the same name which has other knock-off stories of Harold and the Purple Crayon. My girls choose to repeatedly watch those videos over Curious George, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, and other usual favorites.
- Houses and Homes by Ann Morris. This book has EXCELLENT photography of houses and homes from all over the world making it a great introduction to the different way people live.
- What do People Do All Day? by Richard Scarry. I’ve already had to renew my inter-library loan on this one once, and think I will have to do so again because the girls just enjoy looking at all the busy pictures. I also liked the simple way it introduces so many different occupations. That said, I might suggest breaking up this book into multiple reading sessions as the content is pretty lengthy.
So that’s what we’ve been up to this last month.
What have you been up to?
Thy testimonies are righteous for ever: Give me understanding, and I shall live. (Psalm 119:144)