Tuesday, September 14, 2010

School Update

An investment in Knowledge always pays the best interest -Benjamin Franklin

This is Lula Mae working on a matching activity. She has to name each color, read each color word, then match them with the correct color. It is one of her favorites! She LOVES matching games!

Our classroom has grown!


What use to be just a board is now beginning to explode! We have the days of the week and the weather that we do each morning, our daily prayers posted and our current memory verse. To the left of the window is where we post all the Bible verse we have already memorized. You can see my folder of calendar things hanging on the wall, right beside my teaching notebook. We are soon going to need a filing cabinet for our workbooks and curriculum!
Our material is getting more advanced!

The top set of books are for first grade readers. She is reading them pretty well, except for all the names in the books. The bottom set is a Leap Frog set that focuses on the vowels. She reads them great and is gaining more knowledge of phonetics. She can tell you what most of the letters of the alphabet "say" now after telling you their names.

Our attention span is growing!

I really think this is because she is in Sunday School at Church now. When she turned 2 she moved from the nursery to the 2's,3's and 4's classroom. Let's just say she loves it..... oh that could be a whole post all its own!

Our listening skills are sharpening!

Also linked to Sunday School. However we do lots of "games" and "activities" at home to strengthen this skill as well. It is a never ending process though!

Yes, school is going great! What started as just "fun" learning in the mornings has quickly changed into a very loved part of our day. Lula Mae knows after she eats breakfast that we will be getting dressed and getting ready for "school". Right after I brush her teeth she starts asking "is it time for the calendar Mommy? Ready for school now Mommy?". She loves it. I love it! It is fantastic.

My Bloggy friend, LaVonne, recently posted about how she is about to embark on homeschooling her Princess for preschool. I am so excited to hear this news! I love to see parents take control of their child's learning! It is our duty to them as parents. I know that LaVonne is going to do a great job, and I am praying for her. Teaching is not easy. I have taught in schools and now I teach my daughter. Let me tell you, teaching your own child is much harder than teaching other peoples children! So please keep LaVonne in your prayers as she gets ready to take on an amazing adventure with her sweet Isabella!

After reading her post, I was very encouraged. She is right, homeschooling is a lot of work. Tons, actually. But in the end it is worth it. I wanted to give her (and anyone else out there in bloggy land who is interested!) a few tips on schooling her Princess at home. These are simply suggestions, of course, but I hope they help!

  • Set up a classroom. It doesn't have to be a "room", just a wall really. Have a board, a calendar, fun things on the wall.... just have fun creating a space that you and your child can enjoy together.
  • Be consistent. With all parenting, consistency is key. It is no different for teaching. Start your day off the same each time and keep a familiar pattern to each day.
  • Don't get upset if your child can't handle more than about 15 minuets of "school" at a time. In the beginning I wanted to do an hour each day. Well, we started school with Lula Mae before she even turned 2 so that was way too ambitions for us! Slowly she began to handle longer sessions. Now we average about 45 minuets of school in the morning. Then we take a break. Later we have about 30 to 45 more minuets of school. So start small and work towards your goal over time.
  • Don't be afraid to give them a challenge. If I was afraid to challenge Lula Mae she wouldn't be reading at a first grade level at the age of 2. One of the best parts of homeschooling is that you can teach your child to the fullest. Don't teach on an "easy" level just because they are able to answer everything just right. Change it up and teach just above their level. Help them to strive to grow and change. Now, don't go overboard obviously. Keep it appropriate, but make those wheels turn!
  • Document, document, document! Be sure you know what they have mastered. Keep records, videos, samples. Scan all their work and keep it on a file on your computer. Just be sure you feel confident that, yes, they really have it. Answering something once does not mean they know it. My rule is that Lula Mae has to be able to answer or show me an objective 3 times, and in at least 2 different ways before I consider it "mastered".
  • Review! Always remember to go over the old stuff too. Also, be sure your lessons build off of each other. That will help you review naturally in your teaching.
  • Reward! I reward for good behavior, outstanding work, and good thinking. So even though she may not have gotten something just right, if I saw her trying very hard and really thinking about something, I will reward her. Not ever day, but fairly often. We use stickers... some use candy, but Lula Mae is way more excited to get a sticker! Always verbally reward too. Even if you sound like a broken record. They need to hear "wow, that is a great job! You listened very well. Thank you.". Verbal rewards don't even cost money!
  • Be patient and know when to stop. Don't let either of you get overwhelmed. If you feel that one of you are, stop. Have some quiet time. Pray. Then try to start again. You may find that 5 days a week is just too much. That is fine. Another great thing about homeschooling is that you don't have to go 5 days a week! Do what works for you and your little one!

Wow, I think I could write a book! You can't tell one bit that I am passionate about teaching can you? I didn't think so! Well, I hope someone out there gets something out of this post! i really enjoyed writing it. Perhaps next time I should just vlog about it to save you all the reading!

Happy Tuesday everyone! Don't forget to pray for LaVonne as she enters her teaching journey!


Emmy said...

Good for you. Sounds like you would do a great job homeschooling her when she is that age if you wanted.

Anonymous said...

What materials do you use? Do you recommend any?

Great job with the homeschooling.

LaVonne said...

Thank you so much for the bloggy love. I appreciate it, my friend.

I love your classroom and your ideas. We are still doing great. This was actually our 3rd day today. She loves it! She asks for school time now.

In the morning we do the same routine since Monday. In the afternoon we work on the letter of the week. She is practicing the letter A. Doing well.

Keep us updated too. :)


HeatherOz said...

Lula Mae is only 2? And reading 1st grade books? Wow! I am VERY impressed with both of you!!

Anonymous said...

Wow! What an encouragement! I just started doing school with my oldest and we're working our way through the alphabet. Now I'm wondering what I can do to challenge him some more. :-)