Monday, August 30, 2010

First Day of School!

There are many philosophies of learning. This, I know. However, I needed one I could remember as I made my lesson plans and mapped out where we were going- often as I was doing other things throughout my day. =) You know how it is. Simplicity is important for a Mama like me trying to juggle so many balls at one time. This one fit the bill: Excite, Examine, Expand, Excel.

The theory? Develop excitement for learning about this topic. Create an interest, discuss what they already know, what they want to learn. Use mindmapping, brainstorming, watching a video, making lists, looking at pictures, taking field trips.

So, for our first day of preschool homeschool we took a trip to the Science Center. Nothing like a good field trip to create an interest! They had a room dedicated to transportation (our first unit study on the docket) for pint sized learners. It was great. I love hands on learning! =) Here are some pics of the day. I wish I had gotten some of her doing some table work, but I was the one working with her then, so- no pictures. ;) Even Daddy took the day off to explore with us! Yeah for Daddy!!!

They had wooden miniature models of an airplane, a train, a space shuttle, a train table, small cars to ride in, a race car where you can replace the wheels and "gas up", lots of books, puzzles, and posters.

Here our big school girl is trying her hand at being a pilot. She may be better suited to being Peter Pan...

I have to say, this train was pretty cool. It came complete with a hand crank on the outside replicating the engine that made it sound like it was really rumbling down the track.

Conductor Caiden! All Aboard!

There were all kinds of gears and levers and bells and whistles (literally!) in there. What a cool learning tool!

Addison really loved the train table. She spent most of her time stalking the boy who was hogging the engine. =) Finally he gave her a turn and she said with a huge toothy grin, "so 'cited!" I mean, seriously? I just want to eat her. The whole time I'm coaching her to "wait your turn, be patient, be sweet...but what I really want to say is, "Move over greedy little boy, my little girl is enamored with the train table and she just wants a turn!" =)

Two weeks later, we are almost at the end of our unit study. We have discussed shapes, signs and symbols. We have said rhymes and sung songs. We have read more than 50 books related to transportation, shapes, signs and symbols.We have manipulated shapes to make pictures. We have worked on patterning, ordering by size, sorting by shape and color and means of transport (water, air, road). She has memorized her address, and learned to write her name. We have practiced using our body as a means of transportation and practiced with an obstacle course. We have made traffic sign and signals and used them. She knows when, why and how to dial 911 in the case of emergencies. She is beginning to ask questions and learn how we find the answers about the world around her. She is practicing the things she has learned in her free play time. All of this without much "table time" at all! Just what I was aiming for! This home schooling thing is pretty amazing. It's not going to be easy, but I think we're going to like it.

Tomorrow we will be meeting with a small group of other homeschooling parents whose children are also preschool age for some group learning. We will meet once a week during the morning hours and I will be hosting/leading a group session twice a quarter. We also will be scheduling group field trips we will have the opportunity to take part in as desired. I am excited about this opportunity as she doesn't have much access to friends her own age. (Her "friends" are youth group kids, her sister, her aunts and cousins who we don't see nearly as often as we should.) We're excited! Thanks for sharing in our journey!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


What could be cuter

than a toothy smile

from a little girl

with pigtails for the first time? ....I don't know either! =D