Thursday, August 14, 2014

Prek 4 week 1

Our first full week of Pre-k 4 was great! I had a lot of fun working with Oliver and he had a lot of fun doing his school time. Some things I learned:
  1. It's important to really sit and have one on one time with Oliver while we are doing his different activities (especially writing, or new challenges to him).
  2. Lot's and lot's of praise goes a long way in encouraging him to continue and push him a little when he wants to give up.
  3. Having activities ready for Aleksandr to play with is a must. 
  4. Also including Aleksandr where I can is helpful too (paint dots for him while Oliver is coloring patterns).
  5. Preparing a bit the night before so that the flow of our work time is smooth.
  6. Breaking up sitting work time with lots of exercise related activities (singing and moving, marching, going on a bear hunt together, or rather alligator hunt etc.)
  7. Prayer. Lot's of prayer for help, passion, love, compassion, guidance, discipline and fun!!
My husband is such an encouragement to me and I love sharing my heart with him, as well as areas that I just am not disciplined in. Teaching is certainly an area I feel inadequate in, as it's not my background. But I know the Lord has called me here to this place, at this moment and until He shows us otherwise I will continue to do the best I can in homeschooling. I am thankful so much for my husband's insight and wisdom and I encourage other mom's to seek out the council of your spouse, as well as prayer with the One Who made those sweet kiddos you are training. I think I often will let Oliver give up or quit on something when just a little bit of encouragement and a lot of praise when he finishes goes sooo far. I learned this after talking with my husband one night about quitting, or giving up easily. This very thing came into play when Oliver worked on some patterns. They were tough for him (some may have been too hard for him at this point), but I stayed right with him and encouraged him to keep going and he was so proud of himself when he finished them. Seeing that little smile of accomplishment will teach him much as he continues to grow and learn. Hard work is worth the effort for all it teaches you!
Here is Oliver working on some train themed patterns.

Preschool Year 4!

It's a new school year here at home as we begin year 4 for our Oliver. I had spent much time praying about what curriculum we should use this year. I was debating using ABCJLM (Abc Jesus Loves Me) versus so many other great options that are out there. My criteria were essentially: free (there are so many options online, there really isn't a need to purchase for these little years), Christian, and fun! I didn't want a rigid scheduled, long drawn out school day for him. I wanted to be able to teach him basics, heavily influenced around the Bible. God is the center of our home and I am daily trying to pour into our two little boys with the help of Jesus!!
This year it was also a little different with little brother wanting to participate in all that his big brother is doing. Between a 4 year old and a 2 year old I knew I'd need to think out some activities geared towards both, and also specific play things that a 2 year old would want to play with for a little bit of time.
Ultimately after researching, praying, talking it over with my husband, and seeking out the wisdom of veteran mom's that are homeschooling I decided to once again use ABCJLM. Allowing myself a little planning time in the evenings was a tremendous help in making the day run smoothly. I wrote out a loose lesson plan (following an example on ABCJLM's site) and filled in what activities we would cover for the week. The first day I wasn't prepared enough, at least for our 2 year old little boy that wanted to do everything Oliver was doing. Overall not a very smooth day, filled with lots of tears and whining (from Aleksandr). Soooo, I learned from that and made sure to have something special just for him the next day.
Today is our third and final day of school for our first week and it was so much better once I had something set up for our 2 year old. Oliver did so great and worked hard, and I'm so proud of him and the effort he put into it. I am learning so much as I again start up another year. I am thankful I had a year to get my toes wet at the homeschooling thing because it feels a little easier this year.
I think one thing that helped me as I started thinking through schooling this year was sitting down and determining what my goals were for the year. What was I wanting him to learn? How was he going to learn? How will little brother be able to participate?
And like I mentioned above, my heart is to tell our boys who God is, and the rest is centered around that. Including character traits was a big goal of mine as well. There are a lot of sites out there that can help in this and I found a printout actually from the Duggard's blog that has a full page of character traits with Scripture relating to it. It's a great reference and I hope to start memorizing them in our own home. Right now though we are using the character traits that are mentioned each week at ABCJLM. This week was faith and trust, and went along with the Bible story.
I'm having a lot of fun so far, and I am continuing to pray for this. May the Lord continue to guide me as I train and teach these little boys!