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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tips For Schooling Little Ones (Part 2) PreK-Lower Elementary

Some of the top questions I have seen a lot lately in forums and have been asked:
  • How do I school my Preschool or Kindergartner?
  • How do I school multiple children?
  • How long should they be schooled for?
  • What curriculum do you use?
To view Part 1 of this post please click the following link: http://homeizcool101.wordpress.com/2012/09/21/tips-for-schooling-little-ones-pre-k-elementary/
How do I school with multiple children? Schooling with multiple children differing ages is not always easy. Takes a lot of pre-planning and experimenting. I know, I know, some of you are asking yourself, "Did she just say experimenting?" YES, I sure did. I admit, just because we are homeschoolers it does not mean that we are not going to face challenges. We will face more challenges then most teachers in a public school system is faced with. Why? Well its because we are not only the teacher, we are the school principle and the parent. These are our kids and we have to adjust our lives to more then one adjustment here.
  1. First and foremost, STRUCTURE & ROUTINE are an absolute. Structure is a definate need for this to work. No structure means comfortability and slacking. It also = NO RESPECT! How structured you are depends on you. Some families have to be totally structured with their schooling routines. Some families need a just enough structure to keep their routines in swing. I can promise you with out at least a little structure your not going to be able to function as good as what you could. Routines are good but to be strictly on a routine is rough. With apts, sick days, visitors, emergencies etc. You can strive to stay with in your routine but understand that some days you will not be able to stay strictly on that routine. Allow room to bend here or there.
  2. Ok, So agendas are good to some extent. Honestly, for our family, what works is not the agenda. I have a schedule we strive to keep, other wise it usually goes by subjects. (here is a sample of our usual day)
First thing in the am:
  • Hygiene and dressed for the day
  • Beds made
  • Breakfast
  • Everyone to the table for Bible and prayer
(Break Up) Individual studies (older daughter)
  • Oldest daughter goes off to work Health, EMT Studies, Math (Teaching Textbooks) and Grammar
We will join back up and go over grading together or she will turn pages in to be graded. Usually together grading. While she is off working on her individual studies, this makes time open for.... (Group Studies) with Little ones. When you have little ones closer together it makes it easier to work group studies. Even if their ages are spaced further apart some studies can still be worked together. For instance, My little ones are 5.5, 6.5, and 7.5. My 5.5 year old should be doing K this year. But she did it last year with my son so both are now doing 1st grade together. I bring all three together and we work Math and Phonics as well as cover spelling and reading together. If I see one struggling, I am comfortable enough to leave and work individual a few moments with the one struggling.
  • After going over studies with the little ones, I break with them for stations and then meet up with the oldest to go over studies.
  • Then we all come together for Art or Music. Periodically through out our day we may have a few lessons that are hands on or craft like in our learning. I try to make our day fun as well as educational. Of course we also have to make time for Lunch and extra curricular.
This is just a partial sample of our day. Again I remind you what works for our family does not gurantee it will work for yours. Be willing to experiment in your days. Try one way for few weeks if you see it is not working then try a different way. Or try it for a month. Only you will know what is working and what is not. Yes it is ok and suggested by many veterans to experiment. In fact, to the new schoolers, usually the first 2-3 years is experimenting to find a routine that works best for you. I again will aslo encourage exploratory learning. Hands on and exploring in learning keeps the kids engaging and interested. A boring day is a quick turn off to school, especially when it is to a beginner schooler. How long should my PreK and K school each day? This is a good question. Honestly, I can not say there is one right answer. Lol! It depends on your child, you and your school. If the lesson is interesting to the child they may want to keep going. If it is boring and they are giving you a fit much of the school day, I would call it a day. Schooling can vary. Listen, a lot of veterans will agree that the first two years of schooling are tough. The most important thing to note is, you should not add more stress then you already have to deal with. It is ok if you are not schooling full time like the older kids. Remember your little schooler is just beginning. Adding more stress or forcing the issue on the child is only going to make matters worse. Am I saying let your little schooler run the show. LORD NO! But understanding that he/she will not be forced to do something that they are not ready for is an absolute need to know. Listen, if your schooler constantly gives you a fit, then you need to step back and examine your approach and how you teach. This is where I again express KNOW YOUR CHILDS LEARNING STYLE. With out the knowledge of that you are shifting constantly trying to reach your child. As always, I suggest to all parents. Would you be able to school the way you school your child? What do I mean? Well again I say, look back at your own schooling. What did you enjoy and dislike about your schooling? What classes did you accel in and why? What classes did you fail and why? After examining your day in school with your children, toss out some ideas to shift it up or experiment and see if it helps your child enjoy learning. Rest assured, if your child knows your going to have fun and not realize that the fun is actually learning, they are toatlly going to be there. This does not mean school should be all fun. At some point you are going to have to include more structured learning. But to start out with more fun is ok. Just don't completely ditch the fun when introducing more structure. Take it from a mommy who knows and has a lot of experience behind her. As well as a Church Childrens Minsitry Teacher/Helper/Worker and leader all at different times. I truly enjoyed hearing from parents and children how much they enjoy learning under me and how much their children enjoy me as their teacher. That is a true blessing, but that is my hearts passion. What curriculum do you use? Honestly, Who said anything about curriculum for a PreK and K? Do not feel obligated to use curriculum with your younger ones. You can find tons of resources for free on line and really all over. You can use curriculum if you want but do not feel like you have to. Listen, Public school systems all over do not use curriculum for their PreK and K. Often the teachers are responsible for the their line up. They may be given a layout of the year and what should be covered when but the teacher is ultimately responsible for their childs lessons. It is honestly senseless to spend loads of money on curriculum that your child may not ever use. I never used or use curriculum with my little ones. Yes I put my own lessons together. I did use Steck Vaugn Phonics Book A and B for K and 1st grade. Other wise, I put my lesson line up together myself. Save tons of money and experimented with learning. There are tons of online sources. I love that my kids were and continue to use online resources and learning. I do not give them online time alone, nor will I alow them to search alone. But they do get time to learn online with particular games. I am quite picky. I do not mind Starfall or Abcmouse.com A majority of our computer learning is in stations 15 -30 mins depending on daily schedule and for each child. The learning stations typically include stations that have games either on the computer or away from the computer. Word builders on or off the computer. I highly recommend Lakeshore learning store as an educational center for buying resources. Often they have sales and coupons which help tremendously. I love the Word Families, Word Studies, Word Building Computer learners. My kids absolutely are hooked and learning. My youngest who should be in K is in First grade because of these learners, reading, writing, making words and spelling them. My son has a passion with numbers, math and counting. Love love loves math. Hated spelling, reading, writing, phonics, letters in general. Then I ran across these learners for computer, he is a 1st grader now and is reading, writing and on a level 3 sight words which is more of a 2nd grade level. He also now enjoys his letters. Please understand, although I am sharing some of our school ideas, routines and etc.. I am not stating that this is the only way or that our way is going to work for your family. I am a veteran homeschooler that pretty much learned a lot on my own and later found other veterans who helped me along the way. These are ideas and encouraging advice to help you along your way. Understand Homeschooling is not just schooling. We are learning right along side our children, experimenting and finding out what works for our family. I hope this helps some with the questions above. Also I want to note, that sometimes your questions will not get an answer until later on in your schooling. That is ok to. Don't walk out in the expectency of getting an immediate answer. Some of my questions still sit un answered today. That is ok, I know the answer is out there and in the right time it will come. Happy Schooling!

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