Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Poetry Memorization

I love poems. I always have.

I have deliberated as to how to share that love iwth my kids. From my previous post you have seen that we incorporate a poem into our morning routine and it has been immensley fun to learn these simple poems together. THe kids love taking turns leading the poems as well.

I had been taking most of my poems from My Montessori Journey

and then tonight I came across this great resource and have selected Wise Old Owl for our next poem.

I do love the concept of having objects in the pocket chart or in a basket to help youngers remember the poem.

I have also found that devising hand motions with the children is a wonderful help in memorization. It's fun to say the poem and do the motions all together.

Here is the Owl Craft that we will do with the poem.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Starting Your Homeschool Day on the Right Foot

I'm not the best planner/organizer, but one thing that I am very pleased with this school year is the way we start our school day. I seem to have finally found the right formula for getting the kids off on the right foot each morning. It's quick and simple,but unifying, meaningful and memorable. HEre's how we do it:

After breakfast, chores, brief scripture reading (at the breakfast table) and personal grooming time, I head downstairs to the school room and gather the kids on the rug for RUg Time. And then we follow these steps.

1. Prayer
2. One patriotic song or quote from Wee Sing America. We listen to the same track for a whole week with the goal of memorizing the song or quote.
3. Pledge of Allegance
4. Scripture verse memorization
5. Poem recitation

That's it!

Each child gets to say the prayer and lead us through the 5 steps for an entire week. We rotate from oldest to youngest so that the youngest child is very familiar with the scriptures,song and poem that he is to lead during his week. I try to keep the poem and scriptures up for the 3 weeks,but we do rotate the song weekly unless we need more time to commit it to memory.

Simple right? Right! And I think that's been the key to our success. I have notions of adding in a Portuguese word of the day, and a nursery rhyme/song for our toddler. Maybe starting in January.

From rug time, we do group classes. HEre are our group classes and how they rotate during the week.

Monday: Science
Tuesday: History
Wednesday: Art, Science and Old Testament
Thursday: Old Testament, science and P.E. (the kids all do gymnastics together in the afternoon)
Friday: Music and Poetry

Depending on how long we spend on group classes, we may be ready for snack. Or we may head right into one-on-one time or independent work. I often will prepare "snack tray" and bring it downstairs full of fruit, crackers, cheese,chips, muffins, nuts or what ever else is on hand.

I send my 3rd grader to her desk to do her independent work after group classes(written out on a schedule the night before) while I take my 1st grader to the "teacher's table" to do her math, phonics and language arts.

Then I send her to do independent work while I do math, phonics and LA with my preschooler boy. (He was doing legos or some other quiet play while waiting hs turn). Then I let 1st grader and preschooler off for the day. They may play together indoors or out, but usually I don't let them on the Wii until 3rd grader has also finished school. Usually this is a good stopping place for lunch also and I put our 15 month old down for a nap.

Then I'm free to finish up the day working one-on-one with my 3rd grader. We're usually done with our day by 1:30 or 2pm. Currently, when teh weather is good, we like to take off after baby's nap to a local skateboard park. We get there just before the older kids are out of school and have the place to ourselves for a while. We bring bikes, skates, scooters and a thingy you sit on that has handles and four wheels. It's fun!

And in case you were wondering, our 15 month old girlie just finds ways to entertain herslef in the school room during the morning. Usually she is off making a mess in some corner! I do take breaks to read her a quick book or do a simple puzzle with her. This helps tremendously to keep her happy and satisfied. Often she is on my lap playing with my hair or reaching for things on my desk while I work with a sibling. I have lots for her to explore in the room, but of course she wants everything that is off limits, like paint and markers! She keeps us on our toes,that's for sure!