Friday, September 9, 2011

A typical day

We don't work in the school room every day. It's completely up to Monkey when we do school time and for how long. If she seems bored I might suggest it, but it's never forced. I do sometimes limit how long we're in there because she can go for hours and I want her to get up and go play after a while! This is an example of what a typical day in our school room might look like.

Calendar time - about 10 minutes.

First we talk about that day and move our "today", "yesterday", and "tomorrow" tabs.

Then we sing our days of the week song. It's pretty simple and to the tune of "oh my darlin'"
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
Thursday, Friday, Saturday
There are seven days, there are seven days
There are seven days in the week
There are seven days, there are seven days
There are seven days in the week

We sometimes sing our months of the year song, especially at the beginning of a new month, but we don't do that one every time. It is to the tune of "ten little indians"
January, February, March, and April
May, June, July, and August
September, October, November, December
Twelve months of the year

Next we talk about and change if needed the current phase of the moon.

After that part we move to the other part of our calendar. We briefly acknowledge the season. More emphasis will be put on that leading up to a season change.

Then we go outside for a few minutes and she decides what the weather is that day. I usually don't have to guide her in a different direction.

When we come inside, she puts the markers on the correct weather for that day and I write down that days date on the weather chart. We only chart the weather on days we do calendar, so it won't be an accurate representation of the whole school year when we're done, but it will be of the days we've specifically observed.

After Calendar she goes to her shelves and picks an activity. I give her the freedom to pick whatever she wants, but I do show her how to use it correctly. I'm not super strict making the school room no fun, but neither do we treat it as another play room where she just pulls stuff out and does whatever with it. After we've done an activity the way it is meant to be done, she can continue playing with or manipulating it to find new ways to do things or use it. 

She usually switches to a new activity after doing one once or twice, but if she doesn't, I will encourage her to do so after 10 minutes or so. I want her to often leave off wanting a bit more of an activity because that will encourage her to come back to it again next time. If she does one activity for too long, she will burn out a bit and not pick it again for a while.

When choosing an activity, she picks up the tray and brings it to the table. Then she sets all the parts out on the table and sets the tray aside (unless the tray is specifically used). If she has done the activity before, she proceeds on her own. If it is a new activity, I do it first while explaining to her what I'm doing and why. Then I reset it and let her do it. When she is done, everything goes back on the tray, and the tray goes back on the shelf before she picks a new one. 

Once she's done a few activities, or if she seems to slow down and not go straight to another one, I suggest doing SonLight. This is the new curriculum we have decided to go with.  For the preschool level, it is mostly just a collection of really great picture books. I made a schedule for reading the stories, but I don't follow it strictly. It was mostly so I could get an idea of how many stories we could go through a week and not fly through the whole year's worth too quickly.

We don't do SonLight every day that we do school. When we do, we typically do the following:
1 Bible story
1-2 poems
2 picture book stories
1 story from either 'social studies' or science
Listen to 4 nursery rhymes
Listen to 1 lullabye

The nursery rhymes and lullabies are repeated for a couple weeks and then we'll switch to another set. The 'social studies' book is Richard Scary's What do People do all Day? 
I'm not strict about following that schedule. If she doesn't want to read any given selection, we don't. If she makes a request for a story she sees or one we've read previously, we read it. We always talk to her about books we read together, and answer her questions, but I make an extra effort to do so with our school stories.

After SonLight, she may do more activities, or we may leave the school room. I try to limit school room time so that she doesn't burn out, and so that she can go do some play activity that gets her blood moving more!

I keep a notebook nearby and make a small note of each activity she does when we do school. This is so I can look back over and quickly see what days we did more, and when we did less. I can look at what was out each of those times. I can also see which activities she chooses more frequently. 

To give an example of what we did in one session, this is what I have down for August 8, 2011:

Calendar time - done as described above
Copying a pattern with large beads
P.E. blocks
Stringing small beads

God's Wonderful Creation
Singing-Time poem
Goodnight Moon
Katy and the Big Snow
Introduction to What do People do all Day?
Hickory Dickory Dock, Jack and Jill, Thirty Days, The North Wind Doth Blow
All Through the Night lullabye

Played in popcorn sensory tub
Cut paper using paper cutter (flat, slide kind, not a big blade!)
Map drawing and locating (to go with the Katy book)
Phonics- matching objects to starting letter

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