As bad as I hate to admit it, we are already half way through our summer break from school. As a “teacher” I must say that I enjoy my summer vacation just as much as my pupil enjoys his.
That being said, I’ve recently begun preparing for our next school year. Ty will be in the second grade this year! Can you believe it? His text books should arrive in a couple of weeks. We are using the aBeka curriculum again this year. I really like their material. It’s very thorough and well laid out. Just the kind of structure that I need. I don’t have a lot of extra time on my hands for making lesson plans.
I've also made another decision regarding Arrow Academy this year. (That’s the name of our school, in case you didn’t know.) We’ll be enrolling one more student. Yep, that’s right. Lucy will be joining us this year!
What? She’s only two!
Yes, I know, but you’re never too young to learn, right?
Besides, it won’t be school school. More like “play with a purpose.”
Actually it’s called Tot School. This wonderful, Christian, homeschooling mom developed the idea with her little ones, and has graciously shared her ideas and experiences on her own blog and websites. You can read all about it here. Her sites are full of information and inspiration. I’ve spent hours browsing through all of her wonderful ideas, and I can’t wait to begin working with Lucy.
In fact, I’ve already started. Here’s an activity I did with her yesterday. I gathered some pom-poms, some small containers, and a pair of tongs and let her get to “work.” After I modeled the activity for her, she had a great time pinching the pom-poms and moving them from bowl to bowl.
“I cooking, Mama.”
So, what’s the point of this activity? Well, we were able to work on several skills including, but not limited to: counting, sorting, color recognition, and fine-motor. And just for kicks, let’s throw in a virtue: Patience. It’s not as easy as it looks, but she kept trying until she got it!
Lucy really enjoyed the activity. I even caught her back at the table later that day
working playing again.
After reading up on Tot School I realized that there are sooooo many things around the house that can be used for learning. And I’m not talking about toys either. (But goodness knows we have plenty of those around here.) I’m talking about things like spoons, dry spaghetti, bowls, bottle caps, empty boxes, clothespins, and ice cube trays. So yesterday, I spent most of the morning rummaging through cabinets and drawers, making a list of things we could use for Tot School.
I found a lot of supplies around the house, but today I added a few new things to our collection. And since Arrow Academy runs on a tight budget, I paid no more than $1 for each of these items!!!!
Two packs of flashcards: jobs & animals, 2 ink pads, and dry erase crayons. (I lied. The crayons cost more than $1.)
From the Dollar Tree:
A mini ring toss game, linkable shapes, and divided plates.
Clips, a puzzle about colors, and first-words flashcards.
I also got the green and blue trays at the Dollar Tree. Actually I got 4 trays. Remember Tot School? Well, each week you are supposed set out a few activities on “Tot Trays” for your little tot to work with. It is recommended that you put the trays out where the tot can see them and pick which activity she wants. This is a very important “rule” concerning Tot School. Let the tot lead. Otherwise you’ll just be wasting your time and energy, and both the tot and the mom will be frustrated.
Back to shopping………While I was out, I couldn’t resist getting a few things for Ty too.
An animal activity book, and a 50 states book.
An inside look at the animal book.
Two dry-erase learning mats: Money and Addition
Three bingo games: Math, Alphabet, and Time
A closer look at Alphabet Bingo. I hope to play these in the evening when the Tool Man comes home.
From the Dollar Tree:
A table-top trash can (I’m planning on using this for games, not garbage), plastic storage boxes, and a new book.
Why all the plastic boxes? There’s something new I want to try with Ty this year – Workboxes.
I got the idea from the same Tot School mom who got the idea here. Basically you put all of the child’s work for each day in boxes. Every activity or subject gets its own box. When he’s finished with the work in one box he can move on to the next. This way he can easily see what he has to do each day and exactly how much work he has left. I think the workboxes help keep the teacher a bit more organized as well . I need to read some more about all this, but I’ll keep you posted on how this system works for us.
I hope I haven’t bored or depressed y’all with all of this talk about school. I know it’s still summer, but August is sneaking up on us, and I just gotta start getting ready!