I am still trying to gain my focus on what I am going to teach and how I did it in the past, so I am still thinking and writing through my ideas and plans... However, I am going to share it here... (so I don't lose my notes (o;)
To keep the small ones busy, I will provide them with lots of copy work... the way I usually do copy work is more time consuming but saves money...
Handwriting/Copy work (every day--independent)
- First I get some very cheap lined paper (for beginning handwriting) and I make a "book" by stapling several sheets of this cheap paper between construction paper (or whatever I have).
- Then I use a ball point pen and write letters for them to copy.
- They use a magic marker or highlighter pen to copy the letters...the marker makes it "fun," and is usually a "treat" for them.
- I also make sure to help them decorate there new book. Stickers can be used as well as crayons and markers to make a picture. I also make sure I write there name on the book.
- Once the child has mastered their letters and numbers, I go on to words, then sentences...I prefer Scripture verses, not only does that teach writing, but once they begin to read that reinforces there memory verse for the week.
- Sometimes I use Donna Young's handwriting worksheets to teach the correct way to write in cursive...I often let the child decide when they would like to write in cursive as I have often began them in 1st grade (which was their choice).
Saxon Math teaches almost all the skills a child needs, but if you are not using a curriculum for your small children (K-1st grade) you can do many different things...
- Use counters to teach counting... anything here can be used from army men or teddy bear counter to beans or noodles.
- Use toys to teach positions (front, middle, back...first, second, third....and so on)
- Use your same counters to teach addition and subtraction... This method makes math real to your child. Make rows, trains (with blocks), towers, airplane seats... adding and taking away so the child begins to understand math.
- Use apples to teach division. When you cut an apple in half how many pieces do you have now? So 1/2 apple plus 1/2 apple equals one whole apple.
This is one of those subject that many throw there hand up in the air about... How do you teach spelling?
Well if you teach phonics to your child, then your child will learn to spell phonetically. However, sometimes words are not spelled phonetically so as you are going over your child's copy work, you find the spelling mistakes that they made. Those "mistakes" are now your "spelling words" for the week. Have the child/ren write those words 3-5 times each day for 3 days. Give a pre-test on Thursday, if the child scores a perfect score on Thursday then count that for the test, if not, have the child retake the test on Friday.
Any words that were not spelled correctly on the Friday test can be added to the following weeks spelling lesson, because we all know, "Practice makes perfect."
In addition to writing our spelling words, I also have my children write the pronunciation, definition, and different forms of the word (with prefixes, suffixes, plural form, past, present, future tense if verb).
Language Arts (every day--group lesson, worksheets independent)
Language arts is spelling (covered), grammar, reading (which I include in Literature), word study, and expository and creative writing which includes essays, letters to friends or family, and poetry.
Shurley English covers most of these topics... that is grammar, writing, word study, and abbreviations (including states, their capitols, postal abbreviation, & the outline of the state).
It uses jingles or poems to teach about parts of speech, etc. Each day we outline a sentence and learn or review a concept, then follow up with a worksheet. Each week we learn new words (synonyms & antonyms), take a test, write a paragraph, and learn 2 new states.
When I am teaching English, I usually try to include my younger children in singing the "jingles" so they can memorize these poems (which teach the parts of speech). Young children can be taught some of the parts of speech...mainly nouns and verbs. This can actually be very fun as you can ask them to jump, run, dance, etc. or to get the cat, a toy, or something that is a noun.
History/Social Studies (3 times per week--group lesson, independent reading)
We are basically learning about people and events from the past. Reading the Bible from the beginning to the children is teaching them about the past...how the world began. This is a very good place to start.
I use Tapestry of Grace to teach History, Biblical Worldview, etc. I also use their maps to teach Geography.
For my younger children, I have often read Genesis 1-3 to them and had them illustrate what happened on the Days of Creation...wow, we just covered 2 subjects... history & art! Then I might have them copy a verse or the verse that refers to the day we just discussed and our handwriting is done for the day!
Science (2 times per week--group lesson)
Science is a study of God's Creation...the earth, the animals, the human being, the way things work, electricity, magnets, weather, clouds, etc.
What curriculum do you use? Good question! But we have chosen Apologia Science. You can read the lessons out loud to ALL of your students... making sure your little ones are coloring and occupying themselves, then finish up with discussion and then, if your child is able, have them follow up with the questions at the end. Many parents will have their child dictate to them what they have learned and then the child will copy what their parents have written on their papers, then as the child gets older you can teach them to rephrase the sentence and find the answer themselves.
Bible (every day as a group)
We sing the Old and New Testament songs, recite our catechism questions & answers, teach memory verses, sing Scripture verses, read the Bible, and talk about the character of God. This can be done anytime... say you do a morning devotion and Bible reading during breakfast, and at lunch read your Proverb of the day (corresponds with the date), and then during "school" time sing songs, work on memory verse, work on catechism questions, dinner time can be a question & answer session with dad.
Art (once or twice a week)
There are so many things to do in art, I don't even know where to start. But many things can be considered art. Say you have a Lego genius, like me, have them build a structure and then take a picture of it to put in your portfolio...that is sculpture.
Drawing can be anything from animals, trees, your house, to tea cups, fruit, glass jars, eggs, popcorn, etc. They are basically learning small motor skills. You can buy a book for ideas or find some websites (Like Donna Young's) to help you, but art is basically ANYTHING creative... from knitting & sewing (fibers) to painting & sculpture.
Other ideas that may help are to have you children make cards for family members who are having birthdays. Make sure to take a picture and stick it in you portfolio though!
Health (once per week)
Simple...caring & learning about our bodies. This includes how our body works, dental care, grooming, what to feed & fuel our body, why we get sick, how to keep our bodies healthy, getting proper sleep, what to expect when mommy has another baby, how to care for our siblings, safety rules, gearing up (helmets & elbow & knee pads) for outdoor activites; protecting our skin, sight & hearing; what to do in an emergency, first aid, CPR, when to call 911; what drugs, alcohol, smoking & junk food does to our bodies, how our body changes when we get older, etc.
Music (once or twice per week)
Composers & their music (reading out of a book).
Learning to read & play music.
Listening to music & learning to appreciate it.
Teaching musical instruments (or music lessons outside of the home).
Physical Education (every day...as my children are quite active)
Learning what to do to keep our bodies fit which includes learning how to play different team sports (& rules), learning how to play individual sports (& rules), learning what activities we should do everyday and learning about warming up, stretching & cooling down.
I thing that should be a good enough start for me... it gives me a few great ideas on subjects that I have not taught before (as the laws out here are different). Hope you find this helpful too!