Sunday, June 27, 2010

Full on planning mode!

 Not Back to School Blog Hop

One thing you'll come to find out about me (if you haven't figured it out already) is that I'm a planner!  Hardcore!  Not always that good of an executor (not to be confused with executioner), but man oh man, I can plan with the best of 'em!

My hopes for this fall truly are, however, that I will have no choice but to follow through with all my plans because everything will be so well laid out for me!  So, I'm planning to plan on following through with the plan.  How's that for preparation?!

I'm off to a good start!  In reality, I have been working on next year's plan for nearly two months now, sporadically.  I plan (there's that word again) to be completely ready by August 16- when I plan intend to "officially" start our school year.  Now, as I share this "plan" with you, try not to laugh too hard and keep in mind that I feel I need to be as prepared as humanly possible to truly succeed.  So here goes:

We will be working our way through Carisa's (from 1+1+1=1) new core preschool curriculum called Raising Rockstars Preschool in combination with month long unit studies.  If you haven't checked out RRSP yet you should really go look at it!  It is an awesome curriculum with an entirely Biblical focus.  The majority of it is free but there is also a small (but growing) members only section that offers review units along with Powerpoint presentations to reinforce the units.  Membership is only $10 for a lifetime though, so the way I look at it, even if you just use it to get great ideas for teaching your preschooler, you really can't go wrong, plus you will be supporting an awesome family in their inner-city ministry!  Win-win!!!

As I mentioned we will also be doing some light unit studies to help round things out.  For the most part, we will be using the theme of our studies for our reading time, field trips and a few little science and math type activities.  I have also been working on compiling a lot of file folder games that go along with our themes so we can teach and reinforce skills while keeping things fun and not reusing the same tools to death!  I have also tried to choose themes that allow us to incorporate nature study as much as we can.  Most of the resources for our themes I have found on Homeschool Share, File Folder Fun, and Squidoo, along with my own printables and books from the library.  I plan (surprise, surprise!) to do in-depth posts on different aspects of our preschool and our themes as we go through/complete them. The themes we will be doing this fall are:
Fall & Harvest
Thanksgiving (with an emphasis on learning to be thankful)
Christmas & Winter

Wherever we have gaps in our week I will also be adding in some basic preschool printables activities from some of my favorite bloggers.  These activities don't circulate around a theme but are rather just for concept reinforcement (letters, numbers, shapes, colors, etc...).  My favorite sites for these printables are: 1+1+1=1, Homeschool Creations, and Confessions of a Homeschooler (Letter of the Week curriculum).

1+1+1=1 Homeschool Creations coahbutton

R-Man is very musically inclined and has great interest in it, so I plan to start teaching him some basic piano at home with these books by Bastien.  I have a basic knowledge of music and piano to work from, so I am fairly confident that with the help of these books (which pretty much spell it all out for you) I will be able to get him rolling in his musical education.  There will definitely come the day when he passes up my knowledge, but until then I think we will manage just fine.  We also hope to find someone to start teaching him how to play the drums as well.  He recently received a junior set of drums for his birthday and LOVES to play!  This kid has rhythm and I really want to foster that interest.

Hmmm... let's see.  What else?  Oh- much as Carisa does, I plan to incorporate a few open ended activities each day that R-Man can choose from at the end of our lessons (thinks like play dough and any building type of activity) as well as a specific game that we will play each day of the week.  Both of these will change weekly.

In order to keep everything organized and make sure we complete everything I want us to each day, I plan to incorporate a version of the Workbox System (by Sue Patrick) that was developed by Mama Jenn.  It is actually a Workbag System and I think will lend itself well to our small space, plus help us to stay on track!  If you haven't heard of the Workbox System I would really encourage you to look into it more.  Mama Jenn has some wonderful posts on her blog, detailing how she sets up and operates everything (including how she writes out her lesson plans- which I am doing something similar to).  You can also find a wide variety of different Workbox interpretations on this Squidoo Lense.  Or, of course, you could just go to the original site of Sue Patrick's (she has a book and all sorts of other details on the system- I haven't read the book but I have heard great things about it).  I will be doing a detailed post about how our system works after we have been using it for a few weeks, but I am incredibly excited about it and think it is going to be a really great fit for us.

We will also be continuing our family devotions times.  Our plan is to pretty much incorporate some sort of devotions into all of our meals.  During breakfast I will be continuing to read through Leading Little Ones to God and forging ahead on our Catechism for Young Children.  During lunch we will be listening to worship music (such as Seeds Family Worship) or The Word of Promise and reviewing our memory verse for the week (from our RRSP curriculum).  Right after dinner (or let's face it, while R-Man is still eating and the rest of us are done!) we will be reading through The One Year Bible for Kids (which I picked up at a used curriculum sale for 50 cents!!!  The link is for the newer, Challenge Edition). 

And to top off my planning spree (drumroll please!), I am working on mapping out our menu for the next couple of months- including breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks.  I am trying to incorporate as much variety as possible so we don't get bored, plus getting my shopping lists planned out so far in advance allows me to buy more in bulk.  I will be posting more about this on Mama Kenz Studio and you can get more info on how I plan in bulk on this page of my blog.  I am also working on the layout for our routine/schedule and slowly trying to get us used to a more steady and repetitive stream to our day so that it won't be a shock to all of our systems come August 16!  As I mentioned above, I am going to be working on more in-depth posts on all of these things as we begin in August and September, so be on the look out!

Alright!  That pretty much sums it up! I would love ot hear what you all are doing for preschool this year!  Leave your link and I will stop on by!

Oh, and by the way- I have linked this post up on Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers in this week's weekly wrap-up about 2010-2011 Curriculum!  This post is also linked to Heart of the Matter's (Not) Back To School blog party (featuring a whole month of start of the year blog parties!) & A Classic Housewife's Back to (home) school blog hop!  Go on over there to check out everybody's links for some serious inspiration for the new year!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tiny Talk Tuesday- June 22, 2010

Right back at 'cha mom!  Incorprated with pointing his fingers at me gun-style and clicking his tongue!  So funny!

Mom, you are so beautiful!  I just want to put a flower in your hair because you are so beautiful!  (I think dad needs to take some lessons from our little charmer!  He tells me I'm beautiful too, but this kid is suave!)

A few weekends ago R-Man was spending the night with Nana and Papa when I received a call from my mom-  "So, do you know what 'rock your body' is from?"

I about died laughing!  I typically listen to a Christian radio station in my car but my husband had changed it one day while we took a drive.  In that short time R-Man seems to have memorized the entire chorus of Rock Your Body (or as he would say, "Come on, come on!  Rock your body!  Uh! Uh! Rock your body right!")!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Lets go fly a kite!

R-Man got a couple of kites for his birthday and we have been waiting for the perfect windy, but not rainy day, to try them out!  That day finally came last week and we had so much fun!

We were all surprised by just how high they were able to get the kites!  One of them R-Man and daddy were even able to let out the entire string!  It was so fun and we can't wait to do it again!

Monday, June 7, 2010


Even after a year I can't get over how cute they are together!  Then again... I don't think I ever will!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Preschool Corner- May Review

***Please Take Note- I began writing this post at the beginning of may and just never found the time to include my links and finish it!  So, with that said, we are now technically done with school for the summer, but I will be posting soon about the light plans we have and all the work I am putting into planning for the fall!***

Preschool has been going well with R-Man!  We have been incorporating a few new things into school time over the last month or so and for now it seems to be working.

Probably our favorite new aspect to school time has been Calendar Time!  We got some fabulous ideas from Carisa over at 1+1+1=1 and have tailored it down a bit for us.  Calendar Time basically consists of singing some songs (about the date, months, days of the week), talking about the weather, finding the color & shape of the day throughout our schoolroom, doing a quick letter-sound drill (I will talk more about this in the fall), going over our memory verse, and a few other things.  I plan to do a more thorough post on our calendar time with pictures in the fall, so stay tuned!

Another tool we have been using is the Kumon Tracing workbook.  Although I am not a fan of workbooks in general, I really like the progression of the activities in this series.  R-Man really enjoys working in this book which is also a huge deciding factor in using it!  I let him do as much or as little as he wants, but he generally asks to do anywhere from 2-5 pages a day.

For his birthday we got R-Man this cool toy from Leap Frog called a Scribble & Write.  The lights on the screen light up in a progression of how you would actually write the chosen letter or number.  There are also pictures and games- R-Man loves it!

We were doing some reading and activities on Vikings since we saw "How to Train Your Dragon," but R-Man just couldn't seem to get into it.  So, other than continuing our reading for fun, we have pretty much let that unit fall by the wayside.  I don't want to wear him out trying to make him learn about things he is just completely uninterested in.  I want him to have a love of learning and the Viking Unit just wasn't fitting into that plan.

As we head into summer R-Man is spending more time outside and less time doing "school."  Although, as I watch him exploring the world outdoors I know that he is learning far more than he would be at a desk.  He loves "working" with his dad and "doing jobs," and ya know what?  He actually does work very hard at the jobs we give him!   I have been amazed to see him verbalize his critical thinking to figure out how to accomplish what we have asked him to do also!

Our plan is to continue working on a few Kumon workbooks throughout the summer but mainly focus on experiencing the world outside our doors and answering the plethora of questions that always seem to be spilling out of him these days.  More to come on our summer plans over the next week or so though!