Monday, August 5, 2013

Jesse Bear

This week I finally got myself together to dig into my plans for Claire and "school."  I had planned to get this going much earlier in the summer but things got away from me.  I have to, diligently, put myself on a schedule next September and stick to it if I'm going to get anything done with Claire next year since, as of right now, I'm going back to the school next year and the craziness will all begin soon.  I hadn't planned or expected that, but nothing fell into place like we'd imagined and it looks like another year teaching at the middle school.  The plan is to save a lot and get a lot done and see what happens next.  I'm thinking I can teach Claire preschool at home and keep the part-time job but not really sure how that will work after that.  One year at a time. . .
Anyway, this week we "rowed" Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear? using a "curriculum" called Before Five in a Row. I have curriculum in quotes because, it's not too structured, just a book a week and all kinds of activities that you can choose from.  The goal, for me, is to get Claire interested in "doing school."   You read the book of the week everyday and discuss the book, look at the pictures, go for walks, create art, tie themes in with Bible stories, science, numbers, letters. . . anything.  There are a few sites, also, that have free printables that go along with the books that I can choose to use or not.  i decided to try some out at Homeschool Creations. It was perfect!  Just the right mix of simple activities from the original book and "academic" activities from Homeschool Creations to make it interesting for her.  She likes to write and count but if it gets to the point where she is tired of it or would rather play than do these things this year, I'll stop.  Right now, she thinks each activity, whether it's an art project, tracing words and letters or counting and doing sequencing activities is a "game."  We finish one and she says, "I wanna do another game!"  As long as she has that attitude, we'll keep it going and I think this system is good for her "year 3."
Anyway, here's a few highlights of our week last week:

Verse for the Week: "A cheerful heart makes good medicine" (Proverbs 17:22) and a happy heart makes a cheerful face. (Proverbs 15:13).

Colors, Patterns and Combinations:  Since the story was about Jesse Bear waking up, deciding what to wear and then continuing to "wear" various things throughout his day, one of the activities we did involved colors and matching and putting "outfits" together for Jesse Bear. To prepare for this, I trekked over to Hobby Lobby and picked up some colored, patterned scrapbook paper and created little pants and shirts for our paper Jesse Bear.  The cool thing about this is it teaches color matching through "playing" with the Jesse Bear "paper doll."   She was actually pretty good at putting "outfits" together.  

Another day we did some activities from Homeschool Creations after reading our book. One was looking at Jesse Bear's lunch and doing some story comprehension.  On the page was a little chart what said, "Did Eat" "Did Not Eat" and Claire moved pictures of food items under the correct side of the chart.  Her HUGE smile tells you what she thought of this "game."

Then we played a game of memory with pictures of items from the book.  Ashlyn tried to help out with this, to Claire's dismay. . . 

During the course of the story, Jesse Bear takes a bath before bedtime so the next "game" was "Count the Ducks" and match the correct number with the number of ducks in the tub.  The academic virtues of this activity is obvious, but she had no idea she was doing "work" We got to about 12 this time.  She can count higher but doesn't recognize numbers past 12 yet.  

This activity was just tracing the lines from Jesse Bear on the left to the shirt on the right. She begged to do this one while I was making dinner. . . 

Another day we did shapes and potato stamps.  The floor of Jesse Bear's kitchen has various shapes on it.  So we discussed shapes and I made these stamps.  Apparently, I'm terrible at cutting potato stamps.  Good thing Claire doesn't seem to mind.  :-)  Shapes is one thing we are still really "working" on (I say this in quotes since I'm not forcing anything, just thinking about it more and talking about it more in normal activities and conversation.  She still has trouble identifying the names of different shapes.  She's got letters and sounds, numbers and colors but shapes. . . no so much.  Momma's not too worried ;-)  Either way, we had fun with the shapes and Claire gets excited about anything that has to do with paint (she really loves art). . . so excited, in fact, that the paint ended up in her hair :-)

 Last couple of "in the house" activities involved more "games" from Homeschool Creations.  She colored Jesse Bear's shirt red and pants blue after tracing a sentence and did some sequencing exercises that, again, she called a "game."  Love it.

Our last day of Jesse Bear, I took Claire out for a walk after Ashlyn was in bed.  One of the suggested activities was to take your child on a nature walk to discuss patterns, color and the way in which God puts colors together to make things beautiful.  It was really supposed to go with the "matching colors" activity but I wanted to save it for last.  Right outside our neighborhood, over a small hill, is a huge field and a dirt path.  We walked along there, talking about the big animal holes in the path, the corn growing on the other side of the path and the cows and horses on the dairy farm we could see not too far away.  Afterward, we sat on a bench in the park across the street from our house and watched the sunset.  So perfect that I almost feel totally ridiculous writing this.  But it was the end of our first week.  I know homeschool weeks won't always be this great and end so well, but I have this first week to look back on every time things get crazy to remind myself why I want to do it this way in the first place.

This morning, during breakfast, Claire says to me. . . Yellow Ball this week?!  Yup on to Yellow Ball!

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