So, with the beginning of the new year, we are back to do partial homeschooling (what some would call after schooling) with the boys. I feel like, after taking 2016 off, that we really need to get back to it...Eli benefits so much from after schooling when we do it, and Itty Bitty is now at an age where he will, too. I missed the Weekly Wrap-Up with Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers, but will hopefully be ready for them next week!
Itty Bitty is just now old enough to handle practical life and sensorial activities (Montessori style), and we will be pursuing those, as well as singing songs, working through his therapy activities, and reading lots of books together. This week, the things we worked on include putting dirty clothes into the laundry (he's VERY good at this 😊), helping Eli bring me clean clothes from the dryer to fold (he mostly tried to put the clean clothes in the hamper), using utensils to eat (this is a major work in progress), telling the dogs "out!", and peeling bananas that I start for him. We read "Click Clack, Ho Ho Ho" by Doreen Cronin, "I Want My Hat Back" by Jon Klassen, and "The Little Duck" by Judy Dunn. We've been singing the Daniel Tiger theme song, the Number/Letter of the Day Song (Sesame Street), and the Christmas version of the "Hallelujah" song (not sure who wrote this...it's not Leonard Cohen's version?), which Itty Bitty attempted to sing a bit this morning. Itty Bitty LOVES all things music and sometimes surprises us with his preferences.
Eli is in public school Kindergarten. Even though his teacher really does try to give him challenging, individualized work, it's really difficult for her to do without relying on computers programs or iPad apps. His current reading level is about mid-3rd grade, according to the school's assessments, and his mathematical knowledge is a hodgepodge mixture of second, third, and fourth grade arithmetic. He is reading early chapter books competently, and has understanding of adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. For homeschool activities for math, we are going to use a combination of materials, including Art of Problem Solving's Beast Academy, Life of Fred and IXL. For reading, Eli actually came to me and asked if he could do a reading challenge similar to the ones we complete in the summer...and I'm all for it! After much discussion - in which I suggested 12 books, and Eli begged to do 20 - we settled on an outline of 16 books, selected by the guidelines below:
1. A book he selects because of its pictures
2. A biography
3. A non-fiction book
4. A book of the Bible (from his Children's Bible)
5. A book written at least 100 years ago
6. A graphic novel
7. A book suggested by his parents
8. A book about a different culture
9. A book that is the first in a series
10. A book published last year
11. A mystery book
12. A science fiction or fantasy book
13. A book published the year he was born
14. A book that teaches a skill
15. A book that won an award
16. A book with a non-traditional point of view
Eli has until the end of May (when summer reading programs begin in our area) to complete this challenge, and he has to read all books independently (with one possible exception...the sci fi/fantasy book he wants to read may require a little support). I'm reading/re-reading the books too, so that I can question him about each and check that he understands what he's read. So far, he's selected several titles, with help, for his reading project - and he's very excited about some of them. We also set a reward for finishing this project with fidelity - and ice cream from our local parlor was his special request!
Soon, we will begin incorporating more science and social studies/history...and hopefully, a little bit of Korean or Japanese language, practical life, and fine arts. Eli already takes piano and violin lessons, too, in addition to occupational therapy, so we've a heavy schedule...in other words, we're going to take it all one step at a time and one activity at a time : ).