One of the things I like about the ABC Jesus Loves Me (ABCJLM) curriculum is that it covers thirty-six weeks of material, but has it in a three-day-a-week framework, with the fourth or fifth week a review of the previous weeks. I initially debated over creating a five-day-a-week program, working it into the “school” months and so forth, but decided I’d rather be consistent from month to month. Sticking with three days a week appealed to me, because I wouldn’t [necessarily] over-plan, we’d have time for unstructured play and activities, and hey – if we decide we want to go above and beyond three days, that’s just gravy.
The fourth week was a review of the first three weeks. We got to work on a couple things we didn’t get to before, and I was able to relax rather than plan extra stuff for the week. It was also the start of Gwen going to church with her Grandma on Wednesdays; my mom attends Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) there, and there’s a special program for the children. Since Wednesday is normally a school day for us, I just made sure to cover some material on Tuesday. Needless to say, the week was a bit fragmented, but it was a nice change of pace.
A good routine for us is to do Bible after breakfast, some sort of coloring or craft, maybe some stories and/or music, then if it’s nice the kiddos play outside [hopefully] till lunch. Josiah goes down for a nap shortly afterwards, and I get one-on-one time with Gwen.
Last week in Sunday School, Gwen happened to make creation story cards with her class, so we used those along with the Garden of Eden cards from week three. She has been been doing really well telling the story on her own, as well as reciting her memory verses.
The kiddos used playdough to form letters during the first week, but I didn’t actually print out play dough mats and put them in page protectors, so I did that this week for letters A, B and C. I also broke out the cookie cutter to use for stamping the dough.
The Do-A-Dot pages are a big hit with Gwen, and I printed the letter A page, which had gotten overlooked the first week. I had meant to do some sort of cut and paste activity for each letter, but when I found the Alphabet Cut & Paste Sheets on Homeschool Creations I decided to go with those; instead of printing out both pages, I printed out the pictures and just wrote each letter on a piece of colored paper. Gwen usually tires of trying to cut things out, but she did most of the three pages by herself – enthusiastically, I might add.
I flipped through my stack of workbooks and found a few pages to do; Gwen likes the variety of tracing letters, matching pictures to beginning sounds, circling like items or which item doesn’t belong, cutting and pasting, etc.
The weather was great this week, which afforded lots of outdoor fun. We love B for bubbles, which kept them occupied for a while running around, trying to catch and pop the bubbles. We finally painted Gwen’s birdhouse from week two, but I forgot to take pictures; it’s red with white glitter sprinkled on top – purty. Sometimes the two of them play so nicely together; involved in their play side by side or working together to accomplish something, it warms my heart to observe what good friends they can be.
Of course, inevitably one of them won’t share something, the other gives a shove, and they come crying to me.
Sometimes they get all serious, focused on the play at hand, and you can tell those little wheels are turning. I love when this happens through unstructured, spontaneous activities. At one point, I put a pan of water, some little cups and some plastic ice cubes out on the walkway, and the kiddos sat there long after the ice had melted. I could not for the life of me figure out how to explain to them why ice cubes float; I called Phil and he wasn’t much help. There are some things I just know but can’t really explain – especially not to a 3-year-old.
We always have fun when Daddy’s home, and you can guarantee that whatever I had on the agenda will get scratched – who wants to sit at the table when he’s outside, working with machinery and getting his hands dirty? UPS delivered a styrofoam cooler with some food I had ordered from Omaha Steaks (yessss, the filet mignon was just in time for our anniversary!), and Daddy got to show them all about dry ice. It was amazing! When you put it in water, the water boils – or bubbles vigorously, at least. I don’t know if it actually boils, since it’s not technically hot – in fact, it’s super-cold, which is why you can’t touch it with bare hands.
Tuesday is our library day, and though I request books through the online system for the next week’s reading list, I always forget to bring our preschool outline so I can browse while I’m there. I was delighted, however, to find the Learning Zone; apparently it’s been there for a while but I didn’t notice it till now. There are a whole bunch of games and activities you can check out along with your books and DVDs. Many of the games are for older kids, but I found a couple to bring home and they were a hit with Gwen.
Playful Patterns is an activity with 20 double-sided design cards and a whole bunch of foam shapes that you use to create the design. She enjoyed this but wanted help with the more complex designs.
The I Spy Preschool puzzle was fun, but even for ages 3-6 it was almost too easy for her since she picked it up by the second time around. It was still good practice for her, though, since the I Spy pictures are of different size and orientation in the hidden picture.
A while back I had gotten the idea from Tools for Tots to make a Mix & Match game. I basically went around the house and found random items in pairs to fill an old peanut butter jar, I dump everything on a tray, and the kids have to match them. I was surprised how fast Josiah caught on, though he does just like to grab stuff and drop them in the jar. If I ask him “where’s the other one?” he’ll actually look for the matching item.
Similarly, after reading Corduroy, I decided to get out my jar of buttons and an egg carton and have the kiddos sort them by color.
Gwendolyn has been doing very well with her numbers; it wasn’t too long ago that she could say her numbers but not readily recognize them. Now, she gets them almost every time, although she often confuses six and nine. I’ve been getting out various number flashcards, matching pictures to the number, and counting out pom poms. Pom poms makes any activity more fun.
Homeschool Creation’s Clothespin ABC Match Up had me looking for some mini clothespins, and I was chagrined when I came back from the craft store with a package of twenty-four. *sigh* I ended cutting arrows from scrapbook paper and turning them into dials for the three wheels. They immediately got a good reception, because hey, turning the dial is fun. I used these this week with some letter flashcards along with beginning sounds.
We ended the week on a jaunt to Spring Hill Sugarhouse, a local farm which boasts apples, apple cider, maple syrup, maple candy, pumpkins and gourds, and a corn maze. Phil’s great-uncle Harry from Harry Here Farm also has his cornmill up and running there, selling cornmeal and johnny cakes. The mornings have been chilly, and I’ve started craving Autumn comforts (we had hot chocolate this morning!), so this hit the spot.
On our “off” days, Gwen has been asking to “do school” with me, and almost every night before we go to bed when I ask what her favorite part of the day was she answers, “doing school with you.”
Gwen is 3 years old (44 months) and Josiah is 1 (20 months).