Monday, January 9, 2012

Preschool Dayz

I think I've finally got everything that I want to include in Matthew's least academically.

We started off in October or November with calendar. At that time, we added the new number for the date, filled in "Today is...", and looked out the window if answer "Today the weather is...". When we started, I was helping him a lot with finding the right day of the week. Now, we looked at the name for the day on the calendar and talk about what the name of day begins with then look for that letter when we are trying to find the right day. Finding the right weather has been easy for him, because there is a word and a picture.

Just this month, we added the weather graph. Here we color in a new block for the weather that we have on each day. We have started talking about comparing the different heights of the bars on the bar graph. This is something that will probably be a complicated concept for a while, but as we keep doing it and talking about it, I know he will start to pick it up.

Matthew has LOVED the book "Chicka, Chicka, Boom Boom" for a long time! I decided that as a reward for mastering new letters he gets to put the letter up the coconut tree. He thought that was awesome!!! He was actually mad that we couldn't add more letters.
I didn't know what all "Hooked on Phonics" had to offer at the pre-k level, but I decided to take a chance. There is a lot more to it than this, but these are the two books that we are going to be using now. One practices phonemes (letter sounds) the other is more about writing the letters. There is a lot of Math stuff in this kit, but we are going to start slow with the prereading things first.
I am also using this pocket chart book that has little rhymes for each letter and a few activities to practice the letters and letter sounds.

He has also been getting on the "Starfall" website to practice the letter sounds. I was amazed at how quickly he picked up on the letter B and its sound. I really think he could have finished two letters during the week last week, but I am really holding back and doing my best to now burn him out. I want him to want to sit down and work with me and be excited!! His love for reading is amazing! I'm just hoping to continue to help grow that within him.

I also tried to think about how much academic time he actually needed in a day. At 3, many preschools are just 2-3 hours a day either 2 or 3 days a week. The time it would take to get everyone settled in and ready for school could take 15 minutes of that time. Then, getting everyone into 'circle time' for calendar activities could take another 10 minutes. Doing what we are doing on the calendar might take 10-15 minutes in a larger class. Then, if you wanted to get even 10 - 3 year olds onto computers to do activities on "Starfall", it would be 10 minutes to get in line, 5 minutes to walk there, 15 minutes to get each kid on a computer and to the right place, then about 5 minutes to do that actual activity. Then there might be 10-15 minutes for a snack and another 10-15 minutes for potty breaks. To do the workbook activities you need to first get everyone their workbook or paper. Then everyone needs to get pencils or some other writing tool. Because the kids are not at a place where they can "take one and pass it" that teacher has to probably pass one out to each kid. Along the way the teacher gets interrupted a few times by long long LLLLLOOOOOOOONNNNNGGGG stories that have suddenly popped into some kiddos head and he just had to share! :) That probably another 10 minutes to get everyone ready and 10 minutes for the worksheet. At this point, we are over halfway done with our time. There's still reading a story and packing up to go home.

Since it doesn't take as long for me to get Matthew where he needs to be with these activities or to keep his attention, we can do all of these things in a faction of the time. Calendar takes us about 5 minutes...tops. Getting on the computer is easy because it is pretty much always out and ready to go. If he has any problems I am able to help him right away. I ultimately decided that a half hour a day is probably plenty for him for now.

Thoughts? Ideas? What do you do with your preschooler?

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