This past week we kicked off another one of my 2014 goals- to start a supplemental homeschooling program for Jackson and Audrey (and eventually Jonah). If you don't know what "supplemental homeschooling" is, that is because I made it up, but it means to supplement the education that is already taking place (in preschool) with additional structured learning at home.
I am documenting this and will continue to post our monthly plans a week or so in advance of each new month mainly because this gives me a goal for getting the planning done in advance and by putting everything online, I can then come back and reference learning goals to reapply for my younger kids when the time is right, but if anyone is reading and wants to join in please do let me know and we can share ideas!
First, why are we doing this: the idea came to me because of a few reasons:
1. The fact is, brain development before the age of 5 is critical. 95% of kids' brains develop before this age and yet as a country we spend 95% of our dollars and energy on educating them after this age. If you know a child under 5 you know what sponges they are, they crave knowledge, they crave learning and their endless curiosity is an inspiration- I want to leverage that and feed that as much as possible. I am fortunate to be married to a man who never let that curiosity dim and it's my goal to keep that alive in my kids too. I really believe that curiosity + perseverance will take you anywhere, anywhere.
2. Jackson began preschool last fall and we're so blessed that he is in an environment that we feel really good about. For him, this school year is about stretching out of his comfort zone socially. It's about learning to learn from different people, interacting with new kids and simply being taken care of outside of a familiar place. He has only been taken care of inside of our house or at his nanna's house which has been perfect for us, but the time has come for him to stretch outside that. With that being said, while he is stretching socially, the actual material in preschool is not challenging for him, so it's my job to make that happen at home.
3. I want their minds to expand and learn on things beyond the basic reading, writing, counting and shapes... I want them to have access to a wide range of subjects that excite them and help them realize how amazing this world is, giving them an insatiable appetite for learning and exploring.
4. Lastly, simply put, I enjoy it. I love teaching them (so does Dan), but working full-time + raising an (almost) 4 year old, 2 year old and (soon-to-be) newborn means that if I don't plan things out with intention, they easily slip. In other words, if I don't prioritize what I want to teach them and when, then it may not happen or at least not consistently.
With all of that being said, I also realize that what I'm taking on may be too much some days (or some weeks). This is especially true as we're in the middle of (yet another) major home project and I'm about to give birth to baby #3, but I have made myself promise to give myself grace on those days when we simply have to let the schedule go and tend to other things. I will never push this on them when they're not open to it, my goal is for them to not realize they're learning, but to learn while having fun.
The Overall Plan:
-Each month will revolve around a specific enrichment theme (a subject of learning that goes beyond the basics). We will do hands-on learning weekly and will go on at least one "adventure" or field trip to reinforce what we're learning about.
-To cover off on the basics as well, each month I will set specific learning goals for Jackson and for Audrey in the areas of writing, reading and math.
-Lastly, each month will include a bible verse to memorize. We had been doing weekly bible verses mainly for Jackson, but I realized he was also learning these in his Sunday church class and in preschool so I think a monthly rotation is more realistic and more on Audrey's level as well.
-We will use the following schedule each month: Sunday (writing), Monday (Reading), Tuesday (writing), Wednesday (Math), Thursday (Reading), Friday (break), Saturday (enrichment) and adventure days to be scheduled each month.
-Enrichment Theme: Lab Science (adventure day will be to the COSI Science Center in Columbus and all the activities will be experiments to experience the fun in science)
-Reading Goals: Jackson: to be able to read his first Bob book on his own, Audrey: to recognize the letters A, B, C and D
-Writing Goals: Jackson: to write his name (he can already do this, but we're working on writing the letters in the correct proportion/order and on a straight line), Audrey: to write the letter A
-Math Goals: Jackson: adding above the number 10 (for example: 8+ 3), Audrey: counting to 20 (she does this sometimes, but inconsistently so our goal is consistency)
-Bible Verse: Proverbs 3:5