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First Week of Kindergarten

November 1, 2014

kinder

This was a HUGE week at our house.  Everything was finally put away, organized, purchased, planned and ready to officially begin Kindergarten!  I wasn’t planning on using a curriculum but last minute someone on my local facebook garage sale page was selling Saxon math and phonics for a killer deal so I went ahead and purchased them. If nothing else, they will help fill in the gaps where we’re lacking experience.

To the right of Rett you can see our workboxes.  I’m using the workbox system that I’ve seen many other multi-age home school moms use.  Its a simple and ingenius way to organize your day.  We start with a color by number page to practice our color words, then they get some puzzle time. Then we go through several math pages, lunch and hit reading in the afternoon. Throw in some sensory/play breaks in there and art projects and our day runs from about 9 am to 2:30 pm.

totschool

I set up Thad’s tot trays.  He had 0 interest. Well.. maybe a tiny bit of interest.

totschool

He had 6 trays set up.  Halloween letter stickers and I wrote some Halloween phrases for him to match, never touched that.  Then he had a leaf ice cube tray, some squishy balls and a fine motor set of tongs to move them in and out of the tray.  He was most interested in that and spent what little time he was engaged doing that.  I also had a candy corn game that you put what looks like golf t’s into the holes for some fine motor practice… I think he did that once.  Then I put out some linking cubes. Also a Melissa and Doug magnetic toy similar to this.  The big kids LOVED it and it was the most played with tray this week.  I also had multi colored pom poms and tongs and a tray to organize them in. You can see that on the floor. Rett was the only one that completed that task this week.

Keeping Thad busy is going to be a chore.  I had Tom change the doorknob on the basement to a lock so I can lock him down there with us once Mom returns to Oklahoma on Tuesday.  I’m going to set up a nap area for him if he wants that. He has access to books, his trays, wooden nesting blocks, sensory room, paper and his own box of crayons and pencils.  He also practice counts on our hundreds chart and messes around with our morning meeting stuff. And yet he still acts bored.

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These phone pics are awful. I’m going to try to use the good camera more this week.   I was told by several people that if I had the Saxon first grade manual to not bother with the kindergarten version.  My kids are a lot further then it expects in some ways but I like how it presents some concepts and builds on them.  Some things they can do but they haven’t heard a formal name (like AB patterning).  This week was mostly introducing some math manipulatives and just playing around.  Rett built a duck.

kindergarten2Evie made a little pattern shape and then copied it three more times. She called it a carpet.  Rett looked over and copied what she did.  Its amazing what they start doing just on their own.

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I try to mix in some fine motor work in our day.  I find the do a dot pages great for a variety of things.  Here Rett is rolling the dice and then using garage sale stickers to cover the circles. He and Evie are racing to see who can cover all their circles first.

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We’re also doing some cut and paste everyday to get practice using scissors and working our hand muscles using our glue. The kids have their beginning sounds mastered but it introduces some good vocabulary with the random pictures too.

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Here’s another do a dot page. Rett is painting an ABA pattern around his pumpkin using a q tip.

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I really thought that Saxon phonics might be a little too basic since my kids already know all their letters and letter sounds so I purchased Spectrum Sight Words for Kindergarten.   I wanted something that gave me a set way to introduce sight words to kindergarteners since I don’t have experience teaching this age.  It had me start with ‘I’ ‘like’ and ‘the’.  It provides two worksheets within the book but I looked on pinterest and added some activities so we had something to do with them everyday plus using our index cards and sentences the kids came up with.  We read them everyday and the kids loved to build and rebuild them by themselves.  Learning that the words have to go in a specific order to make sense was a big breakthrough.  I was slightly worried that on Friday they weren’t going to be able to read them but when I did their assessment, they read them just fine.  Next week I’ll introduce the next two and then week 3 its a review of all 5. I love the pace of the book but felt that some activities on the worksheet (like a word search) were a little difficult for my kids at least.  I do love that it gives me a plan to follow.

I think between Saxon and this sight word program we are going to be set.  I have a set of scholastic easy readers that we read everyday. They are very basic and repetitive but we’re learning how to track the words and just getting used to reading.  They are excited to read their books at night to daddy.

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Here’s Evie using the garage sale tags to cover up all the word ‘the’ on the sheet. They were nice because I could see through them to make sure she was covering things correctly.  Also great for scanning, which Rett needs practice with.

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I bought some of this kinetic sand at Michael’s with this cute little container.  This stuff is awesome! It doesn’t stick to your hands and it never dries out. Its a great consistency. Here is 11lbs of the stuff which I’m dying to buy for Christmas. Funnels don’t work very well with it but those sand molds are perfect. Its also great to use your alphabet stamps in. Its so fun I want to play with them!

I am teaching them both kindergarten together. Evie loves anything academic and I feel like she’s ready.  She definitely has a harder time staying focused and on task but I’m not sure if that’s her age or if its attention issues.  I try to give them short breaks and varying activities to keep up their interest.  My hope is that I can keep at least these two on the same grade level since that is so much easier than doing two different ones.  We’ll see how she does.  So far she has been able to do everything Rett has been able to do.

Along with Saxon phonics and math, Spectrum sight words and just in general unit studies for science, we’re also doing Bible lessons through an activity book I bought off the same gal that sold me the Saxon set. Basically i’m just reading the stories out of our children’s Bible, doing the activities in the book and also running some extra stuff off of pinterest to make 5 days worth. We did the creation story this week.

At the end of the day I always feel like there was more that we could have done!  Rett’s speech therapist has things she wants me to work on, I have lots of goals for us everyday but at the same time I have to respect that they are only 4 and 5.  We get a lot done and I also want to keep them excited about learning.  Balancing out my goals for teaching and them not getting burnt out is going to be a huge hurdle.  Especially as it gets colder and we have less outdoor time.

I’m so proud of how hard the kids worked this week and how excited they were to go to school everyday.  Its such a blessing to be able to teach them!

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