So, we’ve taken a few days off to just play as a family, go for bike rides, and enjoy time together. Then on Monday my eldest daughter and I spent some time brainstorming things we want to learn, and how we want to spend our days. We realized that if we are going to be self-isolating at home for the foreseeable future, and we have no idea if/when schools will re-open … we might benefit from a bit of structure.
Well, I’m not sure where she got it from (!!) but it turns out my eldest is very much into routine, structure and organization! Wow! Together we created this timetable for our new school. Our daughter named the school Cedar Tree Elementary School (CETES for short), and I have been hired as the teacher of a split preschool/Grade 1 class (years ago, I competed my high school teaching certification and a Masters of Arts in Education, so I have to admit, all of this is right up my alley as well!)
This is our draft schedule; we will revise and update as we go. My daughter’s (real!) teacher was in touch with everyone this week, and once she starts assigning homework we will work that into our schedule as well. Our first draft is quite … rigorous! I’m not sure that we will be able to keep up this pace, but we shall see how it goes! So far it’s been nice to have some structure to organize our days.
These are the activities we did on Tuesday March 31st, our first day at CETES:
Morning Learning Time
For our first day, we learned about writing a letter. Our daughter’s school teacher had asked if the children could write her a letter about something they did over Spring Break, and take a picture to email to her. We started by reviewing some of the key aspects of a letter: the date and how it’s written, various greetings that can be used, the body of the letter, and different closings. I printed off one of these letter templates and my daughter used it to write her teacher.
Math is one of my favorite subjects – I majored in it at university, and it’s one of my two high school teaching subjects. I once asked our eldest what she likes most about school, and she answered “lunch”. I said “hmm … anything else?” and she replied “Math stations”. I beamed and thought ‘that’s more like it, sharing her Mom’s love for Math’ … just as she added “because we’re allowed to go to the washroom during math stations”. Ugh!!!!
Anyways, I’ve decided I need to show our eldest that Math can be fun. So for our first day we played two math games to review some of the concepts that I know they were covering in class before Spring Break.
Doubles & Addition ‘Cootie Catchers’: Do you remember these from when you were little? I definitely do! These Cootie Catchers for Math by 123Homeschool4Me are a fun and entertaining way to review Math skills. Our eldest and I had fun making the cootie catcher together (I had her read the instructions aloud as we worked). To make it a bit more fun, we wrote our own activities on the inner layer of the cootie catcher. For example: Sing your favourite song and have us try and guess it, try and do a plank for 5 seconds, count to 10 in Spanish, etc.
Addition Memory Game: Next we played this Spring Addition Game by 123Homeschool4Me. Quite a few cards are included, so I took out a few of the questions and just kept the addition concepts that I wanted to cover. Our daughter loved this game: “this is so fun Mama!”
Next was Music/Dance! We chose to do dance today, and we found this Easy Kids Choreography (Hip Hop Dance Tutorial AGES 4+) by Mihran Kirakosian and learned the first two counts of eight along with this dancer and his children.
My husband’s first language is Spanish. I’ve been trying to learn for years, but am unfortunately still not fluent. Lately with all that’s been going on in the world, we have been doing group video chats with the family much more often. Everyone speaks Spanish except for me – and all of these chats have really renewed my desire to become fluent! Spanish lessons have been incorporated into our school timetable so that the girls can learn as well! The other day I had done an impromptu lesson with the girls and taught them the colours in Spanish. So for today’s Spanish class, we first used this fun song to review: Los Colores: The Colors in Spanish Song by Risas y Sonrisas SpanishforKids.com. We watched this catchy little song twice, and then I gave the girls a colour by numbers activity I had found online from Best Coloring Pages for Kids. I had cut off the section with the colouring legend, and re-wrote it in Spanish. Our eldest remembered all of the colours no problem, and had fun colouring the picture!
Afternoon Learning Time: Special Projects
On Mondays and Wednesdays our special project in the afternoon is going to be a unit on Canada. My vision is that we will work our way across the country, learning about each individual province as we go. For our first lesson we researched what the map of Canada looks like, and drew and coloured our own version. I was hoping that if we made a large map, we might be able to add information about each province onto our map. We shall see how it works!
Day 1 was a success: our daughter said that she “loves” my school! I’m hoping that her excitement doesn’t wear off too soon!