… when they are not out gathering garbage– I mean treasure, from the woods
I have put a bit of thought into how I am going to transition from homeschooling one child out of three, to homeschooling three children out of six. Part of the trick seems to be finding ways to keep the younger children occupied while the older children work. Keats will be in kindergarten next year, and Seth will be in second grade. While Moses is Keats’ age, I am not sure if he will be ready for kindergarten work. Catholic Heritage Curricula’s kindergarten lesson plans include plans for preschool as well, so I hope to be able to use that for both Keats and Moses. I have no idea what I will do with Samuel and Larkspur. Anyway, here are pictures of my kids engaged in some activities that they enjoy-and I hope to use these along with others to keep those children not currently receiving lessons occupied.
Keats love these little perler plastic melting beads. These are great for teaching little ones to follow a pattern, and if you have them use the tweezers, they work on their pincer grip as well-which is great handwriting prep.
Both Seth and Keats love to color mandalas. While you can buy books of them at the craft store, they are also available to print for free on the internet. I started with a book for each boy, but when Keats got a little obsessive with them and wanted to color them literally all day-I went the free route and started printing my own. Another great art activity for kids who like that stuff is making homemade scratch off paper. My kids do this with blank unlined index cards and oil pastels. The first step is to completely color the index card-my boys typically use lots of colors for this part. Once this layer of color is applied, and second coat of just one color is applied on top-typically black, but any color will do. Then the kids use toothpicks to scratch designs onto the note cards. The top layer scratches off, but the bottom layer remains and all the colors show through where the toothpick scratches. My boys LOVE doing this-and it is cheap and easy. I am not gifted in the crafts department-I don’t go for organized craft activities with lots of steps. But, since my kids, especially Keats, love art I have to provide them with artsy activities.
And the best activity of all…reading of course! Seth started the year reading a little-but not willingly. You know that very slow painful early type of reading that kids do when they are just starting to put it all together. We started first grade using level C of the Little Angel Readers. I have required Seth to read aloud to me for a few minutes each day. Gradually he began reading on his own over the course of the year, so I stopped giving formal phonics lessons after we completed level C-just continued to have him read aloud to me. He wasn’t reading entire books, but typically parts of field guides or other non-fiction books with information that he wanted. I wondered how and when (or if) he might transition to reading fiction, just for the pleasure of a good story. I read both Seth and Keats the original unabridged Pinocchio at bedtime a few weeks ago, and they loved it. Towards the middle and end of the book Seth started “sneaking” chapters in to get ahead during the day. The daunting task of reading an entire chapter of a long book didn’t occur to him, because he was so engrossed in the story. Had I suggested he read such a book on his own, he would have refused. Once Pinocchio was finished, we read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Seth also loved this book and started sneaking chapters during the day. Once that was finished, I decided that I wouldn’t read any more of the Chronicles of Narnia aloud because I think Keats is too young. These are great for Seth because he can grasp a good bit of the symbolism (I pointed it out throughout the lion, the witch and the wardrobe)-and he is nearly 8 years old. I would like to save these for Keats when he is old enough to get more out of them. Anyway, I do own the whole set and Seth was very interested in reading the second in the series. I agreed to read him the first chapter of Prince Caspian and then he read the rest on his own in a few days. I can’t tell you what a blessing this is. I feel like this opens a whole new world for Seth. He is a child who needs to be occupied-and now when he is out of sorts and not capable of playing, I can sit him down and give him his book to read. He is now reading The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, but I am going to need some help figuring out what to give him to read when he is done with this series.