Curriculum 2015 (Part 1 of 3) – Circle Time & Group Learning

This is the first post detailing the curriculum we have used this year in our schooling. The next two posts to follow will detail what we have used for Kindy and First Grade. 

Each morning we start of together as a group in some learning activities. This time is called “Circle Time”. For those of you not familiar with the concept you can find more information on the Preschoolers and Peace site. The ebook they sell is only $4.99 and is a great help to get your Circle time planned and provides lots of ideas for what to cover. 

Here is our normal Circle time structure:

BIBLE READING

  
We’ll normally read a few pages of our bible to start. 

PRAYER DOOR

  
We then move into a time of prayer praying for our own family, our sponsor children, some missionaries we support, any families we know who are sick, in need of prayer and/or who need salvation. 

CHARACTER TRAINING

  
This character curriculum has lots of wonderful ideas and activities to introduce the concepts of each character quality simply for young children to understand. It’s designed to be used each day for 5 days and covers the definition, a memory verse, the ‘I wills’, a simple prayer, and activities and lessons to reinforce the application in real life. 

Here are some sample pages:

 It really is an open and go structure making it easy to implement without any prep (besides gathering a few basic supplies when doing the lessons) as per below:

  
You can purchase the ebook here. I printed mine out and spiral bound it at Officeworks which makes it easier to use. 

CALENDAR & WEATHER 

  
Next we update our calendar and weather chart and the 2 oldest complete their calendar notebooks:

  
  
The calendar chart printable and calendar notebook are from Our Aussie Homeschool. 

SCRAPBOOK JOURNAL (THURSDAYS)

  
On a Thursday the boys draw a picture in their scrapbook journal and then dictate a sentence on what they’ve drawn. Eventually they will copy the sentence and then we will progress to them writing it all by themselves. 

NATURE JOURNAL (FRIDAYS)

  
On Friday we will normally read a chapter from the Wonderland of Nature book, get outside to explore and complete a page from the notebooking journal that goes with it. It really is a beautiful book with each chapter detailing an aspect of nature to study but is written in a way that draws you into a story about Nuri and her son, Chris and daughter, Tess exploring and learning about nature together. It contains lots of facts and diagrams but introduces it in a gentle manner. Very easy to understand for young children. (Recommended by Charlotte Mason followers) 

  
Other times we might take a photo of an insect the kids have found print it out and put in their journal. 

  
  

BEFORE FIVE IN A ROW

Some weeks we will stray from this plan and just focussing on rowing a book from our Before Five in a Row manual but that is for another post. 😊

AMBLESIDE ONLINE/CHARLOTTE MASON BOOKS

I neglected to mention I also read some of the books/poetry recommended by Ambleside Online Year 1 while the kids are completing their work.  I might also cover this in another post as this one is getting long. 😳

Next up we will talk about the curriculum we use for our Kindy boy.  

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Snapshot of year so far …

Being that we’re over half of the way through this school year and the blog has just started wanted to give a snapshot of what’s happened so far …

  • We started the school year earlier than the “official” school term mainly because we’d finished the 2014 school year back in November and the lack of structure for many weeks was starting to show. Also because I’d spent so long planning out what we were going to do and was stressing over how it was all going to work I just decided to start rather than stewing. 
  • All went well until I got so overwhelmed and burnt out after 6 weeks I decided to break for a holiday. During that time I was able to get outside and weed the garden and do some cooking just to clear my head and evaluate where I went wrong and what needed to change. I also took time to prep (laminate and cut out) more of the work I had planned for our Kindy work boxes so I wouldn’t have to do it every week. 
  • It took a few weeks before I felt ready to start back again but this time I didn’t gallop headlong into it but rather gradually introduced subjects each day and just did what we could manage rather than every single thing I’d planned out. 
  • Moving on down the track I’m still learning not to put so much pressure on myself and when sickness and interruptions come I’m more accepting of the pace that we have to go to get through. 

Next post I’ll outline what curriculum we are using. 

Lego Creations

Well it’s finally happened Lego fever has hit our house. This has been a long anticipated event for me. I’ve been waiting and waiting for the boys to want to build with their Lego but it just wasn’t happening. They had a few different sets but they just weren’t playing with them. Then it suddenly dawned on me it was the way it was presented and that’s when I had the brilliant but very simple idea to throw all our bits in one box and let them use their imaginations to build and … It worked!

   
 
By simply throwing them all in this box and letting them use their imaginations all sorts of creations have been made. 

Here is one day’s worth of creations:

   
    
    
    
    
    
    
 
Here is another days worth of creations:

   
    
    
    
    
    
    
 
This has been fantastic for afternoon rest/quiet time as it keeps them occupied and happy. 

So what was it that made the difference? I worked out the boys were looking at the Lego boxes and instructions that came with the pieces and getting overwhelmed by how complicated it looked. We initially made up the trucks and cars as per the instructions for them as the kids wanted them made up but then didn’t play with them after that. So by pulling everything apart and popping them in a box together with no instructions they didn’t get caught up making it try to look like the picture and their imaginations could invent some new creations. 

Admittedly the boys are only 4 and 6 years old but they are still more than capable of creating some awesome vehicles.  

Looking forward to more of their creativity.