Bambini Homeschool 9 : Group Time
Our Preschool Homeschool days all look a little different, but I have been sharing glimpses of our schedule over the past few weeks. I have been breaking our schedule down into pieces, starting with this one and today I'm sharing about our Group Time.
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Our Homeschool Preschool Schedule:
7:00-9:00 Getting Ready for Adventure
9:00-11:30 Morning Adventures
11:30-1:00 Lunch + Group Time
We usually get home between 11:00 and 11:30 from wherever our morning adventures have taken us. We make lunch and set the table together. While we eat we chat about our morning. My kids are slow eaters, so when they were little I started reading to them while they finished. Sitting still has never been a strength of mine. Over the last few years, this has evolved into more of a group time. These are usually heavy on the read alouds, but they have grown to include over traditional group time things as well. Group times, like all of our activities, are inspired by the interests of my children. Right now we are learning about Maps, Weather, and Ballet. Calendar and weather are usually covered during our morning meeting, so group time includes some combination of the following;
*Songs : as a toddler and preschool teacher for over a decade I seem to know a song for just about everything. Right now our map interest, inspired by the Little Passports program, has focused in on Africa so we have been singing songs about animals (like "Hey Elephant") and weather (such as "The Rain Comes Down").
*Books : we read a combination of awesome read alouds, books that focus on their interests, and books by our current Alphabet Author Study author. This week our readings included Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters, short stories from this collection by Nelson Mandela, Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs and books by the lovely Rachel Isadora.
*Poems : we've read various collections of poems. Right now we're reading Mother Goose rhymes from this collection amazingly illustrated by Gyo Fujikawa
*Simple Activities : these vary a lot depending on what we're learning. This week we learned about;
MAPS + DIFFERENT CULTURES: A lot of our activities this week involved our map from Little Passports. One of my goals for the second half of our year was to add more STEM to our curriculum. Our Early Explorers Little Passports kit has helped us do just that. Since the moment we opened our adorable suitcase and added the map to our group time wall, we have launched into learning about maps, geography, other cultures, and more. This week we used the map to;
Find ourselves (of course) and every relative and friend we know.
Talk about the different animals and where they live around the world.
Start learning about landmarks.
Here is a peek inside what arrived in our first Early Explorers kit. My kids are big fans of Max and Mia who are showing us around the world.
LITERACY: This year a lot of our literacy development has focused on letters. Around three my son became very interested in letters so we dove in starting with the letters in their names. I primarily focus on natural ways to build letter recognition, but we have also been working our way through the alphabet this year in a couple of different ways during group time.
Alphabet Author Studies : we have been working on this project for a while. We collect books by an author, read them, compare/contrast, do extension activities, etc. Our latest one on the blog was R is for Rayner.
Letter Activities for a Letter of the Week : we've done various phonics exercises, practiced writing letters, listened for letter sounds in poems, etc.
Building Our Letter Wall: my daughter is a people person so matching letters to people and characters seems to help her remember. Just like M is for Mama, she also knows that P is for Percy the Train and R is for Rapunzel. Each week we add a new person to our wall. This week I is for Iridessa from the Tinkerbell movies, last week Y was for Yo-Yo Ma who plays on one of their favorite songs.
Our official group time probably lasts between 15-30 minutes. I honestly don't time it. Like any teacher, I pay attention to my kids and if they are engaged we go longer and extend an idea. If they are restless, we move on.
After lunch they bus their dishes and then do puzzles, play a game, or read a book at the table for a little while. I use this time to do a little quick cleaning and start a load of laundry. When I am done and they find a stopping point, we settle on the couch for a story. We have begun reading longer chapter books occassionally. I just got great recommendations on our facebook page (thanks ladies!!) Right now we alternate between reading picture books for a few days and then settling into a chapter book for a few days. By next year I think this will be a time for chapter books almost exclusively.
When we are done reading, usually around 1:00 they head upstairs.
1:00-3:00 Nap + Quiet Time
3:00-3:30 Snack + Table Invitation
3:30-5:30 Play Time
5:30 Daddy's Home + Family Time Begins
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