Fall is in the air and apples are on the trees (and in pies, apple sauce, baskets, lunch boxes and everywhere else!) here in Washington state. I love this time of year and all the fun exploration that goes along with it. This year our oldest is technically “Kindergarten” age, but we have elected to keep him home for at least another year. So I am doing my very best to be even more contentious about creating a rich learning environment at home. We are following a Montessori progression with art and play influences from the Reggio Emilia approach in our combined preschool and kindergarten homeschooling environment. I haven’t been blogging much because my professional writing has really taken up most of my “free time” lately. (You know, the hours before 7am and after 9pm.) But several friends have asked to see what we are doing for school at home, and writing it down is always the easiest way for me to communicate a large amount of information.
The process: On Sundays I plan out the activities for the week. I start with the skills I want to develop in each of my children in the different subject areas and then try to apply them to our current theme. I’ll be using some parts of the Apple Pack from 3dinosaurs.com including this calendar. I won’t list everything we do everyday, there is just too much, but this is the lesson plan I started with. Of course, while following the children, I find many other things to occupy our time and attention.
- Art: Concept: cutting lines, diagonal, zig zag, wavy lines, circles.
Project: cutting strips and cutting sheets added to cutting basket
Source: Apple lines, Line cutting
- Music: Concept: Learning the names and values of notes.
Project: Felt notes on large felt board staff. Counting with rhythm instruments and clapping while singing apple songs. Source: How to make a musical staff felt board , Apple songs
- Movement: Concept: Move our bodies.
Project: Dance with scarves and music. Once upon a mat yoga video. Playground/Park visit. Ride bikes. Nature walk. Source: Video Once Upon a Mat
- Geography: Concept: Understanding Low, lower; high, higher; behind, in front; left and right.
Project: Use Attribute Apples in a game to show directions (Move your apple behind you, in front, etc.) Source: Attribute Apples (we just have these, but you could use any apple picture or toy, or even real apples.)
- History: Concept: Yesterday, today, tomorrow. Name the days of the week, months of the year. Project: Sing time-based songs at circle time. Discuss the calendar.
- Language: Concept: Answer questions about pictures shown, describes pictures when asked “Tell me about this picture.” Can answer the question “what do you think they are doing/is happening here?” Learning about story telling.
Project: Show pictures of children interacting with an orchard environment. Ask questions above. Write down the children’s answers to create their story along with the pictures.
Source: I just googled “children picking apples” and printed a few small photos.
- Math: Concepts: Understanding numerical value. Understanding ordinal numbers–order vs quantity. Sorting small to large. Geometric shape familiarity.
Project: Game-draw a number from a hat and do an action that many times. Game-draw a number from a hat and acquire that many objects. Use Montessori cards and counters (preschool) to practice numerical value. Use Montessori cards and counters to explain odd/even (Kinder). Have children set out the numbers 1-10. Explain first-tenth. Order vs how many. Use Attribute Apples game and apple packing from box of apples with labels SMALL, MEDIUM, LARGE. Use Kinetic Sand to fill shapes. Source: Counting, Odd and even, Attribute Apples, Geometric shapes, kinetic sand
- Practical Life: Concepts: How to use a chair. How to carry a chair. How to walk slowly and carefully in the work space. How to open and shut a door properly. How to use a book with care.
Project: Demonstrate these slowly and carefully each day during morning circle.
- Science: Concepts: Air fills space.
Project: Using a beaker and a bowl of water, ask the children if the beaker is full or empty. Then have them turn it upside down and press the top of the beaker to the base of the bowl (underwater). Lift the corner of the beaker and watch the air bubbles escape. The beaker wasn’t empty after all, it was full of air.