Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Theme Development

Cherries, strawberries and yellow plums...
what a bounty growing in our yard!

The end of August is near and I am now working very hard to plan all the activities that will take place in September. In order to do this, I brainstorm a lot at night and jot down the ideas that come to mind when I think of the theme I'm working on, as well as words that remind me of the theme. I also refer to some books I have here as well as several blogs and websites. Above all, I try to find activities in each of the subjects chosen for this school year, make sure I have some books linking to the theme as well as songs. It can prove difficult sometimes, but it's worth the try. Start of the school year here is planned for September 4.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

French Inlcuded

Frontenac Castle, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada;
my hometown, my wedding backdrop...and the reason I speak French as a first language

I sometimes feel quite ashamed I do not speak French to my kids exclusively. You see, French is my first language. One would think that it would be natural for me to speak French at home and as my parents do not speak English extremely well, it would make sense for me to speak it with my children...but I don't. It wasn't always this way. When Adrian was first born, I worried he would pick on my slight French accent when I spoke English and so I spoke French with him all the time. Although children are not supposed to confuse languages, it sure looked like he did. In between his daddy speaking English, me French and the entire country Danish, my son did not speak one word until he was 18 months old and moved to the U.S. Panicked, I consulted our pediatrician who hinted at an all-English environment for him. From that day on, I spoke very little French around him except for singing songs and reading a few books. I figured speaking one language would be better than none. Fast forward 3 years later and the guilt has kicked in. Especially when my parents visit. Even more when I go back home to Quebec and see my extended family and friends. I used to wonder why my husband did not speak Korean (his mom was born in Korea) and now I realized that my kids' future spouse may wonder the same...

It is my intention to immerse both Adrian and Zahavah in the French language every afternoon during the week (after Z is up from her nap). I am planning on speaking French exclusively until my husband arrives but I also plan on including the thematics so they can both learn words as well. I'll also include French songs and French books related to the theme we are currently working on. Above all, I'll try to make it fun and help them learn the language!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Daily Schedule

Although they love one another, Zahavah and Adrian will probably be happy
 to have their own separate school slot with me

Having two children to homeschool means a daily schedule has to be established to make things run smoothly. To be honest, my two kids seem to thrive best when they know what to expect anyway so they'll be happy to see a timetable has been set. So far, it is only a tentative schedule because things may change. Zahavah is still insisting on napping twice a day and I will be trying to have her merge her two naps into one bigger nap after lunchtime is over. If all goes well, here is what our daily rhythm should look like starting in September.

Homeschool Schedule 2012-2013

Mornings 9:00-11:30 : Tot School

Afternoons 1:00-3:00 : Preschool

Such a split between tot school and preschool is made possible by our local German Montessori Preschool. Though I will be homeschooling Adrian in the afternoon, he will be attending an all-German  preschool every morning. This will allow for Zahavah to have all my attention in the mornings and as she naps during the afternoon, my attention will shift to Adrian. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Adrian's Thematics

Adrian giving a new coat to Lightning McQueen; 
Adrian loves Disney's Cars.

When I sit down to chose themes for an entire school year, I always try to take in consideration the child's interests (for Adrian, trains and cars are absolutely his favorites). It always makes school more fun and inviting for them. That being said, I also consider what kids usually would learn if they were in a "real school". It's always nice to broaden a child's interests and add new words to their voculabulary. 

Adrian's Thematics for School Year 2012-2013

All About me


The Far West
In the Woods
Harvest Time

 Christmas (3 weeks)

Transportation (minus trains)
Space Exploration
In the Kitchen

Mardi Gras
Valentine's Day
Fairy tales, Magic and Fantasy

At the Zoo
St. Patrick's

Construction Zone
Earth Day
By the Pond


In the Garden

Independence Day
By the Seashore

I am aiming for one theme per week. It's a good rate to keep the interest up and it's just long enough to have enough material to present. Adrian being a preschooler, themes may change/be adapted during the school year to fit his current interests. That's the beauty of homeschooling!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Zahavah's Thematics

Zahavah loves reading about zoo animals and as such the theme "At The Zoo" 
was added to her thematics for this school year.

I hesitated before picking out themes for Zahavah's school year. After all, a toddler does not quite register that there is a theme going on through the day/week I thought. Still, having thematics can help establish a curriculum filled with activities and as such, I decided to use themes this year. My choices were based on basic concepts such as letters and numbers, the seasons and their holidays as well as themes I knew she'd enjoy.

Zahavah's Themes for School Year 2012-2013

Body Parts & By the Seashore

Shapes & Halloween

Colors & Thanksgiving

Pets & Christmas

Clothing & At the Zoo

In the Kitchen & Valentine's Day

Vehicles & Easter

On the farm & Springtime

Alphabet & Bugs

Numbers & Summertime

Independence Day & Picnics & Camping

As you can see, I've chosen only two themes per month...which means Zahavah and I will be exploring   each theme for approximately two weeks. At this point, I do believe it will be enough. Zahavah is still young and needs a lot of unstructured play as well, but I am willing to adjust, shall we fall short of concepts to explore.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Adrian's Subjects

Adrian during an art session last year.

My little Adrian has been looking quite bored lately. When I asked him if he missed school, he told me he did (I miss it too frankly). Thankfully, we should be getting started in about a month. With that in mind, I scribbled down which subjects he should be taking this year and they are as follow:

Adrian's Subjects

Arts & Crafts
Music & Movement
Language and Literacy
Math and Science Readiness
Computer Instruction
Outdoor Play and Physical Development
Dramatic Play
Catechism (Sunday School)
French as a Second Language
Social Time & Field Trips
Self-Care & "Family Service"

Within each subject, an emphasis will be put on both fine and gross motor skills. After assessing Adrian's, I found out that his were not as developed as they could be, so I'll pay special attention to these much needed skills. If you would like to assess your own child for a potential developmental delay, ask your pediatrician for an Ages and Stages Questionnaire (Squires & Bricker). Many practices use them as a screening tool. (In case yours doesn't, you can also google for it and might just find the one you need.)