I was really blessed to have a friend show me this blog: Confessions of a Home Schooler
The author has made a complete curriculum for the Letter of the Week. There are about 10 different activities for each letter, plus review and other activities. They range from completely independent to needing a bit of help. Most are very interactive! The download costs only $10. Of course you will have printing and laminating costs too, but it seems like an amazing deal... and for us, a great way to keep little ones busy and also learning for a bit of our morning.
Another change I have made now is instituting "Blanket Time". After our morning meeting (where we do calendar, and rote info like letter sounds and counting) and Bible study I set the little 2 on a big blanket and give them a few "learning toys" to play with. They have to sit on the blanket, no scooting off and no standing up. Fighting or arguments tend to happen, but as I have learned, everything is an opportunity to train and teach... even fighting over toys. They are currently able to do about 30 minutes on the blanket with out much interference from me.
I am also planning on setting up 3 different "centers" for my 3 little ones that are entirely independent. I am hoping this will be a 45-60 minute block... where they can rotate 1 or 2 times to another activity.
Art Center Ideas -
Rubbings (where you take the side of the crayon and rub it on top of different things like leaves)
Playdough... I know, it isn't fun to clean up... but the reembursment is in the attention they give it.
Chalk on black paper
Activity Center (will be on our porch or in our bathroom)-
Play in sink.
Rice or beans tub... clean up is part of this... with a dust buster!
Painting with water on the porch
Chalk on the chalk board out side
Water table outside
Learning toys (Word whammer, letter factory toys and such)
And lastly, we always do one show on PBS or do "room time" while Addie and I do phonics. This is just a really frustrating and hard thing to be interrupted during, so a show or room time really help us get it done. The boys will play in their room and Cora in her and Addie's room.
I've also made some changes to our curriculum plan... I said I probably would.
Several of my "home schooling" friends really impressed upon me the importance of us ALL doing school together... that it will make my life easier and it will benefit all of the children. One friend has 6 children ranging from 2-11 year old and when math happens they all do math... including the 2 yo. It might be blocks or tangrams, but it is his math.
It seems like a unifying and simplifying method to me!
So, instead of doing the Heart of Dakotas with the little ones and something different with Addie I am looking at doing all history/lit together... the only thing Addie will have different curriculum for will be Phonics, Math and Grammar and the littles will do LOTW and each will have a work book for basic skills stuff... every thing else we will do together. However, I am not sure what that history program will be just yet.
It all works in my head. :-)