Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Daily, Weekly and Monthly Routines

While we don't typically follow a specific routine each day, there are a handful of things I've set up for us to do in our homeschool on a routine basis, whether it be daily, weekly, or monthly.

First, to start off the school day, my 7th grader has decided she likes in best when we start off with watching the news. For her Current Events  studies, we record and watch CNN Student News. Here is the episode we watched today, for example:

If we weren't able to get it on our television, we'd be able to get it just as easily online. While there are some teacher resources available from the website, I don't generally use these. Rather, we watch with the remote handy so that, should I wish to add information to a story being described in a segment, we can pause the program to do so. Sometimes I'll add some background information, explain a word, or give our own perspective or experience about something in the program. So while the broadcast technically only lasts for 10 minutes, it isn't unusual for our viewing of it to take up to a half hour.

My kindergartener doesn't generally listen in to the entire broadcast, but she'll sometimes watch portions of it...and almost always comes around for the last segment, called "Before We Go". It's usually a fun story, often about an animal or some crazy event someplace in the world, culminating in the host using some VERY bad puns. If my 12 year old has control of the remote, she fast forwards through the puns as they drive her nuts!

It's difficult to find ways to combine children who are 7 years apart! But one thing I decided to start doing this year was to read a devotional to both girls before they each separate to do their own school work.

 I discovered this book Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions for Kids over the summer.

and while I do like it, I find its way of speaking in the first person awkward and potentially confusing for my 5 year old (though I think it would be fine for my 12 year old to hear that way), so I edit it as I'm reading it.

That's pretty much it as far as routines go for my oldest. The rest of the day she does her schoolwork in whatever order she chooses.

For my 5 year old, here are some things we do each day, in no particular order. One thing we are doing is keeping track of the number of days in school so that, when we hit 100 days, we can do something special. Each day she adds a straw to our Place Value Pocket Chart and then changes the number card to reflect the total number of straws. In the photo below, you can see that we've bundled together ten straws with a rubber band, and they go in the middle pocket labeled "tens". She's about to add a straw to the "ones" pocket and then will change the 0 card to a 1. Over time, I hope that this activity will help her begin to visualize the concept of place value in our number system.

I also have her add a star each day onto our hundred chart.

My kindergartner has a new Bible Memory verse each week, each in alphabetical order. Here she is last week, going over our verse for the letter "C". Sonlight provides a CD with the Bible passage set to music. The card she's holding, I got from a fellow Sonlighter at her blog, Delighting in Today. I wouldn't have had the tech-savvy to create something so awesome!

We're also repeating an activity she enjoyed last year, a weekly "Godly Character Trait". I found this wonderful set of cards at Sarah's Sweeties that I printed out, laminated and then put magnets on the back. Each week last year, I'd go over one of these and she'd put it on the refrigerator. She enjoyed it so much, that I decided it wouldn't hurt to review them this year, but I decided to add a new spin on them, based on a book I've had for years called, A Hive of Busy Bees.

Years ago, my 4th grade teacher at a Christian School I attended read this book to the class, and I remembered fondly how much we all loved to listen to it. So when my oldest was only a toddler and I saw it on a table for sale at a homeschooling book fair, I snapped it up, full of nostalgia. The author talks about various "bees" through stories, each one basically teaching a different godly trait. I realized that most of these were included in the godly character trait cards I had, so I thought I'd combine reading the book with these traits. And to add a fun element to it, I did some googling and found images of a beehive and a cute bee. I printed one beehive and enough bees for all the traits in the book and cards combined and wrote the "name" of each bee on its front, then laminated them all. Where possible, I'm scheduling them to line up with the memory verse. So last week, with the verse being about obedience, our character trait was obedience and we had "Bee Obedience" to put up on our beehive. 

Here you can see what  my kindergartner calls her "Weather Girl". Here's my pin on Pinterest where I explain how to find the free printable I used for this (I did add a few extra pieces on my own by searching Google images). Depending on our local weather outside, she has fun dressing the girl accordingly and providing her with whatever accessories go with the outfit. As you can see, the day I took this photo, it was raining.

We also are using Sonlight's Create-A-Calendar, which features a different country each month. For September, that country is Brazil. So first we have filled out a worksheet describing a girl from Brazil, as featured in the book, Children Just Like Me. I scanned the photo of the girl and cut out just her head and shoulders to glue onto the page, then as we read the book together, I had her fill out each line. Click HERE for a pin where you can see the board I created to go with this worksheet.

Finally, each month my daughter learn a song from Geography Songs that features the region of the world our Country of the Month is located in. So this month, she's is learning the names and locations of the countries of South America. She is also learning the names and locations of the continents and the oceans, and after doing the song for 3 week, is now able to point to each one on a map as she sings the song. Just a note for anyone who plans to reuse an old copy of Geography Songs...it would be worth your while to update your CD if at all possible. World Geography has changed, even in the last few years.

A few years ago, I updated from the cassette I used with my 2 oldest children to the CD to use with my younger daughter. I discovered then that several of the songs had changed dramatically and we had to learn new lyrics. The most dramatic example is Africa.

Well, this year I couldn't seem to locate my CD, so I went ahead and ordered a replacement (you can order JUST the CD from Sonlight). I discovered it's been updated AGAIN. So far what I've noticed is that The Continents & Oceans song now includes the Southern Ocean. The oceans portion now says,

Indian, Arctic, and the Atlantic, and the Pacific, and the Southern...
These are the oceans
Around the world.

The SOUTHERN Ocean??!! I certainly wasn't taught it in school...but then, I was in elementary school in the Dark Ages of the 1970s.

Actually, it wasn't "created" until the year 2000, evidently. It's northern border is generally considered to be at 60 degrees south latitude.

Why the need for a new Southern Ocean? According to Commodore John Leech of the IHO, "A great deal of oceanographic research in recent years has been concerned with ocean circulations, first because of El Nino, and then because of a wider interest in global warming...(this research has) identified that one of the main drivers of ocean systems is the 'Southern Circulation,' which sets the Southern Ocean apart as a separate eco-system. As a result the term Southern Ocean has been used to define that huge body of water which lies south of the northern limit. Thinking of this body of water as various parts of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans makes no scientific sense. New national boundaries arise for geographical, cultural or ethnic reasons. Why not a new ocean, if there is sufficient cause?"

That's a perfect example of one of the things I love about homeschooling: how *I* keep learning new things!

Oh, one other thing I'm doing on a monthly basis is featuring a particular animal. This, we get from our subscription of Your Big Back Yard magazine. 

In each month's issue, there is a 2-page spread in the middle that features an animal on a pull-out poster. We hang that up on our "bulletin board door" and see what we can learn about the animal throughout the month. This month's animal is a lynx...and today we learned that the Bobcat is actually a type of lynx!

So, there you are...a rundown on the main routines I'm trying to keep up with. What sort of daily, weekly, or monthly routines do you have?


Mary Ann said...

Lots of great ideas here, Brenda! Thanks for posting them. School looks like fun at your house.

Brenda said...

Thanks, Mary Ann, I'm trying really hard to make it fun. I can thank discovering Pinterest last spring for so many great ideas. Now I have a place to keep them all so I can find them when I want to use them.

And thanks for just replying! When you're just getting started on blogging, it's so helpful and encouraging to get comments. :)