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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Back to School - Week 9! SPIDER WEEK!

We have FINALLY finished "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons!" Yay! I am SO glad! We are now switching over to themed lesson plans. I've been sort of cataloging things that Ephraim is interested in so that our lessons will be interesting to him and help foster a love of learning. Basically, four-year-olds have a wide variety of interests and ask lots of questions. When he asks something I don't know, like, "How do spiders make webs?" I make a mental note. Later, we'll find out. I want him to realize that he can investigate and learn about ANYTHING. I want him to LOVE learning. Personally, I feel like Pre-K should still be rather unstructured because they are really young (contrary to what my lesson plans may lead you to believe!). The way each of these activities fit into our life are pretty rhythmic, throughout the day... and if he's not feeling it, I don't make a big deal of it. We move on.

The thing that he is and has been most interested in lately is SPIDERS. Mainly, he wants to know how the spider bit Peter Parker and turned him into Spiderman. Obviously, we'll save the answer to that question for the grand finale! ;) This is a great time of year to learn about spiders, though. They are everywhere! I've got a list of things he's interested in to learn about for the next several weeks, and each week will be based upon a different theme.

Quincy will be continuing on with the Calvary Chapel Curriculum, which they mainly do through morning/bedtime devotionals, and that is basically unrelated to our theme. He does review the Calvary Chapel memory verse, but they don't focus a lot on memorization/repetition. I have found a verse that I think will coincide well with spider week, and we'll work on memorizing it together. I've edited the verse to make it a bit shorter and kid-friendly, but I think it is appropriate for a four-year-old and spider week.

Last year, we did lots of letter-related themes, which helped him to be very well-prepared for reading. This year, it's time to expand our minds a little more!

Once I've decided upon a theme, here's what I do. Go to the Jacksonville Public Library Website. Log in using my library card. Search the catalog. I search for "spider" as my keyword. I select "Children's Picture Book" as my category. I then see what pops up. I look through the books, do some quick internet research, and choose the ones that I want to read. I then place them on hold using the library's online hold system. I am doing this two weeks prior to when I need them. Usually, the library is really fast about having holds ready for pickup. They send me an email, and I go get them. Library books are checked out for 3 weeks, so it's plenty of time... and if I need them longer, I can renew them online as well! For the NONFICTION books, I just type in "spider" as my keyword, choose "Nonfiction" as my category, and select "Juvenile" as my reading level. This will show me where spiders are filed in the nonfiction section. The books were mostly in 595.44. On one of our library days, I just cruise on over to that section and pick out the ones I like the best. I also check out this same section in the readers portion of the children's library. Sometimes you can find level 1 nonfiction books that early readers can handle all on their own. Lots of the nonfiction books will still be a bit too difficult or long for Ephraim, so we'll read sections, summarize, and check out the pictures.

I have also heard a rumor that the children's librarians are happy to put together a box of themed books for you, so go talk it over with your local librarian! FYI, in case you are working with an even younger child, there are TONS of phonics books available that teach just about a certain letter. Ephraim and I read about a zillion of those.

I love the library. I think it is one of the best resources available to us as homeschoolers. So, before you go buy a book, check it out from the library! For the record, we started "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" with a copy from our local library. There are also several homeschool teaching resources, kids craft books, and kids cookbooks available.

Finally, HERE is this week's lesson plan!

Have a creepy week, spider friends!

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