Tuesday, July 25, 2006

New School Year About to Begin

Although our school year doesn't officially begin until Sept., I'm kind of starting early. Yet I feel nervous at the prospect of doing so.

I will have my niece (18months) and nephew (6yo) with me during the weekdays for the month of August. My nephew was with my long-term in the past and on occasional days off from school. I don't want things to be the complete free-play they were before, but I'm nervous about if I'll be able to change things.

What makes me nervous? That I could be doing something wrong. Too much perfectionism in me. I also wonder if I'll be able to entice them into some fun learning activities.

As I write that, I think--but Maria Montessori said they were free to do what they liked as long as it was right. There's no harm, really, in them playing all day long. If I can come up with a lot of different things for them to do and invite them to them, things should be just fine.

But what should the different activities be? That's another thing that gets the nerves. Let me come up with some ideas:

  • 100 chain (both boys have loved the chain in the past)
  • science activities--but what specifically???; magnetism is always good and I have a bunch of different magnets and activities we could do for that; I have various science experiment books and although it's a shame the experiments are not better organized according to domain, they would still make good activities; and even though my nephew will be off to school in Sept., I could still do some sort of planter box gardening or similar with them.
  • repotting the plant and cleaning its leaves
  • baking/cooking (I even have a kids' cookbook that has very easy recipes)
  • Great Lessons, particularly the first one with the various experiments
  • read stories to them
  • play I Spy
  • go for walks with the dog
  • go for walks in the ravine and collect leaves, then sort and learn the names of the types of leaves
  • what should I make available for my niece?

They are scheduled to start next Monday, which doesn't leave me a lot of time to decide what to do. I have some notes somewhere on good activities for 18mo's; I'll have to see if I can locate them.

I essentially want to get our general school routine in place in August. I will have the 10 for either the last week of August or the last two weeks in August and I want things made fairly routine by that point so that when she comes into the mix, she, too, can just hop right in, learn while having fun, maybe pick some things she'd really like to work on before heading off to school.

I should perhaps think a little more about the routine I want in place and maybe even post something. An idea:

  • Arrival: put away shoes, coats, bags; pull out niece's toys
  • Story time: read a story to them and discuss
  • Activity: ideally, I will already have an activity of some sort ready on the kitchen table. I'm thinking, too, I should make my school shelves really prepared for the boys so that, after we're done the activity, I can invite them to see if there's something else they would like to do. That means that the 100 chain should be out and I should also check to see if my 1000 chain is done as it would certainly be exciting for them to one day see that on the shelves!
  • Depending on how long that lasts, perhaps snack and outdoor time at this point. Go for a walk, head for the ravine, go on some sort of nature scavenger hunt, etc.
  • Try to have another activity at this point? Especially if only one activity was done before the little break.
  • Before lunch clean-up; prayer; lunch; after-lunch clean-up. Perhaps another story time at this point?

Well, some thoughts to get me started!

No comments: