Sunday, November 1, 2015

Homeschooling Peanut

I have put off writing this post because, honestly, finding time to work on school stuff with Peanut has been a challenge lately.  I am glad that she doesn't have much desire yet to do academics, but what she does need is attention and trying to figure out how to give that to her has been one of my big challenges lately. 

The Five in a Row curriculum is perfect for just spending time together.  If you are not familiar with Five in a Row I will explain to you how it works.  The author has put together a selection of some the very best of children's picture books.  Each week you focus on one book.  You read it together once each day, for a total of five times (hence the name!)  Then the FIAR manual is chock-full of activities you can do related to the book.  There is something for every discipline and interest: science projects, arts and crafts, history and social studies discussions, writing... all geared toward the preschool age.  You can go as elaborate or as simple as you want. 

We definitely have been keeping things on the simple side.  Peanut is content to just curl up and read the book together and maybe talk about a few of the geographical or historical or scientific aspects of the text and pictures.  There's something very magical about reading the book once a day for five days.  The first day it's brand-new and so exciting.  The second day you're excited to hear the story again because you liked it so much.  By the third day, it's pretty familiar, and by the end of the week it's a dear friend.  I love it that it is building in my little ones a love of good literature. 

It doesn't take that much time to just sit down in my big overstuffed chair and read our book to Peanut (and Frog always joins in too.)  And she loves this time.  It's her time and they are her Five in a Row books.  I can usually find ten minutes to do this, and if I can't, one of the older kids can read it to her.  I always make sure to be the one that does the first reading with her, but usually once or twice during the week it's one of the older kids that does Five in a Row.  Which is good for them and for Peanut, I think. 

We have really loved the books.  I was familiar with some of them already (classics such as Madeline and Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel) but there were lots of new ones.  Some, like A Pair of Red  Clogs, didn't look very promising at first but have become beloved friends after studying them for a week.  We sometimes buy them and sometimes check them out at the library, but eventually I would like to own the whole collection. 

I would like to do more than just FIAR with Peanut.  We have tapered off working with the farm animal math set just because I am so busy and I feel bad about that because we both enjoy it so much.  And there are lots of other good preschool things we could be doing, such as the Can you Find Me?  riddle books.  But right now all I can manage is reading the FIAR books and occasionally doing some of the activities.  Especially if they involve cooking.  Peanut really enjoys working in the kitchen with me. 

Recently we read Cranberry Thanksgiving.  So we made cranberry bread.  And I had one of the kids take some pictures of the process. 


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