Monday, May 25, 2009

Material I used when Den was 2-3 years old

This is for those of you who has been asking about the material I used with Den when I first started to homeschool her. JL, this is for you. :)

Some background first:
  1. We started when Den was 2 years and 3 months old and stop right before she turned 4.
  2. We = 2 moms (MA & me), 4 kids (Den + EE + WE, 2 girls 1 boy all same age with Den and also a little girl, WH who is a year younger. She joined us when she was almost 2.)
  3. We meet twice a week. MA and I taken turn to teach.
  4. Sometime we break for a week or two here and there due to sickness, vocations, visitors, busy schedules etc.

This was our usual time table:

10:30am -11am Outdoor activities which include chores like washing the turtles, watering plants and also exercises.

11am-1130am Bible story, Bible verse, Bible application, Bible song, Prayer (Mostly from Gospel Light, will explain below)

1130am-Noon Games, craft, Science, dramatic play that are usually related to the Bible story (Mostly from Gospel Light too)

Noon-1230pm Rest and their favorite- 15 min of Fun Song Factory! (VCD, British program with lots of songs and nursery rhymes)

1230pm-2:30pm Lunch, free play

2:30pm-3pm Extra learning that covered Science, Language (English, Malay, Chinese), Social Study, Math, etc.

We need more time because they are 4 of them. Taking turn to go to toilet also taken up quite a bit of time. :) Lunch was super major event!

We used Gospel Light's Bright Beginnings series called "Exploring God's World". It is actually written for Christian preschool. However it was not hard to make it work for homeschool.

I got the set from Cannanland (the nearest and best one is in NZX) for RM450. It came with : Teacher guide, Devotional Bible, Bible stories Postal (one per story = total 48 postal), Bible Verse Postal (one per month = total postal), Activity Postal (one per month = total 12 Postal), CD (2-3 songs per month = around 30 songs).

The curriculum has 12 units (One unit per month). In each units, it has:

  1. four Bible Stories (share a same theme) with four Bible Postal
  2. one Bible verse with one Bible verse Postal
  3. one activity postal
  4. 3 songs - One Bible Verse song, One activity song and One Bible Concept or Application Song
  5. Prayer idea, games idea and activities -Art, Block, Dramatic Play, Game & Science

For us, we only told one story per week. So let said if we tell story A on Tuesday then we would review the same story on Thursday. All the activities for Tues and Thurs were about the same stories. We did not start it off this way. At the biginning, we would teach story A on Tues and story B on Thurs. But then later on, we realized it was very hard for the kids to understand and remember the whole story for one telling. Repetition works for kids this age. They have never complain it was the same story, in fact, they get very excited because it was a story that they were familiar with!

Works for moms too! Less work!

The good things about the curriculum:

  1. The CD. Kids learn better tru songs at this age and I really like the CD especially the concept song that apply the verse in their life.
  2. Postal - colorful and bigger than A3 size postal are very good visual aids for kids.

The not so good things about the curriculum:

  1. Lots of planning. Since the activities are for the whole month, most of them are not story specific. So we need to pick and choose and also modify them. For some of the story I cant find any activities that is really related to it, so I depend a lot on other resources. Like the Play and Pray Bible for younger Children.
  2. Some of the activity are for school setting so it is almost impossible to play at home due to the limitation of space and also the number of kids.
  3. Gospel light's has stop producing this, so if you are interested, then you have to search the book store for the old stocks.

In conclusion, it served its purpose for us during that time. It might not be the best out there though. I was very new at homeschooling at that time and that's the best that I can find at the local bookstores. Since we had 4 kids, so it kind of work for a small school setting.

For those of you who is only going to homeschool one kid at home, I suggest you look into www.heartofdakota.com . I have never used it but it come highly recommended. I check out the website and like what I see. It has curriculum for 2-5 years old (I think it is more suitable for 2-3 years old) that come with daily simple activity. If you purchase the curriculum please remember to buy the books and the CD that you need too from them too. Because some of those are hard to find in MLY.

If you have any more question, feel free to write to me or post your questions here or call me up. :)

MA, you are free to post your input here too!

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