Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fitting the Extras Into Our Day

One of the reasons I began a Year0 with our oldest was to get into the habit of participating in artist study, music study, nature study, poetry and foreign language.  I knew that if we did not form an appreciation for these subjects early on, it would be easy to overlook once the core of Year1 began.  We have been doing a Year0 since last fall.  We will continue with Year0 until January when we will began our official Year1. 

I have found that the easiest way to include the extras is during our circle time.  I have posted a schedule for circle time that I am trying to follow as we make circle time an important part of the day.  By far, the most important focus of our circle time is the time we spend reading scripture and praying for one another.  But this time is also valuable for foreign language, artist study, music study and poetry.  When I include these extras during our time together, all the littles get to participate and they seem to enjoy it immensely.

I have decided that the best way to include all of our subjects is to have a special bag that the children take turns drawing an index card from.  We usually draw 2-3 cards from the bag per day.  Included in the bag are activities from all of the extra categories that we are trying to include.  Some of the activities take  1 minute to do, while others could take as long as 15-20 minutes.  If one of the littles chooses a card that has a longer activity on it, then that may be all we can do for the day.

Here is a list of the index card activities
Spanish practice- we practice the common phrases we know like hello and My name is...
 Count to 10 in Spanish
Colors in Spanish-we go around the room pointing to different colors and saying the name in Spanish.
Spanish with American Sign Language Practice-We sign words we know in ASL and then say the corresponding word in Spanish
Days of Week in Spanish
ASL practice-the little ones stand up and give three signs they know and we guess what they are signing

close eyes and listen to poem
tell your favorite part of the poem
re-enact poem as mommy reads it

Listen to classical music and move to the music
Listen to classical music and draw with the colors the song reminds you of
Listen to classical music with your eyes closed.  What do you imagine?
Listen to classical music.  Who wrote it?  What should we know about him/her?

Look at artwork.  Who is the artist?  What should we know?
Re-create artwork with similar patterns and colors.
Examine artwork for one minute, tell what you remember
Make up story about artwork

This takes us about 7-10 days to work through.  The littles love to draw a card form the bag.  I wish I could show you a beautifully decorated bag, but we just use a Ziploc.  Our index cards are also well used and tape holds a few together...
Here is an example of artist study.  We have been studying Claude Monet.  The littles re-created his painting Terrace at St Adresse.

The top is the actual painting.  Boo our five year old drew the middle left picture.  Bo our six year old drew the middle right picture.  Miss LouLou our three year old drew the bottom picture.  Little Bitty was probably drawing on herself or eating the markers;-)

While we do not use the artist and composer study outlined by Ambleside Online yet, I think we can easily use this format with the official schedule when we begin Year1.

This instruction does not take the place of our art time and nature study is another area I try to focus on at this age.

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