I am trying a hands-on curriculum for the twins. It is called My Father’s World. My sister-in-law uses it with her girls. When we went home this past July, I looked through her teacher’s manual and other visuals. I liked all the activities and science that I saw. When I saw it for sale on my favorite use curriculum site, I used the money I made at my yard sale and bought the teacher’s manual. One problem with this curriculum is they do not use the King James for the Bible verses. This is only in the teacher’s edition so I can easily look it up in the King James and read it to them. It is better for them to see me open the Bible to read it anyway.
This is little of how our day goes. I started this when Rueben was working with his dad for a month so I had time to develop a rough schedule without interfering too much with his studies.
I do our Bible lesson while the kids are finishing their breakfast. This way they are all seated and somewhat occupied. I read the Bible to them and then draw a picture to show what the story is about. This helps to hold their attention, and they can tell me the next day what we talked about already that week. Then on Sunday I use the same lesson for the 4-6 yr. old girls class that I teach.
After breakfast we finish up our morning chores, and have some free play time before starting school. During school time we start by going over our memory verses and sing a song from the hymn book. I try to pick a hymn that has something to do with the week’s theme. For example we sang “Sunshine in my Soul” when we studied the letter S and the sun.
Our first subject is math. First, we go over the calendar. We review the days of the week, mark the day we are on, and talk about up coming events – like trips, holidays, or birthdays. I just purchased a chart with the months of the year that we will soon start going over each day. Then we count. I made a chart of numbers from 1-50. Each day we go over a new number. We started at one and are going in order for the numbers. Each day we add a straw in a bag that I attached to the wall by our chart. When we reach a ten, I put a rubber band around the bundle to illustrate the idea of ones and tens. Then we search the house looking for that number. They find them on the clocks, calendars, boxes, papers, and so on. They love this activity! Next we go over how to properly write the number. We practice on the chalk board, and then with their finger in a small box with salt on the bottom. Abby loves this because she likes to lick off the salt from her finger, but I do not let her put her finger back in the salt once she has licked it, so she has learned to wait until she is all done writing before licking her finger.
Josiah joins in the fun. He runs around with them when they look for the number of the day, he scribbles on the chalkboard, and loves to “write” in the salt, too.
Since I do not have any the student book, I have made math papers to go with the weekly theme. Right now we are working on writing our numbers, counting objects, and doing simple adding with objects to count. I try to keep the pages simple and short since they are only 3 and their attention span is rather short. I have mistakenly given them long worksheets only to have them quit after the first few problems.
After math we work in our phonics workbook to continue their phonics learning. I am still using the Amish books that I got this summer. I love these books because they are very unworldly, and they remind me of where I grew up.
Then we take a break and go for a walk if the weather is nice.
After lunch we do the reading section. I usually wait until Josiah is asleep to do this part. The teacher’s manual is for teaching sounds, but since the twins already know all their sounds I am stressing the handwriting of each letter and just reviewing sounds. They have a science theme for each week that corresponds with the letter being taught. For example they learned about the sun for S and the moon for M. Now we are learning about leaves for L and apples for A. I am trying to do the two letters a week, since we don’t need to learn the sounds; we just need to practice writing them. The manual is full of fun activities to teach and review the sounds, plus they have a section on handwriting activities – like the salt in a box. One I haven’t tried that will be messy, but fun is writing in pudding on a tray.
They have an activity for each day of the week. There are also suggested books for reading and activities to go along with each book.
After we finish our work for the week I put all their papers together in a small book using construction paper for the front and back cover. Then they show dad, or anyone else who comes to visit, the book of their work. The only problem with this is it will create clutter. In the past I have thrown away most of the papers we do – when they are not looking of course. I hate clutter and I am not very sentimental and I don’t feel like I need to hold on to every thing.
So far, this new curriculum is working real well for them. I enjoy the freedom of taking the ideas in the teacher's manual and adapting them to the needs of my children.