Monday, February 29, 2016

Preschool for Jaren- All Aboard the Animal Train program from My Father's World

We have been enjoying a new preschool program this year.  Though Jaren does pretty good just tagging along with Joelle, I still decided it would be fun to do a preschool program with him.  I was curious about the All Aboard the Animal Train program from My Father's World, though reviews were very hard to find!  It is a new program that just came out last spring.  I was able to find a set on a used curriculum site, so I went ahead and got it.  I have appreciated having something organized to do with Jaren.  He is always asking to do "school" like his sister.  So, he appreciates having his own school stuff too.

In the manual, the units are divided into three weeks each- focusing on an animal, a color, a shape, a certain character trait, and a Bible verse.  Each week has a grid showing five days of activities.  Typical activities for a week may include going on a color hunt, making a sandwich out of a certain cookie cutter shape to go with the animal of the week, coloring or painting a picture based on the color of the week, playing certain games with blocks and manipulatives.

We recently finished the Bear unit, which was on the trait of Obedience.  We practiced the verse, and put it on a little bear figure, and taped it up on Jaren's wall.  He also enjoyed coloring the unit poster, putting a black bear on it, going on a color hunt in his room for black items, and decorating a bear sheet with black markers and crayons. 

This set also comes with Student Sheets, which is a large stack of cardstock quality pages that have full color images to cut out and play games with, or pages with figures on them to paint and color, etc.  I really like the student sheets.  I appreciate a program that takes care of all these details and doesn't leave me to the job of printing something out on my color printer, after I've already paid for a full set.  This set is indeed a complete program! 

In the manual, you are encouraged to get a notebook and label it as your child's story time book, and then put all of the weekly poems in it.  Each week there is an action poem about the animal of the week.  Jaren has loved these poems so far, and Joelle usually joins in too.

We also did reading that goes along with theme of the week.  We read several stories about bears.  I appreciate the books that came with this program.  I know Jaren feels it is special that he has his own school books, as his sister has always had her own too.  The books are age appropriate, and Jaren is proud of them.  So, its easy to transition into story time for this program. 

There is also a music cd included in the set which we listened to.  There are baking opportunities every week, but we have not used any yet.  This is something that I think both kids would enjoy though, if I have a week that I plan ahead far enough to get the stuff I need from the grocery store.

With this program, you are also encouraged to use busy boxes as a part of the day.  I already have ten of those set up for Jaren, so it is another easy thing to incorporate.  Joelle has also been helping to teach Jaren in this program.  Every week there are five cut outs of the animal of the week.  The object of the game is for the child to hide them, and then for someone else to find them.  Joelle and Jaren do pretty well taking turns at this game.  Another game is a weekly shape and color game, where someone calls out a shape or color (using the cutouts from the student sheets) and the child is supposed to pick up the correct one.  They have been doing pretty well at playing this game too, and Jaren has been allowing Joelle to "teach" him.   

Overall, it has been fun to have something to go through with Jaren.  I'm not as good at just piecing it together anymore, now that more of my focus is on my first grader most of the time.  We don't do this program every day, and we often buzz through a week's worth in a couple of days.  Its a very laid back, Charlotte Mason style, but it has been perfect for us!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Our School Year in Review

Its been a fun year of first grade and preschool.  Joelle is learning a lot and Jaren has been excited to join in by doing his own school stuff.  I took photos to commemorate our first day of school last September

This has been a big milestone year for Joelle.  She got to join a coop this year that we will be working to turn into a charter school for homeschool families.  She was very excited to get to go to school every Monday all day.  Since January the format has changed, and she goes once a month for half a day.  But, hopefully it will be approved for charter sponsorship with the school district, and next year she will enjoy weekly full days again.  It has been a wonderful thing to be involved in!  We continue with Community Bible Study on Tuesdays.  Every other Wednesday, we also have American Heritage Girls.  This was Joelle's first year being a part of the larger group, and getting to wear a vest, and earn badges.  It has been a great program to be involved in, and I have enjoyed being a leader as well. 

I have also started a sensory play and art school in my home once a week.  A lot of my focus for planned arts and crafts, and planned play experiences, goes to that day.  It has been working pretty well since both of my kids are at an age where I can plan things they enjoy and it works perfectly for my school.  It also provides them with a great chance to have peers over and interact with each other.  We do a lot of fun things together during the school morning on Fridays.

I realized it had been a long time since I did an update, so here is a look at what we have been up to.  Please stay tuned for my upcoming reviews of curriculum we have been using such as Sonlight, My Father's World 2-3 year old Preschool Program, All About Reading, Book Shark Science, and several others coming soon! 




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