Sunday, July 15, 2007

Summer Structure

After reading a post at Parent Hacks about structured versus unstructured summers and a message on a homeschooling list about how to structure learning for a Pre-K aged child, I was inspired to write up the structure we're using for Mommy and M school.

When I was in my last month of pregnancy last spring, I worked myself into a near panic about the weeks of summer during which I would have a newborn baby and no preschool for my 3.5 year old. Being a chronic planner, I decided to make some lists of crafts and get supplies for them. I also made a list of activities we could do both at home or to get us out of the house, since I was afraid that my sleep-deprived post-partum brain wouldn't be able to come up with any ideas on the spur of the moment (I'll write these up in another post.) I also thought up a loose schedule for our early mornings. M is an early riser so we usually have several hours together before any of her friends are ready for a playdate.

As the end of M's preschool year neared, we made a chart for the fridge that shows the things we want to accomplish each day. She drew a picture for each, and I wrote a word or spelled it out for her. The eight things on our chart are: getting ready for the day (dressing, brushing teeth, etc), letter lesson (from Modern Curriculum Phonics), number lesson (from Singapore Kindergarten Math) art, chores, snack, taking a walk, and reading together. We don't do all these every day, and we hardly ever do them in the same order, but it's a nice structure for us.

So on weekdays, once we've eaten breakfast, I let M choose what she wants do to first (assuming C is co-operating) and we get started on our "school' day. Then in the late morning when C is up from her nap, we leave the house for an outing, a playdate, or errands. Our afternoons tend to be much slower, lots of creative unstructured play, occasionally with a friend, and maybe another walk or some park time, or a movie if we're tired or too hot to get outside.

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