Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Back to School!

It's that time again!  Shiny new clothes, lunch boxes, and trips to the bus stop.  Crazy Bug started first grade last week, and we're still adjusting to full day school.  (Actually, Crazy Bug seems fine, but I'm heartbroken at losing our "girl time").  As our time together shrinks, my job is to find ways to continue afterschooling while maintaining time for play, relaxation, and sports.  Are you having the same problem?  If so, then read on for some ideas on how to manage.

1. Prioritize
I'd like to expose Crazy Bug to so many experiences and help her improve so many skills.  But time is short, and I have to except that I can't do it all in one year.  So I prioritize with these three questions: What area does she need help with?  What area does she need more challenge in?  What excites her?

Using the questions above, I set these goals for the year:
  • Continue reading with and to Crazy Bug and asking critical thinking questions about what we've read.
  • Provide math enrichment through "real world" math challenges, word problems, and Kangaroo Math.
  • Continue artist studies and The Story of the World.
2. Find Ways to "Sneak Attack"
Now that I'm confident that I'll fit in my priorities, it's time to find ways to squeeze in some bonus learning.  I call this method "Sneak Attack" because it's fun, casual, and integrated into our every day life.  For example, I can work on writing complete sentences by having Crazy Bug write letters and thank you notes to family and friends.  We'll watch fun science videos and documentaries and work on geography skills while playing a family game of Scrambled States of America.  How can you sneak in a little extra education?

3.  Build Learning Skills
When I'm really honest with myself, I realize there is no way I'll ever be able to teach Crazy Bug everything I want her to know.  And I shouldn't!  Crazy Bug has a lifetime ahead of her to explore and learn!  What I can do is give her the skills and desire that will enable her to learn.  So in addition to teaching her fractions and grammar, I'll also teach her how to:
  • Find an answer to a question through research.
  • Follow through on projects and assignments.
  • Plan a project by breaking it down into manageable pieces.
  • Look at the world critically and ask questions about why and how.
  • Apply information she's learned in new ways.

Now I have my game plan. 
Good luck creating yours!

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