Thursday, January 5, 2012

What’s Next for Alexa?

We are a week past being halfway through our school year. As I sat down to plan for the second half of the year, I needed to evaluate what Alexa has learned, thus far, and what my goals were for her during the rest of the year in order to properly plan for her in the upcoming semesters.

Currently Knows:

  • Recognizes most of her letters upper and lower case
  • Knows most of their sounds consistently
  • Can count rote to 14 – can put numbers 1-10 in order easily
  • Recognizes basic shapes including: triangle, square, heart, diamond, circle, rectangle and oval
  • Cuts very well with scissors
  • Can glue and follow simple craft instruction easily
    • She hardly needs (or wants) help when assembling simple paper crafts
  • Understands general cause and effect
  • Can sort by size, color and shape
  • Can memorize verses up to 7 or 8 words with reference
  • Tells a story by looking at a picture
  • Can match two like pictures in a set of three
  • Can spot simple differences in two like pictures
  • Can put like items together (example: rain and umbrella, boot and mittens) out of three.

For the second half of preschool I plan on focusing on the following:

  • Writing letters – capital and lower case
  • Writing her first and last name without help
  • Count by rote to 20 – put numbers 1-20 in order easily
  • Recognize more complex shapes: hexagon, pentagon, octagon
  • Identify letter sounds at the beginning and end of the words
  • Listen to a story without interrupting
  • Identify rhyming words
  • Learn more Bible Stories
  • Complete simple patterns
  • Match upper and lower letters easily
    • She may already know this, but I’m not sure
  • Make simple predictions
  • Ordinal numbers first-fifth
  • Learn to recognize her state (Wisconsin)
    • If she can get this, I would love for her to recognize 5 states on a US Map at the end of the year, if it doesn’t prove to be too difficult for her

When I ask Alexa what her favorite thing to do in school is she says, she likes to play games. So I have made lots of file folder games for her to play with me as well as on her own. I will be switching her over to a workbox system (which I will try to post on later) where I plan on incorporating the other learning games we have on a more regular basis.

She says she prefers games to crafts and writing to reading, which seems pretty accurate. Though I have to say – she seems to love crafts too. She is independent, and prefers to learn on her own, compared to me “hanging over her shoulder” too much. She does like my attention, but does not like my interference, if that makes sense? Playing games, having fun and keeping school as unstructured as I can seems to be the best teaching approach with her.


Alexa has always been a natural, easy learner, which has been a great blessing but I wanted to be sure that I still made a point to reach and teach her where she was to keep school fun and personal. I really wanted to find the approach that would work best for her, not just trying to use what I used with Treyton. During my research I learned that Alexa is a right-brained dominant thinker.

Here are some of the right-brain dominant characteristics & learning tips that I identified from/for her: 

  • Strong music appreciation
    • Learns well with some music in the background though you have to be careful that it’s not too distracting as right-brainers tend to lose focus easily
  • Expresses feelings and emotion easily
    • when they feel like they’re in a safe environment
  • Spontaneous
    • They do not prefer routine and can sometimes be hindered by one
    • Usually late to things
  • Creative
  • Strong relationships
  • Often have a song-like tone to their voice (this is sooo Alexa)
  • Looks at (and can see) the big picture rather than pieces 
  • Can have difficulty completely completing tasks
  • Loves sharing feelings
    • They usually talk a lot but in short scattered thoughts
  • Prefers to move while learning
  • Impulsive

This has helped me a lot plan an individualized approach for Alexa’s schooling this upcoming semester.

Curriculum and Ideas

I have purchased the Explode the Code books a, b and c for Alexa to use as her “core” curriculum. We are going to do a “letter of the week” style approach as we go through the books. I will be adding in Confessions of a Homeschoolers printables. ETC focuses on the consonants in these three books, which means Alexa will have 21 more weeks of school (which will probably get shortened at the end as we combine some of the final letters, like I did with Treyton).

In the ETC books, she will learn how to write the letters, get lots of letter sound practice as well as simple direction-following practice. I really liked these books when Treyton went through them, and I know that Alexa will like them as well.

For math we will primarily be using the file folder and board games as well as a few worksheets.

Additional Games & Toys

A B Seas by Discovery Toys

Busy Farm by Discovery Toys

Stacking Blocks

Alphabet Puzzle

Number Puzzle

Alphabet Bingo

Play-Doh & Cutters


Cuisenaire Rods & Alphabet Workbook

Melissa & Doug Magnetic Pattern Blocks



What About FIAR?

I am really looking forward to our next semester. I am going to add in as many FIAR books as I can as we go through the letters, but I’m not going to be focusing on them as much as I have this past semester, mostly because she just isn’t as interested in the stories right now as she was before.

I’ve always believed teaching the child where he/she is at, and right now, for Alexa, it’s not with story-time.

Looking Forward

I am excited for the next half of our school year. I have planned in detail the next 6 weeks, and am waiting to see how this all goes before I plan too much more.


Meg said...

Hi! Our kids are the same age. And I have so enjoyed following along with your posts. I don't know how you get it all done. I was wondering if you thought you would do MFW K again? We did it with our first child but I am wondering if I should do it again? Thanks so much.

Amber said...

I don't think I would do MFW K again, only because I like to put my own stuff together a little bit more. It was good though, very little prep work - it was all put together for me and easy to follow.
I think it is a good program, for sure.