Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Afternoon Program gets a facelift

April 2011 009  So, I've been doing the Afternoon Program (AP), which I describe as "supplemental education" for the boys, for over six years now.  Sometimes I've been very on top of it, planning in advance and using lots of creativity (remember the burning bush or wedding posts?) and other times, at 1:00 I am thinking, "what will we do this week?" when the boys come in at 1:30!

April 2011 015(Rebekah joins us for the AP!)

While in my fog this last several months since returning in December, every single week was "what will we do this week?" a half hour before we were meant to start.  Most often we did things like go for a drive, play dough or puzzles.  I just didn't have the energy or drive to come up with much more.

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Nor did I have a framework to structure the AP around.  That was what I was really wanting, some way to organize it and have a plan for what I was trying to accomplish.  Even when the AP was good, or great, I still most often felt like I was picking topics out of thin air.  One week, "cast all your cares on Jesus for he cares for you" the next week, "let's take a stab at reading readiness."  And so on. 

I also have always gone back and forth as to whether I wanted the focus to be on Biblical education or educational education. 

I've since had an idea that I feel is from God in really helping me get a handle on the AP and I have been SO excited about it. 

We are going through the alphabet!  Now, that may not sound very exciting initially but it opens up a whole world of possibilities.  I have to cut things out instead of trying to come up with more things. 

Every week we study a letter.  We think together of words that start with that letter.  Then we do a worksheet where the boys circle the small and capital letter of the week.  And then copy writing it.  Then the fun begins! 

For example, for the letter C,  we did the following (all these things have the Portuguese word that starts with C, not the English word):  learned about creation (creacao), cut meat and cooked it for the snack (corto carne para cozinhar e comer), raced (corrido), sang (cantar), cut (cortar), used crayons (cors), made circles (circulos), cut and colored hearts (coracaoes).   Now the good thing is, I wasn't writing out all these words because my Portuguese spelling is awful so don't quote me on any of those words!!

So every week has a structure but we do different things every week so the kids don't get bored.  The only thing that has remained constant has been the thinking of words that start with that letter and the letter worksheet. And I am combining biblical and developmental education together.

The best part is, every day, the boys come and tell me new words they've thought of that start with a particular letter.  And I overhear them talking about it together too.

If you want to see an excited little boy, visit us when the letter we are studying is the first letter of their name - they are tickled pink!

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Studying creation a few years ago 

Afternoon program 001

Making muffins for our cooking class - obviously, I need to shake up my wardrobe a little more often - these photos were about a year apart!

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