October 29, 2013

Afternoon Make Over

Afternoon preschool was one of the highlights of our day last year.  The kids loved it and we did some fun stuff together.  

That being said, when we moved and I was able to include the preschoolers with everyone else in the morning work period, I dropped it.   

Pretty much just like that, and didn't think twice about it until I noticed that the afternoons were becoming a bit of an unglued time around the house.  Especially as the weather has gotten cooler, I have found myself saying yes to TV more than I would really like to.   

I knew the kids did well with the afternoon work time, but what to do?  I looked around my school room and through some albums and decided that afternoon would be a great time for some art, music, and silent reading!   

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We still use the ArtPacs for art technique, along with Child size Masterpieces for art appreciation.  We also have some liturgical art that we study and a variety of artist books and collections.  I tend to look through the ArtPacs and adapt their project to be a little more realistic.  For example they had a making a 3D bird and I had the kids look through Audobon's Bird's Of America to find a songbird and then color theirs to match.  For some of the learn to draw pages, I had them make scenes instead of just drawing it in their book.

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For music, I have some beginning piano books that I work with them for a few moments a couple times/week and then we still use Making Music Praying Twice (although admittedly not as much as we have in the past).  I also have some general music reading work and composer and instrument study as well.

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I usually do a short story or introduction at the beginning for the work period and then I leave their actual work up to them, just like in the morning work time (with more freedom actually).  If they don't want to participate they are welcome to read quietly on the couch until time to clean up.  (I'm actually requiring my oldest reluctant reader to do a little bit more of that than he has in the past.)

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Instead of 2.5 hours like our morning is, this time ends up being between 1-1.5 hours.  It helps bridge the gap between lunch and afternoon activities.  We usually end up with 2-3 afternoons working and 1-2 with other things but its a good balance and the troops are calmer for it!  

Which of course means I am calmer for it.

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