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Smart Home: School Time

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A Notebook and a Pencil
Dedicate time (it can even be just 5 minutes) to review academic skills with your child every day.  This “school time” will encourage you to be on top of your child’s learning successes and areas of need.  With just a notebook, a pencil and a few other items, a Smart Mama and her offspring can review handwriting, counting, reading and more!

How Does It Look Like in Smart Mama’s House
Each day we spend 15 minutes doing “School Time.” This is a special part of the day when we settle down to practice a few different academic skills.  We typically begin with the calendar.  We talk about the current month, days of the week and count the number of days in the month. We often look back in the year, reviewing names of previous months and look ahead at what’s to come. She gets to draw an X to cross out yesterday’s date, that’s her favorite part!

Now that she has heard me mention today’s date, we open up her notebook to the next clean page.  I write the date on the top, having her help by telling me the date based on what we just reviewed moments before.   The clean notebook page is quickly filled with her name as I begin with a demonstration of writing her name. I talk about what I’m doing as I do it. “Look how I am making the circle of the letter a. I touch the middle and bottom lines.” I then have her write her name at least 2 times, sometimes more, it really just all depends on her interest that day.

School Time in May

I began the notebook activity in May and now, 7 weeks later I can see a clear improvement in the manner she writes her name, a tremendous improvement.

School Time in July - Huge Improvement

Now don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been easy.  She gets frustrated at times when her name doesn’t look “right.” I get frustrated when she isn’t holding her pencil properly.  However, these small mini-lessons of school time are just the right amount.  The moment I see frustration coming in, I quickly end the day’s lesson.  I never want her to dislike school time. I always want her to look forward to it.  (Funny, as I sit here typing this post she came into the room asking me if we could do school time!)

I have also used http://www.handwritingworksheets.com/ to print out her name in a dotted font.  This website is a great resource for handwriting worksheets.

Next week I’ll share the pre-reading skills we practice during “school time.”

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