I have been homeschooling the Dumpling since February due to Covid-19 school closures, and playing teacher has been one of my toughest (and to be honest, crappiest) SAHM tasks.
With the Dumpling resisting me every step of the way, I have bribed, threatened, pleaded, yelled, and gave up countless times in the last three months…only to renew my efforts the following day. Under different circumstances, I would have aborted mission completely and just let the Dumpling enjoy her days off — she should be playing with her friends and exploring the great outdoors. Everyone, unfortunately, is stuck at home; everything is cancelled; and I was going mad listening to Blippi on YouTube all day.
The first thing I did was enforced a daily routine and dedicated a slot every afternoon for our “classes”. Secondly I stopped following the school’s curriculum because I am unable teach the way her teachers teach. Instead I prepared my own lesson plans and activity sheets using a tool that I am familiar with — PowerPoint.
I like being able to easily customize the content to the Dumpling’s interest and progress. It took a few days for her to get adjusted to using a mouse and drawing tablet, but she loved the interactive aspect once she got the hang of it. The downside was that we were working in an editable mode within PowerPoint (more on this below), so the Dumpling would sometimes accidentally change things on the slide. As a result, I was constantly on Ctrl + Z (undo) duty.
We’re Going On A Bear Hunt
The first deck I prepared was a lesson for “We’re Going On A Bear Hunt”. Its content was tailored specifically for the Dumpling, so it may not reflect typical classroom material for a kindergartner. It took us about a week to go through the slides, sometimes the same ones on repeat across several days.
Before diving into the content, here are a few administrative tasks I did on the sidelines:
Throughout our lessons, I toggled between “normal” and “slide show” mode. Activity slides were completed in “normal” mode, so that the Dumpling could draw/write or drag/drop objects. It is important to note that these functions can only be done in “normal” mode, where content is editable.
PowerPoint did not automatically load the “Draw” toolbar for me if I did not have my drawing tablet connected. To manually pin this on, go into the “customize ribbon” settings and make sure “draw” is checked.
There is also a pen option in “slide show” mode, but note that objects cannot be re-arranged here to complete most of the activity slides.
We discussed how to read a map and its major components, such as the title, legend, scale, and compass. Thanks to Blippi, the Dumpling already knew what a compass is along with the cardinal directions.
As a side project, I magnetized a pin and floated it on water to show the Dumpling how one works. The pin head pointed to north no matter where it was moved — as verified by the placement of the morning sun and our compass app!
The story text contains many opportunity to introduce digraph (sh, ch) and blend sounds (sp/spl, sq, st, sw, tr).
The Dumpling used to be all over the place whenever she told stories, so we practiced recounting events in sequential order.
As part of building up her storytelling skills, I encouraged her to use more adjectives. We reviewed the descriptions the author used for each destination, and I asked the Dumpling if she could think of others.
We reviewed “over”, “under”, and “through”.
I have included a maze, word search, image arrangement, and pattern completion activity throughout the deck to keep the sessions interactive. There were certain puzzles that the Dumpling wanted to do more of, so I made additional versions that are included as extra slides in the back.