When I first began homeschooling, all of my children were young pre-readers, but of course, if I began working with one child, the others often insisted they have “work” to do as well. This perhaps was the hardest transition for me since obviously I couldn’t help each of them at once, and none of them were old enough to work independently yet. This part has shifted and evolved each year for our family, but one thing I have really loved through the years are folder games. A dear friend was teaching 1st grade at the time and introduced the idea to me. So I began hunting for activities that would be easy to appease my independent pre-readers that could easily be put away when they were finished. I have several of them that I have assembled and keep in a folder box in a cubby. (I printed and laminated my games because I knew so many children would use them. It’s not necessary though.) When they want, the kids pull the box out and begin the game. Here’s one of the days I used Olive’s initiation of a weather matching folder game for an impromptu lesson on weather.
introduction to different types of weather and vocabulary about weather (15-20 minutes)
Olive pulls out the folder game box while I’m working with the older kids. She selects the weather matching activity and begins to pull out the pieces. Intuitively, she begins spreading out the pieces (something all pre-schoolers enjoy!) and realizes they have matches. While she is doing this I quickly grab one of the books we own on weather–I adore this entire science series, by the way. I finish helping the older kids and tell them I’ll be working with Olive for a bit. They’re welcome to join in when the finish. Blythe does. We go through and discuss the weather labels on the cards. Olive then sits in my lap and we read What the Weather Will Be. Some of the information is too specific for Olive, but Blythe enjoys it. We discuss some of the new words together and Olive picks up her cards and puts the folders away.