Our school year is scheduled to begin the second week of September. I thought it would be a good idea to start several weeks early with just my Jack. For our first row I chose, Yellow Ball, by Molly Bang. I wanted a book with a summer theme, as well as something simple to start out with. I wasn’t sure how Jack would react to scheduled school time, but I should have known he would treasure any one-on-one time with Mama. This first week of rowing has been all I’d hoped it would be and more. I am so excited to be using Five in a Row this school year. I feel it will bless our family and create memories that will last far beyond each row.
I kept our row of Yellow Ball pretty simple. I focused on memory making and fun with Jack. There will be plenty of time for academics down the road. Right now I want to spend time snuggling and trying my best to build up Jack’s self esteem and confidence.
We read Yellow Ball and discussed the setting—the beach—one of our most favorite places to be in the summer. We talked about all the things we like to do at the beach, things we see, the ocean and what kinds of creatures live in the ocean. Jack was so patient in answering my questions and talking about the things in the book.
Next, we put our animal classification card for the story—fish—on our display board. We talked about fish and looked at different fish in our Apologia Swimming Creatures book briefly.
I told Jack we were going to go to the store on a yellow scavenger hunt. He was excited. He spotted all sorts of yellow things in the grocery store. I made sure we ended in the produce section, and told him it was time to look for round, yellow things. He found the lemons (just as I’d hoped). We counted out and bagged up 8, paid for them and went home to make a sweet treat. When we got home we made fresh squeezed lemonade. I took some of the seeds out for us to look at. We talked about how lemons grow on trees—a foreign concept to Jack :-). Jack loved helping to make the lemonade! We had the lemonade with our supper. It tasted really good, and Jack was so proud he made it.Day 2
While reading Yellow Ball Jack found the ball on each page. On some pages the ball is pretty tiny. All my kids love any sort of ‘find it’ games, so this was right up his alley. After this I gave Jack his own yellow ball. I could not believe how much Jack appreciated and enjoyed this ball. He told me his favorite thing from school this week was his ‘big yellow ball’. We played several games with it for quite some time after I gave it to him. This whole week he has carried it with him—around the house, to the minivan when we left the house, and, I found him a couple nights ago like this in his bed……just like the little boy in the book. He slept with his ball this whole week.And, this morning when I got home from running I found him on the couch with Joe like this:After we played ball, we read a little more in Apologia Swimming Creatures, then took a trip to the pet store to look at fish. Day 3
Wednesday was art day. Joe wanted to join in for our art project. I had the boys use chalks and draw a picture like the one on the front cover of the book. I talked a bit with Joe beforehand about chalks and drawing techniques like the picture on the front cover used. Joe did a super job. Bless Jack’s heart, he tried his best and did an awesome 3 year old job. I let him do his own thing. I just wanted him to have fun. I wanted him to notice the feel of the chalks, how they feel differently than crayons, not only in your hand, but as you draw and color with them. I made a little counting game from an egg carton, foam shapes cut into ocean creatures—courtesy of Hanna—and blue paint. I took a Sharpie and wrote a number in the bottom of each egg carton compartment. Jack and I together counted out Goldfish crackers and put them into the compartments. He enjoyed doing this way more than I thought he would. Day 4
I loved the idea of bag books as soon as I saw them, and knew it was something I wanted to make for Jack this school year. I made him a yellow bag book for this row. He loved it! He asked it we could ‘do it again next day’, and asked if I would make him a red one. Well, I’ve got plenty of bag books ready to go, and red is one of them in the near future :-). He enjoyed doing all of the little activities in the book. I had Jack narrate Yellow Ball for me. I am going to type it up and glue it onto his Yellow Ball chalk drawing to keep in our Five in a Row lapjournal we will compile this school year. He said:
“The yellow ball washed out in the water. Then, it came back at the beach. A little boy found it and hugged it and took it home.” *Jack is 3 years, 5 months old.*
I thought the concept of reading the same book each day might bore Jack, however, I was wrong. He seemed to look forward to hearing it each time, excited even. He surprised me by sitting on the floor one afternoon with his yellow ball and saying to me, “The floor is the water and the ball is going away.” He pushed it toward me. Then he said, “Now, roll it back to me and it will come back like the yellow ball.”
We made yellow (lemon) cake pops together to wrap up our row, and served them for dessert. What a fun week we have had! A wonderful first week of preschool. I can tell we are going to have so much fun with Five in a Row! After this week, I am excited to get back into the groove of school with my older two. They, on the other hand, are still hanging on to their last few weeks of summer vacation :-). In the meantime, I am going to enjoy this one-on-one time each afternoon with my Jack.
Inspiration, ideas and printables I used for Yellow Ball can be found at:
- Before Five in a Row manual
- Delightful Learning-idea of having a new, yellow ball
- All of a Kind Family-bag book, cake balls and lemonade
- Homeschool Share-printables
- Lakeshore Learning-egg carton fish counting game
- Me and Marie Learning-yellow color pack
I am linking this post to Preschool Corner @ Homeschool Creations and Weekly Wrap-Up @ Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.