Prep and Use of Confessions of a Homeschooler's "Letter of the Week"

Confessions of a Homeschooler's "Letter of the Week" preschool course is a 26 week curriculum with educational activities covering letter recognition, letter sounds, counting, number recognition, basic math skills, prewriting, and fun little fine-motor skill activities.

I am one of those ambitious moms who thinks her kids are super-blazing smart. So I started Queen Vee in My Father's World Kindergarten program at the beginning of our 2012-2013 school year. She was 4 years old and because she has very advanced speaking skills, I thought she would be advanced in learning letters, sounds and how to read. Six weeks into the program I learned my lesson, Queen Vee was getting the sounds but she couldn't understand blending. At one point she flat out refused. I didn't want to then be one of those mom who pushed and pushed my PreKer to learn something that was over her head, so I started looking for something to ease into PreK.



I found Confession's of a Homeschooler's "Letter of the Week" preschool curriculum. I was SAVED! I printed the next letter in the MFW Kindergarten progression and she was happy as a puppy with a new toy.
Great for using Workboxes!

Preparing "Letter of the Week"


Materials:
Print "Letter of the Week"
Page Protectors
Laminating Sheets
Hole Punch
Scissors
26 to 30 Folders
14 Hanging File Folders
A Large Crate (to hang file folders)
*See list below of Tools/Toys for use with this program


Step 1: Printing

I usually prepare all my curriculum up front. But I was six weeks in, so I was doing it on the fly. The curriculum only cost $15 to download. (Love it!) The real cost comes in at preparation. I'm not sure how many pages the whole thing is, but it gets pricey for the print job if you have to go to Kinko's or an office supply store. I have access to a good color printer and could keep costs down. I also purchased a package of 200 page protectors ($12 at Sam's Club) and a 100 pack of 8.5" x 11" laminating sheets ($18ish from Amazon.) I printed one or two letters per week. It really spread out the high amount of work that goes into preparing this program.

If you plan on using this program for several children (or at least more than one time) I think it is a good idea to use page protectors and laminating to keep them nice for the next child. This set is for my last child, but I know we are doing the letters all over again in Kindergarten (giving it a go again with MFW K next year) so I will pull out some of the activities she liked from "Letter of the Week." I love having fun extras!

Step 2: Preparing Activities

Watching TV with my hubby in the evenings, I put the activities that would remain full sheets of paper into page protectors: floor numbers, any game boards, Magnet page, Pre-writing exercises, etc.) I had to read the lesson plans to know what to do with some of the pages.

I made a pile of all the pages that can be left alone: Coloring pages, do-a-dot pages, poke pages, cutting practice, etc.

The last pile are all the things I have to cut out: game pieces, counting cards, color matching puzzles, lacing card, etc. I spent the time cutting out each one and (for durability purposes) I put them into laminating sleeves and ran them through my handy-dandy laminator. (Love that thing!)

Step 3: Storage

For storage I took a different route than Erica at Confessions of a Homeschooler. She recommends putting each letter in it's own binder. Well... I couldn't afford 26 binders, nor do I have the room for a whole bunch of binders. (Even though they look really cool all in a row on her shelves!)

I got myself a large crate, some hanging files and a handful of folders. I keep all the activities for one letter in a folder, and insert two letter folders in a hanging file. They are pretty full folders after all the page protectors and laminating. My crate is a rather tight fit. They would fit better in a longer filing cabinet drawer.


Learning Toys/Tools


There are a few needed items to go along with Letter of the Week. My PreK girl loves playing with these toys even when she is not doing any school work.  I keep them in pencil boxes or shoeboxes (for easy storage and because they fit just right into her workbox drawers.) Here is a list and links to how to make them or where I bought them.
  • PomPom Magnets (how to make)
  • Letter Disks (I didn't use wood ones, I used poker chips, and wrote captials on one side and lower case on the other.)
  • Color Cubes ($18 at Amazon) (These are for tracing letters, but you can use any small object like beads, math manipulatives, etc.)
  • Do-A-Dot Markers ($15 at Amazon, also available at teaching stores.)
  • Over-sized Push Pins ($5 at Amazon, I got mine at an office store.)
  • Assorted Narrow Dry Erase Markers & an Eraser (For pre-writing sheet in page protectors.)
  • Learning Links ($22 on Amazon or at teaching stores.)
  • Paper Clips and Clothes Pins (for counting with Clip Cards)
  • Spray Painted Cookie Sheet (for magnet page, or use a magnetic dry erase board.)

Lesson Planning

The Letter of the Week program comes with so many extras, it's super awesome. It even comes with lesson plans (that fit into our Workboxes.) So the "planning" part is done for me. Here's how it functions for me. Each Sunday night, I pull out the next week's letter folder and the lesson plans. I have this pretty multiple pocket folder and separate out what goes in each of her workboxes for Monday through Friday. In the front pocket I have a few extras (for example, tracing pages of her name and address.) I can keep two weeks of activities in this folder.

Queen Vee's favorites from the program are the Poke Page, Clip Cards, the Upper and Lower Case Worksheets (one of the extras). She loves the cutting practice and color matching puzzles. Okay, so she loves nearly all of it. Mostly because it is all hers.

Would I use this program again?

(If I had another PreKer?)
Yes, I would. The only thing I would do differently is go in the order she suggests (doing vowels first and then all the consonants in order.) The only reason is because she introduces numbers in order too. I didn't realize that until it was too late. I didn't do a lot with numbers and I regret that. I know Queen Vee will learn them eventually, but at least we have 1 to 10 down, thanks to the clip cards, graphing and floor numbers.

 

What they learn

Letters (Names, sounds, recognition)
Numbers (Names, counting, recognition)
Colors & Shapes
Fine Motor (Lacing cards, cutting, prewriting)
Logic (Puzzles, sorting, matching)
Gross Motor
Crafts
(and more)


It is a cute program, with lots of "play" involved in the learning. I love that idea for PreK. Thanks Confessions of a Homeschooler!