Thursday, August 1, 2013

Preschool poetry

A few years ago, Joe and I started to think seriously about the possibility of homeschooling Marija. I wondered how it would work since I speak to her in Latvian, but the community language is English. So I looked up bilingual homeschooling and was surprised to find very little information online. (What was out there, by the way, was and still is at, a great site for people who have multiple languages in the family.)


Now Marija is almost four, and she will be home with me for awhile yet. So I've begun teaching her reading and other things, mostly in Latvian.

And since I've had two good and interesting educational ideas that work in any language, I figured I should share them with the world. This is the first idea.

Marija's book of poems

It similar to the book of poems I made when we learned about poetry in second grade. For Marija, I will paste in a poem or a Bible verse or a simple song or hymn, then have her help me illustrate. She gets excited when I tell her it's time for another poem... she loves crafts, poems and doing things with me, and every time we put together a new page, she gets all three together.

As you can see above, I try to keep things simple, but also to have Marija help. I cut out a heart, but then she cut out a flower we glued on top, for a hymn asking Jesus to make our hearts like white blossoms. Marija helped me pick out a photo of her to illustrate another verse about giving Jesus our childhood days. The birds picture is part of an old greeting card.

The composition book, decorated and labeled "Marija's Panti┼ći" (Marija's poems), was my Christmas present to her. Marija had learned a few poems to recite at Christmas, which is a Latvian tradition, and it was obvious that she enjoyed it. The poems are also a great way to expose her to high-level Latvian... though I'm fluent in Latvian, my grammar and vocabulary are pretty basic.

In the evening before bed, I read the poem once and Marija repeats it line by line. After a day or a month or somewhere in between, Marija can recite it herself.

Her are some more poems. We like using paper scraps, but sometimes Marija will draw something simple using crayons or colored pencils instead.

A poem about birds nesting in trees and by the roadside

A poem about squirrels that leap into trees and eat pine cones

By the way, this is the time of year to buy composition books. They aren't $0.49 anymore once school is underway!

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