Updated: Apr 13
One of the hardest parts of choosing a homeschooling curriculum is not knowing what it looks like in practice. You can view the samples and ponder what it might be like to use the curriculum, but sometimes it takes seeing the lessons carried out to know what it feels like.
That is what I offer you today - a window into the ELA Thoughtful Play homeschooling curriculum.
This lesson is from Unit 4. The focus of the unit is on vowels, consonants, and the silent "e." It is Week 1, Day 4 in the unit.
The materials needed for this ELA lesson are minimal: paper, letter tiles, a few paper cups, a marker, a few treasures (we used skittles, but you can also use little toys or gadgets).
The prep is less than 2 minutes! This curriculum is truly open-and-go. Check out a video that shows what the prep looks like for this lesson, along with the math portion for the day: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsMOg3NCJ0c
Every ELA lesson includes an activity that you can sneak in during everyday things you do, such as snack, lunch, driving somewhere, taking a walk, bath time, etc.
The Everyday ELA activity for Week 1, Day 4 is a fun activity that aims to have children practice identifying vowels and consonants. Prior to this activity, children sing the B-I-N-G-O song, but with A-E-I-O-U and vowels are their name-o!
Circle and Stamp: Write various letters and vowels scattered across a paper. Invite your child to circle the vowels and stamp (or underline) the consonants. Watch the video below to see what this looks like.
Here is a video of Circle & Stamp in Action:
Each day in Unit 4 there is a review game to work on one of the following: letters and letter sounds, sight words, or blending CVC words. Here is a fabulous sight word review game for this day:
Sight Word Review Game: Carnival Cups
Choose three to five letters or sight words your child needs to practice and write one each on the bottom of the paper cups. Hide a token underneath one.
Move the cups around while your child watches. Invite your child to choose which cup is hiding the token by saying the letter name, the letter sound or the word of the correct cup.
We selected 4 sight words. I hid a few skittles under two cups, which was dessert for my children after lunch. You will see that my daughter struggles with remembering sight words. These types of games are great because it allows us to engage in repetition that is fun. Here's a video to see how Carnival Cups went for us:
Additional Sight Word Review
I also have found that using sight words in a sentence and pointing out the sight words when we are reading books has helped her a lot with remembering sight words. These are some of the Learning Tips that are shared in the Thoughtful Play lessons!
More Sight Word Review Games
In fact, later on in the day we played Sight Word Tic-Tac-Toe outside with chalk - Livie wrote "she" and I wrote "we," instead of writing X's and O's. This is a Thoughtful Play activity from a previous day. After writing our word, we had to use the word in a sentence. Continually practicing these words without it becoming drudgery is key!
WORD PLAY: BLENDING SOUNDS
Each lesson in Unit 4 includes a word play activity in which children are building and sounding out words. Here is the word play activity on this day:
Make words by changing the vowels. Place the letter cards in an envelope titled “Word Parts” in a designated space or your “Letter Laboratory”.
Open up the envelope and spread out the different letters. Say that we are going to play Word Warp where we can change a word just by changing the vowel!
Invite your child to spell the word “cap”. Now ask them to see what word it changes into if they replace the “a” with an “o” (cop). Now replace the “o” with a “u” (cup).
Repeat this process to make the following Word Warps: sit, sat, set; bip, bap, bop; rub, rib, rob.
I adapted the game slightly. We used letter tiles instead of letter cards. I also used different consonants. I selected consonants that I knew my daughter was super confident with. One of the great things about the Thoughtful Play program is how easily you can adapt each activity to make it an individualized program for your child. Note, I also call the game "Letter Swap" because it helped me remind my daughter to "swap out a vowel."
In every lesson there are opportunities to engage your child in writing practice. Here is the activity on this particular day:
Invite your child to add labels to their independent play areas. Example: name a doll house, a fort, a restaurant, or a structure. (Jane’s doll house; Pillow Palace Fort; Meow-Mix Cafe; Rocket Launch)
Write the name of the item on a piece of paper for your child, then hand them a highlighter to trace over the letters and allow them to cut it out and/or tape it to their play space or support them in writing the name of each item by offering oral and visual cues, if needed.
We opted to skip this activity only because my daughter was spontaneously writing words throughout the day. She was sounding them out in her head and writing them, without any prompts. I was thrilled that she was engaging in writing practice on her own. I am sure we will implement "Label Play" at some point in the near future.
READ ALOUD RECOMMENDATIONS
In every ELA lesson there is also a Read Aloud suggestion and discussion questions to advance reading comprehension.
Here are some of our favorite read aloud books from Unit 4 in the Thoughtful Play Homeschooling Curriculum:
Thoughtful Play recommends two 15 minute read aloud times during the day. The suggested book can be one of the books and your child can choose the other books.
Developing Automaticity with CVC Words
I've also started taping the index cards with CVC words, which are utilized in many of the Thoughtful Play ELA lessons, to the floor throughout the house. My daughter loves to hop on the words and say them as she hops. I'm finding it is helping with developing her automaticity in reading the words.
As you can see in the videos, Thoughtful Play kindergarten homeschooling curriculum is fun and engaging! It is easy to fit it into your day in short segments and simple to adapt to fit your child.
We know you too will enjoy the Thoughtful Play program! It's minimal prep, it's easy to carry out, kids love it, and learning is happening!
Enjoy and Play On,