Home Education


So for about 6 mo to a year I have been knowing I needed to make Alex a learning calendar. I had never heard of them until my sister-in-law was telling me about one she made for her daughter. I was hemming and hawing about getting supplies, what I wanted it to look like and basically just putting it off. I have no idea why I did that. I finally got tired of talking about it, and just DID it. I had all the supplies on hand (except a stapler and push pins, so I went and bought those $2) I don’t have a nice laminator and my printer is on the blink so this ended up being a truly hand-made project!

Construction paper, poster board, washable markers, 3x5 cards, contact paper and poster letters.

Putting contact paper over the grid on the calendar not only protected it, but turned it into a dry-erase board!

The days of the week are all permanent, I can adjust the number of the days every month. Each day we will move the star to "today"

The pockets are simply stapled together construction paper. We will move the yesterday, today and tomorrow sticks every day.

 

Different stations over here. Pretty much all hand drawn because - no printer. =)

This is my favorite part of the calendar. The list of the months is on the side. The months are written in the color that corresponds with the color of its season card. Each season has a card with a picture from a calendar cut out that represents what that season looks like. The weather “station” has 4 options:sunny, cloudy, snowy and rainy. We look out the big window and Alex tells me what it looks like outside. The “letter” pocket holds a shiny capital letter we are learning each week. (I used poster sign letters from the dollar store). The verse pocket holds a 3×5 card with Alex’s Puggles verse/phrase from AWANA.

The kids LOVED it! They kept wanting to go over it all through the day.

 

We quickly discovered that curious hands would destroy it, if we kept it low. So, Jason rigged it up to hang on the wall for me.

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I do a lot of pre-school activities with Alex. Most of the time we do this in the afternoon when the “little ones” are napping in the afternoon. Kalea is starting to show some interest in more learning activities too. She likes to read a BUNCH more than she used to, she is liking to color and do “letter a” with Alex on the iPad. (it is a starfall app). I have been trying to come up with some kind of pared down activities that would be fun and learning for both kids. I of course loved when I found this idea on pinterest. (yep, there is my newest addiction again)

I had the kids making sensory bottles. They LOVED it. Kalea especially (which was my goal!) Here are the supplies I used.

Clear beverage bottles, scrunched foil, little plastic bracelets, marbles, dice, rubber bands

I had the bottles, foil and rubber bands, everything else I got in the dollar toy aisle at Dollar General. I cut the beads off the string so there was more individually to put in.

I filled the bottles half full of water then gave each kid half of the supplies to put in.

Kalea was dressed as a princess for the activity.

;

They both did a great job dropping the small objects into the small holes. I was pretty impressed with their hand-eye-coordination, the rubber bands gave them a bit of a problem, but once I showed them how to kinda ball them up Kalea figured it out right away and wouldn’t let me help her anymore. =)

Please excuse the hair, this was a no hair-do day.

Alex got a decent amount of enjoyment from the bottles. It opened up a great conversation about differences in weight, how all the heavy stuff sank to the bottom and the light all floated. I would ask them to look for a certain color and they would turn their bottles till they found it. Kalea really really loved it, she carried with her all day, just spinning it all around and looking and looking at it. She would bring it up to Jason or me and say “show you! Show you!” because she was so excited about it.

Since we did this one, I would change a few things. I would only use a few heavy items (like the marbles) and more floaty items (the foil was great!) I also found some other really fun ideas for some. So as soon as we get some more clear bottles we will be experimenting with different types and learning different things with them.

Overall: this project was a WIN!

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Alex is constantly asking me to “do pre-school mom”. Just about every day he asks, so I usually try to come up with something on the fly. (I promise, all of our homeschooling won’t be quite so loose, but hey he’s 2!) I figure at this age, learning about the world around him and creative play is just about as educational as figuring out that there are a few numbers missing when he counts “1,2, 5,7,8,9”

So here are a few of the things we have done recently. We studied the color red one day, so we took a crayon as the reference and started picking up  went on a scavenger hunt. We found all the things that were red in the toy room, and put them on a pile. (mysteriously all the blue, green, yellow and purple things ended up on shelves put away)

He took that crayon and compared it with everything to make sure he had red.

 

Posing with all his findings. *note the blue scarf he is wearing has a red chief wahoo on it*

 

After we were done finding red things, we experimented with red water. I put a couple drops of red food coloring into a tupperware container about half full of water. (I made sure that it looked nothing like a drinking glass, and made sure he knew not to drink it. I didn’t want him to think this would be a fun dinner time experiment too) Then I gave him a straw and we talked about how to blow bubbles in the water. We experimented with how if we blew into the straw hard we got loud, big bubbles, and if we blew softly we got quiet, little bubbles. He LOVED this little hands on “science” experiement. He has asked to do it several times since then.

 

When I first got excited and started doing preschool with him, I thought I had to do the full blown lesson plans prepared the week ahead of time and formal time to sit and work on stuff. But as it went on I realized. Thats. Not. Practical. Not right now. In 3 years when he is ready for Kindergarten, thats when I need to be more structured, for now creative play, impromptu learning and educational games is all that he needs!

Now we certainly do work on letters and learning the names and sounds of each letter through a puzzle game we got and games on the iPad. (The starfall app for iPad was a great 3$ purchase!) But I am much less formal about it. For now.

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Alex is 2 years old now. And definitely showing signs of being excited about learning. It started by him asking for crayons to color and draw ‘big semi trucks’ with the stencils I got him. I decided to try teaching him to write the Letter A. We did a couple little learning activities, and he absolutely loved it! So after Michael was born and I knew I was definitely done with working I decided to do some “real” pre-school. This has been our first week of it. I had so so so much fun doing the lesson plans for the week. The basics of what we do is an activity that has to do with the letter of the week, a learning game, a song about something the begins with the letter. (Im a little airplane, or the Ants go marching one by one… etc) and then some kind of a craft or coloring page.

Alex absolutely LOVES it! It only takes about 45-1 hour tops depending, but it helps me to give him something constructive to do. I really think he needs that. I wonder at times if part of the problems that we have with him sleeping (yeah he is 2 and we still have problems with that) is that he isn’t tiring/using his brain enough during the day. I know I am biased, but he really is a pretty smart little cookie. Already showing signs of having decent logic… its pretty scary he is too smart for his own good.

My plan is to take the same basic activities and just recycle them substituting the new letter of the week. That will give me 25weeks of fairly brainless (on my part) pre-school ideas. Ill try to share a lot of them as we go. But I do want to share what we did yesterday. It was by far Alex’s favorite.

The learning activity was going to www.starfall.com  and going through their exercises for Aa.

The song was also on that website -their short “a” sound song. He made us play it about 10 times and was doing the motions to it. I wish I had that on video!

The craft was a simple color page. (always a favorite)

And the activity: Bobbing for apples! We talked a lot about apples this week. As he was doing it he kept saying “this apple starts with ‘a’? And this one too?!!!!” I was pretty impressed he actually did get some apples! Since he is little I cut an apple into slices so he would have an easier time, it also doubled as our afternoon snack. I “bobbed” for a couple as well. Its a lot harder than it looks! I was impressed he did as well as he did!

Working on Starfall

IMG_0142 (1) <———-Click here to see a video of Alex bobbing for apples.

Our set up

 

Bobbing

 

I know its totally not centered, but I LOVE his smile here!

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