Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Learning Starts at Home

Let's be real here, we start teaching our kids the moment they come into our lives. We are constantly teaching them things even if we aren't directly having a lesson with them. In order to teach your child you don't have to have all the fancy teacher supplies or spend a lot of money. Think about all the things you have already taught your child just through life experiences. Today I am going beyond those life things and focusing more on the skills they learn typically in school or when being home schooled. (You also teach them these things daily without realizing it.) Just to get this out there I have no plans of home schooling B as of now. I actually plan to be teaching a classroom full of kids that I will call "mine" when B goes to school full time.

I'm going to just brag on my boy for a minute before I share our new fun learning things. He recognizes his name, the letters that form his name, all his uppercase letters and most of his lowercase letters (the ones he mixes up are the hard ones p,d,b,q) and he can match his letters. He can write his name. He doesn't like to write his name but he can. He does puzzles on his own, recognizes numbers 0-10, recognizes colors, and shapes. He can match pictures, he can sort and he can count to 12. He loves books and will "read" his favorite ones. He uses complete sentences when talking most of the time. He remembers things as soon as he sees them and hears them. He knows the words to more songs than I do! Basically he is so smart he blows my mind daily. If you have any doubt that it's just a mom bragging erase it; he is an awesome 3 year old!

I have a list of developmental learning skills for the three year old class from Blake's preschool. I looked over it and the skills they are learning this month and put together a few activities for him to do at home. I wanted to mix up the activities so that some were new skills, reviewed skills and just fun. I started with bugs. They are doing bugs at school right now and he is loving it. Lucky for me I have a lot of bug stuff from teaching and its great timing because there are lots of bugs outside right now and in stores! (His teachers are great planners!) I made our sensory tub have bugs in it along with some "clean dirt". Well it was supposed to be dirt but due to our lack of food coloring it looks like grass. It was easy to do and when I go to the store I'm going to get more food coloring so that I can make it brown. Here is our bug sensory tub. We also have a big magnifying glass that he is using to inspect the bugs closely. The butterflies and lady bugs have been flying all over the house today! He is taking the bugs out and putting them on a sheet of paper to count their legs, look them over closely, etc. He is also making them crawl around in the dirt.

The "dirt" is so easy to make. I used a box of baking soda, water and food coloring. If you want to make it put the box of baking soda in a bowl or tub whatever, add a little water and mix, then add a little more and mix. Just get the baking soda damp and it feels a lot like dirt. I found it on Pinterest and she described making it basically the same way. Put food coloring in it and mix it up again. Then its ready to play in!

We also have a sorting activity. If I had paper plates I would put paper plates out for him to sort on instead of the paper. For this activity right now I just made him color circles to encourage him to sort by color but I will also encourage him to sort the items by likeness. I had these fancy little life cycle of a butterfly counting/sorting gems from my classroom. He can sort but I want him to practice it a little more. I also want to use this to encourage him to sort things how he wants to sort them not just by color. I want him to start thinking out of the box so I will have different types of things for him to sort as he gets better at it.

I made him two different letter matching games. One I made quickly with things we already had at home and the other I made with spiders that I got at target. I actually need to go back to target and get another bag of them! When we do any activity with letters we also work on the sounds associated with each letter. He knows a lot of his sounds but isn't as confident with his knowledge as I would like him to be. (Yes I know that for his age what he knows is great BUT constantly reviews isn't going to hurt him!)
Matching letters that I select for him. He can also just play with the sticks without the mat.

Matching letters on the spiders.
The thing about having these letter activities is that he can use them to spell his name and match letters. We can also use them later on to spell other words. (I will have to add more letters when that time comes.)
This is how the carried the alphabet spiders around today! See so many uses!
We are also using these same materials (spiders & butterfly set) to practice one to one correspondence. I got a large die out of my teacher stuff and put it use. We will play this game together so that I can model how to do it for him. Roll the die and count out that many pieces. I also had him count how many letters were in his name by pointing to the spiders as they were laid out forming his name.

Our last activity is another sensory tub or better yet a deep plate. I put only the letters in his name in the with pom poms that remind of halloween colors. I will let him use the tongs from the kitchen to pick up the letters if he wants or just his hands. He will get the letters and put them in the correct order to spell his name. I am hoping this will help him with wanting to write his name more!

We will do these activities on days that he doesn't have school. I am still working on a good schedule for us to stay on. I am struggling with that right now but hopefully now that I have these activities put together I can get that schedule nailed down.

Do you work on "school" things at home with your children or are you saving that for the teacher? What fun activities are you doing if you are doing them?

I almost forgot. We have also been exploring bugs outside! Look what we found and watched last week. This guy or girl was just hanging out in our driveway while we were playing with chalk. Blake spotted it and asked if it was wanting to play basketball with him. We moved it over to a bush in our flower bed and had fun trying to find it again when we showed our neighbors. B loved how much it looked like the branches and got so confused by it numerous times! See constantly learning even without a pre planned lesson! (I did do so searching on the internet on how to determine the sex of a praying mantis and it's confusing. I also don't have a clear enough picture of it to count the back side to tell. Poo!)
Praying Mantis

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