Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Homeschool Preschool- My plan

I can't believe that Little Guy is 3!  He is getting so big, but is still such a little person.

As moms around me consider where to send their kids to preschool or even as the bigger kids begin a new school year, I have decided to homeschool preschool Little Guy!

I'm not sure how well it will work, but I am excited about the possibilities!  We are going to try this for this year, and then we will re-evaluate in the late spring/summer what to do next.  He will be able to begin kindergarten in 2 years (although that would make him a very young kindergartner). I want to make sure that I have done all I can to prepare him for that, regardless if that is in a public, prviate, or home school.

Based on what I know our schedules will be like over the next year, I know that we will not be able to work on preschool every morning. Little Guy currently naps every afternoon, so I don't want to count on afternoon times, although that may change if/when he drops his nap. My plan is to dedicate 2 mornings a week to our preschool learning.  During those mornings, I want to have more structure in our time to maximize what we do.

My plan is to present learning opportunities to Little Guy through themes. Within each theme, I can read books, present specific letters of the alphabet, review the alphabet as a whole, work on counting, patterning, and other math skills, and learn about the theme.  I will be able to tailor the themes to his interests and what is going on around us.  (I had initially thought about doing a letter of the week.  But when I think about how I like to plan, I decided to go with themes.)

Originally, I was planning on finishing out some random letters and hanging out until the second or third week of September and starting our "preschool" then.  But you know what?  We didn't wait!  Last week was our first week of preschool!  I'll share more about that soon!

To help Little Guy learn from others and with others, I have signed him up for a couple of classes through our local parks and recreation department.  Our zoo offers a "Preschool Zoo" program once a week and I signed him up for a dance class.  In addition, we will continue to do things with our playgroup, attend story time at our local library, and be open to other learning opportunities. 

I am excited and nervous for what lies ahead!  What are your plans for preschool?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tot School- ABC assessment

With us wrapping up our Tot School and preparing to shift to preschool this fall, I wanted to find out how many and which letters Little Guy could identify.  The thought of sitting him down and drilling him on what he knows is definitely not an option (doesn't sound fun for me or him), so I wanted to do it in a way that incorporates fun and things that we would be doing anyway.

Supplies Needed:
  • I printed off the Tot School assessment form from 1+1+1=1.  (Any list of the alphabet would work.)
  • Magnetic Letters
  • Playdough
  • Metal cookie sheet (letters written on the sheet are optional)
 What we did:
  • Little Guy sat an his picnic table, where he always does his work.  
  • I sat across from him, placing my clipboard with the assessment form on the bench, so he would not see that I was writing.  (My goal was to prevent him from focusing on what I was writing, so he could focus on the letters.)  
  • We got out the playdough with letters already mixed in and the cookie sheet.  
  • As Little Guy would pull out a letter, I would ask him what it was.  Then I would put it on the cookie sheet in the correct spot.  (He could have put it on himself, but this made it more fun for him that mommy was doing some of the work.)  
  • As he pulled out the next letter, I could write his response on my clipboard. 

Things I wrote down:
  • If he named a letter correctly, I wrote a check mark.
  • If he named a letter incorrectly, I wrote the incorrect name and if he then gave the correct name (for example, Little Guy confuses K and X.  When he found the X, he first said "K" and after prompting "X." I wrote down- next to the X- "K, check mark."
  • If he gave a word that starts with that letter.
This was a fun way for me to see what Little Guy knows and find things to continue to work on.

How do you find out what your toddler knows?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Tot School A to Z

We had a great time working on our Tot School Alphabet.  To make it easier to navigate through our activities, here they are arranged alphabetically.  Just click on the picture to go to the post!  (To see a list of all our Tot School posts, click here!)














Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tot School- Z is for Zoo

I can't believe it!  We have made it through the entire alphabet in our Tot School!  It has been so fun!  For our last week, we learned about Z is for Zoo.  Little Guy is 37 months old.

The first activity was completing the Z.  First, Little Guy painted it white.  After letting it dry for a few days, we then glued on pieces of black pipe cleaners (trying to make it look like a zebra).  He did not seem to mind painting this week.  When he was laying out the pipe cleaners, he was really meticulous at first, but by the end he seemed to just want them done!

The next activity was a printable from Confessions of a Homeschooler. This week, instead of using dot markers, Little Guy placed a colored counter on each circle (recently dug out from one of my school boxes). 

For cutting practice, I printed out some strips of animals from the Zoo Pack at 3 Dinosaurs.  The first task was to cut apart the animals.  Then Little Guy and I worked together to create a pattern.  It was a simple AB pattern, but Little Guy seemed to understand patterning better!  Our pattern read monkey, lion, monkey, lion, monkey, lion.

To practice counting, I printed another activity from Confessions of a Homeschooler.  There were 6 zebras with a number printed next to each one.  Little Guy had to clip that many clothespins onto the card.  (I omitted the number 6, as I am trying to work more on numbers to 4 and 5.)  After he finished clipping, we then sequenced the numbers.  In this one activity, we worked on fine motor skills, number recognition, counting, and sequencing numbers!  I love getting so much bang out of one activity!

The next activity was two different printables.  The first was from the Zoo Pack at 3 Dinosaurs. I gave Little Guy some small zebra stickers, and he had to put one on each Z.  This was pretty easy.  The second sheet was from Teaching Mama.  There were many animal pictures on the page.  Little Guy had to decide if the animal could be found in the zoo.  One tricky part of this is there are some "zoo" animals that are not found at our zoo, such as an elephant.  However, it provided a good discussion for us!

We revisited a fun playdough activity- finding letters in playdough.  We made a new batch of playdough (scented with lemon lime kool-aid) especially for this activity.  Little Guy had to pull out the letters and place them on the cookie sheet.  This was a great review of the letters, and an easy way for me to see which letters he knows and which he still struggles with.  Look for this to re-appear next week (partly because the letters were put back in the playdough and I don't want to get  them out!).

The last activity was using three part cards with some zoo animals from the Zoo Pack at 3 Dinosaurs.  This was the first time I have used three part cards with him, and I am not sure that I did it correctly.  We laid out the complete card, then Little Guy matched the picture and then the word.  This was hard, as we have only focused on capital letters and the words on these cards were all in lower case letters.  However, it was a learning experience for me and so I have some ideas about how I can use them in the future.

We finished our Z week with a trip to the zoo!  Two of Little Guy's friends came with us, along with Grandma and Granddaddy A.  We had a snack of ABC cookies (each baggie spelling out the owners name) and a scavenger hunt from 123 Homeschool 4 Me.  We completed the pictorial scavenger hunt, putting a sticker in the box when we saw the item.  We were at the zoo for over two hours, which is much longer than our normal zoo trips!  The scavenger hunt was a lot of fun!

Thanks for joining us on our Tot School Alphabet adventure! 

Check out my Pinterest page for more Z activities!

Follow Stacy's board Alphabet- Z on Pinterest.

Stay tuned in the next few weeks to see what we do next!

We linked up to the Tot School Gathering Place at 1+1+1=1!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Tot School- Y is for Yarn and Yellow

We are up to Y in Tot School!  The end of our Tot School journey is rapidly approaching!  Last week, we worked on Y is for Yarn and Yellow!  Little Guy is 37 months old.

We started with our Y art.  The first step was to paint the Y yellow, then glue bits of yarn on it.  I let Little Guy choose which paintbrush he wanted to use.  This seemed to make the painting more enjoyable for him.  He also really likes wearing the smock!  A couple of days later, we glued on the yarn.  While its nothing fancy, it looks pretty fun!

Next was a printable from The Measured Mom.  Instead of using stickers or stamps on it, Little Guy put yellow pom-poms on each circle.  This works on one-to-one correspondence and his fine motor skills.

The next activity was my favorite, and one that Little Guy was really proud of!  We did some weaving with yarn and ribbons.  The idea came from Preschool Alphabet.  While Little Guy needed some help to complete this activity, he seemed to understand the alternating pattern of weaving.  I started by helping him hold up the yarn that he was pushing the ribbon under, but by the end of the week he was able to do it all on his own!  I taped the ends of the ribbon to the back so he could show off his work!

The idea for the next activity, the yellow shirt, also came from Preschool Alphabet, although we did not do the complete activity.  I simply cut out a yellow shirt from construction paper.  Then we looked for yellow objects in a paper catalog.  Little Guy and I took turns cutting out pictures.  It was a little harder for him to cut out pictures from a catalog, as turning the paper while cutting is not something he has mastered yet.  Also, with no lines to cut on, it makes it a little more abstract.  However, we had fun looking though the catalog, finding fun yellow objects.

The last activity was a Y poke page.  Using a yellow highlighter, I wrote a big yellow Y on paper, then backed it with a couple of layers of cardboard.  Little Guy had to stick tacks into the Y. 

So that was our Y week!  How have you been learning about Y?

Check out my Pinterest Page for more ideas!

Follow Stacy's board Alphabet- Y on Pinterest.

We are linking up to the Tot School Gathering Place at 1+1+1=1!  We were featured last week!  Thanks Carissa!