Monday, September 8, 2014

Tot School with Nolan- 16 months

So….(I say 'SO" way too much and will work on it.)….. I had not initially planned on doing Tot School with Nolan.  But over the past week, it kind of just worked out that way.  In my mind…I felt like I didn't have enough time or energy to plan something out for him….he'd just 'play' while the girls are doing school.  Well…as it turns out…Nolan thinks he's as big as the girls and needs to be in the middle of it all.  And he won't just 'play' with his own toys.  So the wheels in my head are turning and I'm trying to come up with some more things for him to do.  We'll see!

While I don't sit down and make elaborate plans for him…my plan is to try and have several activities for him to do that stay strictly in the school room and can only be played during school hours…in hopes that it will take him longer to get tired of them.  I haven't bought anything new…but just watching him and figuring out the things that he likes that keep him entertained anywhere from 2-15 minutes at a time.  :)

Here are a few things from the past 2 weeks.

Sometimes he just likes to eat his fruit pouch in the 'Cozy Corner'.


Help sister with letters.  (the dry erase markers….ohmygoodness…..he loves the dry erase markers.  and he thinks he neeeeeeds the dry erase markers.  It's a battle every day.  Multiple times in a day.


He loves this wooden tool box by Melissa & Doug.  I've had this toy for a few years and he's really the first to have any interest.  This keeps him occupied anywhere from 5-10 minutes.  That's a lot!  :)


I moved our little toddler kid's table from Ikea into the schoolroom.  It does not really fit, but it works ok for now, I guess.  I put a couple of puzzles on there one morning, and I didn't bring attention to them…and it only took him a few minutes to find them.  By himself, they keep him occupied for maybe a minute or 2…but he does like to do them for longer when I help him.
(never a dull moment!!!!)



Just hanging out….


I cleaned out a Pringles can and filled it with old, empty thread spools.  Look at his face in this first picture.  This is the look of "I have something I'm not supposed to have"….and that has to be my goal in this whole 'tot school' thing…because he reeeeally enjoys things he thinks he's not supposed to have.  ;)


He loves calendar time.  Sure…he has no idea…but he tries to dance and clap as we sing.  And it's the cutest thing.


This is one of the learning toys that one of the girls got for Christmas a few years ago.  He loves it.



Something so simple, and really nothing at all.  A bag of pumpkin counters (yes they are a choking hazard and I have to watch him).  He loves opening the bag, dumping them out, and putting them back in.  He also likes for me to close the bag and re-open it for him.  It's the little things, right?


These stacker pegs….they're his favorite right now.




I don't normall encourage the loud ball popping toy.  :)



He's never too far away….if he's occupied for even a couple of minutes- I consider it success!


And he spends some time in my lap, too!  :)


I'm a little excited to try a few new things this week!

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I was featured for Tot School!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Pre-School Letter of the Week: Ee

Parker only had to attend school one day last week because of Labor Day.  We were supposed to have a homeschool day on Tuesday…but since Geoff had to work on Labor Day, and he was off on Tuesday….we decided to do school on Labor day.  Whew!  Catch all that?

I'm slowly. but surely learning to go with the flow a bit more.  And Parker had requested to start doing some work on Sunday night.  So….while I was preparing dinner…Parker did her Gospel Project activity pages and Grace did a color by number sheet.




All while I was laminating and printing and preparing for the rest of our Letter of the Week: E!


As I've mentioned before….most of the things we are doing with Grace is the Letter of the Week curriculum from Confessions of a Homeschooler.  All activities below are from this curriculum unless otherwise specified.

Letter mazes from 1+1+1 found here.  She was good at putting the stickers on the Ee's…but didn't quite grasp the maze concept just yet.









Starting to figure out patterns.



Elephant graphing...


Ee…she pokes through the paper with a thumb tack. She really liked this the first week, but not as much this week.



This is something new I added in this past week.  Namely…I wasn't so strict to stay with just the Letter of the Week curriculum.  Thankfully…..a few years back, when I was doing some Tot School with Parker, I started collecting learning toys/manipulatives.  They were barely used at the time, if that….so I am excited to be able to actually use them now. (**I had originally only taken out about a 1/3 of the letters so that she wouldn't get too overwhelmed and frustrated…but she took them all out.  And she did get frustrated a little.  But did get them all back in.  I remember LOVING this exact thing when I was little and I'd just do it over and over and over again.  I hope she does, too.)






Color cube ABCs from 1+1+1 found here.  We both liked this!

After we did this together…she continued to play with these color cubes for at least 30 more minutes.


Q-tip painting from 1+1+1 found here


ABC Find It from 1+1+1.  This made a pretty big mess, but she loved it.  And while we may not do this every week with every letter….we will do this again!





I really liked the pattern block activities and I think grace did, too…so we did a little extra with them this week and did some pattern practice.  Printable cards from COA found here.


I haven't quite figured out how we are going to do calendar time…but Parker participated one day last week and so did Nolan.  Haha.  It was so cute and sweet seeing him think that he is just as big as them and trying to do what they do…singing the Days of the Week song.


She watched an episode of Word World in the 'Cozy Corner' on the iPad.  I think one of the episodes was called Get Set for 'et'.  I tried to make it somewhat relate.  ;)  Regardless….when Parker was 2 and 3 (really until she was 4)..she LOVED this show….and I give partial credit to this show and her learning her letters.


Elephant art craft found here.


Eye dropper color wheel found here




We didn't get to this until Saturday morning and my niece, Payton, was here.  I had only printed off 2 pages…so I let Grace do it first.  And then Parker and Payton really wanted to do it, too.  :)


 When Grace had placed her paper towel down and then pulled it up…they all gasped and had their mouths wide open oohing and aaahhhing.  And I didn't get a picture.  So I had them re-enact when they did theirs.  Haha.  So funny!  I was impressed with their acting skills.  :)


I'm also trying to add in some more complete alphabet games.  For the record…the ONLY letters she knew starting this 'school year' were the letters P and G.  And that was just identifying them and I'm not even sure if she knew upper and lower case.  So I'm really wanting to add in these type of activities just for the recognition of the letters…and then still have a special week devoted to learning about the sounds and how to write them, etc.  This little 'game' is also from Confessions of a Homeschooler.  We only did 5 spoons at a time to start….I'd give her the first 5 spoons out of order and she had to match them. Then we'd point and say the letters from the beginning before continuing on.



And then we played this game on Friday…also from Confessions of a Homeschooler.  We used their princess figurines as our game pieces…and Parker played with us, too.


And we read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and added our letter E to the coconut tree!


My homeschooling confidence is growing (don't get me wrong…I still have my own self-doubt that creeps in!).  It's really easy to get into the mind set…"Let's go, let's go…let's get this done now." And while I definitely do not want to be lingering and dragging it out as long as possible…..having a 'less anxious' approach made our second week go so much more smoothly.  I'm also trying to learn more about Grace and her learning styles….and trying to add in a few different types of activities to go along with the Letter of the Week curriculum.  When we finished up on Friday, I felt like we had really accomplished things this week.  And it felt good.  We learned and we had fun doing it.  And we were together.

It was right before Nolan's morning nap…he was sitting in my lap scribbling on a piece of paper with one of Parker's colored pencils…Parker was finishing up her journal entry for Bible…and Grace was at the end of the table quietly stacking blocks.  
And I thought to myself, "There's no other thing I'd rather being right now than this."


Read about our first week here and here.
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