Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fun game to play with the alphabet

Quite on accident the other day we invented a game. I began writing the alphabet on a piece of paper, then cut them into squares. They weren't very big. My intention was to get my two-year-old to recognize the alphabet. She wasn't very interested at the time but my 5-year-old thought that it looked like fun, so I made him a set too. Then I started by asking him to put the alphabet into the correct order. After a few rounds of that we began making simple three-letter words. It was a great accidental learning moment that I thought I'd share.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Pre-School Bible Memorization

For a while now I have been wanting to start having my children memorize scriptures. In fact, when my son was small I taught him 1 John 4:8 "God is Love". Then I taught him Genesis 8:22. I believe that our earth and environment are in God's control and Genesis 8:22 is one of the scriptures that confirms that.

While researching on the internet I found this site and it has great information to teach little ones to memorize scripture. There are also other great resources and information on this site as well.

Please let me know your progress or if you have any ideas or resources to teach your children. I'd love to hear them.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Books for readers

I have been scouring the internet, libraries and any where else I can to find books to interest the children. I'm focusing on preparing them to read because I think that reading is a foundation for life-long learning. I have found many different sites that offer suggestions on reading lists for different ages. I am cautious about what I read to my children and I want to make sure that the books that I am exposing the children to are appropriate for our family.

Here's a list of some of the early readers that I have found. I will add to the list as I find more.

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson (this is a great book and an easy read; I love the illustrations.)
Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik
Dragon Egg by Mallory Loehr
Mouse Colors by Jim Arnosky (Great illustrations, the only words are the names of colors. This book is small and great for small hands. My son picked this book out at the library for his younger sister.)
Butterfly by Mick Inkpen (My kids and I LOVE Kipper! There's a whole series of Little Kippers.)

Resource to teach children to read

There's a fantastic website out there for children which helps to teach them to read. It offers stories and games in a fun format. Starfall.com is a great place to start teaching your children about reading and language arts. I do not remember how I found it but I am thankful that I did. My children love it. In addition to teaching reading and language skills, this site also helps the child become familiar with the computer. It is a GREAT help. My 5 year old son asks to play "Starfall". His little sister who is 2 also likes to sit and watch as he plays the games. In fact, she likes it as much as he does! Nan was a late talker, she knew and comprehended what was being said but she just didn't want to talk. I credit starfall for her interest in communicating. Her vocabulary has exploded in the last 6 months and I attribute that to the time that she has watched her brother play Starfall.

In addition to games, stories and movies, there are also printables with each lesson. You can reinforce what they learn while they are playing. If you are looking for a great activity to introduce your child to reading, this is it, visit www.starfall.com. Oh yes, and the great thing about this website is that for the basic information it is free. Yes what a novel idea a website that offers help to parents without charging something.

Recently Starfall added a Kindergarten curriculum that you can purchase. I have not purchased it yet but am thinking about it...at least the $35 annual fee for additional computer games and information. It seems like a bargain!

Good luck and let me know how you like it!

Friday, January 30, 2009

I have unofficially started homeschooling J.W. and Nan. My decision is to use the Sonlight Curriculum, Singapore Math and a bit of my own ideas. I think it is important for the kids to have plenty of free play time. I encourage them to run and play outside when the weather is nice. We go on nature walks, play in the dirt, jump in leaves, pick up rocks, sticks or whatever they find. I do not feel that a structured curriculum is right for them at this point.

The idea that I have is that my 4-year-old needs to learn to read first then I'm going to focus on math and science. I believe that all subjects are important but want to emphasize science and math and make learning these subjects fun and exciting.

With math, he already knows his numbers and can count. I try to teach him everyday things without it feeling like "school". We discuss time and the calendar. He knows shapes and colors. J.W. was a late bloomer when it came to coloring. He just wasn't interested in sitting down and coloring. He does enjoy painting both with a brush and finger painting. He does like to draw on his easel. He also loves playing with play dough or clay. He also enjoys putting together puzzles. We started with the small 9 piece puzzles and now he is up to a 24 piece puzzle. We have to keep the puzzles away from Nan because she destroys them. For some reason my 2-year-old loves to tear things up!

With science I do not have a formal curriculum. Science is in everyday life. We watch the weather and keep up with the temperature, and weather conditions outside. We cook. We observe. We explore. We look at animals, insects and plants. I have a ton of ideas to do with him but find that right now the things we do everyday lend themselves to explaining science to him. I also do all of these things with his sister since she is with us all of the time, I don't exclude her. I believe it is very important for both of them to have a strong math and science education.

I am an equal opportunity teacher. Boys and girls will learn the same things. I will teach him to do laundry and cook; I will teach her how to change the oil in the car and how to use tools. I think in order for them to be well rounded individuals they should know how to do everything.

My son loves to do crafts. He likes to create things. I've found that it is fun to give him a piece of paper, string, scissors, and glue. He goes to town creating masterpieces. I also sometimes tear construction paper into small pieces and let him create pictures from that. Nan likes to do these things also. She makes a giagantic mess with the glue but she has fun.

Resources for Math, Science and the Arts
Kids Art Contest Accuweather.com This is a great site with information on weather. You can join and report on the weather as a team.
Core Knowledge Preschool Classroom Materials this is a great resource full of information. Scroll to the bottom of the page and there is a listing of resources "Core Knowlege Vendors" this has a ton of websites and places you can order catalogs from. I love catalogs. There are so many that it took me several days to order them. A must visit if you like catalogs.
NOAA's National Weather Service Weather safety and awareness publications. This page has a ton of information and PDFs