Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Already OVER AngryBirds!

Am I the only mommy already over the AngryBirds game?  Jackson is crazy about it and I felt like ALL he was wanting to do is play it on the IPad.  I really try to honor what the American Academy of Pediatrics says about TV/technology usage.

"The first two years of your child’s life are especially important in the growth and development of her brain. During this time, children need positive interaction with other children and adults. This is especially true at younger ages, when learning to talk and play with others is so important.
Until more research is done about the effects of screen time on very young children, the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly discourages television viewing for children ages two years old or younger, and encourages interactive play.
For older children, the Academy advises no more than one to two hours per day of educational, nonviolent programs
, which should be supervised by parents or other responsible adults in the home." 

 SOOOOOO..... I created these "Angry Bird tickets" for Jackson.  He has 5 tickets that we can redeem throughout the day.  Each ticket has a number of minutes on it.  (The "golden egg ticket" is a whopping 10 minutes...it's the BIGGY!)  Once he redeems them, he can't get them back until the next day!  Eventually, we will teach him about adding the minutes up on the tickets for more time = addition lesson!

I think this could work for anything and I think I might be making a set for my husband very soon! 

Our Daily Schedule

Here's a pic of our Daily Schedule.  If you know me, my life is based off of one BIG schedule!  It works for me, might not work for you...just keep that in mind!
 I have this posted on Jackson's door.  I have also made icons for each time slot so he can use the "picture clues" to understand the words.  Do we follow this schedule everyday?  Absolutely not!
Yep..we also have a Daily Calendar which we TRY to do every morning after breakfast.  I purchased a "pocket chart" and this calendar kit from Lakeshore Learning Store.

  **Notice the "environmental print = McDonalds/ Library Icons"   Environmental print icons are PERFECT for early readers. Google "environmental print" and I promise you'll find lots of printables! 

 I just created my own based on places  we go all the time.  Then I glued them on sticky notes and laminated them!  Yep...everything is laminated in this house:0)

  I will eventually add "Yesterday was..." and "Tomorrow will be..."

How I plan our learning monthly lessons

A number of friends have asked me "How did you come up with that idea?".  Many of my ideas come from my "teacher brain" that God so graciously gave me, but I'm not afraid to turn to the good ole internet or my old teacher resources!  It's all about the way you organize your thoughts and follow through with them.

Here's a template that I created and lamenated.  It hangs on the fridge because it's a "visual reminder", for me and my husband, about what we are teaching Jackson and Nixon throughout the month.
I base my lessons by "theme" and what Jackson WANTS to learn about.  (I'll be posting those pictures and lesson plans very soon)  We start by going to the library and looking for those "thematic" books.  This  is great because it gives us a focus when we go on our book hunts at the library!  We can keep those books for 3 weeks, so that's how long we learn about that specific animal/truck/job/etc...

I also incorporate a letter/sound for that specific theme.  For example, we learned about bears, so the letter/sound was "Bb".

As for Science/Math, our focus is based off of observations made during our playtime or learning time.  I noticed that Jackson couldn't draw a circle, so that's what we started working on.  I didn't MAKE him sit down and draw 100 circles each day...that's not my style.  We did it with paint in the bath tub, used shaving cream in the shower, used the trashcan lid out on the driveway with chalk.  And last night...he drew a balloon in his journal!  I was sooooo proud of him!

Jackson's Balloon - Can you see the circle and the string?
More balloons!

If you notice on my lesson plan template, we "cook" every Friday!  I did this with my first graders and they loved it, so why not do it with my toddler and infant, right?  How to I find recipes?  I have a lot from teaching, but also found that if I GOOGLE anything, it's amazing what is out there!

Happy Planning and Playing!  I hope this helps!
Happy Heart Day!  I "heart" Valentine's Day and this year decided to start a family tradition called "Hidden Hearts".  I purchased 2 red mailboxes from Micheals, one for Jackson and one for Nixon.  I also bought a package of pre-cut hearts with envelopes...just to save me some time (you can always cut out your own).  On each heart, I have pre-written messages or redeemable coupons.  For example, 1 free trip to the park with just Mommy/Daddy (for Jackson and Nixon) or "I love you because...", Coupon: Mommy will sleep in YOUR bed with you ALL night long (I might regret that one later)
 The way it works, is each day, I will hide 1 heart/envelope in the house, starting February 1st (YICKS, it's tomorrow) until February 14th.  Of course, it's Jackson's job to find the heart and read the address for who it belongs to. (This month we are learning about letter writing/addressing so this is a fun way to start)  He will LOVE being the "mailman".  Then on Valentine's Day, we will open and read all of our messages AFTER our family candlelight dinner!  Hope you LUV this idea!  I can't wait to see how it turns out:0)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Meet me and my little learners...

Welcome to our blog!  My name is Ashley and I am a stay-at-home mommy of 2.  What a blessing it is to teach your own children, each and every day!  I love every second of it and that is why I want to share this passion with you.  
First, I'd like for you to meet us...The White Family.  This is my lovely, little family...
Jeremy, my handsome hubby, is in full support of homeschooling our children.  It was actually his idea!  What a honor it is when your other half has full confidence in you to teach your children! 

Nixon will be 1 yr old soon.  He is full of life and keeps us on our toes!  He is a child of curiosity and discovery.  He joins Jax and I  every once in awhile for some of our lessons...especially the messy ones!

Jackson is 3 years old and has to be one of the sweetest and smartest little boys we know!  His Daddy and I are so proud of him and all that he has become in his 3 short years of life!  Jackson blows us away with the things he already comprehends, understands and expresses.  Since he is my ONLY student (I love saying that!), you'll get to know him very well.  Bless his heart, he is my "guinea pig" when it comes to trying out new learning lessons.  But we are learning it all together!
2008 Teacher of the Year Nominee - Reading Coach

Here's alittle background on me...I taught in Hillsborough County for 6 years...3 years as a First Grade Teacher, then 3 years as a Reading Coach. I was nominated 3 times for Teacher of the Year, which I feel is a great accomplishment. Teaching was very adventurous, but I never thought I would learn and love a job as much as I did as a K-5 Reading Coach.  My job was to coach, co-teach, assess and train teachers and students on best practices during their Readers Workshop. I also provided and even co-wrote professional trainings for teachers throughout the district.  My heart and mind was set on becoming a leader in public education.  (I was even accepted into the Masters Program for Educational Leadership at the University of South Florida)
 And then...
The best thing happened to me...Jackson was born!  Boy did my focus and drive completely change.  Over the past 3 years, my perspective on public education has altered as well.  (I wont go into that because I could write pages upon pages)

So here I am... A VERY BLESSED stay-at-home Mommy that has a heart and passion for teaching (and learning).  I hope that I inspire you, as a parent, to become your young child's first teacher!  Making learning FUN and memorable for you and your child is what I hope you gain from reading our blog!

Tips for Hitting the Road with Kids

 Photo by Pixabay Family trips are a memory-making extravaganza filled with fun, excitement, and exhausted kids ready to ...