Thursday, November 7, 2013

Top 5 "Gotta Gets"...

Here are my Top 5 "Gotta Gets!" if you are really interested in Tot Schooling your little learners.  

#5  - Calendar Pocket Chart - 


I can't think of a better teaching tool to help your little learner learn some many different skills and concepts!  If you haven't already purchased one...you "gotta get it!" ASAP!


#4 - White Boards and/or MagnaDoodle

                                                   

We use either or both of these tools every day!  If it's not Daddy writing an equation for Jackson during their nightly Math practice, it's me using it with Nixon on Letter Formations.
We use a sock (yes it's clean!) to wipe off our boards.  And I added the blue painters tape to the large white board to help with letter formations. (Thanks Pinterest!)

#3 - Large Foam Dice - Dollar Tree Purchase!!!



Something we use everyday and I think you can tell by the pictures!  We use these when we write addition equations/roll and write (3+5=8).  I've also used them for syllable/letter counting
(Roll it! Find it! - Find the word that has 3 syllables/letters)
We've even used them for time outs...roll it and that's how many minutes you have to sit and
think in Time Out.
The possibilities are endless!

#2 - Supplies labeled and accessible!

This is my pantry!  Bottom 2 shelves are Homeschooling supplies that are clearly labeled and kid-accessible!  I found these labels on Pinterest and the green snap bins came from Dollar General.
Easy to read labels!

I am a big believer that if you show children (not just tell them) how YOU expect things to be used, they will!  I have paints, markers, crayons, colored pencils and even scissors!!! accessible to my kiddos.   (Yes, they are ALL washable!) This really helps with the flow of a lesson if I need them to go retrieve something that I forgot.  And most importantly, I think it gives them a sense of ownership
even at 4 and 2 years old.

#1 - Abacus
I wrote the numbers on it as a visual...but when you flip it around....

It's GONE!
This teaching tool was the best $15 we've spent so far when it comes to teaching Math concepts!
I bought this one at Ross but I'm sure Amazon has them (Melissa and Doug).

 Jackson uses it in so many ways: Counting forward and backwards, Counting by 5 & 10s, finding the sums in his Double Digit addition and subtraction equations.  Nixon can also use it for his simple equations and to count by 10s.  
Such an ancient learning tool that is still so effective!  We love it!  

Happy Learning with your Little Ones!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

What do we do with ALL THIS CANDY?!!?

We hope your Trick or Treating was as successful as ours!  And now you are asking...

"What do we do with ALL THIS CANDY!?!?!"

 Here are some simple, very quick lessons to do with your little learners...AND ALL THAT CANDY!  Best part of the lesson = Everyone gets to eat a few pieces while you play!

SORT IT! COUNT IT!
I decided to informally assess Nixon on his 1-to-1 correspondence by simply asking him to count out 10 lollipops (picture above)
Then we SORTED the Dum-Dum pops from the Tootsie Pops.
Best part = we both picked one to eat!

Other ways to SORT your candy:
*Chocolates vs. Non-chocolates*
*Like vs. Don't like*
*Big vs. Little packages*
*By color* (4 your littlest learner, add a piece of construction paper to help with color sort might help!)
*By shape*
*Hard vs. chewy*

TALLY MARK IT!
We have been working with Jackson on counting by 5's and skip counting.  And teaching this concept, using tally marks, seems to really work for little learners.  

First, I tally marked the first 10 suckers and he finished the last 4 tallys.

Then, we sorted out all the Starburst Mini-packs.
We tally marked the packages together. 
(I don't have a picture of that)

We opened all the packages to make a BIG pile of Starburst ready to eat and tally!


Success!  Fun and Learning were both accomplished!

Other ways to Learn with ALL THAT CANDY:

*Snack-size M&M or Skittles sort and graph*

*Family Estimation Jar*
Using a clear jar, dump the same kind of candy in and have every family member estimate "How Many?"  And the family member with the closest estimation, gets to keep the candy in the jar...BUT, they have to share a piece or 2, just to be nice.
Little Learners, more than likely, will not understand this concept yet.  But it's a fun way to introduce it.

*Candy Memory*
Sort out a few pairs of candies.  Hide them under small Dixie cups.  Mix the cups around them arrange them in rows.  Lift up 2 cups to see if you have a match.  If you do...keep it and EAT IT!

*Magic Candy*
(for your littlest learners)
Have your Little learner unstack the small Dixie cups (4-5) into a long row.  Hide a piece of candy under one of the cups.  Move the cups around (like a magician) and line them up in a new order.  Have your little learner find the candy...then EAT IT!

*Boo Bump*

*Sink or Float Predictions Science experiment with Candy*
Good way to get rid of the yucky ones!

*M&M Color Mixing*
Use the primary colors in the Snack-size M&M bags to create the secondary colors
Skittles can work too!

*Skittles and Straws*
Using Skittles (M&Ms, Smarties, Gobstoppers...) and a drinking straw...set the timer for 30 seconds.  Little learners have to use the straw to suck and transfer the candy from 1 plate to the other.  
Increase time, if they are have fun!
(Fine Motor skills)


Enjoy and Happy Learning!


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

"Where do I even start?" ~ Morning Calendar!!!

I LOVE getting personal messages on Facebook, emails and even chit-chat at weekend birthday parties from Moms that are looking for an answer on how to get started with their little learners!  Some have 2 year olds, while some have 4 year olds... But no matter what their ages, I seem to always direct them to the easiest way to get going in the morning and such an effective tool that we use in our learning schedule ... Morning Calendar!

Our calendar time has taught both of my boys:
*Days of the Week
*Seasons
*Counting forwards and backwards from 1-31 (visually and auditory)
*Complex patterns using colors on number/date cards
*Understanding of yesterday, today and tomorrow
*Sentence structure (when we read our day of the week sentence)
*Visually recognize days of the week
*Concept of time

Here's what ours looks like in our new Learning Nook!
 (small eat-in area in our kitchen)
 I believe I order this off of Amazon: Pocket Chart Calendar for $19.99.  

Here is our calendar routine (procedure video - Coming Soon!)
Keep in mind that consistency is the KEY!  

*Nixon picks a pointer and we sing "Days of the Week" to the tune of the Adams Family Song.

*Meanwhile, Jackson is independently working on his own Daily Learning Workbook/Calendar but refers to our calendar to complete his work.

*Over to the fridge, where we complete our "Today is..." sentence.  When prompted, Nixon can visually pick out the day of the week and ZAPS it into the sentence.  

*Using a pointer, Nixon reads the "Today is..." sentence.  I just added a fuzzy ball glued to a circle magnet to create our "period", but it's missing in this picture.  I did this just to introduce punctuation to Nixon.



*We go back over to the calendar, count from 1 - ? and then flip over the date/number.  I casually mention, using the yellow sticky notes sticking up over the day of the week, what was yesterday and what tomorrow will be.  (That is mainly for Jackson's notebook work.)

This takes us a total of 5 minutes which is perfect for a little learner and a busy Mommy!

Below is a picture of our months of the year.  When we were learning about leaves/Fall, I noticed that Jax had no clue what a season was or even the order of the months in a year.  So, every day for about 1 week, we made a "word ladder" with these cards.  I scattered them out and he would have to create the ladder, then both boys would walk up and down the ladder saying the names of the months.  The next week we decided to add the seasons and posted it in our pocket chart.  They refer to it all the time in casual conversations about birthdays or specific holidays. 
Here's a picture of our months of the year.  No Pocket Charts? Just write the months out in order on a long paper.

I hope this helps you get a jump start on learning with your little ones.  Such a simple way to start and such a quick way to learn with your little learner!

Happy Learning!

We R Back!

Well HELLO!  We are back and life has sure changed for our family since I last posted...ummmm, A YEAR AGO!  So hard to believe.

November 2012, we happily discovered, we were pregnant with boy #3!  So life got busy with baby Masons arrival in July plus a move in August of 2013...something needed to give for awhile and sadly it was the blog!



But, things are steady (for the time being) so I'm gonna give this another go!  And with so many emails from mommies interested in the "Hows" and "Why's" with homeschooling little learners, I am feeling lead to restart our blog in full force again!

Don't cha love when God gives you a little nudge and you don't listen, then another and another .... then finally a gentle PUSH!  I have to remember that HE has laid out this path and purpose for our family and it's my job to share it with you!

It feels good to be back and share what has changed and remain the same with my THREE little learners!

~ashley


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