Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Getting Organized

I decided to take this week off to plan and get organized. The last few weeks have been a good learning experiences for me as I see what Raccoon currently likes and doesn't like with the Tot School activities I've planned. I have seen several homeschooling blogs have a Weekly Board of some sort (calendars, themes, etc) and decided that it would be a great way for us to stay organized.

Categories I plan to put on our board (with next week's content):

Theme                                        Space
Person/Profession                      Neil Armstrong/Astronaut
Letters                                        Cc, Ll
Song                                           This Little Light of Mine
Verse                                          Matthew 5:16 “Let your light shine before men…”
Rhyme                                        Wee Willie Winkie
Day of the Week                        (Pick out of pocket daily)
Weather                                      (Pick out of pocket daily)
Map                                            Solar System Diagram

The Theme will come from 2 Teaching Mommies for awhile, starting with their units on Places.
The Person/Profession will tie into our theme for the week and I'll probably just make up a one page sheet using Wikipedia, or other online sources.
The Letter, Word, Song, and Verse I plan to take from Raising Rock Stars Preschool.
The Rhymes I'm going to take from Mother Goose and we'll see how it goes.

Hopefully I'll have some pictures to put up soon!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Weekly Review - The Earth & RRSP

Raccoon is 34 months

Check out my activity chart for links to the sources since I don't re-link everything in my weekly review. Another fun week of Tot School!

Earth cards - we made up a game using these cards, a lego monster, and Raccoon's velociraptor family. The dinosaurs attacked the monster, and he used different earth cards to defend himself. But those velociraptors were clever and found ways around the weather/earth elements (using an umbrella against the rain, putting out the fire with water, etc). I don't have any pictures because my camera's battery ran out, but these are the cards. I plan to use them in our daily calendar station as well for the weather and time of day perhaps.

Floating Ketchup - I couldn't get the packet to sink so I don't have any pictures of this one. Perhaps my bottle wasn't big enough (I used a small water bottle) so I couldn't squeeze hard enough, and my packets (soy actually) had a large amount of air. We just talked about how it floated instead.

A Gift for Bear - We played museum again, and I laid out the pictures in order, then he had to match the words to the pictures. I read him the sentences and he decided which picture they described.

Our naughty monster stole the pictures and he had to match them to the words. He did really well, but then lost interest when we were going to glue the words on and make it into a book. He came back to color it later though, so we could read it to his velociraptor family for storytime. If I did it again, I would do more "Which comes first, unwrapping the bear or sleeping with it?" type thing.

Roll the Dice & Graph - These were my trolls that I played with when I was nine or so. Raccoon loves having "families" and setting little things up so I recently got them out of storage. We played a game with them, each one trying to guess what they were going to roll. I made an X on the graph with each roll and showed Raccoon how many of each we had. It took seven rolls before someone "won" by guessing what would come up. We also practiced turn-taking, some of the little ones were quite impatient!

Raising Rock Stars Preschool - my printer ink ran out, so I wasn't able to start this week. I hope to introduce it next week, pending new ink. Instead we made a creation notebook at a friend's house and talked about the things God made.

Some Unplanned Extras

Shaving Cream Planets - I was saving this for next week, but I decided to use it this week to add in some more sensory fun. I didn't do them to scale as in the original post; we only did the sun, earth, and moon. I used shaving gel, so it wasn't as poofy as shaving cream, but it worked just fine.

The gel started out blue, so I didn't add in more blue food coloring, but I should have because it turned out not to be blue enough. We ended up with only yellow, green, and red, making the sun and earth look the same (the moon is the small one). I also should have put more gel on the tray, but I didn't want to use up all of my husband's shaving supplies. Raccoon especially liked mixing the shaving gel with the food coloring.

A Pool Noodle Marble Run - I saw this on the blog Motherhood and Other Adventures a while ago (she has tons of great sensory activities), and Raccoon really enjoys it. Balls of all shapes and sizes were the first toys he fell in love with as a baby,

Mancala Math - Raccoon tires easily of his toys, so the other day I brought out some board games (Scrabble, Othello, etc). His favorite is Mancala, with its wooden board and squished marbles. It's a great game for math, too. We do patterns, addition, subtraction, counting by 2s, and we give them out to his "friends" as money to buy things from Raccoon's homemade store. Sometimes his friends even use the money to go to an imaginary amusement park.

For more fun, check out the day we did some Playing with Ice too.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Scholastic Sale!

Scholastic Teacher Express is have a $1 sale on some of their pdf materials. The sale lasts until August 27th. This is one of my favorite places to buy printables. I'm not connected to them in any way, but just thought I'd share the news. When you check out, you have the option to select "homeschool."

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Playing with Ice

Today was a great day. We did two of my tot school planned activities (body part matching and the ice sensory bin), then we did lots of pretend - pirates, lego farm, and Curious George. I decided to do a separate post for the ice play since it was so much fun.

Raccoon peering at his plastic turtle frozen in ice. I made the colored ice and frozen animals in a muffin tin since I couldn't find my ice cube tray. We talked about whether ice floats or sinks, and what is liquid and solid.

I put warm water in the yellow pitcher, which Raccoon then poured into the small blue pitcher to melt the ice around the turtle and "rescue" him. I also brought out some hot water (carefully supervised) so Raccoon could see water vapor. We watched how much faster the ice melted in the hot water, compared to the warm water, and the cold water.

Then Raccoon poured the water through the strainer and caught the turtle in his "net." He wanted to know why the strainer doesn't hold water.

After we "rescued" all of the frozen animals, Raccoon raided my cupboards for more pouring and scooping instruments. We had an important discussion about how to tell when something is full and what happens if we keep pouring more into it. I had a towel on the table and on the floor, but we both still got quite wet.

To end the activity, Raccoon decided more of his plastic animals needed an icy bath. We talked a little about which animals live in cold water (like the Artic), but he decided all of his friends could be cold water animals for today. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Plan - The Earth & RRSP

I planned a slightly lighter week because we'll be busy with some outside activities to celebrate the end of summer. Our extended family (nieces and nephews) start back to school in two weeks.

Find the letter (a in apple, etc)
Make a calendar station
Body Part Matching*
Ice sensory bin (talk about 3 states of water)
Earth Vocabulary Cards (I got the idea from this blog)
Roll & Graph*
Number Order Puzzles*
Field trip to a natural pool (Friday)

 *materials left over from last week’s BodyUnit

I've been looking for a way to incorporate more Bible teaching into our day, and I'm excited to start some Raising Rock Stars activities with Raccoon this week. I'll let you know how it goes!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Museum of the Month

Last night, we stopped on a whim at a small circus. They had pitched their tent just a few blocks from church, so when we drove by, Raccoon was VERY excited. He sat through church like an angel in order to go afterwards. Besides some questionable clown skits, it was a lot of fun. Raccoon watched enthralled as jugglers, acrobats, and tightrope walkers did their thing. Our favorite part was a little dog who did tricks, even climbing up a rope ladder to jump off a platform into a waiting net. Then the little dog came out dressed as a white tiger (Raccoon thought he really was a tiger) and did more tricks (pretending to be dead, following the clown around when he wasn't looking, reviving, etc). Seeing the wonder on Raccoon's face made it all worth it. I love that the world is still a magical place to him.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Weekly Review - My Body & Monsters

Raccoon is 34 months

Tot school this week - Raccoon was not excited about so much seatwork (aka fine motor), so I changed some of the activities I had planned to make them more active. I didn't re-link to my sources, so please see my activity chart post if you're curious where I got the ideas and materials.

He loves to play "museum," so this often how I sneak some learning into our play. First I laid out the body part pictures, then I told him that a naughty monster had stolen all the signs and it was his job to put them back in the right places. I said the words as I passed him the slips of paper, and he matched the labels to the right body part.

Then he, the museum guard, "fell asleep" and the naughty monster came back and stole all of the exhibits (body part pictures). He did a really good job with both ways of matching.

He did such a good job protecting the museum afterwards that the naughty monster (a cow puppet we call MooMoo) decided to mess up a new exhibit, a picture of a boy.

But the "guard" helped me re-label the boy, and this time we glued them on. Ha! Foiled again evil MooMoo.

Tracing was not a hit, I'm not sure if he didn't understand the concept or just didn't see the point (not pictured but I had a page with lines after the monster one). Oh well. On the monster one, my printer didn't do a good job with the colors so the differences were hard to spot. Since I have my nifty tracing book and dry erase markers, I'm going to try again, perhaps with some homemade sheets. Sometimes I give up on something I think he's not interested in, only to have him ask me for it a few weeks later, so I'd like him to at least see the idea a couple of times before I totally put it away.

I forgot to print out the continent maps, so we did an impromptu art project instead. I did the wavy lines with a paintbrush, then he poured water on the page. Afterwards, I picked it up and let the water run off. I put rolled up towels on either side of his little work table to absorb the extra water.

The end result was a lot more colorful than I expected.

Play doh is one of our most frequent activities. I bought him a nice set of things last month, and we have used it a lot already. He likes to have me roll out a thin piece, then he makes tracks with his plastic animals. He also likes to stack different shape cutouts (we have a circle, clover, diamond, star, and tree). When we first bought the set, the scissors were his favorite.

He liked the number order puzzle. We pretended that he was a doctor putting the person back together. But about halfway through the second one, he decided that it was time for him to be the patient, so we were off to play doctor, then knight.

I mixed up the cornstarch paint, but we don't really have any sidewalks where I live, so we chose a cement wall at our neighborhood park instead. I wish I had a large paintbrush because the sock didn't work very well, it was too hard for Raccoon to manipulate. We ended up just splashing the paint on the wall instead. I also only made up three colors with 1/4 cup each, but if I did it again, I'd probably do maybe 1 cup each.

The Color Changing Milk experiment was very cool. We did it twice, then he used the milk to paint a picture with q-tips. It was so much fun that I forgot to take any pictures until he was all done. (I painted the sun, he hasn't really started to paint anything on purpose yet, he mostly just likes to scribble with the paint).

Monday, August 13, 2012

My Body and Monsters Week

Raccoon is 34 months

I was very excited to find the site, 2teachingmommies, along with exploring Tot School more. Premade materials save me so much time! I plan to work a little more on some fine motor skills, mostly because I'm curious if Raccoon will be interested in things like tracing and matching. We'll see how it goes.

A Gift for Bear (sequencing)
Tracing lines*
Label the Body*, Monster Parts**
Label the Body, My Body Spelling*
Which one is different?**(Monster)
Which continent? with plastic animals
Create a Monster (sorry I only have link to pdf, not sure what the site was)
Clip and Count Clothespins*
Dice + Graph*
Number Order Puzzle*
How Many Monsters are at the Door?**
# Books Read

sidewalk paint, play-doh, listen to music

*2teachingmommies' My Body (under "All About Me")
**2teachingmommies' Monsters (under "More Themes")
***under the "Free Resources" section on the left-hand side.

So far we've done two of the activities -

Create a Monster
Raccoon needed a bit of help getting the pins in the right places, then he enjoyed sticking the extras in all over the monsters. When he put two in the skeleton's skull (not pictured), I said, "Ah, right in his brain!" Raccoon replied, "No, I'm making eyebrows."

How Many Monsters are at the Door?
I made a larger copy of the door, then set it up on the couch. We hid the little monsters behind the door a few times, then Raccoon decided that they needed a whole house, and lunch. So he raided my cupboards and vegetable basket.

The monsters' door

Adding rooms to the house

Monsters taking a bath in my mixing bowl

Time for lunch!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Pizza Fractions

We played Pizza Restaurant and talked about 1/2 and 1/4*. His stuffed friends ordered different size slices, then Raccoon got creative and made some new varieties for us.

*I used the pizzas on p. 89 of "20 Instant Math Learning Centers Kids Will Love" from Scholastic Teacher Express.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Tree and Flower Crafts

I decided to try my first post with pictures, the tree and flower crafts listed on my Community and Nature idea chart. I'd like to get linked up to Tot School, but I'm a little intimidated and not sure I'll have the time to create detailled posts.

First, we collected the materials at our local park: bark, twigs, leaves, acorns, rocks, and petals.

Then we made the flower. Raccoon wanted to paint it first, then I put the glue on for him to add the petals. He wasn't crazy about adding texture to his paper, so there aren't as many petals as I'd imagined. He kept trying to brush them off. We talked about the basic parts of a flower - petals and leaves.

He enjoyed the tree much more. We had so many things left over that I quickly drew another tree with markers. He got tired halfway through so I helped more with the second one. We talked about the basic parts of a tree - roots, trunk, bark, branches, leaves, seeds/acorns, and how it gets it food (through the roots and leaves).

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Community and Nature Week

Phonics Cards
Riddle Matching
Worker Memory Game
Music Activity
World Map
Ocean Booklet
Ocean Diorama
Map Activity
Frog Numbers
Make a Tree*** 
Make a Flower***
Pizza Fractions
½  ¼
Guess Who?
Plastic Animal Tracks in Playdoh
Toothpick Art in bananas
# Books Read

stranger danger role play (w/Bernstein Bears book), threading “fish” blocks, cornstarch sidewalk paint

Just a few notes on how I use this chart:
*I try to print/prepare all of my material over the weekend so that I'm ready to go on Monday. I keep all of the things I need in one folder.
*When Raccoon is in a good mood or I'm looking for something new to play, I pull out whichever activity I think will work at the moment. So some days we do one thing, other days five, it just depends.
*Our big "learning" times are Tuesdays and Thursdays for now, as they are our completely stay-at-home days.
*We do a lot of things in the afternoons because by then we've played all his favorite things and he's often ready for something new.
*This list is probably too brief to be helpful. Right now it's more for my record-keeping, but in the future I will try to put up more links or pictures.

***I downloaded these two printables from the Teacher Express part of Scholastic's website under their "Free Resources" section on the left-hand side.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Almost there...

I have been teaching an early learning class for moms with kids 0-4, so Raccoon and I have not done much lately. My new printer ink is fabulous though. I have our lesson plan for next week only half-done, but it's summer, we have live-in guests, and we've been travelling, so I'm not worried about what we didn't do. Now it's time to jump back into learning. My theme for next week is the ocean and people in our community. We'll be starting Year C in September, roughly corresponding to Pre-K. I'm still using most of my favorite resources from Year B, but I'll be adding some Abeka things in the fall. More on that to come.