Apr 182017
 

This is a post from a few years back.  As I reread this post, I was reminded to keep using what works, and adjust what does not.  We still move while learning, especially math facts and spelling words, but I need to find other methods to use for abstract concepts and general remembering. 

Last summer I went to a 3-day Parent Practicum held by a local Classical Conversations group.  My reasons for going were two fold:

  1. I was curious about CC.
  2. The kids got 3 days of a summer activity that was educational and fun.

I am so glad I attended.  Here was a group of parents who were pushing their kids beyond the standard I saw most of those around me doing.  What they were doing is what I had been trying to do at home with our kids without any guide to follow.  They were taking an active role in what their kids were learning and asking them to do things I would never have considered possible.  I left that practicum with a renewed sense of what I wanted our kids to do.

Then George started Kindergarten at the local public school.

George had been in preschool at this same school from Day 3 of living with us, and did well in preschool.  We did have some concerns about how he would do in Kindergarten, so set up extra help before he even started.  He was able to spend time each day in a much smaller class with a teacher who knew him.   He was able to get extra review of what he just learned.  Due to his learning disability, review is a must.  Though George might learn something one day, there is no guarantee that he will remember it in an hour, or tomorrow, or on Friday.  He might know something three times, then forget it the next five.  Eventually he gets it, it just takes a bit longer and a lot more review.  

The biggest difference between preschool and Kindergarten was the focus.  Instead of a small class setting where everyone had individual goals, they were setting the challenges for a class of over 25 kids.

school supplies 2013

I really struggled for the first few months.  The homework they sent home was too much for him to do every night.  Every night ended in tears and frustration on both our parts. Aren’t parents and kids were supposed to finish Kindergarten still liking each other? Life became better.  We learned through what we happened to be doing at that moment, something we as a family do naturally.  At one point I gave up. We did not do any homework.  None at all.

After a few months, I began to think of alternative ways to do the homework and help George learn at home. After all, what example was I setting to say that he did not have to do his homework?  What would happen when he got older and actually had to complete assignments?

I began to think back to the CC Parent Practicum and how the kids there seemed able to do so much.  In my searching online for ideas, I also kept coming across blogs of families who homeschooled their kids using Classical Conversations.  How were they able to learn so many things every year?  Not only that, how were they able to retain it and recite it back?

Reward chart for learning New Testament Bible books 2

Hand motions, songs, and movement is what I noticed accompanied all of the recitation given by the kids.  These things also showed up in the suggestions for how to teach the lessons.  It was also something I remember them demonstrating to the parents last summer.  And come to think of it, this was the exact method I used to teach George and Jack the names of the 12 Disciples and the books of the New Testament.

Okay, I may be a bit slow, after all it took me over 6 months to get to this point, but I got there.  Not sure why I didn’t make the connection sooner.  Perhaps because I didn’t think about the method I used when I taught them the Disciples and NT books – I just did it.

George needed something beyond verbal reviewing and me drawing demonstrations of concepts. (i.e. the things that caused him to shut down, me become extremely frustrated because I knew he could do it, and we both ended up in tears.)

So where do I find what is needed for George and what he is learning in school?  The audio CDs and DVDs that go with the CC material had some of what he was learning, but there was a lot that was not related.

I began the search for CDs and songs that would match the topics the school was teaching him – I searched online, asked people, checked out teacher resources … nothing fit what I needed.  Back to the drawing board.

(I’m not sure if we just do more with our kids in this area, or maybe we just do not know the right people.  Either way, there was no one around me who does something similar with their kids so it took me a while to figure out exactly what it was I was looking for.  I actually got a lot of confused looks from parents when I asked which CDs of songs to help their kids learn some of the things from school.)

One week, George came home with a new thing he was supposed to learn.  In a moment where I was short on time and patience, I turned to the web.  That is when I found a YouTube video that explained everything.  In fewer words than I would have used.  AND it had pictures.

He got it!

The next day I began in earnest to search for videos to review what he had learned, videos to cover things he might learn, and videos to review things he already knew.  It took a while to put together a list of videos that weren’t too flashy, too loud, too long or too boring,  I was looking for catchy songs, quality videos, to the point lessons without a lot of fluff, and ones that he would also enjoy watching.

With these in hand, I was able to make a play list for George (and Jack) to listen to during breakfast … or lunch … or after school.  We can even listen to these in the car while running errands.  What took him months of saying over and over, yet not learning, he learned in two weeks.  TWO WEEKS!  Now he may still not be able to count by 2’s and still forgets what coin is what value, but he can count by 10’s to 100 down, tell you the days of the week, months of the year, and many other things.  Add this to the Starfall, Reading Eggs, and an online math programs we are doing and I think we are set at home to help him review and learn in a fun stress free way.

Now I count it as doing his homework if he can sing me the song or pick up where I leave off while singing it.  At random times through the day I may break into song (didn’t I say they were catchy?).  There are even times I catch him singing while playing or explaining something to someone.  YES!!

Some of these, like the one above, have been helpful when we are working on things like reading.  I can remind George of the rule by singing the first line of the corresponding song.  A much better method than nagging him.

Once I got the basic songs down I began to look for others that he may enjoy or that Jack would like.  Speaking of Jack, he too has learned a lot of the songs and can sing them.  He is prepped for Kindergarten when it is time for him to start.  Actally, a few of the videos are for him, as his brain works differently and has been able to grasps concepts that George still struggles with.  To help avoid bad behaviors due to being bored, I began to give him things that he would actually be doing if he were in Kindergarten already or about topics he finds interesting.

Here is my current list of songs.  As time goes on there will be more added to this.  What are some songs/videos not on this list that you have found helpful?

Jack loves saying, and I love hearing, “fundamental process”.  He even tries to give it an accent.

GARDENING (Science)

The Garden Song – not a fan of the “Mother Earth” sentence, but the rest is cute

Spring Songs for Children – Spring is Here with Lyrics – Kids Songs by The Learning Station

THE PHOTOSYNTHESIS SONG

Butterfly, Butterfly! (a song for kids about the butterfly life cycle) – Harry Kindergarten Music

 The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle – reading of the book and showing of illistrations

I Like the Flowers – by Beat Boppers Children’s Music

Let’s Plant a Garden – Nursery Rhyme

plant parts – the parts of a flower, sung to the “Head and shoulders, knees and toes” song

 

SCIENCE

Solar system

Solar System Lesson for Kids | Learn about Planets , Stars, Galaxy – a decsripition of the solar system, no songs

Animal (Classification) Song

4 Seasons In A year  – Harry Kindergarten Music – Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter – asks you to name the seasons as he describe them

Seasons Song: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter – video asks you to name the seasons they show


LANGUAGE

ABC’s

Phonics song

YouTube.com, really like

Between the Lions: “When two vowels go walking” by BTLfanatic – fun to watch youtube.com and also catchy just to listen to.

Super “e”!!!!!!! (hip children’s song by Mark D. Pencil) by harry kindergarten music

The Sentence Song With Miss Jenny / www.edutunes.com – a quick video and song, but a favorite of our preschooler

Punctuation Explained (by Punctuation!) – not flashy, but very clear and to the point

Kindergarten Sight Words

Classic Schoolhouse Rock : A Noun is a Person, Place, or Thing (1973)

 The Five W’s Song ♫♪♫

 

MATH

Shapes Song 2 – circle, square, triangle, rectangle, star, diamond, oval, heart, then some more advanced shapes.  May work for a review of shapes rather than a teaching of the shapes themselves.

3D Shapes I know (solid shapes song- including sphere, cylinder, cube, cone, and pyramid) – Harry Kindergarten Music

Good video to go with it – The Big Numbers Song (counting 0-100) 

Learning Numbers from 1 to 100 – Counting Song for Kids 

Counting by 5’s

Favorite – Counting by Tens – Barbara Milne

Count by tens song – also mentions money though a bit busy

Counting By Twos Song

count by 2- a sing-along for early elementary – Mr. R’s Songs for Teaching – a song that probably works best with the visual

Number Line Addition

Basic Addition

When You Add With A Pirate (addition song for kids)

Counting Song 1+1

Addition Songs for Children: Addition 1, Addition 2, Addition 3, Addition 4, Addition 5

Addition +1

Addition +2

VIDEO showing chart and explaining – 1st Flipped: Skip Counting

The Big Numbers Song for Children – Ep 6 

“Penny Your The One” Penny Counting Song (Money Math)

Coin Value Song- Pennies, Nickels, Dimes, Quarters! – Mr. R’s Songs for Teaching

The Coin Song

Money Song – fun video for once the kids know their coins and values

 

CALENDAR – DAYS, MONTHS

Days of the Week Song – 7 Days of the Week – Children’s Songs

Days of the Week Song

Months Of The Year Song

Kindergarten Time (Sun travel with words) – a visual display of the different times of day – tracks the sun across the sky from morning till night.  Has words telling the time of day but no audio.

 

GEOGRAPHY

The continent song – this has become a favorite bedtime song, as we can do it with me singing the first part and the kids doing the response.

 HISTORY

No More King! (Schoolhouse Rock!) – Pilgrims sailing across the ocean to leave the King of England behind

 

This post is linked up at:

Prudent Living on the Homefront

 

 

 

 

 

This post contains affiliate links.

Feb 132016
 

These ebooks are currently $0.00 on Amazon.  Click on the links below each picture to be taken to the page where you can download a digital version of the book.  Before purchasing the books, please double check the price to make sure it has not changed.  Before I had a Kindle I read these on my computer.  If you are wanting to do the same, go here to download the free application.  These are not affiliate links.

While searching for gardening ebooks this morning I came across some books geared towards kids.  A further search revealed even more books.  My kids often ask me to read something to them from my Kindle.  Currently the only ‘kids’ books I have are 50 Famous Stories Retold, which we use as a part of school, and a book on feelings.  Not exactly an extensive list of choices.

A lot of the books below are fairly simple and short, sometimes that is exactly what you need. A few are longer and have more details.  When you click through the link you will be able to take a look inside the book.   That will give you a good idea of what the rest of the book will look like.

Animals

Bugs and Insects Kingdom : K12 Earth Science Series: Insects for Kids

Its A Bugs World: Scary and Spooky Bugs: Insects for Kids – Entomology

Book of Scary Creatures on the Planet: Animal Encyclopedia for Kids

Blue Animals On The Planet: Animal Encyclopedia for Kids

Orange Animals On The Planet: Animal Encyclopedia for Kids

Crustaceans, What & Why? : Preschool Science Series: Marine Life and Oceanography for Kids Pre-K Books

All About Elephants

Bees Like Flowers

The Amazing Animal Superbook

Geography

3rd Grade Geography: Why Does it Rain?: Precipitation Weather for Kids

4th Grade Geography: North and South Poles: Fourth Grade Books Polar Regions for Kids

5th Grade Geography: Seas and Oceans of the World: Fifth Grade Books Marine Life and Oceanography for Kids

Around The Globe – Must See Places in the Middle East: Middle East Travel Guide for Kids

Around The Globe – Must See Places in South America: South America Travel Guide for Kids

Let’s Explore North America (Most Famous Attractions in North America): North America Travel Guide

Around The Globe – Must See Places in Africa: African Travel Guide for Kids

Let’s Explore Southeast Asia (Most Famous Attractions in Southeast Asia): Southeast Asia Travel Guide

Let’s Explore Canada (Most Famous Attractions in Canada): Canada Travel Guide

Let’s Explore Italy (Most Famous Attractions in Italy): Italy Travel Guide

Let’s Explore Australia (Most Famous Attractions in Australia): Australia Travel Guide

Let’s Explore Germany (Most Famous Attractions in Germany): Germany Travel Guide

Natural Sciences

Why Does It Happen?: Oceans, Seas, Lakes and Rivers: Oceanography for Kids

Space

Let’s Explore the Moon: Moons and Planets for Kids

About the Milky Way (Our Home Galaxy) : 3rd Grade Science Textbook Series: Solar System for Kids

101 Facts… Solar System. Space Books for Kids

History

Grade 2 History: Wayback Machine For Kids: This Day In History Book 2nd Grade

4th Grade History: Ancient Civilizations: Fourth Grade Books for Kids

4th Grade History Book: Mayans and Incas of South America: Fourth Grade Books Ancient Civilizations

5th Grade American History: American Presidents: Fifth Grade Books US Presidents for Kids

5th Grade Us History: Famous US Inventors: Fifth Grade Books Inventors for Kids

5th Grade US History: Famous US Authors: Fifth Grade Books American Writers

6th Grade American History: Founding Fathers and Leaders: American Revolution Kids Sixth Grade Books

Science

Famous Scientists and What They Did : Pre-K Science Series: Scientists for Kids Preschool Books

Five Human Senses, What & Why? : 3rd Grade Science Books Series: Third Grade Books

Grade 1 Science: For Curious Kids: Fun Science Trivia for Kids In Grade One

Phonics

Grade 2 Phonics: Better Baby Speakers: 2nd Grade Books Reading Aloud Edition

Music

I Love Music: All About Musical Instruments Then and Now: Music Instruments for Kids

Misc.

Let’s Explore the Construction Site: Construction Site Kids Book

Things That Go – Boats Edition: Boats for Children & Kids

Jun 032015
 

 

Before we ever had children in our home, I had been browsing blogs of homeschooling families.  The idea appealed to me, as I have known several different families over the course of my life who home schooled, and I was curious about what all they did on a daily basis – what did it look like?  Though my husband said we would, “Talk about it later”, in other words “We are not homeschooling” 🙂 ,  I kept browsing.

While preparing to become foster parents, I started taking note of what they did with their preschoolers and mentally adjusting to what we could do with kids to help them while attending public schools.  Any foster children that came into our home were required to go to public school.  You could request a variance to that, but I do not think they grant many of them. Their reasons usually fall under:

  1. The kids are often behind in various areas and need extra support catching up or not falling behind
  2. Increased appropriate adult role models
  3. More eyes to make sure everything is okay with the kids
  4. It can be very emotionally and physically draining to deal with traumatized children. The more people to help, the more likely it is that the placement remains stable. (i.e. the foster parents do not request a child is moved due to it being overwhelming.)

IMG_20140808_075213312

When George (3) and Jack (2) came to live with us, that knowledge became very helpful.  See, for over 6 months, if you ever turned on the television when they were around a tantrum would ensue. It did not matter if you turned on an adult show, a children’s cartoon, or a show aimed at babies.  It was the oddest reaction I had ever seen.

They required constant attention from me during the day, then from my husband and I at night.  They did not know how to play on their own, so there was no sitting them in front of a pile of blocks while I sorted socks.  They just could not do it.  (This is why my sorted and filed paperwork ends right before they came to live with us.  It has been in an ever-growing stack since then.)

Add to all of this the fact that both boys were basically non-verbal.  Jack would point and grunt.  George could say some words, but no real sentences.  It was not exactly like you could ask if them they wanted trucks or balls.

Additionally, the habit of Obedience was not one they processed.  I am not sure if it was a result of their previous home life or a result of the upheaval their little lives had just experienced.  While one was better than the other at responding to boundaries, it still was not safe to take them out of the house unless they had on their harnesses or you held them.

IMG_20140805_155513921

This resulted in me trying all the ideas I had been gathering on my mental list of preschool activities.  The main things were: reading out loud, going outside, schedules, including them in your work around the house (this was easy as they would follow me everywhere), and hands-on activities.  What commenced was a series of trial-and-error experiments to see what worked and what did not.

The result was amazing growth in a relative short period of time.  It may have seemed to take forever, and our stress levels were pretty high, but in the long-term view it really was not all that long.

  • George began talking in 5+ word sentences within 7 months.
  • Jack learned a few signs, then a few words.  Within a year he was almost caught up verbally.
  • I worked with George on saying my (proper) name.  We took it a syllable at a time, which sounded pretty funny at times.  He never really got there till after living with us for over a year, but …
  • After being tired of Jack not calling me anything after 3 or 4 months, I sat down with him one day and tried to get him to say my name.  He got the one syllable while looking directly at me, so I earned a new nick name.  It was easier for George to say also, so my name was ‘officially’ changed.
  • Several children’s songs were learned, even if they could not sing them.  They would respond and sometimes ‘sing’ along.
  • Once they learned to talk, they could ‘fill-in-the-blank’ on words I left out of poems or songs we had learned.
  • George went from having 2 half-day preschools the first semester here, to having 1 specialized half-day preschool and more time at home.
  • Jack slowed down on his eating and rarely choked on food.
  • Jack went from biting off the corners of a newspaper, to loving books.
  • After about a year, I almost fell off my seat when one of the children said they did not like a certain food.  This was a HUGE milestone and I almost hugged the kid.
  • Now, if I go somewhere with George, I can usually trust him to stay where he is supposed to or behave as he is expected.
  • Jack has turned into a hard worker, who loves to help.
  • The children went from never having attended church, to Jack being able to sit through most of the service on my husband’s lap.  George had a harder time as he did not want to use appropriate behaviors.  He outgrew that phase, which I attribute to him ‘finding his words’ and overall calming down.  Jack, however, has since found his independence and has had to work hard at controlling it.
  • The children went from screaming in the car drive was longer than 10 minutes, to being able to tolerate car trips several hours long and traveling via airplane.

Wikki Stix 2

Things still are not perfect, nothing ever really is, so we keep working and growing.  As much as the children have changed, my husband and I have also changed as parents.  I think differently now than 4 years ago.  I look ahead for problems that may arise and try to avoid or dissipate them.

I could not have foreseen all that has happened.  Sometimes I am also amazed at what we have come to consider to be ‘normal’.  Other times I wonder when this roller coaster is going to end.  Till then I want to share some resources/links with you that have helped us.  First up, reading ….

 

Jul 302014
 

Kid Garden Helper

I was reminded last week of the importance of including your kids in your work.  How else will they learn a good work ethic and the importance of doing these jobs around the house.  Also, I hope to train them to be actual helpers and not just get them out of the way.  My attitude in this area needed to be renewed recently.  I could not believe my own self when I had the thought, “I can’t wait for school to begin  ….”  I knew right then my attitude was getting in the way of enjoying my kids and was partially to blame for the attitude issues we have been having around the house lately.

While George and Jack are helpers in certain areas, something I was very much aware of when Simon was here for a few weeks,  I have stopped training them to do more.  Why?  I am not sure.  I still try to teach them new skills, like cleaning the bathroom sink and toilet, but am not as purposeful about it as I used to be.  This is something I think I have talked about several times as of late.  If I haven’t, it is certainly something that has been going on in my brain.

kid shredding zucchini

So, imperfectly I have been making an effort to include them and have them focus on doing a better job at things I know they already have down. (Ex: making your bed with your sheet made up first and your cover not on sideways.)  I am also hoping this will help decrease the “you must do this for me NOW Mommy/Daddy because I want it NOW” attitude.

Monday afternoon I had a few dozen ears of corn to get into the freezer.  Sitting outside while the kids played, I took off the husks and silks.  George asked to help, but I declined.  I wanted to do this quickly and not worry about a bad job costing me more time.  Later, I realized that he probably would have lost interest after an ear or two, but I though of that too late.

While shredding up some zucchini Monday night, I thought about how nice it would be for the kids to be able to do this themselves some day.  {light bulb comes on}  Tuesday morning George woke up to find me shredding some more zucchini.  After he got dressed and came back out I asked if he would like to learn how to do this.  His eyes shone with this “new” responsibility and he quickly said, “Yes!”

I showed him how to hold the zucchini and the grater.  We also talked about what I was going to do with these and the fact that there were different sized holes he could grate with.  After I gave him the warning of not letting his fingers get too close to the grater, he took off.  Slowly, as every 10 seconds he had to stop and tell me something.

Move zucchini downward twice.

“Look.  It makes lines.”

4 strokes downward.

“Mom, did you know if I do it this way, the lines are different.”

children gathering marigold seeds

2 strokes.

“See, Mom.  I’m doing good.  My fingers are not close to it.”

1 stoke and some staring.

(At this point I honestly stopped listening as I was labeling bags.)“Did you know …”

“What do we use this for?  Is there such a thing as zucchini soup?”  (See my weekly meal plan and the “cauliflower soup” we had last week.)

Okay, so perhaps he is not the quickest helper at this time but he helped and that is what matters.  As for his fingers, notice the large chunk of zucchini at the end of the pan?  Yeah, he wanted to make sure his fingers did not get anywhere near the grater.  🙂

While I may still not be perfect at having the kids do everything they are capable of, I am trying to remember to offer them the opportunity to help with whatever it is I am doing.  Who knew that gathering the trash from the bathroom would cause sounds of elation and “I can get mine before you get yours!”  Ah, boys.  They can make a competition out of anything.

Linked up at:
a-wise-woman-builds-her-home

Jun 032014
 

Last summer I went to a 3-day Parent Practicum held by a local Classical Conversations group.  My reasons for going were two fold:

  1. I was curious about CC.
  2. The kids got 3 days of a summer activity that was educational and fun.

I am so glad I attended.  Here was a group of parents who were pushing their kids beyond the standard I saw most of those around me doing.  What they were doing is what I had been trying to do at home with our kids without any guide to follow.  They were taking an active role in what their kids were learning and asking them to do things I would never have considered possible.  I left that practicum with a renewed sense of what I wanted our kids to do.

Then George started Kindergarten at the local public school.

George had been in preschool at this same school from Day 3 of living with us, and did well in preschool.  We did have some concerns about how he would do in Kindergarten, so set up extra help before he even started.  He was able to spend time each day in a much smaller class with a teacher who knew him.   He was able to get extra review of what he just learned.  Due to his learning disability, review is a must.  Though George might learn something one day, there is no guarantee that he will remember it in an hour, or tomorrow, or on Friday.  He might know something three times, then forget it the next five.  Eventually he gets it, it just takes a bit longer and a lot more review.  

The biggest difference between preschool and Kindergarten was the focus.  Instead of a small class setting where everyone had individual goals, they were setting the challenges for a class of over 25 kids.

school supplies 2013

I really struggled for the first few months.  The homework they sent home was too much for him to do every night.  Every night ended in tears and frustration on both our parts. Aren’t parents and kids were supposed to finish Kindergarten still liking each other? Life became better.  We learned through what we happened to be doing at that moment, something we as a family do naturally.  At one point I gave up. We did not do any homework.  None at all.

After a few months, I began to think of alternative ways to do the homework and help George learn at home. After all, what example was I setting to say that he did not have to do his homework?  What would happen when he got older and actually had to complete assignments?

I began to think back to the CC Parent Practicum and how the kids there seemed able to do so much.  In my searching online for ideas, I also kept coming across blogs of families who homeschooled their kids using Classical Conversations.  How were they able to learn so many things every year?  Not only that, how were they able to retain it and recite it back?

Reward chart for learning New Testament Bible books 2

Hand motions, songs, and movement is what I noticed accompanied all of the recitation given by the kids.  These things also showed up in the suggestions for how to teach the lessons.  It was also something I remember them demonstrating to the parents last summer.  And come to think of it, this was the exact method I used to teach George and Jack the names of the 12 Disciples and the books of the New Testament.

Okay, I may be a bit slow, after all it took me over 6 months to get to this point, but I got there.  Not sure why I didn’t make the connection sooner.  Perhaps because I didn’t think about the method I used when I taught them the Disciples and NT books – I just did it.

George needed something beyond verbal reviewing and me drawing demonstrations of concepts. (i.e. the things that caused him to shut down, me become extremely frustrated because I knew he could do it, and we both ended up in tears.)

So where do I find what is needed for George and what he is learning in school?  The audio CDs and DVDs that go with the CC material had some of what he was learning, but there was a lot that was not related.

I began the search for CDs and songs that would match the topics the school was teaching him – I searched online, asked people, checked out teacher resources … nothing fit what I needed.  Back to the drawing board.

(I’m not sure if we just do more with our kids in this area, or maybe we just do not know the right people.  Either way, there was no one around me who does something similar with their kids so it took me a while to figure out exactly what it was I was looking for.  I actually got a lot of confused looks from parents when I asked which CDs of songs to help their kids learn some of the things from school.)

One week, George came home with a new thing he was supposed to learn.  In a moment where I was short on time and patience, I turned to the web.  That is when I found a YouTube video that explained everything.  In fewer words than I would have used.  AND it had pictures.

He got it!

The next day I began in earnest to search for videos to review what he had learned, videos to cover things he might learn, and videos to review things he already knew.  It took a while to put together a list of videos that weren’t too flashy, too loud, too long or too boring,  I was looking for catchy songs, quality videos, to the point lessons without a lot of fluff, and ones that he would also enjoy watching.

With these in hand, I was able to make a play list for George (and Jack) to listen to during breakfast … or lunch … or after school.  We can even listen to these in the car while running errands.  What took him months of saying over and over, yet not learning, he learned in two weeks.  TWO WEEKS!  Now he may still not be able to count by 2’s and still forgets what coin is what value, but he can count by 10’s to 100 down, tell you the days of the week, months of the year, and many other things.  Add this to the Starfall, Reading Eggs, and an online math programs we are doing and I think we are set at home to help him review and learn in a fun stress free way.

Now I count it as doing his homework if he can sing me the song or pick up where I leave off while singing it.  At random times through the day I may break into song (didn’t I say they were catchy?).  There are even times I catch him singing while playing or explaining something to someone.  YES!!

Some of these, like the one above, have been helpful when we are working on things like reading.  I can remind George of the rule by singing the first line of the corresponding song.  A much better method than nagging him.

Once I got the basic songs down I began to look for others that he may enjoy or that Jack would like.  Speaking of Jack, he too has learned a lot of the songs and can sing them.  He is prepped for Kindergarten when it is time for him to start.  Actally, a few of the videos are for him, as his brain works differently and has been able to grasps concepts that George still struggles with.  To help avoid bad behaviors due to being bored, I began to give him things that he would actually be doing if he were in Kindergarten already or about topics he finds interesting.

Here is my current list of songs.  As time goes on there will be more added to this.  What are some songs/videos not on this list that you have found helpful?

Jack loves saying, and I love hearing, “fundamental process”.  He even tries to give it an accent.

GARDENING (Science)

The Garden Song – not a fan of the “Mother Earth” sentence, but the rest is cute

Spring Songs for Children – Spring is Here with Lyrics – Kids Songs by The Learning Station

THE PHOTOSYNTHESIS SONG

Butterfly, Butterfly! (a song for kids about the butterfly life cycle) – Harry Kindergarten Music

 The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle – reading of the book and showing of illistrations

I Like the Flowers – by Beat Boppers Children’s Music

Let’s Plant a Garden – Nursery Rhyme

plant parts – the parts of a flower, sung to the “Head and shoulders, knees and toes” song

 

SCIENCE

Solar system

Solar System Lesson for Kids | Learn about Planets , Stars, Galaxy – a decsripition of the solar system, no songs

Animal (Classification) Song

4 Seasons In A year  – Harry Kindergarten Music – Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter – asks you to name the seasons as he describe them

Seasons Song: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter – video asks you to name the seasons they show


LANGUAGE

ABC’s

Phonics song

YouTube.com, really like

Between the Lions: “When two vowels go walking” by BTLfanatic – fun to watch youtube.com and also catchy just to listen to.

Super “e”!!!!!!! (hip children’s song by Mark D. Pencil) by harry kindergarten music

The Sentence Song With Miss Jenny / www.edutunes.com – a quick video and song, but a favorite of our preschooler

Punctuation Explained (by Punctuation!) – not flashy, but very clear and to the point

Kindergarten Sight Words

Classic Schoolhouse Rock : A Noun is a Person, Place, or Thing (1973)

 The Five W’s Song ♫♪♫

 

MATH

Shapes Song 2 – circle, square, triangle, rectangle, star, diamond, oval, heart, then some more advanced shapes.  May work for a review of shapes rather than a teaching of the shapes themselves.

3D Shapes I know (solid shapes song- including sphere, cylinder, cube, cone, and pyramid) – Harry Kindergarten Music

Good video to go with it – The Big Numbers Song (counting 0-100) 

Learning Numbers from 1 to 100 – Counting Song for Kids 

Counting by 5’s

Favorite – Counting by Tens – Barbara Milne

Count by tens song – also mentions money though a bit busy

Counting By Twos Song

count by 2- a sing-along for early elementary – Mr. R’s Songs for Teaching – a song that probably works best with the visual

Number Line Addition

Basic Addition

When You Add With A Pirate (addition song for kids)

Counting Song 1+1

Addition Songs for Children: Addition 1, Addition 2, Addition 3, Addition 4, Addition 5

Addition +1

Addition +2

VIDEO showing chart and explaining – 1st Flipped: Skip Counting

The Big Numbers Song for Children – Ep 6 

“Penny Your The One” Penny Counting Song (Money Math)

Coin Value Song- Pennies, Nickels, Dimes, Quarters! – Mr. R’s Songs for Teaching

The Coin Song

Money Song – fun video for once the kids know their coins and values

 

CALENDAR – DAYS, MONTHS

Days of the Week Song – 7 Days of the Week – Children’s Songs

Days of the Week Song

Months Of The Year Song

Kindergarten Time (Sun travel with words) – a visual display of the different times of day – tracks the sun across the sky from morning till night.  Has words telling the time of day but no audio.

 

GEOGRAPHY

The continent song – this has become a favorite bedtime song, as we can do it with me singing the first part and the kids doing the response.

 HISTORY

No More King! (Schoolhouse Rock!) – Pilgrims sailing across the ocean to leave the King of England behind

 

This post is linked up at:

Prudent Living on the Homefront

 

 

 

 

 

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May 272014
 

book I am a

If you have not taken advantage of this opportunity, you have till tomorrow to do so. This would be a great activity for summer. Not only will it stop the brain drain, if you kids are in school, but will help reinforce what they have learned or teach them more. Even my preschooler loves the program and has started to read words and a few basic sentences!

Learn to Read with Phonics

And now, dear Readers, as a special gift, for a limited time sign up to try Reading Eggs for free for a whole 4 weeks!  Enter promo code TEL002US in the ‘Redeem promo code’ box at sign-up to have this added to your account.  Offer ends May 28, 2014.

This post contains affiliate links.  The review is my honest opinion of this program and 

May 152014
 

 book I am a

In our house, there is a definite difference between kids.  One is starting to really grasp abstract concepts, can remember and recall things learned, can problem solve, and likes to stay busy.  The other child has trouble remembering and recalling new things learned, does best with concrete examples, has trouble looking ahead to find solutions, and while active is also okay watching television all day (I think it just takes more effort for him to interact through the day and he is drained at the end). Both of my kids love learning new things, “reading” and the computer.  Even better is if you can combine all three.  Finding things to fit both of their needs, strengths, and likes can sometimes be a challenge.

Reading Eggs accomplished exactly that challenge.  Not only is it a program to help teach reading, but my kids LOVE it.  It is often used as a reward, with no worry of cavities or ruined appetites, “If you finish your morning routines, you can do more of your Reading Eggs.”  We even used the lesson to make a book.  It was a great way to review that day’s lesson.

Each lesson contains a variety of activities the kids unlock.  I appreciate the different ways they repeat the concepts to be learned, hitting on different ways each of my kids learn.

Learn to Read with Phonics

“Reading Eggs is a web based literacy learning program for  4 to 11 year olds. The online program is built on the 5 essential elements of reading instruction: Phonemic awareness, Phonics, Fluency, Vocabulary and Comprehension. We use over 500 highly interactive games and fun animations to deliver these elements of reading. “

After unlocking all the parts in a lesson, the child earns golden eggs (currency) and a new Critter.  This incentive has worked well on one child, who was so determined to find out what the next critter was that he worked twice as long as I asked him to.

Reading Eggs separates their lessons into groups, or Maps.  When the child reaches the end of a Map a test is given to measure the comprehension of what was learned.  I love this feature as it not only showed me that the first child of mine to reach this point needed extra review (he failed the test), but also allowed said review to be completed easily.  He can go back and redo parts of lessons already accomplished.  Once he retakes the test and passes, he will be able to move onto the next map.  At any time, a child can redo a lesson, or part of a lesson, already completed.

After signing in to Reading Eggs, each child can go to their section.  They will then see their own maps, critters, houses, etc.  They often watch each other do the activity or even help when it is needed.  Yet, they are able to have their own space, to decorate and have fun with.

One difficulty I did find was with a particular lesson that required the kids to move the mouse around and click on the correct answer.  At first the kids were able to do this, but as the time allowed was shortened they were not able to keep up and became frustrated.  The solution was simple, they pointed to the answer and I clicked it, but it was one negative I have found.

Reading Eggs solved several of our needs.  The biggest need we had was for a laid out program to give extra review of reading and sounds to our Kindergartner.  What I was not prepared for was the preschooler also starting to read.  It happened so smoothly I almost missed it.

And now, dear Readers, as a special gift, for a limited time sign up to try Reading Eggs for free for a whole 4 weeks!  Enter promo code TEL002US in the ‘Redeem promo code’ box at sign-up to have this added to your account.  Offer ends May 28, 2014.

This post contains affiliate links.  The review is my honest opinion of this program and 

Dec 172013
 

DSCN7920

I wrote this post in June but never posted it.  When I came across it while cleaning up my blog I decided to go ahead and share it.  What I am finding is that sometimes people are too concerned with putting a label on something and placing it in a box, rather than just doing what may come naturally to them.  Yes, I’m guilty of this too and am trying to just parent and live without worrying about categorizing things I do in life.

Summer is here, sort of.  Though the sun is out and shinning most days, the weather is still cool.  It only feels like summer because school is out for the next few months.

In anticipation of the school break I thought through some of the areas the kids may need extra help or areas that may not be covered in school.  Specifically I’m thinking of preschoolers, so no calculus is involved.

What I am going to say next could start a huge debate.  That is not my intent.  I am stating my opinion, and that is it.  If it were up to me, my preschoolers would not be going to preschool.  I think kids are being sent to school way too early.  If your kids are like mine, they are full of energy and imagination, are curious about everything and love to help around the house and run errands with mommy.  They don’t like to sit and do structured activities, though some are more partial to it than others.  Okay, disclaimer over.  Thanks.

So why do we personally send our kids to preschool?  We don’t have a choice.  Ours is a circumstance which I have not talked about before here on the blog, so let me explain.  Our preschoolers are our foster kids and they are required to be in a preschool once they are 3 years old.  I can see the good and bad points of this, but that is a whole different post.  For now, they go during the school year to half-day preschool that focuses on some delays they have.  Yes, it has helped, as have the activities we do at home.   School and home go hand in hand, they are not separate parts of our lives.

DSCN7921

The images above are of a simple activity that cost me less than $.50 – the cost of the stickers. I cut the front off a cereal box, then using the blank back side I had the kids color a scene and place stickers on it.  I chose a camping theme as we had recently been tent camping.  We talked about what the raccoon was doing in camp, why the placed the boat where they did, how to cook over a fire safely … basically whatever it was they wanted to discuss about their picture.  We also read some books where people where camping and watched a video of people camping or of some of the National Parks.

I mentioned on the Facebook page about us doing “school” here at home, and that it was nothing new for us.  From Day 1 we have sang songs, practiced colors, counted, worked on life skills, etc.  We don’t call it Homeschool.  We don’t call it Preschool at Home.  We just do it. As I was thinking of this summer I fell into the trap of trying to label it.  Once that road was started down I quickly started to feel overwhelmed and unprepared.  Then I remembered what we used to do, how simple it was, and that no labels were involved at the time of doing it.

A favorite evening activity used to be sitting on the front porch and watching the traffic go by.  It was simple and required no materials.  It was an activity that could be done anywhere.

We would say:

“Look, a blue truck.”

“Is that a car or a truck coming?”

“Is the car red or brown?”

“What color is that truck?”

“I see three cars.  One.  Two.  Three.”

Once we passed that stage, it was time to up the game a bit.  That was one reason we started on the counting this past winter; they were having trouble getting much past 10.

A Christmas gift was a small trampoline, the kind you might use for exercising. (It wasn’t bought with counting in mind, but for other reasons.  It just worked out well.) It was placed in a main room of the house and used to burn off excess energy on cold days when we couldn’t get outside.  The jumping quickly changed to counting exercises.  “Go jump and count to 5”, “Can you jump 10 times? 6 times?  To 5 twice?”, “Oh, I bet you can’t jump 20 times.  What?  You did?  That was great!”

With the new year came some workbooks to work on pencil control.  (Why?  Because I saw it at the bookstore and thought the kids would like it.  They did, and an argument ensued as to who actually was going to use it.  Honest.  How can you say “No” to kids wanting to learn?)  The one workbook we had was given to the oldest and only a page or two was done at a time.  Not only was it fun, but it became the coveted thing to have.  When the workbook was nearly finished I bought the same one for the other preschooler and some new ones for the older one.  We don’t do these everyday, but often enough that the kids know “school at home” means they get to have their workbooks.

Added to this I sometimes give them watercolors, a dry erase marker and a board to draw on or write, as well as stickers, scissors and paper, etc.

In the pictures below they are making ‘tool boxes’ with old hardware store catalogs and lids to cardboard boxes.

DSCN8460

 

DSCN8463

“So what is our summer going to look like?” was my thought about a month ago.  I didn’t want to reproduce school here at home.  There were other things I wanted to do.  I wanted to make it a part of our day, rather than something we did before starting our day.

Since the workbooks have been a success I decided to continue on with them.  Additionally the kids LOVE to read, so books were added to the “to-do” list.

Looking at our calendar I saw there were several activities in June and July that would be fun to focus on more.  These were things like camping, traveling, visitors, etc.  While at a store a few weeks ago, I saw fun stickers.  A light bulb went off in my head.  I bought a page of stickers for each kid.  Each set of pages were from different things we were going to do.  If we did a different topic each week then I suddenly had 5 weeks worth of topics.  When added to some free printable worksheets found online and movies on the same topics we would have a variety of activities that would be fun and still keep their minds working.  I find that giving them experiences then results in them mimicking those experiences in their free play.

*******************

“It obviously isn’t summer time now.  How does this apply in December?”

Glad you asked.  Though I had this post planned for summer, it can just as easily be done on a weekend.  The “Tool Box” activity pictured above was done on a Saturday while I was canning and my husband was grilling.  I was able to talk while I worked, but not available to do something hands on.  The kids talked and showed me their discoveries all while in the same room as me.  Everyone had a blast, and mom and dad were able to have about 30 minutes of relatively uninterrupted time.

For those of you with school aged kids, who attend school outside the home, Winter break is fast approaching.  Very quickly those “free and relaxing” days of no school turn into “bored and mischievous” days.  Oh, yes, I have been there with toddlers, preschoolers and teens.  It is no fun at either age.  Having a plan, even a simple one, can save you from certain insanity.  I chose stickers because they were easy and cheap.  Doing this one activity opens up a whole new possibility for others related to it.

Another sheet of stickers I have contain while animals.  Related activities may include: short online videos of wild animals, a trip to the zoo or aquarium, books about animals, animal cracker snacks, songs involving animals sounds, pretending to be animals, creating of our own home zoo  using stuffed animals, learning about what zoo keepers or animal trainers or wildlife scientist or other professionals do in their jobs.

Stickers with vehicles may result in: showing the kids how to check the fluids and tire pressure in your vehicle; a trip to walk around a car lot to talk about the different vehicles, how you buy one, how to read the sticker on the windows, what exactly a car lot is, and what to look for when buying a car; when stopping to put gas in you vehicle explain why you need gas, then let the kids wash the windows while you pump gas; stop by a mechanic’s garage and look at the lift; drive by a race track, then go home and hold your own races; check out some books from the library about different kinds of vehicles; watch Police Patrol and talk about the difference between a car and an SUV or between a gas vehicle and an electric one.


Emergency vehicles: a stop by the fire department, police station, hospital or any other place involving these vehicles and those working with them.  Watch the movie Police Patrol. (Okay, I admit, this is a favorite at our house.) Talk about what it is the professionals do.  Pray for emergency vehicles as they pass you during the day.  Build a hospital or fire department with boxes.

There are so many options that sometimes I become overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, or so overloaded that I can’t even think.  Having a simple, flexible plan in place gives me a starting point from which to branch out.  Taking the time to create that plan, before it is needed, helps create a calmer environment later.

What are some of your favorite activities to do with preschoolers?

 

This post is linked up at Growing Home, who just happens to have a homeschooling book offer as the main part of her post.  There are many other topics being talked about, so stop by and take a look.

 

Jun 072012
 

One Sunday I quickly needed something from the Children’s’ Library at church.  Often when I see children’s Bibles I am disappointed.  I have not actually found one I like and am in general against them because of this.  Most seem to make it into more of a rhyme book or are drawn out and are not suited to young listeners.  Due to being disappointed so often, my common response is to not even pick them up.

While quickly glancing over the available options in the church library, I came across a book that caught my attention. I flipped through it and saw that with each turn of the page there was a different story, but it was short.  Exactly what I needed at that moment.  “What?! A children’s Bible?!”  So even though it was a Bible for kids I picked it up.

My Bible for Preschoolers by Ellen W. Caughey was the book that I picked up and used that day.

As I started reading through it that day I became more impressed.  So much so that I checked it out and have used it for over three weeks.  The kids like it, know what it is when they see it (“It’s the Bible!), and the stories are short enough to keep their attention.  Each story only takes a minute or two to read.  However, the part I like best about this book is that it stresses the key lesson of the story, not necessarily just the details. At the bottom of each story it gives a one sentence summary as to the meaning of the story for kids.

My plan (hope) for this summer is to read a story each morning, Monday through Friday.  Then have a song, craft/coloring page or movie, and an activity for each lesson.  The activity part  may end up being just one or two each week.

I also want to start the kids memorizing scripture.  Surely if they can learn the names of all the characters on their favorite shows and in their favorite books they can learn other things too.  Being as they are not even school age yet, we’ll save memorizing chapters for later.  For that matter, I’ve never done a whole chapter, except for Psalm 23, so perhaps I shouldn’t ask something of them that I haven’t even done yet.  Instead, we will start with a shorter verser from one of the stories from that week.

So, that is the plan.  We’ll see how it is actually works out.

Update: Between the time of writing this review and posting it, I contacted the publisher to ask a few questions.  Sadly, I found out that this book is no longer in print.

Note: This review was of my own accord.  I wrote it only because I really like this book, especially after being disappointed by so many “children’s Bibles”.  I was not compensated for doing this review.

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