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A Good Resource

I decided that I really should have my children assist more with household duties. Call them Chores or Expectations or Assignments or whatever you want. Maybe  Responsibilities? I want my children to be responsible so maybe I will choose that term. I found a couple good resources for starting on this effort, so I thought I would share them.

First, you can use a chart or you can just keep track of these things mentally. I’m leaning toward the chart because I need the visual reminder and I suspect that will help my children, too. There are a couple charts listed in this blog.  I’m leaning toward doing this with my 4y9m I thought daughter first and then adding the chart for my 2y3m son by fall when he starts on a more official schedule for homeschool preschool. In the meantime I will encourage him to help as he is able.

Second, I need to determine which chores are age appropriate. I thought this list was helpful.

Finally, I need to decide how I want to approach this effort. I’m not one to do a lot of rewards unless they are direct and real consequences from an action. (Ex: We can go to the park now because you cleaned up quickly so we have the extra time. ) So, i think we need to consistently check to see if the responsibilities are met before we enjoy the privileges in our house. I’m thinking that before she asks for a TV show or some computer time in the afternoon, I should encourage her to check off her responsibilities then.

So, I will begin this effort and see how it works for us. I would love to hear about the responsibility efforts that are working for other families.

PreKin this week: Sid the Science Kid fascination continues

She still has a strong interest in Sid the Science Kid on PBS weekday mornings. After a recent episode about our lungs she wanted to try a couple of the investigations
Here she is blowing bubbles in a bubble/water solution with a straw. This activity was a big hit trying to blow bubbles over the top of the little bowl. 

Blowing bubbles to demonstrate how we blow air out of our lungs.

Blowing bubbles to demonstrate how we blow air out of our lungs.

 

Then she attempted to blow up a balloon. (They warn you not to do this in the investigation, but I wasn’t worried about choking with her while I was supervising. Now, I wouldn’t let my 2y4m old try it!  There was a chance he would suck in instead of blowing out.)  I had to help since even with stretching of the rubber, she couldn’t quite get enough air power to blow it up herself.  Quite a bit of excitement occurred when I showed her and little brother how to let go of a blown-up balloon and it zooms across the room! We also tied them off and batted them around dancing to music later in the day. 

Trying to blow up a balloon.

Trying to blow up a balloon.

We also had a discussion about foot size when I was ordering some new shoes for the kids and decided to use the ruler from her science tray to measure her foot length and the foot length of the other 3 children and compare sizes. 

preschool activities 011

We ordered this book and received it this week and she LOVES it. She wants us to read pages to her a couple times per day . There are other great books about the human body for younger children, but I knew she was going to crave more information so I went for the encyclopedia format.  

Our new book.

Our new book.

Some blog readers might wonder why I do so few reading/language activities with her.  She is actually already quite a reader with quite flawless reading at the early second grade level.  So, satisfying her right now seems to be providing some new books as needed at the appropriate reading level and also working on vocabulary. I don’t do anything too formal with her on the vocabulary or sight words.  She seems to have a natural drive toward the very things for which I would offer instruction so I haven’t felt the need to get too formal with her. As far as vocabulary,  she naturally picks up more words every day from just listening in her world.  I would like to do more writing activities with her and have some ideas in my head about that.  She only recently has expressed interest in writing and she tends to resist it, so writing activities that will be of high interest to her are a must. 

So, in the area of Language Arts, I pulled out 4 new books for her. 

4 new reading books

4 new reading books

She also helped to make the Melody Maker described here for a music class assignment this week. The assignment was to make a bell of some kind at home. I felt this might qualify with its metal on metal timbre. This is quite enjoyable. If you want to make it yourself, I must warn you that the supplies cost us around $15 so be prepared for that. We will hang it out on in our musical garden (or banging wall).

Taking the Melody Maker to music class.

Taking the Melody Maker to music class.

Next up: Planting seeds  and I still want to do a charting activity with her. Also, writing of some kind.

Tot School Week of May4-8th

Tot School

Our activities for the past week.
Painting with nature! (Sticks, pine branches, pine cones, dandelions, etc.)

Painting with nature! (Sticks, pine branches, pine cones, dandelions, etc.)

 

 

Collage art

Collage art

Collage wheel

Collage wheel

Colored noodle stringing

Colored noodle stringing

We added googly eyes to one end and made "snakes". This particular snake was patterned blue-blue-red.

We added googly eyes to one end and made "snakes". This particular snake was patterned blue-blue-red.

Shelf activity set up for future independent use.

Shelf activity set up for future independent use.

 

Marble painting step 1: Shaving cream on a baking pan with a tempera rainbow.

Marble painting step 1: Shaving cream on a baking pan with a tempera rainbow.

 

step 2: using chopsticks to stir

step 2: using chopsticks to stir

 

Step 3: We set some paper on top of the mixture and gently applied pressure then removed. I scraped the shaving cream off the top of the paper and this is the image we got.

Step 3: We set some paper on top of the mixture and gently applied pressure then removed. I scraped the shaving cream off the top of the paper and this is the image we got.

 

Step 4: Kids used it for fingerpainting, too.  This is our friend on the right who visited us today.

Step 4: Kids used it for fingerpainting, too. This is our friend on the right who visited us today.

We put together a banging wall. I would like to add the Musical Rod and another metal tool at the bottom.

We put together a banging wall. I would like to add the Musical Rod and another metal tool at the bottom.

Here is the musical rod we made per directions at Chasing Cheerios and Family Fun.

Other fun less-directed activities.  I think  I might be the Queen of Plastic Toys and I’m not proud of it since we are trying to clear more plastic out of our house. 😛

A favorite: Rice table play w/animals, trucks & cups.  I need to change this one more time to a different sensory material and play items before it moves outside for warm weather sand/water play.

A favorite: Rice table play w/animals, trucks & cups. I need to change this one more time to a different sensory material and play items before it moves outside for warm weather sand/water play.

 

Counting bears free play & color ID w/2y4m & 3y3m

Counting bears free play & color ID w/2y4m & 3y3m

 

A couple of the kids love to load the dump truck and drive it around. This day it was animals from the farm.

A couple of the kids love to load the dump truck and drive it around. This day it was animals from the farm.

 

I changed the block shelf around and it saw more action this week!

I changed the block shelf around and it saw more action this week!

 

Puzzle time.

Puzzle time.

 

Color Forms for the Very Hungry Caterpillar and Brown Bear, Brown Bear. They love to retell the stories.

Color Forms for the Very Hungry Caterpillar and Brown Bear, Brown Bear. They love to retell the stories.

And my 4y9m old completed some projects on her own, too.  You can see those here if that age interests you.

Return to see other Tot School blogs by clicking here.

Anatomy and Spanish this week

Here are a couple actitivies we did this week. 

First, a new toy and a new interest.  She has always had an interest in what is happening with her body.  Why does my owie heal?   Where is my blood?  What happens to my food?  I saw this puzzle and was just waiting for the right price.  $19.99 on Amazon with free shipping and I jumped.  This is the girl puzzle and a friend went in on the order with me and ordered the boy puzzle for her PK son.  Kind of spendy, I suppose but I will sell it when she is done using it.  (She looks tired using it here but really enjoyed it and has probably completed the 5 layers at least 20 times since I opened it a few days ago.)

To go along with it I ordered the Magic School Bus Human Body DVD based on good reviews.  also on Amazon. She loves it and after watching it she goes to her puzzle and talks through what happened on the episodes.  She has always been into “acting things out” and so this is a great way for her to take in the information. 

And a couple months back she had requested to learn Spanish.  I pulled out a Hooked on Phonics Spanish kit and she is enjoying it.  She is in the middle of the second level on this 3 level basic program designed for 3-5 year olds.  I thought it would be fun to take the Spanish names of the body parts she is learning and use them with the Potato Heads, so we created this game.

Here are the different pieces set out in categories with the Spanish word cards labeling each section.  Setting it up gives us a good review.

Then I would turn the cards over into a pile and we would take turns turning over the top card to reveal the Spanish word for a body part.  You get to pick the body part the card reveals on your turn. There is no big strategy to this. I keep the cards in order so that by the time you have gone through the pile twice you both have a complete Potato Head. She LOVES this.  

Tot School week of April 27th

 

A great week! I started it out feeling that we weren’t do anything but I think it was a good week for me to just watch the kids. I’ll just post some pics and comments.

Free play with unifix cubes. Once the 3y3m boy has his fill of play with these then I’ll show him how to match them up with the number cards to promote one-to-one correspondence. If I do it now he won’t want to focus on the activity but will want to experience the unifix cubes.

Free play with the counting bears.  3y3m old is working on color recognition.

Dress-up bears.

22m boy playing with farm animals. I like to put these in a low-rimmed tub for play with cornmeal or other sensory material and look forward to doing that for him in the future. 

Books at the table while waiting for lunch.  22m.old just wants to know if lunch is ready.😉

More book time.  4y9m sister reads to 2y4m brother.

They can’t get enough of Potato Heads!  A very multi-age activity.

A new activity this week.  Lentils and plastic eggs to fill and shake and dump. 

The 2y3m loves the computer now. I can trust him to stay on the chair for 5 minutes at a time and operate the mouse. This is one of the Dr Seuss CD-Roms that brings the pages of the book to life and makes the characters interact with a click of the mouse. Perfect for this age.  Just getting the hang of moving that mouse and clicking and getting a reaction on the screen.

Remember Lincoln Logs?  The block area of our classroom hasn’t been getting much action so I brought this out.  It wasn’t really a hit. I have to figure out what to do since this area of the room is ignored.  Maybe I will move the area.  Moving things sometimes generates interest.  

3y3m and a lacing activity. This was popular with him and the 4y9m child this week and it was nice to see her revisit this activity with improved abilities. 

The 22m old loves the dress-up area and decided to put on quite a variety this day!  One interesting note here.  When we are elsewhere in the house and he gets near a pair of unoccupied shoes he puts them on and parades around.  I have a pair of large shoes in the dress-up area and he hasn’t touched them!  I want to put a few more things in that area to occupy him.  He also loves the play kitchen area and the shopping cart.

3y3m old continues to practice cutting and is improving each time.  I have small cutting board that is slightly cupped and has a handle (Dollar Tree!) and he cuts over this cutting board.  He can easily take the cut pieces to the trash can and dump when he is done.  He also learned how to use the handbroom/dustpan to clean up extra pieces this week, too.

I borrowed a basketball hoop set from a friend. The 2y4m old enjoys this the most.  He plays with it about a half hour every day with daddy.  LOVES to jump and throw balls so this was perfect for him. 

And some balloon bouncing and ballet dancing to some classical music.  I put Classical Baby video on the TV and they dance around the room giggling.  This was just a brother/sister time but I do with all 4 kids when I’m babysitting sometimes.

I did fewer teacher/mother-directed activities this week and allowed more free choice and opted to observe them and spend some time thinking about how I want to approach this homeschool process.  I like having a “classroom” because I’m a teacher who believes in setting up the environment for play and learning. I feel blessed that I have the space and the extra kids and can provide this experience for all of them.  I’m doing some thinking about how structured I want to make things, though. 

But I did take some time to set up a better art & crafts center! 

I also did some fun projects specifically for the 4y9m prekindergartener and I’ll post about those here.

Next week:  Musical wall, pics of the Melody Maker that we put together and nature painting.

Enjoy more posts by moms participating in Tot School here.

Science with Sid the Science Kid

I’m not a fan of pushing children academically,  But sometimes a child will push you to pursue some learning. This is the way it is with my 4y9m old daughter. She decides what she wants to learn next and takes off after it. I simply follow and facilitate. She makes it easy. She is a very verbal-linguistic child and also somewhat of a perfectionist. She takes in information but won’t attempt something until she feels that she will be reasonably successful. I have now figured this out and I don’t push her. But, she does push me. (She taught herself to read in spite of all my expertise in this area of education. Sigh.)
Recently she insisted that she should have a Science Journal as shown on Sid the Science Kid  and the other science tools, too. So, I grabbed her a spiral-bound notebook and she asked me to turn on the Super Science Tools episode (recorded on the DVR) and she recorded all the science tools with drawings on her first journal page. We then set about collecting the tools and created her science tray.

Science Tools: magnifying glass, chart, ruler, estimation jar, journal

Science Tools: magnifying glass, chart, ruler, estimation jar, journal

 

Science Tray w/journal, estimation jar & plates for counting items, ruler and magnifying glasses

Science Tray w/journal, estimation jar & plates for counting items, ruler and magnifying glasses.

With the science tray in place, she immediately wanted me to put some items into the estimation jar so that she could estimate as the characters demonstrate on the Enough With the Seashells episode. She followed an estimation  process modeled on that particular episode.  Here  is a description of that process.   The first time she counted buttons from her art collage collection and this second time that I documented below she counted corks that I had collected.
Using her Estimation Jar w/corks that she saw modeled on Sid the Science Kid

Using her Estimation Jar w/corks that she saw modeled on Sid the Science Kid

She adores this estimation jar activity and I think it is absolutely marvelous for developing concepts of quantity and volume.  And this is what I really hope to accomplish with her since she loves to count to 100 and I want to make sure she develops an understanding of quantity and not just a rote memorization of the numbers. So we will definitely be repeating it with new items at least weekly.  Hmmmm…she was collecting small rocks in the backyard yesterday so that might be a good thing to put into the jar next.
This PBS show has a wonderful list of cycles and activities to carry out in addition to watching the shows or the clips provided on their site!  She enjoys the songs in the episodes and often asks me to rewind and repeat them for her. She points out things she learned in real life.  For quite awhile she was obsessed with decaying things thanks to the Mushy Banana episode and we actually did complete the Decaying Pumpkin activity  last November. (Ick!) She still talks about that.
How nice to have my science lessons laid out for me and for this TV show to provide all the motivation needed for making these activities happen!  Next up is using charts and given my daughter’s obsession with the weather chart displayed on the morning news (see pic below), we will probably graph the weather. Creating and reading graphs is SUCH a valuable activity for this Prekindergarten age!
4 y.o.'s obsession with weather reports, maps and graphs of all sorts. Thankful for DVR so we can pause and discuss them on her demand.

4 y.o.'s obsession with weather reports, maps and graphs of all sorts. Thankful for DVR so we can pause and discuss them on her demand.

 Then we will move on to meaningful opportunties to use measurement and observation in this Tools & Measurement Cycle.  And as I look over the available cycles  in this program,  I’m thinking that the Transformation & Change cycle looks like another good unit to pursue as we enter the warm summer months and prepare to plant some seeds.  And the Backyard Science cycle would also be a good unit for our warmer months.  The Health and Simple Machines units might be nice for our cooler months when we spend more time inside. Of course, I can plan but we will see what ideas she has in her head driving her forward!  

Tot School this week

 
Tot School
We had a very busy week. I have a 4y9m girl, 2y4m boy. I also care for a 3y3m boy and a 22m old boy during many of our “school” hours. Here is how we occupied some of that time this week.

 

Rainbow in a bag color mixing & sensory activity as described by The Artful Parent.  We created orange, purple, green through color mixing last Friday (failed to snap pics) and on Monday we took the white base and I let them mix the yellow, red, and blue colors into the white base.  This reinforced 4yo’s primary & secondary color understanding, promoted color identification with 2 y.o. and 3 y.o. and was a great sensory experience for everyone.  But we weren’t done there because we used the great cornstarch/sugar substance for fingerpainting later in the week!

Color mixing in a bag

The 6 colors.

Mixing yellow coloring into white base.

Mixing yellow coloring into white base.

Fingerpainting with the Rainbow bag mixture

Fingerpainting with the Rainbow bag mixture

An Earth Day Field Trip to the Childrens Museum.  

Plasma cars on the "street".

Plasma cars on the "street".

 

Bouncing/deflection activity

Bouncing/deflection activity

 

Playing in the dirt & water on the erosion table.

Playing in the dirt & water on the erosion table.

 A few activities that aren’t as adult-directed, too

Musical Instruments

Musical Instruments

Rice + animals in the sandtable

Rice + animals in the sandtable

Potato Heads

Potato Heads

And activities for the 4y9m old that she initiates.  I just follow her lead.
4 y.o.'s obsession with weather reports, maps and graphs of all sorts. Thankful for DVR so we can pause and discuss them on her demand.

4 y.o.'s obsession with weather reports, maps and graphs of all sorts. Thankful for DVR so we can pause and discuss them on her demand.

Dictated book for counting sounds in her home. We used photos. Started as an activity for her music class and quickly became a book.
Dictated book for counting sounds in her home. We used photos. Started as an activity for her music class and quickly became a book.
Using her Estimation Jar w/corks that she saw modeled on Sid the Science Kid
Using her Estimation Jar w/corks that she saw modeled on Sid the Science Kid

We have been doing kind of a “Sid the Science Kid” science curriculum because of her high level of interest/motivation.  Read more in this post.

 

Other activities (no pics):

*Birthday party w/all 4 kids at a local park w/bubbles and playground play
*picking dandelions and collecting rocks in the backyard
*painting (projects that will be completed next week)
*painting on paper for fun and color identification practice
*lunch at the picnic table outside
*making cupcakes w/ 4y9m old ended up turning this activity into a counting sounds book. 
Goals for next week:
*delve back into my Montessori background and create some activities
*finish transportation vehicles we started painting this week w/3y.o. and 4 y.o.
*make some form of a bell for music class assignment
*use charts with 4y.o. per her request
*Spanish body part words w/Potato heads w/4 y.o. per her desire to learn Spanish
*pull out some great books to try starting lapbooks for all ages

To return to 1+1=1 blog and view more Tot School activities from this week posted by others click here.