Preschool at our house; hands-on homeschooling

IMG_0374

Almost a month exactly has passed since I last updated the twins (4 1/2 years) preschool activities. Changing them out once a month takes me an hour or two at the most (without interruptions!) and with approximately a month until I need to do it again, isn’t too much of a burden. If I take the time to plan for interesting activities then I find I have a positive attitude to “school” time and of course, with something new and interesting to do, so do they. A little internet surfing and Pinterest pinning and I have more ideas than I could possibly put into practise.

The children have plenty of time during other parts of the day for play-based learning and some free choice, but school time has a little more structured. I like the activities to be hands-on where possible and try to keep in mind that we have years ahead for academic learning. Right now it is more of a priority that they learn to sit, focus, concentrate and obey my instructions than it is for them to learn a particular academic skill.

IMG_0408

This is what the school cupboard looks like this month. With the broad categories of mathematics, reading and writing in mind, we are focussing on adding small numbers, sequencing numerals to 30, identifying upper and lowercase letter names and sounds, sounding out 3 letter words, forming letters and fine motor skills.

IMG_0401

These addition strips are once of the free printables I designed to go with Mathusee Primer level. We are working on basic addition facts, this month: adding on 3 and 4.

IMG_0386

These plastic party spoons have the numerals 1 to 30 written on them. The child needs to put them in order and then post them into the right slot in the shoebox. If unsure of where to put them, they can lift up the red strip to see the numerals below.

IMG_0387

IMG_0367

This is the favourite by far. The twins dig out the buried jewels from the rice sensory box and match the uppercase letters to the lowercase letters on the trays.

These large jewels are the kind you find for displaying flowers/candles and are a very inexpensive way of creating your own Montessori moveable alphabet. A set of black letter stickers was all I needed to purchase and with the jewels came to a grand total of $4.50. The rice I had in the cupboard from my other large sensory tubs and the metal trays are a pencil tin that my daughter no longer needed.

IMG_0398

After mastering initial sounds, we have started work on 3 letter words. The bag holds the letter tiles which are lucky dipped and matched up to the correct space under the consonant-vowel-consonant  (CVC) words. There are no spare letters so the activity is self-checking. The answer could be written on the back of the cards too but I find that my little darlings like to turn them over and cheat check if I do that! The free printable CVC picture cards are available here.

IMG_0392

This salt tray has been on my to do list for ages. All you need is a tray of some sort with a brightly coloured but plain background. Rainbow stripes or large blocks of colour will work well, but avoid busy pictures and patterns. Place a thin layer of salt into the tray, provide a paint brush and let them at it. Allow plenty of time for free “painting” first and once the novelty has worn off somewhat, add some letter cards to copy. A cue tip/ear bud will work and some people suggested just using a finger but I didn’t think the salt felt very nice. My children don’t get to paint as much as they’d like so I figured the brush would make them feel like they were doing art!

IMG_0393

One drawback of the suitcase style was that my daughter closed the lid and picked it up by the handle to pack it away. Nope, not salt tight! Oh well, sweeping up mess is educational too.

IMG_0395

Starter Styles are a commercial educational toy that we purchased years ago. The older children remember them fondly and have all sat down for a fiddle at some stage or other since they came back out. The children sequence the number tiles then use them to answer questions in the book by placing them into the correct square. If their answers are right, the tiles will make a pattern when flipped over in the lid. The little books that go with them cover pre-number skills right on through to some more difficult concepts, as well-as pre-reading, reading and spelling. Not a must-have but a novel way of working on some basic skills. The logic required to work out how to place the tiles alone is quite difficult for little children.

IMG_0404

 

Threading is always good for fine motor skills. These blocks are numbered so it can be a sequencing activity also but as both my preschoolers are past this I won’t be worrying about whether it is in numerical order or not.

Last months preschool activities are here. The month before are here.

Coming up: The monthly overhaul of the two-year-old’s highchair activity cupboard.

What is your preschoolers’s favourite school-time activity?

Advertisements

3 Responses

  1. Hi Ang:)

    Thanks for the great ideas – very inspirational indeed !!

    Could you tell me how many of these activities the twins do in one day? Do they do the same activities every day? Or what does their routine look like?

    Looking forward to your response.
    Sharmini 🙂

    • Hi Sharmini
      The twins do 2, sometimes 3 each day – one maths (counting, adding, sequencing) or one language (3 letter words or letters) and (depending on how long this has taken) one of their choice. I work with them while they complete them, straight after breakfast while they are fresh (for about 30 minutes) and then they go to mat time where they do more play-based activities that don’t require help or supervision so I can work with the older children. If they did a maths activity the day before, I make sure they start with language the following day. We do “school” 4 days a week (on Wednesdays the older 3 are out with the homeschooling group so we cook or do art or something different on those mornings. This way the 6 or 8 different activities I have out last us for approximately a month and are usually mastered by the time change-over is required. Some skills (like the 3 letter words) need longer to learn but I still change the activity at the end of the month, just keep the skill the same.
      Ang

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: