Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Street Signs

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Little Boy is obsessed with cars.

So I knew this idea from The Mailbox magazine would be a big hit with him.

I looked up clip art of different street signs...

and taped them to some of his blocks. He was already using his blocks to make roads, so I don't know why I didn't think of making street signs on my own.

This was several weeks ago, and he still uses them. And now he points out all kinds of street signs when we're driving around.

That is, when he's not pointing out every car and truck on the road.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Brushing Teeth!

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But not really.

Before we get started here, I have to tell you about The Mailbox magazine [this isn't an ad--I just like it]. My preschool-y friend told me about it one day, and I checked an issue of it out of our library. Oh, man. It's geared toward PreK teachers, but most of the activities are totally adaptable for a smaller group of kids--or for one kid, if you're like me.

So you're going to be seeing a lot of ideas here that I got from The Mailbox.

Like this one!

Here's the idea: print out a big ol' picture of a tooth. Put it in a smooth page protector, and scribble on it with dry-erase pens. Then explain to your kid [ahem, your student] about why we brush our teeth--and then give them an old toothbrush and have them scrub all the marks off the tooth.

I brush Little Boy's teeth regularly, but we don't spend much time talking about why. We're usually in a hurry to brush and move on to whatever's next. So this activity was a good reinforcement of why, exactly, we brush our teeth.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Little Boy's New Obsession

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Little Boy loves tracing...everything. I thought he was going to color the worksheet in the photo, but he traced it instead. We have a book full of trace-able shapes and letters, and it's almost his favorite activity ever. His very favorite is the "cutting book," which deserves its own post. Later.

(In case you couldn't tell, the blobby thing he was tracing is a stegosaurus. It just didn't have any spiny-thingies on its back yet.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Preschool Math: M&Ms and Graphing!

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Little Boy loooooves numbers. I'm pretty sure I've mentioned that before.

A few times.

We don't do math activities as often as I'd like. We both liked this one--him, because he got to count, and both of us, because there were M&Ms involved.

I just now decided that M&Ms should be involved more often.

Anyway, I got these M&Ms Graphing worksheets from Sugardoodle--but I can't find the exact link now. If anyone else finds it, could you let me know?

So, first he had to sort the M&Ms by color. Cute worksheet, right? Yeah, I wish I could take credit for it. But...really, I just print stuff off the internet.

And then we went through, color by color, to count them up and then color in the appropriate number of rectangles on the graph. I had never heard of preschool graphing skills! Makes me feel all proud of him.

(Really, he's pretty ordinary. So I try to feel proud as often as I can.)

And I bet you can guess what we did after all that counting and graphing. I'll give you a hint: all that work made us hungry.

...Which is why, if we do this activity again, we'll have to buy new M&Ms.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Reading: Bob Books

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(This is not a paid review. I'm not nearly that cool.)

So, early in our little homeschool adventure, I heard about Bob Books. We were still working on letter sounds, not reading yet, so I kinda forgot about them.

Then a friend mentioned that she was using them with her kids. I think she got them from Amazon. Anyway, it was perfect timing, because Little Boy was just about ready to sound out words.

My mom happened to have the first set (which was weird; I had no idea that she had it). We've gotten the rest of the sets from the library--Little Boy wanted to read as many as he could, and then...we got to some that he couldn't quite read yet. So right now we're trying to catch up.

Anyway, Bob Books are small and easy for little hands to hold. The first one only has a few letters in it, and each book is a little more difficult than the one before. (The one in the picture is the last one in the first series, I think.)

On the Bob Books website, they have a little catchphrase: "I read the WHOLE book!" I thought that was kinda cheesy, but it's true--Little Boy really liked having a book that he could read to me.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Number Line!

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Whew, it's been awhile. And we've been working on a lot of stuff!

First up...

We finished the number line!

So now...we have to figure out something else to do for math.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Alpha Builders and the Tongue Face

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Sometimes we try something out during school time that doesn't really click. For example, I really liked the idea of these Alpha Builders that were posted by Confessions of a Homeschooler, so I printed some out (I didn't make mine magnetic, though), and I was pretty excited about them.

Little Boy didn't really "get" them.

So I put them away for a couple months. When I got them back out, he did a lot better. So we practiced forming some letters, and then I handed the Alpha Builders over to him to see what he'd do with them...

...yeah. He organized them. Have I mentioned that Little Boy is sometimes a little bit...different from other little boys?

Ha, I love this kid.

Anyway, check out this picture of the face Little Boy makes when he concentrates:

The tongue face. He's done that since he was a tiny little thing. It makes me laugh every time.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Drawing! Finally!

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Little Boy almost never draws pictures. He loves to scribble...with every single color available. But drawing, not so much.

Turns out, he was just waiting for an invitation.

This is a write-and-wipe book. Most of the activities are tracing (which Little Boy loves right now), but there are a few places to draw pictures.

We only have four colors of dry-erase pens, so he decided to make an all-green rainbow.

And a dog. I didn't know he could draw a face, let alone a dog. ('s a little face with two legs and two little paws.)

So, I was really surprised. He still doesn't like to draw, except for in these books. I think he's just a worksheet kind of kid.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Impossible to Overestimate the Influence of Parents

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“It is impossible to overestimate the influence of parents who understand the hearts of their children. Research shows that during the most important transitions of life—including those periods when youth are most likely to drift away from the Church—the greatest influence does not come from an interview with the bishop or some other leader but from the regular, warm, friendly, caring interaction with parents.”

-Robert D. Hales

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Froggy

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I don't know what it is with me and tiny animals lately...but last night I posted about baby snails on my personal blog, and now there's this, from my mom's front porch:

I don't think this frog is actually a baby; I've never seen them get much bigger than this. Of course, maybe I just never see the adult frogs.

Anyway, I like pointing out animals to Little Boy in the "wild" (yeah, my mom's front porch is really wild) because, while zoos and aquariums are great, I think it's even better for him to see animals in their natural habitat.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Tip: Remove Old Dry-Erase Marks

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Sometimes I put Little Boy's worksheets in page protectors (the smooth kind), so he can do them over and over again with dry erase markers. Works great.

Except when you forget to erase it. And discover it several days later.

Then it's stuck.

So I turned to good ol' Google and started working my way through suggestions for removing dry erase marker.

Vinegar: didn't work much better than water.

90% rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer: I'm pretty sure that would've worked, but we were fresh out of both.

White toothpaste: worked like a charm.

You do have to wipe the toothpaste off with a little water, of course. I don't know whether toothpaste will work on other surfaces, but it does work on Little Boy skin--he managed to get a little bit of dry erase marker on his chin while I was working on toothpaste-ing his page protectors.

{cross-posted at Teach Me to Walk}

Monday, August 30, 2010

Field Trip: Marine Life Center

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We took a second beachy field trip a couple weeks ago--this time to the nearby Marine Life Center. My little sister came along, too.

Imagine the smallest aquarium ever--just one room. Where the biggest specimen is a small octopus. That's the Marine Life Center.

It's right on the water. Lucky for us, it was a gorgeous day.

This is looking down into part of the big tank in the middle of the room. There are three smaller tanks around the sides, and an even smaller touch tank. an octopus. Octopuses gross me out. I didn't tell Little Boy that, though. No need to taint his relationship with mushy sea creatures.

A rainbow trout. I had no idea rainbow trout lived in saltwater.

That's a flounder. Doesn't look much like Flounder in The Little Mermaid, does it? Just sayin'.

Lots of sea anemones. These ones weren't for touching.

This guy was probably six inches across. He stood there and watched us for several minutes.

My sister holding a hermit crab in the touch tank. The touch tank has starfish, hermit crabs, sea cucumber-y things (I'm not exactly sure what they were), and anemones--you can touch them all, as long as you keep them underwater.

And check that out--Little Boy actually stuck his hand in the freezing-cold water to touch a starfish. He wouldn't touch the underside of it, though--that was "too scary."

Sunday, August 29, 2010

It's Easy to Know What to Teach

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"It's easy to know what to teach. The scriptures and our prophets are clear about what to teach our children. Nephi summarizes it in this verse, 'And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ . . . that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins' (2 Nephi 25:26)."

-Margaret S. Lifferth

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Scripture Reading Challenge

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Our family kinda stinks at regular scripture-reading. So when I saw the Summer Scripture Reading Challenge on, AND that they had a reading chart for little kids, I thought it might work for us.

It did.

[I apologize for the lame photo.]

See? We put a little sticker on the chart for each day that we read scriptures together. When we filled up the chart, we had a little family outing to Dairy Queen--which was an excellent reward, since Little Boy will finally eat ice cream.

And then we printed out a new chart and started over.

We still don't manage to read scriptures together every day, but we usually read a few times a week. And that's a lot more often than before.

[Cross-posted at Teach Me to Walk.]

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Protect Our Children from Wordly Influences

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"While circumstances do vary and the ideal isn’t always possible, I believe it is by divine design that the role of motherhood emphasizes the nurturing and teaching of the next generation...Teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ in the home adds another layer of insulation to protect our children from worldly influences."
-L. Tom Perry

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Easy Project

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The other day I thought to myself, "Self, we don't do enough art projects around here."

So I busted out some paper, glue, and cotton balls.

And we made a fuzzy bunny.

The bunny didn't have anything to do with anything else that we're doing for preschool right now. But it was fun.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mixing Colors

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We worked on colors a little bit last week. Little Boy knows the names of the colors already, so we went a little bit beyond that and learned about mixing colors.

I have some food coloring in little jars that my mom gave me awhile ago--the ghostly white things floating in the bowl up there are toothpicks that we used to scoop the color out of the jars. We put red, yellow, and blue in bowls of water, and then mixed colors in the cups.

I'm not sure Little Boy really "gets" it yet. He doesn't remember now which primary colors to mix to get each secondary color. But at least he understands that colors can be mixed to make new colors.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Field Trip: The Beach

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I have a lot of pictures here, so I'm not going to type much. We'd been learning about the beach, so we took a trip to the nearest one (it's more of a seashore than a beach, I think--you'll see in the pictures).

My baby sister drove--she needs a lot of practice hours before she can get her license.

Little Boy hadn't been to the beach (seashore?) in at least a year.

We had this part of the beach to ourselves. Rocky, huh?

My brother tagged along, too.

Little Boy found a tiny shell--you can't tell in the photo, but the shell is fingernail-sized.

I wouldn't recommend swimming in this water (although some people do). We wear rain boots instead.

We saw barnacles, little crabs, seaweed, gulls, and seashells--all things we'd learned about at home. And Little Boy thought that was kinda cool. But really, all a three-year-old boy wants to do at the beach is throw rocks in the water.

{cross-posted at Teach Me To Walk}

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Butterfly Math

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Little Boy loves math. He likes other subjects, but math is his #1. So I try to work in some extra math activities once in awhile.

I printed out this butterfly number matching game from Along the Way. I liked what she did with it, and I had Little Boy do something similar.

I hung these butterflies from the counter on one side of the room. Little Boy had to "catch" a butterfly with a little net and count the spots on the butterfly.

Then he had to run to the other side of the room and match the butterflies with the right flower. [I've been trying to find ways to add more movement to some of our activities--using up Little Boy energy is always a good thing.]

And what did he think of it?

I think he liked it. That's a happy little man.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Field Trip: Old Settler's Picnic

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Our little town has a carnival-type shindig on the last weekend of July every year. They call it "Old Settler's," and they let you tour some little log cabins for free, but really? It's mostly a carnival.

And since I'm trying to get our little family out of the house more on little field trips, Little Boy and I went.

But we didn't go on any rides--I'm kinda scared of traveling-carnival-type rides. And I'm cheap. But we DID visit the petting zoo.

And I didn't take any pictures.

But I promise, it was very cute.

I DID take a picture of this, though:

{I was too lazy to edit this photo. Sorry.}

Little Boy loves cars, trains, buses, trucks...and tractors. Definitely tractors. So he was pretty tickled to sit up on a big green tractor all by himself.

So I'm gonna call this a 'field trip.' Because we learned how to pet farm animals...and how to sit on tractors.

Yeah, that's it.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Do Our Children Know What We Know?

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"For youth, there is no substitute for seeing the gospel lived in our daily lives. The stripling warriors did not have to wonder what their parents believed. They said, 'We do not doubt our mothers knew it' (see Alma 56:47–48). Do our children know what we know?"
-Robert D. Hales

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Name Writing

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I thought it might be fun for Little Boy to learn to write his name. I'm not really concerned about writing the rest of the alphabet right now, but writing his name is a nice party trick, right?

We started with the first letter:

{His name starts with E.}

He did better with E than I thought he would. And he does like it. I taught him the next letter in his name, and he said, "Ohh, let me try the uppercase too!"

So I'm glad he's enjoying it. We've done about half the letters in his name so far, and it's sort of legible. Kinda. LOL We've still got a loooong way to go.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

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"I bear witness that parents who consistently read and talk about the Book of Mormon with their children, who share testimony spontaneously with their children, and who invite children as gospel learners to act and not merely be acted upon will be blessed with eyes that can see afar off (see Moses 6:27) and with ears that can hear the sound of the trumpet (see Ezekiel 33:2–16)."

~David A. Bednar

Friday, July 23, 2010

Target's $1 Bins

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I gotta tell ya--I'm not a frequent Target shopper. Walmart is half a mile closer, and yes, I'm that lazy.

But when my rockin' friend Sharline told me that Target had some school-type stuff in their dollar bins, I sucked it up and drove an extra half-mile. And boy, am I glad I did.

This was a week or two ago, and at that time, about half the stuff in the dollar bins was school-related, and about half was summer stuff. I'm hoping they'll clear out the summer stuff soon [they probably have by now, actually], and then maybe they'll have even more often stuff. How many times can I stay "stuff" in this post? Five so far.

Anyway, I only picked up a few things.

A dry-erase writing board (it has lines on one side, and it's blank on the other), a "perpetual calendar," a planner, an activity book that Little Boy picked out, and some pom-poms (the pom-poms are kind of weird, but good enough for my purposes).

This was actually $2.50. But still a good deal. (Sorry about the weird glare--the plastic was still on it when I took the picture.) I'm not sure Little Boy is really "getting" the calendar concept yet, but I figure that he'll at least learn the vocabulary for now.

[No more "stuff"! Except for that one. That makes six.]

Sunday, July 18, 2010

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"Your life is carefully watched over, as was mine. The Lord knows both what He will need you to do and what you will need to know. He is kind and He is all-knowing. So you can with confidence expect that He has prepared opportunities for you to learn in preparation for the service you will give. You will not recognize those opportunities perfectly, as I did not. But when you put the spiritual things first in your life, you will be blessed to feel directed toward certain learning, and you will be motivated to work harder."
-Henry B. Eyring
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