Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Mini Mighty Mind

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Note: This is not a paid review.  I'm not that cool.

This is Little Boy's favorite toy right now.  I think I ordered it from Fat Brain Toys (I looked at it on several websites, and I can't remember which one I ordered it from, off the top of my head).

It's like a set of tangrams, sort of--have you ever played with those?  This one comes with 16 cards that progress from easy to hard, and it's recommended for ages 3 - 8.

Now, I knew Little Boy would love this toy because he's very visually/spatially talented (which he did not inherit from me).  And, based on his age, I figured the Mini Mighty Mind would be a better choice for him than the regular Mighty Mind set.


The first time we played with it, we only had a few minutes so he only got through five of the cards.  The next time we played with it, we did the same cards, plus a couple more.  The next time, I just let him go for it and watched to see how far he could get.

He got through all sixteen cards without any help.

Do you think I can get a refund?  "Um, hi...I'd like a refund on this product.  I'm not a very observant parent and I didn't realize my son was that smart."  Probably not, huh.

Anyway, the good thing is that he still loves playing with it.  And hopefully we'll be able to get him a regular Mighty Mind set soon.  And maybe from now on I'll pay closer attention to what level of educational toys my kid needs.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Learning Time: Stories

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The very last thing we do for "learning time" is read a pile of picture books.  This is the part of learning time that takes the most time--and it should, because it's the most important.

I've spent a lot of time thinking about this post, and about how to explain why reading aloud is so important.  I finally gave up and decided to just recommend this book:

Click on the picture to go to Amazon (I'm not an Amazon affiliate or anything...I just like the book).  The Read-Aloud Handbook is full--FULL--of research on why reading aloud is important for your child's growth.  There's more to it than you think.  This book includes info on everything from television, to library funding, to Harry Potter phenomenon--and the effect they have on your child.  In the back of the book, there's a huge annotated list of good books for reading aloud.  (This is the author's website, if you want to visit it, but I really recommend the book.)

Read it.  No, really.  Read it.  Your local library should have it; it's pretty popular.

And that's how "learning time" goes at our house.  Thanks for playing along!  Next time: back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Learning Time: Fine-Motor Skills

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So.  After plant-checking-out, ABCs, and the number line, Little Boy and I move on to what's technically called "fine-motor skills," and which normal people call, "coloring."

Little Boy's fine-motor skills have never been very good.  And I'm okay with that; kids develop differently.  But it can't hurt to work on it, right?  So we usually color a picture or work on a pre-writing activity.

(Little Boy really likes these pre-writing skill cards.  I stick them in a page protector and he traces the lines with a dry-erase marker so he can do it more than once.)

Next time, The Main Event: Stories!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Learning Time: 1-2-3s

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Does anyone else have that Jackson 5 song stuck in their head...y'know, "ABC!  Easy as 123!"  No?  Never mind, then.

Pie for Breakfast: Preschool Number Line
Anyway, after Little Boy and I work on ABCs for a few minutes during "learning time," we move on to the number line. He LOVES the thing.  We put up a new number every day.  I want him to be able to recognize numbers from 1 - 100, so we've got a LONG way to go.

Sometimes we play a number game, too, but we usually just stick the new number on the wall and count 'em up.

Next time: Fine Motor Skills (i.e., Teeny Movements for Teeny Hands).

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Learning Time: ABCs

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So, after examining the pumpkin plant each morning, Little Boy and I move on to ABCs.  We learn a new letter sound each week (I'm pretty sure we could go faster, but Mommy's a little...lazy.  Heh.).  He's already figured out several of the letter sounds that we haven't done yet.  He's a stinker like that.

Anyway, each week we make a new card with the new letter on it, learn the letter sound, and then for the rest of the week we play games with all of the letter cards that we've accumulated so far.  We're learning "P" this week.

Sometimes, if Mommy's really on top of things (in other words, not very often), we point out the letter when we see it in real life, too.

Do you like my pink paperclip?  (Paper clip?)  I love rainbow-colored paperclips.  They're much easier to find in the drawer.  Which has nothing to do with ABCs.

Next up: numbers!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Learning Time: Science

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Little Boy and I have "learning time" every day after breakfast for about half an hour (usually it stretches a little longer, but let's not quibble). Really, it's home-preschooling, but try explaining that to a 3 1/2 year old. So, to him, it's "learning time."

I'm going to break our usual learning time down into a few separate posts, because, really? I'm too tired to write a big, long post right now. And I bet you're too tired to read a big, long post right now. You're welcome.

Anyway, the first thing we do is take a look at the pumpkin seedling Little Boy's been growing. We point out the different parts of the plant, and count the leaves to see if there are any new ones, and water it if it's dry.

[Don't tell Little Boy, but the pumpkin plant is going to be moved to his Grandma's house sometime soon. We do NOT have room for a pumpkin plant on our back porch! And...we'll figure out some other science-y thing to do.]

Pie for Breakfast: Preschool Pumpkin Plant

This is the plant--I thought this picture turned out kinda cool. I have NO IDEA how I did it. I don't understand cameras at all.

Next time: ABCs! Woohoo!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Why Homeschool?

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Everyone's gotta have a reason, right?

Here's the thing--my reasons for homeschooling are...hard to explain.  I could give you lots of decent-sounding reasons (and I will, in a minute), but the REAL reason that I'm homeschooling Little Boy is that, after lots of praying and soul-searching, it felt so right.

There are the issues of preschools around here being a bit expensive, and Little Boy's shyness, and the local school district making it so that Little Boy won't be eligible for kindergarten for TWO AND A HALF MORE YEARS when he's clearly ready to learn NOW (not that I'd put him in kindergarten now...I'm just sayin').  And so on.

                        {the star of the show}

But realistically, all of those reasons can be overcome.  The real reason that we homeschool is because it's right for us right now. 
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