Tot School ~ SUMMERTIME!!!

It is most certainly summertime at our house as our days are filled with fun playtime and MUCH Tot School!!! We’re all having a blast just enjoying each other, here are some highlights from our week…

K always enjoys when our Melissa and Doug Beginner Pattern Blocks come out, this day was no exception. He did better than ever naming the shapes and doing the puzzles independently!Sticker morning was a huge hit, and took over our living room as you can see! This occupied both boys for a very long time. K finally learned how to take the stickers off by himself!
Play Doh is always a hit with K!!
Daddy taught him how to drink out of the hose on our 100+ degree day last week!

I got out my old step for them to play with and after walking over it a few times and practicing gross motor skills, they grabbed the blocks I had taken out and began to build together…
Then they turned it into a boat! Mom’s toys are always so much fun!
K made his own little fort…
We read the book, Rumble in the Jungle and the boys enjoyed interacting with the different animals from the story. I pulled out the specific animals from our collection (here is their website, we get ours from AC Moore/Michael’s). We also used our Anamalz.
Painting time! I asked the boys to paint a jungle scene, P did, K insisted on using the Do a Dot Markers and had no clue what I was suggesting so he just pounded with them! :)
He was done quickly that day and moved onto other things while P finished! He did SUPER with this Puzzle, now naming all except the heart and diamond correctly!
And he begged (as usual) for me to get down the Doodle Pro Glow, I drew the few letters he is yet to identify on his own (U, L, V) and he proceeded to copy them :)
We played with our Bead Sequencing Set for awhile. I tried to get K to match up the color but he wasn’t interested. He did enjoy sticking them on his fingers this day!
I finally got out the little backyard pool and they both adored me that day!!!
K’s favorite book right now is Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, he asks me to read it to him (sing it) and he is often reading/singing it to himself!
We got out the noodle play materials and he had so much fun!
We counted together like this, using his toes, and he was a giggling mess, it was so funny!
I stuck the straight noodles in the small holes in our cheerio box and he hammered them in, I was amazed with how well he did. He’s a little Daddy!
Once again I was reminded how fast he is growing as he completed the matching for these shape puzzles in no time. The last time I had this out he had NO clue how to do it, and he hasn’t seen it since.
We are up to the letter Ll now in our ABC notebook, he really enjoyed coloring on his friend, Liam’s, face and went around saying “Liam, Liam” all day long!K had an afternoon alone in the pool one day and practiced pouring a lot!
He was very excited about our new toys that I picked up form the used book sale, we practiced sorting by colors with this one!He loved the A to Z Lower Case Puzzle Finally, our newest adventure in tot school land, learning states! I know sounds ridiculous but again I am being led by his natural interest! He sees P working on states and he is naming them right along with him. He asks me for “fornia” (California) and that means he wants the USA puzzle (North America Continent Puzzle) and we work together naming them and putting the in! I think it’s rather funny that he enjoys this!

If you have a tot (approximately ages 1-3) at home, join in the fun and share what you’re doing with your tot! Here’s how to get started if you’re new…

You can read this post for more details if you’d like, or if you have any ideas you’d like to share, link up your exact post to Mr Linky (if you have questions about how to do that, let me know in a comment or email). Provide a link back somewhere in your post to this post so your readers can see other ideas too!

Summer Challenge Success!

P is moving along with his summer challenge, although not at the pace I expected. :) If it were me, I think I would earn all of the points I could to rack up the prizes quickly!!! He is taking his sweet time! Fine by me though, he’s keeping himself busy and entertained–having a fun summer! Today was a big points day for him as he told me he was bored this morning. Of course I kicked him into gear, challenging him to earn the rest of his 25 points to earn the privilege of opening the Webkinz that Nanee and Baba had sent as one of his prizes. It’s been hanging in a gift bag on the schoolroom door for over a week now! I think it’s been torturing me more than him, since I knew it was the ONE he wanted so badly!

Finally holding the bag, after reading me 3 books in a row ( and challenging books for him), to earn his last 6 points!Moments after opening it, the WEBKINZ – Reindeer he has wanted for months!

He did already earn the Webkinz accessory (Webkinz Camo Pet Carrier) for his first 25 points, so he has earned a total of 50 points since we began. Now he is onto his next 25 for his next prize!

My 1st Homeschool Conference!!!

I went to my very first homeschool conference, SEARCH, yesterday and I loved it! It was so awesome to be surrounded by Christian homeschooling families and children. I felt right at home, it was wonderful. I was able to hear Todd Wilson and Ginger Plowman speak and both were inspiring, especially Todd, he is SO funny! I wish I had remembered to pick up Wise Words for Moms, I am going to have to order that. She used it in her presentation and it is a great reference tool for us Christian moms!

But I have to say the BEST part was this….

Our used book sale treasures!!!

In case you can’t tell all of the GOODIES in there, let me highlight a few of my favorites, with the links you will see them at full price and be amazed, as I only paid about $50 for everything in the picture! The books alone are worth way over $50 at retail price!! I had brought $100 to spend and got everything I wanted for $50 :) I am SO happy, can you tell?

I also picked up MANY great books for our ocean theme this summer, paying about 50 cents each for them!!! I also stocked up on many other books, mainly non-fiction animal books for P since he really enjoys them!

I did pay full price for a new book-Instructing a Child’s Heart, written by the author of my favorite parenting book-Shepherding a Child’s Heart. I already started reading it and love it!!! It was a great day, and a bonus-I got to spend it with a great friend and fellow homeschooling mom!

Is my tot ready???

I got this comment and thought I would answer in a post in case anyone else was interested…

I have a question for you Carisa.

I am thinking of starting my Tot on ABC notebooking. I’m concerned that I’d be starting him too soon. I’ve heard that it’s better to slowly work into formal learning with the little ones.
I started my oldest a bit too early I feel and then at about 3 1/2 he wanted nothing to do with ABC or Numbers etc, till the age of 5. At that time I didn’t know about Mason and other styles, so my approach was probably a bit off. I guess I’ve learned tons since my first one was little. I just don’t want to think I’m gradually introducing it then all of a sudden he reacts negatively. I’m probably thinking way too much on this, and not giving myself enough credit of knowing my little guy’s interests and abilities.

Do you know a good indicator that a tot might give to be ready to start, based on your educational background knowledge?

I first want to say, that I think you are right on…YOU know your tot. THAT is the best indicator. Other than motherly instincts, I will give my advice. I recently was contacted about participating in an EBook that is being written and I answered some questions for them, here is a portion of what I had to say in my “interview” for that, which I believe relates to this question.

-Learning at a young age should be child led and immersed in PLAY. If K becomes uninterested, we stop! When I begin to force my teaching on him, he begins to resent my teaching all together. Eventually he will pick the skills up, it is not important that he learn them early. I believe in exposing him and letting him learn at HIS pace.

-Learning should be fun and exciting, filled with many different experiences. I try to make sure I give him opportunities in all of the many areas of development on a regular basis. I use my leadership as mom and teacher to alternate items I choose for Tot School each day to help with this. Some days we do music, some days art, some days ABCs, some days physical games. I try to bring balance, while also letting him repeat activities often that I know he really likes. For example, we have this GlowBright drawing board thing that he LOVES. I naturally wouldn’t even bring this out much, but because it is something HE loves, it comes out a lot and is used to expose many different skills: shapes, letters, colors, etc.). HIS interest leads that. I just stem the learning from his interest.

-Do not overwhelm the child!! I do NOT believe in drilling facts, teaching to acquire and master a skill, or anything of the sort. If K picks up letters (which he has), that’s great, but I will NOT drill him and make him color 50 Aa sheets until he gets it! P couldn’t identify any letters until he was almost 4, that was fine with me…he’s reading well above his grade level (if he were in traditional school) and knows them all now!!! K on the other hand could identify over half before age 2! They are just different kids.

-Kids are different. I do the natural comparing as all parents and teachers do, but I don’t do it to push anybody. Sure, we comment on things P could do, or things K can do that P couldn’t but it is NEVER to compare in a negative way. Children learn differently and I believe in relaxing about this.

Don’t know if any of that helps (sorry if it was more info than you wanted) :), but it all leads into my answer, which is to use your Mommy instinct and go at your tot’s pace. I knew K was ready to begin an ABC notebook when he became very interested in the written word. He began pointing out different letters (at first naming them incorrectly) on clothing, in books, on TV, etc. This was a big sign for me to know he was ready to begin a bit more in the area of teaching ABCs. Once he began to show natural interest I jumped in and followed.

My other son, P, did not show any interest until close to age 4. Everything (which wasn’t much) we did ABC related was entirely at my leading! The good news… he too learned all of his letters within just a few weeks-once HE became interested! P’s learning style was different than K’s and I had to teach in a more physical way with him (jumping on the letters, running to tag them, etc.). He also used the Leap Frog – Letter Factory DVD, which I truly believe is what sealed the deal for his letter ID knowledge! This video is amazing and so accurately teaches letter sounds. I only wish I would have had this when I taught public school, it would have helped so many of my struggling students.

I hope that answers your question, thanks so much for visiting our blog and trusting me enough to ask me for advice :).

Tot School

This was P’s first week with official school off, we all are really enjoying the break. With 1st grade taking a break, everyday Tot School is even more fun! We all are enjoying our time together, here are some highlights from our week…

The boys continue to enjoy our We are . . . The Laurie Berkner Band DVD on an almost daily basis, we have now gotten the instruments involved…

K learned how to wash the dog…
We worked on a bit of throwing with our cool dart ball game (we got ours a few years back from Lilly’s Kids, but I found one like it…Dart Ball)
Both of my boys always love when this cool toy comes down. We got it for about $1 at a consignment sale and it has provided years of entertainment (here’s one similar to ours…Mini Roller Coaster)
And, who says Cuisenaire Rods are only for older kids? We had a great time counting and talking about colors. I just had to make sure he didn’t eat the white ones!!!
We finally played with our new Color Mats
K actually did better than I thought he would with them.
My mother in law saved my husband’s old cars and accessories, and both boys love this particular mini race track thing. Here K is counting the cars, we also used them to work on colors that day!
And *The King* was a great way to teach “Too Big” he wouldn’t fit through the little opening!
We still love our ABC floor puzzles, K is getting much better now at helping to put them together.
By far my favorite activity of the week was playing with our wonderful Magtastik set (they are recalled but Magneatos are still available and almost exactly the same). K plays with these on his own a lot, they are a toy I don’t keep put away like many of our other Tot School toys. This day he was playing and I jumped in with him and we made things together. Here’s a letter V…
And he asked me to make an E…
I made him a square and he thought it should be a hat…
He helped me make an X (at his request)…Here’s our triangle…And finally, I made a B for him (also his request). This was super fun to do and we played for quite awhile!
And finally, our week ended with a thrilling evening for all of the men in my home. Daddy got a new TV (he’s been waiting about 10 years) and the boys enjoyed the bubble wrap… And here’s a lesson in *dog-ear-biting* just in case you’d like your kids to try this too…Ha ha! Hope you all had a great week!

If you have a tot (approximately ages 1-3) at home, join in the fun and share what you’re doing with your tot! Here’s how to get started if you’re new…

You can read this post for more details if you’d like, or if you have any ideas you’d like to share, link up your exact post to Mr Linky (if you have questions about how to do that, let me know in a comment or email). Provide a link back somewhere in your post to this post so your readers can see other ideas too!