Behind the Scenes ~ Preschool Workboxes

Behind the Scenes Awhile back I wrote a Behind the Scenes post about beginning to transition Krash from Tot School to Preschool.  We are almost entirely done with that transition and I wanted to update you in case our journey might help anyone!  As I always say-our way isn’t necessarily the right way, it’s just a way that has worked for us.  Every child is different and what works for Krash and our homeschool may not work for yours.

At the writing of this post Krash is 46 months old, we began the transition I am writing about now about 6 weeks ago.

I slowly transitioned Krash from Tot Trays on a shelf like this…IMG_1861 copy

to workboxes like this…  IMG_0593I got this awesome set up from Ikea.  I have known I wanted this for years now, but just couldn’t bring myself to spend the money.  Finally my husband encouraged me to just get what I really wanted and honestly I am SO happy I did!  This is the set we have.

 

We did the transition slowly.  At first I just switched his normal things that would have been on his trays over to the workboxes, and just let him open them all up and pick what he wanted-the same freedom of choice he had with his tray set up.

Slowly I added in more preschool type work and eventually I added the numbers to his boxes.  I set up the 9 boxes with 6 being his workboxes and the 3 on the bottom being his “star” boxes.  These are the boxes filled with open ended toys that he can freely play with after boxes 1-6 are finished each day.  Here’s a photo I took and labeled to show you how it is working now.IMG_1867 You can see he was almost done for the day when I snapped this, as box 1-5 are done and the # cards are off and his finished work is on the tray.  Some days I don’t have all 6 boxes filled and if I don’t I just don’t put the numbers on him.  It only took him a few days to understand that.  Now he can look and see that he only has 4 boxes on a certain day, and then he is free to play in star boxes.

A few random thoughts about how we do things…

  • He does go in order, beginning with box 1 each day.
  • I do work with him the entire time, he is not independent yet!
  • Each box usually is something that doesn’t take a really long time.  I break things down into small chunks for him, we will gradually increase his attention span.
  • He only took a few days of training to get past the “WHAT??? I can’t just do what I WANT for school anymore???”  phase ;-).  Once I decided we were switching to “Mommy chooses first, then you {star boxes},”  I knew I had to make it stick.  I disciplined and made him obey even if he didn’t like me too much.  Within a few days of fighting me, the battle was won.  He now goes in order with very little complaining.  He is a strong willed little man too, so don’t think it was easy-I just had to be firm and let him know I was most certainly the boss-even of school.

So, I know you are wondering ;-) what is in the different boxes?  Here’s an idea of the types of things I would put in each set…

In Workboxes 1-6…activities with a clear ending

  • Kumon Cutting Workbook
  • Theme printables  {from Tot Packs and other sites I use to get things from}
  • Puzzles
  • Learning toys that have a definite ending point {not open ended toys}
  • Coloring, cutting, drawing, or other art activities that have a “goal” {again, not open ended stuff}
  • ABC projects {currently we are doing Crafty ABCs from Totally Tots}

 

In STAR Boxes… open ended toys {these are just a few of our suggestions}

  • Zoobs
  • Tall Stacker Pegs Building Set
  • Beads
  • Small Wooden Blocks
  • Twister Rings
  • Automoblox
  • Magneatos
  • Egg/Spoon Race Game

Here’s our new Preschool Tools store I set up to help me keep all of our suggestions in one place.  We still use many of our Tot School Tools as you will see, I just wanted to have a new section as we enter into official preschool years!

We are just weeks away from officially beginning our new Raising Rock Stars Preschool program!   I can’t wait to share with all of you, I have been working like crazy behind the scenes to get it ready for Krash and to share with you!  Stay tuned!

Edited to ADD {2013} Preschool Work Trays with LadybugPreschool-Work-Trays.jpg

Raising Rock Stars ~ Resurrection Eggs

Just a simple set of brightly colored eggs. Right?

IMG_3203 copy

At first glance, yes.

Kind of like Easter.

Bunnies, chicks, jelly beans, eggs, the list goes on and on. Yet there’s so much more beneath the surface. Oh how important it is to teach our children what really happened and what we are really celebrating. We personally have no problem with all of the cute stuff {except the easter bunny-we don’t do him at all}, but it is in the shadows of our real learning and celebrating during this season.

We began our family study of the Resurrection Eggs this past Sunday night. To say the kids were excited and interested would be a complete understatement. They were captivated, even Ladybug! It was one of our best family nights ever…for that alone I am so thankful!

I read the story from our Miss Patty book {The Story of the Resurrection Eggs in Rhyme & Song}. We explored each egg and named the item. As we got to each egg, one child had to find the egg {but not open it}, shake it, then pass it on down the line to let everyone shake it {yes, we even waited for Ladybug each time to figure out how to shake them}. The final child opened the egg and we all ooohed and ahhed.

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After going through the eggs we worked through the set of printables I made for our kids, one page at a time. I laminated ours and added velcro for the word eggs. I hooked them all together in order with a metal ring. We went through them, finding the items again and just spent time exploring freely and learning just a bit about them.

Resurrection EggsaResurrection Eggs2

Each weekday Daddy is using the booklet that comes with the set of eggs to teach the kids through the Bible, about the eggs. He is reading the passages from our NIV Bible and then explaining it in a way they can understand. We are doing one egg each morning.

Next week we will have part 2, as we explore the eggs together in a hands on way.

~ my camera battery died, which is why there is only one photo, and also why I don’t have any photos of our completed set of printables. I hope to find my charger soon {yes, it’s lost, I am miserable} and snap a pic of our set to show you.

 

Resources used this week:

Visit theRaising Rock Stars Webpage to download your own notebook pages and to see links to previous Rock Stars posts!

Tot School ~ Easter Fun

~Krash is 46 months old~

~Ladybug is 11 months old~

Learning ToysWe dug out our Magneatos and Krash made fireworks.  The best part was his detailed  {hilarious of course} descriptions of how the fireworks worked and what they looked like.IMG_3037

We had some Egg and Spoon Race fun!IMG_3029

He is VERY into clocks and time.  We are still doing a time of the day with our calendar time, but he needed more time fun so we got out the cards and clocks and he just played with them for so long! {that white clock was a consignment sale find for a dollar!}IMG_3003

He has progressed in the progressive puzzles, he can now do the 6 piece puzzles! IMG_2998

Krash is finally into building things, and was VERY proud of his towers!!! IMG_2923

Theme

We began our weeks of Easter Fun! I have tons of things, so we will keep this theme through Easter’s arrival!  Everything you’ll see below can be printed from links in the Totally Tots Mommy Made Printables Post!  {I used things from Erica-Confessions of a Homeschooler, Erin-Homegrown Hearts, and my own Tot Pack!}

One of our very favorite things, the colored baskets and eggs from Erin.  I laminated everything and put small velcro dots to help hold it all.We played several games with these {and aren’t done yet}.  Here K is flipping over one at a time with me to name the color and find it’s home.  It is good taking turns practice too.IMG_2864

The next time we used the eggs we got out tons of energy!!!  I gave 3 baskets to K and 3 to Pac and then hid the eggs accordingly {easier for K and harder for P}.  They had a race to see who could find their eggs the fastest.  I purposely put the baskets far away so they would have to run a lot {wear them out=possibility for a nap}.  IMG_2966

On another day I also tried to wear him out.  I put all of the eggs in a basket and laid the baskets in a row.  He had to run to get one from my basket and then run as FAST AS HE COULD to put it in the correct basket…all while yelling out the color!  We plan to use these eggs and baskets much much more!IMG_2997

I finally got around to making pom pom magnets and K loved them!  Here he is using them to work on the He is Risen! page…IMG_2862

He colored one color per day in his Jelly Bean Prayer mini book {from my Tot Pack}…IMG_2866

We read an adorable {and very inexpensive} book I got the boys, My Jellybean Prayer Book. I also bought him smelly Jolly Jelly Beans Stickers, he had fun making a lovely picture for us to hang up ;-)…IMG_2871Pac Man helped Krash with our new egg file folder game.  IMG_2939 We played the Easter Dice Game several times!IMG_2941  The boys made patterns with eggs…IMG_2962

K completed the entire Spring ABCs file folder…IMG_2991

 

Rock Star Tot

We are almost done with Moses and Krash colored a picture of Moses to put on the front of our final folder which will hold all of our Moses stuff! IMG_2946

 

Tiny Tot SchoolWe made Ladybug some shakers out of breastmilk bottles!  While searching for a new item, I saw these and realized they are the perfect slim size for her little hands.  Pac Man helped me fill them with neat things. We used: pom poms, mini erasers, small beads, small linking shapes, rice, beans, and wiggly eyes.  She loved them!!!IMG_2888 Although the cat was a bit distracting, she loves Buddy too!IMG_2893

P showed her how they roll down the slope of the upside down basket…this made her giggle! IMG_2894  I hid them under her rings for her to find…IMG_3014 I stacked them up for her to knock over…IMG_3046

Ladybug continues to love her books, Pac Man continues to be an amazing biggest brother.IMG_2895

She also enjoyed playing with blocks this week {mostly just banging them together}.IMG_2928

 

Life School

Pac Man was learning about magnets while K was “sleeping”.  He wandered downstairs and just had to be included!  He had fun seeing which things float…IMG_2898  Then he checked to see which things would attract to the magnet…IMG_2904

We did this neat trick, which he loved!!!IMG_2903

 

Moms Favorite

Ladybug’s birthday is less than a month away and we just couldn’t wait to give her her birthday present ;-)…a new swing!  It was warm and sunny and just begging to be put up for her.  Do you think she likes it? IMG_3174 copy

 

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Raising Rock Stars ~ 10 Commandments

10 Commandments

Daddy read a modified version of the story out of our My First Message: A Devotional Bible for Kids. All throughout the week we have been reading from the regular NIV each morning to get the full story ;-).IMG_2330

We are making a 10 commandment train together… IMG_2336After coloring the boys were surprised with the complete set of these DVDs all about the 10 Commandments. image Krash is in LOVE with his “Moses Movies” and has watched them as much as I will allow since getting them! There are 5 in the set.IMG_2340

 

Resources used this week:

Visit theRaising Rock Stars Webpage to download your own notebook pages and to see links to previous Rock Stars posts!

Tot School ~ Spring Fun…Kites!

~Krash is currently 46 months old~

Learning Toys

We did ALL of his ladybug ABCs together, but it was way more fun to drive cars on the bug-road!IMG_2419

Stacker Pegs…always a BIG HIT {with both boys}… IMG_2440

He learned to put them on his fingers! {Visit my Play with Me post on Totally Tots for more play ideas with this awesome toy!}IMG_2444

K continues to LOVE these puzzles. By far his favorite puzzles. He has these and the dino set and asks for them a lot!IMG_2771

Remember these? Yup, we still love them. Krash can build them all by himself now…IMG_2827but his favorite thing to do is this… IMG_2828

Theme

We began our SPRING FUN this week {thankfully the SUN cooperated}, we enjoyed tons of KITE activities! You can find all of the files for these activities here on my Spring Fun webpage and also from Erica’s K is for Kite post!

He matched the kites…IMG_2343

Traced the lines {and amazed me with his ability to focus on this}! IMG_2346His control while tracing is unreal to me {since Pac Man was TOTALLY different}. IMG_2363

He dot painted his K is for Kite… IMG_2381

He counted 1-10 with me, putting his kites all in order {with help}…IMG_2560Then I had him practice 1:1 counting by moving each number over as he said it, to make sure he didn’t go too fast or skip any!IMG_2568

On another day we used erasers to match to the numbers 1-5…IMG_2804

We played the Build a Kite game… {I love these games for the number ID practice he gets}IMG_2597

He cut out all of his triangles and put his colored kite together… IMG_2796 IMG_2800

He read his Spring mini book a few times {Pac enjoys helping}…IMG_2554

He worked on his Spring ABC file folder several times. I gave him just a handful of letters to do each time so he wouldn’t get overwhelmed.IMG_2576

 

Post SubTitles ABC

We read the Gingerbread Baby and made F is for Fox!

IMG_2812 Some of you have asked if our letter matches up with our theme. NO it does not. I don’t worry about everything matching ;-). We do lots of stuff within a theme and lots of random stuff. Young kiddos don’t care nearly as much as we moms do about things all going together!

Techy TotMy iPod has been a sought after item this week for both boys. It’s funny how some weeks they barely ask for it, and some they are both fighting over it! Krash has especially enjoyed his different apps this week. IMG_2748I got him a new one in honor of the Dr. Seuss sale! We have enjoyed reading through the book together with this app and he has played with it alone too! Adorable and only 99 cents right now! Find this app and more on our website!

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Rock Star Tot

Each morning during our calendar time, we practice our old verses. I always LOVE hearing Krash recite {sing} his verses from memory-it is so encouraging to me! IMG_2789

 

Tiny Tot School

Ladybug explored SPOOLS this week! I had a few plastic spools and some wooden ones my mom had saved for me. Again, such a simple object {and free}, but filled with opportunities to explore for a Tiny Tot! I love seeing her dig things out of the basket! IMG_2727She really liked seeing how many she could fit in her chubby little hands!IMG_2734

I added a clear empty container {parmesan cheese} and put them all inside, she had fun dumping them out, although she still just preferred to bang them together and hold lots in one hand!IMG_2778

Little bug is learning to get around much better now! I find her like this a lot now, just trying to get the courage up to drop and scoot!IMG_2745We had a little Tot School in the sun for a few days when God blessed us greatly!!!!!IMG_2663 Nothing better than the sun and big brothers who adore you, right? ;-) This princess has it made.IMG_2677IMG_2470Ladybug loves turning pages in books and will sit by herself and do this for a really long time! {yes, I know I am blessed-neither of the boys did this often or for nearly as long}. IMG_2481

 

Life School

The sun made for some awesome deck fun this past week. It is raining now {POURING actually} as I write this, so these pictures make me smile and long for the sun to return this week!

Krash practiced using a fan to cool himself from severe heat stroke {you know in the 58 degree weather}.

IMG_2507 Krash dresses himself most days now;-)IMG_2499

 

Moms Favorite

This boy just makes me smile. I simply adore him. Those brown eyes, that silly grin, those chubby cheeks. IMG_2397

Those are my feet, tickling him. I love remembering his contagious laugh.IMG_2409

 

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