Tot School ~ Easter

~Krash is currently 46.5 months old~

~Ladybug is currently 11.5 months old~

We are carrying on around here, getting ready for the big change from Tot School to Preschool with Krash.  I am spending hours and hours behind the scenes preparing for that.  We are going to officially begin mid-April.  We go on vacation April 10 for a little over a week, then plan to get into Preschool when we return!  For now we carry on in Tot School fashion, these being his final weeks…wow time flies!

Learning Toys

Krash has always been better at letter ID than number ID, so we are working hard!  Here he is putting his magnets in order {with help from me}.  We also practiced counting 1:1 several times once they were all in order.IMG_5799 copy

We went outside to play with our lowercase alphabet beanbags {my mom made them for us}

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We used our ABC floor puzzle letters to work on K’s name, here he is hopping on the letters as he says them.  IMG_5740 copy We dug out our bottle top spelling cards and this time he chose Nana first ;-).IMG_5785 copy

He also worked with his color wheel, I remember not so long ago when he couldn’t open clothespins at all!  He’s so big now! IMG_5795 copy

Theme

We continue to explore our Easter theme and added in our Resurrection Eggs this week.  Krash had a GREAT time exploring them each morning freely.  We are teaching through them, but I also gave him time to just explore.IMG_5716 copy

I made K color eggs, putting a few small items in the colored egg to match.  He opened them all, dumped them all out and then put them all back correctly. IMG_5729 copy

The boys played Roll an Easter EggIMG_5733 copy  We made more patterns with our eggsIMG_3250

We played the Easter Dice Game again… IMG_3248

 

Post SubTitles ABC

G is for goat!  We read a few farm books, his favorite being Grumpy Morning.IMG_3499 copy

Tiny Tot SchoolLadybug explored eggs this week!  She played with her eggs every day and loved them every single time.  We used a basket and also an empty parmesan cheese container to play with them.  She didn’t really like it when we put them all into the container and made her get them out herself ;-)IMG_3439 copy

Pac Man counted one at a time for her as he put them in…she just stares at him, it’s adorable.IMG_3430 copy  IMG_5840 copyIMG_5831 copy

I was brave and let her explore our Sensory Box…Easter basket grass!  The box was mostly for Krash, but he wasn’t all that interested so it became for Ladybug.  I let her go at it on this day and she had a blast!IMG_3450 copyI think things like this are important {under CLOSE supervision} because it exposes babies to textures and sounds they probably wouldn’t encounter otherwise.  You can just see her little brain working as she plays.  I love her face below ;-).IMG_3474 copy She also loved playing with the pegs this week.  I gave her just a few and she loved holding them, perfect size for her little hands!  Pac Man is always stealing kisses ;-).IMG_5881

She joined us for morning calendar time this week and was so cute.  Lately she has been napping during calendar time but this day she was awake and she loved it!  She held our cards for us!IMG_5721 copy

Life School

Definite learning going on here during Fort Building 101.IMG_2956

Moms Favorite

Krash is obsessed with ladders.  Daddy was working outside hanging a new swing for us and Krash had to be right in the action.  I love his face below ;-)IMG_3087

He is also obsessed with tools, apparently the ladder needed some fixing. IMG_3167 copy

 

This Weeks Tools

10 Days in the USA…


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Way back when we had our 1000 Subscribers Celebration, I was sent 2 awesome games from Out of the Box . The first one, Backseat Drawing-I reviewed here {we still love it}. The next one, 10 Days in the USA-I saved until now as Pac Man is a bit older and it is more of an advanced game.

You can read the rules of this unique game here, and some modifications for younger kids here. This is a game that I will need to play with Pac Man for quite awhile, and we have yet to get Dad involved but I am sure he will whoop us all.

This game takes tons of focus and strategic thinking, even my brain was tired {in a good way}. It is recommended for ages 10 and up, Pac Man is almost 8. We just played it in a modified way and worked togetherer and it was awesome. I could really see his brain working as he explored the different ways to create a travel plan that would work for him.

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It is an awesome game, the board alone is wonderful as a teaching tool itself even without the game! You could easily just use the board and cards to find the states! In our version of play this day, Pac man won the game!

Here’s the view of how Pac Man won {and yes, the cat helped a ton}…

Start in Texas, walk to LA {since it borders TX}, fly to GA {since they’re both blue}, drive to MO{since they share a bordering state}, walk to IA, drive to ND, walk to MT.

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They also have different versions of this game, {Europe, Asia, Africa}, and so many other great learning games on their site, we love Apples to Apples also!

 

 

 

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?

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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.

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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

 

This Weeks Tools