Deuteronomy 16:15

Deuteronomy 16:15
For the LORD your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Tot School - Freestyle

Jim had this past week off! He had been working insane hours for the last three weeks while he wrapped up things at his old job. It was wonderful to have this time off before he starts his new job tomorrow. We were all pretty wore out from the previous three weeks of insanity, so this past week was pretty quiet. There was lots of napping, resting, getting caught up around the house, and just playing on the floor with the kids. I believe that playing with your kids on the floor is where real, authentic, learning occurs. We did very few planned activities, and lots of imaginary play and exploration. Not that planned activities aren't wonderful, I love them! However the key in my mind is a healthy balance between free play and planned activities.

 Our "ahem" PE this week consisted of large amounts of "wild time", as Jim and Naomi so fondly call it! Wild time is Naomi's favorite thing to do with Daddy. :)

This activity was supposed to be done with clothespins or large paperclips. I still need to buy some clothespins, and Naomi was getting frustrated manipulating the large paperclips. To keep her excited about this activity, I put the cards on a cookie sheet, and got out her magnetic pom-poms that we made. She marked the number that matched the items with the pom-poms and had a lot of fun. It was a quick save on my part! ;) This printable was from COAH.

This was a upper and lower case matching game from File Folder Fun. Naomi really enjoyed it.

This was one of the things we didn't get to the previous week. Naomi added a fun twist to it! Instead of covering all the blank spots with our pom-pom magnets, she wanted to match the jumbo buttons to the M&Ms. She said they covered them better, and she was right! This also was from COAH. It bothered her that we didn't have any brown or white buttons. lol

Naomi enjoyed using these containers to sort buttons so much last week, that I got out our jumbo jewels for her to sort this week!

Part of my Valentine's Day present from Jim was that I got to place a large Amazon order. I told him I didn't want jewelry, but more stuff for Tot School. Being a wonderful husband, he complied! ;) A deluxe set of Wedgits was one of the things I got. It was a big hit this week! This was a frog that Naomi and I built together.

Another thing to arrive was our much anticipated Do-A-Dot paint set. We were not disappointed!! Here Naomi was just finishing up making the letter M with her dot paints. I got the M printable from here.

The next item to arrive from Santa Amazon was a set of Lauri Tall Stacker Pegs. Both Naomi and Nathan had a blast with these! Naomi made this tower by herself. Note how she uses one color at a time. She is very precise. She became slightly irritated when she didn't have enough yellow pegs to fill the whole bottom. It took a little convincing, but finally she believed me that we could build things by just putting pegs in a few of the holes.

Here was the tower we built together. She was very pleased because it looked like the picture on the box.

I built this for Nathan and put some of their zoo animals in it. He was very impressed by my skills! ;)

The week wouldn't be complete without some pictures of Nathan! He is trying to pull himself up on everything. He loves playing in Naomi's kitchen, and was so excited when I helped him stand and play with the top part. I opened up a whole new kitchen world to him!

I got out the farm magnet set for Nathan this week. He was enthralled! He loved pulling them off, but actually tried putting them back on the dishwasher, and into the barn too!

This was too cute not to share! Nathan is getting old enough to do pretty well in the big tub as long as I watch him like a hawk. He and Naomi have been loving having baths together. I made this extra large so that if you look closely, you can see Nathan's new, top, tooth!

Since we had a pretty relaxed week, it gave me time to do a good bit of planning for the next few weeks. Tomorrow we start our two weeks study on Creation. I've got a ton of fun things planned and am VERY excited about it! Be sure to check in next week and see what we've been up to! Also, see what other mommies and tots are up to at 1+1+1=1.

Have a good week!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Tot School, Valentine's Day, and Sickos

This was a LONG week. Jim was working 12 -14 hour days, which is not the norm for us. Naomi got sick at the beginning of the week, and soon passed it on to Nathan. By the end of the week I was totally sleep deprived, after being up all night with one kid or the other. Thankfully on Thursday, Jim's parents came to the rescue and took care of Naomi all day, so I could focus on Nathan. That saved my sanity and got me through Friday. Despite feeling rotten, Naomi still wanted to do school. I didn't think she would want to, but she begged, and I was happy to comply! We didn't get to nearly all I had planned, but we did a few things. Our focus letter was M this week, and we continued to do Valentine's Day themed trays and activities.

Working on writing the letter M in Get Set for the Code, Book A.

A rose from Daddy for a sick girl on Valentine's Day. Daddy said EVERY girl should get flowers on Valentine's Day. What a wonderful daddy!!

Opening their Valentine's Day presents. They got some stuffies and more Lego Duplos. Nathan was  mostly impressed by the tissue paper.

Our transferring tray for the week. I got this idea from The Preschool Experiment and Naomi loved it! The glasses are plastic and I got them at the Dollar Tree. She loved the glass jewels and spent a long time, transferring them from the container to the glasses, and back again.

M is for M&Ms! Naomi is more interested in letter activities than counting ones, but this she enjoyed! We practiced putting the M&M numbers in order, and also putting the correct number of M&Ms on each number. She is getting really good at recognizing her numbers 1 - 10! I got the M&M numbers from Confessions of a Homeschooler.

We had been doing school in our office, but this was not working for two reasons. First, the office is right beside where Nathan naps, and we kept waking him up. Second, when he was awake, the office was NOT a Nathan friendly place for him to hang out. So we moved her little table and chairs into her room, and we are seeing if that works out better for us. We are still working out the kinks in our Tot School. Where do you do school with your kids? Share what works for you!

Practicing cutting. This is always something that has frustrated Naomi, but she is finally getting the hang of it and is really proud of herself!

This was our sorting tray. I got this idea from The Preschool Experiment also. I got these pretty, pink containers from the Dollar Tree, and know I am going to be able to use them for all sorts of things! They are so cute, and were the perfect size for Naomi to sort her jumbo buttons into. I got the containers in square, oval, and circle. I wish they still had the heart shaped one!

We had some very warm days for February this week! Even though both kids were feeling rotten, Naomi begged to go out on the deck and play in the sandbox. It was so nice out that I thought it was a great idea. This was Nathan's first time in the sandbox and he LOVED it! He was so excited! And yes, the are both in their jammies. After we played in the sandbox I stripped them down and they both had baths.

Nathan playing in the little cupboard in this room. He loves opening and closing the doors.

Here he was putting his little blocks into the back of his tractor. I thought this was not only cute, but brilliant too! He has so much fun playing in his room.

As I finish up this post, I realize that maybe we didn't have such a bad week after all! We didn't get to everything, but we had lots of fun with the things we did do. Bear in mind I don't take pictures of all the things we do. We really have enjoyed all the Valentine themed activities. Here's to hoping that this coming week is a little healthier, and that we all get a bit more sleep! Be sure to see what other's are doing in their Tot School at 1+1+1=1.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Busy Boy Update

Nathan is such a happy little guy! He loves crawling around and exploring everything. He plays so independently, and can entertain himself for the longest time. He loves it when Mom, Dad, and sis play with him, but he's perfectly happy to do his own thing too. Here are some of the fun things Nathan was up to this week.

Watching Charlotte Diamond's DVD with sis. He LOVES it!

 Waving hello at his 9 month appointment. He is 20.11 lbs and 30.1 inches tall, which puts him in the 50th percentile for weight and 95th for height!

Playing with his popper toy. He loves shutting them and can get 3 out of the 6 open by himself now!

Working with his letters. The boy is brilliant! ;)

Sorting (aka throwing them as far as he could) our jumbo button set. He loves these!

BIG news!! ;) Nathan clapped for the first time! It was super cute and he was so proud of himself! He's also starting to dance to songs he likes and it's adorable. I will try to get a video of him dancing and post it sometime!


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Tot School - Valentine's Day

Our theme for this past week was Valentine's Day! There is nothing like hearts, frills, and lots of pink to get Naomi and I excited!  We read lots of Valentine's Day themed books that we got from our local library, and really enjoyed those.  In addition to our theme activities, and Tot Trays, we are working our way through Get Set for The Code. We only do a couple pages a day, and typically do one letter a week. Our letter for this week was B.

As a side note, I will always put a link to the blog that I get an idea from.  I try my very best to link directly to the post where I got the idea, but realistically this won't always happen. For example, I know I got this shaving cream in a bag idea from Confessions of a Homeschooler, but I just can't remember what specific post it was from. Regardless, it was a great idea!

I filled a ziploc bag with shaving cream as a fun way for Naomi to practice making her letters. This was a great alternative to drawing directly in shaving cream, as Naomi doesn't like to get her hands dirty. I love my daughter! ;) I tried to make it pink by adding red paint, but didn't add enough for it to really work.  I also added way too much shaving cream the first time and it didn't work at all. Once I took over half of it out, it was much better. It was fun and not at all messy!

Nathan had his 9 month check-up, so off we all went to the doctor. One of the wonderful things about homeschooling is that you can do it anywhere! I wanted Naomi to work with her lacing beads, and since we didn't get a chance before we left the house, we just took them with us. She's really good at lacing now and it was a fun way to keep her from touching all the germ infested toys at the doctor's office. As you can tell, I'm a "bit" of a germaphobe!

This was a multi-step activity. First Naomi sorted out all the medium sized pom-poms. Then she peeled the paper back off magnet strips, and attached them to the pom-poms. This was very good for her fine motor skills, as the paper was really stuck on there. Next she put the magnetized pom-poms on a cookie tray.

After she played with them for a bit, I gave here this sheet to put all the pom-poms on. She LOVED doing this, and thought that the magnet pom-poms were the coolest thing ever. When we were done she said, "Mommy, I sure do like pom-poms!". I think it's funny the things they end up really enjoying. I got the Valentine magnet sheet from Confessions of a Homeschooler too.

Here was our Valentine making tray. She had fun decorating cards with stickers and foam hearts. I had her dictate to me what she wanted written in the cards.

B is for butterflies! On this tray she drew a number card from a bowl, and then had to put the correct number of butterflies on the mat. She liked the butterflies but this wasn't her favorite tray by any means. I got the butterfly number mat from here.

Having fun with playdough, using these heart shaped cookie cutters I got at Target.

I hadn't actually planned this activity, but didn't get around to doing it myself  in preparation for the next tray, so I had Naomi help. The best activities are never planned! I had her sort her foam bath set into letters and numbers. This turned out to be more challenging for her than I ever would have guessed, and is something we will definitely be doing again! I think it was hard for her because we've never worked with both letters and nubmers at the same time before.

I thought up this tray all by myself! This was a game to see how many chocolates Gloria Gorilla got for Valentine's Day.  I had Naomi draw these foam numbers from the container. Then she had to count out the corresponding number of chocolates. I thought this was so cute and couldn't wait to see her reaction. She was not impressed. She did the tray - once - after I bribed her with some of the chocolate. Go figure! ;)

Here Naomi did a lentil bean spooning activity. I got the heart muffin tin, and heart spoons, at the dollar section in Target. She loved sponging the beans, and did this over and over again.

We had a great week! Be sure to take a peek at what others are doing during their Tot School at 1+1+1+1. Check back later in the week to see what Nathan has been up to!


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Teeny, Tiny, Tot School!

The star of my Teeny Tot School posts is of course my 9 month old son Nathan.  Nathan is such a happy little guy and loves to explore everything!  He loves all things that have a motor and make noise.  He especially loves our various vacuums and the (rare) ocassions that I blow-dry my hair!

Nathan loves taking off the rings, and throwing them, and chewing on them!  We are working on putting them back on.  He can do it sometimes!

Practicing opening and shutting the door on his house.

Working with his blocks!  We talk about the colors, but his favorite thing is for Naomi to build him a tower, and then he knocks it down.

Here he is rolling the ball to big sister.  I am AMAZED how well he call roll/push it away already!

No time like first thing in the morning to do your music lessons! ;)

These pom-poms were actually for Naomi's school activity, but he loved dumping them out, and feeling the funny texture.  He had fun throwing them, but couldn't quite get them back in the container yet.

Of course at this age it is all about fun and exploration.  I try to expose Nathan to a variety of things, and love seeing his reaction.  I did so much with Naomi when she was little, I want to make sure that I'm offering Nathan the same opportunities.

Monday, February 7, 2011

January Tot School

I've always done learning activities with Naomi, but decided to make it a little more formal this fall.  We ordered the Sonlight Pre-K program and started doing it.  We love it and have had so much fun with all the books and activities!  This January I started searching online for some fun activities to supplement the Sonlight curriculum, and was overwhelmed with all I found!  The thing I have been most excited about was the idea of calling what I'm doing with Naomi "Tot School".  I found the idea here!  The blog is called 1+1+1=1 and written by a homeschool mom of three.  She has tons of ideas for Tot School, and posts each week what she does with her kids.  I have been so inspired that I want to try and do the same thing!  Here is my first attempt!

For the month of January our theme was winter and snow.  Based upon that we did all kinds of fun things!

What is a unit on snow without building a snowman?!?

We read the poem about Old King Cole and of course had to dress up like him too!  Naomi also has been very into building blocks.  She has never shown much interest in blocks before, so this has been a fun development.

Naomi had so much fun playing with some lentil beans in her kitchen! It was a great activity for her pouring and spooning skills. It made a huge mess, but when it was all done, she got to practice her sweeping skills as well!

Naomi and Daddy learned about igloos together! After learning what an igloo is, and looking at pictures of them, they made an igloo out of mini marshmallows and icing. Fun and tasty! ;)

This was our science experiment, and a transferring activity. We asked the question, what happens to water when it freezes? When we had our ice cubes, Naomi had fun scooping them from one bowl into another. We also did the reverse process (What happens to ice when it gets warm?) as well.

We made an ice sun catcher! We put our colored ice cubes in a pie plate, added some string and water, and left it outside overnight. The next morning we pulled it out and hung it on our tree! It was pretty for a few days before it melted.  Naomi had fun checking on it throughout the day to see if it was still there, shrinking, then eventually gone. I got this idea at MckMama's Blog.

Practicing our 1:1 counting and number recognition by counting carrots. The snowmen number cards came from here.

We had the opportunity to take Naomi to see the play Angelina Ballerina the Musical. We all LOVED it!!
 These are some highlights from our Tot School in January.  I want to start posting every week what we have done in Tot School, but since I just started this blog, I had to start somewhere!  It is a work in progress and I am still working out the kinks in our systems.  The important thing is that we're having a lot fun, and learning as we go! Check back for a couple things from Nathan's January, Teeny Tot School!