Friday, August 31, 2007

Homeschooling Preschoolers

I would guess that anyone trying to homeschool more than one child (especially when one is a toddler/ preschooler) experiences the frustration of trying to meet the needs of the schooling child and the young one at the same time. Tough stuff! This is the first year I'm dealing with it because my oldest is now doing second grade work, which is requiring more of my help, and my youngest is, for the first time, not interested in what his big brother is doing! Up until this year, I simply would give my young guy the same materials my older one had and he would happily mimic his big brother until said brother was finished with his work (which usually wasn't very long; after all, it was first grade). This year - no dice.

When you type "homeschooling preschoolers" into search engines, you get lots of fun activities and suggestions returned. Most of them are for things you little one can do independently while your older(s) work. Many suggest having lots of things prepared and ready, either in bags, shoe boxes or even storage containers (one container per activity) so that you can just pull out 2-3 per day for you little one. I love this idea and have begun making several of these with things we have around the house.

One idea (and I honestly cannot remember where these all came from, but must be honest and say they were not my ideas) was to put the numbers 1-5 on index cards and on the back of each card, the corresponding number of dot so that you have self-correcting flash cards. These go into a zip-top bag with several manipulatives (bingo chips, counting bears, pennies (only for children no longer putting things in their mouth), etc.) and the object is to match the number on the front of the card with the correct number of counting objects. You child flips the card over to check their answer.

Pictured here today is another idea - felt play. Make a flannel board from a project poster board (foam core) and a large flannel remnant (we found one big enough to make 2 boards on clearance at our fabric store for .99 cents). We taped ours to the foam core poster board with packing tape. Make shapes from felt squares (the kind that are .20 cents each) in various colors. Your child can be given the assignment to make a town, building, person, pirate ship, etc, from the shapes. In this picture my guys are making "mommies" out of the shapes and some "clothes" I cut out for another activity, clothes line hanging.

For this one, you will need some "clothes" shapes cut out of felt, some yarn (for a clothes line) and some clothes pins. You hang the clothes line somewhere that you know it will be safe (like between two door knobs) and let your little one hang the laundry. Manipulating the clothes pins is a great small motor development exercise and you would not believe the concentration your kiddo will demonstrate with this one! I'll get more of these ideas posted over the next week or two. And please share your ideas!

Edited to add: click here to read "Part 2" with more ideas!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Watching Less TV

I admit it - I use the TV too much to get a few minutes to myself. I know my kids would be better off if they could learn to entertain themselves without the electronic babysitter. So, while I was online looking for some ideas to keep my preschooler busy while I work with my second grader, I came across this nice site. Its called Instead of TV and if you go there, you can download their free 45 page E-Book with lots of great information and some ideas, too. I will blog what I did for my little one as soon as I get a chance :)

So, back to watching less T.V. Today, I decided to give it a try. The kids usually watch 1-2 movies per day at 1.5- 2 hrs each for a total of wayyyyyyyy too much electronic entertainment. Today I told them no T.V. until after supper. Then they can choose one short (and calm) movie to watch. It hasn't been easy. I've spent a great deal of the day curled up in my bed crying and hiding from the kids while they tore the house apart, locked the cat in the laundry room, weeded my plants from the garden (but by some miracle, managed to spare the weeds) and gave each other black eyes (not literally - yet). I really miss the T.V. right now.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Celtic Warriors

Here are my Celtic warriors complete with bloody battle wounds. OMGosh, we love history!!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Library Thing

A good friend of mine recently shared a website with me called . This website allows you to create an account and catalog your personal library. What an amazing concept! Your library can be added with pictures and tags so that your books are cross-referenced with other members in an amazing database. I decided to try out the free membership to see how helpful it is. You can see my Tag Cloud to the left. When you click on any of the tags, it will take you to my library. Cool! If you create a library there, too, please be sure to share your link in the comments.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Bat in our House

So, we have these amazingly cool bats that live near our house. Last week a baby one found its way into our house (He's that blackish brown blob at the top of the brick wall in the photo). We called animal control to come and pick it up. We are all fine - no one had any contact with it. It was a really neat experience, though I hope to never do it again - lol. When our "Bat Man" caught it, we even got to hear our little guy squeaking and clicking as he tried to call for a rescue. That was really neat to hear up close.


We're studying Vikings right now in History (we introduce each time period chronologically). We began by reading from the Usborne Encyclopedia of World History, then we read the Usborne Vikings Beginner Series book. We were able to explore some of the internet links together, which was fun. Today, we found our Viking name at this link. The boys are Nikalas Leafslayer and Adwend Bloodaxe (Adwend was particularly pleased with his name). We also made Viking shield's today out of an old cardboard box (the boys are pictured with their shields in dangerous Viking poses - yeah, I know, there was no Star Wars in Viking times ~~ lol!). History is so much fun!!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Freezer Cookies

Maybe I'm just lazy, but I cannot stand to cook every day. And since we can't afford to eat out several times a week,( nor would I want to) and convenience foods are so filled with trans fats and other yuckies, I do alot of freezer cooking. The typical way that I fill my freezer is by doubling-up on a recipe when I do cook. Today, we wanted sugar cookies, so I used the kitchenaid mixer (on loan - love it!!) to make 4 batches of sugar cookies - one for today and 3 for later. My intention was to put them in containers in the freezer to defrost later. While the cookies were mixing, I was thinking about those break apart cookies you can find in the refrigerated dough section and wishing they didn't have trans fats. Then I realized I could make them. I used a chop stick to make the "perforations". Now I can't wait to try them out!!

Edited to add: We tried them out today and they worked beautifully! Be sure to break them apart while they are still frozen, as the dough does get softer and sticky once they thaw. It was so fun to have fresh baked cookies in 10 minutes and to be able to pronounce all of the ingredients in them! Have fun!