Monday, August 28, 2017

Creating a Preschool Homeschool Space

Do you ever feel like your kid's stuff has just overtaken every room of the house?

Last year, I set up most of Sweet Pea's preschool items in our breakfast room next to the kitchen, which you can see here.  It worked great!
However, I had also turned our front formal family room into her playroom, which she hardly used unless to get a book.  I really hated the fact that she hardly played in there. Then she had stuff in the living room and I was going nuts with just stuff everywhere.
So on a Saturday, as my husband watched over our girl, I combined everything into one room- her playroom, thus creating a Preschool Homeschool space perfect for us.

Here's how I organized her space:

Reading Area:

Tepee: handmade by my friend Julie for Sweet Pea's 2nd birthday, adorned with paper flowers I    
            made for different baby showers.
Shelves: rain gutters from Lowe's attached to 2x4 mounted to studs in the wall.  My husband built 
              these last year.
Mirror: reflective play with blocks (see end of post for links)
Artwork: created by Sweet Pea

She absolutely loves hiding out in her teepee with her books. Sometimes when she needs a time-out, 
she'll go hide in here as well :) 

Display Wall:

Art Display: twine, pushpins, and mini clothespin hold Sweet Pea's work.
Map: provided by Mother Goose Time
Magnetic Dry Erase Board: Theme poster is sticky tacked to it.  Can't wait to use our story magnets
                on this board!
Trunk: I've had since college.  Building manipulatives in clear containers from Dollar Tree.  Above 
            the trunk, our Experience God posters for the month are displayed.

Bookshelf: from Walmart.  Houses counting manipulatives, stickers, puzzles, trays with activities set 
                   up on them, and a few books.  The puzzles and manipulatives come each month in our 
                   Mother Goose Time kit and I have combined them together here.

Window Wall:

Table: handmade by my husband.  It has a chalkboard painted top which is useful to draw on.  This 
           table gets a ton of use and is probably one of my most favorite things.  The chairs were 
           donated by by neighbor, a pediatrician, who was moving offices and couldn't use these chairs 
Measurement Board: handmade by my friend Julie for Sweet Pea's 1st birthday. Julie is the best!
Window: displays our Mother Goose Time Circle Time numbers, weather, shapes, and day of the 
                week cloud

Cabinet: Inside are our paints, Mother Goose Time box, and scrap paper.  On the middle shelf is a CD                player Sweet Pea can work that holds all our Dance and Beats music CD's that come with   
               our monthly curriculum.  On top of the cabinet is our book of the day/invitation to create 
               display, a Sterilite container holding letter cookie cutters, stamps, and scrap paper; a 
               magazine file holding all my teacher guides; and a smaller Sterilite container holding 
               manipulative and calendar supplies.  The front of the cabinet has our topic of the day, and on                the left side of the cabinet is our calendar and day of the week clouds.

Kitchen Play Area:

Kitchen: donated by one of my husband's co-workers whose kids outgrew. We surprised Sweet Pea
              with it for her 3rd birthday.
White cabinet: from my public school teaching days.  Turned on it's side, it becomes the perfect
                         height for Sweet Pea to cook on and houses her play food and things in the little
                         square areas.  A little lamp makes the perfect accessory that Sweet Pea can turn on
                         and off when she wants.

Well my friends, that's it.  
It took me all day long, but I am so pleased with the outcome.
Sweet Pea loves to spend time in here now which was one of my main goals when combining everything into this space.
And this school teacher at heart can not wait for the first day of our Preschool Homeschool!
If you are a homeschooling momma and tired of spending hours digging through Pinterest, take a minute to look at what Mother Goose Time has to offer!  It truly is a life (and time) saver!

Now to decide when to start the school year... before or after Labor Day?

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Superhero Study: Speed

Superheroes can be known for a lot of things: strength, speed, invisibility, and so forth. 
Today with our Superhero Unit from Mother Goose Time we studied the quality of SPEED.
However, my girl is a cautious and quiet observer... she is definitely not known for her speed.

Our first activity was supposed to be about how fast the child could match the letters, 
but we accommodated it to Sweet Pea and her love of reading. 
Our manipulatives this month are upper case magnetic letters and magnet wands.
Sweet Pea worked on picking up one letter with the wand at a time and matching it to it's lowercase counterpart.  She did a great job at this and only was a little confused by d and b... naturally.
This activity triggered her mind to remember her Dr. Seuss's ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book! 
"Wait, mommy.  Wait!" 
She got up, ran to her bookshelf, and pulled out the book.
"Read Mommy."
I love those little moments; the ones where I can see all the little connections her brain is making.

Here's a little video I made of our activity in action.

Later that day, after Daddy came home, we talked about how some Superheroes are known for their speed.  Some wear special shoes to help them go fast.
In our Invitation to Create, we were supplied with some paper, a shoelace, and a colorful graphic of a variety of shoes in a circle formation.
Sweet Pea grabbed 2 of her favorite shoes and traced them on different colored papers.  She worked really hard on her cutting skills and trying to cut along her lines.  
Daddy ended up cutting one shoe out, but she did the other two with some help from him.
I love it when he gets to participate in her learning activities. 

As I watch her do some of these skills I wonder, would I even be allowing Sweet Pea to cut yet?
Honestly, probably not.

Mother Goose Time has really stretched me into providing learning opportunities for her I know I probably wouldn't be doing yet otherwise.  So grateful for this curriculum, seeing my girl grow, and being pushed out of my comfort zone.

Happy Learning! 


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Mother Goose Time: Welcome Kit

 It came! It finally came!
Sweet Pea and I were so excited to see our new Mother Goose Time box on our doorstep Monday.  
Lately, each time she sees it, she decides she has to ride the bus, aka sit on the box.
She wouldn't give me a smile as she was too distracted by the dog in our yard. 

Today I only want to discuss the Welcome Getting Started Kit that comes with your first order or the order in September to kick off a new school year.
When we started MGT last year, Sweet Pea had just turned 2, and I wasn't very good about being diligent at doing our stuff everyday.  She turned 3 at the end of July, and with her vocabulary expanding and imagination beginning to come out more, I really do think we can have some fun and make time for our daily learning adventures.

What's in the Welcome Kit?

Developmental Continuum of Skills

Before September creeps in, I want to really take a good look at the developmental continuum of skills MGT provides... especially the Quick Reference Guide!
This will help me challenge Sweet Pea in areas we have never explored together all the while keeping me in check at what she is actually supposed to be doing at her young age.  
I definitely do NOT want her to feel like she isn't meeting my standards.  
Here's a quick video I made about the Developmental Continuum of Skills:

Pocket Cube Card Holder and Basic Cards

This is somewhat new this year! We had the cube last year and used it every month with different games both math and literacy.  But the added bonus this year are some basic cards that will be used constantly, like number cards 0-20, basic colors, and shapes.  

Circle Time Display Materials

Inside the Welcome booklet, there's this handy dandy picture of what you can make your Circle Time board look like.  I tried a board last year, and you can read about that disaster here.
Eventually, everything fell off and I ended up mounting most of the board to our windows in our breakfast room turned play space. It worked great after that! 
Currently, I have moved all our MGT to her playroom and did a complete overhaul this past weekend which I will post about later. However, I did include a pic of our finished Circle Time "board" at the end of this post. 

Weather Cards, Mother Goose, and Calendar Month Cards

I punched out all the above items and laminated them since they will be used or touched more often than our daily bag materials.  Mother Goose can hide somewhere in your classroom or home and the child can search for her and place her back in the nest.  This would be a fun thing to do each morning and maybe the kid who finds her receives a special moment to lead or hold the door or pick something out first.  For us, Sweet Pea just enjoys finding her and putting Mother Goose back where she belong- her nest.

Clouds: Days, Topic, Letter, Number and Extra Fluff

We use these clouds everyday.
We go over the calendar and Sweet Pea finds the cloud with that day of the week printed on there and places the card near Mother Goose and her nest. There are some extra white clouds that you could add to your board or write something on or place sticker names on.

Number Tree and Letter Grass

These are new for us this year.
Last year, our numbers were on fish, and we only received a few fish each month which was a little awkward.  But this year, I have all the numbers 1-20 and placed them on our tree..  I laminated these as well because I can see us removing many numbers each day and week matching and counting.  Having all the numbers now will provide more opportunities for better discussion on numerals.

Our Finished "Board"

Really this is only part of the finished product. 
I didnt use a board, but a window and I used sticky tack to mount everything to the window.  I love how Sweet Pea can look out, actually observe the weather, and pick the corresponding weather cards to place above Mother Goose.  This window is also the center of one of our walls, and her little table is in front of it, giving her access to looking at the display throughout the day.

The cloud shape cards are from last year's curriculum supplies and I just incorporated them into this years, as I did not notice a shape of the month, but MGT may be including that elsewhere. 
I'm also a hoarder when it comes to educational supplies and struggle all the time at throwing anything away that could be beneficial in the learning process.

Stay tuned for how we set up our new playroom/school room in the next few days... or weeks... 
I gotta figure out how to edit videos. Yikes.

Until then,
Happy Beginning of the School Year!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Superhero Study: Invisibility

Whenever I think of invisibility, I always think of God.  Specifically, I think of Joshua 1:9, 
"Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
We may not see our invisible God like we see the world around us, but that does not mean that He does not reveal Himself to us through His creation. He is with us wherever we go.
This is what I tried to tell Sweet Pea as she created her Resist Art during our Invisibility Day using our Mother Goose Time materials. 

She first colored with her white crayon all over her white paper, but she could not see her markings and I could tell she was a little frustrated.  (She even went to grab a few other colored crayons later)

I told her sometimes we can't see God (and that can be frustrating), 
but that does not mean that He is not there.

He reveals Himself in time; often through His creation and circumstances. 
Sweet Pea then revealed her white crayon markings by placing watercolor all over her paper.  
(I made these water colors with water and food coloring).

I simply love the above picture!  She was so tickled to see her lines appear as she added on the paint. When her painting dried, it was hard to see the white lines anymore.  I think it's because this paper is cardstock and not watercolor paper specifically.  But you can still see some of the lines and I love the way the colors blended together.  The frame MGT sent is the perfect addition to this 

Invisibility Day didn't end there, though.
After painting, we had a blast in the kitchen making a snack of Invisibility Toast! MGT sends Recipe Cards with simple instructions of how to have fun making a simple snack with your kiddos.  Sweet Pea studied the card, and although she can not read words, she knew exactly what to do from the pictures. 

She worked on cutting and tearing foil (she just turned three) but older kids could cut letters or trace cookie cutters. Once she was done tearing pieces of foil, she placed it on a piece of wheat bread that I provided on a baking tray.  We talked about what she thought the bread would look like when it came out of the oven.
"Hot." lol!

I wish I had gotten a non fuzzy picture of the finished product, but it worked well.  The foil kept the bread from being toasted in that particular area.  It acted as a way to keep the toast invisible to the heat.  In order to see the contrast better, white bread would have worked better than wheat. 
I added some cinnamon and sugar to Sweet Pea's toast, and she ate her afternoon snack while our poor pooch, Peyton, begged her to share.  
She finally gave him her crust.

He was not invisible to her. :) 

What a great day on studying Invisibility.  
Feeling invisible can be an awful feeling, but how incredible is it that our God sees us constantly even all the while being invisible to our untrained eyes?

Hoping you and your kiddos never feel invisible!

Monday, August 7, 2017

John the Baptist for Preschoolers

Trying to teach about God to preschoolers is a tough job, but our Experience God pack makes it so easy for us at home. This month we are studying that God is Light through the story of John the Baptist.

Our first story card has a picture of John living in the wilderness.  Perfect timing since last month we talked about camping with our Camping Unit from Mother Goose Time.  I told Sweet Pea about John living alone in the desert and how he would eat bugs!  
My teacher guide had this little game (pic below) as a suggestion, but I tweaked it a little bit with the help of some of our manipulative from our unit on Bugs and Crawly things.  
She couldn't wait to get started!

Instead of paper pieces, I grabbed our bug manipulatives from that unit of study, and placed them on our purple tray with a foam die we had from a previous month.  When I told Sweet Pea we were going to make John some bug dinner, she ran and grabbed the green plates from her play kitchen.

She practiced rolling the die, counting the dots, counting bugs, and then placing them on her plate. 
"Here you go, John," she said as she pushed the plate towards the picture.
My heart melted. 

Tomorrow we will talk about how John baptized those who turned towards God.  I'll use tons of her Little People and our water table outside to demonstrate baptism.

Watching your child grow in the knowledge of the Lord is one of the most rewarding sights I have been blessed with.  I pray she comes to know Him sooner rather than later. 

Check out more of our adventures through Facebook and Pinterest!