School Days

In the midst of all of our travel, work, and other activities, I have been attempting to do preschool with Elias.  Somedays it’s super fun, somedays it’s super frustrating and somedays it doesn’t happen at all!  This year, I bought curriculum called “A Year of Playing Skillfully.”  It is based on the idea that preschool-aged kids learn through play.  So far, it’s been pretty fun and much better than my night-before Pinterest scramble that I was doing in Indonesia!

FAITH School

FAITH School

FAITH School

FAITH School

 

Elias has started to develop a love for books, which is basically this mama’s dream because it gives me an excuse to buy ALL the children’s books.  My kid book wishlist is longer than my own book wishlist.  It’s an illness.  Of course, he mostly wants to read about Legos and ninjas, but it’s a start, right?  Lego books are a gateway to E.B. White and N.D. Wilson, I’m just sure of it!  In the meantime, we’re learning all about Hero Factory, Ninjago (Legos and Ninjas!), Lego City and Lego Batman.  Hashtag: boymom.  Hastag: yesiknowthatsnothowhastagswork.

 

Back to School: Letter F!

After a lovely, and oh-so-needed vacation to Bali, we are now home and getting back into the rhythm of life in Nabire, which includes school!  So, we have arrived at the letter H!  But you haven’t heard from me since E, so let’s back up a quick second…

F is for Frog

Day One: F is for Frog!  First we made his letter F frog.  Above, Elias is drawing flies for the frog to eat.

Frog jumping

Next we played a little leap from game with some plastic frogs that we have.  They had to “jump” to the correct lily pad as I called out the letter.

fish scales

 

Day Two: F is for Fish!  We actually didn’t do much fish related this day, however he did paint this fish using q-tips to make scales.new app

Then he played a new game I downloaded on the iPad called “Letter School”  It’s super fun, and helps him to learn to recognize and write letters.

bunny game

This game really has nothing to do with letters, but it is critical thinking.  Each card has a picture of a few objects in a certain arrangement.  He has to look at the picture and then recreate it using the objects.  It’s called Bunny Peek A Boo and Elias loves it.

family photos

Day Three: F is for Family!  First we looked at pictures of Elias’ Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and Grandparents.  Since we only see them every few years, we find it important to look at their pictures often and talk about them all.

family tree

Then we made a family tree.  Elias did a great job of putting the right kids with the right parents!  He also decided to put his birth mom on a branch near us.
F book

All the books

Finally, he made his F book.  I love his little collection of books that he has created.  And he does love to read them from time to time!

E Week!

We have made it all the way to the letter E in our little preschool now!  And I feel like we both deserve gold stars.  Maybe 5 consistent weeks of school doesn’t seem like a big deal, but since it is often a daily battle, I’m feeling pretty good about 5 weeks of school!

E week turned out to be a pretty fun week!

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Eagle

E is for Eagle!  Elias made his letter E eagle and we watched a fun little video about eagles on YouTube.  He loved watching the eagles swoop and dive for fish.

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Next we did some review since he’s still getting his letters mixed up.  I wrote all of the letters we’ve learned so far on the floor and he had to throw a bean bag to the letters as I called them out.  After that, he used the same letters on the floor to make play dough versions of each letter.

Escape!

Next, we played a little game called Escape!  I froze several small plastic toys in ice and Elias had to use a hammer to help them escape!  He loves this activity, we’ve played it several times.

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On day two we learned about elephants.  I neglected to take many pictures this day, but we talked about elephants and then walked around the house pretending to be elephants.  We also made letter Es with our bodies!

Elias

The last day of E week was Elias’ favorite.  E is for Elias!  First he did this little activity matching the clothes pins to the proper letter to spell his name.

Egg hunt

Next, he did an egg hunt in his room.  I hid 25 eggs in there and he loved discovering each of them.

What's in the eggs?
Spell your name

Once all the eggs were found, he cracked open each egg to find a letter inside–the letters of his name.  He sorted the letters by making a pile for each letter that he found and then practiced putting the letters in the right order to spell his name.  (his head isn’t really all wonky in real life…it’s just the lens I was using).

We also sang a little song that I made up to help him remember how to spell his name.  It goes like this:

E-L-I-A-S
E-L-I-A-S
That’s how you spell your name, it’s
E-L-I-A-S

A song writer, I am not, but it’s effective and he can usually spell his name pretty well!

Phew!  5 letters down, 21 more to go!

Diggin’ D

D is for duck

I feel like I’m losing my mojo for school and we’re only on the letter D!  Uh-oh.  But we’ll press on anyway, because ultimately I really do enjoy this special time with my boy.

So, this week we learned about the letter D and started out with our letter D duck!  While Elias pasted this together, I read Duck in the Truck, one I actually own!  One of the harder parts of this for perfectionist me is letting him glue these things together without carefully placing all the pieces myself.  But I’m working on it and we end up with wonky ducks that he totally loves because he did it himself!

Writing practice

That little sticking-out tongue just kills me.  Love him!

letter identification

You know what’s great?  Tile floors and white board markers!  Our tiles are completely smooth and so they are super easy to write on and erase.  So we played this little game where he had to throw the beanbags to the letter I called out.

d is for domino

D

I almost forgot I had these little cardboard dominos–a white elephant gift from several years ago.  So, Elias used the big D I had written on the floor and made a d out of Dominos.

d is for doughnuts

On the last day of our D week, I had really great intentions of making yeast doughnuts.  Because how good are homemade doughnuts?  So good!  Unfortunately, my yeast was bad and so my doughnut dough never rose.  Elias had fun helping me mix together the ingredients anyway!….And then we made cake doughnuts the next morning.

 

Crazy for C!

Week 3 of Preschool: The Letter C!

 

C is for Car

C is for Car!

First up, we made this cute little letter C with letter C cars.  How cute are they?  And then we watched a little video about cars on YouTube (and truth be told, I don’t remember the name of it)

painting with cars

 

painting with cars

I really thought Elias would like this activity more than he did.  My thought was to roll his cars in some washable paint and then roll them down some paper taped to a ramp to make car tracks.  Because how fun is it to paint with cars?  Well, he did it a few times and then said, “what’s next?”

Draw in flour

Who doesn't love to eat flour

So, we spent the rest of our time practicing drawing “Cs” in a tray of flour.  This is messy and oh-so-fun!  Lots of flour may or may not have been consumed in this activity!

Cow

Cow

Day 2.  C is for Cow!

First we made this little toilet paper roll cow.  Elias had fun coloring the spots on the cow.  We also read the book “Click, Clack, Moo.”  I actually own this one :)

Cow

And then we played “how many spots.”  I tried a few different versions of this game, until we landed on one that worked.  I first tried having Elias roll a die, count the dots on the die and then putting that many spots on the cow, but this didn’t really work.  Next, I put the spots on the cow and had him count them.  Then we would add or subtract a spot and count again.  This version worked a little better and was easier than counting the tiny dots on the die.  Finally we just glued the spots down and called it a day.

C is for Cat

Day 3: C is for Cat!

First Elias made this cute little handprint cat.  He liked having his hand painted.  And then we read “If you give a Cat a Muffin.”

Practice cutting

practice cutting

Elias also practiced his cutting skills.  He has just reached the age when he can hold the scissors properly and cut a relatively straight line.  I bought these “Let’s Cut Paper!” books online a few months ago and they give some simple and cute guidelines for practicing scissors skills.

After mess

Supplies

Homeschooling is definitely not perfect.  It’s messy.  There are bad attitudes (his and mine).  We are often still in our pajamas.  But it’s also brought about some great conversations and great bonding.  And, at the end of the day, when Elias says, “Thank you, Mommy”  it’s all worth it.

‘B’ Bonanza

Preschool: Week 2

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Something I forgot to mention last time, is the Bible lesson that we do everyday.  We are using the book “Long Story Short”  The lessons are just the right length for Elias’ attention span.  I love that it is more than just reading from a children’s storybook Bible (though there is a time and place for that), but it has us reading straight from the Bible and then gives us some questions to think about.  And since it is split up into 5-lesson segments, we do this M-F.

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Another part of our Bible lesson, is what I’m calling The Gratitude Project.  Like all kids (and me too!) Elias has a mean case of the “I wants” and so we are taking time each day to think of the things we already have to be grateful for.  Each day, Elias and I list at least two things that we’re thankful for.  Sometimes, this is like pulling teeth and other days it just pours out of him (and yes, sometimes poop and boogers make the list…he is totally BOY).  Once everything is written in our super notebook, we pray and thank God for everything on our list.  It will be so fun to look at this book when he is older and be reminded of all the things his little 3-year-old brain was grateful for!

And now….onto the letter B!

We did school in Wamena (a town up in the mountains) this week since we were there for an airplane inspection.  Maybe it was 2nd-week-of-school-itus or maybe it was being out of routine, but I found this week to be harder than last.  I did, however, love, love, love that we did school in front of a fire each morning.  Collecting the wood and starting the fire was part of our school day!

B is for Butterfly

Day 1-B is for Butterfly!

First we listened to the book The Hungry, Hungry Caterpillar on YouTube.  And then we decorate our letter B to look like a butterfly.  Elias used his fingerprints to make the pattern on the butterfly wings since our fingerprints are each unique just like butterfly wings!  Of course, after awhile the fingerprints turned into finger smears…but what are ya gonna do?  :)

Letter B

Letter B

Next Elias made a letter B out of blue blocks and out of these letter sticks (don’t know what else to call them) that a friend lent to us.

B is for Blueberry

Day 2-B is for Blueberry Bushes!

We listend to “Blueberries for Sal” on YouTube and then made these cute little blueberry bushes.  In retrospect, we probably should have made the blueberries with q-tips (like we did with our ants last week), but we were away from home and I forgot to pack them.  Oh well!  Aside from our daily Bible lesson, this is all we did on Day 2.

Bear Hunt
Day 3-B is for Bear

(back home!)

We listened to Goldilocks and Just One Bear on YouTube and then read Going on a Bear Hunt (one I actually own).  And then Elias did his own bear hunt.  I hid several of these counting bears around the family room and he collected them in a bucket.  Once the were all collected, he had to place them on a chart according to their color and then count them.

A and B books

Finally, he made his “B” book to add to the “A” book we made last week.  Just like before, I cut out shapes of objects beginning with the letter B (boat, butterfly, bunny, bird, balloon and bear) Elias painted them and then we glued one on each page.

 

All About ‘A’

Since Elias sees all of his friends going to school everyday (they are all homeschooled actually), he wants to be big like them and “do school” too.  So, we have started doing preschool together.  I do not have any formal preschool curriculum and so Pinterest and YouTube are my BFFs.

My goal in preschool is mostly to have Elias get used to the routine of school and also having Mom as a teacher.  Since there is no English school option in Nabire, our only option is homeschooling.  If doing preschool together accomplishes nothing but those two things, we’ll call it a win…but I do hope that he learns some other things too.  I never thought I would be a homeschool mom, but I’m kind-of nerdily excited about it!

We are keeping things simple for preschool.  Each week, we study a letter of the alphabet.  There is gobs of stuff out there on the interwebs to do letter based preschool, so no need to reinvent the wheel here.  Naturally we started out with the letter A.

A is for Apple!

Apple Stamps

Apple Stamps

First we cut an apple in half and made apple prints.  Elias loves to paint way more than coloring, so I try to incorporate painting as much as I can.

Apples Up on Top

Next, we “read” the book “Apples Up on Top.”  Since I don’t actually own this book, we watched a video of this being read aloud on YouTube.  I told you that YouTube is my BFF.  There are soo many read aloud books available on there!

After watching the video, Elias glued apples “up on top” of this little guy’s head and then counted them.  We only made it to 7 even though it goes to 10 in the video.

Ants go Marching

 

Ants go marching

Ants go Marching

On the next day of school (we try to do school Monday, Wednesday and Friday), we talked about ants.

First we watched a little video (YouTube!) with the song “The Ants Go Marching.”  Then we made these little ants with popsicle sticks, black paper circles and googly eyes.  Elias loves the googly eyes.  Once all our ants we made, we lined them up one by one and then two by two, etc. just like the song.  We only made six ants, so our little guys only marched up to three by three.

q-tip ants

q-tip ants

Next, we made an ant painting using a q-tip to paint the ant bodies.  Red ants were also added after I took these pictures because “red ants bite and black ants tickle.”

All About A

A is for Apple!

The very last thing we do is make a little A book.  I cut out several shapes of objects all beginning with the letter ‘A’ (apple, airplane, ant, arrow and alligator) and let Elias paint them.  Once they were dry, he glued one shape per page and then we could read the book we created together.  To make the book itself, I sewed several pieces of 5 inch x 5 inch origami paper together.  This book is only 5 pages, including the cover.  I hope that by the end, he has one book for each letter of the alphabet!

All and all, I’m really loving doing preschool together.  We just spend about an hour working together each time we do school and I’ve already seen progress in Elias being able to recognize letters.  Yay!