Friday, July 31, 2020

Tot School Heart Activities

 Archer was 26 Months
This was our last Shape Theme in Tot School. You can see the Shape Themes "Curriculum" post here. This week was heart.

Note: we did a LOT of heart activities for Valentine's Day, so we did a little less this week.
This is what Archer's desk area looked like. The shelf included a Non-Fiction Sight Words book, an alphabet book, an animal antics book, a blends reader and My Heart is Like a Zoo. I also had some of his artwork.

We used stickers on his Dot Art (Free to print here).
Shape tracing page that we use with dry erase crayons (Free to print here). This is still something we do together.
Heart fondant cutters, a heart stamp and an extruder for play dough. I also dug out some heart scatter we got back around Valentine's day. He also really enjoyed his alphabet stampers  (similar to these).
Working on his heart color page. (Free to print here)



Playroom shelves include both theme related tot school activities and other toys, usually open ended. The goal is to work on things like fine motor skills, visual spacial skills, math and literacy (and keep him entertained). 

Top left had a heart stringing activity, a foam heart puzzle, sorting disks and his magnetic ice cream set. Shelves on the right had some two part puzzles, a heart punch with paper, the Food Truck Fiasco game, safari bowling, a magnetic shape book and a basket of cards with the highway shape (from Making Learning Fun).
Heart lacing activity. I had him roll the die and then put that many hearts onto a pipe cleaner. 
Quick foam puzzle I made.
Tired, but still wants to play. 
Puzzles with a heart paper punch?
 
Putting some blocks in numerical order.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Homeschool Preschool "Curriculum"


As we approach the new school year, I've begun thinking of what I want to do with Archer for "School." In some ways it will be very similar to when my oldest was 2 (that curriculum post is here, although he was closer to 3. Archer just turned 2) and in other ways it will be very different. Archer has been his own kid from the start and blazed his own trail. I've had to adjust accordingly.




Also, every child is different. Archer has been learning to read since he was an infant. That definitely makes our choices look different than other families. He absolutely loves all things letters. Therefore, we have a lot of letter toys and we plan to do a lot of letter related activities. He also benefits from being the younger sibling, so we have lots of materials left over from big brother. When I typed this all out, it seemed like a lot. However, we won't do very much every day or for very long at a time. The vast majority of his time is still free play. Most things on this list will be rotated, so not done weekly.


I made these letter materials that go through the alphabet in animals. They provide a theme and structure to the weeks, as well as help with letter and case recognition, phonics introduction, matching, reading, fine motor, etc. We may or may not do every activity every letter. Some things I'm sure he will really like and want to do every time, others will probably only be done every few letters.


Letter Supplements
Mostly to go with the Mommy and Me ABC themes and because he LOVES letters. I am not at all concerned wit him learning letter formation. He is definitely not ready to write. However, he likes to turn any toy he can into letters, so I've included letter building activities. He is also showing more interest in tracing, so I'm going to provide opportunities as long as he is willing.
A lot of the random letter objects will go in a sensory bin.




Brain Games Workbook
UPDATE: Since I purchased and updated, it seems like Brain Games has switched to "Preschool Prep." I think they're pretty similar.

A workbook we can go through together. Since I will be doing some book work with Xander, I thought Archer would like to feel like he has his own. I plan on just having him sit on my lap and talk through these. No pencil or writing.


My First Brain Quest
Another thing for us to go through together while Xander does his schoolwork. I see it mostly as a way to practice asking and answering questions, and using sentences.

Art, Coloring, Tracing and Workbooks
Both my kids have been resistant to coloring and tracing, so I will present these as an option. I do not plan on requiring them. He's obsessed with the "Meet the" series, so I'm hoping those will draw his interest. For the workbooks, I  will only pages I think he can do, one at a time, in a dry erase sleeve.

Tech Time
Mostly for when I'm working with big brother on school work or need to make dinner.


  • Leapfrog Talking Word Factory
  • Your Baby Can Discover DVDs
  • Letter Factory - I use this sparingly because he absolutely loves it. It is the magic bullet that solves all problems.
  • Meet the Phonics Blends or Digraphs videos
  • Numberblocks on Netflix
  • Osmo, specifically Words and Costumes. Part way through the year I think he will be ready for and really enjoy Sticks and Rings
  • Math 3-5 App from One Billion (Not an aff link. It has gone up in price since I first bought it, but both kids have liked it).
  • Splash Math Kindergarten - with Mommy's help
  • Duck Duck Moose Games - We have a few. Some he does independently, some with my help.
  • Dragonbox Numbers - with Mommy's help
  • Preschool Prep Apps - These are too easy for him, he can read all his letters, digraphs and sight words, but he loves them, so I haven't deleted them all



Reading 
Like his brother, Archer LOVES books and reading. He spends as much time reading or playing with magnetic letters as he does any other type of play. He knows all of his sight words, and he LOVES them, so actually reads them in books. He still has trouble if a book has too small of text or too many lines of text on a page, it makes him lose his spot when he goes down to the next line. 2-3 lines seems to be the sweet spot. We've run into the problem of finding books that fit his reading level while simultaneously fitting his interests. 

I tried hard to hold off on phonics (preferring to stick to the whole word approach), but he is obsessed with letters and their sounds. Obsessed like some kids are obsessed with trains, cars, animals, etc. where they want ALL things related to that theme. So we talk about letter sounds, A LOT. I also let him watch phonics movies. Luckily, it has not seemed to impede his ability to learn new words with the whole word method.


  • Reading lots of books together or on his own. This is pretty much accomplished by having lots of books around.
  • Little Reader Lessons and Vocabulary Cards - Little Reader lessons are the fastest way for him to learn new words. However, they take me a while to make each lesson. I'm hoping that once I get in a good groove with big brother's homeschool work, I can get back to making more lessons.
  • Sets of Readers - These tend to have big, clear words, few lines and be easy for him to read. Or he just loves them
Math, Logic and Fine Motor
I'm sure there will be more that we do than what is listed here, mostly presented on his toy rotation shelves.


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