Thursday, August 26, 2021

Visual Discrimination Pattern Grids

Printable pattern grids for visual discrimination practice
Visual spatial skills are important for math success, so I'm always looking for ways to incorporate them. Also, my little guy likes novelty, so I have to keep providing new activities. These little pattern grids work satisfy both!
Printable pattern grids for visual discrimination practice
I made three sets of grids, one smaller set of templates and then two bigger ones for him to build on (for a younger kid, you could have them build directly onto the template). I used primary colors so that lots of different objects could be used to make the patterns. The first picture has counting bears and the second has counting vehicles. You could easily use almost any manipulative in red, green, blue or yellow.
Printable pattern grids for visual discrimination practice
To add some extra fine motor practice, you could use pom poms with tweezers.


Monday, August 23, 2021

Printable Squirrel Directions and Beginning Coding Game


Free printable fall animal game for practicing giving and following directions. Also for beginning coding.

My little guy LOVES the GPS and has begun asking me what direction we are going while driving in the car. He does pretty well with right and left and wants so badly to understand North, South, East and West. Since he has also shown a big interest in maps lately, I made this little squirrel game to help with directions. I chose woodland animals because fall is coming up and that should fit into our fall activities!

The game is simple, there are little printable animals, some obstacles, some treats and a playing grid. I made two compass roses, one with Right, Left, Forward, Backward and one with North, South, East and West, so we could work on either set of skills. I also made some little arrow cards, to do it without the words.

I place the squirrel somewhere on the outside of the grid and place an animal friend for him to go visit somewhere else. Then he has to give me directions to get the squirrel to his friend (or I could give him directions). The stump or pile of leaves can block the path and the pumpkin or apple can be treats to collect along the way.

To turn it into coding practice (probably when he gets a little older), I would have him use the arrows to put together all the directions and then we would follow them all out. You could have older kids write down all the directions (either with arrows or words) and then follow them to see if it works.

To make it more fun, and because I had them, I added our little squirrel and bear figurines as well as some acrylic leaves, apple and pumpkin (vase scatter).

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Composer of the Month

Printables and resource ideas for Composer of the Month

  I was a hardcore math and science kid. That's the way my brain works. However, I want to make sure I give my kids some well-rounded experiences. As part of that, I decided to do an Artist of the Month and a Composer of the Month.

Each month will have the composer, where they are from (we're working on geography), some quick facts and we will listen to some of their works. I will also use outside books, YouTube videos and other resources (I included some of these links in the PDF I'm sharing). If I can find them, I'll print some simple sheet music too. Since I have a middle schooler and a 3 year old, I included a wide range of things.

General Resource About Composers

(Only a few are done, so far. I will update as I add more, I was just excited to share before school started)

You may be interested in the Artist of the Month post:

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Art Activity for The Perfect Fit

Art activity to go with a lesson about acceptance and diversity with the book The Pefrect Fit
As I wrote about in our Pre-K Curriculum post, this year I am trying to include Heart Lessons. These are lessons about social emotional skills like kindness, friendship, self regulation, etc. One of the books I got to go with this theme was The Perfect Fit by Naomi Jones. Archer LOVED the book and when we read it three times in a row one day, I thought it might be fun to make a little art project to go with it.

The story is about Triangle who feels like she doesn't quite fit in, so she goes off in search of a place where everyone is exactly like her. She eventually finds it, but realizes things are more fun when all different kinds of shapes play together. Great message and it features shapes, for my little shape-loving guy! 
The book features patterns the shapes all make together, so I used some construction paper to cut out shapes in the same colors as the book. (I used his shape cookie cutters we use for playdough and Magna Qubix to trace the shapes). Now this kid has not been a big fan of art in general. I have to work to get him to paint, color, glue, etc., so I was thrilled when he was interested in gluing the shapes on! He also drew some faces on some of the shapes before tiring out! I have plenty of shapes cut out still, so we'll likely do this multiple times! 

It may not look like a lot, but it is more gluing than I have ever gotten him to do in one sitting! He even made a little "fishy" like in the book.


Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Visual Homeschool Pre-K Schedule

Free Printable Visual Homeschool Pre-K Schedule
As I was planning our Pre-K year, I wanted to find a way to help us organize our days. Since my son is only 3, I want most of his time to be unstructured play. Any school work we do together should be fun and low pressure. A rigid schedule just wouldn't work for that. Instead, I came up with this visual schedule.

The left side has the things he still needs to do and the right side is for things he has finished. I printed little icons for all of the things we will do regularly, as well as a few blank ones for things I come up with on the spot. I used Velcro dots to make it easy for him. I also only included room for six things. I am expecting us to do fewer on most days, but that provides us a max. 

I may start out at only one or two things to get him used to the idea of having to get something done. I'm hoping this will transition well into other types of goals and task lists as he gets older.


Monday, August 2, 2021

Pre-K Homeschool Choices

So I always struggle with what to call these posts. My kids have never fit nicely into a grade band and I've always just tried to do activities that fit their current skill level. Pre-K just seemed closest to his current abilities.

Not quite typical Pre-K Curriculum Choices for homeschool. Could apply to some homeschool preschool or kindergarten as well.

Pre-K Schedule

These are the core of our school. Below I'll list more specifics. Number of lessons is my rough outline. We'll do more or less depending on how he takes to them. For instance, I can see him asking for math daily. I still want the vast majority of his day to be free play. Also, I did not include all of the "normal" 3 year old things like play dough, coloring books, stickers, etc.

  • Handwriting (2-3 times a week)
  • Spelling (2-3 times a week)
  • Math (2-4 times a week) 
  • Music (2-4 times a week)
  • Heart Lessons (2-4 times a week)
  • Bonus (as we have desire)


Archer has shown a big interested in writing (some letters, mostly numbers). To run with the interest  Handwriting Without Tears Kick Start Kindergarten. We'll do as much as he's interested in.


We are going to start All About Spelling Level 1. We started it with my oldest at around not quite 4 years old (see post here about adapting curriculum for a toddler) and Archer is only 3, but he love letters and talking about their sounds, so I think he will really enjoy this. I haven't 100% decided if we will use strictly their magnet tiles or if I will also use our Classroom Magnetic Letters. We will also go at his pace. If it takes us a couple of years, no big deal.


Math was a tricky one for me. Archer is a math kid. He will almost always pick a math manipulative over another toy, he loves math books, he loves math apps and he loves math shows. He can add pretty well and is starting to subtract. A kindergarten curriculum is probably too easy as a whole, but I don't think he's ready for some of the abstract thinking that could come with 1st grade. I've decided that we're going to end up doing a mix of things. My goal is hands on math that builds great number sense that he will ENJOY doing. (It looks like a lot, but he usually requests these kinds of things).
  • Math Activities: this will be the bulk of our math! He loves math manipulatives like base ten blocks, math cubes and Cuisenaire rods. To give him more variety this year I ordered a Geoland Mirror Activity set and some Geoboards too.
  • Cuisenaire Activities
  • Occasional lessons from Kindergarten Math with Confidence (just the teacher's book) - a lot of this is too easy, but I am interested in the lessons on money and measuring. I think it might also provide some review "games" for us. I have no plans/expectations for how quickly we will move through it or how much of it we will actually do. When we feel ready (and if I like it), I'll move on to 1st Grade Math with Confidence.
  • Some activity pages from Miquon Orange. I got a copy of this second hand and it has some great activity pages. Others will be much too hard for him. We'll use what I think he'll like and skip the rest.
  • Apps: SplashLearn, Dragonbox Numbers and Dragonbox Big Numbers. - Archer likes these and they're great for building mathematical thinking.


Last spring we started used Prodigies Music Lessons. Archer seems to really enjoy them. We have the Rhythm Band Bells and plan to also start using the stickers with for the piano. I'll also try to include some books about music and instruments.

Heart Lessons

I have decided to call Social Emotional Skill lessons "Heart Lessons". It is much much easier for a 3 year old to say and understand. I want to include things like being kind, mindfulness, gratitude, manners, self regulation, good behavior and both identifying and handling emotions. 
  • Books - Mostly I plan to read a bunch of books and talk about them. I put together a big list. Some we own, some we will buy (if I can narrow it down!) and some we will get from the library.
  • Daniel Tiger - the creators do a great job of tackling emotions in a way kids can understand. We will play with the app, watch some shows (if I can get him to) and read some books.

Books, Books, Books

Archer is a great little reader and we're past teaching him to read (mostly he wants to read independently, but he will still let me read to him, especially if he is doing something like playdough). I have worked really hard on our homeschool library, so he has lots to choose from. Here is some of what I bought or hope to buy specifically for this school year (not counting social emotional books listed above). As you can see, Archer really likes the Usborne Lift-the-Flap books. I ended up with so many of them ones on my wish list, I literally became a UBAM consultant for a discount! (Shameless plug: shoot me a Facebook message if you 'd like a 10% discount on Lift-the-Flap books or have a party to earn free books).

You may also be interested in the following posts:

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