Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Homeschooling Preschool

I have a four year old at home. He wants to "do school" with us. I finally had a "moment" this past weekend after thinking about all the great preschool blogs I read.

One of my favorites is 1+1+1=1. Carisa has two adorable little boys & she does "Tot School" with her youngest. This has given me numerous ideas to use with J. She also mentioned just recently about how she manages all her tot school items for her little one.

Another great blog I stumbled on is called My Montessori Journey. It's a blog about a Montessori classroom. I love all the activities they use & the teacher is wonderful about posting where she gets them all. I also really liked the idea of having out the activities for the children to chose what they wanted to work on. I even followed this teacher when she started posting at another blog about what she does at home with her own children (A Day of Wonders).

So this past Sunday evening I took all the activity bag activities I had laying around & made sure I had them in Ziploc baggies - the kind with the large zipper on them so J could easily open & close them. As much as I would like to have a bookcase set up like in a Montessori classroom, I simply do not have the room.

About a year ago I participated in an activity bag swap so I still had a few items from that (I've given away some). I realized I had way more things than J could possibly want to play with in a given school day - at least I hope so!

Here is what is in his school basket.

This is a snowflake matching activity. I read about this on My Montessori Journey. I immediately printed them out because it's just so cute this time of year to play with snow INSIDE. ;-) At least I hoped my son would think so. Since my hubby is spending more time on the computer at night, I'm using that time to do other things. It didn't take me long to cut these out & then laminate them (with contact paper).

This is just a simple clipboard with scrap paper attached. I had these little stampers so I popped them in to a bag as well. The regular gallon size bags didn't hold this well. I happen to have some 2-1/2 gallon bags also & that fit much better.

This is an activity I received in the activity bag swap. It came with twenty index cards (5x7) with a number on one side & then the same number of small stickers on the back. The child should put one poker chip on each sticker to work with numbers. J already knows his 1-10 numbers well & can usually count to at least 20 out loud. I'm hoping this will help with better (and higher) number recognition.

Here's another activity from the swap. I'm tempted to do this one because I like sorting. Go figure. There are little plastic cups with one bead glued to the bottom of each. The child sorts all the matching colors into the correct cup.

Again, this activity came from the swap. It's a simple matching board. The child can match each color to the one of the game board.

Lacing cards from the swap. I should have had a number of these facing the other way for the photo. The lady who made these put in the details. For example, the tree has some apple stickers on the front. You can see the eye on the fish. I managed to have that one facing the right way.

My friend Deb made these cute bean bags for the swap. The round red circle is a target & there are three bean bags. The child can practice tossing.

This activity is taken from the book Family Math. It's just an egg carton cut up. I wrote the numbers 1-12 on each cup although having now started using Math-U-See with my older boys, I may make a new one that has 0-11 on it instead. I then counted out the exact number of beans needed. The child places the correct number of beans in each cup. J actually picked this to do the other day. He needs to work on his one-to-one counting. He should have had no beans left over but he was short so some cups had too many. His number seven cup only had four, his number 11 had twelve, etc., but it's a good self-correcting activity.

Last year CurrClick was giving away a sample from the book, Preschool Activities in a Bag. (BTW, CurrClick gives away a weekly freebie so be sure to sign up for their newsletter.) This is one from that sample. It's called "Snip-N-Cut" & J loves it. It's strips of construction paper, a bowl, and scissors. The child just snips the construction paper into small pieces into the bowl. It's a good activity to use to work on cutting skills.

Here's another activity that came in the swap I did. It's a farm animal match game. This could be played as a memory game or a simple matching game or a grouping game (like animals).

This activity was also included in the sample Preschool Activities in a bag. It came with the template (you can see it's double sided). I printed the template on to card stock. Then it is inside a page protector with the ring side cut off & a bit cut off the top. It's then taped shut. Included in the bag is a dry erase marker and a small piece of felt that is used as an eraser. The child just copies what's on the template to practice writing.
This was one of J's Christmas gifts. My sister hosted a Discovery Toy party just before Christmas. J hasn't used this yet but I'm hoping he will enjoy it.

Here's another Discovery Toy product. J does play with this but usually just with the bugs. I'm going to start introducing him to the easier cards (the color ones) to teach patterns.

Another Christmas gift for J - Melissa & Doug puzzles. There are four little wooden puzzles in this box. What I really liked about this is that each puzzle piece has a little shape on the back. There are four puzzles so there is one shape assigned to each puzzle. If they get all messed up, one can easily sort the pieces in to the right puzzles without going nutso. ;-)

I bought this for J last year. He didn't show much interest at the time, but I have added it to his basket all the same. I'm interested to see how he does with this one.
Here is what his basket looks like. Since I took this photo, I have actually changed out the basket. This was a shallow white plastic basket I bought at Wal-Mart. When I went shopping on Monday for groceries, I found a very neat square basket at the grocery store that seemed to work better.

I have also made another game that has been added. You can see it over at A Day of Wonders. It is super cute & very winter appropriate. They are Snowflake Count & Clip Cards. Again, I printed them all out & laminated them while watching a movie one night.

One last blog that I just recently found & really enjoy is called Teaching Tiny Tots Blog. She has some really neat ideas for little ones (or LO's as she calls them on her blog). I have one of her posts starred in my Google Reader. I have some of the items already to make the games she mentions in her post called Homemade Games.

Homeschooling preschool should be full of fun & games & I hope this helps anyone out there just starting out.

PS: Sorry to those who get my posts on a feed. I was re-reading this so I could share the link & found too many typos. I had to go back & fix them. ;-) Sorry! 1/21/09


  1. What FUN ideas! Thanks for sharing. Our 5 yo is in K, not preschool, but I still think he would enjoy some of them!

  2. That is cool! I might have to use some of those with the girls. We are doing preschool right now. :) I am trying to teach them Letter Recognition right now. Rachel can right her name, but doesn't know the names of her letters, and Sage can almost write her name but the same goes for her. Any ideas for me? I am already using flash cards. Thanks! Great post!

  3. Those are all fantastic! Even my 8-year-old would still love some of those! If you haven't already, you ought to submit that to the Carnival of Homeschooling.

  4. Hey, thanks for all the ideas and great blog sites! I could use as much help as possible in this department, because Kensli is so hard to keep busy while working with the rest of the kids! I need to get my creative juices going and get her a basket full of stuff to do that will keep her busy for a long time! Thanks again!

  5. Great post, Lisa. I am still struggling with Dan and need to come up with more things he can do while I work with the other children. Thanks for all the ideas.

  6. Hello Lisa-Ann, I only found your blog a short time ago and have already come to enjoy it much! I hope that you will accept your award from my blog!



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