Friday, August 30, 2013

This Moment - First Day of Tot School


{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Tot School - Week 1 - Red Week

*Linking up to Tot School Gathering!*

In all the years that we have homeschooled, I have never 'tot schooled' - until now! If you are reading this, this is my first EVER tot school post, but hopefully only the first of MANY :)

Buddy Boy is 31 months (2 1/2 yrs) old

I managed to get Buddy Boy to be still for some first day of school pictures. In the second picture, he is 'showing me how old he is'!

As of this point, Buddy Boy knows many of his letter sounds, and names, thanks to Leap Frog Letters videos (this one in particular), due to the fact that he watched the video almost DAILY last year. He does not have shapes or numbers mastered, although he can count verbally, he does not associate numbers with amounts. He does not have a good recognition of color names, although he can sometimes match up the colors without the vocabulary. With that in mind, that's where we started.

Week 1: RED WEEK

As I said before, I have never attempted anything like this, so a few weeks ago, I scoured through my stash (which takes up way too much room anyway) for anything red, and shoved it all in a basket to do with what I could. Out of that, I was able to make five trays and one stuffed sensory basket (note to self: get a bigger basket soon!)

Here are the trays for this color:

And our sensory basket....

The contents are:
 RED apple and RED handled knife to cut it (Melissa and Doug Cutting Food crate)
RED magnetic numbers - dollar store/Walmart find
RED pom-pom balls - Walmart
Two RED fire trucks - one from Target Dollar Spot, one from a wooden knobbed puzzle
RED bear family counters (similar to these)
RED balloon - dollar store cut-out
RED stretchy key chain - Target Dollar Spot
RED freezable ice cubes - strawberries, squares, and diamonds - Dollar Tree and Target Dollar Spot
RED trapezoid - from a chunky shapes puzzle
RED small elephant cookie cutter 
RED box (shown full of poms) - Dollar Tree
RED scoops - Betty Crocker measuring spoons
RED mini-saxophone - found online in a mass bundle of mini objects from an Etsy shop, although I couldn't tell you where now!
RED Christmas bells 
RED/white erasers - Target Dollar Spot
RED things book - printed from ABC teach for free, colored, laminated, ribbon bound with (you guessed it!) RED ribbon

These were Buddy Boy's favorites from the sensory bin. The red Christmas bells, otherwise known as the 'ding dings', and the sports ball erasers. He rolled the erasers, threw them into the sensory basket as a game, and even played catch with me with the erasers, while I took the opportunity to add in sorting and identify the differences of 'red ball' and 'red stripes' with each one, through talking to him.

Now that you have seen what I offered, I'll show you some pictures I was able to sneak in without trying to be too much of a distraction to him working (and before my camera battery decided to die!)

The first tray he chose was a pouring work, pouring red beads (cut off a bead necklace that we got from a local parade at Christmas time). He really enjoyed this tray - I'm not sure if it was because he really likes to pour, or if he just did so well because it was the first tray of the morning.

The next tray was a beginning pattern tray. I had four red foam hand shapes and four red foam star shapes on the tray (both from the Target Dollar Spot). I used a lot of vocabulary with this tray, making sure to point out the RED hands and RED stars, and alternating them. He enjoyed it - once. It just wasn't enough to keep his attention at the moment.

He moved straight on to the sensory basket, and STAYED there for atleast 20 minutes, maybe a little longer! He LOVED it, to say the least. I already mentioned the different ways that we played with the items.

At one point he decided it really would be a great idea to just dump it on his work mat. If you look to the right, you can see how I lined up each ball eraser as he played toss with me.

One-To-One Correspondence/Fine Motor Skills
He has used trays like this before, so it was nothing new, but still fun!

This tray had quantity/symbol/written word cards from Montessori Print Shop Free Downloads and red unifix blocks. The point was to place one red block on top of each red dot. We did NOT use this for counting - my focus was simply on the color red, and the cards just so happened to have red dots. I only used the first five cards (numbers 1-5).

If you don't see a picture of him doing a particular tray that I set out, it's because he was either 1. Not interested in it long enough to get a picture - towards the end of our time together he was wearing out and ready to be finished, which means he didn't stick with a tray for very long, or 2. My phone had already died before I could get a good picture!

These trays were all completed in an area outside of the school room. There were other Montessori works he did in the school room, which will be added in to our end of the week post, but these trays were placed on both levels of our coffee table, and specified as Buddy Boy's school trays. The plan is to keep them out until lunch time, then put them away daily on the top of our shelves in the school room and only have them out for the morning hours. 

Today was his first day, and for never having done tot school before, he did really well. I think we spent a total time of about an hour, maybe more, doing his trays together. I should have made a point of checking the time tomorrow to see how long he stayed busy. I am planning on doing a new color weekly, but if he still seems to be enjoying the trays on Friday, and not getting bored, or if he has not yet mastered the color red visually, I may leave them out another week to see how he does.

Linking up to Tot School Gathering Place at 1+1+1=1! For more GREAT tot school ideas, go check out the tot school link-up!

Friday, August 23, 2013

This Moment - A Ride Back In Time


{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see. 

Normally, I have been trying to find a picture that pretty much tells it's own story. This one, however, was one of my favorites in a nostalgic sort of way - this past week, we took bikes and rode around their grandmother's house - the same streets I rode on as a child. It was definitely a moment of flashbacks!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Reader's Review - The Mine-O-Saur

The Mine-O-Saur

Written by:
Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

Illustrated by:
David Clark

Anyone who has ever been the parent of a toddler knows the feeling of dread that comes when thinking about words you really wish they would just never learn. 'MINE' is one of those words.

This story relates something children love - Dinosaurs - with a very BAD problem - NOT SHARING. 

Disclaimer: There is NO such thing as a mine-o-saur. Unless, that is, you have a two year old in the house! :) The story tells us of a dinosaur that wants everything - it doesn't matter what it is, where it is, or how much he already has. 

The mine-o-saur took the toys, the food, and everything else he could get his hands on. Which was working out fine - until, that is, he realized he had everything to play with and no one to play with him with all those wonderful things!

Little Mine-o-saur realized that all the other dinosaurs were having fun, while they had very little, because they had each other. He wanted the same thing - but this wasn't something he could get by taking it away. 

In the end the dinosaur learned that if he wanted to have friends, he would have to be a friend. Of course, that meant sharing

This is a wonderful book to show children that selfishness and being stingy never helps. Sharing with others is always the way to go!

There's not a whole lot of commentary for this book - it is obviously pretty self explanatory. The illustrations were, quite honestly, my least favorite in style. They fit the bill for a child like atmosphere, just weren't anywhere near my *personal* favorite in style. I did, however, think it was amazing that the artist was able to blend the colors so well on each dinosaur (this coming from someone who has not one iota of artistic talent at all!).

I would have to give this one a 3 star rating. It is a very cute book, and teaches an important lesson, but it has probably been one of the least read out of all of our DPIL books. I think I would definitely say it applies more to the age range of Buddy Boy and Bug. Of course, I say that, and knowing my children, they will prove me wrong and choose this one 9 times out of 10 for a   week after I finish writing this!     

Also, that may just be the opinion of my children - other kids may love this book to pieces, especially if they are dino-addicted!

Would I recommend this book to others? The truth is, I would ALWAYS recommend you read a book, at least once - it's the age old 'You never know until you try' methodology. :)

Friday, August 16, 2013

This Moment - A Face in the Fort


{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

This Moment.....

I just saw this on Montessori Works and thought it would be really neat to do each week. I love to remember the 'little things' that mean so much, and all those times you wish you could take a mental snapshot that will last forever, so this is perfect :) 


{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

MIA again....

I've been missing from this blog so much this summer..... 

I can't help it - we've been having TOO much fun just enjoying ourselves!                                                 

                                            We've Been:

Riding the train at the park

Swimming with friends

Picking blackberries (and eating them!)

Doing A LOT of reading. When the summer started, I picked a few books for Hoss that just went completely over his head - and reading level - and it really discouraged him. I learned my lesson to not rush through picking up books at the library. So when I went back and found some perfect for his reading level - easy enough to read on his own, but hard enough to make him improve his reading - he was OFF and no stopping him! 

Many, many trips were made to the library. Pictured directly below are two of our local librarians, and our story time friends! I can't brag enough on how wonderful our local library is!

We also caught some special things going on at the library, like special story times. This one was from the local Young Actors Guild, who read the story Freckle Face Strawberry, and then gave us a preview of their summer play 'Freckle Face Strawberry'

We went to a few 'Wonderful Wednesday' times at the library, about several different things (Mad Scientist, which was their favorite, and also one about the Opera, which featured some different places where operatic music can be found and even featured a local singer trained in operatic singing who just so happened to be a fellow story time mom! The pictures below were from a visit from one the workers at our local Nature Center, which is one of our favorite places to visit!)  

These pictures are actually from the Fourth of July, but I couldn't leave that  most important holiday out of our summer! I did NOT, however, put in every picture taken - that would have made for a lot of pictures. So I just included some of my favorites. By the way - did I ever mention that I am NOT a professional photographer by any means? Probably didn't have to - I'm sure you can tell! 

It's unbelievable that the summer has flown by so fast, but it has! And now, here we are, just a few weeks away from when I am hoping to officially start school - I am hoping to be able to be ready by the last week of August, so if all goes well in the next couple of weeks, things will settle down for good and I'll be more frequent on here! 

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