One really cool activity that we did (and have done over and over several times already) is drawing a night time sky. We used the included black construction paper, white chalk and star stickers to create a night time sky. What I thought was super cool was Wes decided to make all of his stars "shooting stars" all on his own. We poked small holes near the stars to help them shine! I don't know why I never thought of using white chalk on dark colored paper, but it is something we will do a lot more of!
|Wes deliberated on where to put the first star|
|Pulling the stickers off of the sheet is a great fine motor activity in itself!|
|Drawing a "mountain"|
|Creating shooting stars|
This week we talked about Desert Cotton Tails. We made our very own Desert Cotton Tails out of the included materials - brown paper bags, card stock, eye stickers, cotton and fuzzy pink nose. When the cotton tails were all dry and ready, we had a cotton tail race by putting them on our hands puppet style and hopping around the house.
|Getting material situated|
|The finished bunnies|
|Proudly showing off his work|
|Wes' girly bunny and Brady's "googly eyed" bunny|
|Complete with bushy cotton tails!|
One of the fun things we have been doing is adding to our journal all month long. This week I traced Wes' hand and we made a cotton tail out of it. With older kiddos, I imagine you could have them trace their own hands, but Wes still needs help with hand over hand on a lot of tracing/writing activities. After I traced his hand, I let him color it in. I later added eyes, a nose and whiskers. Wes pointed out that his cowboy (on the opposite page) was trying to catch the bunny with his lasso. Good luck with that one cowboy! I don't think I've ever seen a cowboy lasso a bunny.
|Mommy and Wes making another journal entry|
|Coloring his cotton tail|
This week, we worked on size differentiation with the included animal activity. We worked on it several different ways. First we went over which each animal was, because by this time we had studied about each animal in previous activities. Then, I took two animals and asked Wes to identify which one was smaller or bigger. We did this with several match ups. I then mixed the animals up and asked Wes to get the one that was the smallest and put it first. Then he picked the next smallest, etc. Then we would do the same activity in reverse.
As I have mentioned before, I love that a lot of the included print materials and activities can be reused over and over. I have kept and stored a lot of them in ziploc bags to use as take along activities for doctor's appointments, eating out, etc. I bagged this one up and slipped it in our diaper bag.
|Putting his animals in order from smallest to biggest|
|So happy to get it correct!|
We also worked on patterning. This was another activity I packed away in a ziploc bag to revisit. There were enough cards to create several different patterns. What I liked the most is that the pattern cards were real photos of snakes and coyotes. I started off the patterning activity by withholding the cards, having Wes identify and articulate which animal came next. After a few rounds, I laid all of the pattern cards out and had Wes attempt it independently. Once his interest seemed to wane, we worked on creating a new pattern. Wes really enjoyed it!
|Working hard to pattern|
|Matching the pattern|
|Painting our snakes markings|
Every time we paint, Wes ends up with this same hue of blue because he always mixes his colors together! But, come on! Talk about multi-tasking - it's another sensory activity to let them use the eyeshadow applicators to trace and draw in the paint! (Patting myself on the back for being a genius arm chair educator!)
Once the ribbons dried, we attached our rattles. The rattles were made out of the included skinny cardboard tubes and rice. The boys really enjoyed running around rattling their rattlesnakes.
|Brady with is rattlesnake|
|Wes with his rattlesnake|
Wes also took joy in pretending to be bitten by his snake and asking for band-aids. Silly kid!
|"Ouch! It bit me!"|
I have been able to include my older son, Brady in a lot of the activities. Brady, who is on the Autism Spectrum, has enjoyed a lot of the sensory rich activities alongside Wes. It is so special to me to watch them enjoy each other's company and work together.
What I love the most about the curriculum is the amount of flexibility it has given us. With summer here, we have been out and about enjoying a variety of activities and day trips. When we have an activity planned, we simply attack the day's tasks when we get home. Potty-training? No problem. Too hot for clothes? No problem, clothing is optional. Don't want to change out of jammies? No problem, because learning can still happen in your bed-time's best. Not feeling well? No worries, either. You don't miss out because you can simply push your days activities back one day. Shoot! You can also entertain your sickie with the activities if they are still up for it because moms know that just because they are sick doesn't mean they don't want to play. Got a vacation or family visiting? You get the idea. You are in charge of your schedule, so you can adjust when you will do the activities.
And, one of the most valuable things is that I can easily adapt the day's activities to each of my children's skill level. While Wes may be advanced in certain areas like phonics, he is still only 2 and needs a lot of assistance with cutting and writing. And with Brady entering Kindergarten soon, he still benefits from a lot of the sensory rich activities and still enjoys a lot of the activities which reinforce a lot of what he has already learned and mastered.
You may notice that I don't complete a lot of the activities seated at a table like you would find in a traditional school setting. Getting a small child under the age of 3 to sit still at a table and work is more challenging that you can imagine. So, my solution is to allow Wes to stand or kneel for a lot of the activities, keeping him in a comfortable position to complete a task. In my opinion, learning often happens best when we are allowed to move and not REQUIRED to remain still! Another perk to homeschooling!
I don't regret the decision to homeschool Wes for the upcoming year. This month has taught me that it is not only feasible, but is time well spent. The curriculum has made it easy to stay on task and organized for a month's worth of lessons. Do I only teach what's in the curriculum? Heck no, but the curriculum has given us the momentum to explore and expand upon the activities and topics we covered in the month's theme. I typically spend about 2-3 hours on the Mother Goose Time's curriculum but as you can imagine, there are a lot more hours I have to fill! But, what I have found is that Wes is asking to revisit a lot of the activities we have done with Mother Goose Time's theme!
I have truly enjoyed spending this time not only teaching Wes and Brady, but seeing what they are really capable of and truly interested in. Building upon those strengths has been a memorable experience. I think I enjoy it just as much as they do!
|When asked if he was having fun, Wes responds with this face!|
For more information on Mother Goose Time's boxed curriculum, please visit them at mothergoosetime.com.