As we enjoy this wonderful holiday season with family, I am also taking the time to look back on the first half of our year, our routines, successes and failures, and where we’d like to go in 2018. Our Fall homeschool term started off without a hitch and we truly have found our groove. There are definitely a few things I’d like to change, but I’ve also found a ton of great resources and tools that are perfect for any homeschool or preschool.
With five little ones, all at various ages and stages, it can be difficult to hit on all the things they need individually while entertaining everyone else. Luckily, I’ve taken a keen interest in gameschooling, which has done wonders for all of my kiddos no matter where they are developmentally.
Before I get in to sharing some of my homeschool/preschool must haves from this Fall, I wanted to share with you my biggest challenge. Who knows, maybe you can relate?
I know that it’s part of my personality and that not everyone has this struggle, but I am Type A, what can I say. I have a hard time letting go, scraping our to do list for the day and changing directions. Instead of letting myself feel stressed if we don’t get to every craft, or read every chapter on the exact day I had planned to read it, I am slowly learning to allow our plans to be more fluid.
I’m also learning to let them lead!
When they are on a play dough kick, we do as many of our lessons and activities with play dough as we can. If it’s pattern blocks, they can be used to create numbers and letters, to practice sorting, to learn about patterns and shapes, and so much more.
Don’t get me wrong there are still some nonnegotiable. I think that if you are going to homeschool, you have to determine what your nonnegotiable are going to be and stick to it. The rest can be changed, altered, and shifted as needed. Back to our Fall term in Review…
Our Fall Homeschool in Review
As I mentioned, I have a range of ages and stages from young preschool (3 year olds) to kindergarten and the following work great for all of them.
Wooden Pattern Blocks: They love to make all kinds of creations with these pattern blocks. They also provide a great opportunity to discuss shapes.
Unifix Cubes: These cubes have been great for exploring patterns and counting.
Counting Teddy Bears: The kids love acting out scenarios with these. They are also great for counting and sorting.
Geoboards: We recently started exploring geoboards but they’ve been a hit. I love that we can play with different shapes and they again love creating designs for each other to copy.
Snap N Learn Alphabet Alligator: These are great for working on upper/lower case identification.
Alphabet Puzzle: Puzzles are a great way to work on letters and letter sounds. For your older kiddos they can use the letters from the puzzle to start forming words.
Magnetic Letters: These are perfect for little hands and have a ton of purpose. Whether you want to use them in a quiet time bag or just to keep on the fridge.
B is for Breakdancing Bear: Alphabet Sticker Activity Book – Miss B still loves this book and has combed every inch of it to make sure that she completed all the activities. It has a great range of letter activities, counting, stickers, drawing, and more.
My First Microscope: This is a super fun way to get your little ones excited about science.
Mix and Measure Activity: Not only can this set work on pouring skills, it’s also perfect for introducing your kiddos to measurement.
Ant Farm: If your littles love bug, ant farms are a fun way to explore how ants live and observe life inside a colony.
Code and Go Robot Mouse: A perfect STEM activity… learning to code!
Dry Erase Pockets: There is not one single day that these pockets do not get used. I love that I can slide activities in so that they can get used multiple times without making multiple copies.
Handwriting Without Tears: This handwriting program is amazing. I love how simple it is and the kids enjoy it too!
Wipe Clean: Letters – These books are great! They are perfect for in the car, quiet time activities, additional practice activities, you name it!
1000 Stickers for Girls – It doesn’t matter what kind of stickers you decide to buy, stickers are great for fine motor skills. My kids love just making crazy, fun pictures out of all the stickers! What kid doesn’t love stickers?
Zingo Sight Words: This has been wonderful to helping Miss B learn and practice her sight words in a fun way.
Spin-a-Roo: Perfect for helping your little ones learn to identify their letters or helping your older kiddos work on number sequence.
Uno Moo Game: My littlest ones absolutely love this game. It’s great for colors and labeling animals. It’s a wonderful first game to teach kids how to take turns.
Snug as a Bug in a Rug: This is by far the girls’ favorite game. It grows with your little ones. There are three different levels that can be played at the same time. Tuna and Shrimp can be playing level 1, while Miss B is on Level 2 or 3. Great for learning characteristics (big/little), numbers, and colors.
Poetry Teatime Favorites
Outside your Window: A First Book of Nature – We first found this gem at the library and I quickly bought it for us to have. I love how it describes nature in all different seasons, simply and beautifully.
A Stick is an Excellent Thing: Poems Celebrating Outdoor Play – I wrote a whole blog post about this book. We love it! Not only are the poems fun, but the excitement carries over into the great outdoors with a ton of great activity ideas.
When the Sidewalk Ends: Poems and Drawings – Who doesn’t love Shel Silverstein? These poems are fun, silly, and goofy but are great to discuss rhythm and rhyme.
Poetry Teatime Companion – This book has classic and elegantly written poems. They may be less engaging for younger kids but I still try to read one each week. I think it’s good for them to hear the more serious poetry along with the silly.
Nature Study Favorites
Nature Anatomy by Julia Rothman: This is only one book in a series of amazing books. We love reading from this book and using it for our nature journals.
Fun with Nature: Take Along Guide: I keep this gem in the car. I’m trying to be more knowledgeable about plants, trees, and fungi when we are on our nature adventures. It’s a tiny book packed full of info.
Keeping a Nature Journal: We actually haven’t started using this yet but it’s one we plan to begin with in 2018 and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s a great way to incorporate a nature study into your homeschool.
The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon: This is another book that we just haven’t gotten to yet but plan to. It made the list because we already own it and know that it’s going to be a fantastic addition to your morning basket.
Building Sets We Love
I had to include just a few of our fun, not content specific favorites! All of these sets get used weekly! I tried rotating them in fear that they wouldn’t get played with enough or that the kids would grow tire of them, but I was being begged daily to get them back out! Each of the sets allow the kiddos to build, get creative, work together if they want, and of course have fun! I love seeing their creativity and hearing their wild adventures with their creations.
So far they have created fishing poles and gone fishing, made a boat to fish out of, and a life saving pole when one of them “fell in the water”. They have used these to create robots, airplanes, fire trucks that saved the doll house from a massive fire, and trash trucks that ONLY pick up litter!
Even though I have a mixed group of boys and girls, they all enjoy these kitchen sets. The girls love to make coffee and sit at their table and read. The boys actually like cooking and combine the mixer with our cupcake set. Together they often open and operate a café complete with waiter/waitress, customers, customer with dogs, menu, and food! Soon I think we will be using their café idea to begin working with money!
If you are thinking about homeschooling your little one or maybe just need to freshen your current homeschool up, I hope these resources will be helpful. I know that we have truly enjoyed each resource listed in this post especially during our Fall homeschool term.
For letter of the week ideas that we’ve found fun check out Letter T or any other letter. Are you interested in creating or revamping your calendar/ circle time activities check out my DIY board. For fun ways to incorporate learning activities while you are outdoors check out Incorporating Letters and Numbers into your Nature Walk or Outdoor Handwriting Activities.
If you have any questions about an item listed, please feel free to ask.
Until next time,