Monday, February 27, 2012

Ten, Nine, Eight, Letter T & Chicka Chicka 123

Tot School
Grace is 18 months
Jonathan is 37 months

It's been a couple weeks since I've posted. We've managed to stay healthy and busy! Here's what we've been up to the past two weeks.

Valentine's Day Sensory Play

We celebrated Valentine's Day with a fun new sensory bin. I recently found some plastic heart-shaped "table sprinkle" in the dollar section at Target. It made for great  and easy sensory play! We sorted by color, made patterns, and practiced some fine motor pouring. The kids loved this!


We've reviewed the letter T this unit, and did many activities Carisa provided in her free curriculum.

Our T verse, props, and words

Jonathan cut out and taped his verse

Tracing "T" -- we're still working on pencil grip!


We read some books from our Sonlight P3/4 curriculum this past week as well as some other favorites:

Ten, Nine, Eight by Molly Bang-- this was sort of our "theme" for the week. We've read this book before, it's a cozy bedtime story.
Baby Says by John Stepcoe-- a story about a baby trying to get his big brother's attention. I think both Jonathan and Grace could relate to this story-- both kids requested it several times!
Busy Timmy from Eloise Wilken Golden Book treasury-- a charming vintage story about a little boy's activities during his day.
Chicka Chicka 123 by Bill Martin Jr. and Michael Sampson-- oh my, this is currently the story Jonathan requests every night. It reviews numbers 1-20 and then covers 30-100 by tens. It's really sparked a huge interest in numbers for Jonathan.

Math & Logic 

To go with our reading of Ten, Nine, Eight, we made a sticker book counting down from 10 to 1. We used Cars stickers, since Lightning McQueen is a favorite around here:

Jonathan made the book while Grace just had fun playing with stickers. We also practiced counting backwards, but this didn't click with Jonathan yet. At least reciting numbers. If he's counting down the number of "sleeps" until a desired activity, he has no problem knowing how many are left! :)


We did a free trial of the website Reading Eggs. Overall, Jonathan liked it. We made it through the first eight lessons. It did help his word-building skills and he's read some words on his own. The only thing that frustrated him was that they would repeat an activity over-and-over again. For example, he would have to click on the letter "t" twenty times while it made the "t" sound. He got pretty bored with it and would want me to complete the activity so he could move on to the next one. But, he did enjoy it overall and has requested it several times. I haven't paid for access, I'm not entirely sure if it's worth it or not due to the level of frustration.


We did a lot of coloring the past few weejs. I found some coloring books at the Target dollar spot and we had fun with those. Grace loves to color, but I have to watch her with the crayons!

Motor Skills 

We went to our park district's open gym time several times over the past few weeks. We also had a little bit of snow last week and had fun playing outside!

Linking this up to:

Tot School @ 1+1+1=1
Preschool Corner @ Homeschool Creations
Link & Learn @ No Time for Flashcards

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Goodnight Moon Unit

Tot School
Grace is 18 months
Jonathan is 37 months

A couple weeks ago we did a Goodnight Moon unit. Goodnight Moon is included as a book in Sonlight P3/4 as well as Before Five in a Row. We combined activities from several different sites (see links at bottom of post). 

Sensory Bin

I made the kids a Goodnight Moon themed sensory bin. I tried to get a good picture of what was inside, but all the pictures were blurry. The green "room" had black beans, silver stars, white "moon" (pom poms), three bears from our counting bears, a cow, red "balloons" (pom poms), and a cat. Both Jonathan and Grace had a lot of fun pouring, spooning, transferring the beans back and forth. 


We read Goodnight Moon several times as well as:

* Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes
* Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me by Eric Carle
* The Three Bears illustrated by Byron Barton

All of the books were a hit with Jonathan. Grace liked Goodnight Moon the best, but also sat through the Three Bears.


We talked about balloons and reviewed colors, using a printable from Homeschool share. We also had fun playing volleyball with a red balloon. (And we listened to Nena's 99 Luftballoons while we played!)

We practiced beginning sounds, which he aced!

And worked on categorizing things into single or pair:

We counted stars:

Played with our shape clock:

And worked on putting mittens and socks on a clothesline for some fine motor work:

 Some things I didn't get pictures of include playing Volleyball with a red balloon, matching rhyming words, playing Teddy Mix & Match, eating teddy grahams and "full moon" cookies (Oreos)

We had a lot of fun with this unit-- be sure to check out these wonderful resources!


Goodnight Moon Printables @ Homeschool Share
Goodnight Moon Printables @ Homeschool Creations
Goodnight Moon Activities @ Delightful Learning
My Goodnight Moon Pinterest board

Linking this up to:

Tot School @ 1+1+1=1
Preschool Corner @ Homeschool Creations
Link & Learn @ No Time for Flashcards

Have a great week!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Letter Ll Adventures

We recently covered several themes as we learned about the Letter Ll. For the majority of the lesson, we used Carisa's awesome (free!) Raising Rockstars curriculum. Since Jonathan knows all his letters at this point, I wanted to use the program to help him prepare for writing as well as hiding more of God's Word in his heart...

Here are some highlights of our "L" week

Light- Our memory verse for this week was Let your light shine before men so that they may see your good good works and glorify your father in heaven. We made Popsicle stick props and both Jonathan and Grace had fun waving them around to our song: This Little Light of Mine. I was so excited that even Grace got some of the memory verse down. She would say "shine!" when I would repeat the first half of the verse. We also complemented each other when we would catch our lights "shining" such as by sharing toys.

We did some pre-writing exercises using our Crayola Dry Erase Activity Center-- I love that it saves me the cost of laminating pages!

Jonathan pasted our "L" words to a piece of scrapbook paper:

We learned a rhyme about lemons and made lemon pudding:

For fine motor work, Jonathan practiced opening and closing a lock:

We played The Ladybug Game:

and finger/sponge-painted leaves:

Jonathan loves vehicles of every kind, so we learned about limousines and played with our Hotwheels Limousine .

Long Limousines (Extreme Machines)
Limousines (Roaring Rides) 

We had a lot of fun with our "L" adventures. We did some pages from Go for the Code and Jonathan did quite well with them. He actually surprised me! I knew he had letter recognition and the phonetic sound down, but he did an awesome job with identifying beginning sounds.

Math & Logic 

We did a couple pages from our math and logic workbooks. These ones were super easy for him (counting and color identification), but he enjoyed them a lot and wanted to do more. For a non worksheet kid, that's saying something!

So that summarizes our "Ll" adventures. It took about two weeks for us to complete the unit due to sickness and life. Thanks for visiting!

Linking up to:

Tot School @ 1+1+1=1
Preschool Corner @ Homeschool Creations

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Our 2012 "Curriculum"

Now that Christmas is over, I'm excited to get back to having some more intentional "Tot School" time with Grace and I'm hoping to start doing a little bit of "Preschool" work with Jonathan. I still don't want to do anything terribly structured-- I do believe that children learn best through play. However, Jonathan is very curious and I do want to be presenting him with lots of books and building some of his preschool "skills".

I recently read Clay & Sally Clarkson's Educating the Wholehearted Child. If you are thinking about homeschooling, I heartily recommend the book. In the book, they present the analogy of a house.

  • Discipleship Studies-- this is the foundation of a Christian home-education. If we're not teaching our children the Word of God, nothing else matters.
  • Disciplined Studies-- the study of the mechanics of reading, writing, math and logic.
  • Discussion Studies and Discovery Studies-- include history, science, geography, etc.
  • Discretionary Studies-- are the glue that holds everything together, these things are tailored to particular interests and talents of your child.

As we consider homeschooling our children, my plan is to work from the ground up. This past year with Jonathan we've been building a foundation of Biblical studies as well as some basic alphabet studies. Now, I'm hoping to add some more of the disciplined studies to the mix. Next year as we get closer to kindergarten, I hope to include some geography, science, etc. This model helps me to focus on what is the most important and add things in slowly without being overwhelmed at trying to do it all!

So, without further ado, this is what we're hoping to do in 2012:

Jonathan is three years old (as of Jan). Grace will be 1-1/2 through 2-1/2 through 2012.

Discipleship Studies: Bible & Character

We are continuing our study of the New Testament through June of 2012. Our monthly units will be:
  • Jesus the Healer
  • Jesus the Miracle Worker
  • Jesus the Teacher
  • Jesus the Storyteller
  • Jesus the Savior
  • The Early Church
 After June, I will decide whether we will do another one-year cycle of biblical history or do something else.

We use: The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes for our Bible units along with supplemental books that go with each unit.   In the evenings, we try to go through The Big Picture Story Bible with daddy.

For character training, we are currently using Right Choices by Kenneth Taylor. I'm still researching what we'd like to use after we are finished with this book.

Memory Verses: My ABC Bible Verses by Susan Hunt (this goes along with Raising Rockstars Preschool)

Disciplined Studies: Reading, Writing, Math, Logic

Reading (for both Jonathan & Grace)

  • Sonlight P3/4-- I'm interested in using Sonlight as the children get older. I bought the instructor's guide for P3/4 and am going to get most of the books from the library. My goal is to spread this out until Grace is old enough to do Sonlight P4/5 with us. I'm going to supplement some of the books with fun activities as well as use:
  • Before Five in a Row-- a literature-based preschool "curriculum".

Phonics (for Jonathan)

Handwriting (Jonathan):
  • Raising Rockstars Preschool- a wonderful, free curriculum from Carisa over at 1+1+1=1. This will also be used for Grace's letter recognition. We'll probably alternate this with Literature or theme-based units.
Math (Jonathan):
  • Beginning Math Reasoning- this is an award-winning book for 3 and 4 year olds. I hope to start going through this with Jonathan- it covers lots of concepts from counting through beginning fractions. He's already beginning to add and subtract, so I think this will be helpful. I'm supplementing with:
  • MathStart books-- living books which help teach math concepts (courtesy of our library)
  • Manipulatives- Unifix cubes, counting bears, etc.

So that's our plan for this coming year! It'll probably be re-worked several times as I see how realistic it is. But flexibility is one benefit of learning at home!

January In Review-- Homemade BeanBags, Cinnamon Rolls, First Art Experiences,

Tot School
Jonathan is 36 Months
Grace is 17 Months

Well, I need to get caught up on posting! Hoped to start last week, but a round of illness hit us (high fevers, respiratory infections, ear infections, pinkeye...). My poor Jonathan was miserable! He's finally feeling better so I'm excited to start some more activities with him this coming week. :) 

Here are some highlights of the last couple weeks (what little we did):

Colors- Grace and I have been trying to work on colors. Here are a few activities we've done:

  •   I made pairs of beanbags out of fat quarters ($1 per color at Walmart). I got a new sewing machine for Christmas and they were so easy to make (I'm a sewing newbie). We work on identifying colors and matching colors with these. They're also a lot of fun to throw!

Homemade beanbags

  • I've also been making her "color baskets". We put several toys of the same color in one basket and talk about the colors.
Our red basket.

Books & Vocabulary- Grace is talking quite a bit. Right now she loves finding books and curling up in our laps. She especially likes the books with pictures of everyday objects (such as Roger Priddy books). She likes pointing to the items and trying to say or repeat the names.

Cooking- Jonathan and Grace enjoy standing in the learning tower and watching us cook. They had fun watching daddy make homemade cinnamon rolls the other day:


Grace tried fingerpainting for the first time, as well as dot painting with our Do-A-Dot Markers. They also love coloring on our new easel they got for Christmas. Grace is a sneaky one though-- she likes to walk off with the crayons and color on other objects.

Jonathan got a paint with water book for Christmas, and he has fun painting the cars:

Motor Skills- After being cooped up, we went to our park district's open gym time. We were nearly the only ones there! It was fun and it let them get some of that energy out:

Grace was so tired by the end of the hour that she just laid down:

Thanks for visiting!

I'm linking this post up to:

Tot School at 1+1+1=1
Link & Learn at No Time for Flashcards
Sunday Showcase @ Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Still here...

The past couple months have been really busy with the holidays and my new job! I'm now working 5-7 hours a week doing children's ministry for our church. This really has been a wonderful opportunity- I feel like I'm using my gifting and my training to bless our church. Most of it can be done from home so I still have the ability to teach and train my little ones! God really put this in my lap unexpectedly and it's been a huge blessing!

This last month I was involved in launching a blog for our children's ministry with resources, activities and articles for parents. (Email me if you want the link). So fun to use my experience blogging to also bless the church!

The kids are doing well and getting big:

Grace is now almost 17 months old. She started walking Nov 19th. We were at a playdate and she just stood up and took 20 steps. Then she did it again and again and again. There's no turning back now!

In the last month her speech has also blossomed. She probably has about 30-40 words and is adding new words each day. Jonathan was a late talker, so this has been very fun to watch! (I swear when he began talking he spoke in sentences!) She tries to sing songs with us and we can often hear her walking around singing the ABC song (not the letters, but the melody).

She loves to snuggle in with a book and really just be into anything her older brother is doing!

Jonathan just turned three years old and is growing up so fast! Three has been presenting its own challenges but we're adjusting. Potty training is still going on-- yesterday he actually initiated, so there's a glimmer of hope! He's for the most part dropped his naptime so we've instituted quiet play/rest time. '

Lately he's been into Cars, Richard Scarry books, picture puzzles (I Spy, 1001 Things to Spot), Clifford books, and being energetic!

Bible-wise, we've moved into the life of Christ. This week we're discussing Jesus Calling the 12 Disciples. I hope to at least get back to posting our Bible lessons. We've also been working on practicing godly choices.

Jonathan has his letters and their sounds down, so I've been wrestling a little with what to do next. He's picked up on beginning letter sounds and rhyming words. He's not ready to write, but he pretends to write. We've been practicing a lot with pencils lately. He got an easel for Christmas and he enjoys writing on the whiteboard a lot. (As does Grace!)

Mathwise, he's counting fairly well. He gets up to 15 and sometimes to 20. His daddy does some basic word problems with him and he follows along well. He loves games! We got him My First Orchard for Christmas and he also received The Snail's Pace Race and Teddy Mix & Match for his birthday. He loves to pull out a game!

 I don't want to push him, but I want to challenge him. In fact, it seems like he acts up a bit more when we don't have at least 15-30 minutes of learning time. So I'm wrestling with what to do with him this year. I just bought the Teacher's Guide for Sonlight P3/4. My hope is to read all the books with him and Grace over this year or so. But I think he's up for a bit more of a challenge... Any suggestions would be welcome!

So that's our lives right now. Hopefully I'll be able to work blogging back in soon-- I do miss it!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Kids in the Word: Jonah

The Pelsers

Although we're all recovering from illness here, we did get through our Bible story from last week, which was Jonah. 

As usually, we read the story in our toddler Bible. And then we read these stories to supplement:

This is an easy-reader story that recounts the narrative of Jonah. It focuses on the themes of obedience as well as God's forgiveness. Jonathan has loved this series of books and this one is no exception. It focuses mostly on Jonah 1-3 and includes the fact that the people of Ninevah repented and turned to God. 

This is another Arch book which recounts the biblical narrative in rhyming verse. I like that it actually includes all four chapters of Jonah and therefore also includes Jonah's attitude at the end of the book after Ninevah repents as well as God's response. 

Whoops! (Jonah and the Fish) by Mary Manz Simon

This is another easy reader that tries to tell the story of Jonah and the fish in about twenty-five words. Jonathan really liked the illustrations in this story-- he would pound his fist with Jonah as Jonah declares he will not go to Ninevah. What I don't like is that the book solely focuses on Jonah's obedience and never mentions how Ninevah responds. 


We talked about obedience a lot with the Jonah story, so we played Simon Says and Red Light Green Light. 


We made Jonah and the fish. We cut two sides of a fish out of cardstock and colored it and added a googly eye. Then we glued a picture of Jonah to another piece of cardstock and taped yarn to it. We glued the two fish halves together with the yarn in between and Jonathan could use the yarn to pull Jonah into the fish's belly:

He loved it! The only drawback was that it was played with so much it ripped. But he had fun! You can see other Jonah art projects on my Pinterest board. 


We didn't get to do this, but I was planning on watching the Veggie Tales movie of Jonah. (You can stream through Netflix). We've seen it before, and it's a fun retelling of the story. 

So that's our week on Jonah. Next up- Daniel.... 

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