Friday, January 25, 2013

Homeschool Preschool: Weeks 21 & 22

L and E are 3.5 years old.  I've been busy working on some new educational games lately, and the girls have been having such a great time inventing all sorts of dramatic-play adventures for themselves (they always say "we're too busy playing stories" when I ask them if they want to do activities), so we're back to a more unstructured homeschool approach.  On days when they decide that they do want to do 'activities', we work together for hours and they concentrate and work hard on their tasks.  On the days when they just want to go camping in the living room or build an airplane out of the dining room chairs, that's fine too.  Here's a little glimpse into some of our homeschool time..

The girls enjoyed sorting mini-erasers this week.  Since sorting is easy for them, we have contests to see who can complete their sorting the fastest.  It's hilarious how when there is any type of time constraint or speed contest, both girls get so excited about going fast that they just wave their arms around a lot and end up working at a much slower speed.  We're working on that - it's a good skill to be able to work effectively under pressure, not just for standardized tests, but also in life.

We're using ten-frame trains to review math concepts.  I ask them questions while they're working - "Look, you have six elephants on that train car, how many more do you  need to fill it?", "Are there an odd or even number of animals", "I wonder how we can figure out how many animals are on the train without having to count each one", etc...

I've also been adding to the rotation some of the math manipulatives that we haven't played with in a while.  It's fun to see how much their mastery has improved with the games and manipulative that we were playing with a year ago at 2.5 years old (they seemed so grown up then and now looking back they were tiny).

The girls like doing activities on the MiniLUK.  It's a learning system invented and manufactured in Germany, which comes with workbooks that teach visual perception, memory, logical reasoning, and other skills.

The self-check mechanism is always a favorite for positive reinforcement and a sense of accomplishment for the kids.

These ordering puzzles were mine when I was little.  The goal is to spot the differences between each picture and then put them in order of complexity.  This task is too difficult for the girls, but we work on it together, with me giving them verbal hints like:"Find the boat that doesn't have a smokestack."  I sometimes pull out two of the pictures and ask them to name the differences.

These cards have self-checking on the back, which the girls enjoy as well.  Sometimes we just flip the cards in a set over and put the shapes on the back together like a puzzle.

After a game of dominoes (we usually only get through one game before the girls want to build houses and domino trains), we made some shapes with the dominoes..

... and some repeating patterns.  This was a lot of fun for all of us, but L really got into it and came up with her own ideas for patterns.

I found some paint-with-water books with Baby H (16 months) in mind, but the twins enjoyed them immensely and asked for these painting books all week.

We've also been going through a lot of workbooks from The Thinking Company to work on listening and deductive reasoning skills.

Logic games are always a favorite, like Rush Hour Jr.  I wasn't sure if the girls were old enough for this when I purchased it last month, but they picked up the concept right away and have successfully gotten through most of the green cards (easiest level).

Around the holidays, I found these take-apart toys (airplane and car) which come with a wrench and screwdriver with parts you can remove the then put back together again.  They were only \$3 each at Target, and have been a wonderful activity for fine motor skills, spatial reasoning, and concentration - very Montessori inspired!

Disclaimer - I mentioned a bunch of games and educational products in this post.. they just happen to be things that my kids really like to play with (I wasn't compensated by these companies in any way).