We went on vacation for a week, so our school has been less formal lately (but still a lot of fun). While we were visiting my in-laws, the kids had a great time playing in corn kernels, feeding goats, riding on a barrel train, exploring a corn maze, and picking out mini pumpkins. We're continuing our fall theme with some seasonal crafts and learning games. Here's some of what we've been doing..
Arts & Crafts
We've been collecting items from nature (fall leaves, branches, rocks) and doing a lot of free art exploration with them.
The girls used dry-erase markers to decorate their mini-pumpkins. I figured that we could wipe off any 'mistakes' to avoid fits, but the girls loved the way their pumpkins turned out. They drew faces on the front and then decorated the back with flowers and little designs.
We made a fall tree craft by painting leaves in fall colors using q-tips. I got this idea from Pinterest a while ago. The girls were very proud of their creations and hung them up on their bedroom door.
On a recent trip to Home Depot, the kids were given free kits for building their own lawn-mower pencil holders. They were excited to put them together (with a bit of help from Mom). I forgot to take a photo of the final result.
Math & Logic
The girls found some change lying around and got very excited that they had "real money". I turned their interest into a learning game by setting up a little store for them. The goal was to get the girls to identify the value of the different coins (we'll revisit this game another day and challenge them to combine coins to produce different values).
The girls are also learning that 4 quarters and 10 dimes each make a dollar - we've been doing some work with fractions so they understood that 1/4 and a quarter of a whole is the same thing. For the dimes, we counted by 10s.
We're still working on math facts. The kids seem to do better with the addition strategy of picking the larger number and then counting up from there to get the final sum (rather than memorization, which usually turns into guessing). I turned a Jenga (actually a cheaper knock-off) into a chance to practice addition facts by writing problems for them to solve on each piece. We take turns removing a piece from the tower and then solve the problem before placing it on the top.
Logic games and activities are always a big hit in our homeschool, as well.
The girls have been asking to play with Legos on a daily basis. I try to incorporate some math activities into our Lego time. For example, we'll count by twos to figure out how many 'bumps' are on each brick. Building pyramids is a favorite activity, and we often discuss the different combinations of numbers that can give us a certain length.
Another game we play with Legos to build cognitive skills is where I build something small while they watch and then take it apart and give them the pieces to try to re-build it. One day when I have time, I want put a set of pieces and instructions into zip-lock bags so they have little building challenges to work on every day (the larger Lego instructions are great, but at age 4 they need simpler projects with fewer pieces). We also build lots of things from our imaginations.
For our read-aloud time, we finished Princess Posey and the Monster Stew. The girls love the Princess Posey series and I'm hoping that by the end of the year, they'll be reading them on their own as their first chapter book series.
I'm currently reading aloud Little Witch by Anna Elizabeth Bennett. It's a classic children's novel from 1953 and I absolutely love that even though the content is very kid-friendly, the vocabulary is extremely rich (it's such a refreshing change from some of the modern children's books where the language seems 'dumbed down' for kids).
Independent Reading for L & E:
-Because a Little Bug Went Ka-choo
-Because a Little Bug Went Ka-choo
-The Cat in the Hat
-Green Eggs and Ham
-Days with Frog and Toad
-The Witch Who Was Afraid of Witches
-Mrs. Brown Went to Town
-Two Greedy Bears
-Days with Frog & Toad
-Houghton-Mifflin Phonics Library Readers - Grade 1
Both girls finished their numbers in Handwriting Without Tears and E is making a lot of progress on lower-case letters. We talk a lot about how when they finish learning their lower-case letters, they'll be able to write stories just like grown-ups or do science experiments and record their observations using words in addition to pictures. This seems to motivate them quite a bit.
Coming up next week will be all the Halloween crafts that I have been planning on doing with the kids, but haven't gotten to yet..