Following on from my last blog post about hands-on Maths and Numbers, here are some tips for busy, bouncy kids to get them involved in reading and writing activities...
play – games, letter dice, story dice, magnetic letters & words, board games, matching games, wordsearch
create – get them to tell you stories & poems and record these, make books, cards for loved ones, get a penpal, collage letters, paint letters (sprinkle sand on wet paint), use chalk on paths, tracing in sand or paint
label – your favourite things around the house, label your body parts, label your garden - label everything! If you use sticky labels, it's most fun.
worksheet creator – use your favourite words to create worksheets: names, address, pets, places. Wordsearches are worksheets in disguise.
read – audio books, read aloud (while they use playdough or eat is good), go to the library, read to yourself and aloud to other adults while children are around, and just...
Something that comes up a lot in my sessions and conversations with other parents is - how do we 'teach' kids who just want to touch, squash, bang, run, jump, yell and are basically very IN their own bodies a lot of the time?
There are so many ways to learn the same concepts. That we expect busy little bodies to sit, hold a pencil, and listen for great lengths of time is plain crazy. It's the worst part of our modern education system, I think. (And there's loads of research behind that opinion, but I don't think I need to convince you!)
Here are some of the ways we've discovered numbers in the early learning years with tactile learners:
manipulatives – buttons, coins, counters, Cuisenaire rods, MAB (Multibase Arithmetic Blocks), rocks, abacus, dominoes, sticker spots & stars, anything they have multiple of (favourite toys), lego, blocks
play – games, building, count as you hop, jump & skip, collect, bounce, measure, run, using timers, shops,...
I'd like to share about seed and plant experiments and projects which can be done indoors. For so many families right now, it's hard to connect with nature due to limitations on being out and about. Why not try a couple of the ideas below?
Cress seeds germinate within 48 hours and the cress will be ready to eat within 10 days - so as far as gardening goes, this is as close to instant as it gets!
You will need:
egg shells, rinsed
egg carton or egg cups
potting mix or cotton wool
*cress seeds (supermarket, hardware or garden store)
pens to decorate
Try to crack your eggs removing only the top third of the shell. Wash and dry well. Once dry, decorate with faces using a permanent pen. You can also paint the shells, or glue on features such as a nose.
Pop your shells into a cut-down carton or egg cups from the kitchen. Fill with potting mix or cotton wool. Dampen and sprinkle cress seeds. If using soil, don't bury...
Following on from the post about our Oceans Unit Study earlier this year, I've collated some info about our Dinosaur Unit Study to share with you. Zeah is five, and she loves learning-by-doing, so we've done a lot of hands-on learning, as well as enjoying an epic Dinosaur Trail roadtrip!
Some of our Term 2 & 3 activities have included:
Castle & Kite, KiwiCo* and My Creative Box* activity boxes have come to the rescue again, with Zeah undertaking lots of creative Dinosaur activities with her Nanny on Tuesdays. I like that I can leave these boxes for them and go into the office, and everything they need is on hand. The activities give quick results, provide something to show off when I arrive home, and there's little waste involved because of how these activity boxes are designed.
(*use these affiliate links for a discount for your family, and mine).
We've found lots of Dinosaur books in the library, op shops, our own shelves, and...
This year, Zeah is Prep age. Kids at Prep in our state are 4-6 years old. Or I could just tell you that last month, Zeah turned five! We plan our 'schoolwork' around themes. So as well as doing some basic literacy and numeracy activities, and learning to swim, and lots of play and mess-making, Zeah learns about a different theme each term.
Term 1 was Oceans, and some of the activities included:
Castle & Kite, KiwiCo and My Creative Box activity boxes have all been huge blessings since I started a new job while still studying fulltime. I'm working casually this year (and mostly home-based) in Community Engagement, which is a dream job for me! I'm studying Sustainability online via the University of Tasmania - Sociology, Indigenous Lifeworlds and Engaging with Sustainabilty units this semester - all three are quite content-heavy with plenty of written assessments! I only have another month or so to go until I get a break...
Phew! I've been a bit quiet on the blog while I tackle my first full-time semester of uni in over 25 years! It's been a great big learning journey. I have just a few weeks to go before a long summer break.
When I'm not at my desk working or studying, I'm trying to pop out to my garden regularly, because it's so calming for my mind. And harvesting great big bowlfuls of produce is also appealing... we have snowpeas, shelling peas, a couple of varieties of green beans, some broccoli, tons of leafy greens - Asian greens, lettuces, kale, spinaches, several edible flowers, gooseberries, mulberries, black sapote, chokos, lemons and lots of herbs in abundance right now. The chickens are also laying, and two hens had chicks recently. So life on the farm feels great!
To read some of my writing about gardening, go here.
Zeah and I did a Wild Weed Walk the other weekend. We both loved it! I used to take my bigger kids to lots of...
I've been listening to The Brave Learner on audible for a few weeks now, and I'm really enjoying it! As I listen to each chapter, I'm thinking "Yes!" Julie Bogart succinctly describes the learning adventure our family have lived for the past last 25+ years. To hear her describe how she learned to create a rich learning environment (and lifestyle) for her children, and trusted their choices and abilities is a beautiful reminder of how our own home education journey was also heart-centred and adventure-driven. Would I make the same choices again? Absolutely! I am, with Zeah who is 4 and will have a different experience to her siblings aged 16-26, but hopefully it will be as full of fun and love and help her to grow to be independent and brave adults like her siblings (she's already quite brave!)
Want to hear more? The Brave Learner is on Audible (your first title is free). It's also available as a paperback for around AUD$25 -...
I loved themed learning at any age! From reading Teddy Bear's Picnic and eating outdoors with babies, right through to teens writing essays inspired by concepts in a sci-fi movie they watched or novel they read...
Last week I read The Rainbow Fish to Zeah and the little ones I babysit, then we did some simple related activities.
The Rainbow Fish, with his shimmering scales, is the most beautiful fish in the ocean but he is proud and vain and none of the other fish want to be his friend—until he learns to give away some of his most prized possessions.
Sometimes the activity is so simple it's completed by the end of the story, and other times, we can spend a week or more immersed in the theme of a much-loved book.
When I looked online for activities related to The Rainbow Fish, there were hundreds of free ideas including arts & crafts, colouring pages, worksheets, games, loose parts play, snack ideas, and more! Learning like this is a little like a...
Marie from Nature Study Australia has collated a fantastic list of free resources for homeschoolers looking to include Nature Study in their learning journeys... We've used some of Marie's resources before, and I attended her workshop at the Australian Homeschooling Summit.
Once I started looking for nature study resources, I found there were hundreds, including freebies, available online. If you have any recommendations, please let us know what you're using, especially Aussie products!
We've had this set for about a year and I play it with Zeah, she plays with it alone, and we take it when I babysit some other homeschooled children. It's been really popular with 3-8 year olds. We have the version pictured, with activity cards.
Zeah uses the pebbles for sorting (size, colour, shape), stacking, counting, and making patterns. The pebbles are ideal for loose parts play, as maths manipulatives and the activity cards prompt plenty of variations of learning and play. There are several sets available.