Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Curriculum for Homeschooling Toddlers

My mom and I started homeschooling my son when he was just 5 months old. Yes, you read that right! We started simple - songs, reading to him, putting up posters and constantly talking to him. I believe that babies can understand us. Even in my womb, I talked to my son a lot and I read to him a lot. I also listened to a lot of different kinds of music too.

When he was 7 months old, he already knew the alphabet, can count from 1 to 10, colors and shapes. He even knows the different kinds of triangles, thanks to my mom. I come from a family of educators. My grandma was a teacher, my mom was a college professor and my sister is a SPED specialist, with several doctoral degrees. She also teaches graduate students. I think this background also played a vital role in my son's early education.

My son is twice exceptional - ADHD and gifted. Some of you might say that "oh, it's because your son is gifted that is why it was easy for him to learn such things at a young age." Well, I say there is no harm in starting your child on the path to education at an early age whether he has special needs or not, is gifted, or is twice exceptional.

In this post, I will give you a curriculum that you can use for your own toddler. There are three major subjects I will focus on - Communication Arts (which is divided into Language and Reading), Math and Science. I believe these three are the most important subjects to build a solid foundation on.

Comm Arts

The Alphabet 

This is the first thing that we taught our son. There are some teaching methods that will disagree with my approach. There are also methods that do not follow the sequence of the alphabet, saying that some letters are easier to learn than others. You do what you think is right for you and your child. I don't have a teaching background like the rest of my family and I didn't do a lot of research back then so I started with the ABC song. It was never a problem for us. We just sang the ABC song to my son a few times a day. When he was already able to talk, he already knew the song by heart.

I think about the same time, we also introduced him to the alphabet poster I got. I would point to the letters while I sang the song. So even though my son couldn't talk yet, he could point to the letters when I asked him. He was walking by 7 months. He was very mobile at a young age and can go to the posters on the wall and point to the letters.

Reading

Reading at this age meant reading to him and with him. I would put him on my lap and we would read a book together. Sometimes I would point to the easy words such as I, me, and, us, etc. Then I would point to the pictures and ask questions. Read to your child while he is still in your womb and it will do wonders with his learning ability. My son has developed a love for books. You won't believe how big our book collection is. 

Nursery Rhymes

Let's face it. Some nursery rhymes come across as silly. Some even have lyrics that we don't want our kids to hear. I stick to nursery rhymes that have both sense and substance. My son knows Wheels on the Bus, Old McDonald, BINGO, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and a few others. I choose the songs he listens to. Also, when using YouTube, pay attention to the quality of the song/video. I immediately change the video if the singer has an accent/pronunciation/grammar that I don't want my son to learn. Some videos aimed at kids also have violent content. Kids are like sponges. They pick up things easily so guard them well at this early age. 

Fruit and Vegetable Names

I think the child should know what he is eating right? My son learned his vegetables and fruits at an early age because I always tell him exactly what I'm giving him. It may be in mush form but I have a book or photo on hand to show him what the fruit looks like before mom blitzed it in the processor.

I also have some books with pictures of fruits and vegetables in them. Toys also help with food identification. 

Math 

Colors, Shapes, Numbers

With Math, colors, shapes and numbers were our first lessons. Again, I used posters for colors and shapes. For numbers, I did the same thing with the alphabet. I just recited them to him. Then my mom would get my son's hand and count his fingers. We also have those number puzzle mats which my husband stuck to the wall beside the bed to prevent my son from getting hurt should he accidentally trip over the pillows or fall. These helped a lot with number recognition. The puzzle mats also helped with color recognition. At 7 months, my son could go up to a tile and say blue or red or pink. 

Science

Animals

Animal identification is also a skill that your toddler should know. He should be able to identify pet animals - cat, dog, fish, bird, etc. Then you can move on to farm animals - cow, horse, goat, sheep, carabao, ducks, etc. Sea creatures - fish, jelly fish, star fish, turtle, crabs, etc. Jungle animals - lion, tiger, elephant, giraffe and so on. Save the classification part for when he is a preschooler. Start with the animals with the easiest names to pronounce. 

Parts of the Body

Teaching parts of the body to a toddler is easy. Start with the face. Have your child stand in front of the mirror and then point to the parts and say their names out loud. Then ask your child to do the same. After that, ask your child to point to your nose, eyes, ears, mouth, etc. 

You can also use a chart for this but I prefer the first approach. We did have some pictures of the parts of the body from our school books so we used those.


What does your child like?

My son showed an interest in cars and vehicles at an early age so I built upon that and taught him the names of different transportation. Take a cue from your child's likes and incorporate them into his lessons. When my son already knew the different modes of transportation, I used his toy vehicles for more challenging lessons such as sight word reading, name spelling, color identification, etc. 

Suggested Books

Here are just some books that we used when my son was a toddler. We have a ton of books, mostly story books for his age at the time. Most learning came out of practical everyday things and through play. 


Feel and fit/touch and fit books are great for toddlers as they like to explore different textures with their hands. My son loves this book. Even now, when he sees this, he grabs it and reads all by himself. This is a book that teaches different types of transportation and the sound/action they do. 


Glitter books were also a hit with my son. I got these two on sale. Aside from charts, shapes books also worked well in our homeschool. 


For colours, we used these two books but I believe we had more. I already gave away a lot of our toddler books to make way for present and future books. The Crayola one is especially good. I got both of these on sale again. 


Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is a classic book. We have both the letters and numbers edition. My son just asks for his Chicka books from time to time even after all these years. 

Suggested Materials

Here are some of the materials we used for our Toddler Homeschool.


Mr. Potato Head for body part identification. Up until now, we still have lots of fun with the different Mr. Potato Head characters that we have. This toy fosters creativity and helps with fine motor practice. 


Crayons. I let my son hold crayons at an early age. I would always supervise him when he doodles. Also, at 7 months, my son did not put things in his mouth so I was confident with giving him crayons. There are different types of crayons now in the market. Try a few things to see what works for your child. 


Wooden toys such as this bus. This is a new toy but my son has been playing with toy vehicles forever. This big toy is perfect for pushing and pulling. 


It even has characters inside for further activities for older kids. 




Hammer and Pegs set. This is great for fine motor practice and color identification. Also counting lessons. 


This Piny Pon car set is great for older kids who don't put things in their mouth. 




If you are going to buy small cars, choose quality brands such as Hot Wheels and Tomica so you can be sure that the small parts won't come off. 


Alphabet blocks are also a hit. 


We have plenty of these wooden puzzles. My son mastered the puzzle below at 7 months old. 





We pretty much started playing with lots of toys at 5 months including Play-Doh. Like I said, he didn't put stuff in his mouth so I introduced Play-Doh to him. Until now, he has a blast playing with our Play-Doh sets. This is great to strengthen those tiny fingers to get them ready for writing.


These were the starting points of our homeschool journey. If you want more ideas for your own homeschool, subscribe to my blog and also to my YouTube channel where you will find the latest happenings in our homeschool. 

If you want to save these ideas, feel free to Pin the image below.


Monday, September 26, 2016

Homeschool Kindergarten 1 Lessons and Interactive Notebook - September 2016 Week 4

Here's what we're going to study this week:

Comm Arts

Language 
  • Mother and Baby Animals
  • Caring for Animals
  • Nouns
Reading
  • Letters T, V and W

Civics

  • review of land forms
  • bodies of water

Math 

  • Ordinals position
  • Addition story

Writing

  • Big and small w
  • Big and small x
We are also on Lesson 23 of this book:



As for Science and Filipino, check out this week's interactive notebook:


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Kindergarten 1 Homeschool Lessons/Interactive Notebook September 2016 Week 3

Here's what we are doing this week:

Comm Arts

Language
  • animal movements - flying, crawling, etc
  • moms and babies
Reading

  • letters R, S, T

Math

  • ordinals
  • word ordinals

Civics

  • landforms
As for our Science, Filipino and more CA, here's our interactive notebook this week. 


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

How Do I Start Homeschooling My Preschooler?

If you read my posts about homeschooling a baby and toddler, prepare for something different when it comes to your preschooler. For me, homeschooling a preschooler needs more structure compared to younger ages. They need to get familiar with an organized schedule and a better routine to prepare them for school (if that is your path). As for us, we will continue homeschooling my son for the rest of his grade school years. If you are on the same path as we are or are planning to homeschool your child for many years to come, setting up a good preschool homeschool routine is essential to make homeschooling a success. There are so many problems that may come up when homeschooling so setting up the framework for yours early on will help you avoid those problems.

On another note, please don't homeschool your child if your heart is not into it. Homeschooling involves a lot of hard work. It also involves a lot of expenses and may even be more expensive than traditional schooling. Don't homeschool your child just because it's "uso" or it's "in" or because your neighbor or friends are doing it. Don't homeschool your child because you read on a blog somewhere that it's fun and easy. Sure, it is fun. Sure there are easy parts but there are also hard parts. There are times when I think of what will happen if I just put my son in regular school. But then, God reminds me that this is the path He has chosen for us. Even before my son was in my womb, God laid the foundation of homeschooling in our hearts. I prayed for this many times and I still am so if you are thinking of homeschooling, I suggest you pray about it first. Let God show you the right decision.

Now that's out of the way, let's get on with the show!



Curriculum


First, you need a curriculum. I will discuss this in detail in another post but basically, you can make your own or buy a pre-existing one. The Internet has tons of different curricula for preschoolers.

Materials

Aside from books, I use a lot of learning aids and materials in our homeschool. The advantage of homeschooling your child is that you can make learning more fun. While some kids are stuck with just books and photos, you can use puzzles, manipulatives, videos, etc. to supplement and enforce a lesson. 

Here are some of the materials we use:

Imagination Clock

Imagination Daily Calendar

Imagination Learning Fruit Fractions

Fraction Flash Cards

Puzzle

Ice Cream Tower Game

I like the Imagination brand from Toys R Us. They have a lot of affordable materials. I also like Melissa & Doug but if they have the same item, I'd take Imagination because it's more affordable.

Homeschool materials don't have to be expensive. Just scour the department stores, bookstores, school supplies stores and toy stores. Keep your eyes peeled for sales and be creative. If you see a toy, think about how you can incorporate them into your lessons. My son responds well when his toys join our homeschool. Subscribe to newsletters to see when warehouse sales are coming up. You can really get good bargains from those events. 

Lesson Plan

Now that you have chosen your curriculum and you have your materials ready, it's time to make a lesson plan. For our homeschool, I usually plan the whole week on Fridays or Sundays or whenever I have some free time. I'm so used to homeschooling that it's easy for me to make a lesson plan. My lesson plan is different from the activities that we do. Our lessons involve book-based stuff and subjects like Math, Communication Arts, Civics, Science and Filipino. On the other hand, the activities are more hands-on, play or simply fun things that we do that still involve learning. 




Another thing that we do is the Interactive Notebook. If you are not familiar with it, it's just a regular notebook that you fill up with exercises that engage your child more. For us, it's gluing, cutting, using toys, etc. If you want ideas on how to make an Interactive Notebook, check out my channel. There are several resources there.

End Notes

That's basically all you need to start homeschooling your preschooler. Again, homeschooling is a commitment and involves some hard work but it can also be fun and very rewarding. If you would like more advice or if you have more questions about homeschooling, feel free to drop a note below. If you want more resources for your homeschool, just subscribe to my blog to get loads of free stuff and special offers. If you want to know what we do in our homeschool and to get more inspiration, subscribe to my channel. I look forward to hearing from you!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Homeschool Kindergarten Lessons Sept 2016 Week 2

We will only have 3 days of lessons this week as Monday was a holiday.

Comm Arts

Language
  • animal houses
  • food that animals eat
Reading 
  • letter P
  • letter Q

Civics

  • beautiful places in my country

Math 

  • sets
  • greater than, less than

Writing

  • upper case R, S
  • lower case R
As for Science and Filipino, here's our interactive notebook this week:


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Kindergarten 1 Homeschool Lessons and Interactive Notebook - September 2016 Week 1

Hi, everyone! We were on vacation last week that is why there was a lack of posts. We were not able to do a lot in our homeschool as we had to prepare for our trip so we will just continue where we left off.

Lessons

Comm Arts

Language
  • my animal friends - farm, pets, forest, sea and exercises
Reading 
  • letters L, M, N and exercises

Civics

  • common Philippine animals
  • how to show love and care for animals
  • common Filipino values

Math

  • review counting exercises
  • sets

Writing

  • upper and lower case Q
  • upper and lower case R
My son has been very lazy lately. He refuses to practice writing but I was surprised this morning that he wanted to trace some numbers. I'm not sure how long we will be stuck with the letters above. 

We have also started with this book:



For Science and Filipino, here's our interactive notebook: