Tag Archives: fun homeschool

Coding for Kids

One of the many benifits of homeschooling is the ability to teach your kids random, awesome things like…CODING!!. I stumbled upon this awesome website that teaches children code. 
My kids LOVE it. The teaching is broken into age groups the first group is geared towards kids who are ages 3 to 5. The first few lessons are simple things like teaching children to reach an objective. 
The first activity was about 4 squares. The objective was to move the character to the left one square. Once they saw an example the grid got bigger and I even threw in a few obstacles. You can see in the picture above that it took SJ and KJ the same amount of moves to reach their goal. Which was a lesson on taking different paths to reach the same objective. 

After the kids got the hang of it on the white board we decided to act it out. 
I printed out pictures of SJ and KJ’s favorite characters. I then had one child go into the living room while we placed the character face down along with some blank white pages.  

The child who placed the character had to direct the child who had just come back from the other room to their character using the sign below. They could rotate the sign to reach their objective but could not point to the picture. 

My kids are 5 and 3 and they really enjoyed this game. The next day when they got to start writing code on the computer they were able to follow along easily. We really enjoyed using http://www.coding.org and I believe my days will be filled with my children exploring new ways to make things happen. 

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DIY Crayon Circles

We pick up crayons from everywhere! Back to school sales, dollar stores, restaurants, if they are offered to us or are being sold at a great price then we are getting them. This has led to an abundance of broken crayons. My son KJ has a real problem with things that are broken (though breaking things is his specialty) so he fights against using crayons that don’t meet his standards.

This activity was fairly easy to prep. I took all the crayons and put them in a pile on the table. I asked the kids to remove the wrappers which proved tedious so K and I joined in. After the crayons were unwrapped I had the kids sort them using disposable cupcake pans.

I then baked the crayons in the cupcake plans on 300 degrees for about 15 min. Once the crayons were completely melted I took them out the oven and put them into the freezer to harden. They easily popped out of the tins and the kids enjoyed being able to use them right away.

A Day at The Farm

Last week SJ was out of town. She got back Saturday night, we went to church Sunday and started up with school again Monday. She was pretty wiped out and after a week of informal school with KJ we needed something to look forward to. So we told the kids we would go on a field trip and today we went to Riley Farms.

It was really fun. We took a nice hike from the main cabin where we picked up a map to the apple orchards. The hike was less than a mile and the kids got to learn the proper way to pick apples. Once the apples were picked they were weighed and we paid for them.

The grounds are really neat. They have sheep on property, colonial toys, a bakery, even a cabin. The kids and I finished reading Meet Addy which takes place during the colonial era and so we got to go inside the cabin giving them a visual to a setting similar to the cabin in the book.

It was a fun, informative day, and its only 15 minutes from our house so I see many visits to this farm in the near future.

Sight Word Sticker Box

This past week my little ones have been having a hard time sitting still during our morning reading time. It was time to switch it up. We have been working quite a bit on sight words so this morning I decided to try an activity that would allow them to create. 
I found these letter and number craft stickers at Target a while back. I put them in a bin so the kids would have to hunt for the letters. They got to pick a sight word card, find the stickers then tell me the word.
SJ (5) ended up doing five words in the 20 min time frame. KJ(2) did two. Both had a good time but towards the end it got a little competitive since SJ found more words. 
Click here for another sight word game my kiddos love to play. 

Math Baskets

Math is SJ’s favorite subject so I’ve created baskets to keep her busy when she is bored or just wants something to do. We have two math baskets since all the activities wont fit in one. 

The first basket has flash cards that we use pretty often with KJ (3). We have him name the numbers in English and Spanish and put them in order. The card game Jump which is a cross between phase ten and rummy this is great to teach kids sequential order, counting by 2’s, 3’s and 5’s. 

SJ enjoys puzzles so we house the latest dollar store puzzle in the basket. 

 We use base ten blocks to teach the kids place value. They like to use the blocks to build (even though they aren’t supposed to) but since we taught them to write out numbers for the other to decode with the blocks they love it! The last items in this basket are the clothespin games. 
You can read about the instructions here

If the first basket was geared more toward SJ (5) this one is geared more towards KJ. It’s focus is fine motor skills. The Lacing Shaper is a $1 find from Target. The objective is to lace a shoelace like string through a hole punched robot. I keep a folder in this basket of tangram pictures along with a baggie holding the shapes. 

The baggie also hold fraction circles. 
We have not formally began teaching fractions but the kids love playing with them and can answer questions about how many it takes to make a whole. 
Geoboards have been a life saver for me. I hardly ever get rebuttal when I tell the kids to go get a geoboard. Finally I let the kids use yarn and beads to practice making patterns. All of these activities keep them busy while teaching them important math skills. 
I hope you find these activities useful!

Puzzle Mat Fun

I love to combine subjects. The easiest subject to combine with another is reading or phonics. This puzzle mat game allows my kids to use phonics and science to identify and place animals according to their name. In a previous post I told you about finding these wonderful mats at the dollar store. They are awesome!

We have a tile floor so I had the kids place one letter per tile all across the classroom floor.

I then stacked all the animal squares. Each child got a stack.

I had them match the first letter of the animal name with the corresponding tile. 

They had a blast!This is something you can use for beginning and and end sounds of the animal names. I then had them put the mat back together in order. This required them remembering where each letter went as well as working together.

This quick, easy, cheap game was a great way to reinforce their letters, and phonics.

First Day of School!!!

Today was our first day of school!! I read these home school blogs where moms get up at 6 am have devotion time, make breakfast and start school all before 8 am. I admire those women and their ability to adult, let alone parent before the break of dawn but I am not that person.

So this is my schedule with the kids. I wake up carefully around 7:00 and try not to wake the AJ who sleeps with me to make nursing easier for us both. Once I successfully pry myself from my bed (I am not a morning person) I go into the kitchen, make my coffee and start breakfast (today I made pancakes with caramelized apples). By this time both SJ and KJ are up and on my heels. I feed them breakfast, talk to them about their dreams and whatever else the little people may come up with.

I then send them outside to play. I love sending them outside to play! They need the fresh air, imaginary, adventures and mommy needs some quiet time. Did I mention I am not a morning person. Well once they are in the groove of playing I finally get some quiet time with God, its about 7:45 now. I read the Bible, pray and I may read a devotion or book. Right now I am reading Rival by Lisa Bevere so far I love it.

I call them in at 8:45 to get their beds made by now the baby is up so its okay if they are loud. At 9:00 am school starts. We start with reading, geography, have a quick break then do math, science and history. Here is a look at our classroom.

This is one is the has the order of the day. 
At the bottom a string with clothespins hold their favorite pieces of work. 
It can be anything they are proud but they can only choose two I file away the rest of the work. 
SJ loves math and can tell time so she loved that I used clocks for our schedule during breakfast and throughout the day she made it a point to tell me what time each activity should start. 
She is also learning to read so the combination of the two is proving fruitful.

On the left side of the “Today Is…” chart are our super stars! Each star has the kids names on it and represents a subject we are going through. We have one for reading, math, science, history and geography. The last two subjects share a star. As the day goes on and we complete each subject the kids get to put a hang their star up. SJ is on the left, KJ is on the right. The kids love this because it helps them keep track of whats left to do for the day. They also are both very competitive so this way they work hard to get a star rather than to best the other. 
I wanted their classroom to be filled with historical pictures of people who look like them. 
They have had so much fun asking me questions about the various heroes on the wall and are inadvertently learning history in the process. 
I got both the posters and the timeline from School Specialty

I have a state and world map in my classroom (it was remounted after this picture to be flush with the wall). The kids loved hearing the story of how we came to live in California since we have gone through some other states. They also got to make their own flag today and tell me about their made up state which they thought was really fun. My map covers this bookshelf which houses all our homeschool stuff. I need to get more baskets so it could be a little more organized but the kids know where everything is. 
So far I have an… 
Art basket: colored tissue paper, glue, pipe cleaners, finger paint, chopsticks for the glue, and construction paper
A coloring basket: markers, crayons, pens, chalk, and pencils for some reason I also have play doh and a shower curtain in here. (The shower curtain makes for easy clean up when the kids play with the play doh.) 
A math games basket: tangrams, geoboards, string and beads for patterns and dot to dots
Mommy’s basket: curriculum books, and adult coloring books
The kids can access all but the top shelf any time they want. If they don’t want to play outside they can play games in the classroom. 

The last station is the math station. I have base ten blocks in the top drawer and the bottom drawer is where I store their work books. The basket below it houses a math card game, the clothespins from the previous post you can read about them here, flashcards and puzzles.

All this and I forgot to take pictures of the kids on their first day! 
I guess we will have to take second day of school pictures tomorrow.