Making Reading Fun

I must admit that I did not concentrate on my son’s reading skills. He is currently 5 years old and he is not a super confident reader yet (or am I putting too much pressure on myself?) I am currently putting more effort on his reading and I bought a second hand “Sing Spell Read and Write” book. I also did some research and I learned that yes, I did the wrong thing… I missed teaching the phonetic and went straight to sight reading. Yep, a huge mistake and I have to undo what we thought was the right method.

Now we don’t sing the ABC as the nursery song does. We now concentrate on the sound of the letters. We also work on the consonant- vowel -consonant mix.

Unlearning sight word reading and relearning phonetic reading will be a huge benefit for Joshua when he enters the first grade. At the moment I have enough time to catch up because he is entering Kindergarten in the upcoming School year.

So to make reading fun, I have prepared a few games into our study time. We played the Word Treasure Hunt Game.

I have prepared some instructions for him to complete his mission.

So Joshua had so much fun searching and reading words that are rolled in paper around the room. Today we concentrated on words with vowel “o”.

Then, his second assignment was to look at his book and find the similar sentences written on paper. Once found, he must post the correct order according to the book on the wall! He did two (2) pages with six (6) sentences.

After doing all the exercises, Joshua wanted more. So we read a Bible verse and ended up singing it.

Homeschooling really brings out not just the best in my kid… it also brings out the creativity in me. Learning magically happens when its fun!

Rain Cycle

Science is the favourite of Joshua. For understanding the rain cycle we did 2 experiments at home. 

First I had to explain how water evaporates into the atmosphere or sky. We got a cup and a cover. We poured hot water in the cup explaining how the sun causes heat on the water. We covered the lid of the cup with a DRY plastic cover for about 15 minutes.  When the time was up, Joshua noticed that the plastic cover was filled with water droplets. This made him understand that heat makes the water evaporate.

Our second experiment was more fun… explaining Precipitation or Rain. We used a clear class with water about 3/4 full. With a little air space in between, we sprayed shaving cream on the top.  Then with blue colored water (using blue food coloring) and a dropper, we drip over the “clouds” and see how raindrops form.

Rain experiment

Blue water drops below

This was absolutely fun and educational! The shaving cream has been a good medium for us… from puffy paint and now to the rain experiment. 

Doing a live laboratory at home makes science interesting and fun!

In full circle

After 3 months since we planted Joshua’s monggo seed, we finally see it bear it’s first bean sprout. It is quite a surprise because we kept waiting from the surviving plants if any of them would bloom. 

A week later, we kept watching that sprout to see what would happen. The sprout dried out and we plucked it out of its mother plant. It was hairy and hard and we could not wait to open it’s green cover.

As we split open the bean cover, we were so delighted to see the new monggo seeds produced by our monggo plant. We have gone full circle on our plant project.

Joshua kept asking how God was able to do it. I told him, it really is God who creates all things and who causes the growth. This is Joshua’s very first harvest and also understanding of agriculture. 

What I pointed out was how God’s economy works. With one seed, a plant will grow and give you seeds that are more than the first. In our plant experiment we had this one seed produce 5 more seeds! Now we will start a new plot with this precious 5.

When we started this monggo plant project we had so many seeds. Some grew and some died. The ones that lived were those planted in cups. We learned that sunlight and enough water was needed to help it grow. We saw also learned that growing takes time and requires patience. But most of all, we learned that God causes the growth and when God makes a plant live it enables it to bear more seeds than what was planted. Its an amazing lesson for my 4 year old and for myself.

A Four year old’s Solar System

My son loves science! He is especially interested about the solar system. His dad brought home a Space book and he was thrilled. We read about the 8 planets and we went page by page.  

Since he learned about the 8 planets song, Joshua has been asking me to help him make his solar system. I have sort of procrastinated on the request until the other day. With play doh and white Carolina paper, we followed the look of every planet from his Space Book.

I drew on pencil and Joshua had to fill the planets with play doh. Once he completed it, he had to write also the title of his project. This activity made him remember the name of the planets and he also practiced his writing.

This project was real fun to make and Joshua made it as a gift to his dad. But I decided to post it in their room and write on it so both Joshua and Anna could read and remember the solar system every day.

 

Mold and Paint

Mold and Paint toys are super fun activities for four year olds. At this age they have better hand control and will enjoy doing a bit of mixing.

After mixing the plaster of Paris and water we place it on the Ninja Turtle mold.  

After 30 minutes to an hour, it dries to it’s shape. That part alone, Joshua felt like he accomplished something.

The next fun challenge is to paint the mold. He says he likes Raphael so he will make his Ninja Turtle be the red one.

And after making it dry, this new art work will be displayed on Daddy’s table as a gift from Joshua. Oh, he had to sign the back by writing his name too.

These mold and paint are neat gifts and a good art and crafts activity to do with your pre-schooler.

Plant Life

A great way to understand the cycle of plant life is for our children to see it first hand. So part of our science study is to truly see the cycle from seed to plant.

We took some monggo seeds and see what happens in 5 days. This project takes a little patience… Because we observe what happens every day.

Day 1 – We soak seeds in water. We leave it out where the sunlight can reach it. Three major things my children learned is that life needs air, water, and sunlight to thrive.

Day 2 – we observe many of the seeds grew in size and their old cover starts to wear off.

Day 3 – we see roots starting to grow out of the seed. This time we move them to their cups with soil. Don’t forget to make holes underneath so water do not drown the seeds.

Day 4 – The good Lord has brought showers and some hours of sun.  So we left our monggos alone. We let our little farmer play some golf instead! 

Day 5 – My little farmer was so elated to see that his seeds have now grown with stems and leaves. Many of them have rooted themselves well.

What a joy for kids to understand the reality of life and nature. We may plant, we may water the seeds, but truly it is God who causes the growth! 

Volcano Project

My son had a sudden interest to understand earthquakes because of the recent 7.2 Magnitude earthquake we experienced a few weeks ago. We went through some interesting YouTube shows to help explain what happens in an earthquake.

Part of our science subject, we started to look at tectonic plates moving causing these shakes. But it went further to why the crust moves and that the earth has a mantel and core were liquid rocks, metals, and minerals. From this it got him interested to understand about lava and volcanoes. And this started our Volcano Science project.

We first got a soft drink can and cut out the top to make it like a cup. Then we cut out some old folder into strips and made it as the outline of our paper mache mountain. Then with some newspapers and glue & water, we started shaping our mountain.

Next day, after drying our mountain, we began painting on it. This activity was fun for the kids! 

After painting we had to get the Main ingredients to make our lava. You see inside the earth’s crust are some molten rocks and some will come out of a volcano when it erupts.

 Homemade lava is made of 3/4 hot water, 3 drops of red colouring, 2 table spoon liquid detergent, 2 Table spoon baking soda and 1/4 cup vinegar.

This activity was super fun as they were seeing the lava quickly spew out of the volcanoes mouth.

Here is our video on how it all happened!

Homeschool Schedule for my 4 year old

Just this January, I decided to give a bit of structure to our homeschool. I created a guide on what would do everyday. For a four year old pre-schooler, a good 30 minutes to 1 hour of focused time is all we need for every subject I am teaching.

For English and Writing we do letter writing, sounds of letters and try some small word reading. Honestly, my son does not enjoy  writing, but we encourage him to try. We also do a lot of language by asking questions and answering them, doing imaginary stories, and talking about feelings.

For Science, my son loves anatomy. We bought from a bookstore posters of lungs, internal organs, teeth, and more. We discuss this and he really enjoys it. After our session, Joshua would go to his dad and explain what he understood. 

For Piano, we enrolled Josh in Gray tones school of music. I love their curriculum for kids his age. It is a mix of play and music familiarization and playing the piano.

For Math, we do a bit of number practice 1-100 and concept of addition and make Johua write numbers. We also play a math app on the iPad where it introduces fractions, addition and subtraction and sequencing.

For Arts, I have to find ways to be creative… we do painting, we create animals, we do drawing. Lots of materials are found on Pinterest. One should take a look there and get inspired! This is a sample of what we made recently — butterflies using toilet paper rolls and some colored paper and pens.

For Values we discuss bible stories, and themes like sharing, caring for each other etc.. I love the Bible for Kids app by youversion.com. They make the stories come alive with their graphics and it is easy for kids to understand. We discuss what we read and then find ways to apply.

We also insert some physical activity for Joshua and so we enrolled in swimming at the Bert Lozada Swim School. It is a one hour swimming session where our 4 year old learns the skill on swimming and survival.

What Joshua has a lot of is play. He plays blocks, he plays with clay, he plays with toys and his sister. They watch their favourite movies, they sing and dance…. they fight, they make up, they laugh and play some more.

I am not strict on my son or on myself. We are enjoying the journey of discovery and learning together. Sometimes, I don’t follow my schedule and it is okay. Our pace sometimes is fast, sometimes it’s slow. We go on my child’s pace. As a homeschooling mom it is a discipline not to look at what others are doing and comparing my child with theirs. As a parent-teacher my goal is for my child to learn and enjoy learning.

So far by God’s sustaining grace, we are doing okay.

Addition Concept for 4 year olds…

They say 4 year old boys like math and girls like writing and phonetics. In our case, Joshua was assessed in Eye Level ( a supplementary education provider) and he was better in his math than writing or reading in English. So, I decided that his math continues with me at home.

So what happens during our Math time? We do a lot of playing. We have dice games on a poster filled with numbers 1-100. We drop the dice randomly on the poster and on whatever number it falls on you have to read it out loud! Example the dice fell on 76, Joshua has to say “seventy-six”. It’s a fun game with kids his age!

Next, we start going through the addition concept with some tools. I bought this Math Discovery Kit in Amazon when I was in the US and this has been very helpful.

There are many ways to use the kit. Recently, we used it to learn and practice Addition.

The tools make the addition concept easy to understand. The method looks fun and enjoyable to do for 4 year olds.

Placing and counting these circular buttons help Joshua visualize the meaning of the number. When he reads out  “nine plus six equals”, he starts getting curious what number it will be.  When he finishes counting all the buttons he is confident he got the right number and so he starts writing.

This is enjoyable stage and hopefully we are off to a good start. I pray that I can truly teach him well to love math and be good at it.

Making Slime

This idea came when our 12 year old cousin, Alexa mentioned that her classmate was selling slime in school. My kids have been bugging me that they do want to play with slime. So, it was a great idea to start researching how to make our own home made slime!

The ingredients are simple:

1. ELMER’S GLUE

2. LIQUID DETERGENT

3. FOOD COLORING

You will also need 1/4 cup and spoons and a small container where you can mix it all together. 

You put the ELMER’S Glue on 1/4 cup and place it in a mixing container. We suggest you put in the drops of food coloring. Then, place 2- 3 spoons of liquid detergent on the mixture. Using a spoon, mix in circular motion the ingredients.

You will keep mixing until you notice the mixture sticking together. If it’s not sticking as a slimy dough you can opt to add half a spoon of liquid detergent.

It was so much fun preparing it… but it was more fun playing with it for hours! My son just did not stop creating stuff with the slime and each one was just amused with their creation.

In case your kids place the slime on their clothes and you cannot remove it, don’t worry! Remove the affected clothes and soak it with detergent ( I used the Calla brand) overnight. The next day, you will find the slime removed or removable from the fabric.

Hope you can make use of this activity as a bonding and creative activity with your kids at home!