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!

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!

Challenged to read

The reading milestone came as a surprise. You see, Joshua and I have been going through alphabets and their sounds. Everytime I try to push him to read, he would always show disinterest and would rather do numbers. When that happens, I just go with his flow and do subjects or topics he likes. 

So that day we did writing practice, we did some counting, and again when we were about to do letters, he again did not want to continue. He was eyeing to open my portable TABOO game. I told him I can’t let him play with it because it requires reading and he still can’t read.

I did not realize that challenged him. He really wanted to open Taboo game and try to read. So I allowed him to open the game and we went through some of the cards. The first one I showed him was “Mickey Mouse” and as he slowly followed the sound of every letter, he read it on his own! I was so thrilled. But to make sure, I tried another card and the word was “Donald duck”. Yes again he slowly read it! I was happy because he finally got encouraged to read.


There is joy as well for my little boy because he felt accomplished being able to read! We did a lot of high fives too because he read at least 15 words that day! I thank God for such a blessing to see my three year old’s literacy blossoming before my very eyes.

Here is a video of Joshua slowly reading some words. It’s a mother’s joy so bear with my excitement! 

Teach My Preschooler

I was very happy to purchase on Amazon this kit called “Teach my Preschooler”. It has 4 categories and only needs 20 minutes of concentrated time. 

The Kit includes numbers, math, writing, and intro to reading. Joshua is pretty excited about it and he can’t stop going through the bag. 

  
I told him, “Mommy is going to be your teacher.” And he then answered in curiosity, “You are my teacher? Like teacher Alvin (his swim teacher)?”  Of course I answered, “Yes! Mom is going to teach you and we are going to have lots of fun!”

So we started with numbers. It has a booklet that helps your child get familiar to numbers from 1-100. When we went through it, I was really having so much fun because Joshua was able to count 1-100 on the first round!  Not bad for a 3 year and 1 month old.

2 days later, Joshua begged  to try out the math. He is getting more and more familiar with the concept of addition. The concept of zero is actually more difficult to comprehend than adding actual number values. But the more we practice, the more he will master it.

  
So yes, home school has started in our home. At this age, a lot of it is play.  It helps being creative when bringing up the concepts learned when we play. 

For instance the concept of addition.  As we play “guess how many in your body?”, we ask questions like, “how many eyes do you have?” and then we check by counting the body part. I will keep asking till we reach fingers and toes because It is more challenging to count. 

It’s been a blessing more than a challenge to teach my son. Looking forward to witness how he is growing in knowledge and wisdom.  

Make Faces! 

It’s great to have a glass table top with a white board pen, and lots of imagination! That was all we needed one afternoon. Josh wanted to do something different from his usual playing with toys. That afternoon we made faces. 

I drew large circles and I let my son draw different faces. He had faces that smiled, others that did not, others even had curly hair. 

  
This fun activity let him explore emotions and explain what the people he drew were like. He drew eyes, nose, ears and mouths. He even had some with pimples because he remembered some household members having them! It was honest and funny! 

  
When we were doing this, we were having great conversation and laughing at some of his comments. We would draw and erase, draw and erase… A glass table top with white board pen is a pretty convenient learning space. It’s a great way to practice Josh’s hand grasping and motor skills. 

Run to a Number!

To do some math workouts with Josh, we had to make a game so it would be fun. I decided to get Joshua’s number flash cards and placed them on his rubber puzzle mat. Since Josh is familiar with 1-10, I decided to move another level by placing 11-20 on alternate mats.

  
The game was simple. On paper, I cut out and folded numbers that was corresponding to the mat. These numbers we would randomly pick. We ( Josh, the nanny and I) all would randomly get a number and we would then say out loud what our number is and at the count of 3 we would run to the mat with that number.

 
You would not believe how many times we played this. From the Morning series it had a second run in the afternoon. The best part is that Joshua was getting more and more familiar with numbers above 10 in a fun an interactive way. 

Fearfully Made

It’s good to teach children body parts as an intro to science. Let our kids  know how God made us. So for this activity I drew on a white cartolina a faceless Boy without arms and legs. 

The idea is to make the eyes, ears, mouth, arms as cut outs that Joshua will paste into the faceless drawing. As a guided play, we start explaining the uses of each part. 

First we have 2 eyes so we can see. Then I wrap my hands on his eyes explaining if he had no eyes he cannot see. God gave us 2 eyes. Then 2 ears so we can hear and listen. Then, I cup my hands on his ears to explain that without these we cannot hear well.  And then further explaining 1 mouth for tasting and talking. Lastly God gave us 2 arms so we can feel, hold, and touch. Then, I held and hugged Joshua. I explain that hands are for helping and serving others. 

  
It is a simple activity at home that just needs paper and pen, scissors and a stick glue. I let Joshua stick the cut outs on the proper places.

Also you can further explain what areas in the body that are considered “private”. These are areas that other people should not be allowed to touch. He also should not touch other people’s private areas. They are private and should be left alone. This helps get our children awareness so that they don’t get into situations where they are in danger of molestation. I know it sounds so morbid, but there are horror stories of kids being molested. The worst part is when children are not sure if what was done to them was normal or not. So it’s good to keep our children aware and informed.

When teaching about body parts, it is important to note that God had a good plan in creating us. We are made in His image and likeness. We are also fearfully and wonderfully made!