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.

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.  

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. 

Creative Math for Toddlers

Since I want Josh to practice the concepts of numbers I prepared another activity just by using simple materials. The objective is for Josh to really count and understand what the number means.

What I used are the following:

1. cardboard from a used folder

2. Colored paper

3. Play dough

4. Marker Pen

I cut out into similar rectangular shape the old folder. Then I cut circles in different colors from the colored paper. Those circles I would paste at the top part of the rectangular board.  Below the circle, I would put the number. 

With the play dough I made small round circles.  There should be enough to be placed for all the card board numbers that the child will complete. 

  
It is a guided play. I tell Joshua he has to help the circle get their seeds. The seed should be the same as the number. Oh he enjoyed the challenge! But of course, you have to help him count and understand that those “seeds” have to be inside the circle.

  
This was Josh doing number 8. When I presented the card board it was one at a time and in random order.  This way he won’t be so overwhelmed and just feel like he is playing a game. 

  
Here are some of his completed work. The plus part was he enjoyed this activity he kept asking to do it again and again. Of course, that brought a huge smile on my face 🙂

Teaching this math concept will lead him to understand later the concepts of addition and subtraction soon! 

Math concepts for 2 year olds

I have been contemplating about teaching the concept of Math to Josh. He can already tell numbers 1-10 and he is exploring 11-20.  Looking at numbers helps memorizing the look and shape of the number. But how about the concept of the number?  He sort of understands because we count the picture items on number books. 

 
I am praying I will be able to teach him addition and subtraction soon. But first, I must establish his understanding of what the number means.  We try to count things like his cheese and pomelo.

So I decided to do a game with Josh. I will put a number card and an empty container beside the number and a bucket filled with blue bead balls. The game works like this… I must put a number card and then he must put the corresponding balls by counting. Then if he correctly gets it, he gets pieces of his favorite snack. (Ok, it’s chips and I know some moms will debate how bad this is for my son. I agree with you… But for example sake, please bear with the illustration).

 
When he answers correctly he gets a reward! 

  

Of course, in the beginning I needed to coach him how to do it.  I did it about twice until he did it himself. The trick here was to just let him do it himself.  When he holds the balls and gets to count them, it helps in grasping the concept. We have to keep practicing so that he would get better and better. If we keep at it we can start doing math concepts such as addition and subtraction soon. I am looking forward to that day!