Preschool Fun With Mega Blocks!

In just about every home in America you can find something called mega blocks. Young children love playing with mega blocks! But did you know mega blocks can also be educational? If you have a preschooler they are the perfect hands-on learning tool! Here are a few ways that you can have fun with your preschooler and mega blocks.

Balancing

Layout the mega blocks on the floor and have your child try to balance himself as he crosses the plank. Another fun game to try is using sharks or other plastic animals on each side of the bridge let the children take turns balancing the toys as they cross along the bridge.

Colors

this is the perfect game for young preschoolers. Dump the blocks and call out a color. See if your children can find the quality said. He did this a few different times in different colors you can also let your children take turns calling out the colors. Have the children try building certain color towers. Or even sorting the blocks by colors.

Patterns

once a child has mastered their colors learning patterns is a typical next step. Start this out by modeling a pattern. For example red blue red blue. Save your child can finish the pattern. Once you have done typical two color patterns you can move on to three and eventually four color patterns with your mega blocks.

 Counting

how many blocks can your child put in there tower? How high can you build a tower? Practice making different size towers with your child then count the blocks in each tower. You can also say count the colors that you’ve sorted. How many blue box do you have? How about red? Kelsey megabucks teaches a child one-to-one ratio and helps them enhance their counting skills.

Size and Measurement

You can teach big/small and tall/short with mega blocks! Make different size towers and ask which one is bigger and which one is smaller. Another idea is to try and make a tower as big as one of the children, then have them stand next to it and ask which is taller? Have a few of the children “measure” themselves next to the tower. Ask them are any of your friends taller than the tower?

Studies have found that children learn best through hands on experiences and by playing. These are just a few ways that you and your preschooler can have fun with mega blocks!

5 Learning Sites for Elementary Ages

I don’t know about you, but my kids are sometimes more tech savvy than I am. Our kids are exposed to technology at a young age, and while this means they need reasonable limits. It also means that we can and should utilize technology in our homeschools.

One way to do this is by allowing our children to engage online using learning sites appropriate for their age. Today we are going to look at some awesome learning sites for elementary aged children.

  1. Funbrain.comThis site boasts of math, reading, online books and learning games! The learning starts with preschoolers and includes learning activities for children up to eighth grade.  preschoolers through 8th graders.
  2. CoolMath4Kids.com– One area where a lot of children struggle is math. Cool Math 4 Kids takes the frustration out of learning math by providing math games for elementary students. The site is interactive and a lot of fun.
  3. MakeMeGenius.com– The name leaves a lot to live up to, but it has the potential! This site is full of videos that cover a wide variety of topics including physics, electricity, solar system, the nervous system and more. The videos are all kid friendly and can be watched by children of all ages.
  4. TIME for Kids– The publishers of TIME magazine have created a learning site for kids as well. Articles, photos and videos cover topics like politics, the environment, sports, health and more. While it is not as interactive as others, it does cover current events from a kid’s perspective.
  5. The Kidz Page– With more than 5,000 pages of learning games and activities. This site is massive! It includes online coloring pages, word games, holiday activities and much more!

Learning online is going to be a natural part of our children’s education. These are just a few of the many learning sites for elementary students out there. As always, each family needs to make their own decisions regarding how much time a child should spend online and what sites are acceptable for their family.

Author Bio: Misty Bailey and her husband have been married for over a decade and have three beautiful children. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued, homeschooling and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.

 

 

 

 

Keeping Grades in Homeschool

Keeping grades in homeschool may seem a little silly. After all, you are their teacher. You know whether or not they are learning right? While this is true, it is also important to keep records and documentation while you homeschool.

Benefits of Keeping Grades

Keeping grades when your child is young will benefit you when your child enters high school. He will already be used to having grades, and you will be used to keeping them. Keeping grades will also help you if your homeschooling is ever questioned by the school system in which you reside.

What Should I Grade?

I do not recommend keeping grades in every subject when your children are small. In the early elementary grades, I would recommend keeping grades for Math, Grammar and Language Arts and Spelling. Spelling tests can be given weekly and grades recorded easily. Most math curriculums come with Math quizzes and tests. Grammar and Language Arts programs may come with tests, worksheets, or another method of review.

As your child gets older you can expand what you grade to include subjects like History, Science, Geography and Foreign Language.

How do I record Grades?

There are many options out there for homeschool record keeping, including recording grades. I use the Well Planned Day Planner, and highly recommend it. There are also free printables out there that you can use in your homeschool to help with recording grades.

Grading scales are up to you, the homeschool parent. We use the 90/80/70 method for grades. Ninety percent or less is an A, 80 percent or less is a B, and so on. It is easy to remember, and seems like a fair system.

Tips to Remember

Don’t put a lot of focus on a grade. Remind your child that grades are just to help you know what your child is learning, and what they need to work on. Mastery is key, and ultimately you want to know your child has mastered what you are teaching, not whether or not they get straight A’s. You want to see improvement, and progress. Not stress them out over a letter grade on a paper. For more information on keeping grades in homeschool check out this sites: How Do I Grade My Student?

Misty Bailey is a wife to Roger and a homeschool mom to three beautiful blessings. She resides with her family in Southern Ohio. She loves helping new homeschoolers and has a Homeschool 101 eBook for those getting started. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey. You can also find her on Facebook and Pinterest.

 

Homeschooling Preschool: What do I Teach?

Preschool is such a fun age and is usually the age range where parents are trying out homeschooling. Preschool does NOT have to be complicated, and teaching this age is far from difficult.

The Basics

Homeschooling preschool starts with the basics. Preschoolers need to know their shapes, colors, numbers and letters. You will also want to teach them things like how to wash their hands, get dressed, undressed, and how to put on their shoes.

How do you teach these things? By living life! Point out colors while you are at the store. Read books and notice letters and numbers. Shapes can be found everywhere and shape hunts in your own home are lots of fun!

Life skills like getting dressed can be done every day. Encourage your preschooler to try and put on or take off his socks. Get a book from the library that has zippers and buttons and practice those fine motor skills. Slip on shoes are a must have at this age because tying is not required.  Teaching the basics to your preschooler can be done easily just by going about your normal routine.

Behavior           

Preschoolers are at the age where they are independent. They want to do what they want, when they want to do it. Yet, they are also inquisitive and eager to learn. You will want to teach your preschooler to be patient, wait in a line, and to sit for small periods of time.

While you are running errands, explain how a line works. We have to wait our turn, patiently, and quietly. Encourage your child to share while at homeschool group, or with his siblings. Check out books on sharing, and friendships from the library.

Make preschool part of your daily routine by having your child sit and color, read books or play games at the same time each day. This will get them into the routine of school, without actually “going” to school.

There is a lot of pressure to get children “ready” for kindergarten, but really if you play with your child, read books and have fun your child will have successfully “passed” preschool. And you will have successfully taught preschool!

Misty Bailey is a wife to Roger and a homeschool mom to three beautiful blessings. She resides with her family in Southern Ohio. She loves helping new homeschoolers and has a Homeschool 101 eBook for those getting started. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.

Should You Homeschool Preschool?

As you look at your active three or four year old, you may be contemplating what step to take next. Should you put them in preschool? Try it out at home? The questions may be swirling through your mind making you wonder if you should homeschool preschool?

Homeschooling preschool is a great option for a lot of parents. And it just may be what you are looking for!

Homeschooling Preschool is great practice! If you have thought about homeschooling but are not sure if it is for you, then preschool is a great place to start! Preschool is a lot of fun, and working with your child at this age will give you an idea into whether or not you could educate your child at home long term.

Teaching Preschool is easy! The three and four year old range is the best age to teach (in my opinion). Lots of hands on activities make up learning shapes, alphabet and numbers. That and a lot of books (preschoolers LOVE books!).

Homeschooling Preschool gives you time! Keeping your child home an extra year gives them time to mature, and time to spend in a home environment. I don’t think this could ever be a bad thing! It also gives them time to be potty trained (if they are not yet), and to become more independent.

Homeschooling Preschool does not have to be permanent. I know a lot of families who have homeschooled preschool then sent their children to kindergarten. Homeschool does not have to be an all or nothing approach.

So, if you are thinking about homeschooling preschool keep these things in mind and do what you think will work best for you and your family!

Misty Bailey is a wife to Roger and a homeschool mom to three beautiful blessings. She resides with her family in Southern Ohio. She loves helping new homeschoolers and has a Homeschool 101 eBook for those getting started. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.

 

Homeschooling with Little Ones

I founded a homeschool group a few years ago and one of the biggest questions I get from new homeschoolers is “How do I Homeschool with My Little Ones?” It can be tough having older children who need your attention when you have a toddler and/or preschooler running around or when you have a new infant that needs your constant attention. There are a few tips I have learned through the years that have helped me homeschool with my little ones.

Give Them Attention First

This is very important! Fill their “love tank” first by reading them a story, playing with them, or doing their “school” before starting with your older ones. Giving them this one on one attention before your distracted by your older ones will make them feel important. It also will fill their need for attention and most likely they will be able to play on their own for a short while and you can tend to your older children’s education.

Utilize Naptime

Do one of your older children have a subject they need a lot of one on one time from mom to complete? If so, have them complete this subject during the little ones naptime. This means they will have your full, undivided attention. You would be amazed how much you can get done while little people nap!

Give them Educational Toys or Workbooks

The year my youngest turned two, I gave him his very own school cubby. It had some workbooks and crayons, a dry erase board, and some counting bears in it. I swapped out the bears every so often for other educational toys, stacking toys, or board books. He also had his very own school table. This kept him “busy” while I helped my older children. It also made him feel involved in what we were doing because he could “do school” too.

Educational Videos

Some people don’t let their children watch TV at all. I understand this to an extent, but I also don’t see a reason to not utilize an educational video every now and then. Dora, Bubble Guppies, Curious George, Leap Frog, and other similar videos can keep your little ones occupied while allowing you to focus on the education of your older children.

Homeschooling with little ones can be done! I have homeschooled for four years and when I first started, I was running a daycare. During that time, I kept the kids all together as much as possible and they entertained each other. When I quit daycare and had my youngest, it was harder because he didn’t have a playmate to help keep him entertained. This is when I began utilizing some of the above tips. They helped, a lot!

The key to homeschooling with little ones is to find what works for you. It may be doing school during nap, it may be turning on a video every now and then, or it may be giving them their own “school”. Find what works for you, and utilize it! Before you know it you will be giving others tips on how to homeschool with little ones.

 

Author: Misty Bailey

Misty is a homeschool mom of three and has been homeschooling for over 4 years. You can read about her homeschool journey and more on her blog, Joy in the Journey.

 

Preschool at Home

Preschool registrations are in full force right now! If you have been debating on sending your child to preschool because you are not sure you can “do it” at home, let me reassure you that you can! Preschool is actually a great age to try out homeschooling, and find out if it is the right fit for you.

What to Teach

Preschool is something anyone can teach. Many of the things taught in public preschool are things you are already doing with your child. Things like cutting, pasting, teaching colors, counting, reading and looking at books, singing songs, and dramatic play. All these things can be done at home without a curriculum. If you look into your state standards many states will have preschool standards listed. There are also websites like this one that will have a breakdown of things children need to know before Kindergarten.

Curriculums to use

If you choose to get a curriculum there are TONS of options. A few free ones are Easy Peasy Homeschool Getting Ready 1 and ABC Jesus Loves Me. Through my years of teaching preschool at home to my children and daycare kids I have used Little Hands to Heaven, Before Five in a Row, Rod and Staff Preschool, and Christian Liberty Press. You can also buy basic workbooks at Wal-Mart and the Dollar Tree. I have not been able to tell a big difference in using a curriculum that costs money vs. free options. There are also tons of ideas on Pinterest for making your own preschool unit studies.

How do the Kids do in Kindergarten?

There are a few moms in our homeschool group who had no intention on homeschooling long term. Their oldest children are already in Kindergarten. Every single mom said they could not tell a difference in their child compared to the others. You could not pick out the “non” preschooler from the group of kids. Two moms said their child had been a little “bored” when preschool first started due to already knowing what was being taught.

What about Socialization?

There are tons of opportunities for children to learn all the necessary “social” skills before going to Kindergarten. If you know a homeschooler ask them if your children can tag a long on field trips, play dates and holiday parties. Most homeschool groups would be more than accepting to have some at home preschoolers join them. Another great option is a MOPS group. Check out their website to see if there is a group near you. When my crew was little we always went to library story times, parties, and activities. The kids made tons of friends at the library through the years.

I think it is important for parents to be aware that there are other options for preschool than sending their kids to public school. You do not have to plan on homeschooling to keep your children home during the preschool years.

Some of my favorite memories are from teaching my children during the preschool years. It is such a great stress free time. We had a blast learning our shapes, playing with play doh and making all kinds of messes! Preschool is a great time to build relationships with your children, and let them have relaxed learning before starting Kindergarten.

Guest Author: Misty Bailey

Misty is a homeschool mom of three and has been homeschooling for over 4 years. You can read about her homeschool journey and more on her blog, Joy in the Journey.