My youngest is so proud to be doing school work with her big sisters now. She is learning her letters and their sounds, learning to use scissors, and doing some counting, up to thirty at this point, using various and sundry items like buttons, etc. And just look at that face! She’s so cute and enthusiastic that it is quite difficult not to have a class favorite at times!
While my oldest was away at tutoring, I spent some at-elbow time, that is what I call time spent together at the table, one on one, with my middle child today, doing a simple drawing exercise using the five elements of shape from Mona Brookes’ Drawing With Children. I did some of the same drawing exercises with my oldest daughter years and years ago. I bet you and I can find them on this blog if you go back far enough. Those drawings are still hanging up downstairs. It will be nice to add another child’s drawings to our walls. It is very satisfying to be going through everything a second time with my middle child: drawing, writing, counting, phonics. And I noticed again today how much more laid back and confident I feel this time ’round. Hindsight is twenty-twenty indeed.
I am using Math-U-See’s Primer with my five year old. We are on lesson 9, place value through 100. We have been on lesson 9 for months, actually.
She has to master place value before we move on to the next lesson. So much depends on her understanding how the numerals 0-9 are used to represent numbers of all sizes. She has to know that a two followed by a nine is two tens and nine units, not two units and nine units, or nine tens and two units, etc. etc.
We ran out of lessons in the book a long time ago, so to practice place value, I created this sheet of numbers 1-100 and put it in a clear sheet protector. We use the sheet to point to the numbers and count 1-100.
I will also circle a number with a dry erase marker and she will say the number, build it with her Math-U-See blocks, and say it again.
The dry erase marker wipes right off with a paper towel, so we’ve been able to use this same sheet for months.
I used Math-U-See’s Primer with my oldest daughter when she was the same age. She’s ten now and doing well in math. She also got a little stuck on place value when we came to this lesson in the Primer, but we stayed on for as many months as she needed, until she really understood place value. We’ll get there. In the meantime, I wanted to share one way we’ve found to practice without the the book.
Some of my favorite books to read with my toddlers and preschoolers happen to be those illustrated by Stephen Cartwright. The kids enjoy finding the yellow ducks on each page. Our favorites include the Usborne Farmyard Tales Alphabet Book, Usborne First Thousand Words, and Big Book of Farmyard Tales. We read these books so often. I highly recommend them.
I spent some time working on calendar skills with my four year old today, letting her draw the illustration for the month of January. I got her a calendar that allows her to draw her own pictures for each month. I also helped her label the days we go to Classical Conversations, my part-time job at the gym, vacation and church. She’ll be five in a few months, so it’s about time to start teaching her calendar skills.
I loved to listen to books on tape when I was a kid. But I’ve found it difficult to find story book CD sets for the books that my kids and I really like. But audible.com has the audio to many of our favorite books, so it’s been easy enough to just make my own story book CD sets, using the books we have on our shelves. Here’s how.
Using my audible.com membership, I purchase and download the audio for some of our favorite children’s books that we already own.
Note: If the audio for a book is expensive, I will use the points I have in my audible account to purchase it. But if the audio for a book is cheap, and most children’s books are, I just pay for it and save my audible points for more expensive books.
Then using i-tunes, I burn the audio for each book onto a CD and label each CD with Sharpie.
Then using heavy duty tape, I attach a CD holder to the inside, back cover of each book.
I also put an orange label on the binding so that my daughters will know which books have CDs in them. All the orange labels go on the bottom shelf.
I keep the CD player in the corner on the floor next to the bottom shelf and I’ve taught my kids how to handle the CDs themselves. I’ve also trained the baby to leave the books and the CD player alone. If my kids didn’t put the CDs back after each use or if the baby didn’t listen and stay away, I would probably consider keeping these books and the CD player out of reach and supervise their use of these books and the CD player so things didn’t get scratched or broken. My kids aren’t perfect at this, mind you, but they are doing a decent good job of handling the CDs and CD player, so I have been able to just let them enjoy the audio books at their leisure.
This audio book collection has been great for my four year old daughter, in particular, who is still learning to read and who needs some productive things to do while I am doing school work with her older sister.
This is my second time taking a four-year-old through Math-U-See’s Primer. Both of my four- year-old children have needed extra practice writing the numerals 0-9. So I put away the textbook and simply have them practice forming the numerals 0,1,2,3… over and over until it becomes almost second nature for them. At that point, we start moving through the Primer again. But both of my kids hit a wall when we got to the lessons on place value. So, at that point, I put away the Primer again and take out our abacus. I make sure my kids are able to count to 100 and understand place value up to units and tens before we move forward. My second daughter has learned to count to 100 and she is beginning to understand place value up to units and tens, that 40 is 4 tens and 0 ones, etc. So soon, we should be able to get back to work in the Primer. Here’s a peek at her math practice using the abacus today.
Here’s a list of the main resources I use for Preschool-Kindergarten. I guide my kids through all the following material over a period of two-three years.
Bob Books Foundation Sets 1-5
Abeka’s Readers for Preschool, K5 and First Grade
Math U See’s Primer
Kumon’s First Steps including Let’s Cut Paper and Let’s Fold
Kumon’s Basic Skills including My Book of Coloring
Wipe Off Books including Get Ready to Print
Zaner Bloser’s Handwriting Workbook Manuscript K
Sonlight’s Core P4/5