“Me do school, too?”

Avril asked for school so we started doing a few things together.

Let’s Cut Paper and My Book of Coloring by Kumon.

No, we don’t do this everyday! I don’t even do school with her older sister every day at this point!

But we keep this little pile of books, scissors and crayons in the kitchen and when there’s time and opportunity, I call her to the table and we pull them out.

I only takes about five to ten minutes, but Avril really loves it. She is so proud that she’s old enough to be doing school, too.

Every classroom has distractions, right?

More and more, my youngest insists on being a part of what’s going on at the kitchen table. And more and more, I find it difficult to keep her busy with something in another room while her older sister and I do lessons. She wants to be a part of what’s going on, but she just not, exactly ready to start school-type work yet. So, most of the time, I have activities for her to do at the table or even under the table so she can remain as close as she wants to be to us but still busy with something that’s on her level. But, as you can see, there are times, however brief, when she can be very distracting right now. When that’s happening, I focus on training my oldest daughter who is old enough now to handle it to just ignore her sister and keep working. I’ve heard other home school moms say their toddlers were a challenge like this so this stage isn’t taking me by complete surprise. Such is the nature of doing school where you live and with multiplies ages in the same place. We will just keep plugging away, doing our best every day till this challenge passes and a new one replaces it, like, say, actually teaching two kids on two different levels at the same time in the same place.

Here I Go Again

It occurred to me that if I did school work with her, too, it might help keep Avril occupied. (Duh.)

It has be age-appropriate school work, of course.

So, while Norah did her handwriting pages this morning, I helped Avril hold her marker correctly, hold her paper with the other hand and draw counterclockwise circles.

It’s an old trick I learned from The Well Trained Mind. I get to call it an “old trick” now because I used it with Norah years ago when she was Avril’s age and it worked. Norah never really did struggle to hold her pencil correctly.

On a separate note, it’s sobering to look at the photo above and consider the fact that I am at a point in my homeschooling journey where I am now repeating things I did years ago with another one of my kids. It seems like it was only yesterday that I was wrapping Norah’s chubby little fingers around her pencil and “doing swirls.”

What a privilege to do it all again! What a benefit the years that have gone before will be to me as I go forward!

What I Use To Teach My Two Year Old

My two year old loves horses. She calls them “Yee haws.”

For Avril, my two year old, I’m using:

Several over sized, colorful books with labels on the pictures to help build my daughter’s vocabulary. We read those again and again. She also loves stickers, so books like First 1000 Words in English sticker book will be a big hit.

To recognize A,B,Cs- We are using her ABC puzzle and favorite Usborne Alphabet Book.

To recognize 1,2,3s- We are using this toy. It’s so fun to pull the Indians out, line them up, count and sing, “One little, two little, three little Indians…”

If Avril starts talking a lot, can hold up her fingers to show how many and can identify which letter is which by the end of this school year (and by the time the new baby comes), I will be content.

How To Teach Days of the Week

This is an easy activity to practice the months of the year. Write the months on a piece of paper, let the kids cut them out (this will buy you at least five minutes free time) and then let them rearrange them in order. You can also do this with days of the week, planets… anything that needs to be put in order. And since you didn’t spend a lot of time making these by printing them, laminating them, cutting them out just perfectly, you don’t even have to keep them. Just toss them when you are done reviewing.

Handwriting in Kindergarten: What We Use

Zaner-Bloser Handwriting K – Student Edition and
Mead’s Learn to Letter with Raised Ruling for extra practice.

My daughter has learned to hold her pencil. She can identify her letters, upper and lower case. And I’ve taught her how to form her letters (but she hasn’t had enough practice so she has started making up her own way of forming certain letters.) So it’s time to start a formal handwriting program so she doesn’t get in the habit of writing letters wrong.
I chose Zaner-Bloser’s Student Edition K and ordered it directly from the publisher’s website. It was recommended in The Well-Trained Mind and follows the method and style of printing that I prefer.

For any extra writing or practice, we’ve got a pad of writing paper, Mead’s Learn to Letter with Raised Ruling, which I like since it is thick. It won’t tear when you rip it out of the book. And it has “raised ruling” so kids feel the bump when their pencil hits the bottom of the line they are writing on.