Toddler Tuesday: Letter practice.

Want some great letter practice for your child? I love Starfall’s sheets.

We do a letter a day, so I’ll give you our steps to letter practice.

1. My preparation

To begin, I print the pages from Starfall for the whole week. Then I go and find pictures (thank you Clipart) of things that begin with that letter. I load all the pictures into one document and print them out on one sheet. If I can, I change the color settings to “outline” so that Abby can color them at the end. I put each day’s worth of letter activities into a folder and label them so I know which say is which.

2. First activity: Paint in the bag

First thing we do is trace the letter in the paint bag. I put some water and some paint and some flour into a Ziploc bag and tape it to the back door. She gets to trace the letter in the bag. It’s pretty cool. Sometimes she gets distracted by the way the light shines through the paint. I’m okay with that. She’s my crafty child, and as long as she does it five times, I’m okay.

3: Second activity: Cut out the pictures

Next she gets to cut out the pictures. Remember the pictures I put into a Word document earlier in the week? Those are the ones she cuts out. Nicholas is generally doing his online math at this point. So it is a good activity to do when the older one is engaged online and my younger one needs supervision.

4: Third activity: Trace the letters

Next we do the first page of the Starfall sheet – tracing the letters. She gets to pick her color (she likes to use crayons). I help her with the first 3 and she does the 4th (or more) on her own. Sometimes it is a weird shape. But she always tries.

5: Fourth activity: Glue the pictures

Next she gets to glue the pictures she cut out onto the second page. Sometimes Starfall has pictures, and sometimes they don’t. We name each picture (in German and English – which is why I have to do these beforehand so I can learn the German). She gets to glue. With a glue stick. I once let her use white glue and that was horrible. So now we stick to glue sticks. No glitter glue for this project.

6: Fifth activity: Color

Lastly, she colors. Why is this last? Because Abby really likes to color. If I let her do it first, then she wouldn’t do the rest. It took about 2 weeks to get her used to coloring last. But now she knows the routine. If she doesn’t do the first part, she doesn’t get to color.

That’s how we practice our letters.

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Space X rocket launch.

The awesome thing about Space X is that it posts all of its stuff live. And when they screw up, they admit it and talk about if for a bit. Then they tell you when they will try again.

http://new.livestream.com/spacex/SES8

For those who missed it, Space X was supposed to launch a rocket today and was streaming it live. About T-3:40, the countdown stopped. We sat there watching it and listening and wondering what was going on. Nicholas was so dismayed that the rocket wasn’t going to launch. he said, “it must be human error because computes are great.” I wonder where he got that from?

But this led into a bunch of space video watching and learning about different rocket launches and how rockets launch and G-force.

Here’s a link to the videos we viewed. We spent a while watching space launches and having a good discussion. Absolutely none of this was planned, it was just fun and spur of the moment. It was awesome. And it’s why I love homeschooling.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1EmjMS5s30#t=185

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKtVpvzUF1Y

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqUXdpbtLCs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkgViW8Fp4Q

 

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Nicholas is what I would call a reluctant reader. He doesn’t want to read, even though he can. So, we made a deal. I’d get him whatever book he wanted. But he had to read it.

He got the Encyclopedia of Everything.

And he reads it. He has to do 10 minute of reading to me a day – and we break it into two 5 minute deals.

Sometimes he lines up his stuffed animals and reads to them. Or his sister. But he really does read the book. He has to sound out A LOT of words. But he does it. And he is happy to do it

That’s what getting him reading is all about. Being happy to read.

Our history timeline.

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We have a history timeline going in our school. With everything else we do, history ends up being done once a week. We use Usborne’s History of the Ancient World as our book.

We started with the formation of the Earth. I tried starting with the first civilizations, but Nicholas objected. He said the history of the world had to start with the world being formed, then dinosaurs came, and only after that did people come.

So we started with the Big Bang.

Starting with the Big Bang gave us a whole week of science based lessons. The dinosaurs have us two weeks of lessons.

Once we complete a history unit, I have a picture or map printed out for Nicholas to color. Or, in the case of Ancient Egypt, we combined timeline with art and he had to draw and label his own.

Then the picture goes up on the timeline in order with dates on it. This lets Nicholas see, in a way he otherwise wouldn’t, how event happen. As we go forwards, things might be placed above and below other events to show the happened at roughly the same time.

Why did I start the history timeline? Because Nicholas asked when Galileo lived. I told him a long time ago – and gave him the dates. So then he asked if I knew him when I was little. I said no, and so he said then grandma knew him. Laughingly, I said no. Galileo was after grandma but before dinosaurs.

But this conversation made me realize time was all relative. So now we do a history timeline.

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