Preschool and Math all at once

Though I guess technically math happens at preschool, but I wanted to link the math part up to Math Links over at Joyful Learner and the other part over to Preschool Corner over at Homeschool Creations, but I meander long enough.  To the point of this.





For each of the kids I made a card for the numbers showing how to write it step by step.  I got tired of them asking how to write the numbers over and over and over again.  Especially since I’m pretty sure they know how to do this, and they’re doing it to drive me crazy.

Now, when they ask me I just tell them to look at their cards, and they do.  Problem solved.  YEAH!


006Now on to the next idea, I have this book called “Mister Pencil,” that one of the teachers I taught with gave me.  It’s a simple drawing book with a different picture for each letter of the alphabet.  It tells you how to draw using the same lines you use to write letters.  It’s great for learning to draw and for reinforcing writing skills.


The problem, it’s out of print, or something because I can’t find it anywhere online, or I’d link it for ya’ll.



So, that’s been wildly popular, and it’s been improving their direction following skills because they have to wait for me to tell the next step.  And even if I’ve told them how step by step their pictures each turn out very individual and distinctive.

Okay, so this post wasn’t anywhere near as exciting or helpful as I was thinking it was going to be.

Science Sunday: We’re getting a dog



Isn’t he just the cutest little thing?  We’ll be getting him very shortly after you read this, and we’ve spent the last two weeks learning about dogs, and how to care for them in preparation.

So, here’s a true preschool friendly science lesson.

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We practiced walking the dog and taking him out to go potty.

We read a lot of books, and watched one video.  Okay, we’ve watched this Reading Rainbow more times than I can count.


We interviewed Aunt Jenn, who gave us lots of great advice.  Aunt Jenn has 3 dogs, so she knows a lot (and gave me some great advice as well).


And finally, we went to the store and bought what we needed.  You can’t really tell, but that’s the toy Batman decided the dog needed.  “And he can cuddle it, so he won’t feel lonely.”  I love kid reasoning.

How about you, have you ever turned a life event into a lesson?  I have to admit that’s how we get a lot of our science.

stART: Grouchy Ladybug, or “If you read a homeschooler a book”

Oh, wait that’s a silly title.  Oh well, I’m sure this will crack you up.


008 Before I start the “directions” here’s the supplies:


file folder, construction paper, index cards, 1.5” square punch (optional, but makes life easier), paper cutter (again optional, but makes cutting easier).


If you read “The Grouchy Ladybug” to your kids, they might decide they want to play the ladybug game.


When they go to find it they’ll discover it’s no longer where it was, because a mean Mommy gave it to Goodwill because they kids weren’t playing with it (cough cough, no idea who this mean Mommy is).



So, they’ll start to make their own.  First they’ll draw their figures.




Than they’ll draw the aphids for the ladybugs to eat.  That’ll remind them that they’re hungry.





So, while they cut their papers they’ll sit there and talk about how hungry they are, and “Mommy I know I just finished breakfast, but can I have more food?”




But maybe the ladybugs are even more hungry than they are, so they start to count the aphids.





How to play: start at the purple square, roll the die and move that many spaces.  After you have moved get a question card (sneaky Mommy throwing review questions in there).  If you answered the question right you get an aphid.  If you land on a NO space then move back 2.


And chances are if you make a Ladybug game they’re going to want to read the book again………


Head on over to A Mommy’s Adventures for more art and book projects.

Preschool Corner and Mommy Corner: GOALS for September

 Mission of the Month monthly goals at mama smiles

I figure more accountability is better, right?
How did we do on Summer goals?
013Reading:  did not achieve it, mainly because I figured out it wasn’t what they needed to be doing.  By working on it the way I was it was killing their interest in reading, so I’ve put that on hold for now and am concentrating on reading to them a lot
NEW GOAL:  I won the All About Spelling giveaway over on the Homeschool Crew blog, so I’d like to complete Step 1, which is memorize all the sounds the 26 letters make.  They know all of the common ones from Leap Frog Letter Factory, so we’re slowing working through remembering the less common ones.

Handwriting: We more or less got through what I wanted to, but they still really need help.  I’ve printed off the Jan Brett alphabet tracers and the kids are working on tracing 2 letters each day in heavy duty page protectors (I figured out that it was the quality of the page protector that was frustrating them, these are much stiffer).

Math: again, yes and no.  Are their math skills better?  Yes, can they reliably count to 100, no not really.
NEW GOAL: be able to write all of the numbers from 1-20 so I can recognize them without my helping.  Batman is well on his way, he can write them all, I don’t always recognize them.  Princess is being silly about this, but she’s 3, and Superman is being whiny right now.

030 History and Science: for both of these I’ve broken down the books for the semester down into manageable sections so I know what I’m doing for each day we do school.  History, I still need to finish the rest of the year, but I’ve got through December planned so I’m good.  Science I’ve broken the entire book down, so I’m really happy with that.

I have to admit those are the easier ones for me to get organized, they’re what I really love.


in no particular order beyond the random way I think of them.

002 1.  I’d like to lose a couple of pounds of vanity weight.  I”m still at a healthy weight, but I’d like to lose a little bit of weight, I’ve noticed I’ve put on about 5 pounds or so, and I don’t like that.  So, my goal for this month is to lose 2 pounds.

2.  I miss sewing.  I’d sewn a little back in the spring, and then since getting back into town my sewing/school room is such a mess that I haven’t really wanted to go back in there.  So this is a 2 part goal:  1.  clean the room; and 2.  sew something.  I have several projects I want to do, and about 50 more projects the kids want me to do.  Amusingly enough the boys are the ones coming up with stuff for me to make.  (See all my quilt squares cut out, that’s for one of the two quilts I’d like to complete by Christmas).

3.  Get my bedroom back under control.  Right now it’s a huge mess.  I’d show you a picture but then I’d have to shoot you, it’s that bad.

4.  Organize my pantry.  It’s way too scary.

5.  Schooling related:  finish up more of my printables for state studies and then upload them to somewhere that’s not Scribd with all the probability of it charging now or at some point.013

6.  Spiritual: get more earnest in my Bible study, a review post to hopefully come up later today about a cool study I”m getting to review.  Also, actually sit down and write the rest of the Jesus stories, and then I need to age them up, because I discovered last Sunday they don’t work for 2/3 kids at church.
See what I mean about mess?  Actually that particular one is solved for right now.

Preschool Corner: Quick game

Remember last week when I said I was going to go back and buy a second set of the flash cards?  Well, I did, and here’s what I did.


Supplies needed: two sets of the same flash card game; scissors or a large punch (mine is 1 3/8”), plastic bag or pencil pouch to put completed game in


Punch out squares from your second set of cards.  Since my kids are slightly older I tried to make the placement a little harder.  This meant I was able to get about 5-6 squares per card.

Side note: I also made an easy version where I punched out one piece from each card and then left the card in there to find the missing piece.

What the cards looked like after I was done, and what my floor looked like after making four of these games.  And boy was my wrist sore!


Completed game in a bag, it barely fits in a sandwich bag if you’re stubborn.


Rules for play (as we did it):  Pass out six cards to each person (I picked this as a handy number that means you’re likely to get matches often).  Obviously, this is the second uncut set of cards.

Pass the bag of squares around.  When it comes to you take a square out and see if it matches any of your cards.  If it does you keep it, if not it goes into the middle discard pile.

Each person also got a card with a hole punched in it; they are trying to find the missing piece for that card.

It was a lot of fun to play, and the kids had a blast being able to make an actual game out of their beloved flashcards (at first they weren’t convinced about my cutting up the second set, but now they’re okay with it).

For more great preschool ideas head over to Jolanthe at Homeschool Creations.

Preschool Corner: School Supplies

Who else is going nuts with school supplies right now?


I know I am.  Here’s some of the things I’ve been stocking up on, and some of my plans for them.


The usual items: crayons, pencils, glue, gluesticks, scissors (anyone else have a scissor eating monster in their house?), and markers

Paper supplies: notebook paper (?), construction paper, notebooks, folders

Other items: brads, sand paper, flashcards.



Okay, now we get to the real reason I wanted to write this post.  These flashcards at Target dollar spot.  Aren’t they the coolest?  My kids are loving them.  Seriously.





They’re inventing games for them.  Which near as I can tell mean they lay the cards out on the floor and step on them and name what it is.  They play Go Fish.  I’m not clear on their rules since there’s no matches, but it mainly seems to be collecting the pictures you like.




I’ve used them for classifying animals, and showing pictures of landmarks (thank you Natalie for pointing out the World Landmarks, it came in very handy for our Stonehenge lesson).  We’ve used it to find pictures of the insects we were talking about in our science.  They are awesome.


I also picked up some of their workbooks, mainly the tracing mazes for Princess so she can work on her fine motor skills and prewriting skills in a way she’ll enjoy.


Okay, so it’s not hugely inspiring, but I just like these flashcards so much.  I’m sure we’re not using them as intended.  I’m actually thinking of hole-punching them and putting them on rings.  That or maybe buying a second set and cutting out small squares and they have to match it to the right animal.  Okay, that sounds like a very intriguing idea……….  You might hear more on that soon.


Now head on over to Jolanthe Homeschool Creations and see some more traditionally written preschool posts.

Preschool Corner: Field Trip!


I’m going to pretend I intended this as a learning experience, and not just an excuse for me to be able to go out and see a musical with the girls.
003 Princess and I went to go see Annie at the Zilker Summer Musical with some friends (almost all girls, that poor one guy did it because he couldn’t say no to his cousin at this time, sneaky Tara).  She had a blast, and loved all the music.  So, what did she learn while there?
Audience participation is key.  The actors would not be able to finish the songs without Princess helping them do the motions.  This could also be called exercise.

Friendship is important.  I have been friends with the people in this picture for at least half my life.  So, she got to see the interaction between long term friends who have been through many hard things together and through many joyous things together.

A well stocked bag is important to have.  How else will you entertain yourself?


Philanthropy starts young.  And is always appreciated.  She enjoyed giving money to the actors at intermission.

Sleep hard.  It is always important to get your beauty rest.  Honest, she didn’t even wake up when I moved her from the car, and put her diaper on.

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And I include these because the boys were way too cute.  Aren’t they?

School Corner: forward to school!

That seemed much more amusing when I first wrote it.
Well, we’ve been back in town now for almost two weeks, and we’re mostly settled back in.  The house is still a mess, but I’m making slow progress on this.  You should see how amazingly clean my bathroom is, now my dining room……..
Did we do what I wanted on the trip?
Well, yes and no.  We saw the sights I wanted to see, but we didn’t get most of the schoolwork done I wanted to.  I have to figure out how to make that work better.  The kids got a fair amount of the random worksheets done, but I need to figure out a way to make that flow smoother and some it is just they’re not at the point of doing things on their own yet.  They can’t read the instructions, and so they need to be told how.

What have we done since we got back?
042 We’ve been working hard learning about Arizona and New Mexico.  I was going to separate the two of them, but they’re rather entwined by the American Indian tribes and the general culture of the area.

And continued to learn more about insects.

We’ve been busy working on numbers more.  The kids have gotten pretty good at our calendar game.  Now I’m moving it on to general counting and having them just put one number back after they’ve built that number with their Math-U-See blocks.

Oh, I saw this Montessori at home article, and thought it was very interesting.  In general I’m not a huge Montessori person, I was the kid in school who would roll their eyes at anything that felt like busy work, and I appear to of passed that on to my kids.  They don’t do well at repetitive tasks, so the transfer things they enjoyed once and then looked at me like I was crazy.  But, the aspect of doing every day tasks is the part of Montessori that appeals to me.  So, I enjoyed reading an article that emphasized the parts I really agree with and try to incorporate into our lives.  Hmmmm, maybe that’s the kid’s’ next task, fold my mountain of laundry.

Oh well, this has been rather ramble, I’m in a bit of a contemplative mood.  I want to keep participating in Preschool Corner, but I also don’t really enjoy writing a post that is just a recap of what I already wrote before, so I’m trying to figure out how I want to do this from here on out.  I don’t know.  We’ll see what wild and wacky thing I do next.

Picking flowers

I’ve apparently had this sitting in my draft folder for about a month, since the pictures are from June.  But, here ya go.

I don’t know about your kids, but mine love picking flowers.  I’ve worked very hard on them understanding they can’t just pick any flowers.  They can only pick the flowers in our backyard and the flowers on the side of the road.

But, they kept picking them (“Mom, what’s Superman doing?”  “I think that’s you in the picture”) right below where the flower ends.


Do you know how hard it is to type with a five year old trying to climb into your lap like a kitten?  Okay, he’s been distracted by the remains of my breakfast shake.

So, I taught them how to cut flowers, and it was simple.  I had them grasp the flower in their fist, and then cut under their hand.  It’s still only about a 3 inch stem to put in a cup, but that’s about the perfect size for fitting in a coffee cup or a small tea cup.006

Or tucking in your hair.

Preschool Corner: preschool on the go



This will probably be my last preschool corner post for a few weeks because we’ll be traveling soon, and so here’s my plans for traveling and learning on the go:


And PS: the pictures have nothing to do with the post, they’re just random pictures I liked because they’re cute.




We’re driving from Texas to Southern California, so we’ll pass through New Mexico and Arizona.  I’ll put pictures up as we go through, but here’s what the kids will be putting together for their geography studies as we travel:

Arizona State Symbols

Information and pictures for this came from this site: Arizona Secretary of State for Kids.  And can I just say I love when states have information for the kids  on their website, and I LOVE it even more when they have coloring pages or anything like that.


New Mexico


006 And information and many of the pictures came from the New Mexico Secretary of State for Kids.  And as a random comment, I’d have to say the Uncle Ben’s Guide to the Federal Government page on the US website is AWESOME!  I used that back when I was teaching second grade for the kids to learn about the U.S. government.


So, they’ll be doing those.  I’m going to look up some books on those states in our public library to find some good ones.  I’ll probably also be picking up some ones on Tombstone and Grand Canyon while we’re going to them.  Maybe one on Santa Fe as well……..  I’m a sucker for a good kid’s book.  If you want to see what we  did on California earlier check here.


Math and Handwriting


005 I plan to use some leftover preschool workbooks which the kids are mostly beyond to refine some skills and to work on their handwriting.  These should be mostly ones they can do on their own.  I’ve also printed off a bunch from the Learning Page from their insect theme (some of which I’m going to have to reprint because it got all screwy while printing a bunch of them).




008 I’m going to bring some of the books I’ve printed out from Reading A to Z for them to keep practicing on.  My goal is for them to read an “easy” one in the morning and a more difficult one in the afternoon.  We’ll see if I stick to this.






  We plan to go to the  San Diego Zoo (which I am SO stoked about) and an aquarium in Phoenix, AZ (anyone else find an aquarium in the middle of a desert hilarious?)


I’m debating about bringing our science book with us to read more about bugs or just letting that part be.




For more great posts about what kids are learning in pre-school head on over to Homeschool Creations.