Friday, November 5, 2010

Learning by Heart – Week 5

“The mother’s heart is the child’s schoolroom”
– Henry Ward Beecher

shelf activities

We are finally getting into our “rhythm” here, and it feels so great!  I’ve lightened up my own load by deciding to only do preschool activities 2 to 3 days of the week, and to do them in the mornings, which is key for us.  We are both more enthusiastic about this kind of thing in the morning, rather than in the afternoon after being busy all day.  We’ve established a sort of schedule that is really working for us.  I hesitate to use the word “schedule”… The idea of a schedule can feel stifling and for many of us just leads to feeling more pressure.  That’s not at all what I’m talking about – I want to free up time and energy and feel less stress!  Really what we are trying to do is establish good habits that make it easier for us to use our time wisely.   More on this in an upcoming post!

For now, on to what we accomplished this week:


D and E items for our phonics box:


dragonfly, diamond, dog, duck
(oops!  somehow only the D items made it into the photo.)

Letter Crafts:

I continue to make and print out a quick sample of the letter crafts for M to “read” and make on his own.  I do believe interest in these is waning though, so in a couple of weeks we may take a little break from these.

oct 2010 001D is for Dragon (from No Time for Flashcards).

oct 2010 002d is for door (from No Time for Flashcards).  Open it up to see…oct 2010 003dots!


shelf activities (3)E is for Elephant (from Totally Tots).

oct 2010 004e is for egg (from Totally Tots).
There are so many great sites out there for letter crafts, and it’s hard to think of something original.  Next week, however, I hope to have a couple of new ideas, so stay tuned!

Tonging marbles onto Dinosaur suction cups:image

Dropping water into Dinosaur suction cups with a pipette:image the object of this was to drop just one drop of water into each little suction cup, then use the sponge to suck the water up.  This is a very Montessori-type activity, and a great explanation of how to set it up is here.


Play dough and Jolanthe’s great letter mats:image I recently ran across these letter mats for play dough too; I really like them, but already had the ones pictured printed out.  I think I’ll be able to use both sets for different activities.

Whiteboard letter practice:oct 2010 039

Using Wikki Stix to form letters:oct 2010 041


Sand tray with pipecleaner letters:image


Scissor practice pages:image The stickers are there to guide him and help him stay on the line.  This is way too easy for M now (he’s been using safety scissors since he was just under 2 years old).  He did one page, then wasn’t interested.  I think I need to find something a bit more challenging in this area.  He used to really enjoy these; if you are interested in them, you can find them here.

I put out some sunflowers (from Michael’s – on sale!) for M to add to his autumn leaf arrangement.  I’m amazed at how much fun it can be to stick things into a block of foam.  The result is really beautiful (see photo at the top of this post).shelf activities (4)


 Making Mr. Pumpkin Heads:    oct 2010 004I wrote about these in this post, and M enjoyed making them SO much.  It was the first thing he went for the morning I put them out, and they are all hanging in his bedroom.   Last night he asked me to make more of these for him to do – I think it would be fun to try with turkeys for Thanksgiving, don’t you? :)



 Tic Tac Toe:fridge magnets (1) After seeing Jolanthe’s cute-as-a-button fridge tic tac toe game (here), I got out our tic tac toe game that I made last year (free printable!) and made it into a magnet game for our fridge.  I wish I would’ve gotten some action shots, because M loved playing this game!  After a few games he was really beginning to strategize, which kind of surprised me.  We’ll be leaving this up for a while!

While I was adding magnets to things, I decided to make his name leaves magnetic too and now they are on the fridge too.  M wasn’t too interested in placing them in order, but I like how they look so they’ll be staying up too. :)fridge magnets


Since E was one of our letters for the week, I thought exercise would be a good thing to add into our week.  Honestly, I need to start making this part of our regular routine, for my sake as well as M’s!  We have a Bobby Susser cd titled, Wiggle Wiggle and Other Exercises ".  It is so much fun, and a great addition to our days.  I plan to find a variety of cds like this, or just come up with ideas, and plan some sort of exercise each day.  M doesn’t really need this, but somebody else sure does!   

oct 2010 033                                      Twisting and wiggling away

oct 2010 036 Marching in a circle with his hands on his head
(actions for one of the songs)



My big plans for math have been kind of a flop lately.  The bead bars just don’t engage M like I’d hoped.  I’m disappointed because I think the Montessori method with the bead bars and number boards makes so much sense, but it seems to only confuse M and he’s not interested in sitting and listening to me say the same thing over and over or watching me do the activity first. 

It seems to me that before we start looking at how and why the teens, twenties, and so on have two digits and what each place value is, M just wants to count.  He just wants to know the numbers and their order before we go any further.  So we’ve been doing a lot of counting (more on this next week), and I decided to make an activity that engages his whole mind and body, and ended up creating a number line game.   We played it for the first time this week.  It is very active, and a lot of fun.  I hope to give it its own post sometime soon (a printable will be included!):floor number game (2)


We’ve been talking a lot about leaves lately, so we pulled out the leaf nomenclature cards and M matched the parts up.  He really loves this type of activity for some reason (partly because the black and white pictures with only one portion colored are interesting, and partly because he pretends he can read the big words :) ), so I hope to make more some time soon.leaf nomenclature (1)We also did a science experiment related to this with celery, which will be in a post on Sunday. :)

I’m linking this post up to Preschool Corner and Weekly Wrap-Up; be sure to check them out!

Have a beautiful day! :)



  1. Another great week. I love how you run with M (like in math) instead of wanting to push forth. You are a great mamma!

    Oh and thanks for the links (twice) the Christmas Buttons and the Playdough Mats, much appreciated. :-)

  2. I recently saw cutting practise printables somewhere with wavy lines, maybe that would be a nice next step. Unfortnately I have No Clue whatsoever as to where I saw these as my boy is only just managing to make straight lines...

  3. What a great week! Love the pumpkins and I totally think Turkeys would be a huge hit as well!

  4. Looks like another great week of "learning by heart!" :) As for what Alison said before, I don't know where she saw them... but confessions of a homeschooler has them. I'm stopping by again from the Preschool Corner link up.

  5. All the letter activities are so cute and fun looking. I wished I didn't just skip over them. But maybe it's not too late to do them just for fun!

    I'm still working on getting a routine down. Congratulations for getting there!

  6. Your preschool looks like so much fun! And congrats on getting into a routine. Sigh. Not so much of that here!

  7. What a great week!! :) We love doing the letter crafts over here too :)

  8. So many creative ideas! I especially love that E for EGG, so cute. And I can't believe you guys did that flower arrangement, it looks professional!

  9. Wow - I'm amazed by all of the fun activities you did with your son this week. I absolutely adore the placing the marbles and water drops on the suction-cup dinosaur. The flower arrangement is very adorable as well - he must be quite proud of it.



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