Friday, May 20, 2011

Learning by Heart – Spring Fever

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

first tulip at our house 
~M is 4.5 years old~
We continue to play our little word sound games, as detailed in this post, and M is progressing well through the first set of Bob Books.  He is not crazy about the story line in these, heh.  But really, any first reader is going to have plots like Mat had a cat.  The cat sat on the mat.  The End.  :)  I am happy that his desire to read stems from the joy of a story, and his comprehension of a complex plot continually amazes me.  Yet, we have to start somewhere – he can’t begin with Mark Twain or Charles Dickens, haha.  I am slightly concerned that his interest in reading on his own is waning as we go through such simple stories… any ideas?

Math got a post of its own this week. :) You can read the review of what we’ve been doing (mostly) in math, here.

We’ve been enjoying the outdoors and learning about plants, flowers, trees, and birds over the past few weeks.  We’ve used a lot of our 3-part cards (click on the images if you are interested in downloading any of these sets)…
Bird identification:imageWe have new little bird friends in our backyard this year – a sweet bluebird family in one of our birdhouses, and some yellow-rumped warblers.  We normally only see the warblers for about a week as they migrate through, but this spring at least one has stuck around, and is welcome to stay as long as he wants. :)  Most of our bird-learning has been done spur-of-the-moment style, and we race to our favorite bird identification book a lot:
We are also reading The Bird Book for Children, by Thornton Burgess.If you can get your hands on this book, it’s well worth reading.  There’s a lot of information packed into this little book about birds: what they look like (beautiful illustrations), what they eat, where they nest, how many eggs, etc.  And it’s all written in story form to appeal to the young child.  M loves all of Thornton Burgess’ books; each one really is exceptional. (A side note – Burgess was a naturalist as well as a great story teller.  Each of his books is packed with information about animals and nature, and M doesn’t even know he’s learning because the story is just so good.  I am tempted to make lap books to go with each story for next year, since M is already talking about reading all of these again.  We’ll see…)
Flower identification:image
Parts of a flower:image
Parts of a tree:image
Parts of a leaf:image
And M has been tending little pots of marigolds and forget-me-nots (kits found in the Target dollar spot):
sprouts (1) forget-me-nots, just beginning to sprout
plantsforget-me-nots, beginning to grow!
sprouts marigolds, just beginning to sprout
plants (1) marigolds, beginning to grow!
He will have his own little garden outside this year, and already has big plans (bigger than the plot will be, to be honest) for vegetables and flowers.
Two books about plants that we’ve enjoyed reading are:

Making seasonal arrangements is one of M’s very favorite activities.  I set out a dish, some florist’s foam, and a few seasonal items on picks or wires, and he is happy for a good 30 minutes.  Here is his spring arrangement – flowers, foam, and bowl were all from Dollar Tree; the birds were from some Christmas decorations:  spring boquet (1) 
spring boquet (8)
And M has been mowing the lawn:riding the tractor (4)Hahaha – just kidding. ;)  He is steering the lawn mower in the above picture, but the blade is up for safety, and no actual mowing is going on.   And Daddy is keeping him very safe (note the ear muffs to protect his hearing; I think they are so cute!).

Painting outside is always fun.  M and I had a blast painting on an old roller shade out in the grass:nicole 2011 009
nicole 2011 013trying out some splatter painting
And painting a new birdhouse:nicole 2011 007
All finished:birdhouse, painted
birdhouse, painted (1) 
M made this bright and cheerful flower garden in an egg carton:image

And we’ve been enjoying some new spring-themed songs.  Our favorites are Robin in the Rain, and this one:
With a drip, drip, drip,
and a drop, drop, drop,
See the rain on the pane,
Will it stop, stop, stop?
With a wink, wink, wink,
And a blink, blink, blink,
Will we ever see the rain,
Do you think, think, think?
And M has been watching, and loving, this:

I’m linking this post up to Preschool Corner and Weekly Wrap-Up; be sure to check them out!
Have a beautiful day! :)


  1. I should see if my kids would like some of those old musicals. I LOVE them!

  2. I love the birdhouse!! M did a great job with it! And, as always, you did a great job with the printables. Thank you!!

  3. I love Singing in the Rain!

    You never know with kids. I have a friend who learned to read when her dad would sit her on his lap and read the newspaper to her every day!

  4. I love you art projects. On the reading front - Anna hated Bob books because they were so not engaging. Maybe you can try either Progressive Phonics again (not letter books but phonics books) or Usborne Phonics Readers. They are not so easy to read, but you could ask M to read only selected words - the same approach as in Progressive Phonics.

  5. These are beautiful identification cards! Thank you for sharing.

  6. Those Bob books ARE dull. A long time ago, and I can't remember where (thought I'd saved the link, but can't find it)... someone made their own little early readers using their children as the characters. You could make a simple little book about M and his adventures...
    Also, I know you have issues with the Progressive Phonics stories, but they are, at least, odd and entertaining!

  7. Ok, some kids strangely like the boring Bob books. I always worried about those kids, though ;) When I was teaching and sending books home, I'd try to send home some Bob books mixed in with other early readers. The Brand New Reader books (aren't phonics based) are so great for early readers and they are a tiny bit more engaging than the Bob books. Also, what about coupling the Bob books with homemade books? The cat sat on a mat. Now, lets take pictures of you sitting lots of funny places. Or lets take pictures of you sitting on things that rhyme with mat. M sat on a hat. M sat on a bat. etc. Kids love to see themselves in books.


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