Zoo-phonics is rocking my world!

In the above video Boston is doing the hand signal, sound, and name.  For example, Bubba Bear likes to get honey from up high, so he grabs the honey and brings it to his mouth while making the sound.  And in case it’s not obvious given the PJ’s, Boston wanted to play Zoo-phonics, first thing this morning.  :)

Ok I never thought flash cards could be so awesome.  I have two wonderfully wild boys that are excited about learning and I want to keep it that way.  My 4 year old is SO excited to learn how to read and he tries to every day.  I don’t want to kill this passion out of him, by boring him with things like….well, flash cards.  But Zoo-phonics are NOT your average flash cards.  They are AWESOME and for the last two days have been rocking our play time.

Boston already knows his letters and knew almost all their sounds, but not always consistently.  Zoo-phonics recommends teaching from concrete to abstract, simple to complex.  So right now our play time with these cards are really simple. I show him an animal card and he says the sound, does the signal and names the animal.  I recorded a really simple version of what we do, but in reality, Boston runs all over the house doing the signal and saying the sound, while I shout “Catina Cat!  Come back!”  He laughed and ran his way through 26 animals.  He’s so excited to get them down, because when we do, we get to move on to other flash cards and he knows these are the steps to getting him to read.

I think part of why this is so fun and motivating for Boss is because he’s VERY motivated to learn to read.  If your child doesn’t have quite as much interest just yet, then I would just stick to a couple flash cards at a time and not push it.  Or even just stick to reading your child’s favorite books until they become more interested.  The idea is not to kill it!  Don’t make it a task.  Make it fun!  It won’t be fun if they’re not interested, so my theory is

DON’T PUSH IT!

I’ve caught Boston picking up the flash cards and running through them on his own just for fun.  He also likes to tell me to be Bubba bear (doing the signal and sound) while he pretends to be another animal with their signal and sound.

As we get further along we can play matching games with the other cards and continue the fun!

Anyone else having a love affair with zoo-phonics? I’d love to hear!

Allie aligator

Animal only flash cards

 

Twin update

At 17 1/2 weeks this pregnancy is cruising along!  We found out last week that we are having identical twin girls!  We are thrilled.  Girls are what I was hoping for, but there was a slight feeling of loss for me too, just knowing that they aren’t boys, because boys have been WONDERFUL.  However everyday I get more and more and MORE excited for girls.

I’ve now seen the specialist twice and on our first visit we received amazing news.  They were able to find a very thin, very whispy, membrane between the two babies.  So even though they share the same placenta, they have their own amniotic sacs which means there is zero risk of cord entanglement and the pregnancy has instantly become much less high risk. They are no longer Mono Mono, but Mono Di.   The dr’s only concern at this point (besides normal twin stuff like preterm labor) are the girls developing twin to twin transfusion.  That’s a condition where one twin receives most the nutrients from the placenta and the other doesn’t get enough.  So far there are no signs of that happening but I will continue to be closely monitored.  Both girls are a little over 5 ounces and 5 1/2 inches long.  Almost the same exact size!  They both have great heart beats and are kicking and moving like crazy.  Not that I can feel it, but it’s fun to watch on the ultrasounds.  I still head to Spokane every 2- 4 weeks, with appointments here in between.  

Also, random, but the twins placenta wraps in a backward C shape around the entire uterus.  Crazy… and Weird!  The only slight concern the Dr. has is that one twins cord connects at the end, not the middle of the placenta so that can be a sign of getting less nutrients, but again, I’ll be watched like a hawk and so far the babes look perfect!  

Girls

Twin girls cuddled up.

A big thank you goes out to all my friends and loved ones that have been an awesome support through kind words and prayers during what we thought was going to be a really scary time.  :)  And another BIG thank you to the family and friends that continually babysit for me almost weekly with my never ending ultrasound schedule. :)  You’re all wonderful and thesegirls are going to be welcomed by the most wonderful community around.  

Preschool Supplies

suppliesI’ve had a few friends ask me about what I’m doing with Boston for our “At Home Preschool” or as Boss and I call it, “Mommy school” so I decided to share my preschool prep, ideas and what we’re doing for anyone that would like some ideas.  It’s my only way to repay all the Mom’s I know that I’ve gotten most of my ideas from.  :)  I have 2 sisters that were teachers and 2 that homeschool their children, so they’ve all been a great resource for me.  Plus my Mom did preschool with me at home, so she’s a great resource as well.  I called my sister that’s ran her own preschool and has done home preschool with all of her kids for advice.  She gave me a ton of ideas and resources to turn to. With her advice I’ve come up with a curriculum that I can’t wait to start with Boston.

Also I’ll add that from what I’ve studied, learned and watched I really believe that you don’t have to have an extensive preschool curriculum for your child in order to prepare them for kindergarten.   If you do one thing for your child I say read to them 30 minutes a day and limit their screen time so they can have more time to use their imaginations.  If you need some inspiration, The Read Aloud Handbook  is a fantastic resource and will help you to see the benefits of reading to your child.  If you do one thing, do this!   I’m doing a fairly formal preschool with Boston because I’m passionate about it and excited.  It’ s fun for me and him, but if this weren’t the case, I would feel just as successful spending quality time reading with him.  :)

I’ll break this up into a few different posts since it’ll be extensive.  :) Just look under my preschool category for all the posts.

Here is the list of supplies i bought with their prices and the store I bought them from,

Amazon:
What Your Preschooler Needs to know: $15 total with Amazon Prime.  I own the Kindergartner version of this book and it is a great resource!  A few of my sisters have used this book with their preschoolers and consider it essential.
Stack the States Tablet Game: $.49 cents.  My sister’s preschooler has loved this game and it has helped her to memorize every state and I believe she knows their capitals too.
Weather Bear:  $12.  This is just a felt bear with different clothing items that he can be changed into depending on the weather that day.

Zoo-phonicsathome.com:  
Zoo Phonics basics kit:  $43.77 after shipping.  This is a program that’s excellent for teaching kids their letters and sounds in a fun and easy to memorize way.  This kit includes a letters poster, flash cards, free online resources, and a song Cd.

Teachers World:
Addition Flash Cards numbers 1-12:  $2.99
Melissa and Doug USA floor puzzle:  $13.  This puzzle is huge and so fun.  Boston and I worked on it for 45 minutes today and he loved every minute.  Each state has a picture of something that represents that state so this makes it easier for Boston to remember that Nevada is the state that has the Snake on it and Washington state has a picture of apples.  We also spent time driving his cars over the map to different states and counting how many states we had to drive through.
Multi-colored craft (popsicle) sticks: $2.99 ( I think) for 3 stacks.  We use these in conjunction with the addition flash cards.  2 pink sticks plus 3 blue = 5 all together.  This is teaching Boston to read math problems in a way he can comprehend.  You can also have red sticks always be the top number and green sticks be the bottom.  Whatever helps to get your kid to visualize the problem.  We practiced these today and Boss loved it and totally comprehended it.
American Flag Poster: $2.99.  The only one I could find also has pictures of all the state flags.  We’ll use this poster to pledge allegiance to every morning.

Target dollar section:
Mini dry erase board:  $1.  This looks like a piece of lined paper.  Great for practicing letter and number writing.
Dry erase marker: $1 for a 2 pack.
Dry eraser: $1

Dollar Store:
Small Scissors: $1
Playschool Jumbo crayons: $1
Pencil Box: $1
Glue stick: $1 for a 3 pack
Pipe Cleaners: $1 for 45.  You can use these for a ton of stuff, but lately I’ve been giving them to Isaac to stick through a kitchen colander and he’ll spend good chunks of time making different shapes with them (an idea I got from my niece).  :)
Pen: $1 for a 5 pack of high quality pens.
Pencil: $1 for a 5 pack.
Journal: $1.  We’ll use this for Boston to journal every preschool day.  He can color, write, or have me write for him, whatever he feels like that day.  My mom did this on Sundays with me and my siblings as a kid. :)
Bulletin Board Calendar Monthly Headers, Calendars, and numbers and holidays:  $3 total.  This is just a cheap way to make your own calendar each month.  It looks just the same as a $10 pre-made calendar I found at Teacher’s World, for $7 cheaper.
Shapes Poster: $1. 10 different shapes and shape activities on the back of the poster.
Color Poster:  $1.  Same idea as shapes poster.
Subtraction Flash cards: $1.

Staples:
Better Binder: $11.  This binder is for me to keep ideas and lesson plans in.
These are my favorite binders.  They’re pretty and efficient. Plus I’d like for all my binders to be the same for organization purposes.  Another bonus, the rings are on the back spine, so your papers don’t get stuck when you open and close the binder.
Dividers:  $1.99.  I like the ones that you can write and erase on the tabs.

We also will be using a Froggy backpack that Boston already owns to keep his flash cards, pencil box, journal and a stack of colored craft sticks in.

In total this all costs around $115.  Not too bad considering how much it would cost to send Boston to preschool.

Stay tuned for more posts!

Preschool Curriculum

Choices

I’ve wrote a series of preschool posts that can be found under my “preschool category” for anyone interested in ideas”.  

Like I mentioned in my Preschool Schedule post I’ve decided to do a fairly formal curriculum with Boston, but I’m leaving room for inspiration and change if needed.

I’ve decided the subjects I’d like to cover with him are

ABC’s: Phonics, and writing.
Numbers:  Recognition, counting to higher numbers, light addition and subtraction, and writing numbers.
Geography:  Learning the US states.
Music:  We’ll have a composer of the month and have a lesson about that person and play their music during writing times that month.
Art:  We’ll have an artist of the month and do a lesson/art project based on that artist.
Reading:  Boston is EXTREMELY interested in learning how to read right now and wants me to read all of his books with a finger beneath each word.  He wants to know what everyone’s “Letters are” (how to spell their name) and he’s anxious to read his favorite books on his own.  He’s noticing different patterns with words on the page and how rhyming words look the same, which is fun!  For this subject it’s simple.  We’ll just read a lot.like we always do.  And when he’s asking “to learn to read” like he often does, we’ll pick up his BOB books and read them until he gets bored.  He only enjoys them for about 20 minutes at a time, TOPS.  Sometimes only 5 minutes.  And that’s fine too.  I never push it.  Again I care more that he loves to read then learns to read at this point.
Science:  This subject won’t have it’s own lesson, but will get incorporated when studying other things and knowing Boston it will probably be incorporated into our main lesson for the day often.
History:  This is another subject that will get studied via studying our states, Boston’s interests for the week, composer of the month and artist of the month.  We’ll also study our family history and a timeline of Boston’s life.
Main Lesson Each Day:  The main lesson each day will be based on Boston’s interests at that time.  He’ll often ask questions like, “Mom where does the water go when it goes down our pipes?”  or “Do beavers only live in dams?”  Or he’ll be particularly interested in birds, or the moon, etc… on any given week.  I’ll ask him on Sunday what he’d like to learn about that week and I’ll cater his lessons to that.  If he doesn’t have something specific, then I’ll base a lesson on his questions from that week or on something I feel inspired about.

We’ll also be learning about the weather and calendar every school day.  Pledge of Allegiance, and devotional (scriptures and article of faith memorization) will be included just as we always do.  We’ll change up how we learn through projects, art, singing, dancing, playing, moving and sitting.  Every week I’ll be picking up a pile of books on our lessons that week and limiting tv time so that Boston can continue his interests on non school days as well.

I’ve based this curriculum off of where Boston’s interests and abilities are at and I think it will work for him.  This is my favorite part of homeschooling…catering to your child’s exact needs. However, if I see that Boston is not enjoying a certain subject, or the way I’m teaching something. I  will change it up, because it’s more important to me that he develop a love of learning, rather then learn the content.  If he hates writing and is not ready, I won’t push it.  We’ll move on. The idea is for him to be excited about school, not dread it.

Preschool Schedule

Foam clock

I’ve wrote a series of preschool posts for anyone interested in ideas. Enjoy :) 

I’ve decided to do preschool two days a week for about 1-2 hours each day.  This recommendation came from my sister (the former preschool teacher) because it won’t be too much or too many days for Boston, and It won’t be as overwhelming for me when I’m planning and preparing.

9 am:  Put on our Froggy backback and march to our preschool room (the dining area…although preschool will only start there).  Sing our circle song and Hello song.  Do the Calendar and Weather Bear.  Pledge of Allegiance, and recite articles of faith that we’re working on.

9:15 am:  Introduce Composer of the Month, Artist of the month, letters of the day and numbers of the day.

9:30 am:  Go to table, pull out pencil box and work on letters or numbers worksheet. (play composers music in the background)

9:45 am:  Do numbers and letter lesson (this will include the phonics songs)

10:15 am:  Do lesson based on Boston’s interest for the day

10:30-10:45: Work on Geography puzzle.  That might mean putting it all together, memorizing a few states, driving toy cars across the states and finding the states on the map, or counting how many states we had to drive through.

11:00 am:  Journal writing/drawing and sing end of preschool song.

Times and content may get adjusted as we go, but this is our rough draft to start with.  I plan to continue blogging on our adventures with preschool.  I’d love to hear ideas or questions (not that I’ll have any answers for ya, but I’ll try).  The nice thing about doing preschool at home is that throughout the week we can continue reading our books based on our lesson that week, playing with the  geography puzzle, playing stack the states on the tablet, practicing reading and writing when Boston wants all without it being scheduled in.  :)  I’m hoping preschool days will inspire the rest of the week.  Also my two year old’s gonna feel like a pretty big boy tagging along with big brother.  :)

Enjoy!!

Pictures of our Preschool

preschool closet

Our Preschool closet. I have the posters hung on tacky tape so I can move them to the wall on preschool days so they’re more accessible for Boston.

Interior closet door left

Flag, Shapes and Colors posters.

Calendar

The Calendar I made for $3. Each number is tacky taped and removable so I can change the numbers each month.

Calendar holidays

This calendar came with fun holiday squares that I stuck beneath the date

Preschool full shelf

This is the main preschool shelf.

backpack

Boston’s froggy backpack that he’ll carry to preschool every day. :)

Closet

I’m lucky to have giant closet doors opposite my dining room table, so that my house doesn’t look like a school, yet it’s easily accessible to Boston at any time.

extra supplies

A shower caddy that I use to contain Boston’s extra school supplies.

Foam clock

Not sure if we’ll work on time this year, but the clock was $1 so I figured why not?!

Frog contents

The contents of Boston’s Froggy backpack. Colored craft sticks, Flash cards, his journal and pencil box.

Preschool shelf

More supplies. This is my Cleaning and Organization Better Binder, but my Preschool binder will look just the same as this. Melissa and Doug floor puzzle, a reference book, and BOB books.

I’m still waiting for our Felt Weather Bear, Book: What your preschooler needs to know and our Zoo-phonics kit.

Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll continue to post what we do on the blog. :)

Isaac’s 2nd birthday

Isaac had his 2nd birthday today. We opted out of parties this year and instead kept things lower key with “birthday adventures”. We started the day with opening presents. Isaac got a swivel car, two train sets, an ABC book and a special gift from brother which was a light up ball and jacks from the Target dollar section. Boston and I talked the day before Zekey’s birthday. I took him on a special trip to pick out a card (he picked a Yoda card with a watch that makes music), gift and book for Zekey. We talked about how our own birthday’s are fun, but one of Mommy’s favorite things to do, is make other people feel REALLY special on their big day. I asked if he wanted to be my helper in making Isaac’s day special and he said yes. And boy did Boston deliver.

He was sweet and kind to Zekey the whole day. He even used his kindest high pitched voice on Zekey most the time. ;) He was thrilled and excited about Zekey’s presents and he always gave up his turn playing with one of Isaac’s toys, if Isaac chose to pick it back up. He helped me bake Zekey’s cake, open presents, and teach Isaac all about the birthday ropes. It was so fun to witness that sweet brotherly love.

After presents we ate smiley face pancakes made by moi. We spent the morning playing with cousins. For lunch we had noodles and hot dogs, then we headed off to the Trampoline park where we met a couple friends. Isaac’s friend Kade got him a couple foam swords that he carried around with him most the day. During nap time, Boston and I baked and cleaned and at 5 we had the family over for cake and Ice cream. It was the ugliest cake (tasted good) but while I was making it Boston said,

“Mom you are the very very very very best cake maker in the whole world”. He was SO impressed with my terrible cake skills. My kind of man!

After Ice cream the family headed off to Daddy’s softball game and the boys and I ate a yummy dinner of popcorn, while we cuddled up and watched a movie. Yes we had cake, ice cream and popcorn for dinner. Why not?

Isaac also got some awesome super hero underoos from Bonkie and a batman car from Nana. It was a fun filled crazy day and Isaac has loved it so much that he crawled back out of bed to come play with his train set with Daddy. Still awake.

I love being a Mom to this happy, playful, amazing little boy.