Life Skills for Little Ones

fullsizeoutput_114eHomeschooling my children over the past year has been a very rewarding experience.   Each of them has made significant progress in the areas of math, language arts, social studies, reading and science.  In addition to these areas, each of my children has also developed their life skills, whether it be cooking, sewing, knitting, or even helping with the laundry.  Many people may argue that such skills aren’t important or even necessary anymore. I strongly disagree and would argue that being able to take care of oneself is just as important a knowing the quadratic equation.

I was thrilled when I looked over our Mother Goose Time Curriculum this week and saw that my little guy and I would be working on just these things.   If you recall, last week we focused on food groups.  This week we would be learning all about how to prepare, cook, and serve food.  Mother Goose Time did a fantastic job of turning these somewhat menial tasks into fun and appealing activities.

Throughout the week we learned about cleaning, mixing, measuring, and even baking.  However, my son’s favorite was learning to slice and dice.  Mother Goose Time provided us with a set of slice and count cards to be used in conjunction with play dough.  During this activity, my son worked on not only his fine motor skills but also got a chance to practice his counting skills.

Most importantly this activity helped my son gain confidence in his knife skills.  At lunch, he demanded (very politely) that he be allowed to slice his own banana.  I very happily obliged.

Later in the week, I was also able to introduce my son to the concept of setting the table, under the guise of playing restaurant.  Mother Goose Time provided us with paper food cutouts and menus, and we used our own plates and such to create an exciting dining experience for his brother and sister.  Since this activity, my little guy has been helping me set the table before each meal, and now has his very first household chore!

I haven’t spent much time working with my little one on things like setting the table or slicing his own food.  It’s just been easier and quicker for me to do it myself.  This week has given me just the nudge I needed to get him acquainted with these skills.  Exposing him to these skills was a great way to build his confidence and independence.  My son was thrilled to be able to set the table for his family and proudly boasted this achievement to his siblings at dinner that evening.  His technique still requires some refinement, but I love seeing him be contributing to our family life in a positive way.  Now I just need to figure out a way to get him to take care of the laundry, and I’d be one happy mama.

I hope you have enjoyed this brief synopsis of our week’s activities.  See you soon for more Chaos on the Creek.

Disclaimer:  I am so grateful to have found this curriculum and am excited to share our experiences on the blog.  In exchange for my unbiased and honest reviews, Mother Goose Time has provided us with the curriculum free of charge.

Painting With Vegetables

fullsizeoutput_1113This week marks the beginning of a new Mother Goose Time unit for us – health and fitness.  We started off our health and fitness unit by learning about the different food groups.    I am very interested to see how my son responds to this topic.  Like most three-year-olds, my son is a very picky eater, subsisting on a diet of chicken nuggets, grapes, and apples.  This unit will provide him with an excellent opportunity to expand his horizons.

I consistently offer my son a variety of vegetables and fruits to eat,  but he often turns his nose up at most of them (except for carrots and celery).  So when I walked into our school room with a plate full of sliced up vegetables (and an apple) this week, he shrieked with horror.  To his surprise, I informed him that we wouldn’t be eating these vegetables, instead, we would be painting with them!

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Before the painting began we took some time to talk about the different items on the plate.  Then we tried to predict what shapes we thought they would make when we started painting with them.  Our discussion didn’t last long due to my son’s growing excitement about using vegetables to paint, so we stopped talking and got to work.

My son had a ball exploring the different painting implements.  He loved exploring the various ways to use the vegetables to paint, starting off with a stamping technique then moving on to different methods.   Using the broccoli to make swirly patterns was his favorite!

In the end, we had a wonderful masterpiece and only a minor mess.

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Projects like this one allow children to explore everyday objects in a new way, and are a great way to enhance sensory and motor skills.  The careful thought and planning that goes into the Mother Goose Time curriculum, continues to amaze me.  They do a great job of creating activities that enhance the daily topic and overall monthly theme.  Most importantly they do all the work of planning for me, so I don’t have to spend hours on Pinterest coming up with these ideas on my own.  If you have any questions about this activity or Mother Goose Time, please let me know in the comment section below.

See you soon for more Chaos on the Creek.

Disclaimer:  I am so grateful to have found this curriculum and am excited to share our experiences on the blog.  In exchange for my unbiased and honest reviews, Mother Goose Time has provided us with the curriculum free of charge.

 

Learning About Migration

Here at Chaos on the Creek, we have continued to learn about all things safari this week.  Specifically, we focused on life in the grasslands and have learned about a variety of different cultural traditions of African life from their music to the houses they live in.  Today’s lesson focused on the topic of migration, and we learned all about The Great Migration that occurs in the African grasslands each year.

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Little guy is studying the inspirational photo included with the day’s invitation to create.

My son was fascinated to hear about the long journey that the wildebeests take each year in their quest to find food and water.  (Although he wasn’t such a fan of the wildebeests themselves, he didn’t care for their name and thought they looked a bit scary.)  Nonetheless, Mother Goose Time did a great job with the activities on this day, each one helped my son further understand the concept of migration.

Our day began with a fun game called Roll to Safety.  We used a blanket to create a pretend river (we also added a crocodile to make things more authentic) and then rolled a ball (aka a wildebeest) across this river to the letters on the other side.  Not only was this a fun way to work on my son’s gross motor skills, but it also provided my son practice with his letter recognition skills.  As a side note, I would like to ask you to please disregard the Nemo costume, my son has been obsessed with all things Nemo since our Aquarium field trip.

Next, we moved onto our art project for the day.  Using the inspirational photo provided to us by Mother Goose Time and some mosaic paper squares, my son had a ball recreating his own artistic interpretation of the Great Migration.  He was so proud of his work that he immediately went to find his older brother when he was finished to show off his work.

 

Finally, we finished our day with another game, this time we were sorting elephants into various herds.  Using four pieces of colored paper and some adorable elephant cutouts, my son and I took turns sorting the elephants into their appropriate herd.  The rainbow elephants could be placed in whichever herd my son wanted.

As always we had a fantastic day with Mother Goose Time.  We can’t wait to finish things up next week with our Safari unit.  Thanks for checking in, and I look forward to seeing you soon for more Chaos on the Creek.

Disclaimer:  I am so grateful to have found this curriculum and am excited to share our experiences on the blog.  In exchange for my unbiased and honest reviews, Mother Goose Time has provided us with the curriculum free of charge.

A Day in the Life (of a homeschooled 3.5-year-old​)

I love doing a day in the life post, there is no better way to show you what really goes on during our home school day.  The last time I did a day in the life post about my little guy was back in October (you can check it out here – Porcupine Day-A Day in the Life of a Homeschooled Three-Year-Old), and a lot has changed since then.   For starters, my son has completely given up his naps, which has allowed us to have a much more relaxed day.  So without further adieu here is what a typical day looks like for my homeschooled three-year-old…

7:00 AM Wake-up time

Personally, I have been up since 5:30 am, but lucky me, my son decided to sleep in.  This gave me a chance to get my morning workout in, and I even got to shower and get dressed.  As soon as he woke up at 7:00, my little guy got right to work, playing with his ever-growing collection of fire trucks.

7:30 AM Breakfast

My son starts every morning with yogurt from Trader Joes (no other brand will do), juice, and a smoothie.

8:30 AM Grocery shopping and errands

As an extra-special treat, we got to go to the pet store today.  Not only did we pick up some much-needed cat food, but we also got to admire all the critters in the store.

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10:30 AM Home again, home again

Time to unpack all our groceries and get started with school.  Today I decided to do things a little out of order.  I scanned my Mother Goose Time teacher guide and picked out an activity that I thought my son could work on independently while I finished up with the groceries.  I settled on the constructing huts activity (our topic for the day was huts) and set out the shape design mats included in our daily bag and this month’s linking strips manipulatives.  After a quick explanation of the activity, my son was ready to get to work.  His older brother even joined in on the fun.

11:15-11:45 AM

Lunchtime!

12:00 PM Back to work

After lunch, it was time for us to get down to business and get some school work done.   While my older kiddos got started with their afternoon work, I got my little guy started on his art project for the day.  To tie in with the day’s theme my son got to construct his own play hut using a paper souffle cup and sand.

1:30 PM Time for some one on one time

After finishing up afternoon work with my older kids, I finally got some time to work with my little guy (and yes we had an outfit change after my son overdid washing his hands in the bathroom sink).  We started off with circle time and talked about the day of the week, the date, and of course the weather.

As part of our circle time, we also took time to look at the daily topic poster, and use some of the discussion suggestions listed in the Mother Goose Time Teacher guide.

2:00 PM Storytime

My son was starting to get tired at this point and I knew it was time for some snuggles, so we moved on to storytime.  Today’s book was Why the Sun and the Moon Live in the Sky by Elphinstone Dayrell.  It was a wonderfully illustrated story explaining how the sun and moon came to be in the sky.  My son got a hold of my camera during our reading time and snapped these photos on his own.

2:30 PM Relaxation time

A little downtime before we had to go and pick up his big sister from school…

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3:00 PM Off to pick up big sis

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3:30 PM Playtime

After we get home from getting big sis, it is time for free play time.  My son went straight for his cars today and even grabbed the play hut he had made earlier in the day and set it up on his car rug.  He had a great time playing with the hut and the paper play hut people that went along with it.

6:00 PM Dinner time

After playing all afternoon, we sat down for a yummy chili dinner.  Then it was time to get ready for bed.

7:30 PM Time for bed

After a bath and story, my little guy was as snug a bug and tucked into bed.

Goodnight!  See you soon for more Chaos on the Creek.

Disclaimer:  I am so grateful to have found this curriculum and am excited to share our experiences on the blog.  In exchange for my unbiased and honest reviews, Mother Goose Time has provided us with the curriculum free of charge.

 

 

 

Safari Time

Here, at Chaos on the Creek, we are having a great time with our Mother Goose Time “Going on Safari” unit.  After spending the previous week getting our selves ready for our big adventure, we were ready to set off on safari this week.  We had a great time learning all about lions, zebras, and giraffes.  We concluded the week with a trip to the aquarium for an aquatic safari.  I know going to the zoo may have tied into the unit a little better, but with snow on the ground and a polar vortex on its way, the aquarium seemed like a much warmer plan.   Luckily our aquarium also has a rainforest exhibit, so we got to see some monkeys, a sloth, and some colorful frogs.  Here’s a peek at all of our Mother Goose Time fun we had this week…

#1 Lion Mask Fun

My son loves painting more than anything so he was thrilled when I pulled out the yellow paint and told him we were going to make our own lion masks.

                             The Finished Product!

He sure makes one cute, little lion.

 

#2 What’s Hiding Game

Mother Goose Time sent us everything we needed to play the super fun “What’s Hiding” game, in which we had to take turns to figure out which animal was hiding.

#3 Zebra Letters

On Zebra day we used zebra striped letter pieces to make the letters ‘S’ and ‘R’.  My son also enjoyed using the pieces to make his own shapes as well.  Mother Goose Time includes these letter pieces in each monthly box, and they are a great, tactile way for preschoolers to learn their letters.

#4 Chalk Zebras

Using a zebra cutout and white chalk my little guy got to create his own zebra.  This was a great time to talk about how each zebra has unique stripes, much like humans have their own unique fingerprints.

#5 Giraffe Spot Game

My son has really been loving the Mother Goose Time games lately and this one was no exception.  We started the game off with a spotless giraffe picture and then turned number cards over to determine how many spots we should add to our spotless friend.  This was a fun way for my little guy to practice his number recognition and counting.

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#6 Aquarium Trip

As luck would have it, our homeschool co-op group had a field trip planned for the local aquarium this week, and although fish aren’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of safaris, we made it work.  I told my son we were going on an aquatic safari, and he was good to go.  We had a blast seeing all the different creatures.

Overall it was a great week, complete with two snow storms!   Join us next week for more safari fun and more Chaos on the Creek.

Disclaimer:  I am so grateful to have found this curriculum and am excited to share our experiences on the blog.  In exchange for my unbiased and honest reviews, Mother Goose Time has provided us with the curriculum free of charge.

Going on Safari

New Year, new theme, new goals…the beginning of a new year is the best!  It makes me feel as if I have a clean slate and all my past year’s shortcomings are forgotten.  2018 was a year of change for our family, and although we adjusted well to the changes, consistency around our house wasn’t so great.  So in 2019, I am aiming to be more consistent with all aspects of our family life.  I especially want to be more consistent with our schedule.  So this week I’ve been doing just that, we’ve been sticking to a specific start time for our school day.  We’ve been sticking to a specific time to have our morning snack.  So far things are going well, but we are only two days into our school week.   I’ll let you know more once we get some time under our belts.

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This week also marks the beginning of a new unit for my little guy, Going on Safari.  During the month we will be learning the different animals and things one might see on a safari.  However before we set off on an imaginary safari, there’s some packing and preparation required.  So we’ve spent this week discussing passports, maps, and how to pack for a trip.   My little guy has loved learning all about the different continents around the world, and I love that he is becoming more globally aware.

Take peek at our Safari preparations:

#1 Make a passport

Mother Goose Time sent us all the materials we needed to make our own passport.  After putting our passport together, I had my son compare his MGT passport with his real one. Then we found each of the seven continents on our Mother Goose Time map and stamped the corresponding page in our passport.

#2 Get more acquainted with the map

To further our discussion of the seven continents we played Continent Toss.  Using our Mother Goose Time pocket cube and continent cards, we traveled around the world.

#3 Pack

My kids love pretending to pack suitcases for imaginary trips.  So when I rolled my small suitcase into the school room this morning, they shrieked with joy and immediately began loading it with their most prized possessions.

#4 Make sure nothing is missing

After the novelty of packing and unpacking the suitcase wore off, we were able to get to work.  Mother Goose time provided us with a packing list game in which I placed cards with pictures of different items on them into our suitcase, purposefully leaving one out.  Then my son used the provided packing list to figure out what was missing.  After we were done with the game, my son went around the house and found the actual items on the list to pack for his voyage.

                            Safari Time!

 

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Mother Goose Time sent us everything to make our own safari hat and binoculars.

 

We’ve had a lot of fun this week preparing for our pretend safari adventure.  Join us next week as we explore some of the wild animals one might find on a safari.  See you soon for more Chaos on the Creek.

Disclaimer:  I am so grateful to have found this curriculum and am excited to share our experiences on the blog.  In exchange for my unbiased and honest reviews, Mother Goose Time has provided us with the curriculum free of charge.

Rainy Day Diversions

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We have purposefully taken this week off from school to spend time together as a family. We packed in lots of small hikes and trips to local nature centers and parks.   Unfortunately, we also contended with lots of rainy weather, and in turn some little ones with cabin fever.   There isn’t anything quite so bad as being a child coming down from the Christmas high and also stuck inside.   This is particularly challenging for my three-year-old.  Luckily we still have some unused Mother Goose Time lessons from our Sights and Sounds unit.

fullsizeoutput_f8d So when my son started to complain of boredom a few days ago, I pulled out one of our daily bags and we got right to work with that day’s make and play art activity.  The day’s topic was shadows, and the make and play art activity featured a shadow puppet game.  To get started, we had to make the shadow puppets, which was a great way for my son to work on his motor skills.  The hand-eye coordination involved in attaching a straw to a paper cutout with tape is no small feat for a three-year-old.

After creating our shadow puppets, I assisted my son in putting together a pair of paper dice featuring pictures of the various shadow puppets we made.  The premise of the game is that we would roll said dice in order to determine the two shadow puppets we would use to act out a story of my son’s choosing.   My son happily rolled the dice a few times and acted out various stories with his puppets.

Then he lost interest in that activity and decided to create a more elaborate storyline featuring his shadow puppets.  In came his new fire truck, and a crew of firemen.   In this instance, a cat (the cat shadow puppet) had climbed a tree and gotten stuck at the top.  Luckily the firetruck wasted no time reaching the cat and was able to rescue the poor thing before anything bad happened.  For the rest of the afternoon, my son was happily diverted with his newly made shadow puppets, creating different scenarios in which his new fleet of firetrucks came to their rescue in one way or another.

Although we didn’t take advantage of the entire daily lesson on this particular day, the one activity proved to be quite helpful in curing my toddler’s case of boredom.   Later this week we will get back into our normal schedule, but until then I am grateful for our little break from school and happy to spend this special time with my family.  See you soon for more Chaos on the Creek.

Disclaimer:  I am so grateful to have found this curriculum and am excited to share our experiences on the blog.  In exchange for my unbiased and honest reviews, Mother Goose Time has provided us with the curriculum free of charge.

Cookies, Cookies, Cookies, and More Cookies

fullsizeoutput_f86I know my last post focused on some challenges associated with Christmas, and I certainly don’t want to give the impression that we are a bunch of humbugs over here at Chaos on the Creek. In fact, Christmas happens to be one of my favorite holidays, and I was thrilled that Mother Goose Time did such a great job at tying in the season into their lessons.  One lesson, in particular, stands out in my mind…

The last Mother Goose Time lesson before we finished up for Christmas break was…Cookies! Honestly, how could we go wrong with a lesson about cookies?

The cookie lesson was perfect for right before our Christmas break, and it certainly helped everyone get in the mood for Christmas.  We started our lesson off with some cookie sorting fun. fullsizeoutput_f6e Using labels provided by Mother Goose Time and some jars I had around the house, we created our own cookie jars.  Then we used the jars to sort cookie cutouts.  I had my son sort the cookies by color, shape, and letter.   It was a great opportunity to combine literacy and mathematical concepts into one lesson, and my son thought it was fantastic!

After a few rounds of cookie jar sorting, we moved onto our art activity for the day – cookie decorating.  This wasn’t your ordinary cookie decorating…this cookie decorating featured shaving cream in lieu of real icing and paper cookie cutouts instead of real cookies. fullsizeoutput_f6cWhile paper cookies may seem like a letdown compared to the full-sugar version, let me reassure you, my three-year-old thought it was awesome!  We even put the shaving cream into a plastic baggie to mimic a real icing bag.  I was a little worried when we started that he might try and sample some of the pretend cookies, but after a brief warning from me that these cookies were not edible, we had no problems.   As a bonus, there wasn’t any sticky mess to clean up afterward.

This probably won’t come as a surprise to you but we finished off the day making some real cookies.  It was a very yummy way to end a very awesome lesson!

This was the perfect lesson to do right before Christmas break,  it was a nice reminder for me to slow down and enjoy the Christmas season.  I think as adults we tend to forget the magic that the season brings and instead get caught up in the stress.  We forget that the most important part of the day is to be together as a family and cherish our time together.   I hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas or whatever holiday you celebrate, and I will see you soon for more Chaos on the Creek.

Disclaimer:  I am so grateful to have found this curriculum and am excited to share our experiences on the blog.  In exchange for my unbiased and honest reviews, Mother Goose Time has provided us with the curriculum free of charge.

 

Holiday Stress

 

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Holiday stress is not an issue for the cat.

Who else out there gets stressed during the holiday season?  I certainly do, and I can’t say that homeschooling has helped matters.  Not only do I have gifts to buy, decorating, and the holiday meal planning that is customary during this season, but I also have lessons to plan and teach, homeschool reviews to prepare for, and I have the kiddos around 24/7.  Don’t get me wrong, I love homeschooling and think it has been one of the best decisions I’ve made – it just complicates things during the holiday season.

With everything I have to do, I have to give kudos to Mother Goose Time for relieving some of the burden, with their awesome open and go lessons.  Last week we had one of those crazy busy days…  we didn’t get homeschooling done until the afternoon.  No preparation had been done at all and I only had about an hour or so to get things done.  Luckily all I had to do was pull out our daily bag, cut a few things out, and we were ready to go.

The topic for the day was Owls. (Owls  happen to be a favorite in our house). We started off with our daily art project, which involved making a snowy owl puppet. While we were making the puppet my son and I talked about different characteristics that owls have, and how these characteristics are beneficial in nature.

While our owl puppet dried, we moved onto our math activity.  The activity featured different shape owl cutouts which were used in conjunction with our shape manipulatives of the month.  To begin with, I held up different owl shapes and had my son find the matching shape manipulative.  We finished the lesson by putting all the owl shapes on the ground and then sorted all of the shape manipulatives accordingly.

By now we were starting to run a little short on time, so I skipped some of the other activities and moved on to our read aloud for the day.  For this day the read aloud was Owl Babies by Martin Waddell.  This happens to be one of our favorite stories and my son was thrilled to use the owl puppet he made earlier in the lesson to play along with the story.

Luckily we are now just a few days away from the big day, our homeschool review is done, and the shopping is almost done.  Most importantly we are still on schedule with our lessons and somehow we are getting everything done.  I can’t wait for things to slow down and get back to a normal schedule. I hope you are surviving the holiday season and I hope you have enjoyed this post.  See you soon for more Chaos on the Creek.

Disclaimer:  I am so grateful to have found this curriculum and am excited to share our experiences on the blog.  In exchange for my unbiased and honest reviews, Mother Goose Time has provided us with the curriculum free of charge.

 

Trumpets, Tubas, and Trombones – Oh My!

We started our Mother Goose Time Sights and Sounds unit this week, and we’ve been having so much fun learning about different kinds of instruments.  I knew this unit would be great, as is customary with all of our Mother Goose Time units, but I had no idea how much it would resonate with my son.  I guess I should have known that my son would like learning about instruments since he loves anything that makes noise.  In particular, horn day was his favorite this week and he has been begging for a tuba ever since.

fullsizeoutput_ea3Our horn day began with a look at our daily topic poster and a very lengthy discussion about all the instruments.  Our discussion of the different brass instruments ended up taking us down a bit of a rabbit hole, and we spent a good part of the morning watching videos on YouTube featuring musicians playing various types of brass instruments.   Having the chance to take our time and really explore different subjects is one of the things I love most about homeschool.  There is nothing I love more than seeing my children develop interests in new things.

Once we had fully exhausted all the offerings on YouTube we made our way back to our regularly scheduled programming. First, we discussed how brass instruments make music by the musician blowing air through a mouthpiece.  We simulated this process by using a straw to blow pompoms and feathers across the floor.  My son found the straw frustrating to use so he soon just used his mouth to blow the objects across the room.  My son was thrilled with this activity and could have blown those feathers and puffballs across the room for hours if left to his own devices.

fullsizeoutput_eaeWe finished our day by reading The Mississippi Musicians together.  This book was included in our Mother Goose Time box and was fantastic.  Each month Mother Goose Time includes a book that coordinates with the monthly theme.  In addition to the book, Mother Goose Time also includes coordinating magnetic storytelling pieces and a puzzle.  Whenever we read the monthly book my son loves to play along with the magnetic story pieces.  So even though we weren’t supposed to use these pieces for another two days, I pulled them out ahead of time to appease him.   This particular book was one of my favorite Mother Goose Time books to date.

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As I have already mentioned, there is nothing better than seeing your child develop new interests.   You never know where these newfound interests will lead – perhaps my little guy will become an amazing tuba or trombone player one day.  Most likely he won’t become a famous musician,  but it is wonderful to see him being introduced and thoroughly enjoying the wonderful world of music.   I can’t wait to see what fun next week holds, and I hope you will join us for more Chaos on the Creek.  See you soon!

Disclaimer:  I am so grateful to have found this curriculum and am excited to share our experiences on the blog.  In exchange for my unbiased and honest reviews, Mother Goose Time has provided us with the curriculum free of charge.