Setting Up For a New Month

April is here and it’s time to get ready for a new Mother Goose Time unit.  I thought it would be fun to show you how I get everything ready for a new month.  Our Mother Goose Time box typically arrives 2 weeks before the unit is supposed to begin, and the first thing I do is pull out all the teacher guides and figure out what the suggested reads are for the month.  Sometimes the books are ones we already have in our collection, so I pull those and put them aside.  For books that I don’t have, I either borrow them from the library or buy them used on Amazon or Thriftbooks.

After I have all the books ready for the month, the rest of the prep work is pretty easy.

#1 Hang up our new calendar

Mother Goose Time provides us with a new calendar and corresponding date cards each month.

fullsizeoutput_1355

#2 Hang up the monthly theme poster

The monthly theme poster is normally featured in one of the lessons during the first week and takes a little digging to find.  However, I always like to hang it up ahead of time so my son can get an idea of what we will be learning about for the month

fullsizeoutput_1356

#3 Put all of our daily bags in our rainbow cart

I got this cart off of Amazon, and it has been one of my favorite homeschool purchases ever!  I put one week worth of lessons in each drawer.

#4 Set up my books

My amazing sister in law gave me this book display shelf, and it has been a great way to showcase our books each month.   It allows my little one to pull books out throughout the day just to read for fun.  The bottom two rows are just for him and the top rows hold all the books my older kiddos are using in their homeschool.

IMG_8009

After that, we are pretty much ready to go.  If you can’t tell from the pictures above, the theme for this month is Bees and Butterflies, and we can’t wait to get started.  Let me know below if you have questions or comments.   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.

 

Spring Fever

fullsizeoutput_132fIt is safe to say that spring fever has officially struck our house.  The weather is warming up and the days are getting longer.  These changes have made the kids and me very antsy.  We’d all love to spend the whole day outside exploring, gardening, and just soaking in the sunshine.  The last thing any of us want to do right now is schoolwork, but nonetheless, we are in the home stretch and are pushing through so we can get things finished by the first week of May.  To give you a little background, we homeschool year round and typically start our new school year at the beginning of July.  When we finish up in May we will just be finishing up our core subjects (i.e. Language Arts and Math).  Our Co-ops, music lessons, and art classes will continue through until June.  In June, we will take a break from everything, and just relax for a month.

Anyway… what was I saying?  Oh yes,  I was talking about our terrible case of spring fever, and how we were managing to get through this hurdle.   This is a great example of why Mother Goose Time is so great.  I don’t have to worry about any preparation or planning because they’ve done it all for me!   All I have to do is pull out the daily bag and teacher guide, do a little prep work (5-10 min tops), and my little guy and I are good to go.  Not to mention the themes Mother Goose Time has picked are fantastic and do a great job of capturing my little one’s attention.  This week we have continued to work on our dessert unit, and are having a great time.

Here are some of the highlights.

#1 Playdough Cactus Counting

Using toothpicks and playdough we made our own cacti and practiced counting too!

#2 Cactus Art

Mother Goose Time provided us with green cornstarch noodles and more toothpicks to create our own cactus art.

#3 Awesome Books

Mother Goose Time suggests fabulous books to read each month, which can easily be found at most libraries or purchased (whatever is easiest for you).

#4 Desert BINGO

My son loves a good game of BINGO, and this desert version was no exception.  We also used this as an opportunity to discuss nocturnal versus diurnal animals.

#5 Desert Night Art

This art project was so much fun!  We started out by creating a desert scene using stickers and crayons and then finished it off with black watercolor paint.  The final product is pretty awesome.

We had a great week and even got plenty of time to enjoy the beautiful weather outside too!  Next week we are starting a new Mother Goose Time Unit all about bees and butterflies.  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.

 

Mother Goose Time Manipulatives

fullsizeoutput_12fbIf you’ve read any of my previous posts, you have probably heard me mention manipulatives.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned them in almost every post because they are one of our favorite parts of the Mother Goose Time boxes. If you are new here or new to Mother Goose Time, you may be asking, what are manipulatives?  Let me explain…

Manipulatives are items that allow a child to learn a concept in a more hands-on way.  These items can be anything from plastic bears to wooden buttons and anything in between.  Often, manipulatives are used to teach math concepts like counting or pattern making.  However, they can also be used to enhance a child’s motor skills and even used in pretend play.   Each month, Mother Goose Time includes different sets of manipulatives in each box.  These manipulatives coordinate with the monthly theme and are used throughout the month in a variety of ways.

In this month’s Desert Discovery box we received a set of connecting cubes, and have used them to represent horses, to play a variety of games, and to build pyramids.  Each week Mother Goose Time has a great new activity featuring these manipulatives, and I love that we get to reuse them throughout the month.  My son’s favorite activity featuring these connecting cubes has been building pyramids.  The connecting cubes offer little ones lots of practice with their fine motor skills, as putting these little guys together is no easy feat.

 

IMG_7854
Our Manipulative basket.

As you can see, these manipulatives are a ton of fun!   Lucky for us, we have amassed quite a collection of manipulatives over the years and continue to use them on a daily basis.  I often break them out to teach mathematical concepts to my older kiddos.  I have a big basket of different manipulatives sitting out that my older son likes to use when he’s stuck on subtraction problems, especially ones that he doesn’t have enough fingers for.

These manipulatives are just one of the many reasons we love Mother Goose Time.  To read more about the Mother Goose Time curriculum check out some of my other posts or feel free t ask me a question 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.

The Wild West

Three and a half years ago, our first Mother Goose Time box arrived in the mail and little did I know the adventure that lay before us.  I was on the fence about homeschooling my then three-year-old son and ordered a box out to see how we liked it.  As you may have guessed, we loved it and made the decision to keep our son home from preschool the following year. And so began our homeschool adventure.  The theme of our first box was Desert Discovery, which happens to be the same theme we just started last week with my youngest son.  I have been so excited to do this box again, because not only does it bring back wonderful memories of time spent with my older son, but I also get to see how things have changed over the past three years.   Mother Goose Time does cycle through the same themes every 3 years, but they are constantly improving and changing the curriculum to adapt to the ever-changing educational environment.

For our first week of the Desert Discovery unit, we spent our time learning about all things cowboy.  My youngest son had a ball making his own cowboy hat, decorating cowboy boots, and reading the suggested books.

Take a look at all the fun we had…

Books, Books, and more Books

These are a few of the  Mother Goose Time suggested reading books for the month.    These books have been some of my son’s favorites all year, and he’s asked to read them over and over again.

fullsizeoutput_12b0.jpeg

Cowboy Boot Toss

Using the cube manipulatives, included in this month’s box and an assortment of boots, my son had fun trying to toss the cubes into the boots.  It was a great way to work on his motor skills.

fullsizeoutput_128f

Painting Fun

My son got to decorate his own cowboy boot as well as a cowboy hat for himself.

Corral Creations

This was one of the featured STEAM stations for the week, which encouraged the children to create different fence designs or corrals for toy animals.  I saw this as a great opportunity to pull out our horse manipulatives (included in our 1st Desert box).  I let my son choose which building materials he wanted to use, he opted for magnetic blocks.

Faces and Hats

This activity was a favorite with the whole family!  Mother Goose Time provided us with several cowboy hat photos and instructed us to use the photos in conjunction with a self-portrait drawn by your child.  My son still struggles with drawing human shapes and often gets frustrated, so I tweaked the activity and printed out photographs instead.  My little guy had a ball turning each of us into cowboys and cowgirls.

Cowboy Hat Matching Game

The premise of this very simple game was to match the color of the cowboy hat to the cowboy boots.  I remember doing this activity three years ago and remember my first son being as enchanted by the cute cowboy photos as my younger son was this week.  My younger son also insisted on prepping this activity himself and did all the cutting on his own (take note of the tongue sticking out for added concentration).

After completing the week I was glad to see that some of the elements that I had loved in our first Mother Goose Time box had remained the same, and I was thrilled with the changes as well.  We had a great week and I can’t wait to share the rest of our adventures with you throughout the month. 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.

A Day In the Life – February Edition

I thought I’d close out the month with a day in the life of my three-year-old.   After all, there is no better way to see what the Mother Goose Time curriculum in action than seeing it in action over an entire day.   So here we go…

***Thursdays are pajama days at Chaos On The Creek, so please excuse the fireman jammies.

7:00 AM Wake-Up/ Breakfast Time

fullsizeoutput_11b9

8:00 AM Play/Prep Time

After everyone is fed, it is time for chores.  Once everyone is done with their responsibilities they are allowed to have free play time, while I get things ready for the day.

9:00 AM Time For School

I try to start our school day by 9:00 AM, but this isn’t set in stone.

Once I get my older kids set doing their work, I am able to move onto my little guy.

We start every morning with circle time, but the rest of our day’s schedule changes depending on what activities are planned for the day.

Today we started with the art project since it required painting, and knew it would need time to dry.  We made our own dumbells out of paper plates and black paper.

10:00 AM School Continues

Next, we moved onto our math activity.  We used our Mother Goose Time pocket cube to determine how many apples (red pompoms) to put on our magnetic boy.  This was a great counting review for my little guy.

Our suggested story for the day was Ten Apples Up On Top! by Dr. Seuss.  This was also a great time to have a quick snack, my son appropriately chose an apple.

When we were done the story, my son had fun piling the red pompoms on top of his own head.

Then we finished the morning with a round of would you rather.

10:45 AM Free Play

After we finish our morning work, I always give my kiddos plenty of free play time before and after lunch.  Today my boys requested playdough.

11:30 AM Lunch

12:30 PM Afternoon School

While my older kiddos use this time to tackle language arts and math, my little guy does a great job of occupying himself in the playroom.

Every now and then he pops in the school room to see how things are going.

fullsizeoutput_11f1

2:00 PM Outside Time

My kids love playing outside and have been working on constructing a fort in our backyard over the past few weeks.  They happily donned their coats and headed outside to get some energy out.

3:00 PM School Pick Up

Time to pick up my oldest from school.

fullsizeoutput_122a

3:30 PM Back Home and More Playtime

My little guy has been working on giving up his naps over the past few months, so this is normally the time of day when he hits a wall.  This afternoon he was happy to cuddle up on the couch and let me read to him.  The rest of the afternoon was spent playing with legos, firetrucks, and watching a few episodes of Paw Patrol.

fullsizeoutput_121f

6:00 PM Dinner Time

fullsizeoutput_1222

6:30 PM Bath Time

fullsizeoutput_1224

 

My son’s dumbbell project from earlier was finally dry so he tested it out before heading to bed.

7:00 PM Bed Time

A great end to another wonderful day.

fullsizeoutput_1229

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments 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.

 

 

 

 

The Doctor Is In

We are continuing to work our way through our Mother Goose Time Health and Fitness unit, and are enjoying every minute of it.  My son was especially thrilled with today’s topic which focused on doctors and checkups.  Unlike most three-year-olds my son loves going to the doctor’s office and has always been fascinated with the medical side of things.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s a doctor himself one day.

We started our day off with our normal circle time routine.  Then we got right to work with a little activity involving some broken letters.  We pretended to be the doctors and pieced the broken letters back together.  It was a fun way to work on our letter recognition skills and also talk about some of the different things doctors do to help people when they are hurt – most importantly how they help fix broken bones.

Next, we moved onto a fun domino game featuring pictures of children involved in different types of fitness activities.  The game provided a great opportunity to remind my son of the importance of fitness and nutrition, and how they both play an important role in keeping ourselves healthy.

We finished the day by creating our own doctor’s bag.  Mother Goose Time provided us with a paper doctor’s bag, bandages, cotton balls, and popsicle sticks to use as tongue depressors.  This make & play activity was super easy to do and was a nice segway into dramatic play time.  After completing his doctor bag, my son ran to our dress-up bin for the doctor’s coat and pretend doctor’s tools.   He got straight to work, and lucky me I was the first patient! Next, he moved onto his siblings, and finally to his stuffed animals.

fullsizeoutput_11ae
The doctor is ready to see you now.

There is nothing I love more than watching my kiddos during dramatic play.   We’ve always had a dress-up bin full of various costumes and props for them, and it’s great to see their imaginations at work.  However, I’ve never taken the time to think about the importance of dramatic play until I started homeschooling my children.  I began to notice it being brought up time after time in our various curricula.  So I did a little research and found that it actually plays a huge role in a child’s development.  It gives them the chance to play freely and to apply what they have learned to different scenarios without fear of being ridiculed or doing something wrong (after all its just play).

Mother Goose Time does an especially good job tying in opportunities for dramatic play throughout the month.  It is one of the many reasons I love the Mother Goose Time curriculum because it’s always nice to be able to connect you play with whatever you learned about earlier in the day, and sometimes I’m just not creative enough to think of ways to do that.   Mother Goose Time does the work for me, giving me more time to just sit back and enjoy my kiddos.

Please let me know below if you have any questions or comments.

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.

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!

fullsizeoutput_10fc

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.

fullsizeoutput_1116

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.

fullsizeoutput_10c4
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.

fullsizeoutput_1071

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…

fullsizeoutput_108f

3:00 PM Off to pick up big sis

fullsizeoutput_1091

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.