A Day with Little Goose

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My Terrific Toddler, after some puddle hopping.

If you have read my blog before, you know that I’m a huge fan of the Mother Goose Time curriculum.  My only complaint is that I didn’t discover it sooner.  My daughters would have loved this curriculum when they were younger (truth be told they actually love it now at ages 9 and 7, and beg to do the activities when they get home from school).  Luckily my younger sons have been able to enjoy the mother goose time experience this year, and have been thriving.  Even my youngest son, who will turn two in a few days is already reaping the benefits of the Mother Goose Time program, specifically their toddler geared supplement Little goose.

I have briefly discussed the Little Goose Supplement before in my Homeschooling with a Toddler post, but wanted to provide a more in-depth look into the Little Goose program in this post.

A Typical Little Goose Day

IMG_2874While we all know that the word ‘typical’ doesn’t really go hand in hand with a toddler, I do try to have some sort of routine with my little guy.  Somedays this may mean that I pull him aside for some one on one learning times, and other days I might just do his little goose activities at the same time I’m working with his older brother. Generally I just have to read his mood, and figure out what will work best for the day.   When I do get the chance to work with him one on one, I try to set up all the activities as different stations.  Each day there are 3 activities, which are toddler versions of the activities in the main teaching guide.  I let my son choose the order in which he does the activities, giving him a sense of independence.  In the long run this saves me from the inevitable battle that comes from forcing a toddler to do something they don’t want to do.

The topic today was The Ostrich, and my son went straight for the art activity.  We worked on making a shaker by filling a cup with rocks and attaching it to a popsicle stick.  He had a ball putting the rocks into the cup, dumping them out, and repeating the process multiple times.  Once we finally got the rocks in the cups, we decorated the cups using markers.  After making a few marks on his cup, he quickly lost interest, and moved to the next station.  Which gave the shaker time to dry, so we could use it during music and dance time later in the day.


IMG_2813For our next activity we used a photograph of an ostrich egg and a basket of toys, and compared the size of the toys in the basket to the ostrich egg.  Since my son is still fairly non-verbal, I helped him by stating  a toy was bigger or smaller than the egg.   When he had gone through all the toys on the basket, he stood on the photograph himself, and looked at me with expectant eyes.  I told him that he was a big boy, and he cheered very enthusiastically.

IMG_2879By this point my little guys attention span was starting to dissipate, so we moved on to the cuddle & snuggle activity.   The cuddle & snuggle activity is featured each day, and provides an opportunity to have some quiet, bonding time with your little one.   My son loves this part of the day because he gets to climb into my lap, and get some much-needed mommy time.  Today we talked about how ostriches put their heads into holes to check on their eggs.  We mimicked this behavior by using our math manipulatives and putting them into a sock then pulling them out.

IMG_2877We finished up our time together by taking a sneak peek at the storybook of the day, and pointing out all the ostriches we saw.  After that my son moved onto his tray play activity, which is another great part of the Little Goose time supplement.  I like to use the tray play activities to keep my toddler busy while I work with his older brother.  Today our activity featured different bottle and jar lids, paper and crayons.  My son had a great time playing with the various lids, and even made a good attempt at tracing them with the crayons.

Tray Play

IMG_2890While my little one worked on his toddler stuff, My older IMG_2889son and I were able to start working on his activities, without too many interruptions from his younger brother. We ended our homeschool day together, with story time and dance time.  The boys practiced moving their heads in different ways like an ostrich, as we listened to a Mother Goose Time song entitled, “Ostrich Eyes”.  My little one decided to look for his eggs, and stuck his head down on the ground, and then proceeded to jump all over the room.  Dance time is a great time to get rid of some of that endless Toddler energy, and its a great way to end our lesson.

I hope you enjoyed hearing about our Little Goose Experience, and if you have any questions or comments, please let me know I’d love to hear from you.   Join me next week 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.

 

 

 

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Bluebirds

Spring Break season is finally over at our house, and we are finally back into our normal routine.  We kicked things off with a lesson about bluebirds, and had a wonderful day.  After the chaos of the past few weeks, today was like taking a breath of fresh air.    It was one of those truly enjoyable homeschooling days when everything seems to flow flawlessly together.

We started our day with our normal circle time routine (for more info. on our daily routine visit my previous post, When Life Get’s in the Way…Routine Saves the Day!), but spent extra time working on the calendar today. IMG_2540 Each month in our Mother Goose Time box we receive a new monthly calendar which goes along with the monthly theme.  As an added bonus, the images on each day form a different pattern each month.  Each day my son counts the number of days we’ve had in the month and also has a fun time, predicting what image will come next in the pattern.  This is a great way to reinforce early math skills on a daily basis.

Initially my son struggled with patterns, but after working with them everyday he has become more confident.  This was very evident as we progressed into our first activity for the day, which reinforced the ABC pattern we were working on this month.  My son was given a strip of paper with 3 images of birds on it,  and then asked to complete the strip with additional images, using the ABC pattern.  My son easily completed the task, commenting that it was so easy he could do it with his eyes closed.  Of course he didn’t really do the task with his eyes closed, but I appreciated his enthusiasm.

After pattern work we moved on to a word game.  The goal of the game was to create a bird house for our bluebird to live in.  My son had to pick up various letter cards,  place an ‘-it’ at the end of it, and then place the card face down on the corresponding word on the game board.  When we started the activity my son was engaged and motivated, but ran out of steam half way through.  This conveniently led into a discussion about perseverance,  and the importance of finishing a task.  Once he was able to regroup, he finished the task with ease, and was so proud of himself.  I love seeing him have pride in himself, and I love being able to tie important life lessons into our day.

After the game we moved onto our Invitation To Create, which was by far the boys’ favorite activity of the day.  We made clay, using a recipe card provided by Mother Goose Time. IMG_2581 Then used various beans to create mosaic pictures in the clay.  My older son took it a step further and actually rolled all the beans into the clay, and went on a treasure hunt to find them afterwards.  After a few rounds of treasure hunting, he made his mosaic design, and we put them outside to dry in the sun.

We finished the day going for a walk in our meadow, and listening to different bird songs and calls.  The boys took turns mimicking the different sounds they heard, and had fun trying to guess what the birds might be saying to each other.

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It’s hard to resist a dandelion.

While we were on our walk we checked our blue bird house to see if we had any customers nesting in there. The boys were thrilled to find a nest with 4 eggs nestled inside.  I took a picture and we used it to identify the type of bird that the nest belonged to.  Unfortunately the nest belonged to a house sparrow and not a blue bird, but that made no difference to my boys, they were just excited to see the nest and eggs.

Overall we had a fantastic day, and both boys enjoyed all the activities.  We also made it through the day with no catastrophes, which is a major achievement in our house.  Join me next week for more adventures with Mother Goose Time, and if you have any questions feel free to ask.  See you next week 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.

What’s in the Box-May Edition

It seems like April just started, time is flying by.  We are less than halfway through our bird unit, but our May box arrived today and here is a sneak peek of what’s inside.   In May we will be studying Bugs and Crawly things, and from the looks of things- we are going to have fun.img_2043.jpg

Teacher Tools and Circle Time Materials

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A sample of all the projects we will do in May

 Math Manipulatives

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Monthly Book

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Mother’s Day Celebration Kit

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Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

I can’t wait to share our experiences with you and if you are interested in trying Mother Goose Time for yourself, please visit www.mothergoosetime.com.

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.

Kindergarten Registration

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Last week we celebrated my son’s 5th Birthday!

Our homeschool lesson this morning was about birds learning to fly, which ironically coincided with our other activity for today – Kindergarten Registration.  Without being too cliché, the analogy between the two is pretty evident.  Just like a mother bird, the time has come for me to let go of one more of my babies and send them into the world.   I have been through the process twice before, so I knew what to expect and what forms were needed, but this time was harder than the last two times.   This year was the first year that I’ve homeschooled, and the prospect of letting go is harder for me this time around.

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Play time is learning time.

When I made the decision to homeschool a year ago, I had no idea that it would be as rewarding as it has been.  My son had been in a traditional preschool setting for two years when I started to think about changing things up with him this year.  I was hoping to spend some quality time with him before he went off to ‘real school’.   I wanted time to slow down a little, and I wanted to let him slow down a little too.   I wanted my son to learn and be prepared for Kindergarten, but at his own pace.  So the decision to keep him home for pre-k was an easy one for me, and one I was so glad I made.

Once the decision to homeschool was made, I started to research different curriculums.  Lots of people told me I didn’t really need a curriculum, and to just let him play, and learn that way.  While I took this into consideration, I knew I needed to have some structure, for my own sanity.  I wanted him to play with purpose and learn without realizing that he was doing an educational activity.   Since I’ve put two kids through kindergarten, I knew he needed some basic knowledge of letters and numbers.   As a trained nurse with no former training in education, I wasn’t sure how to provide this for him, so I started researching different curriculums.   When I found Mother Goose Time, I knew I had found the perfect curriculum for us.  Mother Goose Time has provided my son with all of the necessary skills he needs for Kindergarten, but also has allowed him the freedom to play and just be a kid.  His learning time, doesn’t feel like learning time, and often ends up flowing into play time without him realizing it.

One of the things that I also loved about the Mother Goose Time program was the fact that their program has been carefully developed to meet all of the state standards of early learning.  This was evident when we went in for our Kindergarten Registration today.  When my son was asked about his numbers, letters, shapes and colors, he was able to answer most of the questions easily.  It was a relief to know that what we had been doing all year had worked.  It tugged at my heartstrings as well, part of me wants to keep him home, and continue homeschooling.  I feel like kids are pushed too hard, too fast, and I question how it benefits them.  Luckily our local elementary school is one of those rare gems, the teachers are some of the best I’ve ever met.  They do an amazing job working with the system, and patiently teaching the kids.

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Spending time with this little guy next year is going to be a blast!

When September rolls around and I send my 5-year-old off on the big yellow bus, I am confident he will be prepared.  Plus there is still my youngest son, who still has three more years at home.  I am looking forward to working with him next year, and watching him thrive with the Mother Goose Time program, just like his older brother.  He is turning two in a few weeks and will be that perfect age, when they absorb things like a sponge.  I am looking forward to sharing our experiences with you.  Join me next week 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 Creative Process

 

IMG_0520One of the most important things a child can have in his or her life is art.  Art gives children the ability to express themselves in ways that they are normally unable to.  When a child is allowed to create a piece of art without adult interference, they relax, and ultimately, share their unconscious thoughts with the world.  While I love seeing my children’s masterpieces, hearing about their thoughts and feelings during the creative process is what matters most.  Once a child is able to verbalize what was going on in their head while they were creating, that gooey, gumpy mess of paint, becomes a vibrant piece of art.

IMG_0524This creative process is vitally important to little ones, and the more control they can have over the process, the better.  I love that the curriculum I’m using for homeschool this year has an art based project as part of each day’s activities.  In my previous posts I have talked about the Mother Goose Time curriculum and their Invitation to Create.  Today I want to take the time to tell you how much we love the Invitation to Create, and share the entire creative process with you.

An Invitation to Create is a process-based art project that focuses on the steps involved in creating the art, as opposed to purely focusing on the finished product. If you are a type-A mommy like me, this might take a little getting used to…A child is given an inspirational piece of artwork or photograph and materials, and is set free to create. The materials required for the project are included with our Mother Goose Time curriculum (with the exception of paint, glue, scissors, and other common household items).  Today we spent the day learning about eggs and culminated our lesson by creating an egg of our very own.

A very important part of the Invitation to Create is displaying the materials in an inviting way.  This gets the children excited about the project, and get’s those creative juices flowing.

 

img_1886.jpgEach Invitation to Create comes with a card detailing the suggested materials (children should also be encouraged to use other materials if they see fit), and also some prompts for the children if they seem stumped.
With an invitation to create it is important to let the child make most of the decisions on their own, and let them create the artwork with minimal intervention.

Once everything is set up, I show the boys their inspirational piece, and let them get to it.

Let the Creative Process Begin…

The boys loved painting with the puff balls, my youngest son was squealing with delight, each time he pressed the paint covered ball to the paper.

The Final Products

Following the prompts on our Invitation to Create card, I asked my son what kind of IMG_1940creature was inside his egg.  I was blown away by the creative tale he came up with.  Apparently a creature called a peacock-skunk bird is going to hatch out, and when he does he will be called Wing-feather-town-river.  He dictated an entire story about the egg to me, which I dutifully wrote down, word for word.  I’m going to tape it to the back of the egg,  so we can always remember the thought process behind his creation.

Watching my boys create numerous pieces of art, has been one of my favorite parts of homeschooling them this year.  I know that the artwork doesn’t look like much to most people, but to me it rivals the great masterpieces of the world.  Even more importantly, no one ate any paint today, and very little got in their hair and on their clothes, which I would call a major success.

I hope you join me next week for more homeschooling adventures 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.