What’s In the Box-Nature Detectives Edition

Even though we have just started digging into our Alphabet House box this week, our July Mother Goose Time box just arrived!   The theme for July is Nature Detectives and looks like it will be a ton of fun for all of my kiddos.  Here is a sneak peek at what’s inside…

Teacher Toolbag

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Celebration Kit-Independence Day

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Manipulatives

Storytelling Set

Each month Mother Goose Time includes a book, magnetic storytelling pieces, and a puzzle in each monthly box.

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Week 1

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Week 2

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Week 3

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Week 4

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Our summer here at Chaos on the Creek is sure to be filled with lots of excitement as all four of my kiddos will be joining in on the fun!   I will also be making a special announcement within the next few weeks about some of our exciting plans for this summer and the 2018/2019 school year.  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.

 

An Impromptu Break

Last week my little guy played hooky from homeschool. Instead, we took the time to just hang out together and enjoy each others’ company.  I knew that this was going to be the last week that it would just be the two of us at home since summer break was starting shortly for my older kids, and I wanted to savor our last moments of peace.  Not to mention that we have been working on homeschool pretty diligently since Christmas, and a break was long overdue.

So, what did we do during our week off?  A whole lot of NOTHING…  We caught up on some of my son’s favorite TV shows, we went on lots of walks, we took some great naps together, picked strawberries with Grandpa, and we just had fun together.   We also did a deep clean on the homeschool room and got everything ready for Mommy Camp.  Overall it was a great week and was exactly what we both needed to recharge ourselves for the fun, chaos filled weeks of summer ahead of us.

 

By the end of the week, we both missed our Mother Goose Time and we’re thrilled to dive into our new Alphabet House Unit this week.  When I announced that it was school time on Tuesday he eagerly ran into the school room and got straight to work.   I love seeing him so happy about learning and most of all I love that he is actually learning.

The current unit that we are working on is actually a review unit of all of the things we have learned over the past year.   Review units like this are a great way to see how much your child has learned over the course of a year and can also help identify areas that you may need to concentrate more on during the next school year.  Most importantly, Mother Goose Time does a fantastic job of making review fun and interesting.

Here’s a peek at some of the things we’ve been up to this week…

Handwriting Practice…

My son has made so much progress with his handwriting over the year.

 

Art Time…

We reviewed colors while we painted our own houses (even big brother joined in).

 

Math Time…

We used a variety of stuffed animals and boxes to compare sizes and create imaginary homes for the animals.

 

STEAM Time…

My son’s favorite part of all was building houses using marshmallows and toothpicks, although I think he enjoyed eating the marshmallows most of all.

 

Like all of our Mother Goose Time units, The Alphabet House has been a ton of fun so far.      Even my older children have enjoyed participating in some of the activities.  I can’t wait to see what this summer has in store for us.  Whatever happens, I know that we will probably have some tears, some chaos, and most importantly, lots of fun!  I can’t wait to share it all with you.   See you soon for more Chaos on the Creek.

19510309_1588341684509993_3025539560496814781_nDisclaimer:  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.

That’s a Wrap…

It seems like we were just starting our school year yesterday, but here we are and it’s already June!  Today we finished up our Mother Goose Time Gardening Unit, and have completed our second full year of homeschooling.  It is an amazing feeling to look back at everything my son has accomplished this year.  When we started back in September he was two years old, wearing diapers,  and barely speaking any words.   Eight months later, he is now three years old, fully potty trained, and speaking in complete sentences (all the time, we can’t get him to stop talking).   In addition to all of these amazing personal milestones, he has also grown by leaps and bounds academically.  Most importantly, my son has developed a wonderful love of learning this year and joyfully looks forward to doing school each day.

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Potato Inspection

Today we finished our gardening unit with potato day (we didn’t go in order this month due to some scheduling stuff, and this was the last day we had left).   My son was especially taken with a potato race game that was part of the day’s activities.  During this game, we rolled a real potato  (with the letters F and Y written on it) around the room and watched to see which letter it landed on.  Depending on which letter came up, we would add a potato picture to the corresponding column on our game board.   My son absolutely loved throwing the potato around.  I guess there is just something appealing to a three-year-old, about throwing food around.  In the end, our ‘F’ column came out as the winner.

After the potato game, it was time to design our own postcard to send to one of our favorite aunts.  My son diligently worked on his postcard, drawing a fantastic picture featuring a yellow flower and blue airplane.   Although his drawing didn’t look anything like this, he carefully pointed everything out to me and asked me to label everything so Aunt M. would know what was happening.   This is a huge change from the beginning of the year when he barely drew anything and never assigned any meaning or labels to his drawings.   He also dictated a cute message for me to write to his aunt.  He made sure to begin his message by wishing her a happy birthday and a Merry Christmas (her birthday was weeks ago and Christmas is months away, but its the thought that counts).

We finished up the lesson working on some pattern work and of course reading a story.  Then, since we started our school year with a walk around the neighborhood it seemed appropriate to finish it the same way.  We do love our walks after all, and it was a fantastic way to end the year.

              First Day of School vs. Last Day of School

In conclusion, we have had a fantastic year with Mother Goose Time, and plan on continuing to use the curriculum throughout the summer.  So stay tuned to see what our summer routine is like,  it’s a little more relaxed and my three older kids will be joining in as well.  See you soon for more Chaos on the Creek.

19510309_1588341684509993_3025539560496814781_nDisclaimer:  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.

 

 

Our Daily Walks

fullsizeoutput_3a5As many of you may know from reading my previous posts, we live in a rural area.  We have a small town nearby, but other than that most major towns are an hour drive away.  As a child, I grew up in a large city, so this rural country life has taken some getting used to for me.  However, after living here for a couple years, the rural way of life has grown on me, and I can certainly see the benefits it provides for my children.  Most notably they have the freedom to freely explore the outdoors on a daily basis.   Our property features roughly 6 acres of land along one of the many tributaries feeding into the Chesapeake Bay.  While our whole family enjoys exploring the many wonders our property has to offer throughout the year, sometimes it’s nice to explore beyond our yard.

Each day my son and I like to take a break from our homeschooling and go for a walk around the neighborhood.  When I say neighborhood, what I really mean is the dirt road that runs between the local farm and the river, featuring a dozen or so houses and some wonderfully eclectic neighbors.   These walks are great opportunities for both my son and me to mingle with our small community of neighbors.  As most of our neighbors are retired, they are often out working in their yards and gardens when we make our midday rounds, and they love hearing my son share his day’s adventures with them.   They love hearing about what he’s been up to in homeschool for the day.  In many cases, they even have their own wisdom to share about whatever the daily topic may be.  It is so touching to watch the interaction between our neighbors and my little guy.

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Some days, Grandpa (who happens to live next door) also joins us for our neighborhood strolls.

Our current Mother Goose Time theme is all about gardening, and visiting our neighbors’ gardens has been the highlight of many of our days.  Walks along our little country dirt road also offer the opportunity to explore many other elements of nature other than neighbors’ gardens.  On the day we discussed flowers a few weeks ago, my son was able to explore not only flowers growing in a garden but also a variety of wildflowers growing along the road.

Last week when we learned all about different garden visitors, we were able to spot some of them on our walks ( mostly rabbits, deer, and crows).

IMG_2419While our walks offer a nice break from our schooling activities, they always end up being a time when my son and I talk about what we’ve learned about that day and how we can apply it to our everyday lives.  More importantly, these walks are a great way for us to connect with our neighborhood community.  Often times when people hear a child is being homeschooled, one of the first concerns they have is about the child’s lack of proper socialization.  Not only is my son getting plenty of socialization, but he is also getting the chance to interact with all different age groups, and cultivating a variety of diverse friendships.

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If you can’t tell, these walks are one of my most cherished parts of our homeschool day.    No matter how smoothly or unsmoothly our homeschooling mornings have gone walks are always a great way to wrap up our day.  Although the current Mother Goose Time theme of gardening is very easy to tie into our walks, I can honestly say that I’ve found ways to tie most of them into our walks.  I think that is largely because Mother Goose Time does such a great job of picking themes that will be both interesting and applicable to preschoolers.

If you have any questions about the Mother Goose Time program, please let me know in the comment section below.   If not, 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.

 

 

What’s In The Box-Alphabet House Edition

It’s hard to believe that summer is almost here, and the school year is almost finished!  However, just because the school year is coming to an end, doesn’t mean that Mother Goose Time takes a break.  In fact, Mother Goose Time features 3 months of wonderful, summer programming, that is both fun and educational.  Even my older kids get excited when our first Mother Goose Time summer box arrives.  When they got home from school yesterday and saw the tell-tale school bus box sitting on our counter, they were ready to dig in.  Each June, Mother Goose Time plans out a creatively-themed month of review.  The theme this June is Alphabet House, and we will explore different kinds of houses (both human and animal), while also reviewing the alphabet, numbers 1-20, and our shapes.

So without further adieu, here’s a sneak peek at what’s in the box…

Teacher Toolbag

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Celebration Kit-Father’s Day

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Manipulatives

Week 1

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Week 2

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Week 3

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Week 4

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This will be our third year doing a June review unit, and each year we all have a great time with this unit.  It is a great way to wrap up the year and see how much your child has learned.  If you are interested in ordering Mother Goose Time for your family visit their website at www.mothergoosetime.com.  If you have any questions or comments, please let me know in the comment section below.   Thank you for taking a sneak peek at the June box with me, and I will see you next time 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.

 

Worm Day

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Last week we started our new Mother Goose Time all about gardening.  I know I probably say this every month, but this is our favorite unit yet!   My son and I spent our week exploring and learning about all the things a garden needs to grow and thrive, including soil, seeds, and worms.   While each day was filled with exciting activities, it was worm day that was my son’s favorite.  Like most little boys he was captivated by the delightful, squirminess, and sliminess of the wonderful world of worms.  Oh, and as a disclaimer…No Worms were injured in the making of this day.

My son started the day working on his listening comprehension by following two and three step commands using the rubber worms included in our Mother Goose Time box.   We began the activity with the worms hidden in a box of sand, so his first multi-step command was to dig the worms out, place them on the rug, and do a worm dance.  He was fascinated by the rubber worms and carried them around all day (thank goodness they weren’t real).

We continued to make good use out of our rubber worms in our next activity and used them to paint a giant worm outline.  To make things a little more interesting, I used puffy paint rather than our usual tempera paint.  It turns out it was a great change and my son had a ball wiggling his worm through the paint.  His final masterpiece was quite a sight to behold.

We finished off our inside portion of the day by working on our fine motor skills using the cube manipulatives included in this month’s box.   Using these cubes along with some cube pattern strips, my son made a variety of different cube worms.

Once we were finished, it was time to head outside and look for some real worms.  We haven’t had much rain for awhile, so this task was a little bit more difficult than I had anticipated.   Luckily, in the end, we were able to not only find some worms but a huge black snake as well.  My son squealed with delight as he let the wiggly worms crawl over his hands and arms.

It was a fantastic day, one that I will try to remember when we have one of those days when things don’t go as planned.  It is hard to believe that in a month we will have completed our second year of homeschool.  It has been an amazing journey so far and I can’t wait to see what the summer has in store for us.    Join me 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.

 

My Preschooler’s Favorite Ocean Themed Books

Today, my son and I finished up the Ocean Commotion unit, we had a fantastic time learning about all the different aspects of Oceans.  One of my son’s favorite parts of the Ocean unit was all of the fantastic books we read.

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If you have been following my blog for awhile,  you may have read my previous post all about the fantastic job Mother Goose Time does incorporating a wide variety of children’s literature into each month with their monthly reading list (if not here is the link…Read With Them, Everyday).   In addition to the reading list, Mother Goose Time has stepped it up a notch this year and has been featuring 2 books each week along with accompanying activities.  The books are read multiple times during the week, with the idea that repetition is beneficial to preschoolers and their developing reading skills.

Mother Goose Time does a fantastic job at picking out a great variety of books to read each month,  and this month was no exception.  I thought it would be fun to share some of our favorites with you (some are MGT suggested and some are favorites we already had in our home library).

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               Our Favorite Books

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Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle-  This book has been a favorite among all of my children.  Like all of Eric Carle’s books, it features plenty of colorful and whimsical pictures to go along with the wonderful story.  Typically females are the ones that give birth and take care of their young, but this story explores some ocean creatures that are the exception to this rule.

 

 fullsizeoutput_2fbThe Usborne Big Book of Big Sea Creatures (and some little ones too…) by Minna Lacey and Fabiano Fiorin –  This book explores all different types of sea creatures and features huge pull out pages.  Like most Usborne books the pages in this book are packed with lots of pictures and lots of information.

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fullsizeoutput_2faThe Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister-  This is another one of our all-time favorites.  In this story, we follow rainbow fish through the sea as he learns the importance of giving to others.   My kids are huge fans of the illustrations in this book and the shimmery embellishments.

 

 

 

fullsizeoutput_2f7The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen-  I have not read this book before, but a friend recommended it, and I’m so glad she did.  This adorable story follows a grumpy pout-pout fish who discovers his true purpose in life.

 

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Baby Beluga by Raffi-  This book features the popular song by Raffi in story format.  My son loved singing along to the story in the book.

 

 

fullsizeoutput_2f6Ocean Animals A to Z by Leslie Falconer-  This book was the monthly storybook included in our Mother Goose Time box, and was absolutely fantastic!  The book featured a different sea creature for each letter of the alphabet and included creative ways for the reader to trace the letter that tied in with the featured animal.

 

 

 

I am so happy that Mother Goose Time features the reading list each month. More often than not, the list introduces me to many books I have never read.  Reading with my son is one of the parts of our day that I cherish the most.  There is nothing better than having him snuggled up in my lap, while we read great books together.  I can’t wait to explore all the new books for our upcoming gardening unit, I’ll be sure to share some of our favorites with you.  See you soon for more Chaos on the Creek.

19510309_1588341684509993_3025539560496814781_nDisclaimer:  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 Best Kind of Homeschool Lesson

Isn’t it great when you find a homeschool activity that addresses multiple subjects at once, and even better, your child enjoys it?  Being able to teach math, literacy, and work on hand-eye coordination simultaneously is fantastic – especially great when you are working with preschool-aged children. Today we happened to stumble upon one of these fabulous activities in our Mother Goose Time curriculum.

We started our morning in the usual way with Circle Time, followed by a quick math activity and then onto our art project.  We were learning all about Rainbow Fish today, and my son was really enjoying the day.

Our next activity was our daily literacy activity which featured a rainbow fish outline that we would color in with the help of our Mother Goose Time pocket cube, which my son would roll and then add whichever color came up to the fish outline. The instructions in the teacher guide advised us to use our cube color cards, but I was feeling lazy and decided to keep the number cards in that were in there from an early lesson in the week.  The number cards were different colors and I figured we could use the numbers to tell us how many dots to put on the fish.  My son requested to use our dot markers for the activity, and I figured that would work well with the number cards.  So we got to work, and the activity was a hit!

 

My son worked on his fish for a good fifteen minutes or so, rolling the cube and carefully counting out dots.   Throughout the activity, my son was able to work on his counting skills, color recognition, and his hand/eye coordination.  When we were finished he asked to add an eye to his fish and named him Nemo.

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Being able to tailor the Mother Goose Time activities to whatever works best for us is one of my favorite things about the curriculum and homeschooling in general.  When I first started homeschooling I felt like I had to do all the activities exactly how they were written, and I also lacked the confidence to make any changes.  Then one day it dawned on me that I could do whatever I wanted.   So as my confidence and experience with homeschooling grew, I began to make small changes to the lesson every now and then. Most of the time I don’t need to make any changes and I do the lessons as written, but every now and then it is nice to have the flexibility.  It is especially wonderful when things go as well as they did today.

Next week we will be finishing up our Ocean unit and getting ready to start our Growing Gardens unit.  See you soon for more fun and more Chaos on the Creek.

19510309_1588341684509993_3025539560496814781_nDisclaimer:  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.

 

 

Day in the Life of a Homeschooled Toddler

I haven’t done a day in the life for awhile and thought yesterday was the perfect day to do one.  Little did I know, yesterday did not go as planned, but then again with four kids, three cats, and a dog, things rarely do.  So without further adieu, here we go…

5:45 AM  Wake up Time

My alarm was set for 6:00, but obviously, the little guy was eager to start the day.

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6:30 Busy Time

Today my little guy opted to play with playdough and our abacus, while the rest of the house rushed to get ready for work and school.

7:45 Off to School for Brother and Sisters

Two of my kids take the bus to school, which picks them up at the end of our road.  Then we had to drive across town to drop off my oldest at her school.

8:30 Schedule Hiccup #1

When my daughter was getting on the bus this morning she realized she had left her bookbag back at the house.  So after we drop my oldest off at school, we have to run home, grab the bag and drop it off at school.

9:00 Home, Finally!

Finally, we are home and my son is ready for breakfast.  While he’s eating his yogurt, I get started on dishes.

9:30 Play time/Homeschool Set-up

I have already done most of my preparation over the weekend, but I like to sit down with the teacher guide and materials, and quickly plan out our day.

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10:00 Homeschool Time

This morning we started with the Community Challenge.   The Community Challenge is featured at the beginning of each lesson and is typically geared towards a group of children. fullsizeoutput_28c More frequently than not, the activity is easy to modify to work for just my son and me.  Today we practiced breathing like a whale using a straw and pom-pom ball.  My son was thrilled with this activity and kept himself busy blowing the pom-pom ball all over the rug.

10:20 Schedule Hiccup #2

While my son was busy breathing like a whale, my father in law (who also lives next door) called and informed me that a dump truck was on its way to deliver 20 tons of dirt to him, and he thought my little guy would be interested.  My little guy is obsessed with trucks, so we stopped what we were doing and headed next door.

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11:00 Homeschool Take Two

After all of the dump truck excitement, we were ready to get back to our school work.  Being able to take breaks, when exciting things like dump trucks coming to grandpa’s house happen, is one of the reasons I love homeschooling my son.  I love the flexibility and love being able to share these special moments with him.

Circle Time

This was a great way to get my son refocused and ready to concentrate on school time.  We discussed the date, weather, color/shape of the month and the topic of the day.  Today we were learning about Whales.

11:15 Big as a Whale Activity

We used fourteen sheets of paper to demonstrate how big a beluga whale is, and compared ourselves and cat to see how we measured up.

11:30 Art time

Today we made a whale and used the straw again to blow the paint across the whale.

11:45 Literacy Time

We used a pom-pom ball to dot paint our ‘W’ coloring page.

12:00 Storytime

Today we read Baby Beluga by Ashley Wolff.  We also played the song on my phone and had fun singing along.

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12:15  Lunchtime

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12:40 Back on the Road

My oldest daughter is dismissed early every Wednesday, so we hit the road again to pick her up.  Luckily someone was pretty tuckered out from our morning and fell asleep in the car.

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1:15 Naptime

My son was easily transferred from car to bed and had a great nap!

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This is pretty much how each of our days goes, minus some of the schedule interruptions.  On this particular day my son sped quickly through the activities, but somedays he goes at a much slower pace.  The Mother Goose Time curriculum gives you the flexibility to spend as little or as much time as you need on any given activity.  Somedays my son wants to repeat activities over and over again, and that’s fine too.   I know I say this almost every week, but I am so happy to be able to share this time with my son.

I hope you enjoyed this peek into our day, and please let me know if you have any questions or comments.  I will see you next week for more Chaos on the Creek.

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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.

Preschool Literacy – More Than Just the A, B, C’s

fullsizeoutput_222Eight years ago, my oldest daughter started preschool, and thus my journey into the world of education began.  As a first time parent, I didn’t know much about literacy skills, math skills, or really anything involving my daughter’s education.  Of course, I read books to my daughter every night and sang the alphabet song with her.  I figured that her teachers would take care of the rest, and if there were problems they would let us know.   It turned out that she was a quick learner and picked things up easily.  She had fantastic teachers, who did a great job of giving her the tools she needed to become an avid reader and a wonderfully creative writer.

When it came time for my second born to start her own educational journey, I assumed her experience would be the same, after all, she had many of the same teachers as my oldest.   Despite receiving the same instruction as her sister, my youngest daughter had a rough time with reading and writing.   Eventually, things clicked for her, but not until after many frustrating moments.

After witnessing the triumphs of my older daughter and the frustration of my younger daughter, I began to look more into the subject of literacy.  I realized that the process of learning to read and write was much more involved than just learning the A, B, C’s.  After learning the basics, each child has to be allowed to process this information in their own way, and eventually, it will click.

When I decided to homeschool my sons, having the ability to tailor the learning process to each child’s individual needs was very appealing to me.  However, with a background in nursing and no formal educational training, the idea of this was also incredibly daunting.  Luckily, I found Mother Goose Time, and they did all the hard work for me.  Mother Goose Time is carefully written and designed by a group of people who have extensive knowledge about education.  During a typical month with the Mother Goose Time curriculum, children are exposed to numerous exercises to enhance literacy skills.  Most importantly, the various activities can be tweaked to your child’s skill level.

fullsizeoutput_225One of our favorite literacy-based activities is the nametag activities included each month. While the activity surrounding the nametag changes each month, depending on the theme, it always culminates in the child writing or tracing his or her name on a nametag.   At the beginning of the year, my son couldn’t even recognize his name, let alone write it.  As the months have progressed he is now able to recognize his name but was still far away from being able to write it.  Nevertheless, we patiently went through the motions each month, hoping that something would stick.  Then, all of sudden, this week my son began to recognize some of the letters in his name and made his first real attempt at tracing the letters.  I was blown away and even did a little song and dance to congratulate him.  He was equally thrilled with himself and joined in.  It was a special moment that makes me so glad that I’m on this homeschool journey with him.

 

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Big brother was cheering him on.

 

My two-year-old is still far from being able to read Dickens and Shakespeare but it is so rewarding to see his early literacy skills improving each day.  At the tender age of two my son is just starting to learn his letters and to connect these letters to the various sounds they make.  He is just starting to hold a pencil correctly and in turn making the pencil do what he wants it to do.  He is also learning all about the fine art of reading a book.  He is learning that when you read a book you read from left to right and from top to bottom.  He is learning how to sit still and listen to a story.  He is learning to look at the pictures in a book and to connect them to the story that is being told to him.  Most importantly he is enjoying the learning process, and nothing is better than seeing him filled with joy.

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If you have any questions or comments, please let me know.  Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you soon for more Chaos on the Creek.

19510309_1588341684509993_3025539560496814781_nDisclaimer:  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.