No we aren't potty training JM. That is what JZ said when I asked him what letter we are working on this week. It made me wrinkle my nose a bit, but you know what? I didn't teach him that P is the first letter in those words. He sounded it out himself, so if potty words are what works for him to learn, I'll go with it. He is beginning to sound out words, and he is EXCITED about it. The number one goal I have in the preschool years is to teach my children to enjoy learning.
Like the title said, this week was all about the letter P. I mentioned in a previous post that I planned all sorts of activities involving pumpkins and pirates. Here is our week at a glance:
JZ worked on his Cubbie Bear Hug for the week. His verse is, "Always giving thanks...for everything." Ephesians 5:20. For his Apple Tree he had to say thank you ten times when someone helped him or gave something to him and then draw smiles on the ten faces pictured. He is generally pretty consistent about his manners, but this was a good reminder.
While JZ worked on his smiley faces I gave JM a tall container of beads with several smaller, empty containers. For a solid half hour he poured beads from one container to another. He enjoyed feeling the beads between his fingers, and mostly he loved the sound it made when he dumped a bunch at a time. I was amazed at how careful he was. A few stray beads spilled here and there, but for the most part he kept them in the containers. This was all his own doing. I didn't give him any instructions. I just put the beads and containers on one of his Tot Trays.
Later JZ asked for a turn. He was much messier to my surprise. He didn't intend to be, but he dumped the beads more fiercely making sound effects with his mouth. I loved seeing how each boy approached the task.
Next JZ worked on counting and number recognition. Using pumpkin printouts from Confessions of a Homeschooler he played "How Many Pumpkins in the Pumpkin Patch?" I put pumpkin cutouts in the patch, and he had to count them and put the correct number in the box.
Both boys loved poking holes in the letter P with toothpicks. This idea is also from Confessions of a Homeschooler. It is a great exercise for developing fine motor skills, and it is just plain fun. What little boy wouldn't love school work that involves being destructive? Nobody needs to tell them that they are actually learning while they do this. ;)
One of JM's Tot Trays had a set of four nesting cars (THESE) on it. He loves anything with wheels, so I figured he would be entertained with this set for awhile. After a few minutes he looked at the small openings in the cars, then he looked at me with a frown and asked, "Where are the beads?" as if it was a given that he needed something to put in the small holes. I grabbed some small pasta and let him play to his heart's content.
JZ drew lines from capital letters to the matching lowercase using pirate printables from 2 Teaching Mommies. This was a great exercise, because it showed me which lowercase letters he recognizes and which ones we need to practice more.
Next he sorted pumpkin cutouts by size. Size sorting is a favorite of JZ's. He really enjoys lining things up and seeing the difference.
JM did some pirate pre-writing practice sheets. I am impressed with his attention to detail when he traces. He really does his best to stay on the lines. I printed some for him not really expecting anything. I wanted to have them available in case he wanted some like JZ's. (Which, of course, he did.)
I'm not sure when he decided to draw on himself.
A pirate unit wouldn't be complete without a treasure hunt! I hid some chocolates in their sand box, and when it was time to get some fresh air the boys went digging through the sand to find the buried treasure. Needless to say, this was a hit.
Both boys really enjoy puzzles. They had never done a number sequencing puzzle before this week. JZ did really well with numbers 1-20, and JM easily did numbers 1-10. These were printed from the 2 Teaching Mommies pirate pack.
They had fun with pom pom magnets, each in his own way. I made the magnets using pom poms, craft magnets and a hot glue gun. I put the printouts on a cookie sheet, so the magnets would stick. JZ filled in the dots on the printouts I gave him. JM was much more interested in lining all the magnets up. He was very proud of the caterpillar he made.
I made JM a simple sensory bit with pom poms, marbles and pumpkin cutouts. He couldn't wait to get his hands in it. Without any prompting he pulled out each pumpkin and named the color.
JZ played with his Lauri Toys Locktagons . Surprisingly, he wasn't interested in playing with them for long. Maybe because it was his last school activity, and he was ready for a change of pace. He typically loves to build or construct anything.
The boys practiced writing the letter P. I use the large tracing sheets for JM and the handwriting worksheets for JZ from Confessions of a Homeschooler. I would have never thought to start JM on tracing sheets at such a young age, but he is very good at it. I started printing sheets for him to work on while JZ does his. I figured he would just scribble or color. He actually stays on or close to the lines. He takes a lot of pride in doing his "school work". After tracing he scribbles and colors all over it paper and asks for more and more and more paper. He loves to color, paint, draw, etc.
JZ did some pattern work with the pirate printables. He had to line up cards to match the pattern on the sheet. He did really well at it without much effort and quickly became bored of the task, so we didn't do all that I had printed. I'm not sure if it was too easy for him, or if he was just done in general. I'm still learning which activities hold his interest, and I'd like to focus on those. I want him to enjoy his school work and not view it as a chore. At this age I firmly believe learning should be fun.
We did a letter collage to wrap up the week of learning and practicing the letter P. The idea and printable P are from Confessions of a Homeschooler. We glued pom poms, popcorn (both popped and unpopped), and peanuts to the letter sheet. Well, JZ did. JM just wanted to eat the snacks. I guess he thought it was lunch time.
Finally, we started the Pumpkin Project. I got the idea here. As part of my Pinterest Challenge I wanted to do this activity that I found while browsing blogs. We still had two pumpkins sitting on our dining room table from Halloween, so it seemed like the perfect idea to do with the boys. We cut open one of the pumpkins, took the top to the compost bin in our backyard and filled the pumpkin with soil and water. Now we get to (hopefully) watch it grow.
We did many other activities throughout the week, mostly taken from the 2 Teaching Mommies Pirate Pack and the Letter P: Pumpkin from Confessions of Homeschooler. School time lasts for about a half hour to an hour every day. I do my best to follow JZ and JM's cues and keep their attention. If they are bored or tired we go out for some fresh air or do something else. We also do quite a bit of reading each day. We read first thing in the morning while eating our breakfast, we read during school time, we read before naps, and we read before bed. I hope my kids have a love for books, so I do my best to nurture their desire to read and be read to.
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