Wednesday, May 2, 2012


A friend of mine recently posted that her son was loving the workbooks I helped her pick out, and it inspired me to write a blog post.

Being a teacher at heart, I feel that it is my duty to make sure that my children are well educated. I started preschooling my son at home when he was almost 3. I had been teaching second grade, and I was about to become a stay at home mom for the first time. I was worried I would go crazy with all that time on my hands, and I also wanted to feel productive; I wanted to feel as if I was teaching someone something.

By this time, my son knew all of his colors, he could say his ABCs, knew plenty of shapes, and also knew information such as all of our full names, my phone number (w/o area code), and what state we lived in and used to live in. He was counting to 20 alone and 100 with assistance (for 30, 40, 50, etc.). He could also count backwards from 10 and understood one-to-one correspondence (i.e. counting physical objects correctly).

Here were my educational goals for him when I began:
1. I wanted him to identify all of the capital letters and develop some fine motor skills by working with a pencil to trace them.
2. Identify numbers 1-10
3. Identify lower case letters
4. Learn each sound of each letter, and identify beginning sounds in words

While working through these goals, we also worked on all sorts of information, like prepositions, people/jobs in the community, weather, life cycles, etc.

We have gone through a ton of work books during our journey. Sure, there are more cost effective ways, but I really didn't have the time for that (#2 was on the way). I did print pages off the internet and make pages of my own, but I also could have gotten protective plastic sleeves to put pages in to make them resuable (write on the sleeve with a dry erase marker).

The first workbook we started with was the Mead Preschool Workbook. I can't say enough good things about Mead. I really like the material in these workbooks. There are different "chapters" for letters, numbers, social studies, etc. While using this book, I also began teaching my son to recognize capital letters. I bought foam circles and a bag of foam letter stickers from Walmart. We learned 2-3 letters a day. We worked through the page in the work book, and then on a sheet of construction paper, I wrote the letter again and had my son trace it several times. Then, I drew 4 pictures of words that started with that letter. I explained the sounds and he circled the beginning letter of each word. Then, I gave him a handful of letters and let him choose all of the As, Bs, etc. He loved peeling the sticky off the back and sticking the letter to the circle. Each letter had its own circle.
Here is our current stack of materials:
 We have gone through twice this many. I put some of his favorite pages on the fridge and throw the books away when we're done. My son LOVES working through his school books, but many children prefer hands-on activities. Shape and color walks, and letter hunts are a lot of fun. Just go outside and walk around. Look for shapes in ordinary objects. Do the same with colors. Now, my son loves the alphabet game in the car (i.e. finding words that start with A, B, C, etc. in order). We work as a team to finish.

(I don't know why this picture is sideways, but I don't know how to fix it!) I try to keep things fun for him by also getting workbooks that are more exciting. They are pretty cheap, so it's worth the money. The Dollar Tree has a lot of character themed workbooks for writing and math practice. That's where we got the Spiderman ones. The Hidden Pictures book is from Amazon. I like to order fun books there also. He really enjoys this book, and books with mazes, connecting the dots, etc. He has fun and is learning at the same time. The mazes help with their hand control and fine motor skills; connecting the dots helps with number recognition and counting.

We finished these two books today. I loved them so much that when we were only a few pages in to them I went ahead and ordered the Kindergarten levels. Walmart carries a lot of Mead books, but I had to get mine from Amazon (got to love their free shipping when you spend $25.) I got his fun super heroes folder to keep loose sheets in.

At this age, it's my opinion that learning to read and write is very important. It's also important to teach them about the world around them, especially when it's something they're interested in. My son loves dinosaurs, so we have learned the names of many, and he has learned the difference between carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores. He can even identify what some dinosaurs ate by their teeth. It can be tricky though. ;) Anyhow, the flash cards are from Target's $1 aisle. There are lots of cheap goodies there! The two books are from the Dollar Tree. They ended up being over his head, but for $2, who cares. We can use them more later.

Here is our current workload! FYI, my son is only 4 years old. He's reading first grade sight words and we are working on a Kindergarten level. He now identifies and writes all of his letters, understand phonics, can spell words when I sound them out and can sound simple words out (and read them). He can write his 11-letter name, knows our entire address, and my phone number (including area code). He knows addition to sums of 18, recognizes numbers to 100 (with help sometimes), and reads bar charts.

I definitely recommend these Mead books to start learning with your little one today. :) There are tips on almost every page for extending the activity. It's important for little ones to see that what they're learning applies to and is useful in their daily life. Also, most of the tips are hands-on, fun activities!

Please share your thoughts! Do you have activities that you've done with your little one that were very effective? Do you have advice for people working with children who are not interested and do not want to sit still? I'd love to hear it. =D

1 comment:

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