Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Preschool/Tot School 2016-2017 and "first week of school" activites

Well, our first week of school was...interesting.  I was sick with fever/cough for 6 days and Summer has already missed two of her first five days of school for cough, fever, and double ear infection.  What a way to start off the school year!  Needless to say, we have been homebodies this first week, and I was glad to have a lot of stuff prepped for Colton's preschool and fun activities for Larkyn!  It made the time at home go really fast and was fun for all of us.  This year, I made up a binder for each kid and have tons of activities, worksheets, etc at their level.

Larkyn's binder is full of letter recognition, beginning writing, counting, etc activities.  Colton's activity is full of upper/lowercase letter practice, handwriting practice, beginning math, sight word activities, and beginner reader phonics activities.  There are also a lot of games and activities I have already prepped/made for when I taught Summer (when she was Colton's age) and Colton (when he was Larkyn's age). 
Colton does a great job sitting by himself on Tuesday's for 45 minutes while I am in with Larkyn for her gymnastics.  I fill his backpack with activities for him each Tuesday and explain them in advance.  He loves working on them and does a great job!
I found this new DVD for teaching sight words and I LOVE it!  Even Larkyn is walking around singing the songs on how to spell the sight words!

Colton is so perseverant and focused.  Here he is working at his sisters' gymnastics class.

Matching upper and lowercase letters

Making a book of "an" words, consisting of cutting apart picture puzzles, putting them together, and matching them with the correct spelling of the word.  He loved this activity and asked for more!

Matching upper and lowercase letters with spoons (Uppercase letters written on the clear spoons and lowercase letters on the white spoons.  Stacking the correct spoons reveals both letters.

Digging for and naming letters.

Washing and naming letters.  (Click here for a video of us singing the "wash your letters song" as we washed her letters.)

Fingerpainting her name atop penciled in letters
Finger painting her name atop penciled in letters.  Click here for a video of her spelling her name.

Colton did so well on this worksheet - reading a word, coloring in the correct picture, and writing the word.

Candy Corn letters

The promised reward of candy corn at the end brought about a much longer than normal attention span for L and she finished all four letters!
 I am so excited about this "new" school supply I added to our cabinet this year - bingo markers!  Besides the many ways you can play bingo practicing sight words, letters, numbers, etc, there are so many other learning opportunities!  We used them a ton this week...

Found these spot and dot sheets on pinterest - mark all the "A's" for example.  Larkyn loves them and has done through "G" I believe.  Of all the activities I planned for her this week, I think this might be one of the top two!  I printed off the whole 26 letter set and they are perfect for pulling out for a quick transition item or while I need to work with Colton on something.  Click here for a video.

Used 26 of the markers and wrote capital letters on them in sharpie.  Perfect upper/lower case letter matching activity paired with this tree I found on Pinterest.

Gave Colton a pile of bingo markers and it was the perfect sorting/graphing activity.  We discussed which column had the "most" and the "least", etc.

Tried this name activity for the first time - painting your name with water atop a chalkboard.  Larkyn liked using the paintbrush but I didn't get a chance to fully explain how to trace the letters as I was busy trying to get dinner in the crock pot at the same time ;).  I will definitely repeat this activity though!

Colton and Larkyn did this activity together - Larkyn handed the candy corn to Colton and he counted it out to make the numbers and "taught" Larkyn what he was doing.  (My activity while I was getting dinner in the crock pot! It entertained them both for a while!)

We used the bingo markers again for math as manipulatives to learn addition and subtraction. Click here for a video of Colton teaching how to add.  Click here for a video of Colton teaching how to subtract.
Colton loved this turkey worksheet where he found the answer to the addition/subtraction problem, and then colored the turkey according to the color coded answer key.

Larkyn wanted to color too...
 As I posted above, its been a rough week on the sickness front.  We spent all of Monday afternoon after school waiting to be seen at the urgent care for Summer's double ear infection.  All the kids had to look at was magazines...so we played a lot of "magazine scavenger hunt"...Larkyn continually looked for the first item we searched for even after the others had moved on...a blue shoe...lol!

Today with Summer home from school, we spent much of the day making books.  Summer received a book kit for her birthday where you mail in your book after you finish and they print/publish it.  When Summer was working on her book, Colton wanted to make one too. Together, we discussed our characters, setting, climax, and resolution and mapped out our stories on a chart.  Then I wrote the words the kids wanted to say and they illustrated the pictures.
Summer busy illustrating.
Colton's book turned out really cute.  Since he isn't drawing as often as Summer is, I don't have as many samples of his art at this age, so I will include his book below:

This week we were home bound due to sickness and a lot of rain, so most weeks won't contain quite as much preschool and tot-school as this first week.  Generally we plan to use the half hour or so between dropping off Summer at school and when our morning activities (gymnastcs, BSF, Sports camp, playdates, etc) start to do school as it is the perfect activity for this time slot.  Colton has been loving school so much however that he asks to do more during Larkyn's afternoon nap...so we may do some then too.  Either way, our goal is to have Colton "read" me a beginner book each afternoon while Larkyn naps, and that has been going really well.  However our routine ends up shaking out, school activities were a fun way to spend our week this past week and the kids really enjoyed it.  And so did I :).

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

First Day!

September 6th was a big FIRST DAY for us!

Daddy started his new job at Thrivent Financial.

Summer started 1st Grade at Southview Elementary.

Despite the VERY rainy day, we managed to get some outdoor pictures!

Hair all curled...

"Rainbow" nails :)

 Colton's first day of "Pre-K 4's" at home with Mommy.

Colton was so excited to do school with Mommy!
Mommy packed him preschool activities to do during Larkyn's gymnastics.
Colton asked for more!  So we spent much of Larkyn's afternoon nap doing more preschool.

Larkyn's first day of gymnastics.

Larkyn was ecstatic to start gymnastics and and wear her "tard" (leotard).  She talked about it for weeks!

Larkyn is in the parent/child class.
I have done this class with all three kids at this age, and I was just as excited as Larkyn to do this class with her!

Larkyn's first time on the balance beam!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Wrapping up summertime Bible memory: Armor Of God, Ephesians 6:10-18

If you have followed this blog for any amount of time, you know that each week for the past four years our family memorizes the "verse of the week" during mealtime.  Verses started out being Bible Study Fellowship verses and then moved to AWANA verses as the kids are now involved in Wednesday night programing.  However each summer, when regular Bible programs break, we do our own Bible memory.  The first summer, each week Summer would pick a book of the Bible and I would pick a verse from my Bible in that book.  Last summer we memorized a chunk of Scripture from 1 John about love.  This summer we chose to memorize and discuss the verses about the Armor of God from Ephesians 6:10-18.  Each week or two we would add another verse or two to our chalkboard and say it during mealtimes until we had the whole passage memorized by the end of the summer.

This is how our verse of the week chalkboard currently looks, after adding a verse or two each week or two.
I love the conversations the memorizing allows and I love how just simply repeating the verses daily makes them be memorized!  The theme verse I use for our Bible memory work is Deuteronomy 6:5-9
which says:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

It is amazing how impressionable kids' minds are and how much they pick up JUST by listening to something over and over.  I really didn't work with Larkyn much on the verse of the week, as she was 1 at the start of the summer and just turned 2 in July.  However after a few weeks she had the first verse completely memorized just by hearing her siblings recite it again and again!  Tonight as I videoed the older two saying their 11 verses, I decided to see just how much Larkyn picked up.  She completely surprised me by saying the first 3-4 verses almost completely on her own, and knowing chunks of the rest of the verses, reciting them with me all the way until the end of the 11 verses!  I guess a 2 year old can memorize pretty well when something is repeated that many times!  Wow!  It is never to early to start repeating scripture with your kiddos!  She doesn't understand the words she is saying, but it is definitely in her brain along with the ABC's and her favorite songs and books!
Here are the videos of each of the kids reciting Ephesians 6:10-18.

Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV)

The Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.