"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace
that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding." Ephesians 1:7-8

Friday, September 9, 2011

Keeping a 3 year old busy AND learning

This year I am realizing the importance of planning for my 3 year old during school hours.  I was so blessed last year that he agreeably played in his room for about an hour each morning while I covered math and reading with the older boys. (He was gated in and did climb out at times, but reflecting back the system worked well!) He joined us for the rest of our studies and did a pretty good job playing quietly or joining in when able. I had a few simple activities planned for him each week.

This year he is with us the whole time and I not only want to keep him busy, but also provide good learning opportunities. He has his own desk and workboxes. Each week I plan exactly what will be in his boxes. The first 5 boxes are new each day. The last 5 boxes are rotated once a week.

I use a spreadsheet for planning. Here is the general plan:
Box 1: (work with mom) Preschool Worksheet or Activity (colors, same/different, numbers, etc.)

Box 2:  Coloring Page (Although I'm going to have to change this. He has zero interest in coloring. Much unlike his brother E at this age. )

Box 3 & 4: Letter of the Week Curriculum from Confessions of a Homeschooler (I printed and laminated a lot of activities from here when E was 3. I'm so glad to be able to reuse them!) If I need to, I also get ideas from 1+1+1=1 and Homeschool Creations.

Box 5: Something montessori-like on a tray, scissor time, playdough (make letter of the week), tot tray from 1+1+1=1, transferring activities, etc..  Lots of great ideas in the book "Mommy Teach Me" by Barbara Curtis.

Box 6: Puzzle (He is really loving puzzles of all kinds this year.)

Box 7: Math related activity: Lauri Number Pegs, Hundred Number Board (just for play), pattern blocks, bead sequencing, sorting and counting bears, etc.

Box 8: Language related activity: alphabet games, memory match, leap frog letters, sequencing puzzles, Lauri alphabet lacing, etc.

Box 9: Fine Motor activity: lacing, transfer with tongs, etc.

Box 10: Building activity: blocks, lauri pegs, duplos, etc.

Here is what I expect from him: He generally works on his boxes in order, but I don't fuss if he skips one. If he's uninterested in something, I let him move on as long as he is quiet. The volume level is taking some training. (He is a loud singer!) I try to work with him first each day, so he doesn't feel brushed aside. He knows that if he finishes his boxes, he can quietly get something else off the shelves, read books, listen to a book on CD or whatever. As long as he is quiet and not distracting his brothers, I don't mind. Again, this is taking some training. He loves to try to get his brothers to be silly with him when he's in a silly mood, but once they are all silly it's like I'm a spectator at a three ring circus and the show never ends. So I have to watch to make sure we don't go down that path. : )

Since it is still a novelty, he has mostly stayed engaged in what I have in the boxes. Hooray! Midway through the morning, we gather in the kitchen for a small snack while I read to the boys. This little break is really helpful for him. After snack time, I often assign one of his older brothers to work with him for about 10-15minutes, which they all love. I'm very proud of him, but boy is it so much more exhausting then last year. :)

So here are a few pictures of him in action this week. 
We're doing the letter S for sun. "Jesus is the Light of the World." 
(His big brother's K curriculum.)
Stamping Ss and suns on a star.

Poking a toothpick on the S. Looks really cool when you hold it up to a window!

Puzzle - I also asked him to stand in the position of one of these kids and I guessed which one.

Lining up cars... and yes, shorts are not always required in preschool at home!

Do-a-dot letter S

Bead sequencing - Thanks J & J for the Christmas gift!

He disappeared into the family room and got into L's legos. Oh dear! He's so proud!


Wooden skewers into a parmesan cheese container

Tracing the S

He loves to paint. Here he is painting a "fiery hot sun". 
I think the theme for this post is planning, constant training and quiet! 
Praying for patience, endurance and lots of joy in this process.

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