Homeschool/Preschool Resources/Ideas

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Old 07-29-2005, 03:43 PM
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Homeschool/Preschool Resources/Ideas

OK all you teachers and homeschoolers out there, where do you get good stuff for a deal? My kids are getting ready to turn 2 and I'm trying to start getting some interesting things in the house that will be fun and educational. I just ordered a ton of stuff from Lakeshore Learning, but their prices certainly leave a lot to be desired. For instance, one of the things that I saw there and didn't buy were Storytelling Kits - basically kits that you use with a particular book so that while telling the story, you can put up felts or such on a board to illustrate the story. They wanted about $25 PER STORY for these things and it didn't even include the books! I have seen these other places, but am wanting to see if you all know of particular sites that have these and other good stuff. Doing a search for "homeschool resources" brings up so many results that I really would rather a more word-of-mouth recommendation.

Also any good ideas for things to be doing with 2 year olds would be greatly appreciated!! Some days I am so bored with our activities that I'm sure they must be too! I got some musical kits to simulate one of those music classes people take their kids to. That should be fun. Any ideas are appreciated!
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Old 07-29-2005, 04:34 PM

RE: Homeschool/Preschool Resources/Ideas

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First off: GREAT POST!!!

My son is two, and I've been trying to do the same as you. I found a neat little place online www.carsondellosa.com But they are also very expensive. I'd love to hear what others have to say. Thank you for reading my mind! LOL

PS I'm thrilled, my son has started putting together puzzles!!! (sorry LOL)
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Old 07-29-2005, 04:45 PM

RE: Homeschool/Preschool Resources/Ideas

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*Duh* I guess I could also add what I'm doing with him, so maybe if you find something you like you can do the same.

At walmart, where they have the crayons (during the regular year, not right now where they are everywhere! LOL), in my store it is by the greeting cards, they have a little bucket of colored animals (blue, red, purple, green, & yellow) for about $5. I have the little stacking cups, and I have taught my son to sort the colors and put them in the same colored cups.

Along the same lines, I bought a Memory game, and will put 3 of the pictures up for him to see, and then put a fourth one down that matches one of the other three and see if he can figure it out....

And of course, as stated above in my pervious post, I bought him some of the wooden puzzles, and we've been working on those, he's a pro now, and he's even figured out what the shapes are (so far he has square, circle, and star!)


HTH! (If you have anything you are doing, I'd love to hear it!)
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Old 07-29-2005, 05:30 PM

RE: Homeschool/Preschool Resources/Ideas

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Nikki - so glad to hear someone is right where we are with this! It's great being able to bounce ideas off of someone. What I find sort of funny is that some things sound so obvious, but because I'm so new at this, I don't necessarily think of them. Or I don't realize what my kids could be doing at any given age. One of the hard things for me is that even though my 3 kids are the exact same age, they are on different levels with so many things. It's really hard to find individual time for each one. And it's so easy to focus on the one who does something well - for instance, my Nicholas knows his whole alphabet by sight - if you point to any letter, he tells you what it is (he doesn't recite the ABCs). Emma and Matthew aren't even close to that - but if we are all looking at an ABC book, it's easy to ask Nicholas what a letter is knowing that he will answer and it's so cute, although it's probably more important for me to ask the other two. ugh, I'm rambling.

Right now my kids are really into shape sorting, wooden puzzles (like yours!), coloring and stickers, reading books, "helping with chores" - vaccuming, sweeping, garbage, dusting, etc.

I just found a really great site tonight that I'm still looking through - but it's got tons of preschooler ideas - all kinds of songs/fingerplays and activities to do with them. It sounds really fun and I can't wait to try some of it. My kids love doing "head shoulders knees and toes" and so I think these ideas are going to go over well.

http://www.preschoolrainbow.org/preschoolers.htm
http://www.preschoolrainbow.org/preschool-rhymes.htm

looks like they have a paid area with lots more ideas for $20/year. I'll have to think about that one... http://www.preschoolrainbow.org/join.htm

there's also this site which looks good so far: http://atozteacherstuff.com/Lesson_P...reschool.shtml they also have a forum where it looks like people are really helpful with ideas and such - I may post there for some ideas after browsing around... http://forums.atozteacherstuff.com/f...splay.php?f=78

ok, I'm off to do some reading. will share any really good ideas back here - you do the same
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Old 07-29-2005, 05:59 PM

RE: Homeschool/Preschool Resources/Ideas

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oooohhh, I found a really great site!!! It's got lots of TODDLER ideas that are much more appropriate for us... http://www.preschoolexpress.com/toddler_station.shtml

For example, some ideas for playing with stuffed animals!! So simple, but I'm just so NOT creative!! LOL.....

STUFFED ANIMAL FUN
Use stuffed animals for lots of toddler learning fun.


ANIMAL TOSS
Set out a large basket.
Have your child practice tossing his small stuffed animals into the basket.
*
ANIMAL TRAIN
Take a cardboard box and attach a small rope pull handle to the box.
You can attach the handle by making a hole in the top front of the box and then pull the rope through the hole and tie a large knot in the rope to prevent it from pulling through.
Have your child place her stuffed animals in the box and then give them a train ride around the room.
Have your child stop every once in a while to let some animal out.

BIG AND LITTLE ANIMALS
Set out two baskets or boxes.
Have your child place his large animals in one box and his small animals in the other box.

ANIMAL COLORS
Set out some stuffed animals.
Have your child divide the animals into color piles.
All white animals in one pile, all brown in another, etc.
How many piles did you end up with?
*
ANIMAL NAMES
Set out 4-5 stuffed animals.
Have your child tell you the names of these animals.
See if you can help your child name the animals with names like, Billy the Bear or George the Giraffe.
Donít insist on this if he already has favorite names for these animals.
*
ANIMAL BIRTHDAY PARTY
Set up a pretend birthday party with your childís stuffed animals.
Serve pretend cake and ice cream.
Play pretend party games.
Put a pointed hat on all animals at the party or just the birthday animal.
Have your child tell you how old the birthday animal is.
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Old 07-29-2005, 06:05 PM

RE: Homeschool/Preschool Resources/Ideas

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Wow! Sounds like your kids (all of them) are off to a great start. Kane is my only one and he's 2 1/2 now. Since he is my first/only child I had NO IDEA! LOL I read all the books, but I still had no idea! I quit my job when he was 3 months old because he was so sick in day care, and I made the choice to stay home. So it is me and him all day long..... no car..... no other kids. So I have a speech therapist come in 2x a week, and an occupational therapist come in 2x a week, just to make sure he is getting all the right stimulation, and make sure he is on the right track. It also doesn't hurt to see someone else during the week besides mommy and daddy! LOL

You are sure right about kids being completely different from one another! Kane is 2 1/2 now, and he still has not (really) begun to speak. He knows everything you tell him, but he will only say words he HAS to! LOL I think he is just stubborn, but every once in a while he'll pop out with something off the wall. Today his word has been pretzle. LOL and I don't know about your kids, but the harder you try to push him to do something, the harder he fights it! LOL the poor occupational therapist tried for an hour to get him to say "bus", LOL as soon as she was leaving the house he said "bus, bus, bus" LOL he's such a character.

I did not even consider do the head, shoulders, knees, and toes. See, I don't know when he should be doing what either. When the therapists come in some times they'll sing "itsy bitsy spider" or "twinkle, twinkle" and he look as them like they are nuts! LOL That's another thing I never even considered.

This has all given me some great ideas! Thank you.
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Old 07-29-2005, 06:07 PM

RE: Homeschool/Preschool Resources/Ideas

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Wow, those are some great ideas, thank you so much for posting them!
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True love is the greatest thing in the world!... Except for a nice MLT - mutton. lettuce, & tomato sandwich. Where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomatoes are ripe - they're so perky - I love that !!! -Miracle Max
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Old 07-29-2005, 06:12 PM

RE: Homeschool/Preschool Resources/Ideas

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Ok... I can ramble on this subject. Will share thoughts as a parent and as a speech therapist who has had tons of experience with the 2-6 yr old crowd.

Don't waste $$ on the storytelling kits. Check books out from the library -- and think 'above them' if you want to do something different. When my son was 18 months, we were reading fairy tales that had few to no pictures. He loved hearing these stories. Also, non-fiction books are entertaining AND educational. Books on trucks and animals and nature can be found in simple enough versions for all children.

Make play time into learning time -- remember a child's play IS his/her work. Two yr olds don't want to sit and learn -- they want to get up and explore. So bring the learning into what they want to do. Example: drawing with chalk on the driveway. DH or I have introduced/taught shapes, numbers, letters, vocabulary, the solar system, etc on our driveway. My son loves to draw on the driveway -- still remember the day he ran in and said, "Daddy make Mars! Come look!" DH had drawn the solar system on the driveway -- and was busy teaching planet names to the 3 yr old. Solar system is a bit out there topic wise -- but you can target shapes/numbers/letters on the driveway.

Bug hunting in the backyard.
Nature walks for leaves and sticks.
Making homemade playdoh -- everyone gets to make their own color.

Two yr old still have a hard time playing games. Rules can't be in stone -- sometimes they just want to move pieces/flip cards as they wish not as rules state. Not bad to introduce concept of games -- memory is a good one to start with (but make it a small memory game; maybe using 6-8 cards total at first).

Don't forget using music. Greg&Steve have some 'educational' CD/tapes. I'll see if I can find a link to any. The one I have has a song about numbers (counting 1-20) as well as a song about months of the year. Their albums are fun -- mainly b/c the whole thing is NOT educational (in the academic sense of #'s and letters); but has fun listening songs. My album has a song titles "The Freeze" -- song instructs you to dance around until you music stops, then you must freeze til music starts again. Good fun song that encourages all to be silly and get moving AND to follow a simple direction (stop vs go).

I also don't think all music needs to be completely educational. We listen to a lot of music and my son has picked up a lot of vocabulary and info from songs. Laurie Berkner is my all time favorite children's singer. www.twotomatos.com if you want to hear excerpts. Altho, if your child watch NOGGIN -- you have probably heard her already. She is the lady in the purple pants who sings "Song in my Tummy" and "Pig on my Head".

I also believe that you can teach many basic concepts as well as #'s, letters, vocabulary by just playing with your kids. Count blocks as you stack. Count cars as you race them. Talk about colors of the toys in your hands. Roll playdo into letters. Roll playdo into a big cat and little cat -- then talk how baby cat = kitten. Repeat with other animals. Put car behind/under/over/on/next to blocks -- talk about where car is.

Let them color and cut and glue -- with supervision. Color with crayons and markers and pencils -- with supervision.

And my biggest piece of advice as a speech therapist: don't be afraid to use a 'too big' word with your child. I don't mean a 'too adult' word -- I mean a 'too big' word. There's no harm in saying, "Oh, see that construction truck; it's an excavator." -- Trust me, if your child is ready to remember/use 'excavator' s/he will. If not, they'll just keep calling it truck/construction truck until 'excavator' is remembered. It just can't be 'remembered' if the child never hears it. Make sense? Don't be afraid to label things correctly or use a variety of words (ex: mad, angry, cross, furious) with them. If you think they won't understand, then explain simply. EX: I read a story tonight. Character in the story said he was furious. I asked my 4 yr old, "what does that mean?" He shrugged so I explained that 'furious' means 'mad'.

My last 2 suggestions (using big words and all that cutting/coloring/glueing) are my biggest pushes. Why? B/c I have seen too many kindergarteners enter school with a) limited vocabulary and/or b) limitied skills in cutting/coloring. I know B stems from parents who just don't expose their kids at all or enough to crayons/scissors. Those 2 activities there are so important in strengthening those hand muscles for the world of writing.

Ok, those are my ramblings.... off to find some websites for you.
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Old 07-29-2005, 06:15 PM

RE: Homeschool/Preschool Resources/Ideas

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Nikki -- you posted as I was typing.

Has your SLP suggested doing sign language with your son? As a SLP and a parent, I highly recommend it.

As for not knowing what he should be doing -- let me go find some websites on development, they will help immensely.
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Old 07-29-2005, 06:28 PM

RE: Homeschool/Preschool Resources/Ideas

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OMG Lynda, yes she did, my son picked it up so FAST!!!!

Basically the only signs he'll use now are "open" and "more", but just those were a spring board for him to start using words. I cannot even tell you how happy I was! He really doesn't use the signs much any more because he's starting using speech more and more. I think the signs gave him the confidence to try using verbal words.

And, I love Lorie Berkner! I'll find myself singing her songs when I'm doing the dishes or something! LOL And my son LOVES Noggin! Right now his favorites are Dora (who he will ask for by name) and Maggie and the Fercious Beast (he calls it "show" LOL).

This thread is the greatest!

PS Lynda I promise to teach my son to use scissors before he gets in school
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True love is the greatest thing in the world!... Except for a nice MLT - mutton. lettuce, & tomato sandwich. Where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomatoes are ripe - they're so perky - I love that !!! -Miracle Max
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Old 07-29-2005, 06:44 PM

RE: Homeschool/Preschool Resources/Ideas

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Oh, Nikki, I am so glad to hear that your SLP taught your son signs. So glad. And so glad to hear he is using more and more words.

If you like LaurieBerkner, then you will also like the following:
Mother Goose Rocks Vol 1 and 2 : children's nursery rhymes set to Top40/TopCountry tunes. Ok, the 2 CDs are a little dated so not this year's (or last) TOP HIT music. But great tunes nonetheless. OldKingCole is set to Dixie Chick's Sin City. And if you are a Dixie Chicks fan, you can literally close your eyes and believe the Dixie Chicks are singing this tune. Don't know who truly does the singing -- but they do amazing believable renditions of the artists. Another example: The Three Pigs is set to RickyMartin's Livin La Vida Loca. Just so you know how much I love these 2 albums: I found & listened to them prior to getting pregnant. LOL!

Link to Mother Goose Rocks: http://www.mothergooserocks.com/ (To be honest, if you truly want albums 1&2, PM me before buying. Trust me!)

Link to Greg & Steve music: http://www.gregandsteve.com/
I have We All Live Together Vol 2 by Greg & Steve

Some other albums that I as a parent like to listen to:
Real Songs for Real Kids Vol 1 and Vol 2 (I like Vol 1 better; but my son loves both) Songs are great for kids who love trucks/transportation as that is the theme of many songs. If you have ever seen a HardHatHarry video, you will recognize these songs as the theme songs of his various shows.
http://mca3.com/ls/index.cgi?code=3&cat=5
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Old 07-31-2005, 10:36 AM

RE: Homeschool/Preschool Resources/Ideas

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Lynda, thanks so much for responding to this thread. I had you in particular in mind when I started it as I respect your opinions on this subject. And you didn't disappoint me! Thanks for all your insight - I have a lot of reading to do. I think I'll go to the library and see if I can find some of the cd titles you mentioned. They have a ton, but I never know what to pick.

Nikki - my kids LOVED the Signing Times videos and picked up the signs like I couldn't believe! It really was a lot of fun. Now, like your son, they don't use them much anymore since they are talking much more. But now and then they do still sign for something and it tickles me.

Please keep me updated on new ideas that you try and either do or don't go over well. We'll keep sharing ideas and our kids will be better for it.
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Old 07-31-2005, 11:36 AM

RE: Homeschool/Preschool Resources/Ideas

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I just skimmed this thread (back finally from a week of travelling around - have been skimming, but not posting too much). Here are a few things I did:

Make a cheap felt board of your own by getting an inexpensive bulletin board & gluing felt onto it. It's only about $6 a yard at fabric stores & you can get tons of colors so you can match their room/rooms, then you can get the felt squares & cut out shapes & stuff. I've found some felt board sets on sale at Target - have Madeline & Rescue Heros from that & found some letters/numbers in the $1 bin somewhere.

A box of dixie cups will amuse them to no end.

When Jake was about the age of your three, he couldn't use watercolors (couldn't do 3 steps - water to paint to paper), so I used diluted food coloring in shallow bowls & he could do two steps.

Go on "color hunts" around the house - look for things that are whatever color you pick around your house.

Since I'm on the computer all the time, the kids want to use it too & I found a bunch of games for little kids - there are tons of toddler & baby games out there that are just keybangers (they press a key and something happens). Both of them LOVE Little People Toddler, you'd probably have to get it on Ebay though. There are also Reader Rabbit toddler & baby programs, Jump Start, Disney, Dr. Suess, Little Bear. Most of the programs that I have are older. I know not everyone agrees with TV/computer use for little ones, but let's face it, we live in the electronic age.

Can't think of anything else right off the top of my head, except to say that the dollar store is a great source of activity books & craft supplies.
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Old 08-01-2005, 07:16 PM

RE: Homeschool/Preschool Resources/Ideas

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Thanks for your ideas B! I plan to make our own felt board too. What a neat idea about the watercoloring.
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Old 08-03-2005, 11:12 PM

RE: Homeschool/Preschool Resources/Ideas

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Ok, have to put my two cents in as I've been setting up the pre-school total communication classroom all week in our school district...

First, I'm glad that your SLP promoted sign language and you were open to it-contrary to what most parents fear, sign encourages and builds language development (as well as speech!), it is not a deterant and children will not opt not to talk if they are taught to sign! So many people are paying for Baby Signs classes since Meet the Fockers-there are great videos out there as well as awesome children's books and coloring books that are geared toward preschoolers.

I have to agree with Lynda about scissor skills as well. For younger kids, the scissors that do not have finger holes but rather squeeze handles are great for little hands until the fine motor skills progress. I'm not a big fan of the hand over hand scissors (4 finger holes), but that is just my opinion.

Another thing I HIGHLY recommend is Handwriting without Tears, preschool package. This helps with the fine motor skills that they will need when they begin to write. Also, break crayons in half (or smaller!) so they are easier for the kids to control--same with pencils!! One other thing I recommend is having kids sit on therapy balls during table time activities--this improves concentration and the kids enjoy it! Also let older children chew gum or suck on hard candy, as this helps focus and concentration as well!

I am a big advocate of play-based learning and with preschool children I really feel the best assessment tool is play-based. Facilitate play in the direction you want it to go--prompt, ask questions, play "stupid" and let them instruct you! Take games you have gotten bored with and change the rules--I Spy--you can change it to where you spy the object instead of what color it is....Directionality, position, etc. are all important skills that alot of children come to school without knowing and even make it to first and second grade without

Don't waste money on flash cards that have drawings on them--take pictures and make your own,they are much more realistic and you can control what vocabulary you want to teach--base it around trips you take, recipes you make, etc...Picture cards that break down tasks (making cookies, brushing teeth, getting dressed, whatever) are awesome for teaching and expanding skills! As adults we never really think about how many steps are in the simplest routines!! Do this for things like setting the table, etc as well and let them do "big people" things like that. They feel important!

Sensory exploration is also very important--pour lentils (rice, whatever!) into containers and let the kids sift through them with funnels, dig out hidden objects, etc. Cover their eyes and have them smell different scents and guess what they are as well as describe how it smells, whether they like it, etc. Edible playdoh is awesome, especially versions made with peanutbutter! Have the kids describe how supper smells as it cooks, how the carpet feels compared to hardwood, how their pillow feels, clothing, daddy's whiskers, etc.

Another thing regarding speech--I get so many parents calling wanting their 2 year old to get services because they can't say their "r" or another letter. Pronounciation of all sounds cannot be expected at this age-some sounds aren't mastered by typical children until they are around 9! Model the correct sound but don't dwell on mis-pronounciations--remember blends and dipthongs are equally as difficult!

Also, like Lynda said don't be afraid to use the "too big" words. I am a firm believer that IQ is greatly impacted by environment. I know some of your intelligence is inherited but I also feel that children will learn what they are exposed to, but if they aren't exposed to it, they can't learn it. One thing I've noticed in children raised solely by fathers in there younger years, is that they have extensive vocabulary and often qualify for gifted services. I think this is because (in my experiences) men don't water down things for kids and they expose them to what they want. My neices first word, for example, was Mopar and she recognized the Mopar symbol before she did the McDonald's symbol. She also was able to turn on the computer and get to her games before her third birthday. This is also true of my boys--Dave is into Science and History and instead of talking about the rugrats or whatever he talked about his interests with the boys. Andrew blew the psychiatrist away with his vocabulary and he commented how intrigued he was by him because he had never met a more "eloquent" 7 year old. His latest word is "exacerbate!"

Well, I've rambled on and on and considering how late it is probably didn't make much sense. I have some great resources that I need to dig out and make copies of for some of you guys

Ouch!! I better get to bed--Have to be at school at 7 and won't get home til 8:30 (open house).
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Old 01-01-2006, 12:00 PM

RE: Homeschool/Preschool Resources/Ideas

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Hope - as I am looking once again for more ideas I dug this thread up. You and everyone else had such awesome suggestions and I am printing this thread for inspiration! Thank you!!
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