Letter Z | Zebra + Zoom

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Kaitlyn is 3.5 years old.

We have reached the end of the alphabet! We've had a fun time exploring the various themes with each Bitty Beginnings' Letter Pack and the girls have enjoyed the activities so much!
Now, our week...

Here's a look at our Letter Z set-up!


We skipped the playdough and used these foam car stickers instead to make Letter Z's. Then, she used the car to "zoom" around to trace the letter.


We worked on sorting letters. You can download this activity free here.


Pre-writing practice...


Spot It!


She loved this puzzle.


Counting and stacking her pegs on the airplane...


Several games of Alphabet Bingo...


And, we attempted to play Rush Hour Jr. I love this game and so do the girls. Kaitlyn's a little too young yet to totally get it, but Summer LOVES it!


Letter Y | Yo-yo + Yeti

Friday, November 03, 2017

Kaitlyn is 3.5 years old.

I can not believe we are so close to the end of the alphabet! 

Kaitlyn's set-up...


We are using printables from Bitty Beginnings' A to Z Alphabet Letter Learning Pack as a base, courtesy of Bitty Beginings.

Kaitlyn loves these dot painting printables!


Still loving her glue sticks too...so any activity requiring glue is a high priority.


Two-part puzzles with Summer...


This was a total fail--I thought she would love playing in shaving cream pretending it was snow while practicing Letter Y, but she didn't like her hands messy. ;-)


We reviewed shapes and colors with our Lauri set.


Most days, Kaitlyn will sit with Summer as she does school watching everything she does.  While Summer was working, I had Kaitlyn put the number cards in order from 1-10 and then use blocks as counters.



And, she spent the week playing with our bristle block set.


Letter X | Xylophone + X-ray Fish

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Kaitlyn is 3.5 years old.

I've been getting a few questions on what age your child needs to be to begin school.  When Abby was little, I had this idea I had to wait until she was 5 or something to begin.  I ended up starting her when she was three and was amazed at how quickly and easily she learned things.  Summer would sit in as a baby joining in from time to time, but mainly just observing.  I started her a little earlier (age 2) with weekly letter activities and to expose her. Though I never set up specific activities for Kaitlyn until recently, she always sat in with Summer.  They are about 19 months apart so it's easy to combine them most of the time.  I never knew how much babies and toddlers could pick up just by being involved with older siblings.  It's truly amazing!

Now for our Letter X week!

Our shelf of activities... 


We are using Bitty Beginnings' A to Z Letter Learning Packs as a base for our themes, courtesy of Bitty Beginnings.

She loves these Letter Crowns!  Her favorite part is identifying the shapes.


Spot It!


Do-A-Dot...you can download for free here.


We used foam shapes to make Letter X...


Then sorted by shape and identified the name and color.


Made lots of towers with blocks...


And, the girls spent most of the week making music and having concerts.


Letter W | Watermelon + Whale

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Kaitlyn is 3.5 years old. 

We are continuing our Letter of the Week and focused on Letter W this week, our theme being Watermelon + Whale based on Bitty Beginnings A to Z Learning Packs.

Our set-up...

We are using the A to Z Letter Learning Pack from Bitty Beginnings as our base, courtesy of Bitty Beginnings.

This pre-writing practice printable is quickly becoming her go to activity. We use scented markers for even more fun.


Dot painting...we use Do-A-Dot brand markers, they work great and do not leave behind an inky mess. We've tried several brands and this is my favorite.


Her sensory bin was filled with colorful rice, lots of whales from our Toob kits and her Look and Find Pieces from Bitty Beginnings.



She worked on tracing...


Piecing her letter puzzles together...


She did a little watermelon seed count using buttons.


She's still learning how to put puzzles together, so Summer helped her quite a bit.


Using our Wedgits to build...


Working on her fruit puzzle...


And, playing with our geometic stacker.


Letter V | Van + Vulture

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Kaitlyn is still loving our school time together.  We did a few activities this week, but mainly enjoyed the beautiful fall weather.

Our set-up...

We are using printables from Bitty Beginnings' A to Z Letter Learning Pack, courtesy of Jen from Bitty Beginnings on Etsy.  You can use code MAGNOLIA20 to get 20% off your order! 

I *try* to have her shelf of activities all ready to go for the first day of our new letter of the week.  Let's be honest though, sometimes it doesn't happen.  Some days, I pull printables from my folder on demand and come up with activities on the fly.  Some weeks I'm really good about snapping pictures of all she does, others not so much. My main priority if nothing else is making sure her letter and theme of the week is featured on top so she can browse.  It's so exciting for her to walk in and point to the posters and identify the letter/theme she will be focusing on. 

Here she is doing an all-time favorite, Spot It!


Dot painting...


Letter sort...


She used lentils and a popsicle stick to trace her Letter V.


I hid her Look and Find pieces and Letter Hunt pieces in some colored pasta and rice. She loves the pasta!


We worked on certain shapes and number identfication using our clock.


And, Summer helped her piece together her alphabet train puzzle.  They loved this too!


Freebie Friday: Letter Z | Cut + Paste Letter Sort

Friday, October 13, 2017

Welcome back to Freebie Friday!

We are wrapping up our Bitty Beginnings' Alphabet Letter Learning Pack series with a free printable from the adorable Letter Z | Zebra + Zoom pack.   You can view ALL free printables up to this point here.

letter z collage

This download includes the Cut + Paste Letter Sort activity from the Letter Z Pack which can be printed in green/blue or pink/purple.  You can find the complete Letter Z Pack and many other activities by visiting the Bitty Beginnings shop on Etsy.

Click the image below to download.


A Simple, Gentler Approach

Thursday, October 12, 2017

 It's taken me quite a while to figure out what I want our homeschool to look like.  I tend to be the person that has to try just about every possible option before I figure out the right one.  We started the year strong.  I had a plan in place for Kaitlyn to finish out our Bitty Beginnings printables.  I had Summer covered with Abeka K5 and Abby was moving into fourth grade with a mix of Abeka and a brand new (to us) spelling program, Spelling You See.  I had curriculum purchased in July (which never happens), plans printed, worksheets organized, plans for a 4-day school week to correspond with my husband's work schedule and thought we were good to go.

A few days into our year, things weren't working. I was spending too much time with Abby--which left both of us frustrated--and not enough time with the other two girls.  We typically try to knock out most of our school during Callie's nap and were spending 2+ hours just completing math and language worksheets.  While I've had a love/hate relationship with Abeka in the past for several reasons, I always came back to it.  Why?  Honestly, I'm not sure--maybe it was an easy purchase that gave me some reassurance that subjects would be covered without much work on my part.  Problem is--it just doesn't work with Abby.  Eight days in we switched to Teaching Textbooks and Abby is enjoying math!  I also purchased IEW's Bible Heroes to help with writing, but haven't actually started using the program...yet.  Summer, on the other hand, does fine with Abeka. She could sit and do worksheets all day, whereas Abby cringes at the sight.  On a positive note, Abby does love their science and history.

The new changes made our day go somewhat smoother allowing me to spend more time with Summer and also with Kaitlyn, but I still felt a slave to the curriculum and also my own plans for Kaitlyn.  I was becoming so stressed and burned out that I was losing motivation, creativity and felt so uninspired.  It was basically--let's just get this done so we can get on with our day.  My to-do list was growing longer by the day, fun activities were being pushed back further and further and I never felt like we could really dive into the subject or branch out because it would set us back.  On top of that, I had theme related toys, books and manipulatives piling up from our latest preschool week.  The amount of "stuff" was creating a problem.   That's not how I envisioned our homeschool.  I am not looking to re-create school at home, teach by the book, spend all our time indoors, compare our preschool week with others and spend countless hours preparing activities--but that's what was happening. 


At the same time I realized my blog and social media had both moved away from sharing about all my girls to just my preschooler.  I started this blog to document our journey through the years, not just focus on one age range. Since Kaitlyn is nearing the end of her letter of the week activities, I saw the chance to make a big move. I wanted to do something completely different than what I've ever done before.  I wanted to embrace a more simple, gentler approach which I talked about here. I'm not even sure how I found it, but I stumbled on The Peaceful Preschool.  It took me several weeks of researching and debating if this would be a good fit for us.  Was it too simple?  Would we get bored?  Would we love it? I envisioned this gentler approach as being a way to include all my girls in many of the activities they already enjoy, while also introducing them to new ideas.  


That same night, I stumbled onto Exploring Nature with Children.  It seemed perfect and a fun addition that would enhance our week allowing all the girls to participate and encourage more outdoor exploring.

We are really excited about this new direction and I can't wait to share how we make it work for our family!