As I am writing this, the outside temperature in Winnipeg is -26C or -15F. Fridays is our swimming time, but today, I decided to keep the kids at home. There are a lot of things we can do at home and I wanted to share some activities that could give my parent friends some ideas for their own kids.
I recently (meaning after 5 months of trying to read it) finished a book called "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin, (thanks for recommending, Adjeng!) and although I found the author a little bit self-absorbed, I did realize a lot of things about myself and learned how to maximize those self-discoveries. In a nutshell, I finally admitted that I find happiness in organizing, keeping things written down, and having a plan - for everything. Whether it be the weekly menu, the grocery list, bills to pay, tutoring lesson plans, homeschool activities and the list goes on. Being organized actually helps me to be more flexible - like when I have a plan to do a science project with the kids today, but they end up wanting to do an art project instead, I find comfort in the fact that I did prepare an activity even if it doesn't push through. I I had planned to make tofu steak today, but one of my kids saw fish in the fridge and wanted it instead, I could easily adjust.
The point is - I am able to function more when I am in charge of my life - even if it only depended on a bunch of lists. I guess, there is a great need for me to control the things I can, and I am able to accept the things I do not have control over, and have a better attitude about it. It is very funny, that my husband is the total opposite of me. He is the last minute man, no plans, whatever happens happens, would arrive 5 minutes before the plane takes off, and the irritating thing is - everything always works out in the end for him. To his credit, I've long expressed this "need" of mine to be prepared and he has made some adjustments. Now, we book our flights in advance, check-in the night before, and arrive at the airport on time. He keeps me in check though, whenever I become an OC monster.
Don't get me wrong - most days - I am lazy- but these plans make me do things, just because I've eliminated the problem of - what do I cook? Or what do I do with the kids today? They're all written down there so all I need to do is do it!
I have a background in teaching children, and I am thankful that I am able to apply what I've learned with my kids now. When they were teeny tiny babies - I had NO clue.
Kevin is almost 4 and Nina turned 2, but seems like she's 13, so I've been having a blast preparing activities for them. This year, I started a monthly homeschooling plan. (Email me if you want a copy!) Basically, I have 30 minutes of school time with them everyday. I go online (unlimited resources there!) and look at ideas that my kids will enjoy.
My homeschooling calendar for January. I have yet to do February!
Mondays is for Tagalog class where I teach vocabulary and some folk songs, Tuesdays is for Reading and Phonics. Kevin is beginning to learn to read sight words and Nina knows her alphabet! Wednesdays we do an art craft, Thursdays we do Math activities, Fridays we do Science.
The teacher in me just wants a little bit of routine before we start our mini-lessons.
We read the story "Ang Pambihirang Sombrero". Mia got a new hat and went around town to ask people if they liked her hat, and every person she asked gave her an additional item to make her hat prettier. The kids made a craft after where they chose pictures from a magazine of what they want to put on their hats like Mia.
Here are some flashcards (counting and vocabulary words) that I've made into a pdf file for easy printing :
Nina does 1 alphabet craft a day. We focus on learning the sounds of the alphabet.
We try to go the library every week and we borrow a LOT of books. We read 10 books a day! It's a great way to encourage conversation.
We learn fine motor skills like gluing, cutting (for Kevin), etc. This January's theme is winter - we've made penguins, hot chocolate and snow flake crafts. Oh, and I had them paint their bodies too.
Good thing Daddy was at home to clean them up!
Of course they ate everything after I took the photo!
Hot chocolate mugs - Kevin said it didn't look like mugs. Okay okay. I'm not an artist!
Nina's penguin craft
This aquadoodle playmat is lots of fun. The mat is pre-painted, so the kids just put water in them then the colors come out. Not a lot of mess!
One day, we compared objects according to their sizes. We read Goldilocks after and they used "small", "medium" and "large" to describe the items in the story.
Most wonderful idea ever from a parent blogger! I got items from home and had them sore it out in muffin tins.
Sort away, children!
Kevin helped Nina in the end when he was done.
Nina's never ending puzzles
Greatest gift ever from my husband was a laminating machine! I got printable file folder activities and laminated them. When the kids are bored,I grab these and there's an instant lesson!
Here's a link to great printable activities :
With the help of my nerdy husband, the kids have learned the uses of different kitchen tools, the reaction between chemicals (baking soda and vinegar), the concept of water displacement, and most recently, what happens to hot water when you throw it in -30 C temp. (too bad I can't post the video here, if you're my friend on facebook though, you know what I'm talking about!)
We talked about the different tools they see Mommy use in the kitchen
They loved using the small tongs to play with pompoms.
What started out as pouring water, became a meaningful lesson about the displacement of water.
They got some small toys and saw how the water rose when they put the toys in.
Good thing I had the book "Ang Mayang Uhaw" handy - perfect story for the lesson!
What to do with vinegar + food coloring, and baking soda?
First, I had them feel the baking soda using their hands.
Then we mixed the food coloring with the vinegar.
I gave them little spoons to put the colored vinegar in the baking soda, and viola!
That is so cool! They both said.
Ofcourse, we cook too! This is Nina making her own mini-pizzas.
So there goes my job, 7 days a week, 16 hours a day. It can be a lot of fun most days! If you are interested in any of the resources, email me and I'd be glad to help you make your own homeschool plan. :)