So we’re doing a Child-led Classical Core Unschooling thing, I guess. Anyway, I take a reading topic based on any number of free curricula (or celestial events… or birthdays of famous people) and add things that match for “playing school”. The Boy Who Cried Wolf was the first story in a free Core-based first grade curriculum at CoreKnowledge.org It fits in with Classical and the Young Master likes wolves, so here we are.
We read it, answered the plot questions, watched a Cat in the Hat video about a wolf named Grayson, “A Howling Good Time”. (I’d link to Netflix but it’s giving me a Silverlight error, so….) We colored and read wolf and sheep science worksheets from Enchanted Learning. I adapted a Cemrel math lesson from cats and mice to sheep and wolves (It may be the first lesson plan in the first grade file.)
We looked at Romulus and Remus art and learned some Latin in here somewhere.
We rewrote The Boy Who Cried Wolf and acted it out with him playing Batman (the townspeople), me playing Robin (the boy), and one of the cats playing a minion of Cat Woman (the wolf) coming to steal our ice cream (sheep).
After that we had art time. The promise of Art Time gets him to concentrate.
It’s not hard to figure out. Kraft greeting card, construction paper, googly eyes, cotton balls.
A three-year-old’s attention span being what it is, even though he likes “playing school” like Daniel Tiger, this took two days at 15-minutes to a half-hour here and there. That’s cool with me because the theme days are much more fun for both of us than filling in a stack of humorless worksheets. And we end up with a card to send to his grandparents!
Here is a spring door or wall hanging for preschoolers. We used craft foam, brass fasteners, pony beads, scissors, a hole puncher, scrapbook paper, and the grownup used hot glue.
Kinda posting this because you’d think there would be more brass fastener crafts for preschoolers out there. If you’re looking for a step-by-step, you’ve come to the wrong blog, heh. My only tip is to put the brass fasteners through the grass layer and to glue it on the egg so they don’t scratch your wall.
How we turned those bins of tiny toys toddlers end up collecting into an organized set of teaching tools.
1. You need 26 containers.
Note: you’ll need more than 26 if you choose to use phonemes instead of letters. You know your child best so follow your instincts.
You can use what you like. Coffee cans, large plastic jars, food containers, a handbag collection, whatever is cheap and safe. I used leftover 6x6x8 Papermart gift boxes from a case I’ve had sitting around for too many years after I stopped selling gifts on eBay.
2. Label them with letters.
I used those stick-on foam letters because we happened to have them. You can use anything.
3. Fill with toys.
In went animal figures, tiny plushies, old measuring spoons, play food, interesting buttons, prizes from an Easter egg hunt, colored beading cord, scrabble tiles — practically anything that wasn’t a crayon or a Lego got sorted into the boxes. Then I supplemented them with two alphabet teaching sets because Sagan wanted “letters and numbers” for his third birthday.
Within minutes he figured out he could find most toys by spelling the name. So when he wants a lion and a zebra, he gets out the L and Z boxes. When he wants cars, he goes to the C box.
The best part is when someone gives him something new, he tells me which box he can put it in when he gets home. And that’s where it goes because he loves being able to find his toys using the Power to Read.
This summer we decided to experiment with kitchen scrap gardening. These are two celery scraps from the same package, each cut an inch from the root. We used organic because it’s more likely to grow.
On May 13, we put one in a shallow bowl of water and the other we dipped in rooting hormone and planted in an equal soil mix of presoaked peat, organic compost and citrus/cactus potting mix. We covered it with about a half-inch of the soil mix.
Celery needs a lot of nutrients and good drainage, so that’s what I came up with from the bags in my garage. I have no idea if that’s proper or not, but I needed something for container gardening. It gets too hot here to grow celery this time of year so it needs to stay on my windowsill to keep it from bolting and turning bitter.
I didn’t think the one put in the soil was going to make it at first because the other one had an inch of leaves in a week, but it looks like the one planted in the soil was putting its initial energy into making roots because it really took off. On the other hand, the articles I read on rooting celery said you should see roots in a week if you put it in a bowl. We decided to give up waiting and gave it some rooting hormone and soil. Hopefully we’re not too late.
This is how they looked June 4.
In theory, if they don’t bolt, you can cut off what you need when you want to eat it, or you can cut off the tops and bury the stumps in a little soil and start over again indefinitely. We may try blanching them with tubes of construction paper later.
Bonus homework for the library summer program. The theme is science.
The challenge was to make a robot from a cardboard tube and recycled materials. This is a scratched CD, pieces from a magazine, electrical cord from a rewiring project, aluminum foil and part of a small, plastic bottle.
We added googly eyes and a glow stick, and there are stars punched in its chassis. He didn’t have to be reading, we just thought it would be cute.