This fall Hailey will be in a preschool program three mornings a week. I’ve decided to implement some at-home intentional learning at the start of this school year as well. Hailey is at an age (3 years old, but will be 4 next month) where she is really self-motivated to learn, especially regarding letters and reading. I’m choosing to capitalize on this and follow her lead by setting aside 20-30 minutes each day to work on these skills with her, as well as sprinkle them in throughout the day.
I talked to several friends (teachers, homeschoolers, moms) about where to get started and wanted to share all the great products I am learning about and using with Hailey with you guys!
My largest area of focus centers around letters, reading and writing, since this is at the heart of Hailey’s interest. My super-teacher friend, Alison, enlightened me that children should actually be learning letter sounds before the names of the letters, so we’ve started with focusing there.
I bought several of these Kumon books and we started with the Kumon Uppercase Letters.
I love that the book focuses on basic skills like drawing straight lines before even getting to letters, then they start with the letters that are easier for children to learn to write, like L, T, H, and I.
By biggest hesitation with this idea was sucking the fun out of it, but by limiting it to 20-30 minutes, Hailey feels like it is really special and can hold her focus. With each page, we talk about the letter name, the letter sound, then use all the letter sounds to sound out the coordinating word. Super simple stuff and she loves it.
I also have the really great Kumon Wipe Off Flash Cards for Uppercase Letters.
Basic and brilliant, as what child doesn’t love a wipe off pen? I really like that Kumon teaches children how to write each letter with a “connect the dot to the star” directions, making it really easy for the to follow along.
I also have heard good things about the Handwriting without Tears program and making letters fun by writing them in shaving cream, or sand.
Additionally, I’m pulling out the playdoh more often and am looking into Wikki Stix, as I’ve learned that anything children can do to help with hand strength and fine motor skills will help with writing.
Moving on from letters and writing, into just fun facts. Like most kids her age, Hailey is a sponge and random facts just stick in her head. Currently it’s all about black widow spiders that she learned about from a girl at the playground. Ha! I’m a trivia nut myself, so I bought these Brain Quest flashcards so she’d have something to talk about besides spiders.
I remember my mom buying these for us when I was a kid and I loved them on road trips. From recognizing numbers, to counting and other age- appropriate questions (Which of these tails belongs on a squirrel?), it’s been a lot of fun to pull out and play with when we have down time.
I also found a new gem for car rides- gotta love the library! These Song and Story CDs are awesome.
They play 4 songs from the featured movie followed by a 20 minute telling of the story. No book comes with them, but the characters from the Disney movies make appearances and hearing their voices along with the story is really neat.
I’m also tempted to get a week and weather chart because this one by Lakeshore Learning looks amazing. As it should because it’s not cheap. However, I think the visual of the days of the week would help her grasp them more easily and I like that this chart has a small area of focus in several different categories.
Speaking of price, obviously none of these things are necessary to help your child learn at home. We count everything we do (walking down stairs to eating grapes) and have collected sticks outside and glued them on paper to make letter shapes (mostly H’s- her favorite). I don’t think buying supplies is necessary, but for me, I was looking for a little more guidance and have been really pleased with the above choices!
Moms, teachers, people that were once children yourselves…
Do you have any favorite products that make learning and working on skills fun for young ages?