Wednesday, September 30, 2015

How To Be a Good Friend with Mother Goose Time, and She Reads for the First Time!

This week we focused on being a good friend using our Mother Goose Time curriculum. There are so many things that stand out to me about this curriculum, but what really caught my attention this week is that it's not purely academics...There is a HUGE social studies component as well as science. The kiddos can learn the appropriate academic objectives they are working on through play/crafts/interest-based writing and reading, which is truly what it should be in the young years.

One of our lessons was the Sharing Box. 

Tiny B had a perfect opportunity to practice her fine motor skills as she pulled stickers off of paper and placed them on her sharing box. 

Strong B had no problem doing this, but it was more of a challenge for Tiny B. This week her orthopedic doctor emphasized that she needs to build muscles in her important for a child with cerebral palsy, even a mild case such as hers. 

They loved collecting things that they like from the backyard, such as branches, grass, rocks, and flowers. Part of the beauty of homeschooling is using every opportunity to take to the outdoors! 

They came back inside and sorted their findings, and without me even asking, shared their found items! I didn't even have to prompt them. What an important skill for siblings! 

The Keys to Friendship game had so many levels of skills...counting, letter recognition, color recognition, turn-taking...

I extended the game by having Tiny B give examples of the character trait every time she received a key. My passion in teaching is differentiation, and I just love how Mother Goose Time has such opportunities for this!

They played for an hour and have played so many times since this lesson. I keep each game in a freezer bag and label it. There are lots of games in our arsenal now!

In my last post I explained how I'm just not motivated or crafty enough to find art activity materials for everyday use. Tiny B is going through a feeding tube weaning program which I will write about in future posts. It leaves me exhausted to my core, and therefore having materials GIVEN to me every day is a dream come true! Hooray for more fine motor skills practice and materials that I don't have to hunt down at the store!

I left the best for last...I had the privilege of seeing Tiny B read something for the first time! There were so many reasons for my excitement...The lowest grade that I taught was 3rd, so my students came to me reading for the most part. But the main reason for my excitement is that any time Tiny B does something for the first time, I become somewhat maniacal! The prognosis she was given was not good, and every day I thank God for the miracles He's given to her. 

Tiny B does the Math and More and Literacy and More add-on books, which are for ages 4-6. You can see the total JOY in her face as she reads the three words! Pot. Pig. Parrot! 

She's been reading her F and P book, and her book with the easy decidable/sight words which also come with the program. The pages are colorful and fun.

The kiddos have had a fantastic week of learning, and I cannot wait until we start our new theme next week...Into The Orchard!

Stay tuned for posts about her feeding tube wean. You will be amazed.

*I receive Mother Goose Time curriculum in exchange for my honest sharing of experiences, resulting from our personal use. All opinions/thoughts are my own and are in no way influenced by others.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Our First Two Weeks with Mother Goose Time!

I had some pretty big decisions to make this year, and I had to make them quicker than I normally like. In my next few posts I'll explain my decisions and just how important they were, but for today's post I'm going to focus on the outcome of one of my major decisions!

Rather quickly, I decided to put Tiny B in transitional kindergarten (TK) rather than kindergarten through our local public charter homeschool program, which is what I'd call hybrid--a mixture of going to class and being schooled at home. TK kiddos only attend the actual school for about three hours a week. The rest of the time I am the teacher, which is a huge responsibility! The school gives us a curriculum that can use, but they also trust us to choose a curriculum that may better fit our child. And that's exactly what I did! It has been one of the best decisions I've ever made. 

Mother Goose Time curriculum contacted me to become a blog ambassador, in which I blog for them in exchange for their curriculum. They are particularly interested in me showing how the curriculum can be used with a child with special needs, and this is exactly what I will be writing about! My five year-old daughter was a micropreemie and has minor cerebral palsy. My three year-old son Big B, will also be using this curriculum, and he is typical as typical can be, so you'll be able to see how I differentiate based on their needs. This excites me more than I can convey here...When I was an elementary school teacher, my main focus was always tailoring each lesson for each individual child, as much as possible. Anyone can teach using the MGT (Mother Goose Time) curriculum with confidence that they will be teaching the appropriate objectives and that their students/children will just love it!

*Here is where I pause and tell myself to stop gushing about it and get on with sharing about our first two weeks!

There are SO MANY activities that I would never be able to write a description of each one without writing a novel. The activities cover all of the preschool/transitional kindergarten objectives using a wide variety of teaching tools and methods. Perfect for every kind of learner! I'll describe just a few here to give you just a peek.

One of our first activities was making puppets. Tiny B needs A LOT of fine motor skills practice, as her cerebral palsy has left her hands pretty weak and uncoordinated. There was gluing and cutting and coloring involved to work those hand muscles, as well as role play, to practice social skills!

We did an "I am Special Tree" in which we focused on why both Tiny B and Big B are important for a kiddo who has challenges and for her little brother who might not always feel like he is number one.

We learned about David and Goliath. This bible study portion is an add-on to the main curriculum which also doubles as reading comprehension practice and fine motor skills work. Look at that sewing! This is a skill that Tiny B's occupational therapist has used with her for years...and now she gets to do it in a FUN way and learn about being courageous in the face of fear. So important.

We made beautiful hand-held mirrors in which to practice our different feelings faces. If I had had to go to the store and pick out mirror paper, special Popsicle stuck holders, and colorful jewels...this project wouldn't have happened, and I can tell you that with confidence!

We used the tangrams manipulatives included in the curriculum to discuss the different names and characteristics of each shape, to trace, and then to make animals with those shapes!

We made clowns to learn about the feeling of surprise, and the best part was that my mom was able to help! 

Tiny B and Big B could not get enough of this and begged to do school all day. This  certainly shows that in this big decision, I chose correctly!

*I receive Mother Goose Time curriculum in exchange for my honest sharing of experiences, resulting from our personal use. All opinions/thoughts are my own and are in no way influenced by others.