Tag Archives: Education

Coin sorting activity using herb jars.

For the last few weeks I have been searching for various activities that involve learning about money, something that was suitable for a preschooler but found it quite difficult to find a hands on activity that my son would find fun and engaging.

I created a money pack where my son had to cut and paste pennies into purses but this didn’t seem to interest him so much. I then created a penny counting game which he found a bit more exciting as he was now handling physical money.

While I was cooking I noticed a number of empty herb jars had been left in the corner waiting to be recycled and the hoarder in me just had to take them as a precaution as I knew I would find them useful for something. And because I am so adamant that I want my son to learn the basics of money I created a coin recognition and sorting activity using the following:

Herb jars

Cello tape

Money (coins and notes)

Money clip art

Envelopes (for notes)

All my son had to do was match the coins that I left in a small pile with the image of the coin on the herb jar. Simple. This activity is also great for shape recognition and differentiation and also helps develop their fine motor skills and critical thinking.

🙂 x

Mathlink cubes pattern recognition

This simple activity was not only easy to create but it’s also very versatile.

The aim of the activity was to analyse the cube patterns on the laminated cards and my son would then have to match them using his mathlink cubes.

Depending on the child you can start with a very simple pattern ranging from 3-6 cubes then increasing the cubes as the child becomes confident completing the task independently.

Materials needed:

  • Mathlink cubes
  • Laptop/computer (word)
  • Printer
  • Paper,laminator (optional)

This activity will help your child develop their:

  1. Observational skills
  2. Fine motor skills
  3. Colour recognition
  4. Counting

🙂 x

Homemade and inexpensive activity to support fine motor skills for toddlers.

What are fine motor skills and why are they important?

Fine motor skills involve the use of smaller muscles in the hand to carry out activities such as using scissors, holding a pencil, construction tasks with building blocks, doing up buttons and so on.

Fine motor skills are not only essential for academic skills but are necessary in order to perform everyday skills such as getting dressed, brushing their teeth, and doing the buttons up on their coat. It is also an important skills to develop prior to your child attending school so that their play options aren’t limited this in turn can effect peer relationships and the child self esteem if they are unable to be involved with class room activities.

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Reference: DEVELOPMENTALLY APPROPRIATE PRACTICES 24-36 MONTHS By Rachael Smidt, Lexi Smidt, Kayla Otte, and Megan Gipfert

 

 

I created an inexpensive activity for my son using the following materials:

  • A shoe box
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Paper
  • Crayons
  • hole puncher, cello tape
  • Scissors
  • Optional: Laminating sheets and laminator, printer

 

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I simply pierced holes into the shoe box and asked my son to choose a number of pipe cleaners to pierce through the holes. This requires patience and focus from the toddler as I intentionally made the holes quite small. I simply printed off some circles, coloured them in using crayons and pierced a small hole in each using a hole puncher. This then turned into a colour matching activity where my son had to stack each circle to the corresponding coloured pipe cleaner.

 

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🙂 x

 

How do I Homeschool my child?

Many parents are unaware that their children are not legally obligated to attend mainstream school however it is a legal require for your child to receive education. Under the Education Act 1996, under section 7 its states clearly that ”The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full time education suitable a) to his age ability and aptitude, and b) any special educational needs he may have, either by attendance at a school or otherwise.”

According to the Telegraph the number of children who are now being homeschooled has doubled in the last six years. Almost 30,000 children were taught at home compared to 2011 when is was just shy of 15,000.

Parents have their own individual reasons for wanting to home school their children here are some of the reasons why some parents opt to not sending their child to school.

  • They don’t like the teacher to student ratio.
  • They don’t feel like the education system fits their child’s needs.
  • There might not be enough opportunities for one to one interaction with teachers.
  • They don’t feel like the curriculum is suitable for their child.
  • They are unhappy with the behaviour of some students i.e bullying.
  • They want to be more involved in their child’s education.

There are also a number of cases where parents have felt the need to remove their child from mainstream school because of the following.

  • Their child is unhappy.
  • Their child is failing to achieve.
  • Their child and the parent is dissatisfied with the set curriculum.
  • They are unhappy with the staff at the school.
  • They feel restricted in a sense where they want to focus more on creativity.
  • Students aren’t made aware of their full potential.

The lists are literally endless and they vary from family to family. I personally can identify with the fact that I wanted to personalise my sons education to fit his needs and our lifestyle, also having looked at the set curriculum from nursery to primary school and onwards I believe their is so much more that could be taught in schools that are necessary skills to help our children adjust to adult life.

My son is now 3 1/2 years old and he currently attends a private nursery, 5 days a week from 8am-5:30pm. In my opinion this is a long day for a toddler and for me personally a long time to be away from my son. I am just about to start a part time role within dietetics and I couldn’t be more happier. Less hours means I can spend more time with my son, creating our own curriculum, planning days out, and blogging too.

But where do I start?

This was the first question I asked myself and as I don’t know anyone who exclusively home schools their children I had to do do my research to find out whether homeschooling was for me and to also network with other parents and carers.

Questions to ask yourself before you consider homeschooling

Homeschooling isn’t for everyone as some people like the thought of educating their child at home part or full time and some don’t and that’s fine. But for those that have taken the plunge and have decided that its the right thing for their child there are some factors to consider.  I have to first let this be known, there is no manual on how to be the perfect parent. You might find a couple of books here and that that claim to be able to mould you into the perfect parent through 10 easy steps but lets be logical, there is no such thing as perfection. Perfection is subjective. However there is trying your best and putting your 100% into what you care and we all care about of children’s well being and future.  These questions might have you sweating from the temple or you simply already know the answer to each of them and that’s okay as what we want is awareness. Being aware is the first step to any problem we are trying to solve. Just like a bad habit you aren’t made aware of how can one combat that habit unless you are aware of it? So ask yourself the following questions and if you can’t answer that’s fine I have now made you aware of something to consider of which you can now work/research on.

  • Have you considered how homeschooling will impact your home life?
  • Have you considered how homeschooling will effect your finances?
  • Can you manage the research?
  • How organised are you?
  • Are you computer literate?
  • What subjects do you want to teach your children and how?
  • Are you going to follow the mainstream ‘school year’ including half terms?
  • Are you aware that the Learning Education Authority (LEA) can offer support to you and your child?

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What do I need to homeschool my children?

You need to be dedicated and committed to learning this is key, as you will have to encourage and motivate your child to want to learn as much as you do. This is much easier when their personalised curriculum is specifically catered to what they want to learn about but this all starts with you the parent. Show optimism, passion, and energy when teaching as this will create a ‘mirror effect’ so to speak where your child will express the same enthusiasm as you.

Building a good, solid rapport will your child is also important. There is nothing worse then going to school and having to sit for an hour with a teacher that you have little to no rapport with even worse if you have never taking a liking to your teacher for whatever reason. If you are teaching your child full time, from 9 am to 3 pm five days a week you need to be able to work together and this doesn’t mean you will have to see eye to eye on everything but creating a solid foundation is key.

Find out what your child enjoys and create a curriculum based on their interests. This is the fun part and I started doing this even when my son was 1 years old without me even realising it. He used to be obsessed with buses (now its trains) so I utilised this knowledge to help my son learn to count and recognise numbers. If your child enjoys a sport or a certain cartoon or film, you can base their education around those subjects to make it fun.

The same question I would get over and over again when I told people I would home school my unborn son ‘how will he socialise?’. Like everybody else who integrates outside of school of course. Depending on your child’s age their are numerous things you child can do you socialise such as :

  • Museums
  • Soft play
  • Network with other homeschooling parents
  • Out door play i.e parks
  • After school activities; sports, music, dance etc.
  • Start your own homeschooling group for meetups

I have created a page specially for homeschooling advice, networking groups, places to visit so have a look here.

Resources you will need is of course learning materials (depending on your curriculum) a computer, laptop or tablet. If like me you are starting off your homeschooling with a toddler I wouldn’t recommend a tablet just yet as according to (insert name here) allowing your child from the age of 3 years old is beneficial to the hand and eye co-ordination whereas using a tablet doesn’t have the same effect.  And of course all of the basics i.e stationary, white board etc.

A place to carry out your schooling as this would need to be a quiet space preferably one that is bright, airy and spacious. Some people even have a whole room for their schooling but not everyone has the luxury or the space to have a class room in their house but as long as your child has a space they can work without clutter and noise that will do.  The great thing about the spring and summer is a lot of your schooling can be done outdoors which is even better for your child’s well being a study carried out in 2010 by the University of Rochester and published in the Journal of Environmental psychology found that being outdoors increases vitality levels and also improves attention and focus, sparks creativity, has a calming effect and eases depression.

Your child’s school curriculum

A curriculum is a the course or content of study and is a great foundation for your child’s learning. You could either choose to follow the national curriculum or simply create your own one. One complaint that many parents have it that the national curriculum is very general and isn’t catered for different learning styles or for children with learning difficulties. It can of course be used as a point of reference but catered to your child’s needs for instance children with dyslexia may find textbook learning a bit over whelming therefore it would be best to adopt a more creative and more outdoor activities for this child.

 

 

Social Media

It’s good to network and I found these amazing groups on Facebook and in such a short space of time I have learnt so much about home schooling and also the group members post many deals and offers from reading materials, worksheets, educational toys you name it.

Homeschooling UK 

Home Education/Schooling worldwide 

Homeschooling with Dyslexia

Homeschooling with Netflix

Homeschooling with Youtube 

 

 

🙂 x