Saturday, November 16, 2013

At the Table

Many home school families use their dining room tables as their classroom.  We mostly use our kitchen counter, kitchen floor, living room floor, little play table and backyard.  I love preschool, where school happens everywhere.  I have been getting better and better though, at using our time at the table, it's kind of been a forced improvement. 

A couple days ago, when school had been pretty tough to accomplish during the week, I decided to try another tactic.  I brought all the More Math and More Reading & Writing books to the table along with 3 pens.  As we ate our breakfast I started flipping through pages.  Everyone was getting intrigued.  I found pages that would fit well with each child's interests.  A writing/tracing page for Lucy, a numbers page for Peter and then I let Lachlan help pick.  Lachlan and I ended up working through like 5 pages or more that morning and then more again at lunch. 
This is our current pile of MGT at the table.  Left overs from our breakfast and lunch that day.
Here is the stack of More Math and More Reading & Writing books.  Pretty impressive, you can see why the kids were interested. 
In the past we have done parts of the Mother Goose Time lessons at the table.  But this was the first time we just sat down with all the work books.  I highly recommend it!  If you are using Mother Goose Time in a true preschool setting, make sure to tell the parents about these books.  They would be a great thing for them to have at home for moments like these.  Their work book pages are not just writing, tracing and fill in the blank.  They have other fun and different activities, many of the pages you end up actually cutting out of the book. 
This is the Logic Game that has been at our table for many weeks now.  Lachlan loves it.
Here is one you cut out and slide the letters through to create different words.
Another cut out activity.  Lachlan had to find the matching Mommy and Daddy horses and their baby.
Measure the fish and put them in order from longest to shortest.  The little ruler has 1 through 19 on the backside.  This came in really handy for some of the other workbook pages, Lachlan knew the number but needed help recalling what it looked like in order to write it in.
Peter did this page.  You can see the top two he did great, the other two were a bit too big of numbers for him, but he still had fun writing.  I am proud to say, at just 2.5 almost 3, Peter can recognize the numbers 1 through 5.  He can count much hire, but recognizes 1 through 5 in writing.  It looks like he knows the #6 as well.
Lachlan did this page.  I have gotten in the habit of putting their names and date on the top of the page.  I also add stars, Lachlan really like stars on the page, what kid doesn't? 
This page kept Peter busy for a really, really long time.  He followed the path many times.  But what great writing practice.
Count how many of each items there are and then write the number in the space.  The number for the hats is the number 4, it was his version of a closed top 4.  That sure is confusing, closed top, versus open top 4s. He wrote the number for cows in the egg spot, so we wrote the egg number in the margin.
Fill in the blank numbers.  His 2 and 3 look pretty similar right now.
This was a Peter page.  He did all the counting and recognized 3 and 6 easily, 10 was a little trickier.  And of course, time out makes him sad.
This was done by Lachlan, with very little coaching from me.
This was actually the first page he picked out that day and loved it.
This one was from a couple months ago, but Peter did this one.  This is one of his favorite types of pages.  With the counting of shapes.
Recently MGT has been posting a lot of ideas on how to individualize their curriculum on their Facebook page.  One of the other MGT bloggers, Family Fun in Dexter, talks about taking the Letter Pointers with her when she is out and about, so the kids can go on letter hunts.  I am glad I am not the only one that likes to take my MGT on the road.  I have a Matching Game in my purse right now.  Now that we have discovered the fun of the workbooks, I will be packing them along with us as we go away for Thanksgiving weekend.  As well as a few days of curriculum.  We are going to a small cottage at the coast, with no TV, what better way to entertain ourselves if the weather is just too rainy to play in the sand. 

As I have said in previous posts, the past couple weeks have been pretty tough.  We have hit a rough patch with Lachlan we are working through.  It's been hard on me, not being able to get him interested in the lessons and go through our days as we have grown accustom. 

My biggest realization in this past week is that preschool doesn't have to look like a perfect schedule, starting your day with circle time, working through each lesson in order and then ending with circle time.  We have MGT displays all over our house, the kids interact with them and learn from them as they approach them through out the day.  When they do, I always take that as a hint to the fact that they are open to learning and exploring.  We usually sit at the table together for breakfast and lunch, if all else fails, we can take advantage of that time.  Even if we don't actually DO the activities or workbooks, we can have a discussion based on the discussion questions for the day. 

I guess I have always known this, it's not like our days have been perfectly scheduled, with school time and off time.  I guess I was just challenged on this even more the last couple weeks.  It was nice to use all the tools that MGT has armed me with to still find a way to incorporate learning in our day.  I think this is a perfect example of how Mother Goose Time can be individualized in so many ways.

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