Friday, February 26, 2010

Teaching Preschoolers About Friendship

Preschool seems to be the time when kids start making real friends. The experts say toddlers are too little to make real friends and a part of me believes that, but another part thinks that's not entirely true. However, I've seen both of my kids make true friends between the ages of 3 and 5.

I think it's important to teach kids exactly what friendship is on a level they understand. My son had to leave his best friend Diego when we moved from Florida to Missouri. This was hard on him, but we taught him that the memories he has of Diego would last his whole life. (The incident of when they both peed on our dog is the most talked about memory.) To do this we play the Memory Friend Game. This is a simple game that can be played during dinner. You simply name a friend you've had in life, and talk about all the memories you can remember, both good and bad.

Role playing is a great way to show kids what it's like to be a good friend. Preschool is the time when kids are still learning to share and not be bossy. By playing a game where you're the bossy friend, or the friend who doesn't like to share, you and your child can talk about why it's not fun to play with someone who doesn't act nicely while playing. You can then reverse the roles for more discussion and role playing.

I also like to make a "Why I Like...." list. For this my daughter picks a friend and then I write down all the attributes she likes about that friend. Then we take two different friends and see how they're alike and different. Then we talk about how you can have all different sorts of friends because everyone brings something different to your life. Her attributes are pretty basic right now. She likes her friends because they have pretty hair or because they have a pink sparkly bracelet, but it's a start to learning how to pick out good attributes in a person.

As my kids get older, we talk about respect and peer pressure. My 9-year old is currently learning about what it means to respect your friends and expect the same respect in return. He's also learning what it means to stand up for yourself and not be intimidated by someone just because they act a fool. I'm hoping that by teaching about friendship from a young age, my children will grow up with a good group of friends. Because when it comes down to it, there will come a point where their friends' opinions are more important than mom's and dad's opinion. Hopefully they'll make friends with the types of kids we'd choose for them to be friends with.

I think the thing that defines whether a person really understands friendship is not just knowing how to make a new friend, but how to maintain that relationship. Even though my closest friends and I have moved to different states, if I saw them tomorrow it would be like I'd just seen them yesterday. I'm hoping to teach my kids how to make and maintain lifelong friendships that stand the trials and tribulations that time brings. And if you're eventually sending your kids off to school, there's no better time to start teaching them about friendship than at home.

Friday, February 12, 2010

How to Make a Valentine Heart Flower

Today we made a valentine heart flower. It's so simple, and yet such a fun project too. I used it to reinforce the writing of the letter V and its sound. We are just about finished working with our letter sounds and are going to move on from sight words to phonics reading. Our current list of sight words include: A, An, And, The, It, Is. Soon we will be working on: In, On, Up, Boy, Girl

We will also be starting our Bob Books in March. Math is moving along nicely. She's definitely on a K level with math, but still a PK level with reading. But I do believe she's advanced in her computer skills. I can set her up on a website and she can navigate it all without any help. Her favorites are Starfall, PBS Kids, and Nick Jr.

Anyway, back to the craft. This is a quick craft and would work well for a large group.

Pink, red, green and a favorite color of construction paper
Glue stick
Tulle, felt, or cotton ball

Draw three hearts on both the pink and red paper. Cut out. Cut out a long rectangle from the green paper for a stem. Glue the stem onto your favorite color paper. Using the gluestick, overlap the hearts to create flower petals in a circular shape. We alternated the colors, but you could do one side red and one pink, or however you like. Glue a small piece of tulle, cotton, or felt to the center. Have your child write the letter V on the paper and review the sound it makes. Happy Homeschooling!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Free Magazine for Missouri Homeschoolers

If you live in the state of Missouri, there is a free magazine published by the Missouri Department of Conservation called XPLOR. This nature magazine is aimed at children, and I would say it's suitable for PK-5th or 6th grade. All you have to do is sign up at the website for your free copy.

We just received our first copy for Feb./Mar. and it's full of all kinds of neat stuff. To celebrate valentine's day, it talks about the different courting rituals of animals. It also has stories about how owls digest food, the edibility of dandelions, black bears, and a lot more little tid-bits of fun nature information. This is a great subscription to start if you're currently studying Missouri or plan on studying Missouri in the near future.

And if you're in a surrounding state that doesn't publish its own magazine, you can get a subscription to XPLOR for only $5, so that's fairly cheap. Happy Homeschooling!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

How To Make a Robot Valentines Box

Tonight we all worked on helping Gavin make his valentines box for school. He finally decided on a robot. We think it turned out really well. Here's the instructions for making your own robot valentine box.

1 large shoe box
1 small tissue box
Duct tape
2 mini slinkies (found at walmart in the party section)
2 soup or bean cans
4 mini kaleidoscopes (found at walmart in the party section)
heart stickers (came in the box of kids' valentines)
box cutter
black permanent marker

Start by wrapping both boxes in duct tape. Once that step is completed, start working on the head. Cut two eye holes a little smaller than the circumference of the kaleidoscopes. Push the kaleidoscopes into the holes for eyes. Gavin added heart stickers as the pupils. Then he drew on a face. Do the same thing on the sides of the tissue box for the knob ears.

Next, work on the body. First we cut a slit for the valentines in the center of the stomach and wrote INPUT HERE with a small arrow. Then we cut circles a little smaller than the circumference of the bean cans. We then stuffed the cans into the holes for legs. We then drilled a small hole into the sides of the shoe box and threaded the slinkies through the holes for arms. Gavin then decorated the body of his box with more stickers.

Finally, using more duct tape we attached the head to the body. There is one piece of duct tape on each side of the head and two pieces in the back. And that's how we made our robot valentines box. Happy homeschooling!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Young Adults Have Disturbing Ideas About Homeschooling

I've never been one to care about whether or not someone approves of homeschooling. If they're not paying my bills or supporting my family, they can stick their opinions wherever they want. But I always find it interesting to hear different opinions and the reasoning behind them. The opinions usually come fast and hard, but the reasoning is usually like "Well, uh...."

My friend who has the blog SAHMville posted an account of what happened when her husband asked a group of college students their thoughts on homeschooling. Now keep in mind these are the opinions of very young adults, late teens and early twenties. And this is a small sample in little ole' southeast Missouri. But it's disheartening to hear so many young people feel that homeschooling should be illegal. Didn't we already determine that parents can do just as well (if not better) at teaching their kids as any school system? This is just a reminder (or a slap in the face depending on how you take it) that the fight for educational choice will never end.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Visit My New Blog

I have a new blog in the works. It's called Our Money Saving Ways and can be found HERE. It's not homeschool related, but I know that many homeschoolers are interested in saving money. This blog will follow my family as we utilize certain techniques and practices to save money on everyday things. This isn't one of those get your groceries for .50 type blogs or anything like that. I think of it more as a blog that shows how we live comfortably on one and a half incomes (I work p/t from home). I hope you'll visit and share how you save money.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Valentines Day Card Boxes

Today we went over to a friend's house and worked on our Valentines Day card boxes. We've recently become acquainted with a family across the street who is also homeschooling preschoolers. I thought it would be fun if the girls got together and made Valentine boxes. Avlyn likes to make one because her brother makes them for school parties each year. And his school goes all out with some of the designs. We're talking a three story castle with a working drawbridge that the valentines fall out of. None of these staple two paper plates together, draw a heart, and write your name on it like they did when I was in school. So in lieu of all the valentine box excitement at the local elementary school,the tradition of making Valentine's Day boxes was born.

She's still at that age where she doesn't have a concrete idea for her box. She just wants to attack it with glue, glitter, paint, paper, and whatever else I give her. She wants it pretty and sparkly and for it to have her name on it, but that's about it. Her brother is working on turning a shoebox and a tissue box into a robot. I'll post pics and directions for that box when he's finished.

We started by taking a smaller-sized shoebox and covering the top with red paper. She then decorated it with pipe cleaners, stickers, paint pens, confetti, and crayons. She drew her name on the top and attached a 3-D heart made out of a craft stick and pipe cleaner. Here's the end product:

Her box has a flip top lid to add cards and goodies. Last year we used a regular shoebox with a full lid and just cut a slit in the top for the Valentine cards. We use the boxes to put Valentine goodies in for Valentines day and to keep any cards from friends organized. Next week we are having a small valentines party with the girls across the street, and will be filling up the boxes with all sorts of fun stuff. Happy Homeschooling!