Early Learning Activities for Homeschooling Preschool


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Summary:  How to teach early learning and literacy skills to preschoolers, both typical and gifted/2e or special needs.  Activities to teach early reading skills to toddlers and preschoolers. These early learning activities are good for homeschooling preschool curriculum and for care givers in any preschool setting, plus parents at home, too.


Are you looking for ways to encourage your kids's early learning?  Did you know that dictation and simple writing activities can help further early reading skills?

Today, I am not talking about handwriting, per se, and learning how to form the letters.  Instead, I am looking at helping your kids to express themselves with the written word.  

By that I mean, choosing words to write down, or dictate to you, about something that they are interested in.  And to see their words put into writing...Kids can start doing this before they even know how to write their letters.

When my 2e daughter was young, we used a variety of ways, to help her put words on the page.  We found the best ways to inspire my little writer were the simple ones.  The simpler the better.  

My daughter just graduated college and still loves to write.  This came in handy with all the essays, research reports, and so forth that they ask of college students these days.

But she learned to love writing, starting when she began to color and paint, before she knew her ABC's.  How could that be?  It all started with her art, when she was a toddler actually.

Putting Words on Art

That's because we always wrote a sentence or two on her art creations.  I would ask her to tell me about the picture.  Then I would write her words on the edge of her paper for her.  She loved that!  Seeing her sentence there, as I read it back to her.  She felt proud.  And she was learning the meaning of the written word....with her words, that she dictated to me.

The News of the Day

Then, in K or 1st, or so, we began using wide lined paper, with a large space for coloring above the wide lines for writing.  You know the kind we all used in public school as kids, right?  

We called it "the news of the day.  I would ask my daughter to draw something about her day, or a favorite thing that she had seen recently. 

Then she would tell me about her picture.  

At first, I would write the words that she dictated to me for her. Then I wrote them down on another piece of paper for her to copy, as she learned her letters  But she always chose the words herself. 

These simple approaches were important first steps in developing early writing skills. Choosing her own words, seeing them in writing and connecting the two is an important first step in early literacy.  

As she learned how to form her letters, she began to write them directly on the page. We wrote everyday, usually... but sometimes there was just no news to write about.  
Sometimes we really ran out of ideas.  We hit, what we adults would call a writer's block, lol.

Resources for Little Writers

I looked around and found a little gem of a book called Collaborative Books for Young Writers by Scholastic.

Collaborative Books for Young Writers
It included 25 printables, with a topic, illustration, and a place for little ones to write their words.  Each one has a different theme. And all of them were designed for early learners.....

Topics include Tooth Tales, The Pet Journal, The Suitcase Book, Magical Mail, and 21 more.  

How we used this book:

We selected a printable, and gave the pages to my daughter to color, cut, and enjoy.  Then she dictated her words to me, or later,  wrote her own words to go with the chosen printable.  

I helped my 2e daughter when she asked me questions, but did not correct the grammar, or look for neat handwriting at all.  This activity was all about expressing herself, and feeling proud of her words.  And as a child who thought she needed to know everything before she had a chance to learn it, well, letting grammar go early on was key!

Refining things with spelling, grammar, and legible handwriting would come.....later.

My daughter loved dictating her words to me!  Each printable was designed to be made into a two page book, with a simple title page, where your child can write his own name as the author.  

birthday book page for betsy's review
And he or she is an author!  They are authors of their little books!  Making these little books not only inspires young writers, they also teach your little ones the parts of a book, which is key to early literacy.  Click here to read more.....

Where do you turn when you are looking for writing ideas for your young learners?  I love reading your comments.  What do your little ones like to write about?

The iHomeschool Network is doing a blog hop this week on how to creatively homeschool.  To reach all the other creative posts click here.


Thanks for stopping by BJ's Homeschool,

Betsy 


Betsy is a former O.T, preschool teacher and published author of children's stories.  She is mom to her 2e college grad whom she homeschooled through high school.  She blogs at BJ's Homeschool about the early yearshigh schoolcollegeand is the author of "Homeschooling High School with College in Mind".  She offers homeschool help through messages at BJ's Consulting.

Want to stay in touch?

This post was shared on my favorite linkups here.
Copyright, 2018, All Rights Reserved



This post is linked to some of my favorite blog hops here.

Encourage your LIttlest Author


Welcome!  I am so glad that you are here.  I invite your to connect with me through comments and on  




Are you looking for ways to encourage your kids' writing skills? 

Today, I am not talking about handwriting, per se, and learning how to form the letters.  Instead, I am looking at helping your kids to express themselves with the written word.  

By that I mean, choosing words to write down, or dictate to you, about something that they are interested in.  And to see their words put into writing...

Kids can start doing this before they even know how to write their letters! 

When my daughter was young, we tried a variety of ways, to help her put words on the page.  We found the best ways to inspire my little writer, were the simple ones.  The simplier the better.  

My daughter is in college now, as a newbie freshman, and she loves to write!  This comes in handy with all the essays, research reports, and so forth that they ask of college students these days.





But she learned to love writing, starting when she began to color and paint, before she knew her ABC's.  

How could that be?  It all started with her art, when she was a preschooler.

Putting Words on Artwork

That's because we always wrote a sentence or two on her art creations.  I would ask her to tell me about the picture.  Then I would write her words on the edge of her paper for her.  She loved that!  Seeing her sentence there, as I read it back to her.  She felt proud.  And she was learning the meaning of the written word....with her words, that she dictated to me.

The News of the Day

Then, in K or 1st, or so, we began using wide lined paper, with a space for coloring. We called it "the news of the day.  I would ask my daughter to draw something about her day, or a favorite thing that she had seen recently. 

Then she would tell me about her picture.  At first, I would write the words that she dictated to me for her.  Then I wrote them down on another piece of paper for her to copy, as she learned her letters  But she always chose the words herself. 

These simple approaches were important first steps in developing early writing skills. Choosing her own words showed that she was using the written word to express herself, an important part of early literacy.  

As she learned how to form her letters, she began to write them directly on the page. 

We wrote everyday, usually... but sometimes there was just no news to write about.  Sometimes we really ran out of ideas.  We hit, what adults would call a writer's block.


My favorite Resources for Early Writers



I looked around and found a little gem of a book called 
Collaborative Books for Young Writers by Scholastic.

Collaborative Books for Young Writers

It included 25 printables, with a topic, illustration, and a place for little ones to write their words.  Each one has a different theme. And all of them were designed for early learners.....

Topics include Tooth Tales, The Pet Journal, The Suitcase Book, Magical Mail, and 21 more.  


second page for birthday book for betsy's review


How we used this book - We selected a printable, and gave the pages to my daughter to color, cut, and enjoy.  Then she dictated her words to me, or later,  wrote her own words to go with the chosen printable.  

I helped my daughter when she asked me questions, but did not correct the grammar, or look for neat handwriting, as this activity was all about expressing herself, and feeling proud of her words.  Refining things with spelling, grammar, and legible handwriting would come....much later.


My daughter loved dictating her words to me!  Each printable was designed to be made into a two page book, with a simple title page, where your child can write his own name as the author.  

birthday book page for betsy's review


And he or she is an author!  They are authors of their little books!  Making these little books not only inspires young writers, they also teach your little ones the parts of a book, which is key to early literacy.

Click here to read more.....

Where do you turn when you are looking for writing ideas for your young learners?  I love reading your comments.  What do your little ones like to write about?

The iHomeschool Network is doing a blog hop this week on how to creatively homeschool.  To reach all the other creative posts click here.




Thanks for stopping by BJ's Homeschool,

Betsy


Betsy is mom to her now rising college senior, whom she homeschooled from preK through high school.  She blogs at BJ's Homeschool, about the early yearshigh school & college and wrote - Homeschooling High School with College in Mind.   She offers free homeschool help through messages at BJ's Consulting


Want to stay in touch?

This post was shared on my favorite linkups here.
Copyright, 2018, All Rights Reserved



This post is linked to some of my favorite blog hops here.

Book Making for Little Homeschoolers - Preschool through Elementary




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Do you have a little writer in your family?  

When my daughter was little, she loved to tell stories and enjoyed make believe, dressing up in costumes, and creating stories with her stuffed animals.  I wanted to find a way that she could do that, with a simple book making activity.

She was just learning what written words meant, and loved following along during our story times, but she was not yet ready to put the words on the page herself.  She enjoyed describing her artwork to me, and loved it when I wrote her words for her, on the paper. 

Today, I'd like to share how we made our simple books, discussing:

- Setting up the pages
- Encouraging your child to write their own story
- Doing each page, using a sample story

- Early literacy skills that your child will be learning

But first let's look at why....

Why We Did This Project

I decided to try some very simple bookmaking with her, to allow her to dictate a story to me, and create a small book, where she was the author.   While making these little books, my daughter could see how her own words could be put together to make a book.

That was so exciting to her!  She felt so important, being an author.  
This project is not a fancy one, it is very simple, but at the same time, it is a perfect introduction to creative writing for your little one!

Supplies Needed

To do this project, all it took was one piece of construction paper, and some crayons!  With that, my daughter made many simple books, full of three part stories...each with a beginning, middle and an ending.  She was learning the components of a story just by making them.

This simple booking activity can be done with any age child, one helping the other, or with each making their very own book.  This format can be helpful for older writers, too, if  they want to do some creative writing ,and don't want the stress of sitting at the computer, facing a blank page!  



To get started, let's talk about:

1.  Setting up the Pages

Supplies needed: Only one sheet of construction paper, crayons, felt pens or colored pencils,  stickers optional.

To start, just fold one piece of construction paper in half.  Folding the paper, you will then have spaces for page 1 and page 2....



Then the back of page 2....becomes page 3, and that is all that is needed for a three part story!  We always wrote 'The End" on the last page, which my daughter could do with help.


Then the back of page 1, became the Title page.   

That was such an important part of the book, as my daughter's name went there as the author!  At the same time, she was learning all about title pages.



With this simple format, I helped my daughter to create simple stories, with a beginning, a middle and an end, while learning early literacy skills. 

Next, here are some tips to help.... 

2.  Encourage Your Child to Write Their Own Story  

The fun of this project is that you can get your child to create their own story, with a beginning, middle and an ending.  Those are the three main parts of any short story!

The trick is to ask open ended questions.  Here is an example of a story that I helped my daughter to create.  I wrote the words for her, as I wanted her to focus on creating the words, not struggling to figure out how to write them.  

Of course, for more advanced kiddos you could have them write their own words, but I would have them dictate them to you first. That way they can focus on creating their story, and then they could re-copy their words afterwards.

So next, let's look at how we did this, using a story that my daughter wrote.  Note - We did not emphasize neatness, instead creativity.  This is a real story done by my little one.

3.  Sample Story

Title: FLOWERS DANCING ON THE ROAD
Page 1 

These are my daughter's words.

----How to help your child with page 1:

1.  Ask your child to draw something on the top half of page 1.  .....Anything.  

2.  Ask open ended questions about the drawing, to get her to talk about her picture.

3. Write the words for your child, or turn it into copywork, depending on their skill level.  The important thing is that they are using their own words.  



 FLOWERS DANCING ON THE ROAD
Page 2 

Ask "What's next?"


Again, these are my child's own words.


----How to help your child with page 2:

Page 2 will be the middle of the story.  Start by asking your child..."What happens next?" 

Give a suggestion or two to get her started...Then have them draw again.... to illustrate their words.  

Now it's time to end the story.....  


FLOWERS DANCING ON THE ROAD
Page 3
The Ending


----How to help your child with page 3:

Next, turn to the back page, (the other side of page 2) & ask:
"What would happen next?" or "How does your story end?"

 This usually takes some discussion.  Then add their words to the page, ask for another picture, and have your child write "the end" below it.  

Now your child has not only written their very own very short story, they have also learned that stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end! 

Finally it's time for the Title Page....


FLOWERS DANCING ON THE ROAD

Title Page


----How to help your child with the Title Page:

Just turn page 1 over, and that will become their title page.
Help your little one decide on a title. We always did the title page last, as by then, my daughter usually had a title for her story. Giving suggestions helped, too.

Now, here's my daughter's favorite part....Have your child write their name, as the author and also for the illustrator.  What better way to learn what author and illustrator means!

My little one loved making these books so much that she wanted to do it again, and again, and meanwhile, she was learning lots of...... 

4.  Early Literacy Skills

What I love about this activity was that my daughter was learning early literacy skills, hands-on.  She was learning:

1.  The components of a book, including about the title page, with  places for the author and illustrator.

2. That stories are made up of three parts, the beginning, middle and end, and what theses three parts mean.

3.  That written words have a purpose, as they see their story come to life.

And when our precious little ones write their own stories, they are also learning that their own words are important. 

The confidence that my daughter built by making these simple books was priceless.  I would so enjoy seeing your children's books!  I am working on a way to let readers post on my facebook page at BJ's Homeschool.  




Thanks for stopping by BJ's Homeschool,

Betsy



Betsy is mom to her college grad whom she homeschooled from preK through high school.  She blogs at BJ's Homeschool about the early yearshigh schoolcollegeand is the author of "Homeschooling High School with College in Mind".  She offers homeschool help through messages at BJ's Consulting.

Want to stay in touch?

This post was shared on my favorite linkups here.
Copyright, 2018, All Rights Reserved

Develop Hand Strength with Homeschool Clay Activities



Welcome!  We are glad that you are here!  I invite you to follow me on Pinterest, G+, Facebook and Subscribe to BJ's Homeschool.




Summary:  Resources and tips for homeschoolers for strengthening the hand, wrist and fingers for good handwriting development.  Homeschool handwriting curriculum for hand strengthening, an important component for the development of good handwriting.   


Do you have a child who struggles with handwriting?  

Sometimes it can be due to fine motor coordination difficulties.  But sometimes it is not and is an issue of hand, wrist and finger strength.  

Good wrist strength is as essential for handwriting as finger coordination is.  Both are important.  Today I'd like to share a resource that we have found for strengthening the wrist and hand muscles, through clay art.


Clay Fun Art by Oak Meadow - Review at The Curriculum Choice
Clay Fun is a little book from Oak Meadow Homeschool Publishers, full of creative easy-to-do projects, which only require playdough or clay.

We got our clay from a local grocery/drug store, in the toy department.  

My daughter enjoyed making a all of the projects described in this book. And it helped build her hand and finger muscle strength.

There are over 20 easy to do, fun clay projects in this book.  The projects may be acceptable to teens, too.

I liked how each project included easy to follow, step by step directions.  It could easily be done independently, depending on the age of the child.

It can easily become a family project! Your homeschool could take a Clay Fun break in the afternoons.

photo credit - Oak Meadow

One fall, my daughter enjoyed making their Cornucopia project as pictured below.


Benefits:

Rolling the clay out for this project is great for strengthening the wrist muscles.

And shaping the pumpkin and the other veggies for the cornucopia is super for building up the finger muscles.


Another simple project included was their Bunny Egg Bank, which was great for not only building up wrist strength, but also finger strength, too.

Photo Credit - Oak Meadow
Benefits:

Making the pinch pots for this project is great for strengthening the finger muscles needed for a mature grasp.

Clay Fun is all about having fun working with clay, while building up the wrist and finger muscles for handwriting. 

For more information on Clay Fun, please click here to read the rest of my review of this helpful resource.

Thanks for stopping by BJ's Homeschool,


Betsy


Betsy is a former O.T, veteran homeschooler and now mom to her college grad, whom she homeschooled from preK through high school.  She blogs at BJ's Homeschool, about the early yearshigh schoolcollegegifted/2e and wrote - Homeschooling High School with College in Mind.   She offers free homeschool help through messages at BJ's Consulting


Want to stay in touch?

Subscribe, Pinterest, G+, Facebook 



Just click here.


This post was shared on my favorite linkups here.
Copyright, 2018, All Rights Reserved

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