Display Boards for whole family learning

whole family learning | hands-on learning | Tapestry of Grace

We’ve had so much fun with display boards recently that I just had to give you a peek at the action. As part of our Tapestry of Grace curriculum, we’ve been learning about the cultures and people of ancient Palestine during the time of King Saul, King David, and King Solomon. I love doing as much of our learning together as we can, so I assigned both of the older kids this display board project for their writing assignment. Immediately, they were all on board.

Preparation for the Display Boards

My preparation, overall, wasn’t bad. I printed off the Teacher Notes from our curriculum and highlighted the portions for them to read through for the writing part of the assignment, picked some images to print from Google images, and picked up some display board supplies at our local supply store. Each child picked their board, including Littlest, my preschooler. He wanted in on the action, and I figured getting him his own poster board would keep him from “participating” in the other kids’ projects in ways they would not prefer.

Directions for the Display Boards

We chose four cultures that had the most information available: Canaanites, Hittites, Philistines, and Phoenicians. And I gave them 3 weeks to work on it.

whole family learning | hands-on learning | Tapestry of Grace | display boards

For my fifth grader, I assigned a paragraph for each culture. Other than providing his materials and showing him a few sample projects, I really did not do much more for him. He likes his independence.

For my third grader, I only required a couple of sentences for each culture. Because of her skill level and dyslexia, I helped her quite a bit more. I read the information to her rather than have her read it, and she used a new favorite app of ours to write her sentences. (Dyslexia Aid allows her to speak her sentence into the app, and it gives her the text for her to copy into her projects.)

whole family learning | hands-on learning | Tapestry of Grace | display boards

dyslexia app | dyslexia aids for writing

For my preschooler, I gave him permission to use any left-over photos the big kids were not using. He got his glue stick and scissors and went to town. I love it! The red scribbles are his map of Palestine.

whole family learning | hands-on learning | Tapestry of Grace | display boards | preschool

In Love with Display Boards

Seriously, we are in love with display boards, and I keep asking myself why I haven’t tried this sooner. My daughter has already asked about a hundred times if she can make another one. And it was an easy way to incorporate everyone at their own skill levels, interacting with the same information, which after all, is why I love Tapestry of Grace to begin with. I love whole family learning, and I love getting to put that learning on display.

Preschool Curriculum for Homeschool: a plan for playful learning

Preschool Curriculum | homeschool preschool

It feels as though my Littlest should still be pulling tupperware out of my kitchen cabinets and beating on pots and pans while the olders do school. (Although I’m not entirely sure he won’t be doing exactly that. Ahem.) But the baby of the family is feeling the urge to grow up. He’s begging to do school with his brother and sister, wanting his own lessons and supplies, and pretending to read whenever he can. I’ve let him set the pace and started with some preschool activities.

Still, this year will be focused mostly on playful learning, putting learning in front of him in a lot of different forms of play and seeing how motivated he is. My preschool learning goals for him are very fluid: learn to count and recognize numbers as high as he can; learn the alphabet and sounds; love to learn!

So my preschool plans and resources come with this disclaimer: we may or may not use everything and/or finish our books. And I’m okay with that. When he’s ready, he will take off. But right now, he needs to play. And I’m always so surprised by what a preschooler can learn when you least expect it. They are “ninja” learners. 

Our pace for preschool is very relaxed; we get out the activities when he asks to do them. Usually, he chooses at least one activity everyday, and we get through all of our preschool lessons about 2-3 days out of the week, which is plenty! I’m not planning on starting the Foundations textbook until January, and even then, I’m taking it very slowly. Whatever we have left, we will finish next year along with the level B book for kindergarten.

I really do love this stage, where “school” is playful and fun and creative and colorful. I’ll miss these days. I may just have to pre-homeschool someone else’s kid when mine have outgrown all this. I’ll need the excuse to keep playing with counting bears.

Demolition

Middlest has officially moved beyond her ABCs and the dear Chicka Boom tree. I asked her if it was time to take it down, and she agreed. She’s a big girl now, folks. So, I enlisted their help to prep the school room for next school year. They are both so excited, and I am too. We have sooo much to do to get ready. It’s a little overwhelming. But I’ve got some great helpers, and it will totally be worth it after the transformation.

Prek school room

Prek school room

Taking down the tree did leave a big bare spot in our room, however. And I’m still brainstorming what ought to go in its place. Any suggestions?

Read-Aloud Raves: The Turn-Around Upside-Down Alphabet Book

The other day, I actually had the rare privilege of a library trip all by myself (well, sort of all by myself; the littlest tagged along, of course.) Naturally, I planned on picking up a few books for the kids. Once I got there, however, I had this overwhelming sense of—being overwhelmed! Where was I going to start? How on earth was I going to choose?

In the end, I stumbled upon some really cool finds, and I wanted to share my treasures with each of you, then let you comment with a few suggestions for me!

My first book to rave about is The Turn-Around Upside Down Alphabet Book that I picked up for Middle-est. It totally appealed to her artistic, kinesthetic learning style. Each letter of the alphabet is captioned on all four sides, describing a different picture that the letter makes. Hard to describe, which is why I took pictures.

 

 

This book is an absolute blast! It won’t be replacing her all time favorite (Chicka Chicka Boom Boom), but it was a fun alternative for our preschool learning.

…Now I know my ABCs

Little One has wrapped up the alphabet. And in celebration of her success, I made a notebook of her letter papers that she has done through the year.

For my birthday, I asked for a binding machine, and I’ve already had such a blast using it! In addition to this notebook for my daughter, I also made a sermon notebook for my son and re-bound one of his books that had come apart. Of course, I have many more projects in mind for this new toy as well, so stay tuned.

Most of her book are the coloring pages and dot pages that we have worked on from Erica’s Letter of the Week material, with a few other pages and projects sprinkled in among them. At the back, I’ve added a few of her number pages that she has worked on, and at the front I included her end of the year assessments (again from Erica’s blog).

My official K4-er

And, in honor of my daughter’s absolute favorite book and a core resource for this year, I made a copy of the Chicka Chicka Boom Boom cover and pasted her name down at the bottom as the author.

 

So this officially marks the end of her preschool year. Next stop: K4!

(And just so you get a complete picture of our new school arrangement, the baby was crying his head off the entire time I was putting this book together, with big sister trying her best to keep the pacifier stuffed in his mouth.)

Preschool Letter and Number Assessments

I like to have official assessments for my kids, even though I often have a very good idea of what they know before we sit down to assess. My main reason for doing them is just to have my kids used to being tested and assessed so that it is never a cause for fear or trepidation when they are older.

So, when the little one wrapped up letter “Z”, I pulled out my fun Chicka Boom Tree assessments and some stampers (like these). The first time I used these assessments with my son, I admit I was at a total loss as to how to use them, and I made the whole ordeal much more complicated than it needed to be. This time, though, I just relaxed and let her tell me what she knew. She chose which letter to do each time, told me the name and sound of the letter, then stamped it before choosing another letter. It went very smoothly.

 

For the numbers, I once again handed her the stamp and sat back to see what she knew. She found each number in order as she counted, up to twelve and then got stumped. I praised her, put the stamp away, and then we finished counting the numbers together.

Her end-of-the-year preschool accomplishments:

  • She can identify all her letters and sounds for capital and little letters.
  • She can identify her numbers up to 12 and can count to 20 unassisted.
  • She can count to 100 when assisted with the tens (20, 30, 40, etc.—she gets stumped at these transitions).
  • She knows her colors and the names of basic shapes.
  • She has lots of fun memories and can’t wait to start reading.

And if nothing else, that last accomplishment tells me we’ve had a very successful year.