Posts Tagged ‘preschool’

Home Pre-School Kicks Off Again

July 31, 2012

Possum is 6 years and 2 months
Bandicoot is 4 years old
Little Princess is 1 year and 7 months (19 months)

With all that has been going on in Possum’s life lately, I have been thinking about homeschooling more and more, as you no doubt have realised.  Amongst these thoughts, I have remembered some of the things we did a couple of years ago when Possum was roughly Bandicoot’s age.  I have also been feeling a bit bad for Bandicoot, because things have not been as much fun for him as I would like.

So I had a bit of a rummage and have started to do some homeschooling of the two littles, based on Sonlight curriculum.

On Mondays and Fridays Bandicoot goes to preschool, so on those days Little Princess and I are working through the P3/4 curriculum.  On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays we all work together on the P4/5 curriculum.  Or sort of.

I know someone has probably worked out the order of the readings for a reason, but it annoys me, jumping all over a book.  Bandicoot seems to have issue with this as well.  Therefore we are changing it a little bit.

I am working through the books in the same order as the curriculum suggests, however, I am reading the books from start to finish, not out of published order.  I am also not reading so many books at the same time.

Last week was our first week.  We started on Tuesday.  Our readings during the week included:
The Lion Storyteller Bedtime Book – 2 stories
Eric Carle’s Animals Animals – up to page 19
The Berenstein Bears’ Big Book of Science and Nature – winter and snow
Things People Do – up to page 9


We have also been reading lots of books from The Premier’s Reading Challenge booklist.

I have been surprised.  My two little ones are language people.  In fact, when Bandicoot was born, with his first breath he talked, he didn’t cry like a normal newborn.  With the two of them at home together there is not a quiet moment.  Possum didn’t have a problem with language, but he has always been a quieter person.

Possum, however, has always found poetry in any form (except song) tedious.  Bandiccot and Little Princess love it.  When ever I start reading it, they beg for more, whether it be more pages in a book, or to read the same book over and over.  I have to admit that I am enjoying it (and probably improving in the way I read it!).  At school I always loved poetry.  I used to write masses of it, too.  In recent times I have also found it hard going.  I am particularly enjoying the rhythm of the language.

My plan is to try and read about 4 stories, 4 nursery rhymes, 4 poems, one science and one social science and one memory verse per week from P4/5 and 4 readings from P3/4 each week.  This will be tempered by many things, not excluding time restraints.  One of the main limiters, however, will be how many books the kids choose from other parts of our bookshelf.  I don’t mind if that happens – at the moment I really just want to (re)establish the discipline of reading books together every day.  (That is in addition to the 47 books they seem to get us to read to them every night!)

Little Princess and I managed to carve out reading time again today.  Some of our readings included A Boy, A Dog and A Frog, (which we loved); Freight Train (the perennial favourite in this house) and My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes.


Tomorrow is Possum’s school sports carnival, so we will be spending the morning at the park.  Hopefully we will have the energy to do some reading as well.

Bandicoot Starts School

December 9, 2011

Possum is 5 years 7 months

Bandicoot is 3 years 5 months

Little Princess is 11 months


Bandicoot will be starting Kindy (preschool) next year.  Just as Possum leaves, Bandicoot will start.  The director of the Kindy has given us a couple of half days this year so that he can get a little used to it.

Today was his first day *sniff*

Here are some of the shots:


Here are my three cheeky monkeys supporting each other (and their parents!) through another milestone.

IMG_2110            IMG_2111

The compulsory “Okay, we’re off now” shots.  I remember posing for these kind of photos when I was a child, too.  (Today was also a school day for Possum, so they went along together).

IMG_2113                     IMG_2114

And with the school sign.  Poor little Bandicoot is looking a little nervous in that last one, isn’t he?

But what a brave boy he was!  No tears at all.  Hardly any fuss when we dropped him off.  He said he didn’t want to go, but only once or twice.  When I picked him up, he looked a little sad until he saw me, but he told me he had had a good time.  It took months before Possum reached that stage!

We will see how he goes when Possum isn’t there, ‘though.



And just for old times sake, this was January 2010…

 IMG_7334  IMG_7337  IMG_7338


Craft School…

July 25, 2011


Possum is 5 years and 2 months

Bandicoot is 3 years

Little Princess is 6 months


Homeschool is taking a new turn this week.  We have been working away on alphabet based studies and activities but I think we have reached burn out on them at the moment.  What is the point of preschool if it is no fun?

So, after much grumbling about “R is for Rainbow” (I was trying to wish away a week of heavy rain), I had a rethink.

Our life is steeped in Octonauts at the moment.  The boys love anything undersea (what a good thing we took a yearly membership to the Aquarium!)  So, I decided, how about a bit of undersea fun?

I had planned to make some undersea creatures, and to make a back drop using multiple painting methods on a sheet of cardboard.  Really, what is more fun than that?  Well, it appears, running around the craft supply shop purchasing lots of items once they catch wind of what Mummy is up to!

That was one awfully expensive sheet of cardboard!

The boys are completely inspired, ‘though, and I was impressed with some of the ideas that they had.  (I even got a couple of ideas to put in my “craft for playgroup” folder.)

And, as for my now 5yo who has very little interest in fine motor activities at preschool – well he has had a blast today using a hot-glue gun (Mummy hovering and trying not to freak out) to make a pom-pom stingray.

Some Other Garden Games

November 24, 2010

Possum is 4 years 6 months

Bandicoot is 2 years 4 months

Here are a few of the miscellaneous activities we have had with the garden unit.  They aren’t really tied to a particular book or week, but are some that the boys have enjoyed.

These are pasta flower math mats.   The idea is to take turns rolling the die and you get to put that many "flowers" on the stems on your mat.

I struck a few problems with this:

  • I couldn’t find fiori pasta anywhere!  What gives?  Eventually I found some wheel shaped pasta.
  • I forgot the pasta while I was tinting it, so it all went soft. (Oops.)
  • The timbales where a little big, making it a bit awkward for little fingers to place them on the mat, as there wasn’t much room in between the stems.

All those problems, of course, could be solved by using something else for the flowers (pictures, buttons etc).

  • There are a LOT of stems on a page for Possum, and ridiculously too many for Bandicoot’s attention span.  (Solved by having them complete a sheet together.)
  • Oh, and Bandicoot can’t count, but he still had fun.

These are flower attribute cards.  They can be sorted by colour or by flower size.  I found them here.

Or of course, you could plant them in playdough and make a beautiful flower garden.

Eddie’s Garden

November 6, 2010

Possum is 4 years 6 months

Bandicoot is 2 years 4 months

Reading "Eddie’s Garden" by Sarah Garland with the boys gave us a great opportunity to get out of the house again – always a nice thing to do as the weather warms up in the Spring time.

This is quite a long book with a complex story line, especially for Bandicoot, and it had been suggested to me that we could read it almost as a chapter book over a few days.  However, the boys were not having that!  They wanted it read to them complete and more than once, too.

It is the lovely story of a boy, his little sister and his Mum planting a garden.  They discuss what to grow, purchase the items they need, prepare and plant, tend the garden, harvest and have a picnic in the yard.  The pictures are a lot like real life, too – dirt, random diggings, immature plants dug up etc.  I think the boys could really relate to the goings-on in the book.

And, this followed quite nicely from "Pumpkin Day", too, as Eddie’s little sister, with a great lesson in patience, grows a pumpkin which the family make into a pumpkin pie for their picnic.

Another lovely thing that the children in the story did was build a bean tee-pee.  They planted beans in a circle, leaving a space for an entrance and staked the planted to join in the middle, making a tent. I thought that this would be a fun thing to do, perhaps with sunflowers…

But in the meantime, it was time to return to one of our favourite play things –SEEDS!  We had lots of new activities this time.



First we sorted different kinds of seeds into ice cube trays…






The idea had been to use tweezers to do this…





…but fingers were a bit easier (I love this picture of Bandicoot’s fingers!)





Actually sorting the the seeds was a bit too much for Bandicoot, but he enjoyed transferring them back and forth.



It was a different matter for Possum:

He even enjoyed discussing the different seeds – identifying them, discussing their attributes and those of the plants into which they grow.  I was very impressed!  It was interesting that evening when DH came home and stepped on a rogue seed on the floor.  "What’s this?" he asked.  "A beetroot seed, Daddy" answered Possum.  DH laughed but indeed it was.  (And if you are interested, that seed in the second compartment from the left is a betroot seed.)

After we finished sorting seeds, Possum extended the activity by counting the different ones on a 10 x 10 grid.  (Apparently this does all sorts of things like introducing base 10, working on fine motor skills, developing concentration etc etc.  Or you might just consider it fun…)

And then, once you are finished playing with all those seeds, what do you do to keep them from making a terrible mess from then after?  COLLAGE!!!

Possum decided to make a dinosaur, and he used puffy paint for the legs and spikes.

When we went out into the garden, we did a fun, quiet time activity.  I didn’t anticipate how hard it would be to get the boys engaged in it, but once they were, they really enjoyed it.

First we sat very quietly with our eyes closed and listened.  We discussed what sounds we could hear – insects, traffic, a lawn mower, the wind in the trees…

Then we lay on our backs and looked up to see what we could see – clouds, blue sky, aeroplane, trees, birds…

Then we used magnifying glasses to look into the grass.  We looked at the different blades of grass, at the creatures living in the grass, at the weeds, at the dirt (yeah, that bit was a hit!)

After that we went and drew some nature journal pictures.  They didn’t complete the sheets quite the way I had planned, but they completed them in their own spirit of the activity, so that is enough for this teacher.

This is Possum’s.  He drew a big gum tree.  The roots go all the way down into the ground to drink the water.  He also drew a rain storm (it had been raining a lot just before we did this activity.)  Finally he drew a butterfly.

This is Bandicoot’s.  He drew lots of grass and lots of rain.  Then he asked me to draw him an ant, a bee and a butterfly.  He coloured in the butterfly, but was content to leave the others.

Finally, as an extra activity, I pulled out this game.

It is a perennial favourite around here.  The boys will play it over and over again, and they love playing it together, too, which is always a bonus.

Oh, I do love to be beside the seaside! (Picture heavy)

October 16, 2010

Possum is 4 years 5 months

Bandicoot is 2 years 3 months

The beginning of October saw us taking a break from our Garden Unit as we spent a two week family holiday at the beach.

I had been excessively enthusiastic preparing materials and activities for this break – who doesn’t get excited about a beach holiday in Spring time?  As it happens, this was not in vain…  Of the two weeks we were away, we only had three "beach" days!

Here are some of the activities that we did:

This was the activity table we had set up.  I was so excited to have the space to actually set up a table like this.  Looking around the table, this is what is displayed:

  • Sea-shell mandalas to colour (the boys ended up not doing this, but I sure enjoyed it!)
  • Our ice-cream shop (We had planned this as our holiday location had a fantastic gelato shop.)
  • Bottle-top fishing
  • Sand playdough
  • Wind-up fishing game
  • Sealife sticker album
  • Teddy bear foamies (I had thought that they would like to do this with their big cousins, but we didn’t end up using them.)
  • Umbrella poke (also unused and ready to pull out one day in summer)
  • Sea-shell counting
  • Sea creature gems

So here we go with the adventures!

This was another idea I had.  I had seen it on quite a few sites, mostly with Montessori influence.  Unfortunately, Possum was not interested in the closed-end nature of the activity (although he had been very excited to learn it involved marbles).  He only did it once.

THIS, however, was a WINNER.  Amazing what you can get for just a few dollars, sometimes.  Both weeks of the holiday were spent at places known for fishing, and Possum especially had been very excited to give it a go.  They had new rods and all sorts of goodies – just no weather to do it in.  (And all the rain was making the run of the fish in the rivers unpredictable.)  This game was played until it fell apart.  Then we bought a baby size screw driver, fixed it, and it was played some more!

Fishing with Nana (my Mum)

Possum catches a fish…  And so does Bandicoot!

Here is one that Bandicoot loved.  He kept coming back to it time and again:

The idea was that they could sort the shapes into the bowls by colour or shape.  He just loved playing with them, spreading them out, pouring them.  Who can blame him?  Don’t they just look lovely?

Setting up with cousin Mel  Loading the tip truck   Pouring.

I was especially happy with this one.  I made my own number cards for counting with sea-shells (I managed to get the bags of shells at a $2- shop).

Possum really enjoyed it.

And how about this idea?  Jellyfish!  While we were away with the extended family, it was my Parents’ Wedding Anniversary.  My Dad passed away many years ago, but we still feel it is important to celebrate.  My parents taught us that it was about the beginning of our family unit, not just about them.

Anyway, having celebrated with the most delightful strawberry sponge sandwich from the local bakery, we were left with two white circles of cardboard.  My sister picked up some crepe paper streamers and look at what she made with the boys!

Did somebody mention playdough???

My boys are absolutely nuts for playdough.  I decided to make some "sand playdough".  They have had a lot of fun with it, but I am really not happy with the texture.  It just seems a bit too sticky to me, especially if we have humid or wet weather.

Still, it isn’t stopping the boys!!

This game:

was an absolute hit!  It is so simple, but so much fun.  It is also easy to take on holidays because you only need to take the bottle caps – a holiday house will provide a bowl and some kind of a slotted spoon.






We didn’t get around to this one during the first week, but, as you can see, the holiday house we had during our second week had an almost purpose built location for this game.

(Yes that is a magnificent beach directly across the road.)

These sticker albums also did not get used until the second week of the holidays.  We opened them as a "cafe activity" one day when we went out to lunch.  The boys really had fun with them.   Having the album was great for Bandicoot, too.  He is really just getting in to stickers.

They enjoyed discussing all the different sea-life.   (Especially Possum, who then enjoyed explaining to Bandicoot.)  They were also excited that there was a squid sticker, as they had just discovered that they are mad for Salt and Pepper Calamari!

Oh, and I nearly forgot to explain the winner amongst winners – the Ice Cream Shop!  How can kids have so much fun with something so simple?  Three months later and they are still mad for it!

Well, it does look intriguing, doesn’t it?

Oooo!  And all those pretty colours!  (The coloured pom-poms have sparkly bits on them, too.)

It can be hard work getting that ice cream in the cone, but oh, so satisfying when you’re done!  Here’s one for you! 

The Very Busy Spider

September 20, 2010

Possum is 4 years and 4 months

Bandicoot is 2 years and 2 months

We love this book.  The boys love bugs and insects and creepy crawlies.  I love the way you can feel the spider’s web all the way through the book.  I have previously borrowed this book from the library and this time we borrowed it from a friend, but it is definitely on my wish list.

As I was setting up, Bandicoot discovered my basket…

Apparently I was taking too long to move on to the interesting stuff…

We made these little spiders – inspired by Mama Jenn.  Unfortunately, the legs didn’t stick on with the craft glue we had, so we added some tape “until the glue dried”.

That night I used a bit of Mummy Magic (also known as a hot glue gun in this case) and attached them more permanently.

And the other problem with using pipe-cleaners (er, sorry, chenille sticks as we are supposed to call them now)?  When you stand them on a hard surface and bump them, they make a rather skin crawling sound.  (Admittedly, they sound a good deal more like cockroaches than spiders, but even so…)

Did I mention how much I HATE spiders?  They really scare me.  Pictures, toys – any of them.  I justify myself because we live in a red-back and Sydney funnel-web area, but really they all give me the heeby-jeebies!

But I digress…

I prepared a magic painting for the boys before hand.  I used a white oil pastel to draw spider webs on a piece of white paper.  They then used watered down paint to make the webs show up.  This is possum working hard on his, with his little spider keeping him company.

And this is one of the finished webs:

I was a little disappointed with they way the web showed.  Maybe I should have used tempura paint instead.  However, when we held them against the window, they looked pretty good.

We had quite a discussion about HOW spiders build webs.  I had done a bit of research on this, which was scary business, because you just never knew when you were going to stumble on a picture of a spider.  I found it really fascinating, ‘though.  I was also pleased to see that the pictures in the book were pretty accurate – the drift thread first, then anchor threads, then the radials, (then there was supposed to be the spiral guide thread) and finally the (argh!  Can’t remember the correct name) the threads that go round and round.

Other interesting facts that we learnt:

The distance between the concentric circles is determined by the length of the spider’s legs.  That means that little spiders can catch little bugs and big spiders can catch big bugs.

A webbing spider has three spinerettes (the things that make web).  They have one type for the drift thread and anchor threads.  Another type to build the web and finally a third type for wrapping up their prey.  Cool, huh?

So, using our knowledge about how a spider’s web is built, we drew one in chalk on the driveway (wow, it used a lot of chalk!)

Can you see the blue cross on there?  Possum drew that, because he wanted the spider “to know all about Jesus and how He loves him and how He died to save him”.  I guess the Christian education is sinking in!

We then used the web to play spider and flies.  I thought we might take turns at this, but it is much more fun apparently if it is Mummy spider.

The boys buzzed around the yard and then “got caught” in the web.  Here you can see two little flies waiting to be eaten:

I then had to tip-toe carefully around the web to reach them, wrap them up and eat them.  They thought this was the best game ever!

A couple of days later, we had a lesson on the transience of spiders’ webs.  It rained and washed our web off the driveway, just like what happened to all the real spiders webs out there.

Given my, ahem, lack of affection for the subject matter, I really enjoyed this unit with the boys.

Mr McGregor’s Garden

September 14, 2010

Possum is 4 years 3 months

Chicken is 4 years 1 month


This is a craft activity that we enjoyed after reading The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

I drew up a walled garden and we made several copies of it for the boys. Then we let them loose with garden and flower stickers so that they could make their own gardens.

These are the two that we did at home. I love the way Possum has put a motorbike in the shed. Really, anyone who knows us realises that motorbikes feature in most learning experiences.

You can also see how much Chicken was into this activity at the time!

However, this is Chicken’s second picture.  We all went out for a coffee one Saturday morning and I had a few garden and sticker sets in my bag. He sat there for ages producing this one – he really loved doing it! All about the timing.