May 03, 2016

Can I Find Balance?

I love the Mother Goose Time curriculum that we have been using.  It is teaching my son so many things I never would have taught him on my own.  Here are just some of the things my just turned three year old knows only because of Mother Goose Time:
  • Your heart pumps blood
  • Bees and butterflies have a proboscis
  • Scorpions have pedipalps
  • Recognizes cardinals, blue jays, owls, robins, and probably a few other birds
  • Can identify a huge variety of musical instruments (more accurately than I can
I am so pleased to offer him such a varied learning experience.  But I have to get better at it.  In December he knew all of his letters, numbers, and most of the sounds the letters make.  Before Mother Goose Time that is all I was teaching him.  Last week I sat down with him and he only knows most of his letters, a few of the phonetical sounds, and some of the numbers. 

This is NOT Mother Goose Time's fault.  They are great at incorporating learning the basics with learning about new topics.  This is MY fault.  I have to many kids in my house most of the time, and I am a terrible housekeeper.  My teaching time is limited, and so I have not been using Mother Goose Time to the fullest.  I tend to run out of time to do school many days, between getting every one fed and ready, cleaning up the house, running errands, and admittedly having a little more downtime than I probably should.  So I "binge teach", which means that not everything gets covered.  Circle Time, which is when Little Guy would be learning a lot of the basics, gets pushed aside.  I completely forget to do flashcards with him (I know, some people hate flashcards, I happen to love them and he has fun with them too.  They are not part of the Mother Goose Time curriculum.), and don't give him workbooks anymore (also not part of the curriculum).

Right now I am not doing anything well.  I kind of think of myself as "surviving, not thriving", and I need to work on that.  My son is only three, but he is a really smart kid.  By slacking on his education I am doing him a huge disservice and not respecting the gift God has given him.  This month I am going to focus on finding the time to teach him more often.  I should not be letting him forget things that he knows, I should be teaching him new things while reinforcing the "old things".

I have to find the balance of teaching him and having a clean house.  If I could do those two things I would be so happy with the balance between serving my husband and training up my son. 

May 02, 2016

A New Month, A New Theme! - What's In the Box? - Mother Goose Time

Back in November when I was just starting Mother Goose Time, I did a REALLY long series of posts on exactly what was in the school bus box.  I was incredibly excited, and wanted to share everything!

I am still super excited every month when our Mother Goose Time box arrives, and every month I PLAN to do an unboxing video, but unfailingly my camera is low on battery, and I am not going to wait until it charges to open the box.  Plus then I have to wait for the kids to be sleeping, because getting them to be quiet while they see all the fun stuff that comes out of the box is impossible.

This month's theme is perfect for the warmer weather that *should* be coming in May.  I do live in the Pacific Northwest, so it could just end up raining all month.  But I digress.  Our learning focus this May will be "Bubbles, Boats, and Floats". 

This is what you get on your porch each month.  A cute box, full of almost everything you need to teach your children for the next month. 

This month Mother Goose Time sent a thank you note to us!
This is our Experience God Children's Pack for the month.  Our story is about Jesus and the Fishermen, and the theme is God is All-Powerful.  Again, it goes amazingly well with the "Bubbles, Boats, and Floats" theme.  There are art projects, coloring pages, and parent newsletters.
This is the Teacher Pack for the month.  It includes story cards, a lesson book, a memory verse picture, and some story telling pieces.

Every month we get a Celebration Kit.  If I am being 100% honest, we don't always use them.  We used the Celebration of Peace in January, and the Valentine's Day Celebration, but we don't do the Easter Bunny or Santa, so December and March we didn't use them.  Something I think would be really cool is if there were two kits to choose from in months with religious holidays, so you could choose a religious Celebration Kit or a secular one.  This month we are celebrating Mother's Day, and we have a story (If You Give a Mom a Muffin) with story telling pieces, a couple of games, and some art projects. 

This is the Circle Time Kit.  Each month we get a new kit to update our Circle Time Display to fit the new theme, new month, and new focus topics.  This month we are learning 17, 18, diamond, A, D, and U, and the color purple.  Little Guy will be quite disturbed by this purple thing (EWWW!  Purple is for GIRLS! I can already hear him saying :D  ), but he will survive.

The Teacher Tool Bag has the new manipulatives (always at LEAST two a month, sometimes more!) we will be using this month, along with the Teacher Guide, Planning Journal, Theme Web and Gathering List.  Oh, and of course the new CD with themed songs.  The CD is always a certain type of music (Classical in December, Folk for Bees and Butterflies, and this month is Latin inspired) which I think is really fun.

These are the daily bags for the first week.  We start out Down the River.  I don't know if we will make it to a river this week since I have way to many small children to take to a river by myself, but maybe we will make it to a small creek if the weather is nice!
Next we are On the Lake.  I am *hoping* to take Little Guy swimming on Swimming day, but again I have a lot of kids and a trip to the pool with just him might not happen.  We will definitely be going to the duck pond near our house on Duck day though!
The third week is all about soapy water.  We will definitely have a lot of expansion this week.  My kids all take showers (some more enthusiastically than others...) because we have a lot of people to bathe in a short amount of time.  I will definitely be running a bubble bath for the boys* on Bath Time day, as well as letting Little Guy help was dishes the next day.  I am planning a short field trip on Car Wash day to go through a car wash, and we have a washing machine that has a light in it (not sure why...) so he can watch the laundry on Laundry day. 
 Our last week of Bubbles, Boats, and Floats is about Wonderful Water.  I think its pretty amazing that my three year old is going to learn the water cycle and states of water.  I am not sure my grade schoolers know that!

Mother Goose Time has a LOT of art projects every month, but we don't always get to them.  I wanted to make sure that everyone knows that Mother Goose Time is art intensive.  These are all the art projects that have been given to us this month.  Most of the materials are provided, other than things like tape, glue, and paint.
These are the art projects for Week One.  Every art project comes with a little flier on what you are doing so you have an example and you don't have to carry the Teacher Guide around.

 Week Two projects
 Week Three.

Week Four we will probably skip Water Police, or at least not call it by that name, just make a cool police hat.  I do not relish my three year old telling me to turn off the water while I do dishes or something.  We are working very hard on teaching him NOT to correct adults (because while it can be hilarious when he tells someone "It is not a burrito, it is an enchilada." it is not showing proper respect for your elders), and I think this might undermine our attempts a little bit...

I am so excited to get started on this next month.  So many fun games, cute projects and interesting books to read (each month there is a book list, with one book for every day, which we check out at the library).  We can't wait to share our fun!

*boys -  we have two boys at our house right now.  Boy Z is not old enough to do MGT (he turns two tomorrow) but he does hang out while we do it, and sometimes we have him do the easy stuff.

***All of this curriculum is provided for us free of charge from Mother Goose Time.  I am a blog ambassador for the brand, which means I get free product in exchange for sharing all the fun things we do and showing off our pictures!  All opinions are my own!***

May 01, 2016

Teaching Little Ones to Pray

Our family prays multiple times a day (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and bedtime), but sometimes the rote prayers we say everyday are a hindrance to teaching children what prayer really is: Talking to God. 

This month the focus of Mother Goose Time's Experience God add-on pack was God Wants Me to Pray.  Each week was a different topic, ranging from prayers of praise to prayers of petition and intercession.  Pretty deep stuff for a 2-3 year old.

The story for the month was the Easter story.  Our character trait for the month was forgiveness.  Seriously, I could not be happier with the way that Mother Goose Time has perfected the art of themes.

Every month our Experience God Children's Pack comes with craft activities to do once a week.  One of our activities this month was called "Pray Every Day".  We wrote numbers on the calendar, then decorated it with stickers.  Along with our lesson, this was a reminder that we should pray every day.

I love the Experience God packs.  I don't do them as thoroughly as I should (like everything in my life at the moment... I have rather overextended myself temporarily), but my Little Guy knows the Bible stories that we learn very well.  The story cards and pictures help him remember, and by the end of the month he can explain what is happening in each one. 

As usual, Little Guy and I get this awesome curriculum free of charge in exchange for sharing our honest experiences.  All opinions are ours!

Learning Through Art

Mother Goose Time is great at finding ways to teach kids things while they are playing.  One of the ways it does this is through the arts.  Music, visual arts, dramatic play and movement are all ways that Mother Goose Time respects different children's styles of learning, and the process of learning through play.

They always provide ample opportunities for learning through visual arts.  Little Guy isn't very good at learning this way, because he doesn't do the activities in a very accurate manner.  They are more fine motor development skill building activities. 

Music is a fun way to learn things, and usually learn them long term.  Back in January when we were learning about Safari animals, we sang a song about respecting animals space.  He still sometimes sings it.  He also learned about musical instruments back in December, and still remembers how to properly hold a violin!
The amount of dramatic play that Little Guy does now is amazing.  Before we started Mother Goose Time his dramatic play was very limited, but now he is constantly pretending to be a bee, or a lion, a caterpillar or whatever else we have been learning about lately.  It is so fun to see him grow and become more and more creative.

Mother Goose Time allows for a lot of different ways to learn.  Learning through the arts is just one of the ways they make learning fun.  The also have stories, games, and books.  No matter what your child likes to do, Mother Goose Time will have an activity they really enjoy almost every day.

We receive Mother Goose Time for free in exchange for our pictures and experiences.  All opinions are our own.