Going with the Flow – Cars Style

I had my son screened for public 4K at a nearby school.  In our district, it’s only half day and I thought that it would be a great chance for him to get out of the house and have some fun after the baby comes.  Public 4K is exactly what I used to teach, so I know that most of the things that would be on the screening he could do before the age of 2, but still – a mom can hope.  Well, he didn’t qualify.  Back to Plan A it is.

I am working on some low-effort (large baby bump = need for small effort) learning notebooks that Carter will be able to use over and over for the next few months.  The first one will be based on the movie Cars.  This little guy is crazy about the movie and with Cars 2 coming out at the end of the month, the excitement continues.  What does any great teacher do with excitement and interest?  They turn it into an opportunity for learning!

We’ll be using this Cars Preschool Pack for many of our activities.  I don’t have this one ready for use yet, but once it is, pictures will follow.

I didn’t find any calendar pieces, so I made my own.  The clipart came from “Free Disney Clipart”, so I’m going to assume that it’ll be fine for me to share them with you.  I’d be glad for you to print and use them, but never to sell them or claim them as your own.

Cars Calendar Pieces

Don’t have a Cars-crazy little boy in your house?  Check out all the Preschool Packs here.  There are some fun themes – even one for Princesses.  These look like great, easy-to-assemble activities that will keep Carter learning while I am caring for a new baby in the house.

And here are the blank calendar pieces if you’d like to try your hand at making some to fit your theme.

I found some great planning forms here that I’ll adapt to work for me, but they make work for you just as they are!

Teaching Character

Over the past few days, I’ve been pouring over my new resources and thinking about direction.  I’ve been watching my child as I try out new things with him.  In the meantime, I came across this article from Homeschool Village on FB about Preschool Giftedness.  I have to admit when I saw the title I winced a little.  I don’t want to label my child as anything aside from “wonderful son”, but he is falling into their definition of giftedness: catching on quickly to all things academic.  So, I read on.

I was expecting some direction on how to keep these children challenged, but what I read was something that I found surprising.  Their perspective is that, because these children naturally excel at academics, there really is no need to focus on them.  They will be drawn to learning without any push from me.  What is worthwhile to teach them is: good character.  Because they’re likely to outsmart you sooner than you’d hope, parents of older gifted children agree that they wish they’d spent more time developing their child’s character at a young age.

Character development?!?!  Again, my mind reels and wonders, “WHAT DO I DO WITH THAT?” where a three-year old is concerned.  Self-control, discipline, respect, kindness, love, caring, compassion, responsibility, cooperation and dependability all come to mind.  Those are all big, heavy words – even for me at times.  They are all things that I want for my child – and more.  I know that if I expect him to learn them, then I must strive to be those things and openly communicate about them as well.

One thing I realize is that character development will certainly not be fully taught within the bubble of our home.  Yes, you can read it in a book.  Yes, you can have a great conversation about them.  However, the true test of character comes through social interaction and relational challenges.  I’ll definitely need to be getting my (fairly big now) pregnant self out of this house a bit more.

How do you teach morals and good character to your child?

I woke yesterday to find Carter at the couch making words.

Great Printable Resources – Plants

We’re rolling along through April learning about plants, seeds, growing and flowers.  It’s a lot of fun.  I found a lot of printable activities, some free some not, that go right along with our learning.  I don’t like to overwhelm our activity shelf with printables, but I’ve found that Carter is very interested in working through them when I rotate in a few at a time.

I hit the jackpot with this first resource: the Garden Preschool Pack from Homeschool Creations.  There were so many great activites included.  These are my favorite.

Pre-Writing cards for tracing.  There are some easy ones and some more difficult ones.  Laminate these first for repeat use.

Sequencing cards – How a Seed Grows

Memory game with rhyming words.  Hint: some of the pictures are tough.  Write them down for yourself and go over all the names of the pictures with your child before you play.

A nice, simple introduction to the parts of a plant in puzzle format.

Sorting flowers and vegetables.  I haven’t cut these apart yet.  My only gripe with these is that they are TINY, but hey – they’re free!

Practicing beginning sounds.  I used clothespins for Carter to clip on the cards.  He calls this the “Clips Game”.  Below is a video that I captured while he was cleaning the game up.  He explains how to play it in his own words.

The next three activities are from Montessori for Everyone.  Once again, I LOVE, LOVE their gorgeous, real photos.

Sorting, Plants and Food.  Once Carter got the hang of sorting into two groups, we talked about which food was made from which plant and he paired them up.

The Life Cycle of a Pumpkin.  We haven’t done this one yet (you can see it’s not cut apart), but we’ll work on putting them in order, then we’ll try matching the words to the pictures as well.

Matching – Whole and Half Fruits.  Carter had a lot of fun with this one!

These last 3 are from KidsSoup, a (very cheap) subscription site for activities grouped by theme.  These were both from the Plants Unit.

Flower mini-book.  This one is simple enough for Carter to read on his own and has some great information about the parts of flowers and how they grow.

Word Families Game.  There’s a picture in the center of each flower.  Put the leaves with its correct word family.

Cutting practice.  I made a couple copies of these.

The “mouth of concentration” says it all – this is not as easy as it looks for a 3 year-old.

Enjoy and thanks for your comments!