How to Choose the Best Preschool Curriculum for Your Child

Posted on September 20, 2017 in Uncategorized

So many mommies seek to find the most efficient preschool curriculum for teaching their precious preschooler.

I admit I was one of them. When my little girl was three years old, I began my quest. I wanted to be the best mommy ever, giving her a head start in academics. Especially reading!

A dear friend of mine, settled my anxious heart by simply saying, “take it easy, at her age there’s no need to buy expensive curriculum, just go to a superstore and pick out a $7.99 preschool skill builder workbook, find free preschool activities online and make it fun!”

I took my friend’s advice, bought a few books, found some preschool websites and had lots-n-lots of fun building wonderful memories in which I want to share with you.

Our preschool schedule was easy and flexible. I used the skill builder activity book three days a week. In addition to that, we did lots of reading, singing, fun puzzles, educational videos, and explored several online websites together. I used it all as preschool curriculum. But really it was just time spent playing with her, guided by an educational purpose.

I planned two or three activities a day. The time that I spent in teaching was no more than 10 to 20 minute intervals. Just enough to keep her attention on the subject at hand, and then we moved on to “non-playing” tasks.

However, during our “non-playing” tasks, learning was taking place too. After all there was homemaking skills to acquire. (grin) When Jamie and I went to the grocery store I made it a learning experience for example: “Jamie, please count how many milk cartons we have in our buggy. You are right! 1-2-3-4-5 ” – “What sound do you hear in the word egg?” eh, eh, eh,ggg? – “Will you get 5 round oranges for me and place them in this clear bag?”

When we did laundry, I had her sort the clothes by color. When she took a bath, we would play name that sound with a set of foam alphabet letters and so forth.

One thing I want to emphasize though, descriptive language is very important in teaching your preschooler. Talk to your child in such a way you would an adult using the proper names and descriptions for objects and experiences. Children have a natural affinity for learning. If you present them with intelligible words, their vocabulary and speech will grow abundantly. You can give your child a heads up in English class by simply starting now at the preschool age!

I learned very quickly in the early years of parenting, that a preschool child learns best in a relaxed atmosphere. When mommy smiles, speaks with a pleasant voice, and spends time playing with her child there is a special kind of bonding that takes place… the bond of love. So, let me gently remind you when irritation arises within, give yourself an attitude check and refocus your thoughts and lower your tone of voice. Your child will not only learn early academics from you but also godly character. (big smiles)

To sum it up… let me pass on the advice of which my friend gave me, take it easy during the preschool age. Buy some skill builder books, bookmark a few websites and make the learning atmosphere relaxed and fun!

Your preschooler will love being read to, seeing things, making things, creating things, talking about everything, asking questions and playing outdoors. Remember… enjoy this bonding time with them for it truly a blessing!

Listed below are a few items I’ve used with my first born. Please don’t spend too much money on preschool curriculum you can get creative and find good resources for very little money online or at your local superstore. Don’t forget to use the library too; their books are free but only for a little while!

Suggestive Preschool Resources to Used

Preschool Skill Builder/Activity Books

Preschool Comprehensive Curriculum of Basic Skills – From School Specialty Children’s Publishing. We used this workbook a lot. The pictures are rich in color, and perforated. Subjects include reading, mathematics, language arts, and writing. ISBN 1-56189-374-9

My Heavenly Helper Preschool Skill Builder and Activity Guide – McGraw Hill Children’s Publisher offers a skill builder activity book that I found very helpful in teaching Bible lessons to my preschooler. This particular workbook focuses on concepts such as the alphabet, numbers, colors, shapes, sequencing, same and difference. Pages are perforated black and white. ISBN 0-7696-2907-5

A Must Have Preschool Educational Video

Letter Factory Video by Leap Frog – This particular pre-reading video is a must have for preschoolers. I recently noticed our local library with a copy. But I suggest you buy a copy for your family library. Your preschooler will learn letters, phonics and listening skills in no time. Creative production to say the least. ISBN 0-7907-8894-2

Free Preschool Curriculum Found Online

Starfall.com – An “absolutely” free website that teaches children to read. Perfect for preschooler too. You can put your preschooler in your lap and click through the alphabet shows. Be sure to let them click your mouse, they’ll love discovering they can interact with the show! FREE printables too.

LetteroftheWeek.com – Letter of the Week was written and compiled by Katrina Lybbert. She created this site from her experiences teaching her 4 children at home. She offers free preschool curriculum. If you have children younger than preschool, you’ll find her website very useful too.

Trampoline Superstore – Which One to Choose?

Posted on September 19, 2017 in Uncategorized

With so many choices, which trampoline to choose? There are several key factors to consider before purchasing a trampoline. The first of course is your budget. How much money do you want to invest in purchasing a trampoline? Do you want to buy a new or used one? Are you going to pay for the trampoline in full, with a credit card or do you need to find a store that will do financing.

If your budget dictates a used one there are several places you can look for used trampolines:

• Garage Sales
• Craigslist
• Newspaper

Once your budget and method of payment are worked out; next is to consider which features that are important to you. Take it from my experience, it’s a disappointment to buy the wrong sized trampoline, and not know it until it’s assembled and not able to be used.

Key factors to consider before purchasing a trampoline.

• Location where the trampoline will be used. This will help determine the size to purchase.

• Will you be using the trampoline indoors or outdoors? If outdoors is the location level? Can the trampoline be staked into the ground or tied town during strong winds? Is it allowed by the home owners association? Does your city or town require a permit?

• Who will assemble the trampoline? Even the super easy to assemble ones need two people when it comes time to pull the springs onto the frame.

• Ages of people that will use the trampoline

• How many people will be using the trampoline

• Size and weight of the people who will be using the trampoline

Popular trampoline brands and features:

Kid’s Trampoline with Handle Bar- recommended manufacturer age range 4-6, steel frame and handle that is covered with foam, easy to assemble, light weight, portable (can be move from room to room), can be used indoors or outdoors.

Bravo Sports 12 Foot Trampoline with safety enclosure- W shaped legs, rust resistant steel frame, easy to assemble, good size for young or single child active play, used outdoor, maximum weight 250lbs.

Sports Power My First Trampoline with Enclosure- ages 3-6 years, max weight 100 lbs, safety enclosure has padded poles, good for indoor or outdoor use.

Skywalker Trampolines- available in several models, sky walker 8 food round trampoline, Skywalker 12 foot round trampoline with safety enclosure, Skywalker 14 foot round trampoline, and Skywalker 15 foot trampoline with safety enclosure. Designed for use by people over age of 6, weight capacity 250, 16 gauge steel, zipper on safety enclosure.

With all the items that clutter up our garages and backyards, why add one more “toy”. Unlike many other exercise or “toys”, trampolines have been studied for years by researchers. Many of them are in the sports specialists for athletes and child behavoralists and psychologists. However the benefits are not just for children, adults can use trampolines too. Best of all while reaping all the benefits its fun not formal exercise or work, its fun entertainment!

Some of the main benefits of jumping in trampolines include:

• Helps to develop and improve balance. Because as people jump the center of gravity changes which requires their brain, muscles and senses to adjust.

• Improved coordination, muscle control, agility, rhythm. Because when we jump both the right and left sides of the brain to function together. Using the brain bilaterally improves timing and enhances motor skills that may be more difficult to “practice” in other ways.

• Keeps active children in an enclosed and safe environment. Best of all it keeps your kids close to home not out wandering neighborhood where trouble can find them.

• Builds self confidence for less active, athletic children.

• Can reduce stress, and promote weight loss

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How PBL Is Changing Education

Posted on September 18, 2017 in Uncategorized

How Project Based Learning Units are Changing the Way Our Students Are Taught

Many educational instructors firmly believe that what once worked in the classroom a decade ago – or longer – doesn’t necessarily have the same effect on the learning environment in today’s classroom. Times have changed, and researchers are finding the contemporary educational institutions and students require something added to the classroom in order to make their educational experience more relevant to today’s world.

Why Should Things Change?

Students should no longer be required to only take notes and memorize a certain amount of information provided during a learning session. Such almost ‘mindless’ learning doesn’t necessarily prepare them for post-graduation responsibilities, nor does it adequately prepare them for real-world work and situations. This is why project based learning is used more frequently as a resource for teaching our kids valuable information and lessons, as well as to help better prepare them for life after high school as functioning adults in a work environment.

Why PBL?

Although project based and problem based learning has been around since the time of Aristotle, modern project based learning came about in the 1960’s by a team of colleagues in medical school at McMaster University. These colleagues were observing how frustrated medical students were during their first few years of study, and how they really weren’t engaged in their work. In order to change the usual method of learning, project based learning was introduced to help these students become much more interested, engaged, and involved in their projects.

Students involved in project based learning were placed in small groups where their collaborative and team efforts require them to come up with a solution to the problem they were assigned. This type of platform provided students with the opportunity to work cooperatively as a team, practice their critical thinking skills, and essentially become problem solvers.

These valuable skills are vital in the real world.

Students in elementary and secondary schools can also benefit greatly with PBL in the classroom in many ways, including developing:

  • High-level communication skills
  • Information retrieval skills
  • Idea generation – Imagination – Brain Storming
  • Critical thinking skills
  • The ability to apply new information
  • The ability to use information gathered to arrive at a solution to the problem
  • Collaboration skills
  • Presentation experience

How Teachers Are Affected by PBL

For teachers, no longer are they simply dictators of information to the students, but facilitators and guides. No longer are they simply standing in front of the classroom hoping that at least some of the students are paying attention. With the advent of project based learning units, teachers take on a role as mentors and facilitators, which allows them to suggest resources, direct progress and watch progress. As teachers see their students become more engaged and interested in their work, their jobs become that much more rewarding.

For teachers interested in learning more about project based learning, they can visit the PBL Superstore and learn more about the history, benefits and results. PBL is also ideal for homeschooled students. Since preparing, testing and grading projects can be overwhelming; teachers may want to access ready-made units that they can implement into their classroom right away. The PBL Superstore has ready to download projects for grades K-10. Research shows that introducing project based learning sparks engagement in students, and many schools have now made PBL a core part of the curriculum.

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