TEN Pre-Maths THINGS to do with Littlies

Once a day we do a pre-maths activity with our little ones to help them feel part of things and to keep them busy while the older ones work on maths. When the older ones finish then they can also do one of these fun activities. We have a great dining room table (its an eight seater rectangle, so it works well to have us all sit around the big table to do our activities, each child has their own contained space and the little ones feel part of things at the big desk too.

Of course, we don’t call it pre-maths. They are way too young for real school or anything but the name just helps me to categorise activities in my mind and do some each day.

Pre-maths activities our 2 and 5 year olds love to do.

1. Playing with beans in jars. They love to pour, sort, count out, feel, toss and PICK UP – not! these beans. I bought the largest beans I could find – much easier to clean up afterwards!

2. Marbles and a marble tower – our 5 year old loves rolling marbles into box with numbers over little garage-type gaps to get the score. The littlies love to play with the marbles and see them run down the marble tower. You can easily make one using toilet roll tubes and tissue boxes!

3. Playing with uncooked pasta – all you need are a couple of different containers to put the pasta in – and a plastic paddle pool works really well indoors to contain the mess. Sometimes we also fill a clear plastic bottle with pasta or large beans and get all the children to guess how many pieces it contains – the closest one wins a little something.

4. Popcorn and cups for pouring, counting, etc. as in no 1 and 3

5. Money tins – playing with the money, putting through the slot (or through slots in the top of egg boxes) sorting coins into a container with different compartments or stacking them into piles

6. Some great sonlight maths manipulatives like pattern blocks – making piles, sorting, making pictures, etc.

7. Pouring – put out a variety of cups, jugs and a big bowl of water and an empty one and let them pour away! Have fun counting how many cups it takes to fill the smaller bowl from the larger one using different cups.

8. We love to all pile into the car and go for a “counting drive”. We count things like cats, dogs, horses, cows, kudu, wildebeest (we live near a small game reserve) and also things like yellow cars, blue trucks, etc. We listen to counting songs, count while we wash hands, measure flour for the bread dough, whenever we can.

9. Magnetic fridge numbers – these are big colourful numbers that stick on our fridge. The little ones love sticking them on, taking them off, sorting them into piles, sticking them onto a baking tray, and putting them all back again.

10. And as a rare treat, because I don’t want the children sitting in front of the computer (we don’t have a TV) – they watch the Mathtacular DVD and love it! Its fabulous – created by the Sonlight Holtzman brothers – 1.5 hours of counting elephants, shapes songs, marble adventures, lots of fun and they learn so quickly! So much better than children’s movies.

Coming next in the Homeschool Series: Homeschool Maths for Early Preparatory School

“Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.” 1 Chronicles 29 v 13

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Of Eternal Value – TEN THINGS About Why We Homeschool

Eternal value lies in character and not in education or specific skills. Our love for people – having God’s heart for the world is of eternal value – and so we see teaching our children from God’s Word and helping them to develop Godly character as the most important parts of our homeschool.

We start and end each day with Bible time with Dad – we all love it! God’s word is opening up for us in amazing ways – and the children always want to know more. This is such a blessing for me as I always struggled to read the Bible in the past. Just this morning we found our boys playing “Bible time” with their soft toys. They’d set out  all their fluffy bears and dogs on the bed and put open Bibles in front of them 🙂

We homeschool because:

1. We want to follow the Biblical mandate of discipling our children. (it may be possible to do this while sending children to school, but its a lot harder, if for no other reason than you are with your children a whole lot less).  We want our children to know and love God’s Word, to know and love God for who He is and to know His heart for the world. We believe our children are best taught from the Bible, with other books / curriculum fitting in around that. Rather than taking a secular curriculum and adding some “Bible stories” to it, we want our children to learn what the real Bible says about God, man, wisdom, sin, consequences, blessings, etc.

2. We want our children to love learning and to have a desire for learning. We want them to know that they can always find out what they’d like to know and how to go about it. We have a vision of a large family of animated engaged children sitting around the table all participating in lively, rich and deep discussions about life, God’s way, our world and its history, our purpose – all that we are learning together. Lounge time provides the springboard for these things and gives us some wonderful topics to talk about!

3. We want our children to understand God’s mandate to subdue the earth and rule over it, having dominion and replenishing it. For this reason we study sciences and geography and we learn about the earth. We do this understanding that we are to worship the creator and not the creation. We are to be good stewards of God’s creation while putting people first.

4. We want our children to understand God’s plan for people (through reading the Bible and studying history). Genesis is the best place to start in the study of history – everything else follows. We don’t study history just to learn the gory details of life throughout the ages, but we study it with the purpose of understanding God’s plan with mankind and workings through the ages. This purpose greatly impacts our choice of History material – children’s history books are often filled with cartoonish watered-down version of historical events cheapening them, making them seem less real  and numbing our children to the seriousness of disobeying God.


5. We want our children to be mentored by  great men and women and to be able to relate to people of all ages. We do not want them to be “discipled” by many children of their own age as in the classroom. The thing about the age segregated classroom is that you learn most things from your peers who know about as much as you do. Children are being discipled by their peers and their peers’ influences: parents, TV, games, movies, etc. and not very much by their own parents!

6. As parents we are responsible for our children’s education, and we know our own children better than any one else does. As homeschoolers we can determine the appropriate pace and level for each child’s schoolwork. If we need help from trained professionals, that is easy to find.

7. We want our children to know that they are part of something big – a great purpose from God that we have as a family and that they as individuals can carry into their lives.

8. We want our family to put relationships first – relationship with God, with each other and reaching out to others with the love of Christ and a hand of blessing. We want to always have time to be a blessing, praying for others and serving them. We want our children to be best friends and to enjoy being together, to love doing things together as a family

9. We want to help our children learn the discipline of hard work as well as the joy of life and learning about the world God gave us.

10. We love it!!!

This vision excites us so much but we also fall very far short of it – yet when we look back we see how God is at work and has already changed us so much. We know that He will do it if we trust him!

“Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Psalm 37 v 4-6 KJV

TEN THINGS We Love About ‘Read-Aloud’ Lounge Time

I love LISTS and I love things being organized in box-type containers. A TEN THINGS list is like that!  I enjoy writing things in a structured, contained way. You will find links to all the TEN THINGS posts at the end of each. ENJOY!

Every school day in the mornings we have “lounge time”. We we put blankets down in the lounge for the littlies to do activities on while they listen and we spend an hour or so reading books together and discussing them. We read history books, science books, missionary stories and chapter books like the Moody Series, Little House Books, Boxcar Children, Rod and Staff Storybooks, etc. Previously we would read these at odd times during the day but it wasn’t very consistent. Now “lounge time” is the richest part of our school day. We got the idea from Kimberly at Raising Olives and we love having this time set aside each day to read and talk about what we are learning. Its a great way to start the school day.

TEN THINGS We Love About “Lounge Time”.

1. The children and I (littlies and older ones) love being all together to read and connect with each other after doing our morning chores.

2. We experience the richness and joy of learning & experiencing life thorough reading books – together.

3. It is wonderful to read and learn history together and to look the world globe to see where things happened. The children love to study the world globe, to see the oceans, the countries and learn how the world turns! They always have so many questions and are so fascinated by our world and by God’s plan. Studying the Bible with Dad helps them to tie it all together in their minds.

4. Its a great time to work on our Scripture memory together. We read through new passages and recite those we have already memorized. We also learn different character traits that God’s Word teaches like  obedience, patience, orderliness, etc.

5. Our children enjoy reading their current readers aloud to us all – or sometimes the older ones read a story to the others just for fun while Mom gets a snack for everyone.

6. Lounge time is a great time to enjoy and learn poetry together – we laugh and learn. (We select our poetry very carefully as most is not in line with our values.)

7. Its a great time for “fine-motor skill development” activities for the little ones to do while they sit on their blankets and listen to stories. It keeps them occupied for a good while as their hands and ears are busy! I have special “lounge time” activites boxes for them to choose an activity from. The older ones will often do colouring or drawing while I read.

8. We have such great discussions and conversations around what we are reading and learning. Great questions come out this time too. Often we will continue the family discussion later at the dinner table and ask Daddy questions from the day. We also love to read missionary stories together and develop our hearts for the gospel in all the world. We love how this helps us grow in faith and love for others.

9. We love working on our TIMELNE (we use the one from KONOS) and adding to it each time we read about a character from history. We have it stuck up in the passage near our lounge, so its easy to view and to access from there.


10. As Kimberley from Raising Olives puts it…

The way that God commands parents to educate their children is to talk with them, to converse with them ALL THE TIME, to be available when their children have questions.  Parents should be instructing their children throughout the day, during their daily activities and in all the circumstances of life (see RO post).

and

We want to learn together as much as possible.  We do not want to send our 12 year old off to her room with her pile of books, and our 11 year old somewhere else with her pile, and our 10 year old off with his pile, etc.  We want to learn together, to develop relationships while we develop knowledge and to be able to learn from each other (see RO post).

We love that “lounge time” is the centre of our homeschooling day – even though we do various desk and other activities later – this is where learning comes alive for us all! This is where we can disciple our children through our input in their lives. This is where we pick up on things that need explaining and talk about “stuff” together as it comes up. This time is such a blessing for us all and I am sure it will extend to 2 hours or more as our children get older. I can honestly say that since we started doing lounge time our homeschooling has really come together – its like the glue to our days!

Read this awesome article on God’s Method for Education with which I agree wholeheartedly!

This post is linked to WFMW

“And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” – Deuteronomy 6 v 6-7

TEN THINGS POSTS

TEN THINGS We Love About ‘Read-Aloud’ Lounge Time
TEN THINGS We No Longer Value and What Has Replaced Them
TEN THINGS about Family Fun Night
TEN THINGS “I Do Notice, Mommy”
TEN THINGS about Geography with Little Ones
TEN THINGS To Do with Edible Seeds
TEN THINGS to Help You in the Kitchen
TEN THINGS About My Days

TEN THINGS We No Longer Value and What Has Replaced Them

I love LISTS and I love things being organized in box-type containers. A TEN THINGS list is like that!  I enjoy writing things in a structured, contained way. You will find links to all the TEN THINGS posts at the end of each. ENJOY!

I am humbled daily by God’s grace and mercy in my life. I am never good enough – and He is more than enough to cover my imperfections. His righteousness replaces my unrighteousness. For this I am so thankful. I am thankful that He has shown us what is truly important in life – what is frivolous, what is a vain pursuit – and what is of eternal value.

Here are some things that Hubby and I used to value rather too much – and what has replaced them in our lives. Please don’t take this as a judgement on you – the point is that we used to value these things and these things can waste your time and steal your life – from the blessing that God wants you to be to others.

1. MOVIES – we used to have a major collection of DVD’s (although we didn’t have a TV), we had about 50 DVD’s. We were convicted by God about only watching movies that glorify Him. We got rid of lots – the obvious ones containing immorality, violence (although we never owned movies with a rating higher than PG13). Then after that each time we watched a movie we realised we could no longer watch it with a clear conscience even though it seemed “good” at first. We thought about what movies we would be okay if our children were watching with us and then we got rid of even more. We thought about the values we wanted to have foremost in our lives and what we wanted to teach our children. (Can you teach your children one thing and then show them the opposite in a movie without it affecting them – I don’t think you can – they will notice the inconsistency and be confused by it.) Some examples of what we got rid of  West Wing Series, 7th Heaven Series, Hollywood “love” stories (supposedly harmless) e.g. You’ve Got Mail, Notting Hill. We realised that perhaps it was okay to watch a particular movie with our children to show them something, but if we owned it – we were endorsing it – and that was the problem. Most of them we have no desire to watch with or without our children. We now have about 5 DVDs left e.g. Homestead Blessings and Vision Forum Ministries Documentaries. We even gave away our “Christian” children’s DVDs as they were actually more entertainment than truth and many of them give the wrong picture of God and misrepresent the Bible.

Now hubby and I would much rather spend time talking, listening to Bible teaching and discussing stuff, being with our children and reading to them than watching movies. We have wonderful family times – meals, family fun nights, Bible time, lots of learning and adventuring together, and having guests over to be a blessing to them.


2. Travel (for the sake of travel) . In the past we have been blessed to be able to travel lots, but as I look back on the travelling much of it was empty. Now we will only travel if it has a greater purpose… family holidays, exploring creation with our children – getting away together to bond as a family or learning more about God’s providence in history and places that teach us about the History of Christianity and God’s work in the world

3. Toys galore – we gave lots of our toys away and we have finally realised how true it is that the best toys are a stick, some string, a ball and a cardboard box – or a big pile of mud!

4. Entertainment – Disney, theme parks, going to the movies, concerts, etc….   We used to do these lots – we have replaced these with family fun, trampolining, walks, exploring, working, reading and learning together. Our children love playing with each other and making up games. They picnic behind couches, inside boxes and on the trampoline, they play horsey or husky dog on sleds or many other wonderful inventions… – usulaly related to what we’re learning about in school!

5. Children’s bible story books – compared to the real thing – the BIBLE! No more watered down misleading pictures with inaccurate, incomplete stories. Our children love to hear Daddy read the Bible to them and explain as we go.

6. Technology – the latest in computer, camera and multimedia equipment! We used to have our own video projector (officially part of our business..) – but simple is better. These things all complicate your life. We no longer own a TV or video machine and we use our computer mainly for maths / science DVDs.

7. Big fancy house – we used to own one! Now we are so enjoying a smaller, easy to clean & maintain / just right for us house 🙂

8. Fashionable children’s activities, toddler classes, fun parks, etc – especially when they are an excuse for mother’s to sit and drink coffee while their children run wild! Now we’d much rather enjoy being with and teaching our children as we work and play alongside them. Outings for Mom and Dad with a babysitter is something we used to call a necessity. Now we love our at home date nights with candlelight dinners and our children sleeping down the passage nearby!

9. Shopping malls – we often used to go “hang out” after church on Sunday’s. They are convenient in that many shops are together but we avoid them as much as possible. Now we would much rather go for a walk outdoors or explore a new place together.

10. Stuff! We have always had way too much of it! We gave lots away and lots more; but we still have too much stuff. Its a work in progress.

We are learning to value the things that God’s Word says are of eternal value. Its a long road – we were very far in the wrong direction – but the Lord is calling us back and its a very exciting journey!

“Every word of God [is] pure: he [is] a shield unto them that put their trust in him.” Proverbs 30 v 5

TEN THINGS POSTS

TEN THINGS We Love About ‘Read-Aloud’ Lounge Time
TEN THINGS We No Longer Value and What Has Replaced Them
TEN THINGS about Family Fun Night
TEN THINGS “I Do Notice, Mommy”
TEN THINGS about Geography with Little Ones
TEN THINGS To Do with Edible Seeds
TEN THINGS to Help You in the Kitchen
TEN THINGS About My Days

TEN THINGS about Family Fun Night

I love LISTS and I love things being organized in box-type containers. A TEN THINGS list is like that!  I enjoy writing things in a structured, contained way. You will find links to all the TEN THINGS posts at the end of each. ENJOY!

Every Friday night is FAMILY FUN NIGHT. We first got this idea from the Moody Books written by Sarah Maxwell. Our little ones are now 7, 5, almost 3 and almost 2 – Family Fun Night is a highlight of our week together. Sometimes we’ll have a friend over to share the evening and they get to join in the fun.

1. What do we eat – PIZZA, of course! Homemade pizza with pineapple and feta, (sometimes spinach and olives) – thats about as adventurous as we get! I always make the dough by about 3pm and then later after Dad finishes work we all join in with rolling out the bases, (then we pre-cook them) and adding the toppings.


2. Paper Plates! No dishes to do on family fun night (well, hardly any) so Mom can be totally present and join in all the fun!


3. We have raw snacks in the lounge while Dad reads a story and Mom finishes off the pizza. I fill a bowl with chopped up apple, cucumber, carrot, pear, pineapple, etc. and everyone snacks while they listen to the story. This is a great way to get some raw starter in before the pizza – sometimes we make carrot juice. The little ones are really hungry by this time and they eat a lot more raw fruit and vegetables this way than if we pile their plates with it. This also keeps them happy while they wait.

4. I’m going to the Moon! … our favourite table game. We love to try to make the others guess the criteria for which they can come with us to the moon. “I’m going to the moon and I’m gonna bring a zebra.” “You can come…” Is it zoo animals or things starting with z? and so on. Sometimes we play “In Grandma’s chest I found:” – try to come up with bizarre things for each letter of the alphabet.

5. Lots of laughter, joking and smiles as we are all very relaxed and not at all worried about the time. We find FFN a great way to unwind after working hard all week and a great way to get ready for the weekend. I find myself relaxing as the evening approaches.

6. After dinner a quick clean up and sweep – we all help.

7. We gather in the lounge – often we will read aloud our favourite poetry from the week or funny stories and say our current memory verse and have Bible time. The children love to stand up and recite their verses – even the littlest (with some help!)

8. We watch all the home movies that we have recorded that week – quick little clips of all the children’s activities and funny moments. Its always great fun and there are comments like “Oh, I remember that…” or “Look what _____ did. Also a great time to show Daddy what we’ve all been up to.

9. We end the evening with a wonderful game of Hide and Seek. By this stage everyone is completely hyper and totally ready to roll into bed… – NOT! Well, its worth the fun and we wind down quickly with everyone in PJs in Mom and Dad’s bed with a story in the dark and some worship songs as the children drift off to sleep.


And no. 10. Not to be missed – the best song on the web! (according to my children) Tradition has it that we play this song every Friday evening and they sing along at the top of their little voices …

from twentydogs.com

“And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed [it], and brake, and gave to them.” Luke 24 v 30

TEN THINGS POSTS

TEN THINGS We Love About ‘Read-Aloud’ Lounge Time
TEN THINGS We No Longer Value and What Has Replaced Them
TEN THINGS about Family Fun Night
TEN THINGS “I Do Notice, Mommy”
TEN THINGS about Geography with Little Ones
TEN THINGS To Do with Edible Seeds
TEN THINGS to Help You in the Kitchen
TEN THINGS About My Days

TEN THINGS “I Do Notice, Mommy”

I love LISTS and I love things being organized in box-type containers. A TEN THINGS list is like that!  I enjoy writing things in a structured, contained way. You will find links to all the TEN THINGS posts at the end of each. ENJOY!

I do notice, Mommy, when you are too busy to stop and be with me. I miss you! I know that you have lots to do –  I can do it with you if you slow down and include me.

I do notice, Mommy, when you smile at me.

I do notice, Mommy, when you sing me a song and bounce me on your knee.

I do notice, Mommy, when you are grumpy and cross. It makes me sad.

I do notice, Mommy, when you stop what you are doing and read to me. I love it when you take me on your lap and we read a story together.

I do notice, Mommy, when you ask somebody else to take care of me because you have other things to do.

I do notice, Mommy, when you hug and kiss Daddy – I like it!

I do notice, Mommy, when you sit at the computer for a long time and can’t talk to me. I have so much I want to share with you.

I don’t notice when the house is not perfectly clean and tidy! My feelings of joy, peace or grumpiness come straight from your heart to mine.

I do notice, Mommy, when you stop what you are doing and look carefully at the picture that I have drawn or the flower that I have brought you. I love it when you treasure my gifts to you.

I do notice, Mommy, when you get down on my level – when you come sit behind the couch with me in my little “tent” and play house. Those are the special times I remember.

I need you, Mommy and I love you! Please don’t be too busy for me.

 “For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap [their] hands.” Isaiah 55 v 12

TEN THINGS POSTS

TEN THINGS We Love About ‘Read-Aloud’ Lounge Time
TEN THINGS We No Longer Value and What Has Replaced Them
TEN THINGS about Family Fun Night
TEN THINGS “I Do Notice, Mommy”
TEN THINGS about Geography with Little Ones
TEN THINGS To Do with Edible Seeds
TEN THINGS to Help You in the Kitchen
TEN THINGS About My Days

TEN THINGS about Geography with Little Ones

I love LISTS and I love things being organized in box-type containers. A TEN THINGS list is like that!  I enjoy writing things in a structured, contained way. You will find links to all the TEN THINGS posts at the end of each. ENJOY!

My hubby and I don’t believe in separating subjects into their particular parts and doing only that subject for half hour slots at a time – but we do love maps and travelling and learning about the world – and so do our children! Here are 10 things we do that has them learning in leaps and bounds about the world at ages 7, 5, 2 and 1!

1. We have various large detailed world maps and country maps that we put on the dining room table under a clear plastic table cover. Great conversation enhancers at mealtimes!


2. We have a big world globe which we love to study and to spin. This not only teaches them about the places but about the time zones, the oceans and how it all works with the moon and sun, seasons, etc.

3. Virtual Travel is something we learnt about from Se7en. What a wonderful idea! We jumped right in and now are always travelling in some or other place – if you meet one of our little ones they’ll probably tell you we are in Alaska this month. We pack our backpacks, make some “fake” money from that country, gather our passports and tickets and during a family fun night Dad will often fly us somewhere – and there we will remain while we learn about that place for a few weeks. We learn a few words in the language, listen to the national anthem, explore the animals and see the people on youtube, cook some food from that country and have a cultural meal and then pray for the people in that country.

4. We have a few large children’s atlases with pictures of animals and other details in each country. These are pored over by our little ones for hours!

5. Actual Travel 🙂 We haven’t travelled too far afield but wherever we go they are so keen to learn the names of the places, oceans and how it all fits together.

6. We have a poster of the Country Names with their flags which is also on the table under the plastic table cover. They love to study this and comment on the strange country names and the unusual flags.


7. We read stories set in different countries – when hubby does it he even gets the accents going!

8. We love to look at Google Earth together! Its incredible to be able to see your own house, the local nature reserve, your extended family’s houses in Belgium and Georgia, USA and see the actual street view. Wow!

9. We love listening to the geography songs CD from Sonlight – awesome!

10. The ANT RACE! Commission one of your children to find a live ant and to bring it to the table. Set it down on a world or country map and then all of you commentate on the ants journey – great way to learn country and city names.

Learning Geography is so effortless – it happens so naturally and is such fun!

“Give [instruction] to a wise [man], and he will be yet wiser: teach a just [man], and he will increase in learning.” Proverbs 9 v 9

TEN THINGS POSTS

TEN THINGS We Love About ‘Read-Aloud’ Lounge Time
TEN THINGS We No Longer Value and What Has Replaced Them
TEN THINGS about Family Fun Night
TEN THINGS “I Do Notice, Mommy”
TEN THINGS about Geography with Little Ones
TEN THINGS To Do with Edible Seeds
TEN THINGS to Help You in the Kitchen
TEN THINGS About My Days