Each month, we aim to share an overview of the main activities we have completed towards our learning journal.
January’s Learning Journal has been our fullest yet! With Georgi and Mae leaving nursery at the end of the month, we really wanted to increase the number of activities we did together as a family at home.
The kids are honestly amazing. I feel truly blessed with Georgi and Mae. They take on every new activity and challenge with determination and creative minds.
We have had so much fun together this month, and I am really excited about the following months for our future learning journals. I’ve been fortunate to be able to lower my teaching hours, allowing me to plan and prepare even more educational themed activities for the children to engage with.
Our aim through sharing these learning journals with you is to hopefully give you inspiration and ideas for what you can do with your kids at home.
Our own approach is extremely flexible. We learn when the children are interested in doing so and plan activities surrounding their hobbies and interests.
There are affiliate links used on this page. If you use any of the following links to make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. I do not make any recommendations for products which I have not personally had a positive experience using. Read my full affiliate disclosure here.
Here’s a summary of what we have been up to for our January learning journal below:
Letters Ee, Uu and Cc
These letter choices may seem quite random, and that’s because they are! Ha!
We really do give a lot of control to Georgi and Mae for what they want to learn. We have this ABC poster and after singing our ABCs together, the children then choose which picture we are going to focus on for the week.
Hence, this month we have had elephant, umbrella, and cat for the letters E, U, and C.
For each letter, we have introduced the letter, practised creating the letters either with our fingers, craft or tracing. Or Mae is at the stage she has a go at copying each letter by free hand.
We also focus on practising our phonics as well and have made a song with physical actions for each letter.
An example for C is that we make a large C with our arms and then act out cat, cake, and car with the following chant:
C is for cat c c cat
C is for cat, eating a cake
C is for cat, eating a cake and driving a car.
If you can think of chants for each letter you learn I highly recommend doing so. We did this two times together today, and then Mae went ahead and showed her dad independently!
For each letter, there are countless activities you can do to help your kids learn and recognise each letter.
Here are a few ideas for what we have done for each letter this month:
- Find magnetic letters in rice or pasta
- Created pictures using the letters
- Placed stickers along lines to form a letter
- Used material such as bricks or play foam to fill in letters
- Finger painted a picture beginning with a letter.
One of the best activities we did, was as a refresher activity to see what Georgi and Mae remembered. We stuck letters in different places around the room. Then, when we called out each letter, Georgi and Mae had to run to the correct letter. Since we teach both the letter and phonetical sound together, we would call out such as A a a apple.
This was such a fun activity and both the kids did brilliantly. We then extended it further for them to match the capital and lower case letters together. Though it was a matching activity, we used it more to practise recognising the different letters.
Fun with Blocks
Blocks are brilliant to have at home. Unlike jigsaws or tracks, there isn’t a set way to use them. So they encourage complete creativity and children’s imagination.
Other than above, where we used blocks to fill in the letter U, we have also used blocks to
- Colour sort
- Learn about shapes
- Create buildings and garages
- Counting towers
- Building and balancing
- Creating our own game
- Recognising colours.
We bought blocks for Christmas last year and they are literally one of my favourite toys for the kids to play with. We have gained our monies worth and more as we use them near enough every day. Next month in February, we will be looking at different ways to make patterns and these blocks will come in very handy for creating repeating patterns.
Number Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts are great fun for the whole family to do together. You can create a scavenger hunt for pretty much any theme, indoors and outdoors, plus for any educational goal.
This month, we carried out a number scavenger hunt for where we live.
First, we say down together and the children had to shout out 8 numbers for me to write down. They both did really well with this actually. Georgi shouted out numbers under 10, and Mae, with encouragement, managed to tell me numbers under 50.
Once we had all 8 numbers, we wrapped up warm and took our dog out for a walk on our estate.
The aim was to be able to tick off every number on our list from the house numbers near our home.
They needed a little encouragement to check not just the house number on their side of the road, but also opposite. Other than that, they did really well finding each number and working as a team. It was wonderful to see them help each other so well.
Plus, because we had a few two-digit numbers, we could recognise single digits for Georgi, and then teach Mae how to read them together e.g. 2 6 is 26.
Not to mention, walking around our estate gave me an opportunity to teach them about road safety. Of course, we do this whenever we walk our dog. But, I was able to spend a bit more time talking them through each step of crossing a road safely since we were already walking around slowly to look for house numbers.
Day Trip to Tattershall
If you’ve read this post here, you’ll know that Tattershall farm park is one of our favourite family days out.
We always have so much fun, no matter the weather. The kids absolutely love it here and can spend hours here, which isn’t usual for our family.
Read about our experience with Tattershall Farm Park here.
We are big on stories in our house. We always make it a part of our bedtime routine to read at least two stories (sometimes that turns into 10!) That our children have chosen.
This month, we have tried to find different stories relating to our letters of the week we have been learning.
Mae really impressed me this month with memory reading and storytelling to her brother.
She did so well and it was such a proud mum moment seeing them both sat together and hearing her read and act out each story.
We’ve incorporated using different materials this month to encourage exploration through sensory play.
Sensory play can help support:
- Language development
- Motor skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Memory function
- Building nerve connections in the brain.
- Plus, it’s pretty fun for them, messy for me to clean up!
We have set up pasta and rice for the children to play with either finding letters or with measuring cups. Plus, providing a colander and spaghetti for the children to develop their motor skills.
Not to mention we’ve been squeezing with one hand the play foam to strengthen muscles, coordination and motor skills.
One of their favourite sensory play items is the kinetic sand. These boxes are brilliant for them with themed tools e.g. dinosaurs or the seaside, but they are one of my favourites for ease of cleaning! Sensory play with no mess, um YES!
We really enjoy playing family games. Granted, some games are better than others. But family games encourage us to spend intentional time together as a family. Not to mention it helps the children with turn-taking, listening skills, and teaching them different things such as shapes, colours and numbers whilst we play.
Our favourite games to play together at the moment are:
Free play provides excellent opportunities for children to learn. It helps them to put into practise things they have seen or heard from us e.g. using manners for sharing, or creating shapes.
It also encourages them to use their imagination and take the lead rather than just copying is grown-ups.
For example, Mae is extremely imaginative and creative. She made a car out of her cuddly toys and pretended to drive.
I also provided them with some lollipop stocks to play with and some robot erasers. As you can see, they created different shapes with these and created bridges on their own. Together we made a mini catapult to see whose robot we could launch the highest.
Finally, towards the end of the month, we braved the beach. Though bitterly cold, it’s still important to play outside and offers a different adventure for Georgi and Mae.
We decided to take a trip to Hunstanton and stopped on the way at Sandringham.
Sandringham alone is such a beautiful place to explore. With it being enclosed, it’s safe for the children to run about in. Plus there are lots of wildlife to spot and learn about.
After a runaround and play in the playground, we headed over to Hunstanton.
I quite like heading to the beach this time of the year to be honest. Even though it was so SO cold, it isn’t crowded at all.
We took the children around the arcades for the first time which they thoroughly enjoyed. I’m not a huge fan myself, but it was nice to be a little competitive with them and against my husband on a few of the arcade games.
Following this, we couldn’t go to the beach without taking a stroll. The tide was out so we went looking for crabs. Unfortunately, we didn’t find any, but there were plenty of seagull footprints and worm tracks for us to explore and the children to guess which creature they belonged to.
There you have it, our take on homeschooling within our January learning journal. We don’t believe there is a set way or method for educating at home. But we are big believers in allowing our kids to take a lead in what they want to learn. We plan activities surrounding their interests and use everything we do as an opportunity to learn.
I hope through sharing our learning journals, we will inspire you with ideas of activities you can do at home with your children.