We have taken this month very slowly in terms of ‘traditional schooling’ and really fallen forward with the children dictating when they show an interest in learning. I would prefer a bit more structure from myself, which is something I seriously need to focus on, and dedicating set activities such as painting or building, reading time or 121 time with Georgi and Mae. However, I still feel the flexible learning approach has really worked for them and would still incorporate this.
Georgi and Mae thoroughly enjoy learning and taking control of what they want to learn and when. They are so fast at picking up new concepts. Moving forward, we are going to be looking at more field trip and outdoor learning for July and August, particularly if the weather improves.
Within June, we have really focused down on areas for improvement, where both Georgi and Mae required a little more support.
Georgi has been working on learning different colours and increasing his range of vocabularly. Whereas Mae has been focusing on her pencil grip, numbers, shapes and phonics. Georgi loves to be included in any activity focused on supporting Mae and honestly thrives. He surprises me all the time with how quickly he learns and picks up on things from Mae.
Mae has been working so hard on trying to improve her pinch formation around her pencil rather than a full hand grip. Every time, she does so well for the first letter or line and then reverts back to a full hand grip. I think I am going to have to invest in one of those pencil grip moulds just to help her and encourage her to independently practise rather than having me constantly reminding her. If you have a suggestion of which pencil grips have worked for you, please do share in the comments.
Mae has completed a number of activities to practise her pencil grip, from writing out letters, following a given line and being creative, drawing her own pictures. Though she has been struggling with her pencil grip, I was mighty impressed with her drawing along my lines. Check out her pictures as well. Completely independent and created herself, not from a given topic or idea. Her nursery have been focused on the story owl babies this term, hence the owl picture. But otherwise, she created these images on her own, I am so proud of her and her drawing ability, to say she’s only 3.
With Georgi being only 1, we still try to incorporate activities involving smaller pieces. We have been working on a lot of puzzles together with Mae, finding the correct piece and placing them together. Georgi requires a lot of hands-on support with this but Mae flies through each puzzle. She has had a lot of practise since very young as she has always shown an interest in puzzles.
Georgi does really well though, trying to put pieces together independently and asks for help when needed.
Additional to this, we also get out the stickers and sticker books once or twice a week. Its a great quiet activity (win for us mums and dads) but it also helps them practise pulling off small stickers from the sheet and placing them carefully into their books. Some pages are a bit more stubborn than others, so both of them need some help with this activity.
We have spent time with Georgi increasing his range of vocabulary trying to use as many different methods as possible. He has quite a range of words already, but we are trying to encourage him to know more independently and begin to put two words together e.g. red car.
One of our favourite ways of checking if Georgi knows a word or not, is through drawing different pictures and he has to guess what it is. He loves this game and is very quick at answering. We have used different materials from the whiteboard to chalk, in order to make it more interesting and he can join in with drawing at the same time.
Other methods we often use are describing what we see in our storybooks and he loves the What’s that? series.
Mae is very confident with her colours now, so we only recap them during our other activities. When she was younger, we did lots of colour games such as:
- Placing coloured mats onto the floor and she had to sort her toys out according to which colour they were
- Colour scavenger hunts around the house, where she was given one colour at a time and had to find as many things as she could which were that colour.
Georgi is currently learning his colours and remembering their names. He has done so well and has been enjoying this post box game. You have four postboxes, each a different colour and you have to post the envelopes according to each postboxes colour. E.g. red envelopes go into the red postbox. Each envelope also has a picture of an animal, so we have been recognising and naming each animal. He has become so good at this, the last time we practised he only made 2 mistakes out of 16 envelopes!
Both Mae and Georgi have been absolutely blasting through their shape recognition! I am so impressed with them. They can both easily recognise heart, star, oval, circle, diamond and triangle. Mae still needs help remembering the word for a square, but we have also started to introduce pentagon as our new shape to learn too.
We have mainly been working on recognising shapes and naming them through pictures I have drawn and then the children trying to copy a given shape. We have just started to work on some worksheets, matching correct shapes or colouring in a particular shape set colours.
Mae needs a lot of support with her numbers. She can rote count up to 20, but we have been focusing on reading the numbers 1-10, matching them with the correct number of items and being given numbers out of order for her to find.
This last activity she finds quite challenging. She is excellent at recognising amounts of 1, 2, 3 or 5 literally within a second. But for other amounts, she starts to guess rather than spending time to count out how many items there are.
I find the more varied activities I can come up with for her, the better as it keeps her interest and makes it more of a game rather than repetitive practice.
These are a few of the activities we have been doing:
We have probably begun learning our ABCs a little backwards to how most people do. Mae has only recently shown an interest in learning letters and so I haven’t spent much time focused on this area.
I have primarily focused on phonics, making up a little rhyme with actions to help her remember certain letters. We are introducing each letter incredibly slowly, only 3 for this whole month. This is to help ensure she is completely confident with one letter and sound before we move on.
When introducing a letter, I will show her the letter either written myself or placing a magnetic letter on the whiteboard. The first letter we introduced was Ss, as I am following the order of each phonetic sound taught at Primary school.
Taking Ss as an example, I would say:
S says sssssss s for snake. I also add actions so for S, I point to my mouth, then says, I would cup my ear, and then making a snake movement with my arms during sssssss for snake.
Mae has perfected this and is able to remember the saying with the actions independently. We have since introduced Aa and Mm as well, though we are still working on Mm.
After introducing the letter, we then carry out a range of activities:
- Copying a magnetic letter on the whiteboard with a whiteboard pen.
- Tracing over the letter several times
- Writing independently
- Making objects/animals which begin with that letter out of playdough
- Recognising and circling the correct letter amongst other letters
- Finding the correct letter from their foam bath letters in the bath and placing them on the wall.
Story-time is a given, and a never-to-be-missed activity. Every night, guaranteed, as part of their bedtime routine, we will sit down together and read a story they have chosen. Depending on the time and size of the chosen story, sometimes we read one story, sometimes it’s 5!
More so this month, they have been really into their storybooks and wanting to read more during the day. Some days we will have made our way through 10-15 storybooks! Mae has never been into reading much before. But now, I am so excited that she is finally showing interest and will sit still throughout the whole story.
Mae will even join in and read alongside you with familiar stories. I have also started to encourage her to read me the story. Not physically reading it word for word, but retelling the story in her own words to double check her comprehension and vocabulary.
We also introduced the classic Oxford Tree stories – you know the ones with Biff, Chip, Kipper and Floppy! They are fantastic books, Mae and Georgi love reading 5-10 in a row together. It really helps give us something to look forward to and activity we can all spend quality time together doing.
They both have their favourite stories and know them inside out! I honestly could start my own library with the number of books we have in our house. I wouldn’t have it any other way though.
The National Space Centre in Leceister was our big day out this month. Both Georgi and Mae thoroughly enjoyed their return visit. There is so much to see and do, not just things to look at but plenty of activities to engage with. Even suitable for younger children like mine.
Check out this post to read about our visit here!