Some of the activities in this post were done over the past month or so, just intermittently.  There was a period of time that we didn’t get a lot done due to vacation/sickness, but have you ever heard the saying, “learning is a lifestyle”?  When we didn’t have time for our regular “work” I improvised and we did other educational activities like noting the differences in the nature around us in California (palm trees!) and why it was different there, etc.  Emma is genuinely interested in these things thankfully, otherwise I would be that pesty mom always trying to fit learning in.  ;-)  But really, if you start early and make learning about the world around you a game they don’t even think of it as “school” – just part of their life-long adventure.  Come to think of it, Emma doesn’t know what true “school” is…


The past few weeks we focused on:

♦  Writing numbers,
♦  Number order,
♦  Recognizing place value. I couldn’t find the abacus anywhere for this… don’t you hate it when that happens?  I’ve since found it, of course.  :p  But I improvised and we used stacked legos and the Ten-Frame Treasures instead.

Kindergarten Hands-On Math McRuffy

♦  We also worked on addition with the Hungry Fish iTunes app,
♦  Practiced money math by playing store,
♦  Created 2- and 3-D shapes on geoboard grids (she has to copy the example exactly and it’s harder than it looks!),


I found an aisle at the library devoted entirely to fairy tales and so we read quite a few for literature along with our regular readings (and sometimes in place of them).  I especially love finding fairy tales and classic stories with beautiful art.  We talk about the paintings or drawings inside the books and what medium they might have used, whether the style is realistic or not, etc.  Here are a few of my recommendations from what we have read recently:

♦  Snow White by Paul Heins, art by Trina Hyman – Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful pictures!  I could rave about the       art in this book!
♦  Rumpelstiltskin by Paul Galdone (Here’s another with more beautiful illustrations by Paul Zelinsky)
♦  Hansel & Gretel by Will Moses

We’ve had some interesting conversations about these tales while reading them since they are definitely not the same fairy tales Disney has told.  And have you ever noticed that every single stepmother the Grimm brothers wrote about had an evil heart?  Well, every stepmother I’ve read about so far, anyway.  The fathers tend to be weak about protecting their own children, too.  Hmmm.

Science/Nature Study:

We did many different things for science including:

♦  Watch documentaries – We like the David Attenborough animal shows and specifically enjoyed the crocodile one     recently, especially the part where the mother crocodile is teaching her young to hunt!  If you haven’t seen it yet,     watch it – it’s on Netflix Instant.  :)  If you don’t have Netflix you can watch some of it here on YouTube.
♦  Read books I found at the library about various subjects –  I last brought home a book on Spring and Emma was         fascinated with this diagram of the earth explaining how we have different temperatures and seasons at different       times of the year:


    Another book we read in March I really wanted to share with you guys because it’s a wonderful one!  I think                enough people are still feeling “winter” that some of you might still be able to use it, too.  It’s called Not a Buzz to      Be Found: Insects in Winter and it is incredibly helpful in answering those questions that kids ask (at least mine          did) – Where did the butterflies go?  Where did the bees go?  And the art is gorgeous.  :)  I had to include the                  praying mantis page (right) since we have a praying mantis egg case I’m still hopeful will hatch (it hasn’t yet).

Awesome book for kids - insects in winter - nature study

♦  Emma looked at various objects through her “microscope” (here it is on Amazon) – feathers, everything she                 could find in my pantry (sigh), bugs, etc.  She loved seeing things up close!  I can’t wait to get a more powerful             microscope for her, but for now this one works great (and holds up well under rough little people’s hands).  I did       enjoy showing her what bugs and germs look like under very powerful microscopes on Google Images.  :-p

 Microscope for Little Ones


We’re still working on letter formation practice but recently I asked Emma to write the entire alphabet down for me so I could get an idea of what we needed to work on and she only needed help forming a few (z and q being two that she hasn’t used often).  There are also some that she writes backwards at times.  She hasn’t been interested at ALL in trying to stay in the lines in the past despite my attempts at persuading her to do so… but a few days ago I ordered some Teacher-Created Smart Start Writing Paper off of Amazon and she was tickled that the bottom line was the grass, the middle line the fence, and the top line the sky and really began trying harder!  That’s a good deal on that paper, too – there are 100 sheets as opposed to paying the same price for a notebook of 30 or so sheets like I’ve done in the past.  Plus, the spaces are larger than usual and we like that.


Since Emma has been asking to learn cursive as well, I’ve been making cursive worksheets for her using Startwrite and found a great app for learning cursive on the Kindle called I Learn Cursive Writing (there is a free version if you want to try it out before buying it).  I love that it demonstrates how to write each letter for her.

As far as learning to read goes, Emma is really moving forward at a fast pace.  The other day I caught her reading The Happy Hollisters for fun and that’s not an easy book!  We aren’t really doing Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons anymore because she pretty much is learning as she reads with me and also still insists on watching TV with the subtitles on so she can read along with the characters as they speak.  I think she might have created a brand new “how to read” program.  ;-)  But it has caused her to ask questions like, “Why is ‘phone’ spelled with a ‘ph’ instead of an ‘f’?”  See, she’s teaching herself phonics!  haha  This makes me wonder if we need to skip some of our McRuffy phonics book… it seems a little silly to still be talking about 3-letter words when she knows them all so well already.

In the lower lefthand corner of the collage photo above, you can see the kids playing a word game – that’s Spelligator, a word-building game I found for a really good price at Zulily (it’s also on Amazon) a few months ago.


How did your school week go?

 This post shared here at Weekly Wrap-Up


One Response to Emma’s Kindergarten Year: Place Value, Fairy Tales for Literature, Microscopes, & More

  • I think that is one of the most exhausting things about homeschooling is that learning really does take place ALL the time! :) That is really funny about the closed captioning… I haven’t done that but I have a friend who does that but turns it to Spanish as a way to teach foreign language! Hilarious! :)

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