Incorporating Books and Literacy for Preschoolers at Home

A love of reading is one of the top things I want to instill in my little Mudpie during our learning at home time. As a long time book lover, I know the power that literacy can have in an education and in life as well. We started early on by surrounding her with books and reading to her regularly. I loved seeing her explore books on her own at such an early age. 

Now that we are doing preschool at home, it’s really starting to sink in that my little gal is getting closer and closer to the point where she will start to read on her own. Throughout this year, I’ve been researching ways that I can incorporate those early skills that will come together as she starts to learn to read and write. I’m not an education major, so pulling together lessons, tools, and games became a self educated, DIY experience. 

That process went well enough, but was a time consuming rabbit hole to navigate. One of the things that I loved the most about Mother Goose Time curriculum is their emphasis on literacy. The people who create this curriculum are pros, so I no longer have to wonder if I’m incorporating the most important skills needed into our lessons. It’s already done for me. 

I love that each month with Mother Goose Time, we receive a full sized themed book that we can add to our library here at home. The books have great illustrations and include activities that Mudpie can interact with in the book. In addition, other activity suggestions with the book are added into the teacher’s guides as well. 

I love seeing my little girl’s love of reading grow and know I’m giving her the skills she needs as she starts her own reading adventure! 

Ocean Commotion Mother Goose Time Unboxing

Disclosure: I am a Mother Goose Time blog ambassador. I receive the Mother Goose Time curriculum free of charge in exchange for sharing my experiences with you. All of the thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own. You can see more about Mother Goose Time here: https://www.mothergoosetime.com/

Unboxing this month’s Mother Goose Time curriculum was a lot of fun. The theme this month is Ocean Commotion, so there were plenty of sea animals and plants. There were some really nice manipulatives in this month’s box and I love the ocean letters book that was included as well. I learn a lot just from taking a look in each month’s box. Check out the video above to see what’s included in this month’s box! 

Building in Creative Arts Time for Preschool at Home

Disclosure: I am a Mother Goose Time blog ambassador. I receive the Mother Goose Time curriculum free of charge in exchange for sharing my experiences with you. All of the thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own. You can see more about Mother Goose Time here: https://www.mothergoosetime.com/

To say my little Mudpie loves the creative arts is an understatement. Crayons, paint, chalk, glue (oh, yes, ESPECIALLY glue)… she loves being able to create something new. It’s one of the only activities that will hold her preschooler attention for more than a few minutes at a time. She also loves creating her own dances and shows to perform for us.  

I also can see how much she’s learning during her creative arts times as well. Her fine motor skills are developing and growing. She’s growing her creativity and problem solving skills. I love seeing how fun this type of learning is for her (and me too)! 

Despite our daily creative arts habit, I must admit that it didn’t occur to me to regularly  incorporate the creative arts into our planned learning time until we started going through the Mother Goose Time curriculum. I love how so many of the learning activities are built around the creative arts. The ideas and concepts that we are learning are lasting with her so much longer since they are built around these arts activities. 

If you aren’t already incorporating the creative arts into your preschool at home time, it’s definitely a great addition to learning time for preschoolers. It’s a way of learning that is especially fun for kiddos and parents! 

Our First Week With Mother Goose Time

Disclosure: I am a Mother Goose Time blog ambassador. I receive the Mother Goose Time curriculum free of charge in exchange for sharing my experiences with you. All of the thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own. You can see more about Mother Goose Time here: https://www.mothergoosetime.com/

Our first week with Mother Goose Time went really well! As with any new routine, we are still trying new things and finding our rhythm with the program. The circle time routine is fairly different from what we have been doing for circle time since the beginning of the year. I really like the format of Mother Goose Time’s circle time, however it does feel (understandably) more centered around preschool or daycare centers. I think that as we continue with Mother Goose Time, we will probably find some combination of the activities we used to do and the activities suggested from Mother Goose Time.

Trying out her new cardboard telescope

I have been really enjoying exploring the different activities with Mudpie and learning more about space myself. So far, my favorite day of activities has been our day learning about stars. Mudpie made both of us star headbands during the Make and Play activity and she her own constellation after learning about what constellations are. We also played a fun star game that helped her work on her counting skills but also gave me an opportunity to teach her about graphing and greater than/less than.   

Modeling our new star headbands

I also really enjoyed our day that was centered around the sun. Mudpie made a sun mask during the Make and Play activity and we practiced and later that evening performed a small song for my hubby and my parents.

Learning all about constellations

I was a little surprised that there wasn’t a general teaching section for each subject, but the way that Mother Goose Time lays out the teaching opportunities is even better because preschoolers learn best by doing. Each teaching opportunity is tucked inside an activity where they are either doing or creating. I’m looking forward to learning more as we continue with this curriculum. I hope you’ll join me as we explore during this part of our homeschool journey!

Mother Goose Time Unboxing – Blast Off to Space!

Disclosure: I am a Mother Goose Time blog ambassador. I receive the Mother Goose Time curriculum free of charge in exchange for sharing my experiences with you. All of the thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own. You can see more about Mother Goose Time here: https://www.mothergoosetime.com/

After a recent search of preschool curriculums available, I settled on Mother Goose Time for our homeschool time. Recently, we received our first month’s box of supplies for the program and I am so excited to bring you along with me as I unbox everything we need as we “Blast Off to Space” this month! 

You can watch the video above to see the entire unboxing. Here are some of my favorite things that I discovered as I unboxed our supplies for this month: 

  • The supplies and materials needed for each day are separated into different bags. No sorting through a big box of supplies each month! 
  • Everything that is needed for each activity (other than basic supplies that you will likely have on hand) is provided! I love that I don’t have to spend hours tracking down supplies that I will only use a fraction of for learning activities. I’d much rather spend time that time playing with my little gal. 
  • This curriculum is in-depth and covers so many areas of learning, while pulling it all together under a central and fun theme. 
  • The illustrations on all of the supplies are so adorable! 
  • There are awesome activities and supplies, like board puzzles and a book, that will used over and over in our home. 

I am so excited for us to jump into the curriculum this month and, of course, share our experiences with you! 

 

How I Plan Our Homeschool Time In OneNote and Our First Day Preschool at Home DITL

I just recently realized that I no longer have a toddler. Now that Little Gal is three, she is considered a preschooler. How in the world did that happen?! 

We’ve been doing relaxed, organized learning in some form for a year a half. Now that Little Gal is older, I’m working to create more routine and structure in our learning day. Nothing too intense since I do believe that the majority of learning at this age comes from play interaction, but just some anchor points to give us a little more structure in those sometimes unpredictable at home days. 

My first focus is to build up our circle time, or morning time as I call it. Our routine for this currently includes: 

  • Singing “This Is The Day”
  • Adding the date to our wall calendar
  • Singing our days of the week song
  • Talking about what day of the week it is
  • Singing our months of the year song
  • Talking about today’s date
  • Listening to the Bounce Patrol counting song
  • Talking about our number of the week
  • Listening to the Preschool Prep phonics song
  • Talking about our letter of the week
  • Singing a Bible verse song (currently coming from ABC Jesus Loves Me)
  • Saying a prayer 
  • Talking about what we are going to do for the day

I’ve also started planning for our homeschool time in a new way this year – using OneNote. I’m really finding OneNote to be a great fit for my prep and planning time due to the flexibility of being able to use it on my phone, tablet, and laptop. I love that I can embed YouTube videos for our learning time right into my plan for that homeschool day. 

I’m definitely not a homeschool pro, but little gal and I are learning together.  We are both really loving this morning time and our homeschool activities so far this year! 

 

Brookebot Digital Planner and Digital Sticker Review

DISCLAIMER: I was provided this planner free of charge for a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I do not receive any compensation if you purchase from Brookebot.

 

If you are looking for a 2018 digital planner, the Brookebot Digital Planner is a great option to check out! With a simple, elegant design and a super helpful hyperlinked navigation bar, it’s an easy to use and functional planner. Check out this video review to get a peek inside this digital planner!

DISCLAIMER: I was provided this planner free of charge for a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I do not receive any compensation if you purchase from Brookebot.

Purchase the Brookebot Digital Planner and stickers here: http://www.aforementionedthoughts.com/brookebot

Apple Watch Unboxing and First Thoughts

A bit earlier this year, I started considering getting an Apple Watch and researching their benefits and drawbacks.  The tech world can be so confusing sometimes as one expert says that it’s a total miss and another says that they use it every day and love it, am I right?  In the end, I decided to go ahead with getting one in the hopes that it would make our everyday lives go a little more smoothly.  I almost always have my phone right beside me in case I need to be reached during the day. While I realize that this is overkill for some people, we have some family members who have had health issues and I like to be available in case, Heaven forbid, there are any emergencies that come up. I don’t always love toting my phone everywhere I go though. Carrying it around the house seems a bit too much for me while I’m playing with my little girl or handling chores. Having the phone out while we are at playgroup is not my preference either. I loved the idea that I could easily see text messages and even receive phone calls on my wrist with the Apple Watch and ultimately that is what sold me. 

As with all Apple products, the packaging is top notch and sets you up for a wonderful feeling watch. It feels substantial in your hands and on your wrist. I ended up purchasing the aluminum watch in part because I have been eying some pretty yellow bands and I just can’t picture them working with the beautiful rose gold watch. I have some concerns that the white watch band will get dye stains on it from clothing or other items given it’s silicone feel.  I’ll be interested to see how it holds up with use. 

The startup for the watch was a breeze and very intuitive, as most Apple products are. Right away, I loved checking out the different watch faces. My daughter will definitely love the Mickey and Minnie options! I love that I can have custom photo watch faces also. 

As I look around at the apps on my watch, I’m certain that Apple must work on the format of the apps page in the future. It’s not terrible, but it’s certainly not what I would call a “good” format. I do like the dock where you can pin frequently used apps for quick access. I’m always appreciative of any personalization options available. 

All in all, the Apple Watch feels great and is fun to play around with as I check out the features. I’m looking forward to giving it a try and seeing if it’s a good fit for my life as a stay at home mom. I’ll be checking back in with you in a couple of weeks to let you know how it goes! 

How to Add Images to Your Google Calendar

 

While I really enjoy using my “paper digital” planner, I still keep my appointments in my Google Calendar because of the functionality and because I am always near my phone. One of my biggest gripes about Google Calendar is that it can be a little drab. That’s why I was so excited when I figured out how to add images to my Google Calendar. It was so much simpler than I could have dreamed and, yes, it does work on almost all of the different platforms I’ve tried – Android, iPhone, and web! 

Why I Still Use My Google Calendar Along With My Paper Style Planner

I really enjoy using my “paper digital” planner, Google Calendar is still where I house all of my appointments and even some of my record keeping. Here are my top six reasons I still use Google Calendar: 

  1. It’s always with me – I am almost never without my phone. Thanks to Siri and other apps, I can quickly add upcoming appointments while I am on the go. 
  2. Ability to share – It is great to be able to easily share appointments with friends and family when I need to. When I am able to share my calendar with others, I never have to be concerned that they forgot about our plans. 
  3. Reminders – Thanks to reminders, I don’t have to keep my plans floating around in my head. My phone or computer will give me a gentle reminder that keeps me on track (even if I haven’t opened my calendar)! 
  4. Easy to edit – You can’t get much easier than click and drag to update appointments to a new date! 
  5. Automation – I have many IFTTT and Zapier automations set up with my Google Calendar so that I don’t even have to manually enter or write down all of the details of a plan or record. 
  6. Search – I can easily search back several years to find out when something happened last. So much better than needing to manually look through past years’ calendars! 

If you are interested in me covering any areas above further, please let me know in the comments below!