Friday, August 31, 2012

Following the Plan Friday

Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans...

My mom arrived on Wednesday and we've been busy having fun with her, so we haven't done much school  at all this week.  So, I'm going to move Letter C week to next week and adjust from there.

That's the beauty of homeschooling, isn't it :)

We're headed to the Science Center today for a field trip.

See ya next week!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Using Activity Sticks to Reset an Asperger's Child

This post is a small departure from my normal "Preschool" themed talks, but relevant to the world of homeschooling and one many parents may find helpful.

My 10-year-old son has Asperger's and has been doing school at home for two years now.

The first two years were very much a time of survival:  just get through the day, just get through the coursework.

This year I am doing a lot of reading and experimenting, trying in my feeble way to do the best I can for my son.

I am by no means an expert; I'm just getting started on this road, but I did hit on an idea this year that, so far, has been pretty successful, even if my Aspie would tell you otherwise ;)

One thing with Tyler is that he needs frequent breaks.  Not necessarily a timed thing, more of an "amount of input".  Once he has reached a certain amount of input, he needs a break, or it's not pretty.

Because his activity of choice right now revolves around everything Mario, just telling him "take a break" doesn't work, because he'll just get right back on the computer to play a Mario game, or research about Mario, or...

He won't independently do a physical activity or a "play" activity.

So, I decided to make some activity sticks for him to pull when he needs a break.

For ideas, I referenced a list of sensory therapies that his OT gave me back when our insurance was still paying for Tyler to have OT.  I also checked out the book The Out-of-Sync Child Has Fun from the library.  I complied a list of assorted activities, some fine motor, some gross motor, some calming, some energy releasing, and wrote each activity on a craft stick.

Each week I put a few of the activity sticks into a cup labeled "Take Out to Do".

The plan is for Tyler to pull an activity stick every time he finishes a school subject, however (and this is a good thing!), Tyler has been so focused on getting his schoolwork done lately that he has not been taking as many breaks.  I am monitoring him, however, and when I sense that he needs a break, I tell him to go pull an  activity stick.

This is usually met with grumbling and resistance, as that's just Tyler's way.  But I've noticed that usually by the end of the activity he's managed to reset and can resume his schoolwork with a better attitude.  I've also used this at other times, just when I think he needs a break.

When he's done, the stick goes into another cup labeled "Put in when done".  That way, he is getting a full assortment of activities and not just picking the same one over and over.

To start out with I have had to pick activities that utilized what we have on hand as I can't go out and purchase extra materials right now.  I have dreams, though.

Here is what's in his cup right now:

  • Play with playdough
  • Hang upside down on the recliner

  • Have Mom wrap you up like a burrito.  Can be read to, or read a book, if desired.
  • Draw lazy 8's on the board, 10 per hand, 10 together
  • Play with stress ball, 5 minutes
  • Play Hyper Dash
  • Make 3 bomb bags
  • Do 10 jumping jacks
  • March and Tap knees 10 times each and opposites
  • Use the massager for 5 minutes
  • Play with bubble wrap
  • Do 2 animal walks
  • Play with cold spaghetti
So far the favorites are playing with bubble wrap and using the massager.  The bubble wrap especially calms him down effectively.

The other day he got angry so I made him pull a stick.  He grumbled and complained the whole time and announced that his pick of "Play Hyper Dash" was "stupid".  But he obediently set up his targets and began to play.  By the end of the game, he was smiling and happy (although he would never admit it).  I deemed it successful.

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Day In The Life; Not Back-To-School Blog Hop

Today was my daughter's first day of school, so it's a "new routine" day for all of us.

My 11-year-old daughter, by choice, goes to our church's private school.  That leaves me with three boys at home:  my 10 year old son, who schools through a virtual public school, my 4-year-old who I am teaching preschool to this year, and my two-year-old, who's tagging along.  We are a mixed bunch, that's for sure.

Here's what our day looked like:

6 to 7:15 A.M.

I wake up just before my alarm goes off at 6.  I wake up the older kids and the littles follow soon after.  We all get ready for the day and grab breakfast from the freezer (I prepare various breakfast foods in bulk and freeze for easy mornings).  Katelyn grabs her lunch out of the fridge and adds reusable ice cubes.  I put today's laundry load into the washer.  We're out of the door at 7:15 to drive Katelyn to school.

7:45-8:40 A.M.

I park the van around the back of the school by the room that I use for church nursery so that I can pull out an unused bassinet before the school day starts and the room gets used for Bible and Math.  Katelyn unloads her school supplies from the trunk.  I quickly fill the space with the bassinet.  Close the trunk and the boys and I head to the restroom for a quick bathroom break before going into the church.  The student body files in and Pastor starts the first day of school off with pledges and chapel.

I am so excited this school year because our Pastor is pushing to place an even greater on prayer, spiritual development and the teaching of our doctrine.  One of the things that he is doing is making the regular  all-school morning prayer time into "chapel"-prayer and a thought.  This is a wonderful opportunity for our children to hear words of knowledge from their pastor on a daily basis.  Priceless.  As soon as it was announced that he would be doing morning prayer this way I determined in my heart that I would take Tyler and the littles every morning that we can go.  So, we participate this morning.  The littles get a bit antsy, but it's the time is a blessing.  I just love how Pastor invites all of the children to kneel and pray and he LEADS them in prayer, just for a short time, perfect for their ages.  It is wonderful.

9:15 A.M.

We get home and Tyler unloads the dishwasher while I put the laundry into the dryer and get some cooked beans out of the freezer to thaw for dinner.  Then we all take a computer break.  I realize that I forgot to schedule today's weekly lesson plans to post, so I quickly put them up on the blog.

9:45 A.M.

I grab today's Preschool folder and materials and head for the living room.  I ask Jason to pull the cat books out of the library basket.  I've gotten into a habit of propping the books up on the sofa for the boys to look at while we do Preschool.  I won't actually read them until Storytime, but it's makes a good visual.  I set everything out and call the boys to the library.

10:00 A.M.

Time for school!  My Type A self can't believe that we don't start school until 10, but over time I've come to realize that this is what works for us.  I used to send Tyler to do his schoolwork as soon as Katelyn left for school (back when she had a ride), but he wasn't ready that early.  Now that we take Katelyn to school and don't get home until 9:15 and then we all need a break, 10 just seems to work best.

Our routine had been to start with pledge, but we said pledges with the school during chapel today, so I direct the boys to the Alphabet Chart where we sing the ABCs.  I quiz Jason on what letters we've learned so far (hmmm, he's mixing up the sounds) and introduce the letter C.

I set out Tyler's folder next to the computer.  This contains his "List of Things to do today" that I type up for him which breaks each piece of his school day down into bites. Then, I direct the littles to the living room.

Tyler gives his daily grumbles, but sits down and logs onto the school website.

The littles and I pull out a cat sorting game, which the boys thoroughly enjoy.  I point out how the cats all look different, with different colors and markings and try to make a connection with how people all look different and what a great and creative God we have.  Not sure how much they understood, but they often surprise me with random comments later, so we'll see.

Next we make a paper bag cat puppet.  The kids love it as they get glue everywhere!  I rein in my perfectionist tendencies and allow the boys to put their cats' whiskers onto the nose areas whichever way they want to.

Finally, we do the cat printables that I've prepared.  Jason puts together the puzzle like a master, along with the patterns page.  Justin glues randomly and happily.  Lastly is a tracing page.  Jason traces, Justin colors the pictures.

In the middle of all of this, Tyler calls out for help with his science worksheet.  None of the given words fit the definition.  I suggest that he go through and scratch out the words already used so that he can narrow down his choices, then look up the definitions of the remaining words.  He grumbles, but finishes the worksheet.

Later he calls out "What does this mean?" and shows me his Language Arts page about Settings and Details.  So I explain that to him and set him to work writing down the details.  Back to the living room.

Preheat the oven for chicken nuggets.

11:00 A.M.

Preschool is done and the chicken nuggets are ready.  The boys eat their lunch.  I look in the fridge to see what needs to be eaten by me:  leftover hot dogs.

Even though Tyler can take a break now, he choose to finish his schoolwork as he's almost done.

After straightening up the living room, the littles play with their cat puppets and I load the dishwasher.  I also put a load of towels into the washer.

Tyler comes in and announces that he finished all of his schoolwork before Katelyn even has her lunch break!  That's clearly a positive reason for homeschooling in Tyler's book.

11:45 A.M.

Time for Storytime!!!  I'm always excited because this means that naptime is next!  Tyler begs me to read If You Give a Cat a Cupcake first, so I comply.  What a silly book.

We also read Splish, Splash, Splat! and Kitty Cat, Kitty Cat, Are You Going to Sleep?  Justin's ready to sleep.  Jason's tired, but he'll fight it with everything in him.

12:10 P.M.

Lay the littles down and set the timer for 1 hour.  Justin falls asleep quickly, but Jason...well, let's just say he doesn't sleep and leave it at that.  He is a terrible sleeper, has been since day one.  And very strong-willed.  Sigh.

While the littles take their nap, Tyler plays on one computer and I work on the other.  Since today is Monday, my home-prep assignment is to work on prepping for next week's Preschool.  I pull up the lesson plan and fire up the printer.  Oooo, we're really low on toner, so I only print the first two days.  This will get us through until payday when I can buy more ink.

I move to a work station and finish all the cutting, etc of the lessons.

Transfer the towels to the dryer.  Put the dry clothes in a basket on my bed for later.

1:45 P.M.

Jason is up from his "nap" and he and Tyler are playing on the computer.  I sit down with a book for 15 minutes and take a break.

2:00 P.M.

Break time is over.  I make a double batch of cookies while the boys play in the living room, building forts or something with their bed stuffs.  Justin wanders in.

Jim calls and says that he and Katelyn are on their way home.  I send the boys on a "straighten up" mission, which includes folding the towels while I fold the clothes.

4:00 P.M.

I greet Katelyn at the door with a big hug.  She needs some down time, so the littles watch me and Tyler play a 30 minute Spongebob Monopoly game.  I wish it was cooler so we could go to the park.  One more month.

4:30 P.M.

I send Katelyn to do her homework and I work on dinner.  Boys are busy doing something or other.

5:00 P.M.

We sit down to dinner.  Katelyn tells me all about the first day of school and I tell Jim all about chapel-time (clearly I'm loving this!).  The littles get in some unauthorized sensory play with their carrots and ranch dressing.

5:30 P.M.

Tyler unloads the dishwasher, Katelyn makes her lunch for tomorrow and I put leftovers away as we all talk.  Then I head to the computer while Katelyn cleans the kitchen and Tyler takes a bath.

6:30 P.M.

I give the littles a bath.  After the bath, they work on their imaginative skills by dumping all of the little pink sugar packets into my stock pots and stirring them up.  They were "making breakfast burritos".  Oh, and working on their scooping and spooning skills, too.

Tyler prints out a coloring page of Bowser Jr and colors for awhile.  Katelyn goes to finish her homework.  I putter.

7:45 P.M.

I tell the kids to clean up all of the packet mess off the floor.  They can leave it inside the pots on top of the coffee table, but it must be off the floor.

Time to sing songs and pray!  I start to sing "Everybody Will Be Happy Over There".  Tyler asks what "over there" is and if there will be "nummies" there, which leads to a discussion about Heaven and what it will be like.  We sing "Soon and Very Soon" and read the story of the Shepherds being told of Christ's birth.  I pray aloud and thank God for a wonderful first day of school.  We end with our traditional "Jesus Loves Me/Jesus Loves the Little Children."

8:00 P.M.

Bedtime!!!  I put the littles to bed, although Justin fusses because he wants to keep making breakfast burritos.

I encourage the older kids to head to bed, but their clocks are still on summer schedule, so it will be a few nights adjusting yet.

I get on the computer to finish this post, then work on The Preschool Plan.  I will work until 9:30, then I will go pray and then head to bed.

And that's our day.

  This post is part of iHomeschool Network's Not-Back-to-School Blog Hop.  This week hundreds of bloggers are linking up a "day-in-the-life" of their homeschool.

Free Back-to-School Printables Pack from 3 Dinosaurs

Cassie over at 3 Dinosaurs just released an adorable Back-to-School Printables Pack, geared towards ages 2-7.  According to Cassie, "These printables were made to go with the book: There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books! by Lucille Colandro"

A quick look at the pack shows scissor practice, cards for memory, pattern cards, puzzles and more.

Oh, this looks like fun!!

Check it out here

Lesson Plan Week of September 3; The Letter D

Wow, can you believe that we've made it to the letter D?

This will be a four-day week as there is NO SCHOOL on Labor Day!!

We are a little animal-heavy this week, partly because Jason asked me during A week when we were going to do dinosaurs.  I was a little surprised as he had never indicated a preference for dinosaurs before.  But, I put them in there.

I also choose dogs, because I found the cutest game on Pinterest, and ducks because I love Jez Alborough's Duck books.  Finally, we toss in dump trucks because my boys love them.

Note:  I did away with the "X is for WORD" signs.  They were driving me crazy.  I will write the word on the dry erase board and only insert a picture if I need to.


  • Gather Items for Dino Feet
    • Prepare the feet as much as desired.  You may want to make the whole thing and just have your child play in them, or you may want them to help you make all or part of it.
  •  Gather Items for Dino Bones Dig
    • Paint the dog bones white.
    • Fill the dish or tub with sand.
    • Bury the bones.
    • If using plastic dinosaurs, bury them.
  •  Print off desired printables
  • Review the letters A, B, and C.  
    • Do not go forward if your child is not recognizing the differences between the letters, their shapes and their sounds.  Go back and review as necessary.
  • Introduce the letter D.
    • Show your child the letter D on the alphabet sign.
    • Make the D sound and have your child copy you.
    • Sometimes children confuse the letter D with the letter B.  For upper case letters, point out that the letter B has two openings and the letter D only has one.
    • See how many D words that you can come up with.
  •  Focus on Dinosaurs
    • Talk with your child about Dinosaurs and see how much they know about them.  Discussions can lead to talks about great family memories (like seeing the Dinosaur Mountain at our local natural history museum, or the Dinosaur Diorama at Disneyland), or remembering books read, or maybe your family are Dinosaur fanatics.
  • Make and/or Play with Dino Feet
  • Have a Dino Bones Dig
    • Hide the bones and/or the plastic dinosaurs in the sand and let your child dig around and find them.  Provide little tools like shovels, sticks, or paintbrushes.
  •  Allow your child to do any desired printables, linked above 


  • Items for Dog Dress Up
    • Construction Paper
    • Glue, Tape, Staples
    • Markers, Crayons
  • Gather items for Dog Dress Up
  • Gather items for Feed the Dog Game
    • Make the Dog, following the directions here
    • Make the bones, following same directions
  • Gather the items for Color Matching Doghouses
    • Print out the dogs and doghouses
    • Cut them out
  • Print off desired printables
  • Review
  • Introduce "D is for Dogs"
    • Does your child love dogs or are they terrified of them?  Talk about all things dogs:  types, sizes, colors, but (most) all have four legs and a tail.
    • If possible, swing by the pet store or the humane society and enjoy the dogs.
  • Dress Up Like Dogs
    • Using your supplies, make doggie ears, tails, dog tags, and anything else that sounds fun.
    • Pretend to be dogs.  You can even have "obedience school" and have your dog child practice following directions.
  • Play the Feed the Dog game
    • Pretty Simple, but you can number the bones and ask your child to feed the dog the bone with the correct number on it.
    • If you make the mouth big enough, you can have the child roll a dice and feed that number of bones into the dog.
    • What else can you come up with?


  • Gather materials from Letter "D" Duck Craft
    • Cut all pieces out
  •  Gather items for Footprint Ducks
  • Print out desired printables
  • Review
  • Introduce "D is for Duck"
    • Have you ever taken your child to feed the ducks?  (Are children even allowed to do that anymore with all the HOA rules nowadays?)  Talk about all things ducks:  their different colors, how they can survive on land and water, their webbed feet and beaks, anything your child finds interesting.


  • Gather items for Egg Carton Dump Truck activity
    • Cut and prepare egg cartons as directed
  •  Gather items for Basic Shapes Dump Truck
    • Cut out shapes from assorted construction paper
    • Tear a large pile of tissue paper confetti
  •  Print the Truck Roll and Stamp game
    • If necessary, cut at least a dozen small cards and label them numbers 1-6
  •  Print out the Dot-to-Dot Truck
  • Gather items to Play Trucks in the Sand
    • Fill the sand table, if necessary

  • Review the week
  • Introduce D is for Dump Truck
    • My kids love running to the window on Garbage Day and watching the truck pick up the trash on the street.  It's not exactly the same kind of truck, but close enough that they call out "garbage truck" whenever they see a dump truck, which we see lots of.  Talk with your child about the different kinds of trucks and tractors, work equipment that there is.  

See this week in active here!

Dressed up like dogs, playing Feed the Dog game!

Friday, August 24, 2012

What Did He...Setting Details Worksheet, 5th Grade

Tyler, my 5th grader, is learning about themes and settings in his Language Arts class.  (Tyler schools through a virtual public school)

According to the lesson, setting is where and when the story takes place.  Writers use details, such as the senses and feelings, so that the reader can better visualize the setting.  The reader can also figure out what the setting might be by analyzing the details.

The lesson guide provides a web diagram where the student writes the setting in the middle circle, then webs off of that circle, filling in the different senses and feelings that are described in the story.

I decided that this wouldn't work well for Tyler, so I made my own worksheet.  It's very simple.  The heading says "What did he...".  I then made a table with six columns, each one labeled with a sense (taste, smell, etc) and one for feeling.

As Tyler reads the story and comes to a describing detail, he will write the detail in the appropriate column.

For example, the story will say "I heard the roaring waves.  I smelled the rotting fish.  I felt the sand between my toes."

Tyler will write under the heading "hear":  the roaring waves.

Under "smell":  the rotting fish

Under "touch":  the sand between my toes.

Then, if the story does not tell what the setting is, we can make inferences based on the details that we have.

Interested in this simple worksheet?  I have a PDF version of it here.

Following the Plan Friday

It's Friday!!  Woohoo!  We had a great week, but I'm glad for the weekend.  Actually, I'm looking forward to next week when Katelyn starts school.  We'll be getting a part of our routine, which will include joining the school for their morning pledge and prayer time.  Katelyn's school lost their principal, so in the transition, our Pastor is going to be taking over the spiritual aspects, which include morning prayer.  He plans to be there praying with the kids every morning that he is in town and he is calling it "chapel" because he plans to "share a thought" with the kids every morning.  I'm so excited about this!  THEN, they changed the extended chapel service from Thursday afternoons to Friday morning (basically just extending morning chapel time), so we can go!  I've wanted to take Tyler to chapel, but the time has been prohibitive due to the littles nap time and their general inability to sit quietly during prayer time.  Now that they are older and the time is better for us, we are all going to go and take part.  I think this will be a huge blessing to all of us.

Oh, yeah, I'm supposed to be talking about our week.

We had so much fun this week with our Letter B projects.  I have been so impressed with Jason's abilities and learning just in these few weeks.

The boys thoroughly enjoy gluing anything and everything.  I have a bunch of bottles of glue leftover from a birthday party so I am having them use those before I buy glue sticks.  They love watching the glue come out and "that's enough, that's enough!" can be heard over and over during Preschool.

One thing that I've really had to work on in myself is letting go of my desire to do things "Just Right".  For example, on Tuesday one of our projects was to make a handprint barn scene.

I started with Jason.  I painted his hand yellow and made the print for the duck.  Washed him off, painted his hand brown and made the print for the horse.  Washed him off and prepared to paint his hand black for the sheep.  He told me that he was done with the handprints and just wanted to paint.  So I told him to paint a red barn onto his paper.

He painted the whole entire paper around his handprints red.

While working with Jason, Justin decided that he wanted to paint his barn, the one that I had made for them to put animal stickers into.  He would not be dissuaded.  He wanted nothing to do with handprint painting.  He just wanted to paint the barn.

So he did.

Tyler wanted to paint Luigi.  So he did.

Katelyn was the only one who painted a barn scene.

I felt a little frustrated, but quickly made myself get over it because they were having fun!!!  They weren't going to learn any more by having a perfect picture than they were by just painting whatever they wanted.

The same with everything else.  So the windshield of the bus was not actually on the bus.  He didn't know, didn't care, and was so proud of his bus.

And, by the end of the week, Jason can identify an A and a B and tell me what sounds they make.

Justin glues black shapes onto his paper plate soccer ball.

Gluing a black stripe onto his basketball.

Cutting out his hot air balloon.

Proudly showing off his hot air balloon in the sky.

Jason's hot air balloon activity.  He was very serious about showing this off.

The barns that I made for them to put animal stickers into.

Jason's Handprint Barn Animals Painting.

Justin insists on painting his barn.

Katelyn's beautiful barn painting.

Jason draws a door onto his bus.

Making "B" word cookies.  I didn't have the ingredients to make the bus cookies that I had linked, so I thought we would make bus shapes out of sugar cookies.  Well, that didn't really go over well, but making things that started with B did, so we choose all of our cookie cutters that were B words.  Jason enjoyed rolling out and cutting the cookies.  Justin worked over one section of dough until it was gone...into his mouth.
I think this crazy idea of mine is working!

Other notes:  The "Find the Bear" activity was a huge hit!!  We spent a good amount of time with that game.  I saved it to pull out when we need something to do.

I am enjoying all of the books that we are reading.  We go to the library every other Saturday and it takes me about an hour to find all of the books that I need for the next two weeks, but we are really enjoying the wide variety of books that we are reading, rather than just the same few series that we know.  A couple of books have been a little "off", but I've just used it for conversation about making good choices or why we didn't like the book.

How's your week going?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

How I Prep

Are you feeling overwhelmed by all of the prep work that goes into the lessons?

I thought you might like to see how I plan my lessons out.

As I've mentioned before, Monday's "home-prep" time is slotted for Preschool Prep.  Made sense to me since the lesson plans come out on Monday.

My home-prep time is during the littles' nap, so I generally get about two hours to get some focused work in.  This can change depending on Tyler's needs, so I do have some catch-up time scheduled for later in the week.

(I will post more about my routines and schedules in another post)

The first thing that I do is print out the materials list, preparation guide and lesson plan for the week.  Then, while I'm still on the computer, I go through the materials list and print out whatever needs to be printed.

As I'm printing craft templates or worksheets, I think to myself whether or not Justin, my 2-year-old, while be able to do it.  If not, I consider what I will have him do instead.  For example, I did not print out an I See Apples booklet for him, I just had him put stickers on a blank piece of paper.  This helps to save a little ink.

After everything prints, while I'm still on the computer, I go through the book recommendations and see which books my library has, putting books on hold or getting an inter-library loan, as needed.  If the library just doesn't have access to the book at all, I research a substitute (books are not in the budget right now).

Finally, I gather all my paperwork and sit at a workstation.

All of the paperwork for The Letter A week

I get out five folders and write a day of the week on them.  Then I sort all the paperwork and put each day's papers into the appropriate file.

Daily Folders
I get a box and start filling it with materials.  In goes the paper plates, in goes the paint.  Grab some newspaper from the recycle bin.

The box

As I toss something in, I check it off the materials list.

If the item is something that I have, but I can't put into the box at that moment, I circle it, and make a note, if necessary.

If I don't have the item and need to procure it, I high-light the item.

If I'm going to do a substitution for Justin, I make a note of it.

Once I'm done with the Materials list, I turn to the Preparation Guide.  I go through the guide and do any cutting, laminating, or painting that needs to be done.

If time runs out before I'm done, I make a note of where I am and finish it later.

When I'm done, I put everything into the box and put the box in the designated closet.

The next Monday, I pull the box down, grab the day's folder and materials and we are off on other adventure.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Lesson Plan for August 27: The Letter C

I am so excited about this week, the letter C!  I have some fun things planned.

"C" can be a hard letter because it can make three different sounds.  For this week, we are going to concentrate on the hard /k/ sound.

A collection of fun printable will help us have a cool cat day.  Cars will be the theme on Tuesday.  Wednesday we will look at things that "Moo".  Thursday we will revisit the caterpillar.  We will end our week will a candy unit!  If candy is not your thing, feel free to substitute with carrots and corn.

Note:  Though we will still be doing them, I will no longer be writing Pledges and the Alphabet Song into my lesson plans.


  • C is for Cat sign
  • Bonus:  Ingredients for Cupcakes
    • Here is a round-up of cat cupcakes ideas

  • Print out the "C is for Cat" sign
  • Gather items for Handprint Cats Activity
  • Gather items for Cat Sorting, if desired
    • Cut pictures out of magazines, or print off of the computer
  •  Print desired activities from the Cat Printable Pack
  • Gather ingredients and items to make cupcakes, if desired

  • Review the letters A and B with your child.
  • Introduce the letter C
    • Show your child the "C is for Cats" sign.
      • Allow your child to color the sign, if desired.
  • Introduce C is for Cats
    • Talk with your child about cats.  According to their interest, you may pull out a Picture Encyclopedia and look at pictures, or maybe find something on the computer.
  •  Make Handprint Cats, from Reading Confetti
    • Dip your child's hand in washable paint.  Press the hand onto construction paper, holding all four fingers straight up, but open, and the thumb out to the side.
    • Turn the paper around.  Use a little bit of paint to draw a tail.  Use markers to draw a face and whiskers.
    • Embellish the picture as desired. 
  • Bonus:  Cat Sorting, from Reading Confetti
    • Cut pictures of different things, including cats out of a magazine, or print pictures off of the internet.
    • Give the child the pictures and ask them to take out all of the cats.





  • Print out the "C is for Car" sign
  • Gather items for Painting with Cars Activity
  • Gather items for Car Wash
  • Print off desired printables

  • Review "C is for Cats", as well as the letters A and B
  • Introduce "C is for Cars"
    • Show the "C is for Cars" sign
    • Talk about cars.  You can be general, or if you child is a fan of the Disney Cars, be specific.  Discuss the different colors and shapes of the cars, and the different kinds of vehicles, such as trucks and vans (which I call cars!)
  • Do the Painting with Cars Activity, from
    • Dip different toy cars into paint and drive the car along paper, making different scenes with the tire tracks.
    • Use cars with different tire tracks, if available.
  • Car Wash, from
    • Those messy cars need a car wash now!  Use water tables, water bins, kitchen sinks, tubs, whatever to wash those cars all up!
  • Do Desired Printables




  • Print "C is for Cow" sign
  • Gather Items for Cow in the Field Activity
  • Gather items for Contact Paper Cow
    • Cut a piece of contact paper into the shape of a cow.  Do not remove the backing yet.
    • Cut white and black tissue paper into lots of small pieces.
  •  Print desired printable

  • Review
  • Introduce "C is for Cows"
    • Ask your child if they have ever seen a cow.  Talk about the size, colors, and, especially about what they give us:  beef and dairy products!

STORYTIME (thanks to Everything Preschool for today's book recommendations)



  • Gather items for C is for Caterpillar Sign
    • Print a block "C" onto one piece of construction paper.  You can cut it out now or have your child cut it out later.
  •  Gather items for Fork and Cup Caterpillars Activity
  • Gather Playdough

  • Review
  • Introduce "C is for Caterpillar"
    • Talk about caterpillars.  Remind your child about the Alphabet Caterpillar that we did the first week of school.  Talk about the shape of the caterpillar:  long with circles.  Also talk about how caterpillars turn into butterflies.
    • If you have never done a butterfly garden with your child, this is the perfect time.  We did the Insect Lore Live Butterfly Garden last year for Tyler's Science class and everyone got interested and involved in it, even the little guys.  A wonderful visual experience.
  • Make the C is for Caterpillar sign
    • Today we are making our sign, using this activity from No Time For Flashcards
      •  Give your child the block C.
      • Have them glue pom-poms or cotton balls onto the C.
      • If not already done, cut out the C.
      • Glue it to another piece of paper.
      • Attach eyes and pipe cleaner antennas.
      • Write "C is for Caterpillar" on the sign.
  •  Do the Fork and Cup Caterpillar Activity, from Teach Preschool.
    • Follow the instructions here
  •  Play with Playdough
    • Have your child roll the playdough into balls and make caterpillars.




  • Print desired printables, including C is for Candy sign
  • Gather items for Lacing Lifesavers Activity
  • Bonus:  Gather Candy Land Board Game

  • Review
  • Introduce "C is for Candy"
    • What kid doesn't like candy?  
  •  1+1+1=1 has a huge Candy Printables Pack, so today we are going to spend time working on these.
  • Get in some lacing practice lacing lifesavers into a thin lace or a Red Vine.  You don't have to let them eat all of them in one sitting ;)
  • If you have it play the Candy Land Board Game with your child.  They will love it.


Click here for a Printable PDF of the Materials List

Click here for a Printable PDF of the Preparation Guide

Click here for a Printable PDF of the Lesson Plan

Read about the fun we had with the lesson on Following the Plan Friday: The Letter C

Painting With Cars!

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Follow up on "A is for Ambulance"

Today our letter A focus was on Ambulances.  I tied in a talk with Jason about emergencies and how to call 911.

As I drilled our address into Jason, my 10-year-old let me know that he didn't know what our new address was either.

I got to thinking and decided to make a sign to hang next to our house phone.  It just says "Emergency 911", then "Our Address is xxxxx".

I printed it onto plain paper, then cut it out with pattern scissors.  I backed it with pretty cardstock so I can call it "decor" and covered it with clear contact paper.  Then I hung it at child's eye level.

That way, if they ever need to call, the information is right there next to the phone.

Just one more step towards safety.

Following the Plan Friday

This past week was all about the letter A.

I think we are starting to get into a routine now that we've been in school for a full week.

However, Katelyn starts school on the 27th and I know that will throw things off for a few days.

Overall, we had a great week of learning.  The only day that we didn't do school was on Tuesday, which was due to the fact that we were gone all morning shopping for school supplies and clothing.  We were exhausted by the time we got home, so we went straight into lunch and nap time.  Our mid-week service was that night, so I made a principal's decision to dismiss school that day (for the little guys.  Tyler still did his schoolwork.)

All of our lessons and activities went off as planned.  The only thing of note was that Jason asked often for printables, which I hadn't planned a lot of.  I have definitely remedied that mistake in the following weeks' lesson plans.

Here are some pictures of our week:

The Animal Scavenger Hunt was a rousing success.  The boys had so much fun racing laundry baskets through the house looking for things that had animals on them.  When they got back to the table, they spent some time just looking through what they picked and playing with it.  Here, Jason plays Hungry, Hungry Hippos.

Coloring Animal Masks.

Alligator Day.  All the kids gathered around the table for crafts.

Jason coloring his alligator puppet.

I'm trying to increase my Aspie's sensory diet, so I let him fingerpaint.  He seems to enjoy making a huge mess :)

Intense coloring.  Jason wanted to color his alligator different colors and who was I to argue?

Justin love to glue.

And cut.  He just discovered scissors this week (or momma just let him!)

I wish Jason would have let me get a close-up of him.  He was so intent on cutting out his alligator (which wasn't easy, mind you!) that he kept sticking his tongue out the side of his mouth.  Soo cute!

Jason glueing his alligator puppet

Handprint Alligators.  This did not turn out as I had envisioned, but they had fun.

Apple Day.  I realized that I had planned a lot of painting activities!  Good thing my kids like to paint!

The apple painting also didn't go quite as I envisioned.  The only one who was methodical about her painting was the girl.  Coincidence?

The other thing the kids really enjoyed was racing their ambulances through the house as they responded to 911 calls.  It was impossible to get a good picture though.

How was your week?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Our School Room ("Not" Back to School Blog Hop)

Hi!  Welcome to the Preschool Plan!  I'm so glad that you stopped by for a visit to check out our school room.

I am so excited to show you our room, because it's brand new!!!  We just moved into this house in May, and one of the main reasons that we picked this house is because of the school room.

Actually, though, we call it the Library, because that's what is was called on the blueprint ;)

Let me give you a little background, first.

My oldest son, Tyler, is ten.  He has Asperger's, and this will be our third year "schooling-at-home" using an online virtual public school.

The last house that we were in, the playroom was also the schoolroom, and since Tyler has two little brothers who are six and eight years younger than him, it didn't work real well.  So, when we house-hunted, a place that would be specifically dedicated to school and the computer was essential.

So, we were so thrilled when we found this house.

The Library is just inside the front door, and it's very open, so we feel comfortable having our computers here.
Open window cut out and open door cut out

However, it's separate from the rest of the house, so Tyler will be able to do his schoolwork on the computer and the boys will be able to be occupied elsewhere.  I can even put up a baby gate, if necessary.

See, the rest of the house is down that hall
One of my plans for keeping the boys out of Tyler's hair, though, is to keep the boys busy.  Thus, The Preschool Plan.  I will be teaching Jason, age 4, preschool here at home this year, and Justin, age 2, will be tagging along.

So, how does all of that translate into our school room?

Well, after much deliberation, I decided to turn the Library into a school room for everyone, not just Tyler, not just the boys.

So, here it is:
To the left of the doorway.  My dry-erase board, and the littles' alphabet wall chart and numbers wall chart.  The bookshelf was built by my husband in high school.  On the top shelf, in the oatmeal box is Tyler's daily assignment folders.  The two purple cups are used for his OT activities.  The clipboards are for anyone to grab and use, as needed.  They are great when working at the computer.  The plastic bins contain Tyler's schoolbooks by subject.  Our paltry collection of books is on the bottom shelf. 
Next on the wall is a multiplication tables chart.
These are our two computers.  One was a Christmas gift from my mom, one is from Tyler's school.  The black desk was a freebie from Katelyn's school, the other desk is on permanent loan from a good friend.  As you can see, we have very sophisticated seating, too.  Up on the wall is our clock, our Pledge of Allegiance poster and our Pledge to the Bible poster.
To the right of the doorway (across from the computers) are the littles' desks, more freebies from Katelyn's school.  The filing cabinet holds most of my supplies.  That was a freebie from a house down the street.  On top of the cabinet is our paper supply, our CD box, and my lesson guides for Tyler's coursework.

My thought it that the boys can work at their desks during times when Tyler is not working on the computer, or when they can all practice working nicely together (which does occasionally happen.)

But, learning won't occur only here.

The boys and I, Tyler included, while be doing lots of our projects here at the kitchen table.

Our couch is where we do all of our reading together.

Basket of library books easily accessible

And here is where a lot of learning happens, too.

Finally, here is a picture of one of my many closets (did I mention that I love this house?)  I have the little boys' toys down where they can reach them, along with their puzzles and games.  The older kids' stuff is higher.

You can see that I spend lots of money on organization supplies, lol.

So, that's our school room.  Thanks so much for stopping by.  Feel free to come again some time.  Next week, we're serving cookies!

This post is part of the "Not" Back-to-School Blog Hop, being hosted by iHomeschool Network.  I looked at a bunch of schoolrooms from last year's hop and was so inspired, so I'm excited to be part of it this year.  Hop on over and drool over all the great school rooms

Not Back to School Blog Hop