I am in love with Pinterest.
When it first entered the scene, I was somewhat curious but a little annoyed at the whole “pinning”, “sharing”, etc stuff going on. Most of what I found there seemed to plunge me into a pit of envy and discontentment. On Pinterest, everyone’s homes, children, birthday parties, dinners, photo shoots, clothes and entire lives seemed perfect! I really didn’t find myself benefiting from most of what I found. Not to mention all that DIY stuff. That may work for some people, but for me? Well, when I DIY it really looks like I did it myself!! Enough said.
But in the last three months I have become a home school mom.
I am in love with Pinterest!
There are so many incredible ideas on Pinterest to help me teach my little A. Right now I have no curriculum, only a Wal-Mart activity book, Pinterest and my Mommy instincts to teach my child…and it is great! I understand that in some situations a curriculum is a huge blessing, but for our situation it would only add extra pressure and unrealistic expectations. Why spend hundreds of dollars on a curriculum when you can use Pinterest!? This way we can pick and choose our content and expand where needed with whatever grade level is required.
Anyway, I wanted to share some of the really great ideas we’ve used around here to make our learning fun. I specifically picked out things that many of you moms can use for your children coming home from school every night with homework, as well, just to keep it relevant. 🙂
Word Work – We are combining spelling and reading by using a list of ten sight words every two weeks as our spelling list. To practise these words and their spellings we use: finger paint, rainbow letters, scrabble tiles, white board or chalk board, say them aloud and clap for the auditory effect, type them on the computer, make flashcards, or make up little jingles and rhymes to help memorize spelling patterns. For added fun, make videos of these to play back to use for practising as well!
Math facts -We haven’t gotten hugely creative with this yet, but there are tons of apps you can use on a tablet or smart phone to help your kids drill. We play “War” with playing cards but require the child to figure out the sum, difference, product, etc of the two numbers flipped up. Speed drills are easy to find on Pinterest and always fun to do.
Writing practise – Journal! Let them pick their topic! Don’t dictate what they are to write about and you might be surprised what they all write and find them looking forward to it! Also, don’t fix their spelling mistakes in their journal and ‘pleasure writing’ activities unless they ask. Just appreciate the quality they produce! There’s lots of time to fix spelling and grammar later when you’re working on more dictated writing prompts. At first glance, appreciate the content! Other ways to practise writing are to make cards, write out grocery lists, label pictures and artwork, etc. I bought a manuscript printing practise book that Little A does every day. Even though she has almost all the letter formations accurate it’s good practise and keeps it fresh. It also gives us an opportunity to practise writing in the lines, figuring out letter positioning and to practise neatness and accuracy. Take every opportunity to write and make sure it’s not always difficult!
Grocery Shopping – There are so many ways to have fun at the store with your littles..and big kids, too! Again, Pinterest has lots of fun activities and printables. You can explore weights, check off lists, do a scavenger hunt for items or letters, practise money management, observe jobs and so much more! Again, this may make your shopping trip take a bit longer, but you’re much more likely to have involved, occupied, well behaved children than if you’re just dragging them through the store as fast as possible!
Other things we’ve done include playing board games, card games and made up games of our own. We’ve played store to practise counting money, and used fun YouTube videos to link to our learning for a fun spin. For example Alexa loves Pete the Cat so we got Pete to help us with subtraction one week. The video/book “Pete the Cat’s Groovy Buttons” is about subtraction so we watched that together and then made our own Pete the Cat word problems to practise subtraction. She loved it and it added a fun element to a pretty standard activity. There are all kinds of educational TV shows you can access as well to iad your child’s learning and spin lessons off of! The Magic School Bus has been around for ages but is full of great ideas and learning as well as Sid the Science Kid.
There are so many ways you can spice up your child’s learning. I am a firm believer that a child really willlove to learn if you give them the opportunity to learn in a way that’s fun and interesting to them! Admittedly this takes work and effort, and you can’t do it all. There are aspects I know I should be finding more creative ways to teach and I just don’t have the time, resources or energy to do it. That’s ok. Pick a few things that you can fit into your time and do those! You and your child will both have more fun and I guarantee you it will be worth it to see the light in your child’s eyes!