Friday, October 11, 2013

Organizing Myself

I have a thing with organizing... I always am trying to organize myself (and everything in the house, for that matter), no matter how many times I have already done it.  IE: the cabinets and the fridge get organized every time that I go grocery shopping; the drawers get reorganized when I put away laundry ( and refolded if I see it fits).... Now I had TotSchool stuff, things that had been done, things that I had planned to do, supplies, etc.  So what to do with them???

Well I saw an idea on Pinterest (where else?) that would be great for this-- A portable teacher workbag, using a thirty one bag.  It was great! This bag is perfect to hold hanging file folders, store extra stuff, has tons of pockets, and of course I have several that were KM's diaper bags. 


Step One: Gather supplies
Of course this is me, so I bought hanging file folders with nothing to hang them on.  Good thing for Pinterest and Martha Stewart and a little tweaking and I was able to make one from a box and some fabric.

 Step Two: Make box
  I cut the box the sides off on the box (I am not sure how I had the right size box for this, but I did)
Applied Modge Podge and the fabric
Used Binder clips to hold the fabric up as it dried.

Step Three: Hang Folders
I made tabs for each week (there are two weeks per folder)
This allows me to have my lessons plans and everything that I need printed out, cut out, and put together ahead of time.  Also once the week is completed I can use the folder to store and keep it.

 Step Four: Put it all in the bag
Everything that I need is now in this bag.  The hanging file box, the sign language book, a manila envelope to hold the shape (so that I can reuse them), construction paper, pens, pencils, rules, and some craft supplies that I don't want KM to get into by herself- like paint. 
And that is it... It may not be much, but it truly helps me to keep everything all in one spot.  And I can take it anywhere... I mean this is TotSchool and KM is a two year old.... What doesn't need to be portable with this?


Friday, October 4, 2013

Review Week

Based on the ABCJLM curriculm, every fourth week is a review week. I enjoyed this week so much! I was able to make sure that KM was understanding everything that I had been teaching her, while I was able to see observe how much she had learned in such a short period of time.  All of this was new to her and she just absorbed it.  Every day wanting to do more.  She wanted to use her "Cat Book" (activity book) all the time.  This made me proud and that I was actually doing something that is making a difference in her life

Week 6
Theme: Review
Letter: Aa, Bb, Cc
Number:1 & 2
Color: Red, Yellow, Blue
Shape: Circle & Line
Book: The Giving Tree &Brown Bear, Brown Bear
Bible Story: Day 1-4 of Creation

Gross Motor Skill: Blocks
I used the Mega Blocks. We stacked them and see how tall we could build our towers.  I was able to go over colors and countings as we built and stacked the blocks.  She doesn't play with these as much as she used to, so I was glad to reintroduce them to her :)
Fine Motor Skill: Jumping & Follow the Leader
With all the others in her gymnastics class being 3 and able to jump, I try to encourage her working on this.  She tries.  This week, we lined up the couch cushions and jumped from one to the other, turning it to a Follow the Leader game. 
Of course, afterwards, a fort had to be made with the cushions... KM thought that it was funny to knock my fort over, and that lead to a tickle fight between her and J.  Love the sound of her laughter.
Craft: Coloring
Brought out some worksheets and reviewed the colors that we had learned.  She was given the option of each crayon and had to choose the corresponding crayon for each page.  Along with just coloring KM was showing off how she could draw her circles and lines. 


Sign Language:
review of the previous 3 weeks:
-Thank you

 The letters and the picture that I make each week get posted onto the top of her wall. So that eventually she will have the whole alphabet going around the top of her room. I love how this is turning out and allows me to go over the letters with her whenever I want to.
Thanks for ideas from abcjlm and 1+1+1=1, forever grateful for the blogs that these ladies run and have organized


C is for Cat

Week 4 & 5
Theme: C is for Cat
Letter: C
Color: Yellow
Shape: Circle
Book: Brown Bear, Brown Bear
(What can I say, she loves this book)
Bible Story: Day 4 of Creation

Gross Motor Skill:

The day that I have scheduled for gross motor skills I had two other toddlers (ages 2&3).  It was suppose to be Red Light, Green Light. I figured with three of them it would be too difficult to try and teach them how to play.  Instead, we just had outside time and they seemed to come up with their own gross motor activities- Climbing through the tree, running, bouncing and throwing the ball.  It was great to watch KM play and laugh with others her age.  She had so much fun!

Fine Motor Skill: Puzzles

I have printed these out every week, for each letter & theme.  KM doesn't find much interest in them for longer then a minute.  Though I will try  and introduce them to her periodically.  Once she fully understands what she is doing and how the piece go together to make one large picture, I believe, that she will get more out of them. (1+1+1=1)


Craft: Mobile

This week we made a mobile to go along with our creation story.  We colored the pieces, found sticks, and than hung it up in her room.  KM was so proud of this project.  As soon as J got home KM ran and dragged her to the room to show her.  (ABCJLM)

Sign Language:
This is still so amazing to me.  I add new signs every week to go along with the lessons and she just soaks it up.  She loves learning new signs.  I wonder how many she knows??
-Thank you

B is for Bear

Week 2 & 3
Theme: B is for Bear
Letter: B
Color: Blue
Shape: Line
Book: Brown Bear, Brown Bear
Bible Story: Day 3 of Creation

Gross Motor Skills:  Jumping forward (frog, kangaroo)(abcjlm),
       Okay...To the Pinterest app ( very helpful with a 2 year old)
        Set up a line of stuffed animals and jump over them,
        And back to it Walk like a bear,
        Clean water table and play outside.
        KM did do the bear walk the following week during gymnastics, as though she knew how to do it all along.... Guess she learned something from me walking around on my hands and feet with my butt up in the air.  

Fine Motor Skills: Sorting
I used ice cube trays and some blue and whit decrotive rocks.  Kylie sorted them into the compartment by color, or however she felt like it.
I counted the rocks as she put them in, and than again by the number that she got into
each compartment. 
We had tongs, spoons (large and small), and spatulas to play with as well.

Craft: Letter B butterflies
           KM colored on papers, I folded them in half, drew the letter B and cut it out.  We she unfolder the B she saw that it was a butterfly.  More coloring, while working on our circles and lines.

This week I learned that it is important to have back-ups for what you have planned.  Then have a back-up for your back-up. When that fails pull out your phone, open Pinterest, and go through the list till you find something. 

And my two favorite sites that help me every week: ABCJLM & 1+1+1=1

Sunday, September 8, 2013


I have had 2000 word papers, followed by finals, followed by the start of a new class.  Meaning that every time that I got on the computer it was to do school work.  I kept up with doing KM's "schooling" just not on the blog.  She has blossomed in front of my eyes; day by day learning something so new.  We are now on "D week". So for today I am catching up on : B, C, and the review week :)

Also for the month of September I am doing a MommyPhotoChallange on Instagram.  Come check out the many faces of KM

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Taking it slowly

I've been taking the TotSchool a lot slower than I had planned.  I was able to get week 1 ("A") in one week and she picked it up.  "B" week we did for two weeks, and I will be doing the same thing for "C".  I decided to do this child-led, which means that I am on her terms not on mine.  I may go through 5 different activities before I find one that she wants to stick with for more than 30 seconds.  But she actually enjoys it, it is what excites her and what KM wants to do over and over again. 

Through this process I am amazed at how I am able to watch this child grow and learn right in front of my eyes.  How she is so happy and proud of herself.  I want her to keep this attitude throughout her life, I wish that I could protect her from all the things that will change this view.  From this experience, how ever long it will last (as long as she is enjoying and learning), I want KM to see that there is something to learn from even the little things. That from every experience that you will run into there is something that you can learn.  I want her to know to focus on what interest her, to make sure that she keeps her passions strong, and to know that even when you think you know everything- there is always something new to find out.  I want her to be able to look at a subject from every angle, see different opinions and views on the same topic, and to come to her own conclusion.

I am doing TotSchool not just so that she is learning all the "necessary" things.  I am doing it to give her opportunities so that she can teach herself instead of it being forced.  She is in charge in this school. Learning is games and activities.  It is always about the seeds that had been planted, right? So here I am planting the seeds and hope, through out life, she remembers to water them; to watch those seeds grow into big beautiful flowers

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A is for Apple

I finally completed week one with KM, after a 2 week delay.  I decided to postpone it because she had swimming lessons everyday in the afternoon along with her gymnastics on Tuesdays (we keep her busy) lol.  I didn't want her to get overtired, overstressed, or over anything.  This is suppose to be a fun time for her.

When I decided to do Tot School I knew that I wanted it to be a fun thing.  I wanted to do child directed learning, so that she would always be able to enjoy the new things that she was learning.  She so loves to learn new thing :)

So we have started a rough schedule, if you could even call it that, to include learning time throughout the day.  I have gotten the majority(and all my printables) from 2 sites. 1+1+1=1 and ABC JLM





Week 1
Theme: A is for Apple
Letter: A
Color: Red
Shape: Circle
Book: The Giving Tree
Bible Story: Day 1 &2 of Creation



Here is how our first Tot School week went


Gross Motor SkillsPut out the Fire

 I drew a ladder and fire with chalk.  Set a bucket with a sponge at the bottom.  KM had to "climb the ladder and then squeeze the sponge in order to "put out" the fire. (ABC JLM)
Fine Motor SkillsRed Circle   I love that this one included not only a fine motor skills activity, but also that it included the color and shape of the week.  I taped the circle on the wall and then she colored it red.  By taping it on the wall it works a different part of there arm then the standard way of coloring.  (ABC JLM)
Craft- Coffee Filter Earth         KM loved this and I wish I had gotten pictures of her face.  After we had read the bible store, about the first two days of creation, on Monday ( I read it every morning during the week) we made the land and the water on a coffee filter and then sprayed it with water.  So much fun (ABC JLM)
Activity book
I leave the pages in her room with dry erase crayons.  She is able to pull it down whenever she wants and color on them of just look through them.  During dinner prep I would pull out a page and stick it on her easel or have her work on the puzzle or lacing.  It would keep her happy and entertained for the few minutes that I needed to get something cook. ( 1+1+1=1)
Sign Language
Since me and J got together, J has been teaching her ASL. I decided to include signs when making the plans for the week because she does enjoy them.  Not only is she learning new signs but also new words ( and I can understand what she is trying to tell me better).  I had it planned out for her to be introduced to 3 new signs a week, of course she wanted to learn more.  So thanks to Google on my phone this week she learned:
  • Red
  • Circle
  • Apple (she already knew this one but I reemphasized it)
  • Ant
  • Alligator 
  • Gymnastics

I was so impressed with how she did, and how much of it was Child-led.  I would suggest things to her once or twice a day and that would keep her attention for like 10 minutes.  Once she figured out the new things that she was learning she would want me to go over them with her all day long.  I figured out how much she had absorbed in only a few short days this morning.  I walked by her circle that was taped on the wall and asked her what it was. "Red circle, mama" I felt proud but that could also been because of the repetitiveness of the week.  Later when we were in the kitchen I asked her to draw me a circle and she did :) Okay it is a 2 years old circle, but heck I can't draw a very good circle myself anyways-- who am I to judge :p


 Side Note:   Our weeks are different from most, due to split custody.  So TotSchool is done 3 days a week, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.  Saturday is our snack making day. And Wednesday morning is the review day for the week before she goes to her father's.