Category Archives: Mommy School

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New Creation: A Study of Butterflies

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV

By: Jennifer Mullen

As a teacher by trade, I often find myself wanting to push my children academically to learn new skills, but I have learned that as a mother of a toddler and of a preschooler my role as a teacher is so much more fun than skill and drill.  I get to show the world to my children, and in turn I get to see the world through their eyes.

I have resigned to follow their curiosities about life instead of forcing skills that will come with time.  My five-year-old daughter has shown a great interest in butterflies so we embarked on a four-week journey to learn all we can about butterflies. Continue reading

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Read Aloud Tips: Ideas to help your children deepen their understanding of stories

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Summer Read Aloud

“The wise in heart are called discerning, and pleasant words promote instruction. Understanding is a fountain of life to those who have it…” Prov. 16:21-22a

By: Dana Baran

In my last post, I talked about the power stories have and the vital role reading aloud with your children plays in their character development and spiritual formation.  Mosaic of Moms has partnered with Read Aloud 15 Minutes to help you stay accountable for reading with your child. But what power can reading aloud have if your child has trouble understanding the book? As a reading teacher, I spent a lot of time modeling and practicing comprehension strategies with my students. These are simple reading techniques that good readers do automatically, but that emerging readers need to see modeled. Who better to show them how to be a good reader than you?

Here are a few easy strategies to help your child deepen his or her understanding of the story: Continue reading

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Creating a Masterpiece

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”   Ephesians 2:10 NLT

By: Jennifer Mullen

On my personal Facebook page, I post lots of “mommy school” pics.  These are snapshots of activities that I do with my kids.  I am often asked where I get my ideas, and if I follow a curriculum.  Well, I am a teacher by profession, so I unknowingly tap into my training.  Gretchen often reminds me that I take for granted that what comes naturally for me is a mystery for others.  So I plan on sharing on a regular basis activities that you can do with yours kids and various media resources to use to help support those activities. I hope that it helps you get your creative juices flowing.

This week we talked about the color wheel.  I started with this YouTube video.  (YouTube is a great resource for educational videos!)

Continue reading

Who Doesn’t Love Free Books?

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6

By: Kerri Young

I love to read and I want my children to love reading. We started homeschooling our oldest last Fall in preparation for our upcoming move to the Middle East, so I am always looking for inexpensive and easy ways to get more books in front of her without having to take a trip to the local library several times a week.

My mom stumbled upon this great website where you can not only get free children’s books, but also donate books to world literacy programs while doing so! As far as I’m concerned, that’s a win-win. It’s called We Give Books and is found at www.wegivebooks.org You do have to register and give your email address to gain access to the entire library, but I promise you won’t get bombarded with spam.

Here’s a blurb from the website that explains how it works:

Have you heard about the latest We Give Books cause? This winter, We Give Books is supporting world literacy and encouraging readers to get into the spirit of giving. Every time you read a children’s book online at wegivebooks.org, you can donate a book on behalf of your friends and family, for free!

At We Give Books, each time a reader enjoys free children’s books online, they donate a hardcover or paperback book to a child in need through their great campaign partners. From now through the end of January 2013, you can help support world literacy initiatives around the globe with partners Room to Read, Books for Asia, the Harlem Children’s Zone, and more! These amazing nonprofit organizations work to build libraries, fund schools, provide education to low-income children, and share books with those in need.

We Give Books is a fantastic resource for parents, teachers, and anyone who loves to read children’s books. They have a free online library of over 150 outstanding children’s books available at www.wegivebooks.org, including some of our favorites, like the Llama Llama and Skippyjon Jones books, and DK science books. The best part is, your reading will directly impact the great work of non-profit organizations around the world!

So, head over to www.wegivebooks.org to find out more about this wonderful initiative, and start reading and giving!

Thinking Like an Occupational Therapist: Developing Your Preschooler’s Fine Motor Skills

“My son, obey your father’s commands, and don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. Keep their words always in your heart. Tie them around your neck.  When you walk, their counsel will lead you. When you sleep, they will protect you.  When you wake up, they will advise you. For their command is a lamp and their instruction a light; their corrective discipline is the way to life.”  Proverbs 6:20-23 NLT 

By: Jennifer Mullen

In my post Building Blocks: Teaching Your Child How to Be a Writer, one of my tips was think like an occupational therapist.  All those crafts you are doing with your kids do have a purpose beyond just something to pass the time.  Every time you have your children use their fingers, you are helping to improve their handwriting!  There are lots of activities that you can do to teach letter formation and spelling that don’t involve paper and pencil.  Here are four activities that can do just that:

1) Sorting/Building Letters By Feature:

Developing your child’s visual discrimination is an important part of learning how to interact with the written language.  This activity will help your child to realize that there are just four types of lines that are needed to make the letters of the alphabet: sticks, slants, circles, and curves.  There are workbooks full of just tracing and drawing these types of lines that are great as a precursor to letter formation.  This link provides the template for this type of sort as pictured below. (Sorting is a skill that all preschoolers need to work on before entering kindergarten. Have your child sort and match their socks, sort their M&M’s by color, sort their Little People by hair color…and the list goes on.  All of these activities develop visual discrimination.)

Here are some pictures of my daughter doing the letter sort by feature.

 Sticks vs. No Sticks (Below)

 

Slants vs. No Slants (Left)

 

 

 

Curves vs. No Curves (Below)

 

 

 

 

 

 

We practice this skill often. It doesn’t have to be a skill that is practiced only while in a “school-like” setting.  Driving down the road, we look at signs with letters picking out letters with each feature.   

I extended this concept by building letters by feature.  We used spaghetti noodles to create the sticks and slants and yarn to create the curves and circles.  See pictures below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2) Snack Letters:

What you will need:

  • Sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Can of Biscuits
  • Spray Butter (optional)
  • honey for dipping

This is an activity I came up with because I DESPISE PlayDoh!    The idea is that you use the dough to create letters.  Your child can pull the dough apart, pinch it together, roll it…pretty much whatever they need to do to create the letters. 

 

 

Then sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon on top. (I used spray butter first to help it stick.)

 

 

Bake for a few minutes at 400 degrees, and then you have a yummy snack. Serve with honey as a dipping sauce.

(They tasted better than they looked, but then again anything with bread, sugar, and butter taste good when you have been on a diet!)

 

 3) Sticker Art/Magnetic Letters:

When learning how letters go together to make words, it is important to give your child opportunity to build words without the stress of writing.  Use letter stickers or magnetic letters for this.  Depending on where your child is at, you may want to only provide the letters that appear in his name or you may have him pick the letters out of the pile.  Have him arrange the letters in the correct order.  After he can spell his name, start with sight words such as “can”, “play”, and “run”.

Allowing your child to build words in this way helps them to understand the directionally of the letters and words by being able to physically manipulate the orientation of each letter.  This will also help with their visual discrimination skills.

4) Lacing Cards:

This activity isn’t just to keep busy hands busy.  It can really develop a child’s fine motor skills.  My daughter likes to get her lacing cards out when I have my sewing machine out.  She will sit and “sew” too.  You can buy lacing cards, but I thought this one was cute.  My mother-in-law made it and some others using old gift cards.  She glued the card together to make it more sturdy and then punched holes around the perimeter using a hole punch.  You could do the same by printing the alphabet on cardstock and punch holes along the path of the letters.

I hope these activities are ideas you can adapt for your own needs.  If you have any other ideas, please share!