Reggio-Inspired Valentines Day Part 3: Fall in Love with Family-Style Learning

 

How to homeschool kids of different ages

Homeschooling your kids is a challenge in itself. Add kids of different ages, needs, learning styles and ALL.THE.HOUSEWORK. and it can go from feeling challenging to downright impossible!

Here to help you work through those challenges, and offer some practical tips on homeschooling multiples is ATJL alumna Kimmi Nguyen-Lehr, mom of 3 and full-time homeschooler.

In this 22 minute interview, Kimmi shares her insights, strategies and even some of her honest struggles as she homeschools 3 kids under 7. She talks about her kids' learning differences, how she plans for three different ages, what a typical day looks like, and the value of play-based learning.

Kimmi shares some excellent advice for parents, and I thought I'd offer up some ideas as well. While I'm not currently homeschooling our three girls, I have honed these tools from years of teaching in the classroom, and implementing these ideas in my early years of raising and...

Continue Reading...

A Reggio-Inspired Valentine's Day: The Language of Food ♡ Part 2

Uncategorized
 

Cooking and Baking with children are everyday encounters in a Reggio-inspired practice.

Culinary experiences connect us with one another through the universal language of food. The preparation, the sharing of recipes, the dialogue, the smells, the tasting and the enjoyment together bring heart, mind and hands together as we share beautifully prepared dishes.

Kitchens in Reggio become a "virtuous weave of local culinary tradition, ecology, culture of dialogue, art, and the world." (Reggio Children, 2008)

Do you bake and cook with your children?

There are SO many benefits to getting our kids involved in the process (and yes, it can be messy!) but it's so worth it.

This Valentine's Day, I encourage you to begin a tradition! We did this a few years ago, and it was SO much fun.

We prepared for and created our very own Valentine's Day Pancake Bar.

The girls were responsible for creating a list of toppings for their pancakes, and then writing a list (using a "share-the-pen"...

Continue Reading...

A Reggio-Inspired Valentine's Day: Literacy from the He{ART} ♡ Part 1

 

Valentine's Day is one of my favorite celebrations throughout the year, and a beautiful opportunity for learning about our most important and universal value: love.

What is LOVE? 

Who are the people we love?

How do we show love?

Have you ever asked your child these questions? Their answers might surprise you {and make you giggle!}

"Love is a hug and a kiss after I get a boo-boo."

"Love is cuddles."

"Love is when my mom makes pancakes."

Over the coming days, I'll be sharing a series of Reggio-inspired invitations to explore the idea of LOVE as we weave in important aspects of reading, writing and representing through Language Arts.

Today's blog post shares a special DIY bookmaking activity to explore "LOVE" with children, integrating playful literacy in a meaningful and authentic way. The goal is to encourage our kids to write with purpose in a gentle and age-appropriate manner.

DIY Handmade Book

This DIY book structure, called a Concertina book, shines a...

Continue Reading...

Teach Gratitude through Art {and a great booklist too!}

 

A Reggio-Inspired Invitation to explore Gratitude

Gratitude is an abstract concept for many children, but books and art make it so much more concrete and experiential. The following is a booklist to support your children's examination of what it means to be grateful, and the video includes a beautiful art invitation through the language of clay. 

There’s an old adage that says if the only prayer you say in your life is Thank You it will be enough. As a child I remember my grandpa standing at the head of a long table, 30+ people waiting to eat, waxing eloquent about his full heart and giving thanks that each of us kept showing up.  Now, as an adult, I am constantly looking for ways to teach my young children about such an abstract concept as gratitude. 

What does gratitude look like? How do we best show it? And more importantly, when does teaching basic manners like “please” and “thank you” translate to helping children have full...

Continue Reading...

Teach Kindergarten Math Without a Curriculum!

 

Math learning in the early years is playful, authentic and based on real-life experience. 

You don’t need a curriculum! Although it’s helpful to have a scope and sequence to map out where your child is at, and to get a glance for what to expect next, learning math in the early years can and should be integrated into everyday, real-life play and learning.

We’ve just celebrated Halloween and we have a TON of extra candy in the house.

 Why not build those into playful math experiences?

Children develop as math learners, moving from real-life concrete experiences (using manipulatives and other counting objects) to pictorial representation (pictures, tally marks etc.) to symbolic understanding.

Before they can be expected to move toward symbolic representation of addition and subtraction (ie - worksheets), they need lots and lots of experience joining and separating sets. One-to-one counting, joining and partitioning form the foundation for computation...

Continue Reading...

How to Teach Reading in Homeschool

 

Wondering what it takes to teach your child to read?

How do you know when your child is ready? 

Are you worried about turning them off of reading, or butting heads as you begin the process?

Teaching your child to read may feel overwhelming. There are a lot of moving parts. 

As a resource teacher working with children and teachers, I was able to lean in on others’ classrooms and get a ton of great ideas. These teachers inspired me to raise the bar, and one, in particular - the Reading Recovery teacher - had a profound impact on my practice with her simplified tools to teach reading.

She had a giant tickletrunk of tools - many of them very playful and hands-on -  and I couldn’t help myself from eavesdropping every time she did a lesson. These struggling kids learned to read SO QUICKLY - with confidence, ease and fluency. 

I took stock of the strategies she used, and started to test them out in my own practice, and later on with my own girls. I was...

Continue Reading...

The Biggest Predictor for Reading Success

 

 Many homeschool parents are eager to teach their littlest children to learn to read.

But did you know there are several FOUNDATIONAL skills your child needs to master before ever picking up a book or even learning their letters and their sounds?

In this video and article, we're talking about the FUNDAMENTAL pre-cursor to teaching reading, and it has very little to do with letters, sounds or phonics. In fact, research says this skill is the SINGLE BIGGEST PREDICTOR for future reading success.

Can you guess what It is? 

Phonemic awareness.

And in this article, I'm sharing five playful, prep-free ways you can build this skill every day, so that your child becomes a fluent, skilled reader.

What exactly is phonemic awareness?

At its very core, phonemic awareness is your chid’s ability to PLAY with language. 

Phonemic awareness is not phonics. 

Phonemic awareness is AUDITORY and does not involve letters or words in print.

It is the ability to...

Continue Reading...

Teach your Child to Write: the Simple, Playful Way

 

Do you wonder exactly HOW to teach your child to write {without butting heads / bribery or boring worksheets} in your homeschool?

Where do we start?

What does writing in the early years even look like? How does it fit into a Reggio-Inspired approach?

How much is too much? And do we push them, even when they resist?

Teaching writing is part art and part science. It requires a set of tools and a bit of knowledge about how kids develop and learn. When I taught in my Reggio-Inspired Kindergarten, I learned some pretty amazing tricks of the trade. Through my years of experience teaching hundreds of children - many of them reluctant - I honed my teacher toolbox with tried-and-true strategies. This article and video share some of my "teacher hacks" - a set of concrete tools to help make teaching writing easier for you, and more fun for them. 

“Writing floats on a sea of talk.” - James Britton

Oral language precedes the written word....

Continue Reading...

These are a few of my favorite things... {non-traditional homeschool supplies}

 

Parents of preschoolers and little ones: ready to bust boredom, and inject some creativity and artful learning into your homeschool day? 

Young kids are built to move, to create and build  - and that's exactly what these unconventional supplies encourage.

Weave these unexpected, inexpensive supplies into everyday learning to up-level the fun-factor in your homeschool program!

For those of you who enjoy hearing AND seeing, be sure to check out the full video above!

 

1. India Ink

A beautiful medium for creating strongpunchy bold lines, India Ink is a unique tool to create expressive portraits,  working BIG on easel paper, or creating fun script, alphabet letters and numbers. Available on Amazon or Michaels, I offer a BIG disclaimer: India Ink is highly staining. So get outside, and don those big sloppy smocks!

2. Sharpie

Fine-line Sharpie markers are not for the faint of heart,...

Continue Reading...

The Reggio-Inspired Learning Space: Inspiration even if you're on a limited budget!

 

If creating a beautiful, bright and organized space for learning is on your wish list, read on!

In schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy, the space that surrounds children is given a lot of consideration. It's not just about "decor" to make it look pretty, or "organization" of stuff. It's so much more.

The Italian word ambiente (amˈbyentē) is used in Reggio schools to describe the textures, the colours, the smells, the feel, the vibe you get when you enter a spaceAmbiente is so important, that the environment is considered the child's third teachein a Reggio Emilia-inspired world.

Why is so much attention given to the space that surrounds our children in the world of Reggio?

When we create an environment that respects children as learners and full of potentialthey in turn respect their environment and view themselves as capable, competent and full of potential. 

 
They understand that this is a place where they are...

Continue Reading...
Close

50% Complete

Homeschooling this fall?

Looking for a creative, Early Years curriculum?

Join the Waitlist! Doors open again soon!