Homeschooling, Printables

Another pre-k printable.

Julie / September 15, 2010
(Note that the pages are out of order on the PDF so that they will print in order after they’re folded.)

So this is probably becoming obvious, but I really like putting together my own little bits of curriculum to use in school with E.  First there was the Twinkle Twinkle Totbook, and now I’m putting together a little series of books to use with sight-words to help E get the general idea of “reading.”  I have the A Beka sets (which both Seth and I learned from as wee ones ourselves!), and while I like them and will definitely use them once we’ve moved on to phonetics, right now they’re too phonics-oriented.  I’m kind of on board with the whole sight-words-first theory–right now I just want her to understand what words are, that they’re composed of letters, and that they tell stories.  Because the A Beka books are oriented towards teaching groups of sounds (and sometimes only sounds), their stories are less cohesive and story-like than E is really interested in, and because they’re aimed at older kids (the ones with real, whole words are K5), they throw a lot of words at you at once.

So I’m making my own, since little books are a very simple project, and this way I can custom-tailor them to E’s interests!  This is the first book.  It’s eight pages, all with illustrations and a “word list” that points out the new words on each page.  If you have a double-sided printer (or a way to figure out which way to flip the pages and when!) then this prints up very nicely on just two pieces of letter-sized paper, plus one for the flashcards.  There are sixteen words, which I think is a very graspable amount for a preschooler.  In future minibooks, I’ll try to keep as many of these words as possible (mainly by keeping the same tenses and sentence constructions) so that the total number of new words will not be as high.

So, that’s my Works for Me Wednesday: I like resorting to my computer instead of combing the homeschool curriculum catalogs!  (And WFMW visitors, please check out the totbook!)  I’m planning to continue making totbooks and obviously to continue my little series of preschool sight-word reading books as well.

Homeschooling, Printables

Twinkle, Twinkle “Totbook”

Julie / September 10, 2010

I finally finished my first “totbook,” or lapbook aimed at 2-3 year olds.  I am much more a fan of simply putting all the pieces into a envelope than actually attaching them to folders, but I included little mini-packs to assemble for all the pieces nevertheless.  🙂


It’s based on Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.  Here’s what’s included:

  • Overview / Further Suggestions: a brief description of each activity, and detailed suggestions on tying the study into Bible time.
  • Connect the Colors: Connect the dots worksheet, except for little ones too young to understand sequencing and numerals–simply connect the colored dots instead! A star appears when completed.
  • Can You Count the Stars: a simple card game, with sixteen cards with varying numbers of stars on them. Ask child to identify which card has how many stars, how many stars are on each card, which card has more stars, etc. Includes two cards for each number, so can also do matching.
  • Constellation Connections: a worksheet where students form their own “constellations” by drawing connecting lines between matching letters.
  • Stars and Diamonds: a same/different matching game, these eight cards can each be matched up with a different card by matching either color or shape, but not both! A step more difficult than simple matching.
  • Pin the Stars on the Sky: the child can cut and paste the stars into “outer space” (avoiding the Earth), or the parent can pre-cut. Either way, teaching the concept of boundaries and appropriateness, so that the child puts the stars where they belong not on Earth!
  • Big Star, Little Star: a very simple ordering game. Arrange stars from smallest to largest, or stack from largest to smallest, so that all stars may be seen at once.
  • Twinkle Tracing: improving eye-hand coordination in preparation for writing: a variety of star shapes and sizes for little ones to trace and color.
  • Simple Star Puzzles: two very simple puzzles to cut out, 2″“ and 3-piece, to develop students’ spatial abilities.
  • Twinkle, Twinkle, Real Stars: a small book (8 pages) with full-page photographs (mostly from NASA’s archives) and simple scientific facts about stars, from the sun to the universe. Available in two sizes; both print on regular letter-sized paper.
  • Free to use and link to, but do not redistribute online.  Permission is granted to redistribute offline, e.g. within a school, but credit in footer must remain intact.

    Homeschooling, Printables

    Pre-K2 printables

    Julie / August 25, 2010

    I just realized that I haven’t explained my new schedule on the blog, so here ’tis: since things seemed to be veering into triteness, so I decided to post Monday-Wednesday-Friday instead, which will give me a small break on the weekends, and at least two days to muse over each post instead of necessarily writing it start-to-finish all in one day.  Hopefully this leads to improvements.  (Not being pregnant also usually leads to improvement, but I can’t do much about that one!)

    School is… continuing.  E has some difficulty figuring out how to tell letters apart, which is more frustrating to me than I would like.  I’m trying to teach her what kinds of things to look for to distinguish between them–and oddly, once she knows a letter, she knows it well–but telling things apart and seeing similarities and differences is a skill, I suppose, and I didn’t realize it.  I guess I thought it was like seeing: you just do it!

    We read my favoritest of all favorite childhood books yesterday: The Spider and the Fly, which is a lavishly illustrated version of this poem (the right one).  Part of the way through, E started acting quite scared of the spider and was even saying things like “don’t eat fly!  don’t eat fly!”  I was afraid that she might be thus traumatized by the ending–the spider does indeed eat the fly–but she didn’t seem to mind.  I think the fly ghost might have confused her a little bit, since she probably doesn’t know what the giant stark tombstone the fly ghosts are huddled around even is!  Anyway, it’s a great, great story, and I can’t wait until the kids are old enough to really thoroughly understand it.

    I’m making a new section on the blog (at the top): printables.  I haven’t had as much time to put into these as I’d like–mainly because I’m generally putting them together hurriedly at night after E goes to bed to use them the next day–but I’m hoping as the school year wears on, they’ll get more focused and diverse.  In the meantime, here are two new alphabet sets to trace.  The idea isn’t to learn how to print, but rather to encourage deeper studying of the actual letter formations themselves to enhance recognition.  (I.e., it’s more of a print-based font than a handwriting font.)

    1                         2

    I turned E loose on them today (just the letters she already knows somewhat) with a bright marker and she had a blast!  And it seemed to help her learn to recognize the letters better. The important thing is that two-year olds are GREAT at destroying things like formal workbooks, so I’m finding printables indispensible.  Each one covers the whole alphabet, and then we can toss “˜em when we’re done.

    Homeschooling, Printables, Time Management

    To-dos; homeschool day 1

    Julie / August 23, 2010

    So, here is the revised version of The To-Do List:


    The other one was technically working fine, but as it grew easier to stay in routine (both from building habits and from decreased mess to work with), I decided that it would be wise to try to work in all the little recurring tasks that still need done every once in a while, but which would be overwhelming to try to check every day.  So now the list has two parts: a daily routine, which is repeated all the days of the week and is the main thing that keeps our house in order, a weekly routine, which is more the tasks that only need to be considered once a week and are tackled Monday-Thursday, and a monthly routine, one part of which is tackled every Friday.  

    I’m hoping that the extra routines gradually eliminate any of the mess areas in the house that had heretofore been mostly ignored–like dusting the baseboards. I also formally added mopping to the routine, which wasn’t exactly neglected before, but does require a lot of planning (because it works vastly better without children scampering about).  I still use the principles of different types of cleaning, but I didn’t delineate them in the list because I’ve found myself doing a lot more cleaning-when-the-mess-is-made (which are very short but frequent and unplannable) and a lot less cleaning bigger messes all at once (there aren’t any to clean).



    Here’s a little printable: flash cards for the alphabet, with lowercase and uppercase letters separate, and no “hint” pictures.  So simple, I know, but I haven’t actually found any in store-bought packs without pictures, which is dumb, imho, because my two-year-old gets totally distracted by… distractions.


    We officially started Pre-K2 today.  I wasn’t feeling well, and neither was E, so it was definitely a light day.  We started with some letter flashcards (this was before I made these) and learned our uppercase and lowercase A, then read some books and found the A’s in them. 

    Our formal reading book of the day was The Little Engine that Couldlittlenginethatcould, which is probably my favorite children’s book now that I also had in my own childhood.  I’ve seen it redone a number of times, but I like the original one best.  It’s kind of a two-pronged message, both a Good Samaritan tale and an exhortation to do your best.  Anyway, I really like it, and since we have it, it was an easy addition to our Pre-K2 reading list.  E seemed to like it as well; there were a lot of characters (Humpty Dumpty, dolls, oranges) that she recognized, and she loves trains, so even though it was a pretty long book, she stayed focused the whole time. 

    We played lots of “find the letter” games throughout the day, mostly initiated by E.  Somehow she already knows quite a few letters–I’m not sure how!  Once we get more into the swing of things, I want to get her to work on drawing the letters as well her hand coordination is sadly lacking (compared to an adult’s, anyway!), but I think that it will help her learn the shapes of the letters better, if nothing else.

    I’m also going to start doing sight words with her, but I thought it would be good for her to know a few letters first, so she has something to latch onto in the words to learn to distinguish them.  We hadn’t had much luck with sight words so far.