Wednesday, September 28, 2016

My top 3 favorite Kindergarten products!!!

Being a homeschool household, I am constantly trying to figure out unique and fun ways to help teach my son normal Kindergarten standards, without having him sit down and textbook everything. Having such a wonderful educational facilitator (teacher), she's very intuitive and has helped me with suggestions and recommendations. After much research and deciding that my son is definitely a hands on learner, we found quite a few tools that we've found to be extremely beneficial to my son's learning experience. Granted we still have a few more items that have been ordered, but if they turn out to be just as amazing, I will do a part 2.

My son is a huge reader. He really enjoys creating his own storybooks and reading in general. His only problem is that he can't read. Well, after mentioning this to my son's teacher, she suggested using "Bob Books". These are a series of collection books, that help teach kids to read by using strategic short stories filled with
"sight words". My son knows how to sound out words no problem - i.e. cat, dog, pig, bed, etc. - but the sight words are his hurdle at this moment. Without knowing much about them, we decided to order the first collection called "Stage 1: Kindergarten Sight Words". The small box collection includes 10 short story books and 30 flashcards with sentences on them to help put the sight words into context. I will say that while I feel like they don't teach ALL of the sight words I'd like him to focus on, I figured out it's because this is only stage 1. However, they are an absolute favorite thing to use with my son. They are small enough for him to handle and light enough so that he can pack one in his backpack and practice reading while we drive. You can see his face light up when he finishes each book and his confidence level has truly risen. Within these 10 books, my son will learn 30 new sight words. Combining these books with some flashcards I found for $2 at Target, Dr. Seuss books, and I-Spy books, he's getting the hang of reading. The fact that we are just finishing our 1st month in school, I'm more than happy to have this type of progress and so is he! 

My son is a also a huge science lover. Science in Kindergarten isn't really all that exciting for him, but it has to be taught nonetheless, to provide a foundation of fundamental skills when it comes to progression. He started to grasp this concept when he realized he had to learn the basis of a flower before asking how they spread and grow into huge fields. Now that he's become more accepting of the "simple science", I figured that adding some more hands-on science to his curriculum might benefit his learning experience. My son's teacher gave us a few science books filled with all sorts of experiments he could create, that would help teach him what he needs to know as well, but having an entire science kit would allow him to further his curiosity. I found this "Mind Blowing Science" box, that includes 11 experimental activities. With these experiments, he will put his knowledge of matter into use, but will also help him understand volcanoes, evaporation, and much more. For example, I was explaining to him how to identify gases, solids, and liquids. I was also teaching him that you turn a solid and a liquid, into a gas. While he somewhat understood, putting this information to use was his dream. We were able to use his new science kit and safely watch how citric acid, baking soda, and water create a gas - Carbon Dioxide. He then learned that this was the same gas we exhaled. Right there, he learned two different science facts about matter and the human body. We plan on doing on science experiment each week, on top of his "Bill Nye the Science Guy" episodes on Netflix - he loves that show - and creating stories about science facts - like how rain is created. I love this kit, because it allows kids to become the scientist they always wanted to be, without having to worry about an explosive deadly chemical compound. Also, it teaches them while they're having fun and that is amazing. 

The last thing I'd like to brag about, is a very common workbook that I see so many people use all the time. My son LOVES to do workbooks, so long as they are fun, colorful, and easily accomplished by him. Don't get me wrong, he enjoys a challenge every now and then, but if he can't figure it out in the car or on the kitchen table within a few minutes, he's done. After hearing raved reviews about Brain Quest products, I took the plunge and ordered a Brain Quest Kindergarten workbook. I was a little iffy, seeing as how ABCmouse.com didn't do him any justice, but I thought I'd give it a shot. This book claims to have an entire years worth of curriculum, which is amazing. It helps teach how to write each letter - capital and lowercase, about communities, money, how to tell time, writing their numbers, counting, patterns, shapes, colors, phonics, spelling, vocabulary, sight words, sorting and matching, and of course basic science. It also includes simple games and a really cool clock made out of stock paper. I have my son do a page every day from each section. Some days we do a little more of a certain section, if that's the subject for the day. For example, today we wanted to do math, so we worked a little more with writing numbers, counting, adding, subtracting, and telling time. With these very easy worksheets - you can rip each page out and make copies if you have multiple kiddos you want to use this with, my son feels like he has his own big boy school book. The fact that it gives him confidence to continue with other lessons, write his stories, and talk about what he's learned, I am extremely pleased with this purchase. Also, they make it so easy for the kids to grasp each concept, that my son already understands how to tell the hour on a clock. That's after 1 day of working on it! 

As you can see I absolutely love all three of these products for different reasons, but the big picture is how it's benefited my son's learning. I feel like when we use these in correlation to reading, exploring, creating, writing, talking, and learning shows, he really has a well rounded teaching experience. It gives him so many different ways to understand the subject at hand, without him feeling like he's bombarded with textbooks, curriculum, and perfection. After all, Kindergarten is about learning while doing. They need that play time, socializing - which he does get with his home school program, and that confidence that they CAN do this. With everything in hand, I think we got this Kindergarten year handled. 

What are some of your favorite tools
to teach your Kindergartners?

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