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How To Make Home Schooling Fun

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Disclosure - This post contains mentions of previously gifted items

Nearly a year ago now we became home school teachers. We had no idea what we were doing, neither did the schools at the time as home schooling or learning at home was something none of us have experienced before. We got through it somehow but now we are back in the same situation as before and although this time the school seems so much more prepared, our children may not. Sitting in front of the screen all day isn't appealing to some children but there are other ways that we can teach them that seems more fun. Children follow the curriculum in school but at home it is a completely different environment and I think we need to remember that.

boy looking at a computer screen


Maths
There are so many ways you can incorporate maths in to your day. We use numbers and shapes all the time and it can be fun.

Playing shop with real money. This can help little ones learn numbers and basic addition and subtraction.
Complete a jigsaw. Jigsaws help concentration and help encourage problem solving.
Baking. Measuring out ingredients is a great way to encourage children to learn about simple measurements and counting.
Singing. There are lots of 'number' nursery rhymes and  songs.
Apps. There are lots of apps that can encourage basic maths skills.

boy reading

English
There are lots of ways to make English fun.

Watch a short movie and then ask the child to write a short story based on what they can remember. Pixar 'Shorts' 'are only between 4-7 mins long and they cover a range of topics. Encourage the child to write about the beginning, something important that happened in the middle and the end.
Treasure Hunt. Ask your child to create a treasure hunt and encourage them to write their own clues.
Reading. This can be together or the child reading alone.
Spellings. Create a spelling sheet for your child using words that they are familiar with.

map of the world

Other areas of learning. 
This is such a simple idea and can cover so much.

If you ask your child to think of a place. It can be a city, a country, a landmark, a theme park, anything. You can use the internet or books to find out everything you can about the place they have chosen. This could cover

Geography - Where in the world is it? 
History - When was it built?
Technology - Research as much as you can online.
Mathematics - How many people live or visit there each year?
Reading - Finding out the facts.
Art - Ask your child to draw what they think it looks like.
Imagination - Create a role play area based on their chosen place.
Fine Motor Skills - Write out a list of facts they have found.


Making use of resources around the home. We will be using....

Geomag Mechanics Gravity Magnetic Track - Encourages STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics learning. Exploring science without the need of batteries or electricity.

Osmo - Osmo is educational without the kids knowing. It encourages basic maths and english, problem solving concentration and it's fun.

boy playing osmo
Games - We have lots of educational games that are fun and we can learn from them to.

Lego / or similar building blocks. Helps with imagination and fine motor skills.

Garden - Physical activity is very important and if you have a garden making use of this space for outside play/exercise also helps get fresh air.

Daily Challenge

Each day we are going to have one daily challenge that we need to complete. The daily challenges will be fun and could include baking a cake, making a den or creating an obstacle course. Educating your child doesn't always mean sitting a desk writing, if they are using their imagination, their fine motor skills or being creative this all adds to their development.

Our children learn every day without them knowing.

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Comments - I love reading your opinions and thoughts - Are you still home schooling? Leave us a comment below and let us know what you have been doing to make it fun. 

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Michelle
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Home Schooling Week Plan | The Gruffalo

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Gruffalo resources for home schooling



Last week it was announced that all schools would close on Friday 20th March to try and help tackle the spread of Corona Virus. It is very scary times in the world right now but to help keep some sort of routine and normality I will be Home Schooling. Home Schooling is something I have never considered before but I know this is something I need to do to help little J through these crazy times. I have created Home Schooling week plans and this week our theme is The Gruffalo.

I have browsed online for ideas for activities based on The Gruffalo and there is a wide range of ideas on sites such as Twinkl and The Gruffalo.

Depending on the age of the child you can adapt these activities to suit. Little J is KS1 so these activities would be most suitable for ages 5-7.

Gruffalo resources for home schooling
Read The Gruffalo
This can either be read to your child or your child can read it to you.

Gruffalo resources for home schooling
Book Review
Once you have read The Gruffalo let your child think about the story and then review the book.

What is the setting?
Who was the main character?
What happened at the beginning?
What happened in the middle?
What happened at the end?

Book reviews help a child's reading comprehension and it's a nice way for your child to express any thoughts they had.

Gruffalo resources for home schooling
Describing Characters
Describing characters in your own words helps a child think about the character in detail and write down their thoughts. If you need to use prompts you could ask your child to write down...

The name of the character.
Is the character big or small?
What does the character do in the story?
Is the character good or naughty?
Does the character have friends?
Where does the character live?

Gruffalo resources for home schooling
Design Your Own Terrible Creature
 Your child can use their imagination to create their own terrible creature and then describe the terrible creature so we can learn more about them.

Gruffalo resources for home schooling
Talking About Thoughts
This activity is for your child to describe the thoughts of the character. Your child will have to really think about the character and what they are thinking about in the story.

Counting Worksheet
A basic counting sheet that you can then adapt to create a maths activity. We will use this as a base sheet to do maths activities creating addition, subtraction and multiply problems.

Gruffalo resources for home schooling
Pencil Control Sheets
Some children only use pens and pencils during school hours so it is important to keep up their pencil control otherwise their fingers and hands can become weak. Pencil control activities can help a child to maintain focus as they follow lines or dots on a sheet to form letters, words or even sentences.

Gruffalo resources for home schooling
Gruffalo resources for home schoolingGruffalo resources for home schooling 
Gruffalo resources for home schooling
Learning Through Play
Learning through playing makes it more fun and the kids don't think of it as work. We have lots of Gruffalo themed activities such as Animal Yoga, Word searches, Colouring Sheets, Pairs, Activity Sheets, Jigsaws and a Gruffalo Match and Memory Game.

We also have a Gruffalo themed treasure hunt planned. I have cut up all the squares from the 'pairs' game and I will hide one half of all the pairs and little J can try and find them around the house so we can then play the game.

We will also be doing baking activities making Gruffalo Cakes and Gruffalo Crumble.

Hopefully these activities will keep little ones busy. I will be mixing these in throughout the day with normal fun activities, chill time and outside time in between.

This is a huge transition for our children so I will be just taking it one day at a time.

Michelle
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7 Activities To Help Develop Fine Motor Skills

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paint pots and paint brushes
Little J has just started a new year in school and whilst I think he has developed so much over the last 12 months socially I think physically he still has a lot of developing to do. I know children develop at different rates and it's only natural that we compare our children to their siblings or other children of a same age. When little J was younger he never reached his milestones on time, he was always months late. It was a worry at the time but with help and encouragement he did get there in the end and when he did there was huge feeling of relief. Developing his fine motor skills is something we are still working as he still struggles to hold a pen or pencil correctly. Here are 7 activities that we are using to help develop fine motor skills and they are perfect for those looking for home schooling ideas too.

a child painting
a child painting
Painting 
Painting is fun but finger painting is better. Most kids love paint on their hands and painting with your fingers can help hand eye coordination and manual dexterity. Painting with your fingers encourages the child to move and guide their fingers in all ways to create a painting.

Colour Sorting 
If your child is struggling to hold a pen or spoon then you could create a nice activity using child friendly tweezers. Fill a bowl for of coloured pom poms and ask your child to use the tweezers to colour sort the pom poms in to piles. Tweezers help to develop tripod grip when holing then between the thumb and first two fingers. Once they have mastered tripod grip they can then use the tweezers to focus on pincer grip. If you don't have the child friendly tweezers then you can encourage the same movement squeezing pegs instead.


playing with playdough
playing with playdough
Playdough Bugs
Playdough is brilliant for little hands and helps to build up strength. Squeezing, stretching and rolling the playdough can help with fine motor skills. Using playdough cutters to create shapes can enhance play. Make playdough bugs such as worms which will encourage your child to roll or a ladybird were your child has to squeeze a playdough ball to create a body. If your child is confident using child friendly scissors then cutting playdough is also great for the muscles in the fingers.

Wash the Car
Children love water play and washing the car or something very similar is a great way to build up strength in the fingers, hand and arms too. Using a big sponge ask your child to dunk the sponge in to a bucket of water. Once the sponge is wet it will become heavier so they will need a tighter grip on the sponge. Get then to use lots of arm motion to wash the car and then to squeeze the water out of the sponge back in to the bucket, and repeat until finished.

Threading
Depending on the age of the child threading is a great way to get those fingers and hands moving. It takes a lot of concentration but can help enhance tripod and pincer grip. You can create your own threading activity my punching holes in to a piece of card using a hole punch. I would recommend using something strong like a lace to thread as string or wool can be too flimsy. You can also thread a lace through a trainer too.

Song Time
Action songs are a great way to get the fingers, hands and arms moving but are also lots of fun. You may already have some favourite action songs but a few of our favourites are Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Wind My Bobbin Up and Tommy Thumb. This activity should be done daily for at least 10-15 minutes.

squishy toys
squishy toys


Squishy Time
Squishies are everywhere at the moment so you will probably have some somewhere in the house. Squishies are really good for helping develop fine motor skills. If you can get your child to squeeze a squishy or something similar for 10-15 minutes a day it will build strength in both the hand and arm too.

You can make the activities as fun as you like whilst still helping to develop those fine motor skills.

Michelle
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