Printables

{FREE Printable} Playdoh Mats- letters, numbers, & shapes

Free Playdoh Mats- Letters, numbers, shapes

Learning while playing, what could be better?

Number 20 Playdoh Mat

I am a big fan of play based learning.  Although I’ve “done school” with my kids since they were very small, it was never a strict sit-down type of learning.  It’s fun for the kids, and for me!

Preschooler playing with playdoh mats

Preschooler playing with playdoh mat

My boys love playdoh.  Homemade, store bought, food based, it doesn’t matter.  Playdoh mats were always one of my favorites to use when I first started totschool with both boys.  It’s so easy. Just print them out, laminate them (or place them in a plastic page protector), and you’re done! We also use them with dry erase markers (in the page protectors), to work on fine motor writing skills, and sometimes my boys will just use crayons and markers to color them.

 

I’ve created 3 sets of {FREE} playdoh mats: letters, numbers, and shapes.  I hope you enjoy!

Playdoh Mats- Letters

Playdoh Mats- Numbers

Playdoh Mats- Shapes

 

 

Homeschool Basics

Homeschooling with Toddlers- 3 Helpful Tips

Child doing schoolwork with toddler playing with "Homeschooling with Toddlers Text"

Homeschooling can be hard and overwhelming on it’s own.  But add a toddler into the mix and it can become much more difficult.  At least in my case, it was.

Nap time!

Homeschooling with toddlers in the household is pretty distracting.  The very first tip I can give, from my own experience, is to try to plan school learning and activities during nap times.  Of course, this doesn’t always work.  When Wesley was younger, it took him forever to fall asleep, and stay asleep, for naps. And he didn’t nap every day.  But when he did, we were able to knock out a solid hour or two of school work and crafts.  (We were doing pre-K reading at the time, so it didn’t take long anyway)

All by myself boxes and sensory play, always a winner!

Sensory bin picture collage

During those days that Wesley did not sleep, I needed to try to distract him with other activities while Tanner and I did school work.  Sometimes I would put together an “All By Myself” box for him to play with.  In these boxes I would have a puzzle or two, flash cards, an activity game (like lacing cards, or color sorting manipulatives), a smaller box of sensory items (dry beans and lentils, colored dry rice and pasta, large buttons of various colors and shapes, dry oatmeal, seashells, rocks, etc…), and tools and cups. Sometimes I would add playdoh to the box instead of sensory items.  We would always do school work with Wesley and the box right next to us because a lot of the sensory items were small, and he obviously needed to be watched while playing.  The only issue with using these boxes, was that Tanner really wanted to join in, as well.  So it was a nice incentive for him to finish what he was working on, so he could play with the boxes.  Also, I’d like to add that you don’t have to go spending a ton of money on this.  The Dollar Tree has a lot of very good manipulatives and crafty trinkets.

Color sensory bin collage

All by myself sensory box picture collage

Begin fine motor learning.

As Wesley got a little older, we started doing a little more fine motor play.  I gave him a dry erase board to scribble on, a fun dry erase book, and of course, crayons and paper.  Another great activity for toddlers is do-a-dot learning pages.  I really like the do-a-dot markers because they are like paint and markers, but not nearly as messy!  Which is wonderful when you’re trying to teach another child at the same time.  Toddlers are awesome at creating messes in the smallest amount of time!

Toddler sorting shapes

These are some of the things that really helped me out when Wesley was a small toddler.  If everything else failed, I would put a movie on and hope it distracted him long enough for a little productive school time.  Things have totally changed for us now as Wesley is adamant on joining us every minute, to do his own school work.

 

Framework

The Boundless Homeschool and the purpose of this blog

When I hear, or read, the word boundless, the first thing that comes to my mind is the phrase, “anything is possible”.  The actual definition is, ‘having no boundaries’.  Endless, limitless, immeasurable…the list goes on.  That is exactly what I hope to teach my boys as I homeschool them; learning is infinite.  As their teacher, and especially as their mother, I want to support endless opportunities for my boys to learn about and engage the world around them.

That is my goal.  But I have an issue.  I’m not one of those established homeschool mom bloggers out there with years of experience and advise to share.  I only have a few years of tot-school and preschool experience.  That is exactly why I am starting this blog.

I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent researching and learning about homeschool.  I’ve been researching for years.  As I’ve been reading, blogs especially, it’s really hard to find where people shared their ‘newbie’ experiences.  What they did on their first day, or their feelings and thoughts as they were experiencing it.  Sometimes I was able to dig through a blog long enough to find the beginnings, but at that point much of the advice that was shared was outdated, and not relevant anymore.

So, here I am.  My oldest son is starting his first legal (read: notifying the county our family is homeschooling) year this fall, kindergarten.  My youngest is doing preschool work.  I am going to share with you what I know…but mostly, what I LEARN.  This blog will be for those of you who are just starting out on your homeschool journey, as well.  We can work together, and create a little community.  Homeschooling is hard, if I can help anyone in any little way, I will be thrilled.  I have big plans for this blog.  So stay tuned.