Thursday, October 30, 2014

Simple Matching Games for Toddlers (Teaching Letters and Numbers)

I have mentioned in my previous posts on our letter of the week program that on top of these activities, I also let my toddler (2-year-old) play some matching games to help reinforce the lessons we have on letters and numbers.
Let me share with you some of these simple games which are so easy to prepare and are so easy to grasp by toddlers.
1. Matching letters and toys - We use small foam letters here. We began with the letters of my toddler's first name (MATEO). I noticed when we were still starting with our alphabet lessons that my toddler's attention wanders away after a few minutes when we use all flash cards or when we use all the foam letters to study the alphabet. Good thing I read in several blogs by other moms that it's more helpful and easier for a child to begin studying the letters of his/her name first. That way, the child does not get overwhelmed with the need to recognize too many letters right away.
So, I chose some of my toddler's favorite toys that start with the letters of his first name. (Mango, apple, tomato, eggplant and orange to match the letters MATEO). I showed him first how to match them correctly, sounding out the letters and the names of the toys and matching them with each other.

Then, I mix up the toys and the letters and ask my toddler son to match them. I began with arranging the letters correctly and asked my child to match the plastic toys. He easily learned the letters of his name through this matching game. I was also glad that I was inspired to use his favorite toys since this made the game more interesting for him.

Mateo matches the toys to the foam letters of his name.

When I saw that he got this correctly, I then mixed up the letters and arranged the plastic toys in order. My son also answered it correctly even when we played the matching game in reverse.
After playing this matching game for a couple of weeks, we tried asking my toddler to match the plastic toys with the letters in his puzzle mat. This time, all the letters of the alphabet were there already and they were arranged in order. My son was still able to find the letters of his name after some tries. When I noticed that he still gets a bit confused with a lot of letters, we limited the letters again to his first name. After practicing by playing this matching game for a number of days again, we let him try finding the letters of his name again with the entire alphabet puzzle mat laid out. This time, he was able to answer correctly even with his first try.
2. Matching flash cards and clothes pins with letters - I got this idea in another blog. It's so simple and budget-friendly as well. We still have a lot of wooden clothes pins at home so I adapted this activity right away as soon as I learned about it.
You simply need a permanent marker, clothes pins and flash cards. Again, we began with the letters of my toddler's first name (MATEO) to prevent overwhelm and confusion. I wrote one letter per clothes pin and separated the flash cards with the letters of his name. I showed him how to match them correctly, sounding out the letters and showing him the clothes pins with the corresponding letters. I mixed up the flash cards and clothes pins again and asked my son to match them to each other. At first, I asked my toddler to clip the clothes pins to the flash cards.

Then, when I found some yarn and a place in the house where we can hang our "toys," I asked him to hang the flash cards there as he plays this matching game.

Mateo hanging his flash cards using the clothes pins with the letters of his name.

My toddler happy and proud of his accomplishment!
3. Matching DIY Thomas and Friends trains and clothes pins with numbers - My toddler son loves Thomas and Friends so much that I try to connect as much homeschool lessons as I can with this character. Since I'm also teaching him numbers and helping him to become more familiar with them, I thought of using the character of Thomas and Friends for this lesson. The trains in this series have numbers so I researched the names and colors of the trains and began with the first 10 trains in the series to help my toddler become more familiar with numbers 1 to 10.
I asked the help of my two sons in this homeschool project. They helped me make the trains. I cut the rectangles from the scrap colored papers that we have while they traced circles and painted them to become the wheels of the trains. Then, I numbered the trains based on the story of Thomas and Friends. Next, I introduced them to my toddler son and pointed out the numbers of the trains.
Then, I wrote one number on each clothes pins again using a permanent marker. I read out the numbers to my son and asked him to match the clothes pins with numbers to the trains with numbers on their bodies. Like with our matching game with the letters of his name, at first I asked him to clip the clothes pins to the trains.

Our DIY Thomas and Friends homeschool project.

Then, when we had a yarn set up near our hallway, I asked him to hang the trains in the yarn as he plays this matching game. My son found this game interesting and fun. It's a short game but very effective in teaching him to recognize numbers. It's also very simple and easy to prepare.

Mateo matches the clothes pins with numbers to our DIY trains.

Mateo with Thomas and Friends, our version. ;)
If you have a son who also likes trains or the character of Thomas and Friends, I highly recommend this matching game to you and your son when learning numbers and colors. 

Here are names and numbers of the trains in this series:

1 - Thomas, blue
2 - Edward, blue
3 - Henry, green
4 - Gordon, blue
5 - James, red
6 - Percy, green
7 - Toby, brown
8 - Doc, green
9 - Donald, black
10 - Douglas, black

These are the simple activities that we do on top of our letter of the week activities. Based on our experience, they are effective ways to reinforce the lessons that my toddler learns in our letter of the week activities. Feel free to use the same activities in teaching your little ones if you think they would also work in your family.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

United Nations Activities in our Homeschool

It was our first time to celebrate United Nations Day this year in our homeschool. It is just fitting that we celebrate it this year because my eldest son has been showing interest in the study of maps and flags of different countries. This was sparked by his Dad's frequent travels last year. The kids became interested in the countries that their Dad visited as part of his job.
Even before this month, my eldest son has been studying geography through his maps and globe. Last September, we found a poster of the flags of nations.
Let me share the activities we have done so far in celebrating United Nations Month.
1. Flag-making - We have integrated this activity in our Letter of the Week Program since this is one of my eldest child's interests. His younger brother likes the activity as well. There were times when we used paint to do this. Other times, we used crayons or colored paper. We have made several flags already. On United Nations Day, we made 3 more flags. One of these flags was the flag of Oman.

2. We read books. - We are certified bookworms so reading books is one activity that's always a part of our homeschool activities. Since we were already on letter O last October 24, I read the synopsis of a book entitled The Turtle of Oman to my eldest son. When we were on letter E, we read books about Egypt. We also read Pinocchio which was set in Italy.
3. Storytelling - I also shared more facts about Oman to my boys, which I have read from articles in the internet. I chose facts that they can relate to somehow.
4. Passport-making - I was inspired to make 'passports' for the boys. The passport I designed was inspired by the passport from FIAR's website. We will document our study of the different countries using these passports. We will write the dates when we'll study about the different countries as our date of arrival. We will stick the little flags that we made inside its pages, too.  

5. World Tour - Our world tour is only pretend play for the boys. They either ride their toy airplanes or boats or walk from country to country using our globe or maps.

6. Watched a Musical - We have previously scheduled to watch a musical on Pinocchio last October 25 but I did not know yet that it was also United Nations Week last week. I was delighted to find out that the musical we scheduled to watch last weekend was set in Italy and that it was presented in such a way that the audience were introduced to a few things about Italy. We were taught a few Italian words in the course of watching the musical. Thus, we now use "bambino", "buongiorno" and "mi scusi" at home. The musical will run until December so if you want to bring your kids to this musical, you can still buy tickets. Click here to buy your tickets.

7. Learned songs - I also taught new songs to the kids which were related to the countries we were studying. You may read about these here in my post on our activities with the letter E.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Letter of the Week Activities with the Letter E

It has been an exciting week for us as we did various activities related to our letter of the week, which is the letter E!
Just like with our previous letters of the week, we began with my toddler (2-year-old son) finger painting the letter E in upper and lower case. I also let him trace his finger on a foam letter E before doing the painting exercise.

Next, we proceeded with an E as in Earth art activity. It was also an opportunity for my 6-year-old to practice his listening, spelling and writing skills as I dictated a Bible verse to him.

Let me share how we did this earth finger painting activity step by step:
1. I asked the boys to choose a round object that they would trace on a bond paper.
2. I asked my 6-year-old son to cut the circles.
3. I mixed a bit of white on our dark blue paint in another container.
4. The boys first painted the circle cut outs with blue paint using their fingers.
5. Air dry the painted cut outs.
6. While we were air-drying the globes/earths of the boys, I asked my eldest son to write a Bible verse on a bond paper. My youngest got hungry so he had some morning snack while waiting for his globe to dry. ;)
7. Once dry, the boys finger painted green paint (for the islands/continents) on their respective earths/globes.
8. We let them air dry once more and we cleaned their hands.
9. The boys glued the earths they painted on bond papers. My eldest son glued his earth on the same paper where he wrote a Bible verse about the earth. My younger son glued his on a clean sheet of bond paper.
10. Then, I helped my toddler write E as in Earth on his bond paper.
While the kids were painting, I let a song video about our Bible verse for the week play in the background. The boys tried to learn the song after our painting activity.

As usual, we posted their newly-finished works of art on our wall near our kids' study table.
The next activity that we had after that was reading of books. First, we read about the creation story and explained briefly how God made the earth to be full of His goodness. Moreover, I highlighted that E is also for Eve, the first woman, and E as in the Garden of Eden. We also read about the earth again from our Space Book. Then, we read about the flight from Egypt through one of the books we bought at the recent MIBF -- One Mighty, Awesome, Incredible Rescue.

After the boys woke up from their nap that day, we watched the movie Prince of Egypt.

The following day, we had food that started with the E. We had eggplant omelette and egg pie.

We also read a book about eagles titled Eagles Don't Fly, They Soar! The Adventures of Billy Big Toes by Bo Sanchez. I read this to the boys before their nap.

We read the books related to our letter of the week before nap time and at night. In between reading lines from the book, I ask the kids some questions or I let the kids fill in the details to check if they remembered the details of our stories.

I also taught the boys an action song that I learned when I was in college as part of a Catholic Charismatic community. My college friends and I taught this action song to the delegates of World Youth Day '95 wherein we served as facilitators. The boys had been singing and dancing to the tune of this song in the past days.


We also looked up Egypt on our globe and its flag on my eldest son's poster of the flags of nations. I showed them photos of pyramids and the sphinx as well.

Then, we made our own version of Egypt's flag. It was a joint effort of us three. I first folded a bond paper lengthwise into three parts. I asked my toddler to choose between black and red crayon. He said he wants to use black. So, I let him color the black part of the flag. After helping him finish his part of the flag, I asked my eldest son to color the red portion of the flag. When the boys were done with their part, I drew an eagle in the middle of the white portion. Then, I posted our flag on our wall.

Aside from these activities, I let my toddler watch this video on the letter E in the past days while holding/playing with some props.

Lastly, the boys made their own versions of pyramids using their building blocks.

These were the exciting activities we had with the letter E this past days. Watch out for my post for our next letter of the week -- the letter O!

Note: Aside from doing these activities, we also engage in other activities that our boys like doing each day. The letter of the week program is just one part of our homeschool adventure. You may read about our daily homeschool activities in detail here in my previous post.

Another activity that I let my toddler engage in these past weeks is a matching game with different variations. All variations however have one main goal: that is to help him become more familiar with the letters of his name (MATEO). Watch out for my post also where I will enumerate and detail all the matching games that Mateo is playing to help him achieve this goal.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Embracing Gifted Me

I didn't have any idea about giftedness until I had my first baby and I read about the signs of giftedness in a book and started noticing these signs in my firstborn child. As I read more literature on the topic and attended seminars about it, slowly, it dawned on me that I am also gifted just like my son. I began to consider this when I heard in a seminar that giftedness is hereditary. I reviewed the traits of gifted people again and I realized that I possessed many of them. It was an AHA experience for me.
I'm grateful that we discovered that our son is gifted while he was young. This discovery helped me to discover a part of myself I never knew before. In my search for more information about giftedness so I would learn more how to parent my gifted child, I also learned many things about myself.
Let me share a few things I am most grateful to discover about giftedness and myself.
1. Perfectionist tendencies - One of the stories I most vividly remember about my perfectionist tendency was told by my mom. She said that when I was in Grade 1, I cried very hard over an exam wherein I had one mistake. They tried very hard to comfort me but I was so affected by the exam's result. She said that I got the highest score in our class but I was not content with that. I was still disappointed that I did not get all the answers right.
Every now and then, I would hear my mom (ever since I was young) telling me that I should stop being a perfectionist. That I can't always get everything right or make things happen according to my plan.
The truth is, I just can't help but strive for excellence in all that I choose to get involve in. And I get easily disappointed when things fall short of my expectations or do not happen according to plan.
I have tried over the years to curb this perfectionist tendency. I think I have improved a lot over the years. But it still surfaces many times.
When I learned that it's one of the traits of gifted individuals, I felt happy and relieved. My initial reaction was, "Oh! That's why!" I was very happy with my discovery. Finally, I felt relieved because all along I thought that something is wrong with me... why I can't easily move on when I get disappointed over things that fall short of my plans and when it's simply my default to strive to make things perfect.
When I learned that gifted people are wired this way, I grew to accept this trait more. Recognizing this in myself helped me to give myself permission to strive for excellence most of the time in the things I am involved in.

2. Ability to remember a lot of things/things that had a big impact on me - I remember many times when I was chided by my parents and some friends for remembering negative things that happened to me even after a very long time. Many people believe the cliché "To forgive is to forget." For a long time, I felt pressured to forget those painful experiences thinking that I am sinning or still harboring resentment because I can still vividly remember many of those hurtful experiences. It was a good thing that I once read a book about forgiveness and the author said that we should not equate forgiveness with the ability to forget certain events. The author said that when you remember and you feel the ill feelings resurface, you can choose to forgive that person again anyway. Moreover, the author said that one advantage of remembering the incident is that we get to remember the lessons as well from those experiences.
When I learned more about giftedness, I realized that it is also part of being gifted that I am extra sensitive and therefore it should not be a surprise to me that events or experiences which had a big impact on me (especially painful ones) would be very hard for me to forget.
Knowing this helped me to accept that I simply cannot forget or erase from my memory those experiences that I had. My brain was wired this way and so no matter how hard I try to forget, it would be putting unnecessary pressure on myself to forget those experiences. Because of this, I was also able to let go of feelings of guilt over remembering so many things in the past that many people tell me I should already forget.
3. Multipotentiality - I just learned about this recently when I read another blog post. Just like when I discovered about the two traits I mentioned earlier, I felt happy and relieved to learn about multipotentiality. I've been hearing from a number of people that I should learn to focus on accomplishing only one thing at a time and that I should choose to be an expert at only one thing instead of dabbling in a number of things.
I find it frustrating to limit myself to only one field. I just can't help but be interested in pursuing more than one thing and there are times when I want to pursue these things simultaneously. I'm really glad to learn that there are other people like me and that in this group, I am normal!
Those are just some of the traits I discovered recently about myself in my quest to learn more about giftedness. Discovering these things allowed me to embrace the giftedness in me. And as I embrace these traits in myself, I'm also learning to accept and embrace these traits as I see them manifested in my son.

This post is part of the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Blog Hop. Check out the other posts here.

On Motherhood and Mission Work

"Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God." Matthew 22:21 (You may read the other versions/translations and commentaries about this verse here.)
This was our point for reflection last Wednesday when our Parish Priest visited us at home during our eldest son's birthday celebration. This was also part of the Gospel yesterday.
I had been contemplating about how blessed I am to be given the privilege to have children this past week since it's our eldest son's birthday week. I feel a deep sense of gratitude for God for blessing my womb and allowing me to bear not one, but three children.
One of the blessings of motherhood that I feel most grateful for is the honor and privilege of raising kids and bringing them up to love and honor the Lord.
When I was still single, I had been actively serving the Church by immersing myself in a lot of evangelistic activities/work as part of the Catholic Charismatic communities I was a part of. Through these communities, I had the privilege to share about the Gospel and the love of God to many people.
I also shared my story/personal testimony to different groups especially after I published my first book When My Bridegroom Comes.
I travelled less often and gave talks less often after I got pregnant and had children, one after another.
I am home most days especially now that I am pregnant with our third child.
But one thing that God impressed upon my heart is that I am right where He wants me to be at this time of my life - at home with my children.
I feel a profound joy and peace knowing this.
I used to dream of doing big things for God and the kingdom when I was much younger. But when I got married, slowly but surely, God made me realize that my first and primary mission work is at home. That the first people I need to bring to the Lord are my family members. And now that I have children, my main mission (aside from being a witness to my husband) is to bring the hearts and souls of our children to God.
I learned that I am as much in mission as the missionaries who leave their families and homes to proclaim the Gospel in other countries.
It may seem that I am doing very ordinary or sometimes insignificant work (like routine chores at home) but the truth is whatever I do here at home for the glory of God is still part of my missionary work.
Before I should dream or work to evangelize people outside of my home, I need to evangelize the people in my own home.
God has entrusted these precious hearts and souls into my care.  I pray that I would do well in raising them to be the kind of men that God wants them to be.
Like what I shared with our guests last Wednesday, I actually think that it is much easier to give talks outside the home than to evangelize our kids daily, not so much with words but more so with my actions. I make a lot of mistakes daily and my kids witness these. It's humbling and at the same time challenging to keep on choosing to be faithful to the mission and to the call to follow Jesus and to encourage others (our kids particularly) to do the same.
Yesterday, the priest in his homily highlighted the verse "Give to God what belongs to God." He reminded us that we were all made in the image and likeness of God. Therefore, it is our duty to bring back humanity to God. His words affirmed me of my duty to bring my children to God. Yes, I will also do my share in bringing other people to God but I will begin in my own home, with my children.
I felt God encouraging me through these developments since I have started teaching our Catholic ABC curriculum to our two sons. It's my way of making sure I am able to pass on my faith and the catechisms of the Catholic Church to them even at a young age. I wanted to make sure that our Catholic faith is an essential part of their education. Actually, that's one of the main reasons my husband and I chose to homeschool them. We want them to have a solid faith foundation.
I've learned that is so easy to teach academic subjects to kids. But teaching them values and forming their character is not that easy. It's not something that you can teach in one or two sessions and you'd expect them to take those values on. I can teach my sons, especially the eldest, academic concepts in one or two sessions and he would remember a lot of what we have discussed. But with character formation, it's a different story. I need to exercise patience and I need to consistently give reminders. I need to model the values and be a good role model to my kids day in and day out.
That's why I believe that it's only by the grace of God that our kids are growing up to be these kind of kids -- loving and prayerful. With all my flaws and shortcomings, I thank the Lord that they are taking on the values that we want them to take on.
One of my joys as a mother is witnessing my sons pray with all their hearts to God. I rejoice every time I see them automatically turn to God in prayer for whatever need or concern they may have. My heart leaps for joy when they are eager to go to Mass to worship God and when they participate with hearts full of devotion. During these times, I feel that all my efforts are being rewarded.
When they remember things that we have discussed about our faith, I feel a sense of fulfillment because I know that I am somehow fulfilling my mission as their mother.
Give to God what belongs to God... these children belong to God. They were entrusted temporarily into our care. It is my duty (together with my husband) to lead them to God. I dream and look forward to that day when I would see them serving God and honoring Him in their own unique ways. Will God call one of my boys to serve Him through the priesthood? I don't know. If it does happen, I would be honored to have raised a son who will serve the Church in that capacity. But whatever God would call them to do, I pray that I would be able to give the support that they need to fulfill that call and mission.
I love these lines from one of my desk calendars:
"God knows the feelings of discouragement, inadequacy, and failure which conscientious parents feel. But it was His idea to make them parents and to give them this particular set of children. He is Father to the parents, and promises every kind of help they need." (emphasis mine)
I do not think that it is coincidence that these lines were featured today in my desk calendar. I know in my heart that it is the Lord speaking to me through my desk calendar this morning.
He knows how much I need His words of affirmation and encouragement.
I thank the Lord for choosing to use me in spite of my sins and imperfection. May He continue to give me the grace to walk faithfully in this path and to plant the seeds of faith in these young hearts and souls.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Letter of the Week Activities with the Letter T

We will conclude our activities for the letter T today. It has been a T as in Terrific week for me and my sons!
Let me enumerate the activities that we had in the past days.
First, we kicked off our letter of the week activity for the letter T by doing activities related to trains. My boys love trains so I thought that it would be a good idea to start with this concept. After finger painting the letter T in upper and lower case, we made trains from colored cut outs.
Second, I let the boys play with toys starting with the letter T. My eldest son who just turned 6 the other day helped me choose the toys he and his younger brother played with. He identified toys that start with the letter T and we set them aside as their main playthings this week.
Third, we read books about trains, trucks, a taxi, a tricycle and a book about a tiger. You may read my previous post here where I detailed the activities we had on our first day with the letter T.

This is the book we read this morning.
We used our boys' toys as props as we read it.
Fourth, we also had T as in Trinity activities. We painted some cut outs that symbolize the Holy Trinity and my eldest son wrote a Bible verse about the Holy Trinity. We watched a video where the Holy Trinity were manifested. Read more about the details of this activity here in my previous post.
Fifth, we talked about the lives of Saints whose names start with the letter T like St. Therese of the Child Jesus, St. Teresa of Avila and St. Timothy. These discussions were very timely because the two Saint Teresa's celebrated their Feast Days this October while my son who was named after St. Timothy celebrated his birthday the other day. Thus, one of our activities this week is T as in Timothy Day wherein we granted most of my eldest son's wishes. You may read more about it here.
Sixth, we made flags of countries whose names start with the letter T. We made big flags. We also made flaglets, which we stuck in my son's globe cake. Good thing the flags of these countries were quite easy to make.

I simply asked the boys to use their star shape sorter toy and trace its shape on bond paper and red colored paper. Then, my eldest son cut the traced shapes. He and his younger brother glued them based on my instructions. We used my eldest son's poster on the flags of nations as our guide/reference for this activity.

T as in Turkey flag by Mateo.

T as in Tunisia flag by Yanthy.
 Seventh, we watched a video about how the tiger got its stripes.
These are all simple activities but they are very effective in teaching little boys about the letter T. Watch out for my next post about our next letter of the week! We will have the letter E next!
If you have not read my posts about the previous activities we had for our previous letters of the week, here are the links:

Friday, October 17, 2014

T is for Timothy Day

We celebrated our eldest son's birthday the other day without a birthday party. We simply granted some of his wishes. Thus, I call it T as in Timothy Day! ;)
During the weekend before his birthday, we granted his wish to have his hair cut at Robots and Dolls salon for kids. I was happy to find out that one of his privileges as a member of the salon's kiddie club is to have a free haircut on his birthday month.  

We also had his bike vulcanized as requested by our birthday boy. It has been months since he last used his bike because we could not find someone who can fix it. Thankfully, we found a vulcanizing shop nearby and we had it fixed on the week of his birthday. He rode his bike every morning in the past days leading to his birthday. 
On the night before his birthday, I had the lights on our Christmas tree installed because he wanted the tree to be lighted that night.

On the day of his birthday, we had pancakes cooked for breakfast. I poured chocolate syrup on his pancakes to form the letters G (for Gian) and T (for Timothy).
Then, we placed his birthday gift under the Christmas tree. We bought a police tool set for him because that's also his wish. He opened his gift after eating his breakfast.

After that, he played with his new toy by pretending to be a police officer.
By midmorning, we got ready to leave the house for our lunch. We had lunch at one of his favorite restaurants. It was also his wish to eat in this restaurant -- Bon Chon.
On our way to Bon Chon, we talked about St. Timothy so our son would get to know more his namesake. I told him that he was named after St. Timothy, who assisted St. Paul in his ministry. I told him that St. Timothy was still young when he helped St. Paul. Thus, I encouraged him to serve in whatever way he can in the church even while he is young. I reminded him of our friend, Brother JC, who is a young preacher at The Feast and who assists our main preacher Brother Bo Sanchez in his ministry. I used them as examples and I likened Brother Bo to St. Paul and Brother JC to St. Timothy. He understood what I meant and he named another preacher (Brother Adrian) who helps Brother Bo in reaching more people. I also told him that Timothy is one of the books in the Bible.  
We met up with my mom who joined us for lunch at Bon Chon. We ordered his usual favorite food -- Bon Chon chicken, rice and chap chae. 

It was also his wish to have a globe-designed cake. So instead of my initial plan to simply buy a regular dedication or birthday cake from cake stores, I had a baker customize a cake for him. The baker brought the cake at Bon Chon while we were having lunch. We sang him the birthday song after lunch but he was not able to blow his candles yet because we didn't have matches or a lighter. So we brought the cake with us to the play center where we headed next.
I previously bought vouchers from Active Fun in preparation for his birthday since I know that he loves playing there. I bought two extra vouchers so we can invite other kids to be his playmates aside from his younger brother. Good thing, the sons of one of our family friend were available that afternoon to join in the fun. The boys had a great time playing as usual. So two more wishes granted: to play at Active Fun and to have playmates/friends to join him there.
Another wish granted was that his Dad was able to spend time with him on his birthday. My husband filed for a leave from his work. He also spent time to play with our sons at the play center before our friend's sons arrived. Unfortunately, he hit his knee on the slide so he had to go out and ask our helper to accompany the boys afterwards.
We stayed at Active Fun until around 5:30 PM then we went home so we can go to Mass at 7 PM. We passed by the parish office actually before going to Bon Chon. I had a Mass offered in thanksgiving for my son's birthday. We also requested for our Parish Priest to come over to our house to join us for dinner and to pray the rosary with us. We were very happy to get confirmation from the parish office staff that our Parish Priest could come.
We got back home around 6:30 PM. My son opened the gift he got from my mom first. My mom gave him a new Cars plate set. That's also one of his wishes.
Then, we went to church to celebrate Mass.
After the Mass, we prayed the rosary together as a family with our guests and had a brief reflection and sharing time with our Parish Priest, Fr. Francis, and other members of our parish.

We had dinner after that. I taught one of our helpers to cook spaghetti and fried chicken. I simply marinated the chicken for her and instructed her to cook them just before the Mass.
We had a simple celebration for our eldest son's birthday but we know that he was very happy because we fulfilled many of his wishes. For other ideas on how to celebrate your child's birthday without a birthday party, you may read one of my previous posts in this blog. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

T as in Trinity and More

We had our second day with the letter T yesterday. Our main activity was about T as in Trinity.
First, I searched for a Bible verse that I will dictate to my 5-year-old son so he can practice his listening, writing and spelling skills through it.
Second, I asked my two-year-old son to trace his heart and cross shape sorters on a piece of white scrap paper.
Third, my 5-year-old son to cut the shapes.
Fourth, my two-year-old son finger painted the cut outs --- red for the heart and brown for the cross. Then, we air-dried them.
Fifth, I gave 3 popsicle sticks to my two-year-old and showed him how to form it into a triangle and where to put glue on them. I helped him glue the triangle. I briefly explained to the boys that the triangle symbolizes the Holy Trinity -- 3 sides in 1 triangle, 3 persons in 1 God.
Sixth, I drew a shape of a dove on the remaining white scrap paper and cut it.
We glued the painted cut outs and the dove cut out on the sides of the popsicles that we formed into a triangle. We let the glue dry again.
All this time, I was supervising my eldest son's writing practice of the Bible verse about the Holy Trinity.
When the triangle was dry, I glued it to a new bond paper and helped my toddler to write "T is for Trinity." 

After my 5-year-old son was done writing the Bible verse, I asked him to try to memorize it.

Then, we posted their work on our wall near their study area.
After lunch, the boys also had some free play pretending to ride/drive a train and taxi complete with pieces of luggage. They used our sofas as train or taxi while our throw pillows are their pieces of luggage. 
Before their nap, I read books to the boys about a tricycle and a taxi, still in keeping with our letter of the week, which is the letter T. As usual, I used our toy props to retell the story/read the book.

My toddler had his nap earlier than his older brother. My eldest son and I had some Math lessons first. I introduced multiplication to him and we used his wooden blocks as his manipulative toys. By the grace of God, we finished answering all the multiplication questions in his Math Level 3 book of Fun Thinkers. Just in time for his birthday celebration today! Thus, aside from celebrating his 6th birthday today, we will also celebrate finishing our Fun Thinkers program for Math and English for all levels. This is one of our homeschool milestones.
Before bed last night, we watched again the videos of St. John the Baptist. I used these videos to explain further about the Holy Trinity and how the Holy Trinity was manifested in this life event of Jesus.
My eldest insisted that we watch St. Matthew's videos also. He said that T is also for tax collector so I gave in. ;) You may watch their videos here.
That's it for now!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Terrific Start with the Letter T as Our Letter of the Week

We just had a T as in Terrific start for our new letter of the week -- the letter T!
First, my toddler son finger painted the letter T in upper and lower case.

Second, we made T as in trains from scrap colored papers and scratch papers.
Below is the step by step procedure to make these trains:
1. I asked the boys to trace circles for the wheels of their trains on scratch papers.
2. I asked my 5-year-old son to cut the traced circles.
3. The boys painted the circles with black paint and air-dried them.

4. I folded the colored papers and asked my 5-year-old son to cut along the line/fold to form rectangles.
5. I cut windows on the long rectangles and a spout for the train.
6. I taught the boys how to position the rectangles and the wheels of their train.
7. The boys glued the cut outs as I instructed them.

8. Then, I gave them yellow crayons so they can write the number on the body of their train.
9. I asked the boys to write the name of their train on the bond paper.
This is the train made by Mateo since he loves Thomas the Train!

Yanthy made James the red engine because his favorite color is red.
Just before lunch, the boys played by pretending to ride/drive a taxi. They alternated as driver and passenger.
After lunch and their bath, we read books all about Thomas with some props as I read them.
We bought most of these books from the Book Sale before.
When the boys woke up from their nap, they played with toys that start with the letter T -- trucks, trains, trumpet and tambourine. These will be the toys they would play with this week.

Instead of using the road track letter T in our Transportation-themed curriculum, we used the wooden train tracks of the boys to form the letter T when they played with their wooden train set.

In the evening, the boys wore their Thomas the Train shirts when we went to church to celebrate Mass.

Watch out for my next post about our other activities with the letter T!