Wednesday, January 22, 2014

5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials: Day 3: Hands-On Learning

Anyone who has been reading my blog for a while will know that we like hands-on projects. I can't see having the children sit at the table all day working on worksheets/workbooks and such as they would be doing in public school. Don't get me wrong, the girls do enjoy workbooks/worksheets, but I don't want that to be our focus. Children need a chance to not just sit and listen, watch and read, but to actual do with their own hands for maximum learning.

From the beginning, when we were home preschooling and using Montessori activities, I have tried to make sure the children have had lots of opportunities to have tactile learning experiences.  The majority of our Montessori activities were what I remembered from the Practical Life center. The children practice foundational skills such as spooning, pouring, tonging and sorting. In fact, I shared about many of these activities back in August as a part of the 5 Days of Teaching Toddlers Series. On that day I shared about Teaching Toddlers with Montessori Activities.


Using a dustpan


Placing sticks in a cheese shaker

Of course our hands-on learning has expanded beyond simple (yet foundational) practical life, fine-motor activities. The children get a lot of practice with pouring when they help out in the kitchen. I love having Kids and a Mom in the Kitchen time. Not only do they work on those fine-motor skills, they get to work on math and reading skills while making yummy foods.  I love the opportunity for one-to-one counting as we pour or spoon ingredients into the bowl or pan. But, it can go beyond counting when the children are asked how many spoon/cupfuls we still need to attain the amount necessary. We also use kitchen time as a time for early fraction skills. For example, how many 1/4 teaspoons do we need to make a teaspoon or if I cut this apple into 4 pieces how many will we need to equal half an apple. The girls also help read the recipe to improve their reading skills.  They will read the ingredients while I gather them and then Tabitha will help read the instructions. When Amelia was just learning to read I would write the individual ingredients on flash cards and have her try to sound them out.

When we are working on math I love for the girls to have manipulatives so they can really understand the concept. I start when the children are just toddlers with number recognition and math readiness. You can see some of what we have done here. I love projects that focus on one-to-one counting into which I also add the numeral. For example:

Counting with pompoms in an egg carton

Cover and a couple of pages from Tabitha's #2 book
And the girls have all made letter/sound books. The older two have also made letter/sound collages and crafts in the shapes of the letters. I can't wait to make these with Hannah and Harold, perhaps next year.

We also use sandpaper letters and a moveable alphabet to learn letters and form words. Additionally, magnetic letters, foam letters and wooden alphabet blocks are great for letter and word recognition

Another way to enjoy hands-on learning and to really get into a unit is to create a lapbook for it. 

And I also love to create file folder games when I get a chance. Here is one of our latest file folder games:

What sort of things do you do with your children for hands-on learning?

I invite you to stop back tomorrow as I discuss another important essential for homeschooling, Support.

As I mentioned, there are many more insightful posts to be found. Here is the link to the main post on the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog where you can find a list of everyone who is sharing. To get you started, I invite you to stop by these blogs:

Mary @ Winecup Christian Homeschool talks about Catalogs
Jenni @ Conversaving
Meghan @ Quiet in the Chaos discusses Supplies
Beth @ Weavings discusses The iPad, Kindle and More
Tawnee @ Adventures in Homeschooling discusses the importance of a Laminator
Karen @ My Harbor Lights discusses having the Willingness to Grow
Amy @ Wildflower Ramblings discusses being Content with Her Role as a Mother
Kristi @ The Potter’s Hand Academy shares her "Absolute Favorite" homeschool company
Tara @ This Sweet Life shares her ABC's of Homeschool Essentials: H-Z


  1. I miss having toddlers!! I still try to do as many hands on activities as possible thought because it helps to "concrete" whatever they are learning.

  2. Thanks for sharing, I am always on the lookout for things to use with my little girls.

  3. Wow--so many great activities! We love doing lapbooks, too.

  4. We enjoy doing lots of hands on activities, too. Namely, we enjoy incorporating arts and crafts to the subject at hand. :) In part it helps them to own their learning and, as Adena pointed out, it helps to make concrete what they are learning. Good post! ~Heather @ Principled Academy/the Crew


Thank you for visiting my blog today. I love to read your comments, so please leave me one if you have the time.

Related Posts with Thumbnails