Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Horizons Preschool Review

I have always been one to come up with my own lessons for my children when they are preschool age. Yes, I will search for ideas, but I will take the ideas I find and combine them with other ideas, twist them to make them work, that sort of thing. I figured I would do the same thing with Hannah and Harold that I did with Tabitha and Amelia. Unfortunately, I have not had the same kind of preparation time that I had when I was only teaching a preschooler and a toddler (or two preschoolers). Or, maybe I should say fortunately. If I hadn't been struggling to figure out my schedule with 4 children, I may not have taken the time to look into the Alpha Omega Publications Promotional Team, and I wouldn't have had a chance to review the Horizons Preschool curriculum from Alpha Omega Publications Homeschool Division.

I had heard good things about Horizons in the past, and I was familiar with Alpha Omega Publications because I have a friend who uses and recommends another one of their programs, The Weaver Curriculum. I had actually used the Interlock level several years ago, but ended up switching to something else because I wasn't ready for a set curriculum for preschool. Imagine my surprise when I just discovered that the Horizon Preschool appears to be somewhat adapted and revised from the original Interlock curriculum. I didn't realize that, until I saw it mentioned on the title page of the Teacher Manual. Though I was a bit curious when we first started and I saw an identical picture was used for heaven that Tabitha and Amelia used several years ago. 

So, just what is included in the Horizons Preschool Curriculum? Well, these two were very excited to find out.

The curriculum comes packaged in the above box. We received 2 Student Workbooks, 2 Teacher's Guides, the preschool Resource Packet which includes Teaching Aids and Black Line Masters, plus the Horizons Preschool Music CD. They also provide a Horizons Preschool Multimedia Package which we did not receive, though I would love to look into it.

There are 180 lessons in the preschool curriculum, enough for a full school year. Lessons 1-90 are found in the Teacher Guide 1 and the Student Workbook Book 1, while lessons 91-180 are in the Teacher Guide 2 and Student Workbook Book 2. The teacher manual shares a scope and sequence at the beginning of the book. Their are lessons in Bible, Social Studies, Science, Language Arts, Phonics, Reading, Writing, Numbers/Math/Shapes, Colors, Music, and more. The science and social studies lessons seem to focus on what is being taught in the Bible section. 

Before you get to the lessons, you will find 43 pages of important information. In addition to the Scope and Sequence, you will find an Introduction that includes:
  • Understanding the Young Child
  • The Environment of the School
  • The Classroom
  • Determining Your Type of Program
  • Components of the Horizons Preschool Program
  • Lesson Structure of the Horizons Preschool Program
  • Things to do Before School Begins and
  • Scheduling Suggestions
It was interesting to read through this section, though some of it is geared more toward actual preschools. 

Next you will find a list of Media Resources. The title of the CDs, or other media source, are listed by lesson. There is also a Reading Resources list and a Story Time Reading List arranged alphabetically.There is also an extensive supply list, a lot of which I have to admit we have not been able to get so far if we didn't already have it on hand. Some of the items are commonly found in most homes, but some will need to be purchased and may not be needed in a homeschool setting as opposed to a preschool classroom. As homeschoolers, we are pretty good at adapting, as I am sure many of you are as well. We'll find a way to make it work. Right?

 There is also a list of the memory verses (just the reference) listed by week. The actual verse is provided in the resource packet, this is just an overview. There are also instructions for the Days of Creation Numbers, and finally, the lyrics to the songs found on the included "Horizons Preschool Music" CD.  All in all, there are 43 pages of information and resources before getting into the lessons.

Each lesson follows a similar structure. At the beginning of the daily lesson the kinds of activities that will be in the lesson are listed. Each activity is then found in bold as you read through the lesson where there is a lot of information to either read for your own knowledge or read to the child(ren). 

Here is the order of the lessons (though occasionally there are some activities out of order, but it seems quite rare):
  • Bible Reference - Just the note of where the Bible story can be found.
  • Bible Concept to Present - A short, 1-3 sentence summary of what is going to be taught.
  • Bible Lesson - The Bible story/lesson as you are to read it to the child (I tend to edit at times to make it more of a conversation and to sound more like me talking).
  • Social Studies - A short discussion that relates social learning to the Bible story.
  • Science - Activity oriented ideas to go with the Bible lesson (not introduced until lesson 11)
  • Language Arts - Activities to help verbalize ideas and prepare the child for reading.You will find such things as word exercises, finger poems, games, and more.
  • Phonics - In the first half of the year this actually consists of letter recognition and alphabet order, toward the middle of the curriculum year letter sounds and blending will come into play. There are phonics pages in the student workbook.
  • Reading - Listening and Comprehension skills are learned
  • Writing - Developmental skills that build the skills to write. Focusing first on the child's first name.
  • Memory Verse - Gives suggestions on how to illustrate the memory verse. 
  • Math - Fun activities and worksheets from the student workbook help with counting and number recognition. Toward the end of the year, children will be starting to learn about addition and subtraction.
  • Shapes - Slowly throughout the year, shapes are learned and review with worksheets and hands-on activities.
  • Colors - As with the shapes, colors are slowly added and then reviewed.
  • Story Time - A time to read a story of your or your child's choice. 
  • Music - Songs to be sung, some of which will be familiar, others not so much, but are fun to learn . I have found they tend to relate to the lesson being taught.
  • Arts & Crafts - Craft ideas to go with the lesson
  • Physical Education - Some time for large-motor skill activities.
  • Outdoor Activity
  • Creative Cooking
  • Health and Safety
  • Field Trips
  • Homework
Now that I have given you a run down of the curriculum, here is how we have been using it. 

I have been combining the story time and music time with the older children before our Gathering Time. We now have a story time where I pick a book that goes with our lessons (usually the lessons that are for the older children, which is fine because the Horizons Preschool curriculum has left that quite open) and our leader of the day also picks a book. Then we learn a new song and/or review a recent song. We have been using this time to really learn the songs to be able to sing them for daddy at the end of the week. After our Gathering Time, the older children work on their workboxes while I work with Hannah and Harold. If we are running late, these activities are done after lunch, so I only include Hannah while Harold sleeps. This works okay, because I don't have a Student Workbook for him and he doesn't always have something to actually do. 

I have been picking and choosing what we are going to do, because these lessons are designed for a full preschool day, and we only do preschool for an hour or so. I have been rearranging the lessons a bit too. I think I may be a bit OCD, because I have needed to organize the lessons so each letter is taught for a full week. The way the letters are scheduled is a bit random in my mind as sometimes the child only has several days with a letter and sometimes it is even less. I am used to doing a letter a week, so I have done some rearranging. Seeing as I have less time in a day for lessons, this has helped us spread out each lesson anyway, in order to spend more time on it.

I have been using a marker to highlight which sections we are going to work on, and marking when there is a worksheet to complete.

The lessons start at the very beginning of creation, and first we learn about God. We learn how God, like our earthly father, cares for us and does special things for us, like giving us the gift of the world.

We also learned about how God is 3 persons, The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. We did a little demonstration with an egg.

For our phonics lessons, I have been focusing on both the letter name and letter sound with Hannah as she has already been exposed to it with our curriculum last year. She is also practicing forming the letters. We use the Letter Flashcards provided in the Resource Pack. In addition to having her trace the letters, I will show them to her and quiz her.

We have been focusing on the colors blue, red, and green, plus the triangle. I had made a triangle puppet, as per the instructions, and then Hannah wanted to make one too. 

Okay, she wanted to make more than one. Plus, we used craft sticks to form a triangle.

We also worked on workbook pages. Each lesson has a few different worksheets, which are able to be removed from the workbook quite easily as it has perforated pages. I take them out one week at a time and put them in a folder. She has been working on letter recognition, number recognition and even comparing quantities.

I printed out a bunch of triangles and had them make collages.

There are even number people to go with Bible Stories. 
(The parable of the lost coin.)

We have spent time practicing writing on the easel.

And then moved on to the phonics worksheet provided.

There have even been craft ideas that were fun to do with all the children. Like making Litter Bug Bags and going to pick up litter.

There are many wonderful resources contained in this Christian preschool curriculum. There Resource Pack contains so many visual resources that we use in different ways. I have photocopied the number train to add to our wall. We use our flashcards whenever we have lessons. There are color flashcards for letters, numbers, colors, and shapes that we have used so far. In addition, there are time, seasons, and months flashcards. 

I know that Hannah is enjoying this curriculum, because she will ask me when we are going to do her "stuff" or her work. She looks forward to it and it gives me some one-on-one time with her, and sometimes Harold. Personally, I have really appreciated having a curriculum to follow, even though I do have to tweak it a bit. The worksheets are lovely and eye catching. Additionally there are tons of hands-on activities.  We are not sitting in our seats the whole time, which is imperative for young children. All the children are enjoying the songs and fingerplays. And daddy is enjoying getting to watch them perform. 

I do have to admit, I didn't know this was geared more toward an actual preschool program; however, I feel comfortable picking and choosing what works for us, especially because the introduction of the Teacher Guide states on page 7, "...there is far more material presented in this teacher's guide than what some classes of students can cover." Furthermore it states, "you can use this teacher's guide to pick out the specific activities that support your philosophy of education."

I really feel that this is a wonderful, comprehensive, preschool curriculum. Your child will learn many academic and social skills while learning about God and his creation. I love the way it is all meshed together. But, you know, that's me. 

You can purchase this complete set for $125.95. 

Disclaimer: I received the Horizons Preschool Curriculum Set for no charge, as a part of the Alpha Omega Publications Promotion team. I agreed to give my honest opinion of the product, along with helping to promote it. All opinions are my own and no other compensation was received. I am disclosing this information in accordance with FTC regulations.

Toddler Ideas Tuesday: September 30, 2014

Welcome back to Toddler Idea Tuesdays! I hope you will join with me again in sharing the fun activities, crafts, and lessons that you are doing with your young children. 

I apologize for there being a few weeks between posts again. I do mean for this to be a weekly link up, but between trying to get organized and internet/computer issues, it hasn't been happening. Hoping for a better future of Toddler Idea Tuesdays!

It has been difficult to find time some days to get the one-on-one time I would like to have with the younger two children. I am still working out our schedule and my organization to have things run smoothly. However, last week, I did make some new learning activities for them. This was to go along with our Poppins Book Nook theme of The Wild West. Our focus was Wild West Fairy Tales, though our trays were mostly inspired by the main ideas in the tales themselves, so there really wasn't a western theme there.

On Tuesday we read "Little Red Cowboy Hat" by Susan Lowell, along with "Little Red Riding Hood", so our learning activities centered around the color red.

Harold hasn't had much of a chance to use these yet, but Hannah's favorite was the Bead Counting on Pipe Cleaners.

For this simple activity, Hannah placed beads on the pipe cleaners to match the counting chart I made. She was able to work on counting, number recognition, and fine-motor skills.

I also put together a Block Counting Basket.

For this block counting activity, I added 1-1 peg block, 2- 2 peg blocks, 3- 3 peg blocks and 4- 4 peg blocks for them to sort and count and build with. We haven't had much time to use this one yet though.

Next, I put together a Red Sensory Bin.

Unfortunately, this was one they didn't have any time to use.

I was quite happy with the way my new Word Family Tray turned out. I have always enjoyed coming up with activities that will help the children learn to read, and we like to focus on word families.

I have found that these Tupperware trays are very good for some learning trays. For this activity I set out the "at" in the top left-hand corner using felt letters, then I placed more consonants in the lower corner, letters that would make words when added to the "at."  In the middle compartment, I set out blank index cards on top and a pile of "at" family words on the bottom. On the right, is a red pencil (to keep with our theme).

Hannah was to build the word directly on the index card, covering the written letters.

Then she wrote the word on a blank card.

On Tuesday we read "Dusty Locks and the Three Bears," also by Susan Lowell, along with Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

I made a theme-related size sorting activity.

And I also brought out the Bean Sorting.

I had some other ideas for learning trays, but I just ran out of time. However, they were kept quite busy with our craft projects during the week. In addition to the two books mentioned above, we read two other books by Susan Lowell: The Three Little Javelinas (The Three Little Pigs) and The Bootmaker and the Elves (The Shoemaker and the Elves).

If you would like to see all of the craft projects and food ideas that I had to go along with this theme, I invite you to check out this month's Poppins Book Nook post, Fun With Wild West Fairy Tales. At the bottom of the post, you will find a linky with many other great Wild West Themed posts linked up, plus a wonderful giveaway. For this post, I wanted to focus on the Toddler/Preschooler Learning Trays/Sensory Activities.

Now onto:

Toddler Idea Tuesday Features

On my last Toddler Idea Tuesday post, there were 5 wonderful posts linked up. I will be picking one randomly selected post to share, plus the top clicked-on post. 

This week's randomly selected post is:

Katie's August Tot Trays, posted by Greatly Blessed.

The following post received the most clicks.

20+ Busy Bags to Entertain the Littles, posted by Embark on the Journey.

I would love to have you join in this week! What sort of activities do you do with your toddler? Do you have some favorite activities you would like to share? I invite you to link up below. I will be pinning posts on my Toddler Ideas board and I would love to feature some of the activities each week from what is linked up. Please know I may share a picture from your post and link back to it, along with sharing how we used your idea in our toddler time. By linking up you are giving me permission to use a picture from your post. I will ALWAYS give credit and link back. Additionally, if you choose to try out any of the ideas with your toddler, please make sure you give credit where credit is due.

Linky will be open through Sunday night, to give me time to check out all the posts and get the Features organized.


Monday, September 29, 2014

Fun With Wild West Fairy Tales

Welcome to the September edition of Poppins Book Nook! 

This month's theme was: The Wild West

For this month, I set aside one week to focus on a group of 4 books by the same author, Susan Lowell, all of which are Fairy Tales with a Wild West twist. Each day I read one book and the related classic fairy tale. 

Each day there was a craft that the children made, some sensory tubs or learning trays, and story/theme related food. The older girls also had some copywork of Bible verses to go with the story of the day, plus some extra work. 

First, we read Little Red Cowboy Hat.

They made cards for their grandma, seeing as we couldn't go to visit her and bring her a basket of goodies.

Tabitha and Amelia had to compare the two stories.

I made some activities for the younger two that focused on the color red. Red Bead Counting, a Red Sensory Bin, "AT" word family cards, and a counting tray with red blocks.

For our food, I gave the children a "Little Red Cowboy Hat" Muffin Tin.

Our Memory Verse was, "Watch out for false prophets, they come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves" Matthew 7:15.

Our second book was Dusty Locks and the Three Bears.

I knew I wanted to make some sort of bears, but it wasn't until right before our lesson time that the specific craft popped into my head. In the story, the bears eat beans instead of porridge, so I thought it would be cool to make Bear Bean Mosaics.

I still plan to put a cardboard backing on them and attach a string to hang them up.

I didn't have any extra assignments for the older girls, but thought Bean Sorting would be fun for the younger two.

They had Teddy Grahams for snack and I made them a "Three Sizes Lunch."

Then for our Kids and a Mom in the Kitchen, the children helped me make Crockpot Chili.

Our Memory Verse was, "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." Matthew 7:12

Our third book was The Three Little Javelinas.

The children made craft stick houses.

Included in their lunch was some ham (for the pigs) and pretzel sticks with peanut butter to build houses with.

The Memory Verse was, "He who has a slack hand becomes poor, but the hand of the diligent makes rich." Proverbs 10:4. We also reviewed Diligence.

For our fourth and final book we read The Bootmaker and the Elves.

I added some geography to our lessons. We found the Southwestern States, coloring them in and then coloring the Sonoran Desert.

Then we sewed together cowboy boots. They colored a boot coloring page I had printed out on brown paper. Then they cut out that one, plus another blank boot. We punched holes around the edges and sewed them together.

The older girls had some dictionary work to do, which they haven't quite finished yet. They were to cut out the pictures and the words I printed out of wild west/southwestern objects, then put them in alphabetical order and find the definitions.

Our last Memory Verse was, "My little children, let us not love in word or tongue, but in deed and in truth." 1 John 3:18

We were supposed to have Fruit Roll-Up boots with Pull Apart Twizzler laces, but I completely forgot. I also didn't get all the learning trays put together that I wanted to last week. I was supposed to have at least 2, maybe 3 or 4 for each story. However, the children had fun, and we learned a little about the wild west and how it differs from what we are used to hear in the east. And it was really fun to read these fairy tales from a Wild West perspective. I loved attempting an accent, especially with Dusty Locks.  

Don't forget to check out what the other Poppins Book Nook co-hosts have been up to this month. Then don't forget to link up your own posts! Lastly, enter the Wild West Learning Bundle Giveaway.

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom ~ 3 Dinosaurs ~ To the Moon and Back ~ Planet Smarty Pants ~ Farm Fresh Adventures ~ Growing in God's Grace ~ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Learning and Growing the Piwi Way ~ The Usual Mayhem~ Preschool Powol Packets ~ Monsters Ed Homeschool Academy ~ Adventures in Mommydom ~ Teach Beside Me ~ Life with Moore Babies ~ Kathy's Cluttered Mind ~ Are We There Yet? ~ Our Crafts N Things ~ Hopkins Homeschool ~ ABC Creative Learning ~ Joy Focused Learning ~ P is for Preschooler ~ Laugh and Learn ~ A Mommy's Adventures ~ Inspiring 2 New Hampshire Children ~ World for LearningEver After in the Woods ~ Golden Grasses ~ Our Simple Kinda Life ~ A glimpse of our life ~ Journey to Excellence ~ Happy Little Homemaker ~ Little Homeschool Blessings ~ Simplicity Breeds Happiness ~ Raventhreads ~ Water on the Floor ~ Learning Fundamentals ~ Tots and Me ~ As We Walk Along The Road ~ Stir the Wonder ~ For This Season ~ Where Imagination Grows ~ Lextin Academy ~ The Canadian Homeschooler ~ School Time Snippets ~ Peakle Pie ~ Mom's Heart ~ A Moment in our World ~ Every Bed of Roses ~ Finchnwren ~ At Home Where Life Happens ~ Suncoast Momma ~ The Library Adventure ~ Embracing Destiny ~ Day by Day in our World ~ Our Homeschool Studio ~ A "Peace" of Mind ~ Thou Shall Not Whine ~ SAHM I am ~ eLeMeNo-P Kids ~ Simple Living Mama

Wild West Learning Bundle Giveaway! Every month the Poppins Book Nook group will be offering readers a chance to win a brand new storybook or product that ties in with our theme for the month. This month one lucky cowpoke will strike gold and win a bundle of fun for the theme of the Wild West.  This bundle will include a copy of the storybook Westward Ho!: An Activity Guide to the Wild West (Hands-On History) and one Wild West Toob. So mozzy down to the corral for your chance to win today!

Entrants must be 18 years or older and reside in a country that receives U.S. Postal mail. This giveaway is brought to you by the company Enchanted Homeschooling Mom who is owner and founder of the Poppins Book Nook. By entering this giveaway you are also acknowledging that you have read and agree to all of the Rafflecopter terms & conditions as well as Enchanted Homeschooling Mom's disclosures found here {http://enchantedhomeschoolingmom.org/disclosures/}.  Just enter the Rafflecopter below to win:

Come and find out more information about Poppins Book Nook at Enchanted Homeschooling Mom, on Facebook and on Pinterest.

Clip Art by Melon Headz
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