This homeschool adventure has been EXACTLY that so far – an adventure! Not only did our ‘routine’ get chopped up thanks to Hurricane Irma, but all of our meet ups, group classes and planned events all got postponed or rescheduled. The last 3 weeks haven’t really felt very educational or ‘rigorous’ as you’re drilled to provide as a school system teacher… but maybe that’s all for the better. It’s definitely been a personal struggle to shed the weight & habits of ‘classroom’ instruction – but like any challenge it’s been fun to figure out ways to break the mold and reach your goal.
One major adjustment for me has been trying to figure out how to keep Mimi’s brain busy and engaged while I’m doing one-on-one instruction with the big kid. Alex is reading at a pretty high level, but so many times we’ll be developing an idea and Milena will jump into our conversation and she’ll lose her train of thought. So far, sensory bins and busy hand activities have been a total game changer but the REAL difference is when I get to do an activity with both of them and cater to each of their ‘levels’. If you have any tried and true Mom-Methods on keeping the little ones busy / engaged while working with big kids – PLEASE leave me a comment below!
Which is exactly what we got to do with introducing Space! First, we found this awesome Solar System Flap Book on clearance at Barnes & Nobles in Durham, North Carolina during our “evacuation” road trip. I let the girls take turns exploring the book – and reading some of the pieces together answering whatever questions they had. Then we logged into Brain Pop and watched a quick video on the Solar System so they could see the concept of orbiting in action! Mimi was really excited about the planets spinning in circles, and Alex was quick to correct her that they are “Ellipses”.
Then, we put up our Space Wall Chart – pulled from another Barnes & Nobles clearance find, “My Incredible Sticker Atlas“. In this book are FOUR different wall anchor charts for FOUR different units and so far I think this is the BEST purchase I’ve ever made!
We also found this FREE Planet Coloring & Cut Sheet that you can download here!
We began by identifying the sticker that represented the “Sun” and putting it on our Anchor Chart. We noticed what ‘color’ it was, and went back to our seats to color in accordingly!
Alex carefully chose the colors she used to make the planets look realistic.
Then it was Mimi’s turn to do Saturn’s sticker – she loves that Saturn has rings and it’s easy to identify! She then rushed back to her seat to grab a ‘grey’ marker to color in her Saturn.
I am so proud of how well Mimi did with this project – she was so excited and focused on her coloring – which is rare for her little busy body.
After we colored all the planets accordingly, we cut them all out carefully. Mimi’s hands are still pretty small for the scissors, so I did hers for her… Then we painted our “Space”! Using two Q-Tips and the top of the white paint – we dotted the black paper to make our distant stars. I chose this so they wouldn’t GLOB the white paint on their Q-Tips and really just ‘dot’ them.
We then glued on our planets, all in the correct order! Papi came home from work right on time and helped us put all the pieces in the right spot.
And then – TADAAA!! Our Solar System is complete!
I was very happy that both girls were able to do this super fun activity – it was really nice to see them make something together!
Don’t forget to leave me your suggestions on schooling the bigs & the littles together because man I am all ears!