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The Whole Child, Issue #034 - Holidays again
December 05, 2006
The Whole Child e-zine brings you free preschool activities each week to maximize your child's potential, build skills and parent-child relationships in just a few minutes per day. Useful tips, quotes, resources, opportunities and articles will added for extra value!
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12 November 2006, Issue #033
Hello from Shirley
1. Hello from ShirleyIts the end of our academic year here in South Africa and I thought I'd share what our homeschool support group did. We held an end-of-year picnic 'prize-giving' at a local nature reserve. Each family prepared a certificate for their children rewarding them for their achievements both in 'school' and in character, such as diligence with chores, or perseverance, kindness with younger siblings etc.
During the formal proceedings, the parents stood up under the tree and the fathers called each child up to award them their certificate. It was such a pleasure to see the kids walking so tall and blossoming under the praise of their parents. Even our toddler grinned excitedly when we gave him a certificate for being the busiest child in the class - and then he crumpled it up!!
The festive season is upon us and so if you are looking for ideas for crafts or gifts to make for Christmas, then visit my Christmas Crafts page where you will find ideas for homemade gifts, homemade gift-wrap and decorations to make.
My next issue of this ezine will be published in the New Year, so let me take this early opportunity to wish you and your families a very blessed time together and safe travelling.
2. Join the Preschool Activities at Home eGroupIf you haven't yet done so, remember to join the new preschool-activities-at-home egroup where we can all share our experiences of teaching and raising preschoolers.
It is a place to ask questions, ask advice and share the ups and downs of life with small kiddies.
You can do so right now by sending a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please also spread the word in your preschool and homeschooling circles. I look forward to 'getting to know' many of you better.
3. TipsPleasant words promote instruction.
Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. (Proverbs 16:21 and 24)
Find an opportunity to speak some 'pleasant words' to your children this week, each day if you can. Find something to praise them for or encourage them further.
4. Quote"Human beings, like plants, grow in the soil of acceptance, not in the atmosphere of rejection."
Sir John Powell
6. Book Reviews and Gift ideas for Christmas
I have listed some of my favourite parenting and homeschooling books at Shirley's Store where you can browse and purchase those or any other books you like using Amazon.com's secure online shopping. By ordering via my store, you are helping to support my site, as Amazon will pay me a 3% commission!
This week I
decided to mention some of our favourite children's stories
about Christmas as well as some good investments to buy as gifts,
rather than toys, which most of our kids have too many of anyway!!
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski
This award-winning, magnificently illustrated book is predicted to become a classic. A widow and her son require the village woodcarver to make them a set of nativity figures. When “Mr Gloomy” agrees, the miracle begins, as they gently show him respect and kindness and enable him to overcome his grief. Giving from the heart is also exemplified. This story is a must-read. Everytime I read it I find myself with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes!An African Christmas Cloth by Reviva Schermbrucker
book was skilfully illustrated by the author in pictures embroidered on
of different colours and textures. The story is the diary of a
Aunty Apples from
For those of us in the Southern Hemisphere it is a treat to find a Christmas story set in summer, where watermelon and ice-cream feature, instead of snow and ice!
Angel Mae by Shirley HughesMae’s mother is going to have a baby near Christmas time, but to Mae’s dismay the baby’s arrival co-incides with her nativity play in which she plays the Angel Gabriel. This is a humourously told, yet moving story, about being brave and the power of family love.
I have yet to find a book by this author that has not delighted both me and my children!
Great Gifts for Christmas
We have had many hours of pleasure sharing the stories and re-reading the kids' favourites from The 20th-Century Children's Book Treasury: Picture Books and Stories to Read selected by Janet Schulman.
Bernstein Favorites: Children’s Classics
If you are going to buy just one CD to start music appreciation, I suggest this one. This CD includes Prokoviev’s Peter and the Wolf – a simple, narrated musical story that is an introduction to the instruments of the orchestra for children. I loved it as a child and now my children do too! The CD also includes Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saens’ in which music is used to ‘describe’ animals like elephants, bees and others! Also included is Britten’s Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra which introduces children to the four classes of instruments: strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion. (75 minutes)
The Sound of Music - DVD
This is a musical classic that is, to me, a most worthwhile investment. In spite of being 3 hours long, this music appreciation movie has delighted my all children.
in Austria at the time of World War 2, a young woman goes to work as a
governess in the home of a widower, who has seven children. Being a
military man, he runs his household like an army, allowing little time
for fun and laughter. While he is gone, Maria, teaches the children, to
sing and allows time for play, causing pandemonium on his return.
7. Readiness Activities
To download the printable pdf you will need to have installed
Adobe Reader - opens in new window.
The Whole Child - Week 38-39 Activities- printable pdf
Fine Motor Skills
Give your child a long piece of ribbon or even a skipping rope. Ask her to hold it by one end and twist her hand in circles to make spirals with the ribbon. Then ask her to shake it back and forth so that it ‘slithers’ like a snake. Let her flick the ribbon into the air and catch the ‘tail’ of the snake with her other hand. This may take some practice. Encourage her to create other patterns with the ribbon or rope.
Teach your child some action rhymes and encourage her to do the actions too.
Language and Thinking Skills
Find a text-free storybook at the library or alternatively use a story book that your child does not know. Look at the pictures together and ask your child to tell you the story. Choose a book that lends itself to this kind of activity. Some titles:
Using coloured beads, construction blocks or coloured pegs on a pegboard or any other similar toys, ask your child to arrange repetitive patterns. Begin with simple combinations and let her enjoy success!
Demonstrate the concept of subtraction to your child. Begin with five items. Ask your child to tell you how many remain if you remove one. Now remove another item and repeat until none are left.
Use counting rhymes like Ten Green Bottles or Five Little Speckled Frogs (lyrics are on my site) to reinforce this activity in a fun auditory fashion!
Faith BuildingProverbs 16: 7 "When a man's ways are pleasing to the Lord, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him."
There is nothing more unpleasant in a home than bickering and fighting, be it between parents or the children, yet I am sure it happens in all homes to some extent. This year my children learned this verse by heart, and it has helped to promote peace:Proverbs 15:1 "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."
We had some interesting discussions about it.
Here is a free
printable chart with more relevent verses on this topic
that you may find useful at times when you need to train your children
to promote peace in your home: http://www.doorposts.net/free_resources/peace_chart.pdf
Gross Motor Skills
To create body awareness cut parts of the body from magazine pictures. Ask your child to arrange them in order from head to feet and paste them on paper. The parts need not match or be in realistic proportions. Talk about the relationship between the different size body parts. “This hand is smaller/bigger than the arm” etc.
Let your child play with wooden blocks. Wood has different textures than plastic and each type has its own smell too. She will learn to create representations of visual concepts as well as discover building techniques.
Play a listening memory game. If the weather is fine, you could go on a listening walk. Ask your child to listen and recall afterwards as many different sounds as possible. If you are indoors, sit quietly and see how many sounds she can hear. e.g. a computer humming or a fridge running, passing traffic, a bird or dog outside, wind, etc.
Ask your child to close her eyes while you take her on an imaginary journey. You must both picture the words you describe. Take her on…
A balloon ride over the city
Let her have a turn or help describe details too.
Draw two identical shapes on a chalkboard, but leave one shape incompletely drawn for your child to complete. Begin with geometrical shapes like circles, squares, houses, then draw more complex ones, stick figures etc.
When next you see ants, use the opportunity to discuss diligence with your litte ones.Proverbs 6:6
Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!
Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer;
Sometimes training children to perform their chores and daily routines is tiresome for a mom. I've learnt the hard way, with hindsight, that what I sometimes thought was just childish irresponsibility and negligence was actually blatant rebellion. If a child can do a task well on one day, but not on another, you need to look at circumstances, but especially the attitude of the child's heart and deal with it appropriately, if necessary.
This chart has some useful verses for training children to be diligent: http://www.doorposts.net/free_resources/gototheant.pdf