Teaching at home: JDEducational Curriculum, Part 1

Disclosure: I received the JDEducational Level 1, Module 1 for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed below are my own.

Do you ever feel like you should be doing more?

If you’re a stay-at-home mom, work-from-home mom, full-time-working mom or any other hyphenated type of mom, your answer is probably “yes”.

I’m a full-time working mom who is building a small business. Any time I feel like I’m killing it in one area of my life, I feel like I’m slipping in the others. Killing the mom thing? I’m probably way behind on emails. Rocking the business? Well, that just means my kids probably spent more time in front of the TV than normal.

One thing I wish I spent more time doing is teaching my kids. Sure, I do a lot of activities with them – indoor and outdoor. And there’s always learning opportunities with any activity you do. But I sometimes wish I was more purposeful with my activities and focused more on academics or specific developmental milestones.

Sounds boring, right? That’s exactly why I don’t spend a lot of time coming up with things to do.

I don’t think there’s anything that any of us can do to make the feeling that we’re not doing enough go away. It’s just part of being a mom. But there are experts that can help you fill in the gaps.

Play • Learn • Grow | JDEducational

Enter JDEducational. Their learning activities can help your child prepare for preschool and kindergarten without flashcards, printouts or boring cutouts. Their games and activities can be done at home, at the park, in your car or anywhere. You don’t need to go out and buy a bunch of stuff. All you need are basic supplies that you probably have around your house, yourself and your child.

Turtle is a newly-turned 3 year old who is constantly on the go. She loves gymnastics and art and the activities in the Level 1 Curriculum were perfect for her. Level 1 includes 6 modules: All About Me; Understanding Diversity, My Family and My Environment, Emotions and Feelings, Discovering My Five Senses, All About Travel, and Investigating Nutrition. All of these subjects will be covered in Turtle’s preschool class next year and these activities get her a great jump-start on what she’ll be learning! We worked our way through Module 1, “All About Me”. She had so much fun with everything we did! But her favorite activities were The Spoon Walk and The Name Game.

Spoon Walk Activity

As all great activities should, the Spoon Walk gave Turtle an opportunity to work on multiple skills. It covers math, gross motor and fine motor skills. Here’s how it worked:

  • All you need for this activity is 2 cups, some small cereal and a spoon. We added in a ribbon later for fun, but it’s not necessary. Canine supervision is recommended, but not required.
  • To set up, we put some Cheerios into 1 of the 2 cups. Then, Turtle had to pick 3 of them out of the cup and put them on her spoon. This sounds super easy but Cheerios are small and it takes very deliberate motor skills to be able to reach in a cup, pinch a tiny Cheerio and pull it out.
  • Once she had her 3 Cheerios on her spoon, she then spun in a circle 3 times, keeping the cereal on her spoon.
  • After she was good and dizzy, she had to walk across the room, balancing the cereal on the spoon, and drop the 3 Cheerios into the empty cup.

Turtle thought it was most important that I point out how wavy and Moana-like her hair is. If you see her, please bring it up.

Turtle was a big fan of counting and spinning. And eating the Cheerios, of course! To make it a little more interesting, I ran a ribbon across the room and asked her to balance on the ribbon when she walked.

We spent at least 1 hour talking, laughing and running Cheerios back and forth across the room. If you have a 2/3 year old, you probably know that 1 hour is an eternity! It was a super rainy day when we did this and it was a great way to get her moving inside.

The Name Game

Her other favorite game was The Name Game. It incorporated markers and her name so Turtle was all in. This particular activity practices math skills and literacy.

Both Turtle and Buddy have their own journals and a pack of markers. The majority of the journal is unstructured art, meaning they draw, scribble and color whatever they want. If we are involved, they tell us what to do. They are the bosses of their journals.

But every once in a while it’s nice to incorporate a structured activity or a prompt in there. They’ll often flip through their journals to see their past artwork so it’s nice for them to also flip past pages where they practiced their names, numbers, shapes, etc. The Name Game was a great structured activity to add to Turtle’s body of work.

With a marker, I wrote Turtle’s name on a page. Then, I asked her to decorate it with her 3 favorite colors (turns out her favorites are pink, pink and purple). We talked about the letters in her name and different shapes she could draw around each letter.

We’ve done this activity multiple times since making this video. It’s easy to add more elements to it, which is nice. In this one activity, Turtle and I have talked about patterns, colors, shapes sizes, capital vs. lower case letters and more! It’s the perfect thing to do if you’re waiting at the doctor’s office or at a restaurant that can keep the kids engaged. Add stickers to it and you’ll be a hero. Buddy (5) has also gotten into this activity. He writes his own name with different color markers and then decorates the letters. He’s made some pretty fantastic patterns and artwork!

Final Thoughts

I absolutely love this curriculum! We love doing family activities and it’s nice to have some guidance to make our time together as educational as possible. Every activity is structured but encouraged focus on the process, not the final product. This helps the learning feel child-led, which makes it much for fun for them. If you have children going in to preschool or kindergarten, I highly recommend checking out jdeducational.com. You won’t be sorry!

And be on the lookout for Part 2 where you will see some of the activities we did with Buddy!