Teaching at home: JDEducational Curriculum, Part 2

Disclosure: I received the JDEducational Level 2, Module 1 for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed below are my own.

Last month, Turtle and I got to check out some of the activities included in JDEducational’s Level 1 curriculum. She got to play fun games that just so happened to help her practice her numbers, name, balance, writing skills, and more.

This month, it was Buddy’s turn. We explored Level 2, Module 1, which covers exploring your community and letters A-D. It was perfect for him because lately he’s been into taking walks, talking about addresses and is in a huge hurry to read.

JDEducational Level 2 cover - learning letters

Learning our letters

We’ve had quite a few snow days recently so we decided to focus on the indoor activities first. We started with letter activities because mom needed some sit-down, reduced noise fun to break up the chaos. I can’t express how much we all really appreciated these activities while trapped in the house spending quality time together.

Buddy recognizes all the letters and knows their sounds. But taking some time to explore the letter A by itself gave us an opportunity to talk about the different ways an A can sound and to think of as many words as we could that have A in them. And bonus, Turtle got to join in the fun, too!

Each letter had 5 activities – 3 that focus on the letter shape through art and 2 that incorporate gross motor skills and discussion of the letter’s sounds. Building the letters pretty much saved our snow day so I’ll focus on that.

The Letter A – Popsicle Sticks

To kick off our day of the letter A all we needed was construction paper, a pen, glue and popsicle sticks. I called an audible and threw in some markers for some extra flair.

I started by drawing the letter A to cover the construction paper. The kids then covered my A with popsicle sticks. The whole activity took 10-15 minutes but you can see how focused Turtle and Buddy are as they’re building their letter.

It’s such a simple thing but it gave the kids another way to look at how the letter is shaped without having to worry about penmanship.


The Letter A – Using Clay

After building an A with sticks, we moved on to creating our own A’s. The module includes a recipe for homemade clay that I was able to whip up with stuff I already had in the kitchen and in less than 5 minutes. There’s dumping and mixing involved so the kids got to help here, too.

Once the clay was made, I showed them how to roll it out and asked them to make an A with it. Buddy caught on so quick that I didn’t have time to record him making his capital A! But you can watch Turtle putting hers together and Buddy working on his lowercase.

As soon as we were done, I threw the creations in the oven to bake and we took a snow break. This was our second of the day so it only took 25 minutes to get everyone dressed!

As with all snow breaks with a 3 and 5 year old, we spent more time getting ready than we did outside. But it was worth it. By the time we were done sledding and warmed up, our clay was baked to perfection. Next step was to decorate with some watercolor paint! Both kids walked away with a beautifully crafted A to keep in their rooms.

While we decorated, we talked about the letter A and words that start with A. The kids got so into it that we took a quick tour of the house and tried to find as many things that start with A as possible. And guess what? A lot of our books start with A. I know because we took almost every book off the shelf to check.

learning letters - clay learning letters - clay 2 learning letters - proud kids

Other activities

The other activities for the letter A included painting with apples and setting up your own Olympic games. Our games were quite spectacular but didn’t make it on video. Rest assured, the closing ceremony looked similar to this.


Final Thoughts

learning letters popsicle sticks

This module has 36 activities that can be done at home and require minimal prep. You won’t have a problem coming up with something fun to do if you’re stuck at home unexpectedly. And the activities take anywhere from 10 minutes to stuff that can be done over the course of a week. There’s plenty to choose from to fit your schedule.

Minimal prep makes it super easy for the busiest of moms. The first 3 pages of the module are just for the parents. You learn about the curriculum, what to expect in the modules and how to set up a learning environment. Jeanna Kinne, the author, does an amazing job laying out what the goals are and what you need to do to make your home a place for learning and play.

Each activity is broken down step-by-step. It’s clear what you and your child should be doing to make the experience as valuable as possible. You’re not searching through 800,000 “easy” Pinterest posts that will be sure to make you want to burn the world down. This stuff really is easy and stress free. There’s no pressure for a perfect final product. It’s just you and your child learning and playing together.

This curriculum is perfect for parents who want to prepare their kids for kindergarten without feeling over-structured or overbearing. The activities in both modules I’ve reviewed feel natural and fun. And my reviews only include a couple activities found in these jam-packed books.

Head on over to JDEducational to learn more about the products available, how to choose a level, and the blog where Jeanna shares some great tips.