Friday, September 14, 2007

School Zone Kindergarten Products

Please pardon me whilst I rave and gush (both at the same time--could get messy, folks!) about these fabulous School Zone products that are part of a Parent Bloggers Network campaign:

First, a little background: Eldest will turn 6 in 3 weeks (crap! 3 weeks?). He just started kindergarten. Unfortunately, the kindergarten program in our school district got cut to only 1/2 a day. As in, his school hours are merely 8:15am-10:45am. Yeah, don't even get me started on that...

So I was feeling a bit of pressure to come up with some tactics in the Trenches to keep Eldest motivated and more importantly, NOT BORED, with learning, as he's been reading (competently) now for awhile and has a memory bordering on photographic.

These School Zone products do just that. Every night before bed (as has become our new routine), Eldest and I retire to my bedroom to work on "homework".

Kindergarten Magnetic Tin:
Eldest was instantly drawn to all the magnets and activity pages included with this kit. The activity pages focus on sequencing, patterns, simple math, phonetics and more.

It was interesting to me to note the connection between Eldest's reading abilities and his actual comprehension. Urging him to read the instructions on the page and then follow the commands on his own was very enlightening. And it can be noted that these pages could be used as well for children much younger, if the parent were reading the instructions to the toddler and helping them along. (I just haven't had time to test this out on Middle yet.)

And the math activity pages? Let's just say we're working on them. (Eldest, much like his Momma, doesn't like to do things that he can't instantly master.) So I have been struggling to get him to try these activities. Math hasn't yet "clicked" for him. (I know, I know, he's still only in kindergarten. I realize this and am trying not to push.)

So 5 +2? Eldest knows enough to hold up 5 fingers on one hand and then 2 on the other and then count all the fingers he is holding up; but each and every time, he still counts the 5 fingers. Even though he realizes that there are 5 on that hand. It's interesting to observe. I think the more we practice, though, the easier it will be for him.

Word of caution: The magnets in this kit come in one flat sheet. It takes easily 30 minutes to remove them and place them properly in the tin. Also these magnets are small. Like bite-size, if you have babies and toddlers.

Start to Read Kit Level 1:
Our kit came with the Jog, Frog, Jog story and the I Want a Pet story. Both included an audio CD and activity pages.

The story activities are on laminated pages for use with a wipe-off marker. Genius! Can be used over and over again.

A lot of the reading comprehension activities seemed similar to the kindergarten schoolwork that Eldest has been bringing home: "Draw a line from the color word (pink) to the animal that it describes (pig)" and so on.

Eldest's favorite activity is the dot-to-dot. He's done that one page countless times (wipe-off marker!)...and each and every time, lo and behold, he's made A FROG! [Yes, the boy will be receiving a new dot-to-dot book for his birthday.]

I'm impressed with how compact, durable and organized these School Zone products are. They will certainly be utilized in the Trenches for many more years.

And the best part?

No lead paint.
Also posted here, at my new review blog.


Judy said...

I've seen their products and they are quite nice. And, you are doing exactly what needs to be done - working WITH your child using them. A lot of people will get this (or another product touted to be "educational") and give it to the child, expecting great things, only to be disappointed. Educational stuff works when YOU work with your child and the product. Parent involvement is the key...congrats on doing a fantastic job!

About the math (I was a math teacher forever in my pre-kid days) - he's doing GREAT if he's that far along. Realize that math is all developmental. He'll get it when he's ready. At this point, counting, ordering, patterning, sorting, and manipulative addition are perfect for him.

And, while I'm making a blog entry in your comments, I hear you on the 1/2 day kinder. It has its place...there are quite a few kids that can't handle the full day thing. But COME ON - 2.5 hours??? For real? What do they expect to cover in that time? Vacation Bible School is longer than that! So, good for you for taking the initiative with Eldest's education! :-)


tulipmom said...

I'll have to check this out!

Kate said...

I found your blog through Ashley and just spent the morning working (correct translation: reading you past entries). I'm originally from RI and just love seeing the mentions of my beloved Sox. I too, am not aboving drugging my kids or drinking a glass (ok ok glasses) of wine to deal with the chaos. Glad I found you!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing about the School Zone products. These sound awesome. I want to run out and get them right now. I can't believe how short K is for your man. My eldest's preschool is that long and I can't even get anything done during that time. It's over in a flash. I mean don't these schools know that there is blogging that must be done and THEN housework. Geez.

Dragonfly Kisses said...

oh thank you! I am definitely going to check these out. My twins just started Kindergarten. They are in extended hours, from 8-1:20, but the problem is they know colors, shapes, how to write their letters, their names, and read a few words. Unfortunately alot of the kids in their class barely know their shapes. So they are bored and want to quite school because they aren't learning to read. I am definitely going to check into these. THANKS again!

Gabi said...

hey there! Found you through hmm, can't remember! I am a suburb of Boston girl and mom to two boys. I love your posts, thanks for the educational info. Sounds great. I can't believe you only have 2 1/2 hours for Kinder. That is Crazy!!!! Doesn't leave time to do anything.
That's all, just wanted to say hello.

painted maypole said...

2 and a half hours, that's how long Kindergarten is? wow. MQ is in for SEVEN (which is a bit long, but I'll take a bit long over just long enough to take role, play outside, and read a storybook. yikes!)

Elizabeth said...

I moved my blog. If you would like new link, just fire me off an email. :)


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