Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Crafting ~ Painting Day

This past week I pulled out all of the wooden “things” we’ve been collecting {for gift-giving} and a box full of paints and the kiddos had a painting day.

IMG_0527 My kids love to paint…and they had a blast!  I covered our “art table” with newspaper, got each kiddo set up with a paper plate full of paint blobs and water cups with clean brushes…and I let them loose.

IMG_0532They love giving gifts to their family and friends, and they were especially proud of their creations.


And my ds4 also discovered that he likes the color you get when you combine all of the paint colors on your plate :)

IMG_0531 I need to remember to plan more painting days around here…

Christmas Cookies

This past weekend was our annual Christmas Cookie decorating day…

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I’ve learned over the years that this is about the decorating…not the cookie dough ~ so I make it easy on myself and buy the refrigerated kind :)

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And I always roll out the dough and get a pile of  baked up cookie shapes ready to go BEFORE giving the kiddos {and the grandparents} the decorating supplies.

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We always end up with some very creatively decorated cookies {the younger the kiddo, the more densely the cookie is decorated} and big smiles on the kiddos’ faces :)


Friday, December 10, 2010

Weekly Wrap Up ~ December Edition {with snow}

We’ve skipped a couple of weeks ~we’ve been “doing school”, I just haven’t “wrapped it up” here on my blog :)

We did take a short break in honor of Thanksgiving.  Since then we’ve been keeping up with the three “r”s but science and history have been put on hold until next year.  Instead we’ve been doing some fun advent and Christmas stuff.

Ds8 {3rd grade} ~

IMG_0466Reading ~ Ds8 has completed three more books from his reading list.  He finally finished More Stories from Grandma’s Attic {this took him two weeks}, Children from the Noisy Village, and The Toothpaste Millionaire.

Ds8 loves to read, give him a book about baseball and he’d read it until he finished it…even if it had 200 pages!  But assign him a book to read {even one from Sonlight’s reading list} and his face drops.  But he does his daily assigned reading without complaining, and he usually rates his “school” books pretty highly {I have him rate each book from 1 – 5 stars} :).

Grammar & Writing ~ He’s working steadily through First Language Lessons Level 3, he just finished a review of proper nouns and helping verbs and he’s working on memorizing “A Tragic Story” {which is a very funny poem, btw}.  He just finished week 15 in his Writing With Ease program.  I love that this program is so easy to implement.

Math ~ He is almost finished with another light unit in his CLE Math curriculum.  I think we can finish this light unit up before our Christmas break {we have one week left!}. 

Dd6 {1st grade} ~


Reading ~ My dd6 is flying though her All About Spelling lessons.  She just completed lesson #16, and she is almost finished with her first AAS reader, Runt Pig.  I have the next AAS reader sitting on the shelf waiting for her.

IMG_0459I recently wrote about why I love AAS so much…check it out if you’re interested in reading more about our experience with this spelling {and reading} program.

Grammar & Writing ~ Dd6 is almost halfway though FLL1 {which is pretty much review for her since she listened in when dd8 did FLL1&2 last year}.  Since she is still a beginning reader, she hasn’t started WWE1 just yet.  I am debating easing her into it after our Christmas break.

I have been copying some pages from our Explode the Code workbooks for dd6 to complete.  These worksheets are a great way to give dd6 some independent work to do while I work with ds8.

Math ~ She just took quiz #1 in her current CLE Math light unit book, so that means she is almost halfway through this light unit.  She’s been working on skip counting by 5s and counting nickels.  Next up is skip counting by 2s.

Family Subjects

History & Science ~ As I said at the beginning of this post, we are taking a break from history and science for the month of December.  We’ll resume both subjects in January. 

Advent & Christmas Fun ~ For the month of December, we’ve replaced history and science with some Advent and Christmas fun.  We are reading Ann Voskamp’s Jesse Tree Devotional along with Geraldine McCaughrean’s The Jesse Tree.  Ann Voskamp provides scripture passages in her Jesse Tree Devotional and McCaughrean’s Jesse Tree book provides a wonderful narrative story. 

There are times when these two resources do not match up perfectly, but it has been pretty easy to accommodate this.  The other day I read one of the devotional passages and two of McCaughrean’s chapters so that we would end up on “the same page”.  The divisions in both of these resources are short enough that sometimes doubling up is not difficult.

We are also reading Bartholomew’s Passage in the evening when dh is home.  We are loving this book just as much as we loved Jotham’s Journey {our advent storybook from last year}.

I have also been finding a ton of fun Christmas printables on the internet to keep my kiddos’ fingers busy.  If you are looking for some Christmas fun for your preschooler, be sure to check out the printables at 1+1+1=1, Confessions of a Homeschooler, and Totally Tots

In between all of the school stuff going on around here, we have also found time to put up and decorate our tree {it took us three days to get it all done}, watch some fun Christmas movies, sing a bunch of Christmas songs, and enjoy a couple mugs of hot chocolate. 

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And just today we got our first snow of the season.  We’ve been having flurries almost every day for the past week, but today the snow actually laid on the ground.  It is not measurable at all, but the white stuff is all over the ground and the kiddos worked very hard shoveling a bunch of it into a bucket this morning :)

One more week until our Christmas break…yeah! 

This post is being linked to Weekly Wrap-Up hosted by Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Good Morning, God {Apologia Press} ~ A Review

I absolutely love Apologia products.  We are currently using one of their Elementary Science books in our homeschool and we are having a blast!  I also have one of their Worldview resources sitting on our shelf…waiting to be used.  So I was very excited when I learned we were receiving a picture book from Apologia Press to review.  

Good Morning GodGood Morning, God is an adorable hardcover book that was written by Davis Carman. I love the illustrations…each two-page spread includes a simple black and white drawing and a full color illustration {illustrator is Alice Ratterree}.  You can view a sample of this book here

This sweet book follows a little boy through his week, from Sunday to Sunday.  Each day the little guy learns about the many different ways the he can worship God with his heart, mind, body, soul and strength.

I really like the repetitive text in the book.  Each day begins the same ~ “Good morning, God.  Today is Sunday” {or Monday, etc}.  And each day ends with a prayer and a good night to the day and to God. 

The little boy does many of the same things that my own little four-year old guy does ~ he colors pictures, he helps in the kitchen, he reads books, he climbs {even to places he’s not supposed to}.  And all of these things are ways that he can worship God.

Good Morning, God was designed especially for one to eight year olds, with the intent that they would be inspired to “enjoy the Lord with their entire being all through the day.” 

In the back of the book are suggested questions and activities that can be used as devotional tools.   These are organized by the day of the week and they correspond to the theme of the day.  For instance, on Tuesday the text says:

“Mom and Dad teach me when I’m sitting, when I’m standing, and especially when I’m jumping.”

Some of the suggestions in the back of the book for Tuesday include asking your child to name some animals God created that jump.

My own four-year old loves having a book whose main character is very similar to himself.  My little guy is also a cute, towheaded preschooler who spends his days with his family…reading, climbing, listening, playing.  He likes to help me read books, so the repetitive nature of the text is very appealing to him.  Even though he can’t read yet, he can help me say some parts because they are repeated throughout the book.

This book would be a welcome addition to any bookshelf.  It is a wonderful read-aloud and it can also be used during family devotions.

More Information

Good Morning, God is available for purchase on the Apologia Press website for $14.00.  There is also a 32-page companion coloring book for $4.00 that you can purchase to use along with this sweet book.

Good Morning God coloring

Apologia Press is a division of Apologia Educational Ministries, Inc.  Apologia Press offers homeschool curriculum {other than science} and products intended to help parents.  In addition to Apologia Press, there is also Apologia Science {science curriculum, lab equipment}, Apologia Live {conferences for homeschool moms}, Apologia Academy {online academy} and more.

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Click on the above banner to check out what my fellow crewmates think of Good Morning, God.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in order to provide an honest review of my thoughts about the book.  I received no other compensation for my review.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

How All About Spelling Saved My Sanity

When it came time to teach my oldest child {ds8} to read, I didn’t…he basically taught himself.  Don’t get me wrong, I tried to teach him,  but I just got in the way.  When he was ready to learn {around age 5}, I taught him the sounds that the letters made and he was off.  My little guy read everything…and those easy phonetic readers just frustrated him.

100_0744 Enter dd6…my extremely phonetic child.  Bless her little heart, she has been working so hard on learning to read for the past year…and she has finally gotten to the point where she can read four letter words with blends.  She sounds out every.single.word…even if she just read the word one sentence before :)

We began last year with a gentle phonics program {she was 5 1/2}, we’d sit together on the couch and work on reading every morning ~ but eventually this program began to frustrate both her and me.

Since she already knew all of the letter sounds, I decided that maybe we would just spend time practicing reading…so we moved on to reading through the Bob Books…one at a time.  This approach worked for a while, but we needed something more…

Enter All About Spelling…ahhh, finally something that clicks with my little girl.  Yes, this is technically a spelling program, but it covers phonics so completely that I thought it could serve as a phonics/reading instruction program for my extremely phonetic little girl. 

100_7041In the first step of Level One we worked on letter sounds.  After quickly covering all 26 phonograms {she already knew them}, we moved on to segmenting words {listening for and saying every sound in a word}.  We began with words with one sound, then moved on to words with two sounds, and finally words with three sounds.  I think it was this process of learning how to segment a word into its individual sounds that finally made the reading process click for her.

Since August, she has progressed all the way to Step 15…she has conquered the digraphs sh, ch, and th and final blends {blends at the end of a word}.  We are now working on initial blends.

She does an amazing job at the magnet board, she can quickly and easily spell most of the words in her lesson…this then gives her the confidence to read these words in her readers.

runt pigAnd now she has her very own hardback reader…one that corresponds with what she’s learning in her daily lessons ~ The Runt Pig.  She is so excited about this reader that she wants to read a chapter every day.  Each day when we sit down to read after her AAS lesson she calls her brothers over so they can listen in too :)

I am so thankful that dd6’s hard work is paying off…to be honest there were times when I feared that I would never be able to teach my free-spirited red-head to read…and she wanted to read so badly.

Thank you All About Spelling…you helped me teach my daughter to read!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Advent Reading

We’ve got a couple of resources that we’re using for our Advent reading this year.jotham

Last year we used Jotham’s Journey: A Storybook for Advent as our family read-aloud for Advent.  Our family loved this book!  So this year we are reading from another book in the same series during Advent, Batholomew’s Passage: A Family Story for Advent.  Dh reads a chapter from Bartholamew’s Passage every evening before we tuck the kiddos into bed…nothing like a good, rousing adventure story to get you ready for bed :).

{Just so you know, we have Tabitha’s Travels: A Family Story for Advent waiting on our bookshelf for next year :)}bartholomewI also wanted to add a bit of Advent reading into our homeschool day {since dh has the evening covered}, so I decided to do what I’ve been wanting to do for a long time…add in some Jesse Tree fun.

I downloaded and printed Ann Voskamp’s free Jesse Tree devotional, and we began our reading today.  I hope to also do something a bit crafty with the Jesse Tree ornaments that she included in the back of the devotional.

jesse tree

Along with the Jesse Tree devotional, I will be reading one chapter each day from The Jesse Tree by Geraldine McCaughrean.  I have read mixed reviews about this book, but it looks like something we will enjoy ~ I’ll have to let you know what we think once we’ve finished it.


Friday, November 19, 2010

{Bi}Weekly Wrap-Up

Yep, I decided the bi-weekly wrap-up works much better for us…the weeks go by so fast that I just can’t keep up with a weekly one :)

Here’s what we’ve been up to for the past two weeks…

Ds8 {3rd grade} has working on his three r’s very diligently.  The book he’s currently reading from his reading list is a longer one and he’s been working through it for the past two weeks.  He finished two more weeks in his Writing With Ease workbook, and six more lessons in First Language Lessons Level 3

He completed another light unit in his math curriculum today…and passed the unit test with flying colors! 

IMG_0336Dd6 {1st grade} has completed over half of All About Spelling Level One, and just this week we got to break out our new AAS reader, The Runt Pig.  She is loving this book {and I am loving how wonderfully this reader matches up with the reading and spelling skills she is learning in her daily AAS lessons!}.

She is also cruising through her math lessons {we do four lessons each week}.


Ds4 has been using scissors like crazy…every day he asks for a handful of “cutting”  papers from one of our Kumon books.  I’ve been finding paper scraps everywhere :)


Science ~ We have been studying the Earth in our astronomy text for the past two weeks.  It is truly amazing how God made this planet that we live on.  It has a perfect atmosphere, perfect tilt, perfect mass, perfect distance {from the sun}, perfect magnetosphere, perfect rotation, and perfect land…perfect for human life. 

History ~ We finished up our study of knights and castles this past week.   I hope to celebrate our completion of studying this time period by letting the kiddos make a castle out of Kix cereal {I saw this cool idea on the Live, Learn, and Love Together blog}. 

Read Aloud ~ We finished Castle Diary last week and we have moved on to reading B is for Betsy.  My dd6 is especially enjoying this read aloud because Betsy is just about her age :).

Other Stuff ~ Our weather in these parts has been beautiful, warm, perfect for outside fun…and we’ve been taking advantage of it :).  Last weekend we took a hike through history and we spent a day at a friend’s house having a whole lot of harvest time fun.

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Next week we’ll be taking a bit of a break from our regular studies.  I plan to have the kiddos continue with math and reading, and we’ll continue our read-aloud…but we’ll take a break from science and history to spend time learning about the pilgrims and Thanksgiving :)


This post is being linked to Weekly Wrap-Up hosted by Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers

A Hike Through History

Last week we were blessed with many sunny and warm fall days…we took advantage of that warm streak to spend some time at a nearby park last weekend. We took a short hike up a steep hill…and along the way we read about the history of George Washington’s life.

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Once we reached the top of the hill, we were rewarded with this amazing view…

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According to a sign posted nearby, some villagers from a nearby town celebrated Independence Day in 1827 by building a monument in memory of George Washington.

This monument was actually used by the Union Army during the Civil War as a signal station.

In the sign you will see it labeled the “Washington Monument”…however, it is not the Washington Monument that you will find in Washington D.C. :)

I forgot to get a picture of the monument, but we did get a chance to climb it and dh got a picture of us climbing back down the stairs…

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We’ll have to be sure to revisit this neat hiking trail next year when we begin our studies of American History.

KB Teachers ~ A Review


KBTeachers is a wonderful online source for worksheets and printables that can be used with all ages and grade levels {k-12}.  KBTeachers also offers a math worksheet generator and free clipart and graphics that are exclusive to KBTeachers.  This helpful website has been online for over 10 years.

KBTeachers offers worksheets and printables for a variety of subjects:

  • English {Alphabet, Grammar & Writing, Cursive Writing}
  • Math {Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division,Telling Time, etc}
  • Science {Astronomy, Geology, Weather, Biology}
  • Social Studies {for the upper grades}

They also offer numerous seasonal printables, including holiday printables and even webquests based on events that occured on particular days.  For instance, November featured a webquest for Veteran’s Day {November 11th} and Robert Louis Stevenson {birthday was November 13th}.

In addition, KBTeachers offers free printables that are accessible to everyone, including free themed math worksheets and free science pages {FREE is written in red beside the free pages}.

 Our Experience

Since receiving a free membership to the KBTeachers site {for the purpose of this review}, I have printed numerous worksheets and printables that have been used in our homeschool. 

My ds4 {who is learning his letters} loves the alphabet pages that I have printed for him.  He’s a big guy now {since his recent birthday} and he wants to “do school” like his big brother and big sister.  KBTeachers Alphabet Factory pages are the perfect fit for him. 

The Alphabet Factory pages range from simple letter tracing worksheets {one letter per page, and your choice of color or black & white}, to word scrambles and “write a story” pages.  

I have also used a number of printables from the science section of KBTeachers website.  This year we are studying astronomy, and I have been very impressed with the astronomy pages offered on KBTeachers.  They have created worksheets for each of the individual planets that we are using as notebook pages.  After we complete our study of each planet, I have the kiddos complete that planet’s page, and we file it away in our astronomy notebook.

My Thoughts

Let me preface my thoughts by saying that we do not use a lot of worksheets in our homeschool.  However, I do like to have worksheets available for my kiddos who are learning their letters and practicing handwriting.  In addition, we are beginning use “notebooking” in both science and history to keep an account of our learning in these subjects. 

I have been extremely pleased with the variety of worksheets that I have found on KBTeachers.  I have also been very impressed with the quality of the printables that I have used.  I especially appreciate that KBTeachers offers printables that I am able to use with all of my kiddos, from alphabet factory and introductory math skills pages for my youngest {age 4}, to astronomy worksheets and informational webquests for my 3rd grader.

KBTeachers’ website is organized so that the worksheets that I want are very easy to find.  In addition, because of the way KBTeachers has set up their website, I do not have to download the printables before I print them {which saves a lot of time}. 

More About KBTeachers

The current price for a membership to KBTeachers is $29 for one year, or $49 for two years.  For this price you will receive unlimited access to all of the worksheets and printables on the KBTeachers website.

There are also some worksheets on the KBTeachers website that are free to everyone, regardless of membership. 

KBTeachers offers a 10 day free trial and they also provide a 30-day money back guarantee once you join their site.

Visit their Benefits page to read more about the benefits that a premium membership to KBTeachers offers.

post bannerClick on the banner above to read what my fellow crewmates are saying about their experience with KBTeachers.

I received a free membership to KBTeachers in order to provide an honest review of my experience with this product.   I received no other compensation for this review.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Harvest Time Fun

This past weekend, we were invited to a “cider-pressing party” at the home of some family friends.  In addition to pressing apple cider, the kiddos also made butter, cracked pecan shells, participated in an apple and pumpkin hunt, and had a ton of fun!

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After working hard to press cider…the kiddos got to enjoy some of the fruits of their hard labor…a cup of fresh, cold, cider ~ yummy!

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