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Archive for the ‘Homeschool’ Category

Can you tell there are tights on the table?!

I have gotten back into the routine of having my quiet time with the Lord first thing in the morning.  Before everyone is fully awake and needing me.  Before the house is turned upside down by the chaos of the day.  A time when it may truly be quiet, if I am lucky.

Today, I read this verse.  I wanted to share this with all my fellow homeschooling moms, who I know will completely understand.  It made me smile thinking of my own herd.

Proverbs 14:4 “Where no oxen are, the trough is clean;  But much increase comes by the strength of an oxen.”

My trough is so not clean.  My house is filled with the daily living of many oxen.  But my heart would be filled with grief without them.  Praise God that is not the case.

My oxen are strong, and they have increased the joy in my life immeasurably.  Thank you, Lord, for the chaos and the mess and the constant tasks of feeding, clothing and discipling my little ones.

Enjoy your day!

 

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Felt Food- Rainbow of Fruits and Vegetables 15 Piece Set

Have you ever been shopping for play food for your kids and been really disappointed to find plastic versions of fast food?  If you are anything like me, these hand-sewn felt foods are just what you’ve been looking for! 

Felt Food Baby Carrot 7 Piece Snack Set

Money Saving Mom is hosting a giveaway at the ETSY Shop The Felted PearBeyond cute.  Do not miss out on this one!  Even if you don’t win the giveaway, purchasing these fabulous creations for any little person on your Christmas list is sure to thrill the recipient. 

Felt Food Sliceable and Whole Kiwi Fruit

And, you can feel good that you are encouraging healthy food choices as well :).

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We have loved our books again this week!  I am also pleased because I have probably had over sixty items checked out from the library over the last three weeks, and so far only one late fee :).  Here is a sampling of our week in books:

If You Lived In Colonial Times by Ann McGovern – This series  of books by Ann McGovern always grabs my kids’ attention.  She poses several questions, such as, “What were the schools like?”, “Were there doctors in colonial days?”, and “How did people get the news?”  She poses fifty-two questions in this book alone, and the answers are fascinating.  A great way to learn more about the everyday life and questions kids want the answers to about different time periods.

Skunks Do More Than Stink by D. M. Souza – Boy, there has been a lot of talk about skunks around here this week inspired by this book.  Wow – so much I never knew!  This book even manages to help you develop a little soft spot for these smelly guys (and gals). 

The Beetle Alphabet Book  by Jerry Pallotta – Pretty much exactly what you would expect from the title – a book about 26 different types of beetles!  Did you know that there are over a million different species of beetles?! God’s creation is amazing.  There are interesting facts about each beetle, beetles in general, and how to distinguish beetles from other insects.

Play and Learn French and Play and Learn Spanish by Ana Lomba and Marcela Summerville – We are just not ready to plunk down hundreds of dollars on Rosetta Stone at this point.  However, I do want our kids exposed to the sounds and vocabulary of both French and Spanish.  French is Jason’s parents’ native language, which is why we are choosing this language.  Each book comes with an accompanying audio CD with a native speaker reading or singing each lesson.  The situations are simple and familiar, and the occasional catchy tunes are very entertaining.  It is enough to expose them, for now, and also very inexpensive.  Bonus.

What books are you enjoying with your kids this week?

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I took a little break from posting our books last week.  We school year-round, doing three weeks on followed by one week off.  We have done this for the past two years, and it just fits our lives perfectly.  Our off weeks are spent with friends, at the dentist, catching up on household work, relaxing a bit more, and mostly PLAYING!  We end refreshed and ready to return to our routine.

Here are just some of the highlights of our week:

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Prudence & Moxie by Deborah Noyes – This is a silly picture book about two unlikely friends named, you guessed it, Prudence and Moxie.  Their personalities are their names come to life.  Not only was this book entertaining, it also led to a great discussion of these character traits and the pluses and pitfalls to each.  Cute.

Picture Study Portfolio: Rembrandt

Simply Charlotte Mason Picture Study Portfolio: Rembrandt – I have struggled with pulling off picture study since we began following a Charlotte Mason philosophy.  No color printer means no color pictures.  Rather essential.  Finding a great book of the artist’s works from the library was challenging, since they were almost always geared towards adults and included information and works I would rather not highlight for my little ones.  Do I even need to explain why looking at them online just doesn’t do them justice?  So, I am thrilled that Simply Charlotte Mason (fabulous, by the way) came out with their picture study portfolios this past summer.  I snapped up two of them, and have no regrets.   The information in the booklet is just enough, the listed resources help you dig deeper, and the prints themselves are just what we needed.  We now officially have our first work of art properly displayed in our home for both study and enjoyment.  Thank you, Simply Charlotte Mason!

Exploration Through the Ages: The Voyage of Magellan by Richard Humble – For some reason, my entire library system does not have a single children’s book about Magellan.  Weird.  Thankfully, my fabulous friend Jane does!  She lent us this little gem, and we love it.  The illustrations are fascinating – each two page spread covers a different topic related to his voyage and sailing, and the illustrations help immensely with engaging and increasing understanding.

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Over the River and Through the Wood by Lydia Maria Child – This charming picture book version of the song from our childhood (well, mine at least) builds anticipation for one of our favorite holidays – Thanksgiving!  My littlest ones especially love books that are sung.  It includes several verses in the book and the piano music at the back.

Crinkleroot’s 25 Fish Every Child Should Know by Jim Arnosky – Jim Arnosky has given us so many nature related treasures.  This one, in his Crinkleroot series, is filled with 25 watercolor paintings of fish.  Some we knew, and some are new to us!  Even as I am typing this, my six-year-old boy is flipping through the pages and talking incessantly about which ones he knows and asking me when we will be able to research more on the others.  Thank you, Jim Arnosky!

The High-Rise Private Eyes #6: The Case of the Fidgety Fox (I Can Read Book 2)

The High-Rise Private Eyes: The Case of the Fidgety Fox by Cynthia Rylant – This easy-reader series is cute, fun and just challenging enough.   I do love a series and, in my opinion, Cynthia Rylant is the master of the easy-reader series.  The High-Rise Private Eyes is another winner.

Blaze and the Mountain Lion (Billy and Blaze)

Blaze and the Mountain Lion by C.W. Anderson – Billy and his horse Blaze are off on another adventure, and taking us along for the ride.  All my kids, but especially my boy, love this series.  They are not new – this one has a copyright of 1959 – but they are timeless.

Hope you found some gems this week!  Leave a comment to let me know what books you are enjoying right now.

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I don’t know about you other moms out there, but I am loving Fall!  The apples, the pumpkins, cooler weather, heartier foods, beautiful foliage – all of that.  But one other thing I am truly delighting in are the leaves in my yard.  They have proven to be an endless source of work for my industrious children!

What better answer could I have for a small child who says, “Mom I’m bored,” than to respond, “Oh, great!  I was looking for someone to rake leaves.”  Brings a smile to my face.  They actually enjoy the work.  I sent them all out last week to rake and then transfer their leaf piles to my garden beds for composting over winter.  Kept them busy all day.

I can speak from experience when I say that productive kids are happy kids.  And my two-year-old can speak from experience when she says that yard work is more enjoyable when wearing a leotard.

Go Fall!

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The fabulous ladies over at 2 Teaching Mommies have so many fantastic ideas for celebrating learning and Fall with preschoolers!  Definitely worth stopping by.  My favorite idea is the sensory bin.  Although, I would do a Fall themed bin with leaves, acorns, Fall colored poofy balls, etc.  And, maybe, just maybe, they could hunt for the one piece of Fall candy . . .  Sounds like an activity that would not lose its appeal quickly.

Thank you, Ladies, for taking the time to create these adorable pumpkin printables for us!

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Nature study six-year-old boy style:

Jack-in-the-Hole

Upon hearing about Jack’s latest hole, a friend asked me if there was a reason for the hole he was digging.  What?  He needs a reason?  Better not tell him that.  The only thing he needs is permission from the gardener (check), permission from the shovel owner (check) and raw ambition (big time check).

Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis are just about the coolest things my kids catch.  I witnessed the capture out the window as I was washing dishes, and then watched (and heard) him sprint across the lawn and up the back stairs to show me his find.  Of course he drew a picture:

Nature Notebook Entry

He asked me if he could make a nature notebook entry before releasing the little lady (fellow? – please don’t tell me how I can find out).  And then he decided to add some lightning.  Just because.  Very nature-y.

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True, right?  My kids are constantly trying to find ways to get me to let them use knives.  My kitchen tip for the day?  Start them while they are young!  I allow my seven-year-old (my oldest) to use a “real” knife with supervision, and the younger ones gather around like she is a knife goddess.  I do have kid-friendly knives, but I only ever think to let them cut Playdoh and pancakes.  Pretty boring if you ask my kids.

So, today I had a stroke of mommy genius.  Why not serve an entire lunch of things they can cut?!  Bread, lunch meat, cheese, avocado, peaches, bananas, cooked broccoli, green beans . . .  I don’t mean to say that these things need cutting – I just mean a whole plate full of stuff they can cut until their little hands grow tired.  Or they get full.  Or it’s time for dinner.

What a great way to practice knife skills and get permission (even encouragement) to play with their food!  Also, the perfect opportunity to be considered Super Mom for the day.

My fellow homeschoolers – this is your kithcne chore training and fine motor skills practice for the day with your little ones.  If you have older children, sneak in a little math!  Depending on their math maturity, see if they can cut in half, thirds or fourths.  Tell them to take a piece of food and have them cut it in enough pieces so that everyone at the table can have two, or three, or five pieces.

Just make sure you set the table with plenty of napkins.

For more great kitchen tips join me at Tammy’s Recipes.

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Cover of "Roxaboxen"

Cover of Roxaboxen

The mornings this past week were cool enough to prompt us to relight our fireplace.  We love our fireplace.  That little guy can heat our entire house, and keep things quite toasty through some ugly Chicago winters.

It is definitely a cool weather ritual around here for the first person downstairs in the morning to flip on the fireplace.  And, it is another ritual for the kids and I to push the couch in front of the fireplace (gotta love hardwood floors and felt), snuggle up and read.  I am so blessed.

Here is what we are snuggling up with this week:

Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran, Illustrated by Barbara Cooney – Another sweet book illustrated by Barbara Cooney.  This one is the story of a city made of rocks on a hill and inhabited by an imaginative group of neighborhood children. Some treasures of childhood are buried in your heart and carried carefully into adulthood – Roxaboxen is one.

Verdi by Janell Cannon – Verdi is an adventurous little yellow python who has no interest in growing up and turning green.  Despite his wishes, and without him noticing, he matures into a lovely green grown-up who still appreciates the energy and excitement of youth.

Dear Garbage Man by Gene Zion, Illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham – Originally written in 1957, an environmentalist book this is not.  However, it is an amusing tale about the first day on the job for a garbage man.  He makes trash into treasure, only to find it was really just trash all along!

A Lion to Guard Us by Clyde Robert Bulla – Clyde Robert Bulla is quickly becoming one of my six-year-old son’s favorite authors.  We have enjoyed two other titles by him, and this one has us hooked already.  It is a short chapter book we are reading aloud together.  The story is about a young girl in the year 1609.  Her mother dies, and she determines to take her younger brother and sister across the ocean to where her father has built a home for them in America.

I recommend you hop on your library’s website now  – let the requesting begin!

Happy reading!

(In case you are curious, I am not affiliated with Amazon, and I do not receive any compensation for any purchases you might make through the above links.)

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Underside of U-505 at the Chicago Museum of Sc...
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In the words of my eloquent little 2-year-old, “We went places, and we ate stuff!!”  This is how she described our all day outing yesterday to my mom when we returned home.  I am sure that is all the detail she needed to put the pieces together from our 10 hour excursion.

She is right, though.  We did indeed go places and eat stuff.  Jason and I loaded all five kiddos into the minivan – which we barely fit into these days – and headed for downtown Chicago.  We changed our minds about our final destination three times before we finally settled on The Museum of Science and Industry.  I was expecting to pay for our general admission, tickets to tour the German submarine U-505, and parking.

While Jason was finding our FREE place to park (amazing), I took all the kids inside to get in line for tickets.  (One of the beautiful things about homeschooling is not having to go to the museum on the weekend – no line.)  And – drum roll please – it was a free day!

Feeling as if we had hit the lottery, our pockets loaded down with unused cash, we decided to make two special stops on our way home.  We almost never go out to eat.  Especially as a family.  You might think five little kids alone would be enough to keep me at bay.  However, it is usually the supremely yucky food that offends us.  We shell out way too much money for food that I would never buy for us at the grocery store.  Complete waste.

But, there is one restaurant where we can all go, and I don’t feel like we need to detox afterwards.  Enter – Chipotle.  We LOVE Chipotle.  Fresh, some organic, ethically raised, pastured meat, veggies – food that is actual food.  The kids basked in the glow of restaurant lighting and the joy of eating out of the house.

Oh, but the fun didn’t end there.  I have been wanting to go to a new frozen yogurt place somewhat close to our house called Yumz.  This concept is brilliant – serve yourself, 10 different flavors and too many toppings to count.  You pile it on and pay by weight.  Genius.  My feeling is that about 25% of the adults that enter this establishment are blown away.  Then they rush home to visit the Yumz website to see how much one of these franchises cost.  I haven’t done it.  Yet.

A fun-filled family day.  We went places and we ate stuff.  And, I felt good about both.

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