Category Archives: Toddlers/Babies

I’m back….

I’m back….

Hi again!

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I know it has been a few months since my last post!  I really had to take a step back during that time and focus on what was important to me.  My family…..I had gotten so busy with reviews and blogging and running kids places that I was getting burned out.  Not to mention that I was having horrible morning sickness!

So now you have a million questions:

-What? Morning sickness?…..Yes, we are due near the end of May. Yes, we just had a baby. Well, he is 13 months  old now and walking around the house pretty well now.  He will be about 16 months old when the baby comes…yes they will be our closest babies by far! No, we don’t know what we are having. We told the ultrasound techs that we do not want to know what we are having, we want it to be a surprise.  We have 3 girls and 3 boys right now.  #7 is our tie breaker! We did not announce this pregnancy on Facebook….just to our face to face friends! (It gets old hearing all the same comments from people….Do we know what causes this?, We are like a bunch of rabbits, do we own a TV?…the list goes on.  Without me going on rambling about this right now, I find it sad that the church has such a low view of children in general and has taken the sovereignty of God out of the equation….but this is for another post for another day!)

-Am I still reviewing?…..Not currently.  I have taken the year off from reviewing with The Schoolhouse Crew Review.  While it was a ton of fun it was a ton of work.  My kids were sad when I told them we needed the year off….But do you know what?  It was the best decision! I felt like I was constantly trying to figure out what we were working on next and how to juggle it all.  I finally feel like we have a great flow to our homeschool days and that I am completing what I want to get done with my kiddos each day.  I have been contacted by some companies to review things and I am deciding those on a case by case basis.

So besides those 2 big changes we are up to our usual stuff!   The 3 oldest just finished another play…Narnia. Faith (7) just moved up to a pre-competition group for gymnastics.  We are playing that by ear and will reevaluate how we are feeling about gymnastics in June.  She is loving it and man is she building some amazing muscles!  I will be starting to resume blogging, but not to the extent that I had been.  I am enjoying the time with my kiddos. We are also starting the process of finishing our basement to make room for more bedrooms!  We really need them.  So this whole process I am sure will be taking up  much of our extra time!

Looking forward to being back….would love to hear if there are topics you would like me to address here in the future…just leave me a comment!

In the Hands of a Child: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

In the Hands of a Child: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

In the Hands of a Child

Sacha’s<25: Learning about Dolphins, Porpoises and Whales has never been easier or more fun with this Project Pack product from In the Hands of a Child.

Home in the Trenches Product Rating (out of 10 stars)

Is it worth our time? 8 stars
Did it help us learn? 8 stars
Is it worth the money?10  stars
Is it useful to me? 9 stars
Practicality- 9 stars
Quality- 8 stars
Kid Rating- 9 stars

We received Dolphins, Porpoises, and Whales Project Pack from In the Hands of a Child. This is geared for children in Kindergarten to 4th grade.  I chose to use it with my 4 and 6 year olds.

What is a Project Pack:

A Project Pack contains both the activities and the lesson plans or research guide needed to complete the activities.  Students aren’t just reading about a topic, but “doing” along the way as well!

Read more about What Lapbooking is here.

Our Experience:

I found it very easy to download this specific product and get started.  While I don’t know that I would always print out the entire Project Pack in the future I decided to do it this time.  I printed out the entire pack and bound it with my binding machine.  I found this to be an easy way to see what it was all about and to be able to flip back and forth between sections.

Other than the downloadable Project Pack there are a few other things that you need to get started:

  • File folders
  • colored paper and cardstock
  • tape
  • glue
  • scissors
  • stapler
  • items to color with-crayons, colored pencils or markers
  • Pencil

Hands of a child1

Once I had the Project Pack printed and bound it was time to get started reading and figuring out what I had to do to get started.  What I found upon opening the pages what the Table of Contents page, a Planning Guide (with a suggested 7 day schedule), a related reading page (with book suggestions to check out from the library), Instructions for the 20 Activities, How to page on making the base of the lapbook, Research guide-which gives you what to teach in each lesson, as well as the printables for each of the activities.

It is suggested that if you have a group of younger children that you cut out all the graphics ahead of time.  If I was using this with a coop group of younger elementary students I would definitely do this!  Since I was just working with my 2 girls I decided I would print out just the printable pages we needed each day to go along with the lesson.  Once we were done with that portion of the activities for the day I stored each girls papers in their own gallon sized ziplock bag.  My 4 year old just did the gluing while my 6 year old was able to do more of the cutting and gluing by herself.  While we worked on the activities I would read what they said and reinforce what we had just read in the research guide prior to starting the activity. We had the choice of using printables where your student could copy over the text for handwriting practice or everything was just printed out for you and all you did was cut, assemble and paste.  I started Faith out with copying the text but we decided it was too little for her and ended up just using the printed out option.

We chose not to do all of the vocabulary words, there were a lot of them and I didn’t feel that they were necessary for my 1st grader.  However, I was glad to see that they were in there for older students.

Hands of a Child Project Pack

My girls enjoyed doing the activities but they weren’t begging for more.  I ended up splitting the unit up over more than just the 7 days.  I couldn’t hold their attention that long to cover everything suggested for one day.

Faith loved the drawing portion of the activities.  She sat for hours (literally) drawing all kinds of dolphins from one of the recommended books!

Killerwhale1

Hands of a Child 2

 

What I liked:

  • I liked the information that it came with on each of the topics presented.  You could learn a lot about the subject without needing other resources.  Of course, we love reading books and loved going through the provided book list and checking books out from our library to supplement.
  • I like that there is a lot of depth to the unit.  It can easily be adapted to a Kindergardener by not doing all of the activities and that there is enough for a 4th grader as well!
  • There wasn’t a lot of extra work for me to do to teach a unit on this topic.  Well worth the money to have it all put together in one place for me.  I didn’t have to search for more information!

What I didn’t like:

  • The font used for the dotted line letters has the letter e starting in a weird place.  Faith noticed it and it bugged her! Also the font size was really too small for a Kindergarden or a first grader to trace over easily.  And too many words.  We ended up choosing to just cut and paste and not copy over the writing.  I wish that there was another option for font size so Faith could have written more of it.  
  • We found an error and therefore were missing one of the parts of the dolphin that we needed.

To sum it up: In the Hands of a Child has over 450 different lap books  available.  I would definitely suggest taking a look at their website to see all the different topics for various ages they have available.  We will be using more from this company to add some variety to our school year!

 

The important information:

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Dolphins, Porpoises, and Whales Lapbook

Order from: In the Hands of a Child

Price: normally $12.  Currently it is just $5!!!!!

Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew. The Crew reviewed many different options of lapbooks and project packs for all different ages and subjects!

 

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The Homegrown Preschooler: Teaching Your Kids in the Places They Live: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

The Homegrown Preschooler: Teaching Your Kids in the Places They Live: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

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Sacha’s<25: The Homegrown Preschooler is the perfect book for anyone looking for ideas to help their children learn within the home environment…chock full of ideas!

Home in the Trenches Product Rating (out of 10 stars)

Is it worth our time? 9 stars
Did it help us learn? 8 stars
Is it worth the money? 8 stars
Is it useful to me? 8 stars
Practicality- 9 stars
Quality- 10 stars
Kid Rating- 10 stars

Years ago, when my oldest was preschool age we sent him off to the local Christian preschool.  It was good for him and good for me.  Once kindergarden came around we chose to homeschool him. The following year I should have had another child go to preschool but I realized she would miss out on all the things we would be doing at home and so I never ended up sending her.  Now our #5 is preschool age now so I was very excited to get some fresh ideas of what to do with her at home, especially since I have older ones who I need to worry about homeschooling.  I received The Homegrown Preschooler: Teaching Your Kids in the Places They Live from  Gryphon House to review.

The authors, Kathy Lee and Lesli Richards begin the book with an introduction into their journeys of keeping their kids at home.  I appreciated this portion of the book because it gave me a great glimpse into who they are and where they are coming from before I delved into the book. Briefly, Kathy Lee is a former early childhood administrator and teacher and Lesli Richards is a mom of 5 and a Classical Conversations Director.  You can read more of their biographies here. The book has a few pages following their stories into homeschooling etc.

This 200 page book is full of colorful pictures, ideas, theories (nothing heavy) and tons of how to’s to help your preschool child learn at home. It even includes how to incorporate ideas into your home and how to set up places in your house to facilitate learning! The first half of the book covers topics including these chapter headings:

  • Homeschooling
  • Learning through play
  • Sowing the seeds-preschool learning
  • Setting the stage
  • Home life=learning-slow down and teach
  • Who has time for this?
  • Organizing it all
  • Days and Seasons that don’t fit in the box
  • Special Circumstances

The second half of the book was my personal favorite.  It covers tons of activities to set up for your preschooler or to do with them, including home life, math, large motor and fine motor skills, science, reading, and art.  This is the section that has tons of recipes for different paints, clays, play doughs etc.  Yes, you can find a lot of this online.  But you know what?  I really enjoyed having it all in one place as a reference.  This section also has tons of ideas for different types of play and learning.

I read through the book over a few days time.  I quickly realized that I was marking a lot of pages to go back to do later with my kiddos!  I am really hoping to get a bunch of these ideas set up in the next few weeks before we start back full swing for school.  I have put together workboxes in the past to keep my younger crowd busy while I have to give my full attention to my older ones.  The “top 10 novelty bin ideas” will be a great addition to past workbox ideas!

I also really loved reading the “ideal day” pages scattered throughout.  They gave me a great glimpse into how other families do their scheduling!

I know that I will be pulling this book out quite a bit this year for new ideas to implement and as a place to gain encouragement!

What I liked:

  • Beautifully put together.  A great combination of photos and text. Very graphically pleasing to read and look at.
  • A great resource for the mom new to the preschool age group and a great go to for mom’s like myself.  Always room for new ideas.
  • It was a huge encouragement for me to keep doing stuff for my preschoolers and setting up things for them to do!

What I didn’t like:

  • There just isn’t enough time in my day or weeks in my year to try everything out that is recommended in this book!  

To sum it up: Yep, you guessed it.  This book is a great reference for both the inexperience mom of preschoolers to those who have had preschoolers for 10 years.  I highly suggest adding this to your homeschooling library and make sure to take a look at it many times over the school year for new ideas!

 

The important information:

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The Homegrown Preschooler: Teaching Your Kids in the Places They Live

Order from:  Gryphon House

Price: $29.95

Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

 

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WORDology:Free Scripture Memory CD Download for kids!

WORDology:Free Scripture Memory CD Download for kids!

My sister forwarded this info about this really cool Scripture memory CD that is free to download!  We are really enjoying listening to the music. So I wanted to pass the information on to you…What a cool resource to add to your arsenal of Bible Memory techniques and tools!

Here’s a quick blurb about it from the website:

This project started as a hobby five or six years ago when I started writing simple Bible songs, inspired by my morning quiet times. One day, moved by Mark 9:37, we decided to try to recording these songs. Many unexpected twists and turns later, we have our first album. Our prayer is that parents will find these songs helpful for their children to become familiar with some important Bible verses. It was recorded simply, using acoustic instruments and an old laptop with GarageBand. My wife Lisa sings lead, along with Kaela, Lizzy, Zoe, Maria, Kallie, Rosey, Ellie, Audrey, Cora. I sing some backgrounds, along with playing the instruments. The project was mixed excellently by Dan Dybing. Artwork created by Zoe B.

Just click the here to download WORDology and start listening today!

Follow WORDology on Facebook!

Making Time for the Littles

Making Time for the Littles

I love my kids!

It’s hard as a homeschooling mom of many different age groups to get “equal” time with everyone! Making sure everyone is getting their schoolwork done and meals on the table, as well as feeding a newborn and changing diapers can leave a mom a little harried and little ones feeling like they aren’t getting enough “mom time”.

I remember all the neat projects and trips I took my 2 oldest on when they were little and before the rigors of homeschooling upper grades set in! I tend to feel a bit of guilt that my younger ones aren’t getting all of those same experiences. (I know, they are getting a whole bunch of different experiences my older ones never had at their ages.)

Anyways, today was a day I had some time to do some mommy time with the younger ones. Faith was sick and unble to go to our weekly homeschool co-op so we took advantage of some time together with her younger sister and baby brother!

Finger painting

Faith, Grace and I had so much fun painting.  Yes, I painted WITH them.  Sometimes I get the paints out and sit with them while they paint but today I painted too.  They thought that was so cool.

Here are some of the pictures we painted:

finger paint collage

 

And I had to save the best for last…Faith made this one for me:

I love my mom finger painting

I am so thankful for the time I had with them today….just them….something that doesn’t happen very often.  I took the time today to be just with them…I had plenty of things I needed to get done…but those will wait.