Homeschool Creations

Monday, November 29, 2010

Printable Ideas…

My hubby is on vacation this week and at the moment I am curled up in bed and trying to avoid some discomfort, namely a nasty kidney stone that seems to have taken residence in my body and now wants to get out.

Resting for me takes on many forms, one of them being ‘creative’ ~ so I figured I’d ask you all if there were any specific printables that you are looking for. While I may not be able to make them all, it will help me get my mind off the present. :)

So…leave a comment and let me know! Preschool or not ~ is there a printable that you are looking for?

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Gearing Up for the Bible in 90 Days

Here’s a question for you ~ have you ever read the Bible completely through from cover to cover? Is it something that you’ve started mult\iple times, only to somehow lose steam as you went along?

Until this past year, I was one that had NEVER read the Bible completely through. Chunks of it, sure. But it didn’t happen from start to finish.

Last January I joined Amy from Mom’s Toolbox as she led a group of ladies online in reading the Bible in 90 Days. From January to March I read and read and read…and successfully completed it for the first time in my life. In July, I signed up as mentor when another group started the reading program again and also read through it a second time.

Overwhelming? Yes, at times. Worth it? Absolutely!!!

Amy @ Mom’s Toolbox is hosting another Bible in 90 Days challenge, starting on Monday, January 3rd. The challenge will run through the end of March ~ and I am encouraging you all to join in by signing up here.

Interested? You can find out more {a crash-course if you will} about the Bible in 90 Days on Amy’s blog. I promise you it will be a life-changing experience! The official sign-up starts today ~ at Mom’s Toolbox.

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Friday, November 26, 2010

Preschool Corner ~ Learning in Spite of Me

There was a little bit of confusion this week in our house. We started out doing school and then stopped when I realized that this was a scheduled week off for us.

Then we started back up again when I found out that my hubby has all next week off {something that apparently missed my calendar}.

The kids were non-too-happy to get back to the grind and it all went a little out of whack on so many different aspects. Kaleb had a birthday and turned four ~ and has just been hilarious.

There are days when I wonder what in the world that boy is learning, if he is really learning anything at all, and how it’s getting in there if he is. Generally he is so oppositional {and go figure, he’s the laid back kiddo}, but he wants to do it on his terms, his way…or he just gets quiet and refuses.

He was sitting at the counter with a pen and paper the other day while I was cooking dinner. Keep in mind, the boy won’t write letters if I ask him too. He asked me how to spell ‘Back to Earth’…I have no idea why, but without really realizing what he was doing, I was telling him the letters. After a bit, he said, I can’t draw the ‘c’. I snapped out of what I was doing and came over to see what he was doing and wouldn’t you know, the boy had written B a    K     T O  E a R T H …and had done it all on his little lonesome.

Ummmm…where, oh where did THAT come from? Granted it wasn’t all done perfectly and I LOST the paper {can you believe it???}.

Later that day I let him play a game on my itouch called Feed the Monster where kids have to pick out the letters that are mentioned {match uppercase to lowercase letters, etc…}. That boy was matching letters I had no IDEA that he knew because he refuses to answer when I ask him to do it.

Just another one of those moments when you realize that things are sinking in and your child is learning and doing in spite of you and your well-laid plans. Gotta love it!

We did read books about Thanksgiving this week and made some lovely placements just for fun ~ but otherwise, a laid back week overall. Next week ~ we’re taking a break and spending some time with Daddy!

Thanksgiving Books We Love


Tools We Use

I’ve put together a list of our ‘preschool picks’ {sorted by category} that shows many of the tools, toys, and books we use during our preschool time ~ and some of our favorite things.


More Preschool Links:

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Share what you are doing with your kids! Please link your exact blog post to the Mr. Linky below and link back here too! The updated guidelines can be found here if you need them.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Raising Rock Stars ~ Getting Ready for Advent

Raising Rock Stars

I’m not saying that I’m ready for Thanksgiving to already be over, but with Advent coming up soon, I can’t help but be excited!! In our day-to-day studies, the kids are keeping up with their Awana verses and we’re reading {almost} daily from our Hands-on Bible too

We received some new devotionals for all of the kids from The Good Book, including a fun Advent calendar we’ll use to start our mornings and then some deeper devotionals that I can do with the kids each day. Kaleb is excited to have his own little book, Beginning with God at Christmas {that goes along with the Beginner’s Bible}, and Laurianna is especially excited to be using the Discover daily devotional.

Something has ‘clicked’ in both of the girls over the last two weeks and it is so amazingly wonderful to watch them take ownership of their own quiet times by really studying God’s word and wanting to dig in deeper. McKenna decided to start reading the Bible in 90 Days following one of the modified Bible reading plans for children. It really makes my heart rejoice to see both girls get excited every morning and find a quiet spot to read and study. :)

I am so excited to start reading the book Tabitha’s Travels by Arnold Ytreeide as a family each night as part of our Advent study. For the last few years we've been celebrating the Advent season with the kids to help focus on the REAL reason of Christmas, and truth be told, it helps keep the adults in the right frame of mind too! There have been various books that we've used together over the years, but the Jotham’s Journey series has been a family favorite. The other two books in the series are Jotham’s Journey and Bartholomew’s Passage.

Whew! That was a lot…I’m interested to know how YOU all celebrate Advent ~ or do you? Are there special traditions that you have as a family during this time? Leave a comment and share!

Don't forget to visit Carisa at 1+1+1=1 and visit around to some of the other Raising Rock Star posts this week!

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Learning About Our Country ~ the United States

The United States was the last country that we studied in our two year world geography study.  Since we were going to be doing Early American History in the upcoming year, we just did a general study to get the basics in ~ because really, there is SO much you could do!

The United States is the third largest country in the world and located on the continent of North America. There are six different regions in the US: New England, the mid-Atlantic, the South, the Midwest, Southwest, and the West.

You can view the other countries that we’ve studied from North America on my North America geography page. See the other countries that we’ve studied

Week 1 Layout


  • Introduce new song about the United States from Geography Songs
  • Use atlas and globe to locate the United States
  • Read one of our books from our bookshelf about South Africa


  • Review geography song
  • Learn {and review} some terms: mountain range, desert, plains
  • Independent reading from bookshelf
  • Filled out the map of the United States using our notebooking page

Mapping US

 Click on thumbnail to download pdf file



Week 2 Layout



Click on thumbnail to download pdf file




  • Review geography song
  • Summarized one of our reading books and copy summary/dication
  • Added our notebooking pages to our binder and stamped our passports!

Books To Use

Resources and Websites

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Funny Money ~ Science Sunday

Question of the Week…What will happen to a quarter put on top of a soda bottle that has just come out of the freezer?

Items we used for this experiment:

~ 2 liter bottle

~ quarter

~ a little cold water


Each of the kids made a prediction about what they thought would happen to the quarter ~ would it fall in the bottle, fly off, jump around or just sit there and do nothing?

Predictions varied with all of the kids. Initially, the experiment called for using a nickel and the second I tried to rest the nickel on the top, it fell in {not because it was supposed to}. We quickly grabbed a quarter instead, and that worked much better.

The Experiment…

We left the 2 liter bottle in the freezer overnight {uncapped} and pulled it out to do the experiment. We used a little bit of cold water around the lip of the bottle and dipped our quarter in a glass of cold water and set it on top of the mouth of the bottle.IMG_9530

And then we watched and waited. And waited…..

Finally, the quarter started popping up and then would quickly drop back down onto the mouth of the bottle. {It’s here that I will insert that I was taking pictures like a madwoman trying to ‘catch’ the lift of the coin…to the tune of over 125 pictures of a soda bottle. Thank the Lord for digital cameras!}.

If you look REALLY close, you can see the picture lifting. I mean REALLY close.

IMG_9777 IMG_9780

The Nutshell Reason…

Temperature affects air pressure. As the air inside the bottle warmed up after it came out of the freezer, the air pressure increased. Cold air is more compact than warm air and as the air warms, the air particles push up on the quarter and try to escape the bottle.

How to Do Science Experiments with Children Resource: How to Do Science Experiments with Children is available from Amazon and you can also check it out {and do some of the experiments} using Google Docs! The experiments use easy-to-find objects and also include record sheets for kids to fill out with their predictions and experiment results. Each experiment also includes teaching tips and explanations…which are rather handy! :) Don't forget to check out some other great science ideas at Science Sunday hosted by Ticia at Adventures in Mommydom.

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Preschool Corner ~ Pirate Unit and Pirate Lapbook

Our pirate lapbook ended up being closer to a three week learning time. Kaleb loves pirates.

L.O.V.E.S. them. He has a colonial hat that he loves to wear, a sword constantly stuck in his ‘gunbelt’ and we have read the book On a Pirate Ship more times that I can remember.

With as long as we were doing the unit, you would think that I would have actually managed to get more on my ‘idea list’ covered…but that didn’t happen. :) I’ll share the lapbook here with you all and also all of the ideas that I had ~ and let you know which ones we did manage to get around to! I don’t have as many pictures this go-round…go figure.

The Pirate Unit

I’ll break up the things that we did by topic/subject. We read the book {over and over again} every day and did a few activities from the lapbook each day and also did 3-5 activities from our unit study.


  • Verses: The first one we talked about was ‘You shall not steal.’ {an obvious choice, no?}; our main verse was Matthew 6:21 ~ “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Kaleb isn't one to ‘perform’ much, so this was a BIG deal getting him to say his verse on camera. :) I know he sounds like he’s muttering, but really he’s ‘singing’ it like on our Seeds of Purpose cd. {lapbook piece}


  • Vocabulary {words from the book}: enormous, steer, twinkling, clings, glittering, fearless, tricky, adventure
  • Pirate words: anchor, jewels, treasure, boat, sails, sailor, parrot, map, canon, doubloons  {lapbook piece} Hint: print off an extra page to use as a matching game!!
  • Uppercase/lowercase ABC matching {lapbook piece}
  • Tell what happened in the story and favorite part of the story {lapbook piece ~ front of lapbook}


  • How many bags of gold? counting up to 10 {lapbook piece}
  • Pirate game ~ identifying numbers and moving correct number of spaces {lapbook piece}
  • Pattern with ‘jewels’ ~ I had planned to buy some fancy jewels to use for this, but we ended up just patterning 1” circles from paper.
  • Size sequencing ~ we sequenced pirate ships from large to small and small to large {lapbook piece}


  • Animals ~ We printed off word card pictures of all the animals in the story and put them on a jump ring so we can add more animals from other stories that we read. We also sequenced the animals by the order we saw them in the book.
  • Direction ~ We had some fake compasses that we used to talk about North / South/ East / West
  • Weather ~ we talked about storms and calm seas, how you could tell a storm was coming in the book, etc..



  • Make a periscope/telescope. We used toilet paper tubes and paper towel tubes covered with saran wrap on one end and tinfoil all around for ours. HUGE hit.
  • P for parrot craft
  • V for violin craft {one of the pirates is playing the violin}

Fine & Gross Motor

  • Write name ~ actually traced it to put on the front of our lapbook {lapbook piece}
  • Walk the plank ~ we did simple balancing outside along the edge of our playground area. You could also tape a line on the floor and walk the line.

Personal Hygiene

  • Brushing teeth ~ one look at most pirate’s teeth and you realize the importance of brushing well! :)


  • Stripes/dots ~ we looked through our book to find all of the stripes on the pages and then all the dots {there are stripes on almost every page}

Fun Stuff


  • Puppets!! We printed out the puppets from our lapbook kit, stuck them on popsicle sticks and had fun playing with them
  • Dig for buried treasure!!! A sensory bucket filled with dirt and we had fun digging for gold coins in the dirt.

Other things we wanted to do, but didn’t have time for {based on the book On a Pirate Ship}:

  • ABC’s: Put a magnet on the end of a pirate hook and ‘fish’ for letters.
  • Language/Spelling: spell the word ‘pirate’ using other letters {build words using the word cards}
  • Science: steamy drinks {the pirates are drinking them}, sink the pirate ship {see how many 1” blocks you can put on a foam tray before it sinks}, talk about the the wind {storms at sea, wind blowing curtains on last page}, shadows from how the sun is throughout the book
  • Crafts: make an ‘ocean’ water bottle
  • Art: shades of blue {similar to all the shades of the ocean ~ dark to light}, draw a pictures like the one on the last page of On a Pirate Ship
  • Musical Instruments: the book shows accordians and violins being played

The Pirate Lapbook

The pirate lapbook is a bit of a mix of the unit study and also has standalone Pirate Lapbookpieces. On the front of the lapbook is a tracing/writing activity where Kaleb traced his name {all capital letters}. One of the things that I’ve been focusing on when we read books is having Kaleb tell me what the book was about and what his favorite part. I wrote his ‘summary’ of the book On a Pirate Ship and also his favorite part of the story.

The back cover of the lapbook has a pirate game board taped to it. I laminated each of the pieces and taped them together and to the back of the folder.

Inside the lapbook we glued our mini books {Parrot Colors & Bags of Gold}, added our Bible verse, the pockets for our ABC uppercase/lowercase matching cards and our pirate word cards, and then a big pocket to store our extra stuff {sequencing cards and puppets}. The pocket is just half of a 9x12 envelope.

View all the pieces of the lapbook and download it on the Pirate Lapbook page.

Additional Resources

The verse that was a part of our lapbook was “Where your treasure is there your heart will be also” from Matthew 6:21. It is a part of the Seeds of Purpose cd that we love and listen to often!!

Stories & Books We Used

More Preschool Links:

Tools We Use

I’ve put together a ‘preschool store’ of sorts through Amazon that shows many of the tools and toys we use during our preschool time ~ and some of our favorite things.


 Ready to Link Up?

Share what you are doing with your kids! Please link your exact blog post to the Mr. Linky below and link back here too! The updated guidelines can be found here if you need them.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Do My Children Know?

While some days seem to go seamlessly with schooling, there are other days that I think repeatedly banging my head on the table would have better results.

Some days my children wake up with attitudes where they rush to the kitchen and want to serve me breakfast in bed. Other days it can be a struggle for them to figure out how to pour a bowl of cereal for themselves without whining.

Some days we all rush through our chores, even helping out siblings to make their jobs go faster. Other days it’s a chore to just pick up a plate and put it in the dishwasher.

What exactly is it that changes attitudes from one day to the next? Really, the attitudes aren’t ones that are only in my children. My attitude can be just as stinky from one day to the next.

Over the last weeks I have been more and more convicted about MY attitude and how that relays over to our children when I am teaching them, molding them and being BLESSED BEYOND MEASURE to be home with them each day.

Do they know and understand how thankful I am that we can be together learning as a family? Do they know how important they are in my life? Above all, do they know and understand that although I love them, there is ONE true love that is available to them?

Just a few random things that have been going around in my mind…

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids {Review}


Our house is littered with dictionaries for the kids ~ all ages and stages. One thing that we didn’t have until recently was a great Bible dictionary for them. A little something that would help them {and maybe me as a mom} find the definition or significance of things in the Bible that they don’t understand.

Because I don’t always have quick answers to their questions about what a denarius is…or what the names of the twelve disciples are. With the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids we have a great resource on hand to help answer some of those questions that do come up.

The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids is based on two other great resources: the Holman Bible Dictionary and the Holman Pocket Bible Dictionary and has a wonderful cross between real pictures and illustrations to help bring Biblical terms and places to life for kids.

Additional features of the Bible Dictionary include illustrated charts of Bible animals, insects, and plants; reconstructions of Biblical cities and buildings; charts of the names of Jesus and apostles; definitions of key Bible terms and pronunciation guides to those hard-to-say words.

Our Thoughts

Laurianna has been the one primarily using it and when I asked her what she liked about it, these were a few of the things that she said she really liked about the Holman Bible Dictionary for Kids:

IMG_9504~ nice pictures that are bright and colorful

~ pronunciations of the words so she knew how to say them

~ easy to find words with the letters alphabetized on the side of the page.

~ references along with the entries, telling you where you can find more about that topic

Overall, this is a book that we’ll keep handy on our bookshelf because it will definitely be useful in our studies.

Find Out More

You can get a sneak peek inside the book at the B&H Publishing site and download a pdf sample of the book. You can also purchase the book {$14.99} directly from their website.

Target age: 5 to 10 years old

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Preschool Corner ~ Do a Dot Pages N-Z

Great plans…and this week ended up being completely crazy. While we did do lots of learning, it wasn’t all all what I had planned for us to do.  

We took a trip to Target {after yet another doctor’s visit} and ended up filling up all of our shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. We wrote letters to each of the children that we are sending shoeboxes too, printed of pictures to include in our boxes, and got them ready to drop off. {Note to self: Next year, make a special date and take each kiddo separately to shop for shoebox gifts. Four kids in Target shoving things in shoeboxes = pure craziness}.


The do-a-dot markers came out in FULL force this week again, and I printed off more copies of our A-Z pages for Kaleb to work on {his request!}. Since I haven’t shared the second batch of the do-a-dot pages, I figured this would be a great time to do that. :) Here are a few sample pages for the letters N-Z do-a-dot sheets. You can also download the letters A-M do-a-dot set here. 

do a dot page do a dot pages 

Tools We Use

I’ve put together a ‘preschool store’ of sorts through Amazon that shows many of the tools and toys we use during our preschool time ~ and some of our favorite things.


More Preschool Links:

Ready to Link Up?

Share what you are doing with your kids! Please link your exact blog post to the Mr. Linky below and link back here too! The updated guidelines can be found here if you need them.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Seeds of Character Pre-Order!!

Seeds of Character

One of the ‘staples’ on my ipod and in our van is the Seeds Family Worship cds. I can’t tell you how much it has helped me personally put Scripture to memory ~ and not want to go crazy with kid-style music!

In addition to the five albums that Seeds currently offers, they are now taking pre-orders for their sixth album, Seeds of Character!!! Seeds of Character is about the character of Christ and how God’s Word tells us we need to be more like Him.

And yep, I’ve already pre-ordered my copy!

The first five cds have over 58 portions of Scripture set to contemporary music for you and your kids to enjoy and learn Scripture and I have no doubt that the newest album will be just as fabulous. One of the best features of their albums is when you purchase a cd from Seeds, each package actually comes with TWO cds ~ one for you and one to share with a friend. You simply tear the packaging along the perforation and share.

If you pre-order the Seeds of Character album now, you will receive:

  • a Christmas card with a download card that has 6 Seeds songs (beginning to ship November 15 - cards are live December 1)
  • the FULL Seeds album by Easter 2011 (shipped April 1). This includes the famous Seeds buy-one/give-one packaging–two identical CDs providing you an extra to share with friends near or far.

Seeds has also provided a FREE SHIPPING code for my readers, so if you are looking for a little something as a stocking stuffer, now is a great time to order it! You can order directly from the preorder Seeds page on my blog. The free shipping code is located directly below the ‘add to cart’ button. This special is only valid until December 15th and guarantees delivery prior to Christmas.

If you don’t have any of the other 5 Seeds Family Worship albums, don’t forget that you can use the code HOMESCHOOLCREATIONS during your checkout on the Seeds Family Store site and receive 20% off your order. Coupon code is not valid on pre-orders of the new cd {sorry!}.


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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Animal Train Sort and Match {Guidecraft Mom Review}


Finding great learning toys that can be used in different ways is something that I am always trying to do. The Animal Train Sort and Match from Guidecraft was a toy that our kids have had much fun playing with ~ and finding creative ways to use it too!

When you slide the top of the wooden storage box off, inside you find 43 brightly colored plastic animal and train pieces ready for sorting, patterning, sequencing and more. The Animal Train Sort and Match includes a magnetic building board that props up inside the back of the box and has pegs to help hold the train pieces in place.

There are six double sided pattern cards that your child can use to imitate and build animal trains, or they can create their own train. The animals are all magnetic, so they can be used on any other surface in your house that will hold magnets.

Our Thoughts


Kaleb has really enjoyed imitating the pattern cards and our other kids have had fun finding different ways to play with the toy. He also liked sorting the animals by kind…


Working on simple ABAB patterns…


…and also lacing through the noses or eyes of many of the animals using laces from another one of our toys.


We also built houses using our Rainbow Blocks and put animals that matched the colors in the different blocks.


Overall, I’m impressed with the quality of the toy too. The pattern cards are very durable and thick {I would have a difficult time bending them intentionally}. The magnets are enclosed inside each of the animals also, so there is no need to worry about them falling out around the house for little hands to pick up and stick in a mouth.

Find Out More

The Animal Train Sort and Match is available through the Guidecraft website and also available from Amazon. We also have the Construction Truck Sort and Match and love it too!

Carissa at My Life on a Taffy Pull is hosting a giveaway for an Animal Train Sort and Match from Nov 10th til the 14th, so be sure to visit and enter to win one for your little ones!

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As a Guidecraft Mom blogger, I was provided this product to review. I was not paid for this post and all opinions expressed in this post are mine…or my kids.

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