Homeschool Creations

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Garden Challenge ~ Update # 4

imageSomehow I managed to miss sharing last month, but did snap a few pictures this month of how our garden is progressing. In short, the Square Foot Gardening ROCKS! :)

Here’s a look at where the raised beds were going to be put up and how they are currently looking.

First the boxes were put together and prepared with the soil…

garden boxes

Fencing was added around the perimeter to keep out the wandering bunnies and deer.


We added some netting for some of our vines to climb and be supported {the cucumbers, tomatoes, melons, and peas}. I LOVE seeing how the garden is flourishing through these pictures!


We’re enjoying produce already from the garden and will be planting some new lettuce soon as we’re cycling through the original planting. Don’t tell Zachary, but I’ve found a few ripe cherry tomatoes and already snagged them from the vine in secret.

So far, we’ve harvested some yellow squash, zucchini, several cucumbers, lots of lettuce and are waiting on a few things to ripen. There are some melons and butternut squash forming, the tomatoes are green and beginning to ripen {the Romas and the Beefeaters}, green peppers are growing. The only casualty has been the rhubarb…not sure why.

We have been puzzled with something happening with our squash plants. Can anyone help identify this issue so we can enjoy a little more of it from our garden? The ends of many of our yellow squash and zucchini are all browning up and rotting before it matures.



It has been productive and rewarding enough that next year we’re hoping to put in two more raised beds in the same area. More cucumbers for sure, since they barely make it to the table!

How is YOUR garden growing??

Be sure to stop by The Homeschool Village and see the progress other  participants have made in their gardens along with the Garden Challenge!

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Camping Preschool Pack ~ Free Preschool Printables!

Camping Preschool Pack

Summer is already in full swing here and we’ve enjoyed our first camping trip of hopefully many this season! I’m excited to pull this out to use soon and know that we’re going to have so much fun with it!

Want a little peek at the new Camping Preschool Pack?

Camping Collage

The Camping Preschool Pack includes some of the parts that you all love: word and letter tracer sheets, early writing strips, a pattern page, find the different object, and beginning sound cards along with a few other favorites. It also includes a few extras special to this pack ~ a simple maze, word matching, compound words and a fun camping song.

You can download the Camping Preschool Pack here. Be sure to download both parts of the pack!

Go Alongs


Find more fun Preschool Packs on my website along with many other helpful {and free} Preschool Printables.


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Monday, June 27, 2011

Number Tracing Cards ~ Free Preschool Printables

number tracing cards main

A few weeks ago I shared the Uppercase Letter Tracing Cards and the Lowercase Letter Tracing Cards with you and this week I have some Number Tracing Cards to share too! These cards are a great ‘take-along’ activity or just for everyday practice for writing numbers and also counting with 1:1 correspondence for the numbers 0 through 20.

To use, print the cards in this set onto cardstock, laminate, and cut along the line to separate the cards. The Number Tracing Cards also include a few additional cards for your child to work on letter formation {see below}.


Punch a hole in the top left corner of each card and put onto a jump ring {key ring ~ see key ring in carousel below}. Let your child use a dry erase marker or vis-à-vis marker to trace the letters and write their own. If you use a dry erase marker, the letters will wipe off easily, while a vis-à-vis marker may require more scrubbing to remove {but will not smudge while your child is writing}.

numbers collage


You can find MORE preschool alphabet and beginning writing activities on the following pages:




Supplies We Use


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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Marveling at God’s Wonders


“A child who does not have the opportunity to marvel at the bigness of God, the wonders of His creation, and the reality of His supernatural work will tend to measure the questions about ‘who God is’ according to his or her finite, limited perspective.”

~ Sally Clarkson, Ministry of Motherhood, p. 85


I’ll be honest and tell you that I’m not the greatest in calling the kids over to say “Look!” and take the time to marvel at all that’s around us. The reality of it looks a little more like this…

Read more here….

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Gearing Up ~ Preschool Corner

I have to say that we are rather enjoying the laziness of summer, especially me. While we are doing some school in a more laid back style {basically we’re focusing on our All About Reading program this summer}, I’m spending time behind the scenes and plotting out what we’ll be doing for school next year with Kaleb.

And making lists, because I love lists. :)

So far, I at least have a basic idea of what we’re going to do next year, but my goal is to have things printed out and ready to go for a chunk of weeks at a time so that all I have to do is pull a folder or bag and start the week off.

The bulk of our year will be tied in with Before Five in a Row, so a friend and I are picking out the books that we’re planning to use, figuring out what months we’re going to do them in and then filling in the gaps with some fun preschool packs {and thinking of ideas for new ones!}.

Needless to say, my mind is swirling, I’m excited and really hope the enthusiasm will carry over to Kaleb too! Next week we’re gearing up for a nearby VBS program {which secretly means I get to do more planning ~ woo hoo!}.

BUT, I’m sure that many of you had MUCH more exciting weeks than we did, so leave a comment, share a link and let us know what YOU did this week!

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, June 23, 2011

Fraction Action & Fraction Cups {Guidecraft Mom Review}

Guidecraft logo crop  

image  image 

One of the things that we’ve been focusing on a bit more lately has been fractions. The focus hasn’t just been for the younger two, but also as a reminder for the older girls as well {amazing how things can just ‘slip’ our minds!}. The Guidecraft Fraction Action and Fraction Cups have been a great ‘hands-on’ math toy for just that purpose.

About the Fraction Sets

Both the Fraction Action and Fraction Cups are made from an eco-friendly rubberwood and then stained with low VOC aniline dyes, so they are safe for even super little ones to chew and drool on.


The Fraction Action Board is 9.5” square and not quite 1/2” tall and for ages 2 and up. The set has 18 stained wood pieces that fit into the nine shaped spots on the self-storing board: circles, squares and hexagons. Each shape has fraction puzzles of varying difficult ~ whole, halves and thirds.

The Fraction Cups are four great little portable puzzles containing 10 pieces that explore the fractions of halves, thirds and quarters. Both sets come with a simple activity booklet for use with your child.

fractions-1  fractions-2

Zachary was the one who took the most interest with these during the times that we pulled them out. His favorite thing to do was to dump all of the fraction pieces out onto the ground and then piece them back together. In the above pictures he was convinced he had the fractions right and trying to make them fit…and obviously having a little trouble. :) For him, the hands-on feature is great to keep his mind engaged in what we are talking about. Once the fraction fun was done, he and Kaleb had a blast to see how high they could stack all of the pieces {a wonderful lesson in balance!}.


Kaleb liked the bright colors and fitting the pieces together like puzzles. For the girls it gives them a colorful visual reminder for how they can divide things up and still have a whole. The puzzles will definitely be used as a hands-on reinforcement through our school year for all of the kids.

The Fraction Action Board and Fraction Cups are obviously wonderful for teaching and reminding children about fractions, but with the variety of colors and sizes, they can also be used to sort by shape, color, height, and more.

Find Out More

Fraction Action and Fraction Cups can be purchased directly from the Guidecraft website, via their NEW Facebook page, or from Amazon. If you’d like to win a set for your kids, Jenn from Mama Jenn is hosting a giveaway for a set of them {open to US residents until 6/26/2011}.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Pocketful of Rosies ~ a Winner!!

First, I want to say a HUGE thank you to all of you! Amy restocked her store mid-week because you all about cleaned her out.

AND helped raise $550 toward bringing Biruk Abigail, home from Ethiopia!!!

I’ve had much fun this past week browsing through the new things she’s added to the shop. We ordered some headbands for the the girls and myself and they are so cute!

Today she’s adding forty new items to the Pocketful of Rosies shop!!

Stop by and ‘like’ Pocketful of Rosies on Facebook ~ and tell Amy that Jolanthe sent you over. She shares on Facebook whenever new products are added to the shop and there is only a short timeframe left for her to help raise money for her friends!

And drumroll please….the winner is Christy!! Be on the lookout for an email from me in the next bit so we can have a little something shipped your way. :)


Thank you SO MUCH for your support of Pocketful of Rosies!!

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Gift of Inspiration

“Each of our children has been given a specific personality and a particular set of circumstances that will give shape to God’s purpose for his or her life.”

~ Sally Clarkson, Ministry of Motherhood, p. 66

The problem for me frequently lies in the fact that I get so caught up in the little stuff, the day-to-day things of raising kids and running a household that I fail to see the ‘bigger purpose’ in my role as a mother. Yes, there are always going to be things that have to be done in our house and in educating our children, but it is so easy to get distracted!!

Read more here….

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Preschool Corner ~ Nature Close Up

This week we’ve been outside a LOT since the weather has been absolutely amazing in our area. Being outside has meant exploring {and seeing} some fun things.

Overall, our plans this summer for preschool are going to be pretty laid back. The only definite curriculum that we’re going to use is All About Reading Level Pre-1 and then we’ll have fun with a few Preschool Packs and time at VBS.

The kids gave me a hummingbird feeder for Mother’s Day and after dismal results the first week {and an army of ants invading it}, we had GREAT success with it this week, especially Thursday. We mixed up our own juice to go in the feeder, refilled it and have have been watching the hummingbirds visit our feeder.


Simple Hummingbird Juice: Mix 1/4 cup of sugar into 1 cup of boiling water until sugar is dissolved. Add red food coloring as desired. Store extra juice in the fridge.

The kids also spent the afternoon at the creek and caught an overload of crawdads. They attempted to get me to cook them up for them {claiming they taste ‘just like lobster’}, but I didn’t give into their demands and all but one survived the ordeal and were returned to the creek to be captured on another day. :)


Our chickens have been free-ranging this past week and Kaleb just sits on the porch and carries on conversations with them throughout the day. It’s pretty hilarious.


We also discovered that a small bird has built a nest in one of our hanging ferns on the front porch and laid five of the tiniest eggs. We’re carefully watching the nest and being careful ~ this will be wonderful when we start our bird study soon and we’re trying to get a picture of the momma bird so we can look it up and find out what it is.

The BIG excitement of the week was seeing a black bear in our backyard the other morning. Only one of the kids was there to see it with me, but it does answer a few questions about the noises and some odd happenings over the last few weeks.

Ahhhh…the joys of living in the country.

Preschool Links for You


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, June 16, 2011

All About Reading Program on Lifetime’s The Balancing Act!


Not too long ago I shared my review of All About Reading's Pre-1 program with you all. On June 14th, Marie Rippel was on the Lifetime show The Balancing Act sharing about pre-reading skills and the story of the program.

Below is a little clip of her appearance where she shares more with viewers. Pay attention around 3:38 of the clip for a few familiar faces!! :)

All About Reading also has two FREE activity e-books featuring the Zigzag Zebra that you can download from their site. Be sure to check them out!


You can read my review of the All About Reading Pre-1 program here.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wizard of Oz Preschool Pack ~ Free Printables!

Wizard of Oz Preschool Pack Button
A reader emailed and asked if I would consider putting together a Wizard of Oz Preschool Pack. While we haven’t seen the movie, I did find a very low-key book for preschoolers to use.
The Wizard of Oz, retold by Carol Ottolenghi will work great for this unit {not a scary version although the Wicked Witch of the West is in the book}. The preschool pack itself is low key too and focuses primarily on the four main characters: Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion. The clip art from JD Digi Designs was just too cute too!
Wizard of Oz collage
The Wizard of Oz Preschool Pack includes vocabulary cards {1 and 2 part}, beginning sound cards, tracing strips, letters D and  tracing pages, fraction matching, a ‘find-the-word’ story sheet, counting by 2’s, a story summary sheet, ‘find the difference’ page, and more.
If you’re looking for more Preschool Packs, be sure to check out the growing collection on my website!

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