Homeschool Creations

Friday, July 29, 2011

Preschool Corner ~ Vacation Time

This week the girls spent the week at camp, so the boys had us to themselves. There was a whole lotta swimming, playing catch and bike riding. Kaleb was so excited that he could ride around the entire neighborhood, starting his bike by himself. :)

One of the big thrills the kids have every year we visit Rick’s parents is getting ‘squeaky cheese’ {cheese curd} while visiting the giant cow. And taking a picture of the cow every.single.year.


Overall a quiet and relaxing vacation ~ the calm before the busyness of school starts back up for us soon!

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Our Girls are Laying!!

Just before we left for vacation, a few of our ‘girls’ started laying their first eggs.


We also added a few new friends to our flock too {which were not very well received, ahem}. Once they settle in a bit more, I’ll have to share our completed coop and pictures.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Do I Use All of the Preschool Packs {Reader Questions}

I’ve had several people ask me if I use all of the pieces that I include in the various Preschool Packs that I put together.

The short answer ~ no.

The long answer ~ not because we don’t always want too. There are many times that I put something together, am absolutely excited about what I’ve created and it falls on unimpressed eyes. :) There are other times that I include something in a pack because I know that others really enjoy it.

At times I alternate on what I print out for Kaleb to do and there are times that he literally begs me to do something time and time again ~ so I just go with the flow.

All that to say ~ the wonderful thing about Preschool Packs is that you can print off whatever your heart {or your little one’s heart} desires to do and work on! If it isn’t a great fit for your child or if you just want to change things around and rotate the things that you present to your child, you can!

Now I have a question for you!!! I’m curious ~ what has been your favorite part of the different Preschool Packs?

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Ocean Preschool Pack ~ Free Preschool Printables

Ocean Preschool Pack Button

I’m pulling together a bunch of Preschool Packs for us to use this fall and upcoming year and the Ocean Preschool Pack was next on my list to finish up!

Here’s a little peek inside the Ocean Preschool Pack:

Ocean Collage

The Ocean Preschool Pack includes some of the parts that you all love: word and letter tracer sheets, early writing strips, a puzzle page, find the different object, do-a-dot pages, size sorting pieces, and beginning sound cards along with a few other fun pieces.

You can download the Ocean 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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Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Process of Discipline


“No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening ~ it is painful! But afterward there will be a quiet harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.”

~ Hebrews 12:11

This past week’s reading {chapters 15 and 16 in Ministry of Motherhood} talked about training our children in prayer and for difficult times. One of the questions for thought at the end of the section asked if we can think of areas/issues with our children where we tend to ‘back off’ from discipline because the process is uncomfortable.

Oh….yes. Yes. Yes.

Read more here…

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Preschool Corner ~ Highs and Lows

The heat this week has been yucky to say the least, so we enjoyed some swimming at a friend’s house to help us cool of some {and give Mommy a bit more time to put some printables together}.

The ‘low’ of the week came when we gave away our last two roosters to some friends {did I mention that out of 8 chicks we raised, we had FIVE roosters}? That means the egg ratio dropped tremendously. :)

The ‘high’ came in the first egg from one of our chickens!! It was so teeny tiny, but the kids were whooping and hollering and so excited!! We have had three official eggs now {that we’ve found}. The kids were excited to add a few new hens to our flock, but the poor things have been hiding and aren’t quite as ‘tame’ as our girls, so we’ll have to see how that goes.

We’ll be traveling this next week to visit family, but I have some fun things to share with you all, so stay tuned! We’re looking forward to some cooler weather next week, but here’s a question for you ~

What are your favorite ways to beat the heat and keep your kiddos happy?



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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Font Choices {Reader Questions}

Last week I received the following email from a reader and thought it would be a great question to address on my blog ~ just in case one of YOU had the same question.

I was looking through the Transportation pack and was wondering if you could consider picking a different font on the materials that the children actually use? Specifically I’m talking about the letter “a” ... I would prefer the “a” version as that’s how they are taught to write it.

Specifically, here are the two different letter ‘a’ styles that are being referenced:

a or a

Here are my thoughts…

I realize that I use different fonts in my packs ~ sometimes because I really like a particular font, but also because I think that it is important to expose our children to different letter/font styles. We live in a media rich society and everywhere we look {tv, books, computer, billboards, etc...}, different font styles are represented. While I teach our children to write using the standard 'teacher' font style, there are numerous styles of letters and numbers represented in the books that we read every day to our children. My goal is to let my child SEE those differences, know that they represent the same letter, and let them be familiar with them.

For example, I took a picture of four books that I picked off the top of our book basket {Curious George, Tumble Bumble, In the Castle and one more...}. If you look at the letter/font styles, two of the letter a's are shown in the style that most children learn to write their letters in and two are in the other 'a' style.


The bulk of the Preschool Packs that I've put together were primarily created for me to use with my children during our school time. Because we’ve enjoyed them, I’ve then shared them with you. While there have been times that I’ve added an activity or switched something around, typically I try to do things the way we enjoy using them so there isn’t a lot of extra work involved on my end of things.

Hopefully that answers your questions! :)

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Bead and Water Blocks ~ Guidecraft Mom Review

Who doesn’t love wooden blocks? Really, when building with them, the possibilities are only as limited as your imagination. When you add in fun, colorful blocks ~ well, building just got better!


We have a big bin of wooden blocks and recently received Crystal Bead Blocks and Shimmering Water Blocks from Guidecraft to use in our building adventures.

The Bead Blocks and the Water Blocks both come in a set of eight blocks per package ~ four rectangle blocks and 4 half circle blocks in the colors of red, yellow, green and blue. They are made from hardwood with acrylic centers. The beads inside are colored plastic and the water blocks have added glitter inside to make them shimmer.


The boys {and girls} have been using them to build some beautiful buildings and the half circle blocks add gorgeous colors to their creations. The overall verdict? They will be sticking around in our block bin for some time to come. These are blocks that I will keep around for years and have handy for our nieces and nephews too as they grow up.

My personal favorite? The bead blocks. The sound they make when shaken is fun and would be great for younger kids too.

guidecraft 1-1

Find Out More

Crystal Bead Blocks and Shimmering Water Blocks can be purchased directly from the Guidecraft website, via their NEW Facebook page, or from Amazon. Be sure to check out their Rainbow Blocks too ~ we LOVE those!!

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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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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Practicing Patience with Our Children…and Ourselves

“Jesus had to be patient with fully grown but spiritually immature men who seemed slow to respond to his training, so we must practice patience with our children ~ and ourselves. The very nature of training is that it usually involves immature individuals, which means it takes a long time to accomplish its goals!”

~ Sally Clarkson, Ministry of Motherhood, p. 146

Ahhh…I have to say that this was a rather ‘duh’ moment for me, but encouraging all at the same time. How many times in a day do I want to bang my head on the table and ask “SERIOUSLY??? Haven’t we been over this before?”  I’m willing to bet that phrase has dropped out of my mouth many, many times.

Read more here….

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Friday, July 15, 2011

Tell Your Time is on Sale!

Tell Your Time is on sale for $2, down from the regular price of $12!! Just wanted to pass along this great deal. This has been a WONDERFUL resource for me in scheduling my time over the past year and really knowing WHAT is priority in my day!

Use code 2BUCKS when checking out!

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Preschool Corner ~ Traveling, Planning and Building

At this moment, I am in Florida at the HERI homeschool convention and the kiddos are all having fun with their grandparents for a few days. :) In my downtime I’m having fun planning and creating some packs to go along with our lessons next year…which I really can’t wait to share with you all!

We’re in the midst of finishing off the space above the garage too so that we’ll have a fun, NEW homeschool room for the upcoming school year. I’m excited, but we’re having to rearrange all the plans that were in my mind for when we would start…since it won’t be ready in time.

So…the dining room table will still be our home for a bit longer ~ and that’s ok too! I’m just excited to have it all finished and have a special place that doesn’t have breakfast crumbs on the floor!

Other than summer fun, that’s all that going on here right now! I’d love to see what you all are doing with your little ones!

Preschool Links


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Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Quick Note About Curriculum

I recently posted our curriculum choices for the upcoming school year and wanted to share a few additional thoughts…just in case.

Over the past six years {yikes! has it been that long} we’ve tried, dabbled, used and looked at MANY different curriculum pieces. For our family it’s been a process of trying something, seeing if it fits in with our family’s needs, seeing if it fits in with my teaching style, our kid’s learning styles, etc…etc…etc…

My main point is this ~ what works for one family might not be the best for YOUR family.

And that’s OK!!!!

If you’ve put together your curriculum for the upcoming year and see the list of another mom, do not scrap everything and think you are going about it all wrong. Ultimately it boils down to this ~ you know your children. You alone understand the needs of your family. No one else is in your shoes, so do not heap guilt on yourself for not doing things the way someone else is.

Relax in the freedom that you have to make the choices that work for your family and have FUN learning together!

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Red Wagon Tutorials ~ Science Giveaway!!

Red Wagon Tutorials


If you’ve been wondering how you were going to teach science to your 7th – 12th grade children, Red Wagon Tutorials may be the answer for you! Steve Rosenoff, the instructor for Red Wagon Tutorials, has offered a giveaway for my readers ~ read on to find out more!!

A Bit About the Red Wagon Tutorials

For the past ten years, Steven Rosenoff has been teaching science courses full-time. Three years ago, he felt lead to start a new ministry, Red Wagon Tutorials.  In addition to the individual module downloads, co-op teacher lesson links, online recorded classes, flash drives, and live-feed course programs, Red Wagon Tutorials now offers a thirty-two class lecture series recorded on DVD in an MP4-HD, double-disk, format.  

Each class is sixty to ninety minutes in length, depending on how they are used.  Currently there are presentations available for:

Physics will be added next year along with Health & Fitness, Geology, and Astronomy in the future.   

Red Wagon Tutorials is endorsed by Dr. Jay L. Wile and here’s a little something that I love about this company ~ for every DVD sold, one is given away to a missionary family!  Red Wagon Tutorials is currently serving missionaries in forty-five countries with free DVDs and curriculum support. 

Would You Like to Win a Flash-Drive Science Class?

One of my readers will win one flash drive science course, your level choice! These sell for $125!! If you purchase a flash drive class during the giveaway time and win, your purchase will be refunded!! Additionally, this giveaway is open internationally!!

To enter, simply leave a comment letting me know what science level you would choose from Red Wagon Tutorials!

Additional Optional Entries: Come back here and leave a comment letting me know you did any of the below so you can get your extra entries!

Win a full year of #homeschool science from Red Wagon Tutorials and @jolantheerb! Enter thru 7/19: @

Giveaway Information:

  • The give away will be open until midnight EST Tuesday July 19th, 2011. Winner will be announced by Thursday, July 21, 2011.
  • Make sure to leave a separate comment for each entry, winner will be chosen at random!
  • Please leave a way for me to contact you in your entry otherwise another winner will be chosen.
  • NOTE: This giveaway will ship internationally!!
  • In order to enter the contest you must leave a comment on THIS post.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Little Passports on Sale until July 31st!


Looking for a fun way to include world geography in your day? Little Passports is a company that takes your children on a global adventure ~ starting right at your own mailbox!

Our kids had much fun with the kits several years ago when we were in the midst of our world geography studies {you can read my review of Little Passports here}. Each month a new country is introduced to your children through a fun interactive kit they receive in the mail. 


From now until the end of July, you can take 10% off your order when you use the code SHARE10. All you have to do is visit their site and use the code during checkout!!

Just wanted to pass along the sale to you all! :)

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Our Homeschool Curriculum Choices for 2011-2012

This year our oldest three {Zachary ~ 2nd, McKenna ~ 4th, and Laurianna ~ 5th grade} will be working together and focusing on 19th Century {or thereabouts}. Here’s my list of what we have in place for each subject for the 2011-2012 school year along with the how often we’ll be working on that subject during the week.


For the bulk of our year we will be focusing on Before Five in a Row along with various Preschool Packs. Any added subject/curricula will be listed below.

Language {Daily}

Preschool ~ Language Lessons for Little Ones as well as our studies with Before Five in a Row

2nd Grade ~ Zachary will be continuing with First Language Lessons Year 2. We both love the scripted lessons and the depth that they cover {making it easier for me!}. If you are using First Language Lessons Years 1 & 2 don’t forget the poem printables I made to go along with the memorization.

4th and 5th Grade ~ Both girls will be working through Analytical Grammar. This is a company that I found at homeschool convention and sat down to chat with the creators for quite a bit. VERY excited to start using this with the girls and it will segway great from First Language Lessons.

Update: The girls both switched over to Easy Grammar in early December and that change too has been such a great switch. It came highly recommended to me from Kris at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.We are also using Daily Grams to go along with the Easy Grammar and the girls {and I} like the layout of the program. We also now have separate levels for the girls {we are using levels 4 and 5}.

Vocabulary {Daily}

2nd - 5th ~ We will be using Dynamic Literacy’s Word Build Foundations throughout the year. We started this during the summer months and it’s a 15 minute a day program that I’m really excited to continue using with the kids. I’m not putting huge pressure on Zachary for this one, but we’ll work through it with him at his pace.

Math {Daily}

Preschool/Kindergarten~ ABeka Arithmetic K

2nd Grade ~ Zachary will be using ABeka Arithmetic 2 until he is ready to move into Teaching Textbooks.

4th and 5th Grade ~ Both girls will be using Teaching Textbooks. McKenna will use Teaching Textbooks Level 4, moving into Level 5 and Laurianna will use Teaching Textbooks Level 5 and move into Teaching Textbooks 6 when she is ready.

Update: We’ve also added in Life of Fred: Fractions for Laurianna to work on on Tuesdays/Thursday in addition to her TT lesson. She loves the simple format and giggles through many of the questions. :)

History {Daily}

Our ‘core’ focus this year will be from American Revolution to the Late 19th Century. We’ll be using Homeschool in the Woods Time Traveler’s units for part of the year {and making the units longer than 6 weeks} and also the Prairie Primer to mix things up a little. I have a feeling there are two girls who are going to love the latter part!

Updated: At the beginning of November we began using Mystery of History Vol. 1 from Bright Ideas Press. We have several of the go-along digital pieces {reproducible tests/quizzes, folderbook, notebooking pages, and coloring pages} and are slowly working in some other things such as the Read Aloud Guides and Family Study Guides that are a part of Illuminations. Can I just tell you how much we are all enjoying history?? Very much!

Science {Daily}

We loved science this past year and this year we’ll be using Nancy Larson Science 2. Science 2 can cover between ages 7 to 9, so we will all use this together. During the year, we’ll be focusing on Life Science {bug, trees, human body and more}. The Science 2 Homeschool kit comes with everything I’ll need to use for the entire year…so I don’t have to go searching for things to do our projects and lessons!

Laurianna will be writing some additional ‘reports’ to go along with the topics that we’re studying to give her a little extra meat. She is thrilled at the chance to do a little internet searching. :) In addition, we’ll be doing weekly science experiments using the book How to Do Science Experiments with Children.

Spelling {Bi-Weekly}

It shouldn’t be a surprise that we will be using All About Spelling this year. We’re working on Level 2 with Zachary and Level 4 with the girls. As they progress through the level, we’ll move onto the next one. We’re also going to be using All About Homophones with everyone during the year where appropriate.

Handwriting {Daily}

A Reason for Handwriting has been a great fit for our family and the kids enjoy it as well. Kaleb will begin with Level K. The girls will be continuing with cursive with Levels D & E. Zachary will be working on printing with Level B and will also continue to use ABeka K4 cursive to work on his cursive writing.

Bible {Daily}

New to us this year will be Grapevine Studies Stick Figuring Through the Bible! I’ve heard some wonderful things about the program and am looking forward to using it with the kids! We will also be reading through the Bible using our Hands-On Bible.

All four kids will be attending Awana, so we’ll be learning the verses that go along with their books and using our Awana printables {and I’ll be making the ones that we need to go along for this year}.

Writing {Daily}

2nd Grade ~ We will finish up WriteShop Primary A and then continue on to use Primary B with Zachary. We switched to this program at the end of last year and LOVE it. Writing has become so much more enjoyable for all of us!

4th and 5th Grade ~ The girls will be using WriteShop Primary C and then WriteShop Junior Book D when it becomes available. I have the teacher’s guides in spiral bound format and we’ll use the ebook format for the kid’s workbooks.

Independent Reading ~ {Daily}

Preschool/Kindergarten ~ Kaleb will continue with All About Reading Level Pre-1 and then move on to All About Reading Level 1 when it is released.

2nd Grade ~ Zachary will be reading books that I pick for him {some are the All About Reading books} as well as other grade-level books

4th and 5th Grade ~ The girls will be reading books at their level to go along with the studies that we are doing as well as books for fun! They will be keeping track of their books on their Reading Log and writing reports for me using our Book Report Form.

We will also have read-alouds for the whole family during the week and I’m working on that list. The bulk of the books will go along with our studies, but we want to include some other fun books to read during the year too.

Update: McKenna will also be working on her reading comprehension using Beyond the Code 4.

Spanish {Bi-Weekly}

All three kids will work on Rosetta Stone Latin America Level 1 {Homeschool version}. When we switched to a new laptop for the kids, I managed to somehow delete the files from our old laptop, so they had to start over again {ahem}. Needless to say, they should be well-grounded in level 1 when all is said and done!

Art {Once a Week}

Once a week we’ll be doing an artist study using some new printables that I’m putting together with a friend. Part of our study will also use the book Discovering Great Artists by MaryAnn Kohl to try our hand at some different art techniques.

Greek Mythology {Once a Week}

Somehow I managed to get talked into this to do along with a friend. I wasn’t too sure about it, but when the book showed up, the kids immediately grabbed it and asked when we’re going to start learning…go figure! We’ll be using D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths along with Greek Myths Teacher’s Guide from Memoria Press.

Additional Resources:

If you are unfamiliar with some of the curriculum choices/names above, you can follow the links below to learn about a few of the products that I’ve previously written reviews for.

Phew! I think that’s it, but I have this feeling I’ve forgotten something! It’s looking like it’s going to be a full year!

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