Homeschool Creations

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Another Winner….

In case you were holding out to buy the All About Reading Level Pre-1 Deluxe Package until you found out if you were the winner, here’s the winning comment!


Congratulations, Angie!! Your reading program will be on the way to you soon!

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

WordBuild® Foundations ~ Dynamic Literacy {Review}


At our homeschool convention this year I had a chance to talk to the people at the Dynamic Literacy booth about one of their vocabulary programs called WordBuild® Foundations. I left with an armful of product and was so excited to start using it this year during our school time.

The program does not focus on drilling words and vocabulary into children but teaches them HOW words are built and put together. Just because a child can read and sound out a word {phonics} doesn’t mean that they can understand and interpret what it means {morphonics}.

The WordBuild program is divided into two series: Foundations and Elements. Foundations does exactly what the name implies ~ builds a vocabulary foundation with prefixes and suffixes. Elements then takes what children have learned in Foundations and builds on it, including more complex root families.

Based on the simple formula WORD = (prefix) + root + (suffix), WordBuild® is fun, easy, and effective.


The biggest question for me ~ “Would it work and would our children enjoy it?”  For the last two months we’ve been using WordBuild® Foundations and can honestly say that we are enjoying it! Want to know why?

~ Ease of use: One of the things that really attracted me to the WordBuild® vocabulary program was how easy it would be for me to implement it with the kids. I didn’t need to carve out a huge chunk of time from our already full day. All I needed was the teacher’s manual, activity books for the kids, and 15 minutes a day ~ tops.

Some days we work right up to the 15 minutes and other days take much less. Even if we have a word or two left to do, we stop and move on to the next section the next day. This is something that the publisher recommends ~ stop at 15 minutes!!

~ Fun exercises and variety: Each of the units follows the same format so once the girls became familiar with the layout, they jumped right into the routine. The word search and magic square are favorites in this house {and sneaking in some other learning too!}.

Here’s a look at what each day looks like in a week’s plans {you can view a sample lesson here}:

  1. Prefix square ~ build new words by putting the center prefix word in front of each of the words surrounding it
  2. Affix adder ~ create new words using the affix, write what you think the word means and use it in a sentence
  3. Magic Square ~ match the words to their definitions and they all add up to a magic number
  4. Word Search ~ find and circle words within the grid
  5. Review ~ a review of the words/concepts from the week

~ Solid lesson plans: Nothing makes me happier than well-laid out plans. Each unit gives objectives, hints, materials needed, week-at-a-glance, discussion ideas and more. View a sample lesson here.

~ It’s working! The kids are carrying over what they are learning into everyday life. When we were talking about compound words in the introduction booklet, they made up games for us to play in the car together…and the learning spilled over into everyday life.

~ Humor: As we were talking about compound words and I was trying to help Zachary come up with words that started with the word ‘head’, I pointed to my head and said “This is something that Mommy gets a lot.” His eyes got big and he said, “OH! That’s right! Head lice!”  More like headaches…but he did get a new word, right?

~ A great guarantee {and discount}: If you aren’t completely satisfied, the company will refund your money {including s/h}, no questions asked.

As an added bonus, Dynamic Literacy is offering Homeschool Creation readers a 25% discount until 12/31/2011 when using the code HSC2011.

Recommended Ages

If you aren’t sure where to start, Dynamic Literacy has a great placement chart to use. Their rule of thumb ~ always start with Foundations Level 1 or Elements level 1 regardless of age {and I agree!}. You can also view samples of both the Foundations and Elements levels here on their website.


At first I thought we would be able to pull Zachary {Grade 2} into this with us. While he did understand the concept behind much of what we were doing and was able to complete the introductory booklet for Foundations Level 1, once we started into the actual student workbook, he was really in over his head. His reading and writing comprehension level are definitely not at the same level as the either of the girls {4th and 5th grade}, so we will be holding off on the workbook for him at this point.

Find Out More

Visit the Dynamic Literacy Homeschool site to find out more information about the program. I’ve also included a few more links for you to check out.

~ Informational video about the WordBuild® program

~ Scope and Sequence and State Standards information

~ Purchase information {don’t forget to use the code HSC2011 for 25% off your order!!}


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I was provided this curriculum by Dynamic Literacy in exchange for my honest review and opinion from our family’s use. All opinions expressed in this review are my own {and my kid’s}.

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Monday, August 29, 2011

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Printables ~ Free Printables

We're Going on a Bear Hunt copy

These printables were created to use with We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen…have fun with the printables!

We're Going on a Bear Hunt collage

The We’re Going on a Bear Hunt printables pack includes fun activities to tie in with the story ~ vocabulary words, word tracer cards, a Scripture verse and tracer page, a game, bear paw print, size sequencing and more!

Download the free We’re Going on a Bear Hunt printables pack!!

Don’t Miss These Either!

~ We’re Going on a Bear Hunt  word cards for the Read! Build! Write! vocabulary mats.

~ More Literature Based Printables

Check out more fun {and free} printables at Printable Power.


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Friday, August 26, 2011

Field Trip ~ Preschool Corner

This week was a little off for us again since we spent most of Monday running around town to pick up a prescription for Kaleb ~ but on the bright side, we now have a ‘diagnosis’ that explains a lot of the sickness and issues that Kaleb has been having ~ Lyme disease. For now, we’re plugging away at antibiotics and hoping that nips a lot of it at the start.

We also had family visiting us and that warranted a field trip of monumental proportions ~ Washington, D.C. Fortunately we went the day AFTER our house shook with the earthquake and all of the museums were re-opened.

The biggest hit for Kaleb? The Air and Space Museum!!


There were so many things to see and explore {and I have absolutely NO idea what he was looking at here…}. The boy was everywhere and enjoying every minute of it!


He patiently waited in line to sit in a small airplane and move the rudders ~ even though he was way too short!


The kid’s area in the museum was SO much fun. A ton of hands-on and interactive displays for the kids to learn from.


Amelia Earhart's plane was one of the highlights for all of the kids. They were fascinated by it! For Kaleb it was a toss-up between this plane and one of the BIG ones that he could walk through and tour.


Later, we had a faraway look at the Washington Monument, now officially cracked…but is it leaning? :)


We took a walk down the Mall, through the gardens and headed to another museum.


And the best way to end the day? On our way out of the Museum of American History, the boys had a mock light saber battle in front of C3PO. Oh how this little man adores a good light saber battle. :)

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We did squeeze in some other learning time and part of a preschool pack this week, but this was definitely the highlight of the week for all of us!

How was YOUR week?

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, August 25, 2011

Feel & Find World Icons ~ a Guidecraft Mom Review

I love watching our kids explore things with their senses ~ beyond what they can just see and observe. A toy that involves touch can be so much fun {even for the older kids!}. We recently received a fun sensory toy from Guidecraft called Feel & Find World Icons to try out with our kids. This sensory toy is part of the eco-friendly toy line that Guidecraft offers.


What’s in the Bag?

The Feel & Find World Icons come with 20 wooden disk and matching puzzle-piece shape inserts as well as a cloth bag to store the pieces in. The pieces are made from rubberwood and then stained with a low VOC aniline dye, so you don’t need to worry if they get chewed on by little ones in the home. 


Puzzle shapes range from common shapes such as a circle, a moon and a cross to worldwide symbols such as a tree, a hippo, a fish, and a bird. The pieces are chunky and a great fit for smaller hands. There are four disk puzzles in the color groups of red, yellow, green, blue and pink/purple. The chunky puzzle pieces are dyed to match the disk color, so for younger kids this is a great find and match toy by color.

guidecraft collage

To play as a game, you place the disks on the floor, fill the bag with all the puzzle pieces, stick your hand inside, grab a shape {no peeking!!} and see if you can guess which shape you are feeling. Our kids had a blast with this! To make it a little easier for Kaleb we put between 5-10 shapes in at a time, but the older kids were stuck with the whole bag {grins}.

I love that this is something that we can all do together from our youngest up to the oldest {age 10} and even I can play along with them and have a little fun! We’ll be hanging onto these for quite some time!

Find Out More

Feel and Find World Icons can be purchased directly from the Guidecraft website, via their NEW Facebook page, or from Amazon. Want to win a bag of your own? Head over to visit Thanks, Mail Carrier to enter. Giveaway ends on September 7th!

Recommended for ages 3+


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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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A Few Winners

My computer has been a bit testy with my screenshot program and we had company visiting…so sorry these are late in being posted! :)

The winner of the All About Spelling giveaway was….

aas winner


The winner of the Courage, New Hampshire giveaway was….

colony bay winner


Congratulations to both ladies!! Your prizes should be on the way soon to you.

If you were hoping to win and didn’t, drop by the websites and help support these great companines:

~ All About Spelling website

~ Colony Bay Productions website

Thanks so much for entering!


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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Animal Classification Cards ~ Literature Based Resources

Before Five in a RowThis year we’ll be using a lot of literature based studies with Kaleb and one of the things that I loved about the program was the animal classification that is targeted in the books that are read. Over the summer friends and I poured over each of the books from a series of books and made a list of 70 animals, insects, reptiles and more that are shown in the books to put together as a fun resource.

The result? A set of Animal Classification Fandex cards to use with our reading.

BFIAR fandex example

Each card includes the animal’s name, a photo image of that animal, and a brief tidbit about that animal. Along the bottom of the cards, you will also find a listing of which books that bearanimal can be found in {note: some of the animals may be stuffed animals on the shelf or part of a picture on the wall}.

When starting a book unit, you can pull out the cards that go along with that book and have your child find those animals in the story. At the end of this printable there are reference pages that list the animals found in each of the books so that you can quickly pull out the cards needed for your lesson.

You can punch a hole in the bottom of the cards and create a fandex of the cards. Group classification cards are also provided if you would like to sort the animals into categories/classes {mammals, invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, fish and birds}.

Want a set of your own to print off? We have a HUGE stack of cards and the kids are having so much fun flipping through them and learning different fun facts!

Download the Animal Classification Cards here

Find these and more of my Literature Based Printables on my website.

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Note: When printing, do NOT use ‘Shrink to Printable Area’ in settings or the cards will NOT print out correctly in size! Choose the “NONE” setting under page scaling options so cards will be same size.

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Monday, August 22, 2011

All About Reading Level Pre-1 Deluxe Giveaway ~ a $120 value!

The new All About Reading site has been launched and to celebrate, All About Learning Press is offering one of my readers an amazing giveaway ~  the All About Reading Level Pre-1 Deluxe Package, a $119.95 value!!

You are going to LOVE this!!


All About Reading Level Pre-1 was designed for children in preschool and kindergarten to prepare children for reading. It focuses on the Big 5 Skills {the five fundamental pre-reading skills}: letter knowledge, phonological awareness, print awareness, listening comprehension, and motivation to read. It includes reading activities, cds, crafts, and SO much more!

Read my in-depth review of All About Reading Level Pre-1 here.

{We love Ziggy, yes we do!}


Here’s how you can win…

To enter all you have to do is tell me ONE of the three extra components that is in the All About Reading Level Pre-1 Deluxe Reading Package. That’s it! If you already own it, enter anyway ~ you can bless a friend if you win! :)

If you’ve been wanting to buy it, but worried you might win it ~ buy it!! If you win, I’ll refund your money!!

Want to earn a few extra entries? Give yourself an extra entry for each of the following:

Enter to win a Deluxe All About Reading Level Pre1 Package from @marierippel & @jolantheerb ~ details here:

  • Click on the banner below and grab the free activity book to see JUST how cute Ziggy is {if you’ve already downloaded it, give yourself an entry}.

Additional Information

The giveaway will be open until 8pm EST Sunday, August 28th, 2011. Winner will be announced by Thursday, September 1, 2011. This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only.

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Friday, August 19, 2011

The ABC Bunny Unit ~ Preschool Corner

Our first official unit that we worked on together this school year was The ABC Bunny by Wanda Ga’ag.  We used the Before Five in a Row manual to do some of the suggested go-along activities each day and then pulled additional resources from the printables for The ABC Bunny.

Kaleb had SO much fun!

We started out with The ABC Bunny because it was a great way to review, reinforce and assess where Kaleb is really at going into this school year, especially with his alphabet and letter sounds. We’ve been using the All About Reading Pre-1 program during the week too.

Here’s a little peek into our week. Everyday we did the following {before we started into our workboxes} ~ read the book The ABC Bunny by Wanda Ga’ag together, listened to The ABC Bunny song on YouTube {and read along}, and talked about the animals in the story using our Animal Classification Cards. Here’s a peek into how our workboxes looked:

The ABC Bunny workboxes

Language and ABC’s

We printed off the uppercase and lowercase abc leaf cards and practiced putting them in ABC order {great way for me to assess what he remembers/knows}. Day 2 he put the in ABC order on his own. Days 3 & 4 we laid out all of the uppercase letters and then he matched the lowercase letter to the uppercase letter.


Kaleb worked on both the uppercase and lowercase letter mazes, helping the bunny get through the maze {he is LOVING mazes right now!!}.


Here’s a look at how we do the 2-part vocabulary cards in the packs. The first few days we review the words and their beginning letter sounds. On the third day, I cut apart the 2-part cards and slide the words into our table top pocket chart {I love that we can prop it right up on the table next to us and work together}. Kaleb then picks up the pictures and slides them behind the right picture {usually based on looking at the beginning letter sound}.

20110810-IMG_1198  20110810-IMG_1199

Fine Motor

Each day he worked on tracing one line from his ABC Bunny alphabet sheet {I love the concentration that requires the tongue sticking out!}. He also worked on his word tracer sheets each day too {just a few words a day}.


Cutting is also something Kaleb is wanting to do much more {last year getting him to cut was akin to painful for me}. Here he’s working on The ABC Bunny activity card.



I put together a few different math sheets in the printable set and we talked about the weather in the book {gales, hail, etc…}. One day we put the tips of q-tips onto the sheet {like hail stones}. We rolled a number and then put that many pieces in the sky. The other day we matched number words to numbers.



Other than talking about the different animals in the book and weather described in the book, we went outside and tried to find different leaves. At the beginning of our nature walk we’d found three different ones, but we put together a collection of leaves {we liked the one that looked a little like the leaves in the book}.


Additional Resources for The ABC Bunny

The ABC Bunny collage

~ The ABC Bunny Printable Pack

~ Read! Build! Write! cards for The ABC Bunny

~ ABC Bunny resources from Homeschool Share

~ The ABC Bunny song on You Tube

~ The ABC Bunny activity card {there is a mistake on this…but it’s fun to let the kids find it!}


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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