Homeschool Creations

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Preschool Corner: Handwriting without Tears

I've started out using Handwriting Without Tears style worksheets with Zachary this school year. I made these several years ago when teaching my oldest handwriting.

This week Zachary wanted to choose the letters to work on : L, T, and O. In addition to using the worksheets, we also practiced writing on the dry erase board and the chalkboard.

Zachary's cutting skills are fairly non-existent (because he would most likely find other uses for scissors - ahem), so we did practicing cutting. We also hung up some of the basic shapes in our dining room to practice their names.

Zachary has also been trying to sound out words - little by little, it's getting there!! And since Mommy has huge boxes of books to share, we also read a fun science book together each day.

Here are the documents I made to use with Zachary for handwriting practice. Click on the thumbnail to download the worksheets.

Be sure to check back weekly for other Preschool Corner posts and worksheets to use with your preschooler. This year we are focusing on alphabet activities, so stay tuned!

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Studying China: Week 2

We've wrapped up our tour around China and we're getting ready to study pandas next week and work on another lapbook together. Here is what we did together this week in our study of China. 

  • Review from previous week
  • Write our names in Chinese
  • read about Jeanette Li {10 Girls Who Changed History}
  • reviewed Asia geography song {Geography Songs}

  • Talked about the Great Wall of China
  • read about Eric Liddell
  • reviewed Asia geography song
  • Talked about Chinese currency {click on image for pdf file}

  • talked about Mt. Everest
  • read about Hudson Taylor
  • reviewed Asia geography song

  • put our goegraphy notebooking pages in our notebook
  • stamped our passports
  • Made egg drop soup
  • reviewed the Asia geography song

Great Links/Resources

Books We Used


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Homeschool Memoirs: Agendas

Colossians 3:23 is my encouragment to myself this year: "Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord, rather than people." It is so easy to get caught up in the things that I want to do and not really put full effort into the homeschooling or my kids. My attitude is so key in this endeavor - and God has blessed me with four amazing children, their desire to learn, and an opportunity to teach them and pour things into their little lives and help shape them into men and women of God.

This year we've taken a little detour compared to the past two years of homeschooling. Personally, I was getting tired of sooooo many worksheets, and figured if I was bored, then the kids probably were not going to be enjoying things as much either.

Math, Science, Phonice, & Language: There are some curriculum pieces we stayed with: A Beka for math, science, phonics, and language; Positive Action for Bible; and lapbooks from Homeschool Share that tie in with our studies as we go along.

Geography/Social Studies: We've started using Galloping the Globe as one of our primary studies. This is a great geography based curriculum and we've decided to study the countries over a two year span (excluding the US, which we'll study in depth after we finish this). The plan is to study each country for about 3 weeks, tying in lapbooks as we go along (i.e. for China we will do a lapbook on pandas). Any sheets that we work on like maps, flags, etc...will all be put into a binder for us to review. We even have fun little passports that we will "stamp" everytime we enter/leave a country. Essentially, we're doing a LOT more hands on things this year, and the girls are loving that!

Art: I have several of the books from Draw Write Now and we are incorporating those into our studies based on the countries that we are studying. The girls really enjoy drawing and journaling about the pictures that they are drawing.

Reading/Foreign Language: While I don't have a set "reading curriculum" I try to pick books for the girls to read that either tie in with the country we are studying, or that are appropriate for their reading level. The girls and I are studying Spanish and we are using Hooked on Spanish CD's until we get to the point that our Rosetta Stone software is a little more appropriate to use.

Zachary is also going to spend some time at a local preschool on Mondays and Wednesdays (it was an amazing deal that was hard to pass up), and we know he is going to enjoy it also! Those few hours he is gone will allow me to spend a little more hands on time with Kaleb doing "Tot School". On Fridays we all spend the morning participating in a local co-op, so we try to keep our school week to a 4 day schedule as much as possible (that way Mommy has a little free time Friday afternoons to work on the next weeks schedule and putting blog posts together!!).

Here's a look at our "daily schedule" (thanks Carissa for the colorful idea!!).

Read this document on Scribd: Kids Daily Schedule

One goal of mine this year is to try to take LOTS of pictures and document each week of school as we go along through blogging. For the three people that might read my blog...but for me mostly to remind myself of all the fun that we are having, the things we have done and the progress that is being made in our family.

Thanks for stopping by!!


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Winner of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Giveaway!!

I scribbled painstakingly wrote each of your names out on a slip of paper, verified the number of entries, put them in a beautiful drawing basket (a.k.a. shape sorting bucket), and let my girls draw a name. Of course I could only go with the first name they drew - otherwise you all would be winners since they thought it was so much fun that they kept drawing names just to read them all.

I want to thank each one of you for stopping by and throwing your name in the bucket. I appreciate your visit and making this a fun contest for everyone.

So, without further ado, here is the lucky winner of the one year's subscription to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine digital edition:

Robin from Word of Truth Boy's Academy. Congratulations, Robin!


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Caterpillar Changing to Chrysalis

A friend of ours recently gave us four caterpillars to watch grow and change over the next few weeks. Today alone we were able to watch three of them turn from caterpillar into their beautiful chrysalis. If I get a chance I will try to post some video of it soon, but for now, this picture montage will have to do.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Studying China: Week 1

This past week we started studying China. A highlight of the week for the kids was having Chinese food for dinner: dumplings, egg rolls, and best of all - using chopsticks! Laurianna has enjoyed it so much that she has insisted on using them every meal since then. We're still working on a few parts of our Olympic lapbook while waiting for some competitions to finish and we'll post pictures of that later too.

Here’s a look at our first week studying China


  • locate and map China
  • use atlas to learn more about China and geographical features
  • color/label map of China
  • learn Asia song from Geography Songs

  • learn about the Chinese flag {click on image to download pdf}
  • read Children just like me and complete notebooking page
  • read about Gladys Aylward {10 Girls Who Changed the World}

  • talk about rivers and label the rivers of China
  • read about Lottie Moon {10 Girls Who Made History}
  • finished up our Olympic lapbook
After we read the Story of Ping (to talk about the Yangtze River) each girl illustrated their summary of the book. We're using Draw Write Now for art this year and they are having so much fun with it! Here is what McKenna wrote about it:

  Books We Used

Next week we are continuing on in our studies of China: making egg drop soup, studying other missionaries: Eric Liddell, Jeanette Li, and Hudson Taylor, learning about the Great Wall of China, and also Mt. Everest.

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Traveling to China

Well...not technically. But we are starting our third week of school and after our two week intro to maps and geography we are going to study China.

The girls have also been learning about the Olympics, and this last week had great fun making paper dolls we printed off from Making Friends. And no picture session would be complete without some sort of silly faces.

Up for our first week:

  • locating and mapping China
  • talking about rivers (Yangtze River)
  • studying the flag of China
  • reading the Story of Ping and drawing ducks
  • learning about several missionaries: Gladys Alward, Lottie Moon, and Isobel Kuhn
  • learning a few words in Chinese {yes & no, hi & bye, counting to 10}

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Monday, August 11, 2008

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Giveaway!!!

A few months ago I purchased a digital subscription to The Old Schoolhouse magazine. I love it so much, that one of you lucky ladies will win a full year's subscription to it!!

Are you interested? Keep reading to see how you can win your own digital subscription to this great magazine.

I have had quite a few magazine subscriptions over the years and inevitably they end up piling up on my end tables, get shoved in drawers, thrown away (gasp!), or sadly find themselves hiding under a bed somewhere. When The Old Schoolhouse magazine went digital, I subscribed right away. It's all about convenience at times, isn't it?

Each digital issue features everything that the paper version features - and MORE!! Rather than having to dog-ear pages of my magazine, tear out articles, or find storage space for past issues, I can now:

  • link immediately to URL's and emails that are mentioned in articles or advertisements (This is one of my favorite features! While going through the summer issue I found even more sites to visit...and here I am on vacation browsing through my issue).

  • save the issue directly to my hard drive to look at whenever I want to

  • access archived issues

  • share articles by emailing them to friends

  • print pages and articles that are important to me

  • search articles for specific words or phrases - and find them all with the click of a button!

The digital version of The Old Schoolhouse magazine has other great benefits too. The paper version of the magazine is $25, but the digital version is only $16.95 (that would be a savings of 32%). Each issue of TOS magazine is delivered right to your inbox - no more waiting around for the next issue to arrive. As soon as it's available, you have it. There are four quarterly issues and also 19 FREE digital gifts.

I've been browsing through my Summer '08 issue of TOS and here are just a few of the many things offered in this issue:

  • Teaching your children to love reading

  • Great product reviews

  • Adoption: domestic and international stories

  • Teaching the special needs child

  • Working with gifted children

  • Unit Studies: flight and aviation

  • Contests (need I say more?)

  • Real Science: Intelligent Design and Creationism

  • Current legal issues in homeschooling

  • Handling attention challenges in children

  • and these are just a small glimpse of the scope of the articles!

As an added bonus, subscribers to The Old Schoolhouse digital magazine also receive The Teacher's Toolbox, an additional monthly resource delivered right to your inbox that supplements the magazine. It includes bonus downloadable items, ideas for field trips, teaching ideas and encouragement for homeschool families.

Honestly, I can't say enough how much I am enjoying my subscription to The Old Schoolhouse magazine. While every article might not apply to me, I have gleaned so much information from it, and love that I can always access past issues at the touch of a button.

Are you ready to win a FREE YEAR??

If you would like to win a one-year subscription of the digital Old Schoolhouse magazine, here's what you can do:

Chance #1. Leave a comment on this post (or on the duplicate post on No Ordinary Moments blog). Please be sure to let me know how to get in touch with you - if you comment as "anonymous" it makes it a little difficult to find you. :) Leaving an email or blog address makes it much easier to find you. And an entry on both sites is perfectly fine...and each will count as a separate entry, so go visit my other blog too!

Chance #2. Get your name in an extra time by posting a quick little blurb about this giveaway on your own blog. Be sure to let me know so that I can come and visit you also! If you have more than one blog and want to post it on them all, be my guest!

Chance #3. If you send someone over to enter the contest, tell them to let me know who sent them when they leave a comment and you will earn an extra entry. Refer away!

This contest will run for the next 2 weeks and a winner will be drawn on Wednesday, August 27th, so feel free to pass along the information to others.

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Schoolhouse Planner Review

I was recently sent a copy of The Schoolhouse Planner to review and post about to all my bloggy friends. I'd been eyeing this lovely little planner since before it was even released.

image courtesy of TOS

Me and my love for organization. The love of forms, forms, and much more. And those loves have not been disappointed.

This planner is amazingly comprehensive. Think of a form that you might wish for in a planner and more than likely it is already contained in the 247 page e-book that you download for $34.95 from the Schoolhouse Store. It comes as an interactive pdf file that comments and markups can be added to and data can also be typed and saved into the various forms.

Very nice.

The Schoolhouse Planner starts out with a calendars so that you can view your school year at a glance. Each month of the school year comes with various resources that include recipes for easy dinners, articles for homeschool families on a wide variety of topics and resource lists with quick web links. There are also an unbelievable amount of forms for homeschool planning and household organization (73 to be exact, but who's counting?).

A glimpse into the forms provided for homeschooling:

  • annual plans and goals
  • curriculum planning
  • grading tools
  • weekly planning
  • craft, field trip and activities logs
  • website log
  • nature journal and science lab sheet
  • and so much more...

And forms for household organization:

  • housekeeping reminders and schedules
  • important contact infomation
  • babysitter guide
  • menu planners and pantry inventory
  • chore charts (for kids and adults)
  • budget and financial sheets
  • address book
  • gardening plans
  • prayer journals
  • guided Bible reading
  • and more!

I was truly amazed by the completeness of the topics and articles covered. I never expected to have a copy of the Bill of Rights, Emancipation Proclamation or the Declaration of Independence in a planner...and those are just a few of the many "quick lists" of information available. Articles that are included in the planner (once a month) cover topics such as unit studies, teaching writing, solving science struggles, and chore training tips.

If you would like to see a peek of the planner you can follow this link and it will give you a little teaser of what you will be getting. The Schoolhouse Planner is divided into three main sections: monthly plans, homeschool forms, and household forms.

The great thing about this planner is you can print off only what you need or want to use. The forms will always be available to you whenever you choose. Using this planner along with your printer and a binder will enable you to pull so much together in your household and have it located in one convenient place.

And if you don't hear from me in the next little bit, it's more than likely because I am printing off forms and having far too much fun organizing!

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