Homeschool Creations

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Preschool Corner

After a little thought, I've decided to break up my weekly summary posts a little more and post the preschool work separately. It will help me keep track a little more easily and it will also be quicker access to find things specifically related to preschool too (it all makes sense in my head, it does!).

And just to be fun, I made a little graphic to go along with it - and who knows, should anyone be interested in making it a linky and sharing what they are doing with their could turn into more! I love seeing what others are doing and getting great ideas to use in our own school time!

When I have time, I'm going to go back through my past posts and edit the ones that are preschool related to make separate posts for those too...should I find time and not get distracted.

Because that never happens, you know?

So for now - fun graphic and stay tuned!


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Tot School ::6::

I haven't posted in a few weeks - mainly because I haven't taken as many pictures of the little man. the last few weeks he has been making leaps and bounds in his vocabulary. He is babbling constantly, using so many more understandable words, and he has a very extensive vocabulary that we have yet to figure out. We just aren't smart enough to know Kaleb-ese yet. :)

This week we used the easel and the dry erase markers - scribbling and erasing can be so much fun!

Playing the keyboard and just making a little noise.

Relaxing with the leap pad and pretending to be a big kid like his sister.

Pretending with a new nativity set that Mommy gets to review - this one gets a big thumbs up from me since Kaleb started saying 'Baby' and bringing me Jesus all the time!!

Pouring, stirring and serving everyone...which was short lived thanks to a certain older brother....

...who decided that it would be much more fun for Kaleb to play 'Spank my Bum' with him instead of playing with Mommy. (It was rather funny to watch).

And I got brave and brought out the finger paints for everyone. This picture shows that Kaleb isn't too fond of the taste of finger paint (shocking, I know).

And this is Kaleb's first official painting. Which is proudly displayed on our wall and he points to constantly.

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to visit Carissa at 1+1+1+1 for more Tot School showings!

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Homeschool Memoirs: 10 Timely Facts

I've skipped the last few memes with Homeschool Memoirs, but have a few minutes to sit down this week and participate. In no particular order, here are 10 either interesting, crazy, weird, or fun facts about me:
  1. I was at one point ADAMANTLY opposed to homeschooling. Even preached against its' follies in a college debate. My brothers were both homeschooled for some time and I refused.
  2. I could be considered a Jane Austen junkie. I own all her books and sadly more than one version of most of the movies based on her books. I love period dramas.
  3. I buy M&M's to use as rewards for my kids - only they never end up making it to my children. I can't imagine that has anything to do with why I can't drop these last few pounds...
  4. I have a tendency to overcommit myself...grand plans...but time can be short.
  5. I believe the only way to really enjoy a Lindt truffle is to leave it in your pocket for a short time so that it just melt in your mouth.
  6. I cannot roller skate backwards to save my life. Never could get that figured out.
  7. I had RK surgery almost 10 years ago to correct my vision. No more glasses for me.
  8. I have several preferences in my house: Bounty paper towels (the smaller sheet size) and Charmin (for the grown-ups).
  9. I am sadly becoming addicted to NBC's new show: Crusoe.
  10. The Mac/PC commercials always make me laugh outloud.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

India for Kids ::Week 2::

This is our second week studying India (scroll down for links a little further in the post). We continued our studies this week and learned more about peacocks, the currency of India, the Taj Mahal and rangoli. Here’s a peek at our week:

  • Mapping of India - more detailed than what we did last week. We also focused on the surrounding countries and bodies of water. I made a map worksheet for this (below) that you can also download.
  • Henna tattos - the girls had a lot of fun watching Indian brides get the intricate tattoos before their wedding and also watching parts of different wedding ceremonies.
  • Peacocks - we found a short little video clip about them and also found a great info sheet to learn more about them. The girls also spent some time on the easel painting their own peacock (do you recognize it in the slideshow above?).
  • William Carey - missionary to India
  • India's money - the rupee and the paise. I made an information sheet about them (you can click on the thumbnail link below if you would like to download it).


  • Cooking - the girls helped me make a chicken curry dish (yum) along with Naan bread
  • Taj Mahal - We studied who had it designed and why it was built. We also found a short video clip to see a little more of it
  • Learned about rangoli - a form of Indian art. We used colored rice to design our own patterns.

Some of the books that we used this week

Great links for India

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

India for Kids ::Week 1::

This week we started a 3 week study of India. Here's a little peek into what we've been talking about.

  • Locate and map India
  • Learn new geography song (see video clip below)
  • Color/label map of India
  • Use atlas to find India and learn more about resources
Geography Song: Countries of South Asia



Click image to download the India flag printable


  • Studied the peacock (India's national bird)
  • Talked about the Himalayans and Mt. Everest


  • Geography term: peninsula
  • Looked at clothing that is worn in India

Books We Used

Websites We Used

Jolanthe Signature affiliate button

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Homeschool Library Builder

Through being a part of the Homeschool Crew I was sent a link to a discount book website - and well, who doesn't like a good sale?

Homeschool Library Builder is focused on supplying affordable literature - and they are currently clearancing out a LOT of books for $1, $2, $3!! The site carries a variety of new and used, hardcover and softcover titles (sometimes overstocks). Their shipping prices are great too - media mail for a purchase up to $25 is only $4.50.

I've been browsing around the site today to add some books to my collection and have found some other great things about the site too:
  • A Frequent Buyer Program: As a site "member" - i.e. providing your email, you receive a monthly newsletter that has sale information, lesson plan ideas and more. You also earn "book points" for each dollar you spend on their site. Fifteen book points = $1 off a future order. AND If you refer friends to the program you can also earn 45 book points!! yeah - you tell 'em I sent you over!!

  • A handy search feature to search for books for books related to a specific curricula: Beautiful Feet, Sonlight, Five in A Row, Tapestry of Grace...very nice!!

  • Ability to search for books by country/geographic region (which I am LOVING!!)

  • Spotlight on the season: ideas and suggestions for the upcoming season that includes crafts, lesson plans and other resources.

  • Fundraising opportunities - 20% of the fundraiser sales for your organization and they take care of all the orders for you!

I'm off to start digging through their bins, because the dollar bins and low shipping are calling to me right now (and yes, I have lots of books, but I have this ! Just wanted to pass along a great deal to you all!

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Volcano Lapbook and Unit Study

Volcanoes were top on the list of things to study when the girls found out that Mt. Fuji was actually a volcano. We decided to work together on a lapbook from Homeschool Share. Lapbook components that we studied and used were: parts of a volcano, volcanologist, who's going to blow, trivia game, inside a volcano, exploding volcano (scholastic pull-tab), volcano phases, vocabulary words, ring of fire, types of rocks, and the earth's plates.

Our "art" project was to build our own volcano. The kids were far too excited to see how it would explode in our backyard.

On Monday we made some salt dough and formed a volcano using a tea bottle and a cardboard box. I based the model we made from this one that I found through a google search.

The dough took a few days to dry, so on Wednesday we were able to paint it together. I outlined a few areas for the girls and they worked together to paint it to make it look more like a scene/cutaway of a volcano. When they were done with the base painting, they let Mommy drip red paint around the ledge of the volcano to make it look like lava was dripping down the sides of the mountain.

Here is our completed project in action. Be warned: Screaming toddler and swinging lens cap may disrupt your viewing pleasure.

Volcano links for kids:

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Children Just Like Me Notebooking Page

As we 'travel around the world' in our studies, one of the books that we use frequently is "Children Just Like Me." I put together a notebooking page for our girls to use and put into their notebooks and thought you all might like to see and use it.

The box at the top right is for the girls to put a picture of the child that we talked about that day. There are miniature pictures at the front of the book of each of the children throughout the book and I have (ahem) copied them to paste them onto the notebook pages.

Just click on the image below to print off the document. Hope it helps you out!

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Monday, October 13, 2008

2008 Homeschool Blog Awards

It's that time of year again - time for the Homeschool Blog Awards. Do you have some favorite homeschool bloggers? Head on over to the Homeschool Post and nominate them as your favorite blog.

There are 24 categories to nominate your favorites for (including funniest, best thrifty homeschooler, best homemaking, etc), but you can only nominate one per category. If you'd like to learn more about the Blog Awards you can head on over to the Homeschool Post to read a little more - and while you're there, drop a few names in the hat too! There are prizes galore that are going to be awarded to the winners, and we all like free stuff!


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Help Me 2 Teach

Help Me 2 Teach is a website that I was recently given the opportunity to reveiw. is subscription-based online search directory for parents, teachers and children and designed for preschool through high school. It was designed by a teacher with 40 years experience to help educators and students find great educational materials.

Here are some of the features:
  • It contains over 2,000 links that are SAFE searches for everyone - no filters needed.

  • Links are arranged by categories and there is also a site search feature

  • Color-coded circles to let you know what age level each link is appropriate for

  • Quarterly newsletters with teaching suggestions and unit study ideas and links

What I liked about the site:

  • Table of contents on the first page give quick "go to" based on subject/area of study

  • Site is safe for kids to search on (no funky 'google' links)

  • Each site has a target age (color-coded) so you don't have to wade through endless links to find what you are looking for

  • Can save time for homeschooling moms

  • The owner is very open to suggestions for the site and has been great to work with when offered ideas. She has already added quite a few areas based on suggestions from reviewers - very encouraging! Elaine is constantly adding new links and materials to her site to make it even better.

What was a little hard for me:

  • Searching by specific words can be picky. For example, I tried to do a search on the word "tigers" and the search yielded no results. When I took the "s" off, I found results. Normally, I wouldn't have taken the "s" off, so the search engine can be a little choosey at times.

  • There are some areas that are lacking a bit. Since we are doing a geography study and moving onto India this week, I searched on India, Taj Mahal...and other Indian things and there were no results in my search. There are general geography resources, but I was looking for specifics, so my google searching turned up much more. ***Since writing this post, there have been several sites added to the site to cover the areas that I mentioned - Elaine is very willing to work with suggestions and on the needed areas.***

  • The price (to me) seems a little high - however, there is a special running right now through December of 2 years for the price of 1, which does make it much better for me. I can much more easily see spending $29.95 for two years of this site.

Overall, I think that this site has a LOT of potential. My kids aren't at the age yet where this would be necessary for them to conduct safe searches on the internet, but I can definitely see where that would be a huge benefit to me as a parent.

If you are interested in finding out more, you can visit the HelpMe2Teach website or contact Elaine directly - be sure to mention you want the 2 for 1 special when you ask a question or sign up!

You can also see other reviews

of this site at the Homeschool Crew blog.

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Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Preschool Corner: Letter E

ABC Book: Elephant Puzzle

This week I divided a picture of an elephant into nine pieces as a simple puzzle for Zachary to color. He cut it following the lines and then pasted it together on a larger sheet of construction paper for his Alphabet Book. If you click on the picture it will take you to the document where you can print off the puzzle for yourself.

Alphabet Activities: Popsicle stick E's

We used 4 popsicle sticks to make the letter E together. Simple and quick! And since I'm posting this after I've already posted my "K" post, I can promise you the results were MUCH better!!

Art Activity: Eyedropper Art

For this activity you will need the following items: food coloring, several small containers, coffee filters, and eyedroppers.
  1. Fill the containers with water and put a few drops of food coloring into each container, making each container a different color.
  2. Flatten out your coffee filter as best you can.
  3. Have your child use the eyedropper to pick up a few drops of water and make a design on the coffee filter. The colors will spread some, and too much water can make a hole in the filter, so go easy! :)
  4. See if you can guess what colors will be made when the colors spread and run into other colors!
  5. Let the filters dry completely on either a cookie sheet or newspaper (the food coloring will stain if you aren't careful!).
Fun Activity: Playdough

We had fun rolling out playdough and making our uppercase and lowercase "E's" this way. Snakes are always fun!

Letter Sheet/Collage

Click on the thumbnail graphic to download the Letter Ee sheet.

Math: Estimating and Weighing

We used our scales this week (a HUGE hit) to estimate and weigh things. We started out with our counting bears and then used other things around the house to see how they weighed in comparison to the bears.

Verse: Proverbs 20:11

Even a child is known by his deeds. This week we talked about how people know what kind of a person we are by how we act. We're using the book My ABC Bible Verses by Susan Hunt as a devotional during the week.


Zachary has the basics of the uppercase E down...just a few problems in where those lines get put. Sometimes all up high. Sometimes all down low. But it's an E! We're using Peterson's Handwriting this year (you can see my reviews in the sidebar for more info on this program).

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Tot School ::5::

As we settle more and more into our routine, the girls are more than happy to try and help me with "Tot School" and Kaleb (because really any excuse to play is good!
Kaleb has always been very laid back in comparison to our other kiddos, but this week we are seeing more of his little personality shining through. He's had more alone time with me this week and he has been hysterical! He's trying to talk more, "singing" to himself, and just cracking us up - doing most anything to get a good laugh from us.

I pulled out some new toys and mixed them up with some our regulars, which involved me being truly suprised at what Kaleb can do. We try to start out our day with a little bit of worship and dancing, so this is our little blur of motion:

We have a little bear puzzle that allows you to change the bears shirt, pants and face. Each face pictures a different emotion: sad, happy, mad, etc... Kaleb had fun fitting the pieces into their form.

I pulled out some counting bears that I recently bought and also some bowls of the same color to have Kaleb try to sort the bears by color - this is where I was really suprised. He did GREAT!! When he would put a bear in the wrong bowl, he would stop and pick it out and drop it in the right bowl. We started out using only 2 colors, but eventually did all four colors. I did videotape it too (and he did it for the most part then), but he was a little over doing it then, so you'll just have to trust me on it!

The stacking cups came out again, but this time Kaleb wanted to fit them all back into each other which he did wonderfully, pulling out the ones needed to sort them by size.

Some new animal magnets were also added to the fridge to play with. Kaleb didn't want to play the way I wanted to play, so we had fun pulling them off the fridge and putting them in a bag and counting them together instead.

That's it for this week (at least the pictured part). Thanks for stopping by!

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Studying Japan ::Week 2::

This was our second week learning about Japan and the girls had a lot of fun with many "hands-on" activities: origami, watercolors, calligraphy, puppet theatres, and Japanese screens. Much reading and even a great video or two thrown in. Since Japan has over 70 volcanoes, we are going to be doing a unit on volcanoes next week - as requested by the girls! 

  • Review what we learned last week
  • We used Kids Web Japan to look at the history of kimonos different types of kimonos and had fun doing a virtual game dressing girls and seeing where they would wear the kimono and outfit that we picked for them.
  • Japanese screens ~ Each of the girls designed their own Japanese screen trying to follow each of the four seasons.
  • We first read The Paper Crane (Bang) and then picked out a few pieces of origami to make: a mask and a boat...fairly simple but fun!

Literature we focused on:

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