Homeschool Creations

Friday, December 31, 2010

Preschool Corner ~ Last of the Year!!

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with your families. We’ll be joining back up and sharing next week, but if you have activities that you’d like to link up, please do!

Our 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, December 30, 2010

Homeschool Village ~ Goals for the New Year

For the next little bit, I’ll be part of the guest panel at the Homeschool Village and chiming in on different questions that are being asked. This week the question is: Do you encourage your homeschoolers to set new year goals?”

Truthfully, I’ve never thought about encouraging our kids to set goals in this sense {although I do for myself all the time ~ ahem}.

Six other moms chimed in their answers on this question today, so be sure to head over to the Homeschool Village today and gather some ideas {which I apparently need to do also!}.

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Monday, December 27, 2010

Good Book Company Winner!!

Congratulations to Joyce on winning her choice of devotionals from The Good Book Company. I’ve sent you an email, so be sure to get back to me soon!


If you didn’t win, don’t forget that is The Good Book Company is offering my readers a 25% discount on their first order {only good until December 31, 2010} if you use the coupon code hscreations10 during checkout!! With the new year coming up, now is a GREAT time to order some of the subscriptions that they offer so your devotionals will be delivered throughout the year!

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Preschool Corner ~ Week of Christmas

Even though we were off this week, I know that some of you have been busy with your kiddos! Feel free to link up your Preschool Corner {& 5K too!} post below and share the fun things you’ve been working on together.

Hope you all have a WONDERFUL Christmas together!!! Thanks so much for joining up with us and sharing your learning ideas with us all.

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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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Break


I’ll be scarce over the last little bit on my blog while I take a bit of time off  to have fun with my family and enjoy Christmas! Preschool Corner will still be posted on Fridays for you to link up and there may be a post here and there, but I’ll be back for sure on December 31st.

Hope a WONDERFUL Christmas with your family and kids!

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Monday, December 20, 2010

The Good Book Company ~ Review


When The Good Book Company contacted me about looking at some of their devotionals to use with our family, one of the first things that caught my eye were the Beginning with God devotionals they have for preschoolers. Kaleb has been the one that I feel misses out on much of the in-depth things that we do, so it was one of the first things that I requested from them. They also sent me devotionals for different age groups to use with our other kids and overall I am very impressed with their products.

About the Company and Products

Our name says it all: The Good Book Company. We are convinced that authentic Christian experience and ministry always starts and grows with the hearing of God's Word - the Bible. So we are passionate about putting 'The Good Book' to work in people's lives.

The Good Book Company offers a wide variety of products, but I’d like to introduce you to three specific devotionals for children in the preschool to early teen years. For several of their series they also provide a ‘subscription’ where new issues are mailed to you periodically throughout the year ~ LOVE that idea {especially the mommy-brain part of me}.

Beginning with God {preschool age}

imageBeginning with God goes along with the Beginner’s Bible and is a simple devotional that helps introduce children to a ‘study’. Each daily devotion is divided up into sections: a main course including the Bible story, an appetizer of an activity before the lesson starts, a snack of a conversation to have with your child, and a ‘make it/munch it’ hands-on activity to remember the story. There is also a Christmas devotional in this series.

Explore the Bible {XTB ~ ages 6-10}

imageThe Explore the Bible devotionals are each 3 month studies full of puzzles, pictures and solid teaching for elementary aged children. These also have companion family devotionals called Table Talk that focus on a few verses from the go-along devotional. The XTB devotionals have 12 books in the series.


Discover {ages 10-14}

imageEach book in the Discover devotional series is a 3 month study of God’s word that includes a Bible passage to read, vocabulary, a prayer, fun facts, and challenges for the daily reading. There are also puzzles and more to keep kids interested. The Discover devotionals are also available in a yearly subscription.


A few more things to love:

  • Subscriptions keep you ‘on top’ of things. If you order one of the full year’s subscription to a devotional, they will mail them to you before it starts…so you don’t have to remember to order it.
  • LOVE the devotionals that go along with the Beginner’s Bible. Stickers make it a huge hit with little ones, along with hands-on activities such as coloring and suggested go-along activities/tips.
  • Great graphics and layout that are appealing to children of all ages ~ appropriate for the children they are targeted toward.
  • Wonderful for parents who are looking for a study with ‘structure’  and want something that guides you through the teaching process.


Over the last few weeks, Kaleb has really enjoyed doing the Beginning with God at Christmas book that we’ve been doing together and I am excited to start the new year off using the rest of the Beginning with God series with him after the new year.

Laurianna is in LOVE with her Discover devotional ~ which is exciting for both of us. We had been trying to find something that really ‘fit’ for her personal devotion time and this is exactly what we were looking for!

If you are looking for devotionals that your pre-teen can do independently, searching for something fun to introduce your little one to the Bible, a parent who doesn’t know where to start in doing devotions with your children…you may want to browse around The Good Book website.

As a bonus, The Good Book Company is offering my readers a 25% discount on their first order {good until December 31, 2010} if you use the coupon code hscreations10 during checkout!! With the new year coming up, now is a GREAT time to order some of the subscriptions that they offer so your devotionals will be delivered throughout the year!


Giveaway is now closed!!

Congratulations to Joyce, who won the giveaway!!


The Good Book Company is letting YOU choose your prize!! Leave a comment below letting me know which series you would like to win for your children: Beginning with God, Explore the Bible, or Discover.

You can also earn additional entries by doing any of the following {be sure to leave an additional comment for each entry}:

Enter to win great children’s devotionals from @thegoodbookusa. Giveaway hosted by @jolantheerb ends 12/27 ~

This giveaway will end 12/27/2010 at 8pm. Winner will be chosen by

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Winner will be emailed (your email MUST be in each comment/or enabled in blogger). Winner must reply to my email within 48 hours or another winner will be chosen. I was provided product in exchange for my honest opinion and review. All opinions expressed in this review are solely mine.

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Preschool Corner ~ Nativity Preschool Pack & Advent

Another week that didn’t go quite according to plan. I really shouldn’t be surprised anymore, but somehow I am. Monday I ended up having surgery for my lovely kidney stone that refused to come out of my body and Tuesday…well, I actually {for the most part} followed doctor’s orders and rested. I said mostly. :) And then snow…and trying to keep kids interested in school when snow is falling ~ ha!

We did continue on with our Advent devotions with Kaleb using Beginning with God at Christmas that goes along with the Beginner’s Bible. It’s a fun devotional for preschoolers from The Good Book company and has a simple coloring activity with each lesson, a sticker to show you completed the lesson, along with a short question/answer time for kids. It’s just enough to keep his attention ~ which I love.  The picture below shows one of the lessons we worked on last week.

Beginning with God at Christmas

If you are interested in any of The Good Book company’s preschool devotionals, you can use the coupon code hscreations10 for 25% off your first order until December 31st. 

Our Nativity Preschool Pack and Folder

You’ve all probably seen Carisa’s Nativity Preschool Pack that she put together and this was the ‘base’ for what we did most of the week. There were a few activities that we didn’t get to do {i.e. crafts}, so we’ll work on some of the fun stuff next week too.

We did most of the activities in the Nativity Pack and are storing them in folder to store them. Here’s a peek at what our finished folder looked like.


The front of the folder has a little name tag where Kaleb wrote his name and then a summary of the story that we read this week Sleepy Jesus along with his favorite part of the story.

Inside the folder we glued a verse that we practiced, Luke 2:11 {printables for this verse here}, pattern strips, our color tracing book, number matching sheet {folded accordian style}, animal/people sort & match, and beginning sounds tracers {most from the Nativity Preschool Pack}. I used a clear envelope to store the patterning pieces and the envelope flips up when we are doing the patterns.


The back of the folder has a book that we didn’t get to finish up this week and will work on next week ~ The Tale of Christmas {found at Musings of Me}.


I’ve uploaded our lesson plans for the week ~ nothing super crazy, but it has all the links in case you need them. We also did this cute A is for Angel craft. IMG_0185

 Books & Toys We Used


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.
Quick Note: We’ll be on a school break for the next two weeks, but I will still be putting the linky up for Preschool Corner each Friday in case you all want to share what you’ve been working on. :)

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wrapping up 12 Weeks…

Again, I really need to pay better attention to our overall schedule! I had a week planned for us to take off school and completely missed it ~ but all was good! :) We just took the next week off instead. Just to keep track of what’s going on in our school time overall, here’s a peek at what we did in our second six weeks:

History ~ This past 6 weeks we finished up the New World Explorers unit from Homeschool in the Woods. I had every intention of starting on the Colonial Life unit, but we slowed down a little in this area when we had a few setbacks family/health-wise. I’ve also decided to stretch out the units a little more and only cover three units this year, so we still have PLENTY of time to work on this. I also ordered some books for the girls that I’m still waiting on that are based on Colonial Christmas times that I KNOW they will love {Felicity’s Surprise being on of them!}.

Science ~ We’ve been continuing on with Nancy Larson Science 1 and enjoying it a lot. Our second six weeks have been focused on botany and trees. You can read my review of Nancy Larson Science 1 here.


Spelling ~ Zachary is still working on Level 1 in All About Spelling and both of the girls are still working on Level 3 of All About Spelling.

Language ~ Zachary has worked through lesson 54 in First Language Lessons Level 1 and is working on memorizing his fifth poem. The girls have worked through their first 12 weeks of First Language Lessons 3 {roughly somewhere around lesson 50} and are learning more about diagramming predicate nominatives, adjectives, direct objects and more.

Writing ~ This area has been more tied into what we are studying in other areas or books we are currently reading.

Math ~ The girls are loving their Teaching Textbooks and doing great. Both of them are a little ahead of where they should be {Laurianna has worked through lesson 73 of Level 4 and McKenna has worked through lesson 65 of Level 3}.

Reading ~ McKenna has become so much more confident in her reading over the last few weeks and since she loves reading the American Girls books, we are focusing on those for her.

Laurianna will read just about anything she can get her hands on too, but has been reading a lot of the Sisters in Time book series {historical books written from a Christian perspective}.

Zachary has been working on his Runt Pig as a go-along with the All About Spelling lessons. His reading has improved tremendously and it is so fun watching things ‘click’ with him!!

Spanish ~ Laurianna and McKenna are still both working on Latin American Spanish and are enjoying the program very much.

Bible ~ All of the kids are working weekly on their Awana verses, doing devotions independently {Laurianna has been using a series from The Good Book that she loves}. With Christmas coming, we’ve been doing family devotions from Tabitha’s Travels for the Advent season. You can read about what we’ve done weekly in my Raising Rock Star posts.

Handwriting ~ All three kids are working hard in their Reason for Handwriting books and making great improvement ~ especially Zachary.

Art ~ Nothing done with this yet but we should be starting up in January with this. Cindy from Along the Way and I are going to be working on some artist/unit studies for our kids to do together using the book Discovering Great Artists by MaryAnn Kohl.

That’s it in a rather large nutshell! How has YOUR school year been going? :)

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Advent Studies ~ Raising Rock Stars

Raising Rock Stars

The last few weeks we’ve not been doing our Bible reading, but instead focusing on the fun Advent devotionals that we have in our house.


Kaleb has been doing a special Advent book with me called Beginning with God at Christmas that goes along with the Beginner’s Bible. He’s really enjoying this 1:1 time with me and I’m excited to use some of the other books in this series with him when we’re finished with the Christmas version {coupon info below!!}.

At night we’re getting together as a family and reading Tabitha’s Travels by Arnold Ytreeide and I have to admit that I had to go back and read one of the nights I missed when I fell asleep while Rick was reading!! The kids are really enjoying the stories and always ask us to keep going. Lighting our Advent candles and snuggling up on the couch is much fun! 

That’s about it in our house right now. Don't forget to visit Carisa at 1+1+1=1 and visit around to some of the other Raising Rock Star posts this week!

Quick note: Use the coupon code hscreations10 if you decide to purchase anything from and save 25% on your order until December 31st!!

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Teaching With Little Ones in Tow {Reader Questions}

Several of you have asked how we get all of our homeschooling done with younger ones around. Granted, Kaleb is our youngest now {he just turned 4}, but even he has been challenging lately during our school time. We’re working out some kinks in our current schedule, but even the best laid plans can run amuck.

Over the last few years our schedule as changed and rotated, generally in response to how we can accomplish the most when the younger ones are involved…or not involved {grins}. I absolutely do NOT have the answer to question, but can say that I am most happy that homeschooling allows us flexibility in our schedule and we can change what isn’t working and stick with what is.

The key to my sanity, however, has been having a general routine/schedule in place ~ but flexible enough that I don’t go crazy. There are times that I overplan activities {ahem}, but having that plan in place and things to do, especially for the younger ones, can help things go much more smoothly. There are days that go according to plan and days that go completely haywire, but having a general direction for our day helps immensely.

When Kaleb and Zachary were both younger, much of our school time was accomplished during nap times. If the longest nap time period was in the afternoon, than we did a few fun and smaller school things in the morning {calendar, reading, etc…} when they were awake, but anything that required more 1:1 attention we did during nap time.

As Zachary grew out of his nap time, we moved more toward doing morning school time and I focused on learning activities with him first thing in the morning while the older two could work on more independent activities. Kaleb was slowly worked into this routine and as soon as they were finished with their ‘work’, they were free to play outside together or in their room with special toys, or even a video sometimes. :)

Currently, we do several things together first thing in the morning during breakfast {calendar time and devotions}. After chores and cleaning up, the kids have a bit of free time while I spend 1:1 time with Kaleb and focus on him. Then the older kids start their independent work. As soon as Zachary finishes his independent work {usually around the time I’m finished with Kaleb}, I work 1:1 with Zachary.  When we’re done, he and Kaleb have play time and I focus on the girls for a bit, until we all get back together to work on a few subjects together.

Does it all go perfect and according to plan? Ummmm…nope. Kaleb often wants to be smack dab in the middle of whatever it is that we are doing. I try to keep fun and ‘quiet’ things for him to do while we are sitting down ~ so the other kids aren’t distracted. Some of these things include:

  • Do a Dot markers
  • cutting activities
  • coloring/coloring books
  • stickers
  • playdough
  • sensory bins
  • blocks/legos/duplos
  • puzzles, etc.

I’ve uploaded a copy of our current daily schedule so you can see how I’ve laid out our day. Click on the image to open the pdf schedule.


Do YOU have any tips/tricks that have helped you school with little ones around? Leave a comment and share! Susan Lemons also has an article called Keeping Little Ones Busy that might help you out also.

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Monday, December 13, 2010

HUGE Deal on My Favorite Laminator!!

You all know I love to laminate, and the Scotch Thermal Laminator that I have two of {yes, I’m crazy like that} is on sale right now for $16.99 at Amazon!!!


I don’t know how long this will last, so if you are wanting to get one, it might be a good idea to do it soon. :)  Also, I recently signed up for a 30 day FREE trial of Amazon Prime and I am in love! Get 2 day shipping for FREE – perfect for all of your holiday shopping. Get more info on Amazon Prime here.

Just wanted to share the deals with you!!

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Last Minute Stocking Stuffers Under $10

In case you are looking for a few last minute stocking stuffers or gifts for your kiddos {or yourself}, here are a few of our favorite things…$10 and under!! These are all products that we have used personally ~ and many are from people that we know {and love}.


Learn to draw cartoons the fun way!

The Pick and Draw drawing game is pulled out frequently at our house and is something that our entire family enjoys playing! Our girls love it when Rich posts new drawing ideas on his blog too ~ it always results in hours of drawing time!


Seeds Family Worship

Seeds Family Worship is a constant on my itouch and plays every day in our house. The great part about these CDs is that they come with TWO cds in a pack so you get double for your money and can share with a friend. Use the coupon code homeschoolcreations for 20% off your order.


Stitches By Sara

Sara at Happy Brown House has an Etsy shop called Stiches by Sara and right now she and her hubby are in the process of adopting a child from Ethiopia!! All of her earnings are going toward funding the adoption and she has some CUTE coffee cozies for you or some of your friends! I had the chance to meet Sara at the Relevant Conference and she is the sweetest thing!!



Tell Your Time What to Do is an ebook that has helped me prioritize and plan out my time much more efficiently. The last few weeks have been crazy, but having a great ‘base’ schedule has been very helpful to me and Amy offers some great tips for negotiable vs. non-negotiable tasks.



The kids have each been using devotionals from The Good Book Company that we are really enjoying. The preschool devotionals they have are based on The Beginner’s Bible {LOVE them!} ~ and if you use the code hscreations10 you can take 25% off your first order until December 31st!!


I also have listed our favorite preschool toys, games, manipulatives and more if you are looking for ideas for your younger ones. These are all ones that have been kid-tested {and survived}. :)



Just wanted to give you a few ideas in case you were still looking for ideas. :)

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