The Worth of a Challenge

If you give a child a fish, you feed him for a day.
If you teach a child to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.
But if you teach a child to learn, you feed him for a lifetime
and he doesn't have to just eat fish.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

And the winner is...

Kerri, by a landslide! Kerri, just contact me here with your mailing address and the wall cards will be in the mail ASAP.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

This land is your land.....

This week I am giving away a set of very beautiful wall cards.
They contain the entire alphabet and have wonderful whimsical design that would be great for a homeschool room or to decorate a bedroom.

This Land Alphabet Wall...

This giveaway will be from today, February 15, 2011 through February 22, 2011
 To enter: leave a comment here and somewhere else on the blog
  you will be granted one extra entry by either following or subscribing to my blog

And the winner is...


 I'll call you and double check your address and send your new goodies off to the post office.

If you didn't win, don't be sad, I have tons of stuff to give away, just look at the clutter in the pictures of the school room and you'll know what I am talking about.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Journaling for the younger writers

                   This area has been a very trying one for us. The confidence to form words and letters just leaves Jacob stammering sometimes and that is aside from the decision of what to write about. Knowing this about Jacob, I knew I needed to give him more opportunities to write, so he can learn to eventually write on his own. I think it is somewhat of a myth to think that just because my child has a hard time writing, that you should reduce the amount of writing when really the reverse is true. You need to present more writing opportunities to your child.

One of the ways I work on writing practice believe it or not are dot to dot puzzles

They give a clear guide of where the pencil needs to move to and allow for some free form movement in lines. They also give a quick and delightful reward of a picture at completion.

Another idea is using a dry erase board for writing. The large tablet and large size markers are perfect for forming not just letters but words too. The markers glide smoothly and easily across the boards and make for ease of movement as well.

Another aid I like to utilize are the letter stamps that come in both upper and lower case. The child can stamp the words and then write on the stamped area as a writing guide.

If you don't have time or money for stamps, pre-writing in a highlighter for your child can also be beneficial. Pick their favorite color and just have them dictate what they would like to write and transcribe using the highlighter. It can also help in getting ideas to paper fast rather than struggle through the process of word formation for the earliest of writer.

            One of my earliest observations was that pride in work inspires more writing. Knowing that, I give my child a wide variety of topics that interest him to write about. It might be a book we read together, a show we watched or a toy he might have seen at a store. A wonderful gal I have learned from by way of a video was Bev Boss, she shows how children are constantly thinking...ALL THE TIME. At a preschool she ran, she had a person take time to write down the child's thoughts and help the child read them. I found this to be true just watching my own children. My kids are thinking all the time. They are discovering and learning and dreaming. Sampled below I followed Jacob as he dreamed up a story and wrote it down and then wrote it out on journal paper in highlighter for him to make the story a "real" book.

If you are still early in getting your child to master control of his or her pencil(which we call the power wand at our house, because words are power) there are lots of things you can do.
You can download hand writing worksheets like the one I have below* or you can purchase workbooks that have very simple tutorials for forming letters.

You can find worksheets** also online that get your child starting to write words by writing in missing letters

One activity that is great is using the large letter tracers* for getting the shape of letters correct on a large scale so that when it is transferred to smaller print, it is correct. But remember, it is better to perfect it on the larger scale rather than waiting till your writer is on a smaller scale of print.

Now matter what stage of writing your child is at, there are a few things to remember

  • Proudly display work
  • Read the writing aloud, even if it is just reading letters that were formed correctly
  • Reread and revisit early writing and look for ways to make it better, because that is where learning to "edit" comes from and creates new ideas.
  • Look for things to write about. The next time your child gets jazzed up about something, say "lets write it down and make it real"

*These activities came from confessions of a homeschooler She has lots more writing and learning activities there as well
**This activity came from KIZCLUB check it out and see all the other amazing things they have provided

Hurray! We have made it to day 100. We did lots of fun things about the number 100. It was a great math oriented day and Jacob and Benji loved breaking out all kinds of things to see if we could make 100.

We made a snake counting by 10's to 100

We made a lapbook about the number 100

We used math links to make a chain of 100 links

We made the number 100 with 100 buttons

We also counted to 100 with baby goldfish and cheerios and we showed how to break down 100 with base unifix cubes.
Happy 100th Day of School!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What's that button over there?

I posted the button some time ago for Latter Day Homeschooling but never talked about what is available there. So here is the skinny:
  • They are a group of moms that blog about all things homeschool, crafting, and family life
  • They are Latter Day Saints, So they follow Jesus Christ
  • They have subject matter ranging from Pre-K to special needs
  • They have one very exciting blog roll of other moms who homeschool through the love of Jesus Christ
What I like and draws me back is the allure that I am not the only one who thinks that God has a place, a very important place not just in my family but also in my children's education. It is always nice to see what my peers are doing and find inspiration.

"Sarah, why is having spiritual learning linked with our academic learning important?" 

Gorden B. Hinkley says it best
                   "Begin early in exposing children to books. The mother who fails to read to her small children does a disservice to them and a disservice to herself. It takes time, yes, much of it. It takes self-discipline. It takes organizing and budgeting the minutes and hours of the day. But it will never be a bore as you watch young minds come to know characters, expressions, and ideas. Good reading can become a love affair, far more fruitful in long term effects than many other activities in which children use their time. It has been estimated that “the average child on this continent has watched something like 8,000 hours of TV before he or she even starts school.” A very large part of that is of questionable value.Parents, work at the matter of creating an atmosphere in your homes. Let your children be exposed to great minds, great ideas, everlasting truth, and those things which will build and motivate for good.

The Lord has said to this people, “Seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” (D&C 88:118.) I wish to urge every parent within the sound of my voice to try to create within your home an atmosphere of learning and the growth which will come of it." "The Environment of Our Homes", Ensign, June 1985, 3
The fruits of spiritually linked learning are:
  1. self discipline
  2. organizing and budgeting
  3. great ideas
  4. everlasting truths
  5. things which will build and motivate for good
  6. a good atmosphere of learning and growth
  7. a loving relationship with the Savior
So if you want to give your children not just a great academic base, but a spiritual one as well, you can find it at Latter Day Homeschooling

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What's in the book bin: February

It's been so fun to finally have all the books out and pull those special few that we read during story hour or do little "book reports" and make them part of the book bin.

This month we have books about love and friendship

books about patriotism

books about springtime

Books about words, letters, colors and counting

and some we love just because!

Do you keep a book bin or pull a themed selection for you kids? Let me know and we can link up for lots of fun and reading

Humpty Dumpty:

A poor little egg and a lesson in rhyme and rhythm 

I love teaching the classics to the boys and one that I found a great set of materials for, was this story of the poor egg who sat on the wall (probably against his mother's wishes) and fell and broke to pieces.

Together we learned 

  • how to memorize a poem
  • rhythm by using rhythm sticks while we read the poem aloud
  • rhyming words 
*The materials were from Kizclub and it even comes with a black and white set for your own little poet to color. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

My very first give away! Sing Spell Read and Write phonics songs materials and music

This give away is closed
Enter Today through Valentines Day!

That's right! I am going to share something for free.
I am going to give away a complete(still in the shrink wrap) set of phonics songs and all the charts and props that go with them. Upon getting organized, I noticed we had some extras and I will be giving them  away during the rest of the school year although this could take to the end of summer to clean out the extras!


  • You have to leave a comment on this post and just one other post on the blog,  or for a second entry become a follower of my blog.         
  • Contest starts today, February 7th  and ends at midnight on February 14th. 
  • A winner will be picked at random and announced on the following day (the 15th) and you can contact me for where you want your cool new stuff shipped. 
  • have fun!

The New School Room

the space is set up a bit different, but so far different has been a good thing.

Here is the reading nook just outside the room

here is the inside of the closet, off to the right is just a wooden toy box

The new listening center

Our dry erase board that I finally have room for

the corner opposite the door

more views of how we are working on getting things better organized

The view by the door with the cabinet with all my manipulatives and curriculum in it

So that's it for the room.... it still needs some work, but it always does!

So we finally became civilians again! Oh and we moved...

So my wonderful husband finally retired from the US Navy. I couldn't be more proud of him. Since he is now a civilian, that also means we can't live in base housing any longer......Long story short, we moved to be closer to my family and in an area where we can be fiscally responsible people. IT's been wonderful to be a military family, but I do feel like the adventure has really just begun. 

So we moved to a new home and have been feeling all the fun and stress that comes with it. So with out further ado,  here is the new school room.....Thank you IKEA!