Friday, January 31, 2014

Random 5 on Friday - January 31, 2014

1.  Our furnace messed up, and we had someone out here two days in a row.  Lovely.  We have heat though, so I shouldn't complain.

2.  The husband came home sick today.  He's quarantined and I'm really hoping the rest of us can avoid whatever he has.

3.  We are rockin' on the school thing.  Elliott actually said tonight before bed "...but we didn't finish that book about electricity" referring to the children's biography about Benjamin Franklin that we started.  We're reading it to go along with our science unit on energy sources.  Then, Emory colored a picture of a map and said ME (his invisible friend) was visiting Lake Superior.  I must say, I LOVE living books!

4. This, people, melts my heart.



5.  Somebody had a birthday recently.  *sniff*  Can I still call her a baby?





The Pebble Pond




©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.  http://www.moms-heart.com

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Q is for Quotes from the Kids

So I'm trying to catch up on the blogging through the alphabet series.  I have to say, it's been challenging this last round, but it has been fun.  This week is Q and I was really stumped trying to come up with something new.  Then I decided I didn't care, I wanted to do Q is for Quotes again, because I enjoy going back and reading the silly, funny things the kids say.



Emory during the sermon one morning:  "If pawpaw would stop talking, we could go home."  He was loud enough to elicit giggles from everyone around him.


Elliott:  "Who's faster, Sonic or The Flash?"


Elliott: "Momma, since Friday is your birthday, would you like to go see (a kid's movie) this weekend?"


Elliott was reminding about that birthday date to go see his movie, and Emory said "You're going to be a princess for your birthday!"  Elliott said "Well, you don't need a costume because you're already a princess."  I have to say, I love my boys!


Emory: Momma, I'm not a baby anymore.
Me: You're not?
Emory. No. I'm 3 now. I growed up into a little kid.



Elliott says "come on Emory, you have to be 3 or older to play this thing....good thing you're 3 and I'm older!"


Emory looks at me and says "You ate the baby!? You have it in your TUMMY!?" Then later he says it will have to claw it's way out. Only my child.


When I was pregnant this last time, Elliott asked "What will you do if the baby poops in your belly? You know, since she's not wearing a diaper in there..."


During the screening ultrasound, we decided to find out the gender.  Elliott said he wanted a boy.  Emory?  "Chocolate ice cream!"   


Elliott asked a lot of questions about breastfeeding this time around.  "Oh, so she eats from your body?  Like the baby goat drinks from the momma goat's bottom?"  Obviously, our nature study observations weren't very accurate!


As we're going through toys to donate, Emory takes one back out of the box for a moment.  "If I were you, I would donate our toys."  So I told him he should put it back.  "Yeah, but I'm not you."  For the record, he did put it back, and he's a very good helper when we're doing these projects.


Before watching a children's Spanish video, Elliott says "But I won't know what they're saying! How do I know they're not teaching us bad words?"


Emory:  "I have an invisible friend.  His name is Me."  Me is still hanging around our house, by the way.


http://benandme.com/category/abc-blogging

 


©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.  http://www.moms-heart.com

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Poetry for Kids

When I first started researching homeschooling, poetry was not really on my radar.  Then I found the Charlotte Mason method and realized that reading poetry is not only an extension of literature, it helps bring beauty into our home and one thing I want my children to have is an appreciation for all forms of art and creativity.  I used to write a lot of poetry myself, so although I haven't studied it much, I do enjoy it.




 This post may contain affiliate links, thank you.


Preschool
I mentioned a long time ago that we start with Mother Goose because they are timeless.  I find these are great for developing language skills, and since they are short, they are easy for children to memorize, and that is always a fun accomplishment for this age.  (I do not require memorization at this age, but they enjoy learning their favorites!)  I read from The Real Mother Goose and it's one of their all-time favorites.



Kindergarten
After that we just read a variety of books that have whimsical and fun collections of poems for kids like The Frogs Wore Red Suspenders and Fold Me a Poem--and we did some Origami for kids with this one!  Nothing formal, just here and there we'll pick up a small book of poems and read through it over several days.


We also reviewed Primary Arts of Language that year, and the reading portion had poetry woven into the lessons.  Elliott really liked the poems, and he memorized a few as we went along!




First Grade
This year we got sidetracked from poetry, but we're trying to get back to reading it daily.  We're currently reading A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson.  The illustrations are delightful!  After that, we'll move on to Now We Are Six and When We Were Very Young by A.A. Milne, because everyone needs a little more Pooh in their lives!  I imagine both boys will enjoy these, since they are associated with their beloved Winnie the Pooh books.





Next Year and more . . .
I am always checking out discount stores, library book sales and used book stores to add to our homeschool library, and occasionally I'll find a gem to tuck away for later.  These are some of the possibilities for the next couple of years, as they're already in our home!

The Random House Book of Poetry for Children
This anthology is an eclectic collection of children's poems, by many authors.  I've skimmed through it myself and have enjoyed it.  Some are silly, and some are poems that were not specifically written for children, but are suitable for them.




A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
My sister had the Shel Silverstein books, and I remember devouring them as a child.  He would certainly make for an interesting poet study!


Poetry for Young People: Robert Frost
This book is neat in that it has several of Frost's poems divided by season, so it would work not only as a poet study, but also to accompany nature studies.




Something Big Has Been Here by Jack Prelutsky
This one is mostly quirky and funny poems.  Some Charlotte Mason homeschoolers would scoff at using "silly" poems, but I think there's a time and place.  I think this is the type of book that might even open some reluctant readers up to the idea that poetry can be fun and engaging.





Oxford Book of Poetry for Children edited by Edward Bilshen
This is an older anthology, a library discard, with quite a variety of poets represented.



More Poetry for Kids
Children's Poetry from The Poetry Foundation
200 Classic Children's Poems - Ambleside Online (free)
Classical Poems for Children
The Complete 10 Week Poetry for Kids Course



Do you study poetry?  Who are your favorite poets for early elementary? 






This post is linked up to the Blogging through the Alphabet series.

 


©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.  http://www.moms-heart.com

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Upcoming Toy Review!

As a mom to three young children, we are still in the "toy" stage.  When I buy toys, I look for toys with purpose.  I make an effort to look for educational and interesting toys that are activity based, that encourage imagination and creativity, that offer opportunities for exploration and inquiry, that are open ended or that help expand the critical thinking process.  Educational Toys Planet offers a variety of unique toys, games, science kits and crafts for all ages that fit my criteria. Their toys and activities are engaging, interactive, and educational.

I'm really excited to share that I have the opportunity to work with this company as a reviewer, and I wanted to give you a heads up, because you know how I feel about hands-on learning!  The toys look like quality items I would consider for our homeschool and personal use, so be sure to stay tuned!








©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.  http://www.moms-heart.com

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Peek into our Homeschool: Seeking Beauty

One thing I want to do for my children is put them in touch with beautiful thoughts and ideas, to teach them to appreciate the gifts of others, and to be open to expressing their own ideas in creative ways.  It is an area I need to work on.  This is the final week of the Virtual Curriculum Fair and we are discussing the topic of Seeking Beauty: the Arts and Everything that Brings Beauty to Our World.


A Peek into our Homeschool: Seeking Beauty
image source pear83


Art Instruction
We are hit and miss with art lately, although the boys do like it.  I use a variety of resources to try to include art appreciation and expression.  When I wrote about Charlotte Mason Preschool, the Fine Arts for the Preschooler post discussed how I cover music and art in the preschool years.  It is about exposure and exploration at this age.

Now that Elliott is a bit more disciplined and enjoys exploring new things, I am really trying to go beyond exploration and explore new materials and techniques.  While I'm not consistent, I am working on this.  We reviewed  ARTistic Pursuits and loved it.  It is a quality program, and I would like to continue using it through our homeschooling career.

Deep Space Sparkle - This art teacher's website is full of fun and colorful and engaging lessons.  I use it at home like in this snowman art project and at co-op.

Speaking of co-op, we do take some art classes outside of the home.  Both boys take art at co-op and they both enjoy it.  This relieves my guilt that we don't do it as much at home.  Then the local art museum offers a variety of art classes, one of which is completely free.  Every weekend they have a 2 hour class that is half art and half "movement" with the local performing arts center.  We finally went to our first class, and the boys liked it.  It's quite a drive for us every weekend, but we're thinking perhaps once a month. 

Draw Write Now
I've read rave reviews, and I found a fantastic deal so I grabbed it up.  Elliott really likes these when he uses them on his own terms.  They're great to keep on our main shelf to grab for independent drawing.

Draw Write Now



Poetry
I think poetry falls under literature, but also falls into this area of beauty.  I always start with Mother Goose in preschool.  After that we move on to a variety of poetry.  Sometimes it's fun and silly poetry and sometimes we find other activities like combining the handicraft of origami with a poetry book.  We're currently reading through A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson, and then AA Milne's poetry books are next!  I have several other anthologies in the house, just waiting their turn.


Handicrafts
I want to be more consistent about handicrafts in our homeschool, but in reality we just don't do them the way we should.   I still have soap carving on our to-do list, but we haven't tried it yet.  Elliott would like origami (or at least the art of paper air crafts) but I'm thinking that should be a daddy-son project.  The one thing we do consistently are life skills, and the one they particularly enjoy is learning to use tools.  We always allow the boys to use the tools, when appropriate, as they are helping around the house or repairing things.  They also still enjoy the free Home Depot workshops, as I've mentioned many times before.  I think learning to use tools is a valuable skill for home repairs and such, but eventually I would like the boys to explore woodworking on a more advanced level, if they are interested. 

handicrafts



So that is how I am attempting to bring beauty into our home and allow my children to express their own beauty.  What about you?  Do you find it easy to incorporate fine arts and handicrafts?  What activities do your children enjoy?




The Virtual Curriculum Fair
So now it's time to check out what the rest of the VCF participants are sharing about how they bring beauty into their home. (Note: All lines will be live by noon on 1/27)
44 Awesome Free Resources to Study Art and Music! by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Finding Beauty with Classical Composers Monthly by Kristi K. @ The Potter’s Hand Academy
Art and Music Appreciation Resource Lists by Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses
Easy Guided Drawing: Benefits and Resources by Tauna @ Proverbial Homemaker
All Things Lovely by Michele P @Family, Faith and Fridays
Virtual Curriculum Fair: the Arts by Jennifer @ a glimpse of our life
You Gotta Have Art! by Lisa@GoldenGrasses
Classical Crochet... Or Something Like That by Laura @ Four Little Penguins
The Art of the Matter by Chelli @ The Planted Trees
Art Curriculum For Homeschoolers by LynnP @ Ladybug Chronicles
The Arts: Creating and Appreciating Beauty by Leah@As We Walk Along the Road
Our Curriculum Choices 2014 ~ The Arts & PDHPE by Renata @ Sunnyside Farm Fun
{Virtual Curriculum Fair 2014} Seeking Beauty: The Arts in Our Classical Homeschool by Sharra @ The Homeschool Marm
Learning Crafts For Kids & Adults by Kim @ Homestead Acres
Finding Time for Beauty in Homeschooling Including Fine Arts by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World
Arts & the Extras ~ These Are Some of Our Favorite Things by HillaryM @ Our Homeschool Studio


Week 1:  A Peek into our Homeschool:  Language Arts
Week 2:  A Peek into our Homeschool:  Math & Logic
Week 3:  A Peek into our Homeschool:  The Sciences
Week 4:  A Peek into our Homeschool:  Seeking Beauty



©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.  http://www.moms-heart.com




"Sweet Surprise" Cupcake Place Card Holders {Kate Aspen Review}

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

I am all about cutesy and sweet and feminine when it comes to my little girl.  After two boys, I am ready for a change of pace, if you know what I mean!  I was recently given the opportunity to review the Sweet Surprise Cupcake Place Card Holders from Kate Aspen, and I immediately thought of a cupcake party, and how sweet that would be for any little girl!

photo credit:  Kate Aspen

The set includes 24 cupcakes in 6 each of chocolate brown, soft pink, lilac, and lime green.  The choice of colors helps them blend in with any color scheme.  They have white frosting, polka-dot sprinkles, and a little cherry on top, which is where the slit for the place card is at.

The idea behind using them for Eleanor's birthday is that I could easily use them as picture holders too, to display pictures from the last year.  I haven't chosen all of the pictures I want to use yet, but I've determined that one cupcake could only hold one wallet and still look nice.  They are only two inches tall and the slits aren't very deep, however you could potentially use two cupcakes together for something a bit larger.


These are detailed and good quality, and I can think of so many uses for them.  For a first birthday, you can do one cupcake with a picture and one next to it with the "3 months old" label, for a fun age progression!  These would also be perfect for baby showers, for a little girl's tea party, or as cupcake party favors.  For a set of 24 cupcakes (place cards not included), they are $22.00 and for very special occasions, they are worth the price.  They are so cute and add a delicate touch!  If you're really wanting to add another special touch I also love these Sweet Celebration Cupcake Candles!


About Kate Aspen
Kate Aspen is a premier designer of favors and gifts for baby and bridal showers, weddings and special occasions.  To find exactly what you're looking for, be sure to check out Kate Aspen's website.

Kate Aspen Blog
Kate Aspen on Facebook
Kate Aspen on Twitter
Kate Aspen on Pinterest
Kate Aspen on Instagram: @Kateaspen



I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

FTC graphic


©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.  http://www.moms-heart.com

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Lego Love (Week 4): Lego Club Website and Free Magazine

52 Weeks of Lego Love


If you are are a Lego fan, you are probably already aware of Lego Club.  If not, you should definitely check it out!  There are two primary components to Lego Club.  The Lego Club magazine subscription is absolutely free, so it's a phenomenal deal for Lego Loving families!  Not only does it feed our addiction Lego Love, it is educational too!  The stories and comics, the puzzles, the building challenges . . . there's reading, critical thinking, logic and STEM all in a short magazine.  There's something for everyone!  There is also a Lego Club Jr Magazine for children under 7, so even the youngest Lego Lovers can enjoy it at their own level.  

If the magazine is not available for delivery in your country, you can still check out the interactive magazine online!

The Lego Club website has a few different areas to interest your Lego lover.  There are videos, exclusives, interviews and sneak peaks.  The events section lists activities like the upcoming builds at Lego stores and Toys R Us stores, so you can always check to see if there is anything going on in your area!

The Building Steps gives you instructions for several different building challenges.  There are animals, vehicles and different holiday items like Christmas Trees and Pumpkins.  They are even in PDF so you can download and print them out.  They are fairly simple builds that are great for a quick and easy activity. 

The Lego Club website is fairly simple, but there's a lot of content there. It's a fun treat and is great for younger Lego fans!



Do your kids enjoy Lego Club Magazine?



©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.  http://www.moms-heart.com




Friday, January 24, 2014

5 Days of {my} Homeschooling Essentials: The Community

5 Days of {my} Homeschooling Essentials


Welcome to the last day of the 5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials blog hop, where I am going to talk about utilizing The Community as part of our homeschool!  I don't mean just for field trips.  Yes, those are fun and offer a dynamic learning experience, but I'm talking about finding "the other stuff" that enriches our lives and sparks interests.  We are often asked, as homeschoolers, how our children will ever be socialized, or learn to follow rules, or how we will teach unfamiliar subjects, or, or, or, or . . . you know.  Even small towns offer unique opportunities.  It's just up to parents to find those enriching opportunities.  Ask me how I know. 

Church
Sunday School, Jr. Church, AWANA, Vacation Bible School, Christmas plays, Easter parties and a myriad of events just for children, in addition to attending major church events and dinners.  See the  many opportunities right there for learning, growing and socializing?  

The Library
The books, the media, the online classes, the story hours, the book clubs, the special holiday parties, the craft days, the book signings with local authors, the tax seminars, scrapbook and knitting clubs, and so much more.  I really think you could use the library to homeschool for free, but that is another topic for another day. 

Home Depot/Lowes
For children who enjoy hands-on projects and tools, the Kids Workshops are really fun.  (We've never been to Lowe's Build and Grow, but it looks similar.)  It's geared towards elementary students, but I imagine that mature teens might be able to attend the regular adult workshops.



Craft Stores
If your kids are particularly into art, crafts and/or handicrafts, they will likely enjoy the classes, demonstrations and events at craft stores.  Some are free, some have fees.  Check out Micheal's Store Events, AC Moore, JoAnn Fabric Classes, Hobby Lobby or your local craft stores. 

(Note--These stores offer educator discounts to homeschoolers, so be sure to have the correct documentation!)

The Lego Store
If you incorporate Lego into your homeschool, this should count as a field trip, right?  If we lived near a Lego store, I'm sure we'd be at the free monthly model builds.  There are also builds at Toys R Us, but we've never managed to make one of these.  These look appropriate for elementary and under.

Sports Leagues
Whether it's through the city or through the YMCA or Upwards or a homeschool league, there are many opportunities for organized sports.  Elliott just played a season of Instructional Basketball through the YMCA.  We learned that basketball is probably not his "thing" but he had fun!

Support Groups
These are a great way to get support, especially if you can find like-minded homeschoolers.  The veteran homeschoolers are usually more than willing to answer questions about state laws or guide them in methods or curriculum choices.  This is also how we find out about and arrange group discounts for field trips or plan special events.  Our group is on Facebook and has a website, so I can check in whenever I want.

Co-Op
I know co-ops aren't for everyone, but I think if you find the right one, it is worth it.  Ours is well organized, but fairly relaxed.  Some people might need more structure, but this one fits our lifestyle right now, and we love it.  We pay a minimal fee per child (excluding my nursery girl-she's free), and the kids have classes for 3 hours every other Friday. It's a nice break from our routine.

Art Museums
Our local museum of art offers a variety of children's art and nature classes and camps, and some are specifically for homeschoolers.  We just attended our first KidsArt, which is a FREE weekly art class, and includes 1 hour of art, and 1 hour of movement from the local performing arts center.  The boys liked it, and if it were closer we'd probably go more frequently, but as it is we'll probably make it a monthly activity.





5 Days of {my} Homeschooling Essentials:  Flexibility
5 Days of {my} Homeschooling Essentials:  Books
5 Days of {my} Homeschooling Essentials:  Manipulatives
5 Days of {my} Homeschooling Essentials:  Games
5 Days of {my} Homeschooling Essentials:  Community





©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.  http://www.moms-heart.com

Thursday, January 23, 2014

5 Days of {my} Homeschooling Essentials: Games



No matter what curriculum you use in your homeschool, you can always supplement with games.  No matter how you schedule your day or your week, you can always find time for games.  No matter what homeschooling method you follow, or what your child's learning style, you can find games that are suitable.  Games offer a fun break from the usual, they teach rules, they encourage cooperative play and taking turns.  Most games require some use of critical thinking and logic skills.  Reading instructions, keeping score or being the banker, many components of games are educational, even if the game is not "marketed" as an educational game.  Games are a big part of the hands-on, manipulative based homeschooling essentials I discussed yesterday, and that is why they are essential to my homeschool.

Battleship
We haven't really covered coordinates and graphing in math, but I don't think we will need to worry about that after a few rounds of this game.



Yahtzee
This is an excellent math game all around with the addition, multiplication, and probability. 

Monopoly
We've actually only played Jr. versions with the kids so far, but this is yet another game for math, money and economics. 

Shut The Box
This is a great dice game, and I like how it demonstrates that many equations can equal the same sum.



Math Dice Jr.
I like this game because you can do addition or subtraction and it's very easy to adapt for different playing levels!

Card Games
There are a lot of skills you can cover with a deck of cards.  Go Fish, Crazy Eights, Old Maid and War are a few of the popular games that come to mind, but this free eBook Acing Math:  One Deck at a Time has a lot of games for teaching specific topics.

Razzle
This is an "older" game, but we like adding different/unique games like this and UpWords that we find at goodwill to our repertoire.  Other ideas for language games:
Scrabble 
Boggle
Bananagrams 
What's Gnu?




Charades
This game encourages logical and sequential thinking as you determine the order of your clues.  You have to learn how to put language into actions or otherwise recognizable pantomiming.  You have to think like your teammates, in order to give them clues they can actually guess.  A lot of fun and critical thinking goes into the guessing too!

Pictionary
I think this one covers a lot of the same skills as Charades, but taps into the artistic side too.  These games are often fast-paced, so you have to be quick-thinking too.

Tri-Ominoes
After you master dominoes, spice it up a bit!

Chess
This game is popular for a reason.  It's an exercise for the mind.  We actually reviewed Chess House last year, and I found the DVD absolutely perfect for us as beginners.

Checkers
Not nearly as intense as chess, but still fun!

Guess Who?
This game is great for a few quick rounds of deductive reasoning with younger kiddos.

Preschool Games
Most of these games help young children learn basic board game rules, but the games are short and simple.  Skills covered usually include counting, matching, shapes or colors.
Candy Land
Topsy Turtle
High Ho Cherry-O
Chutes and Ladders
Memory
Connect 4 (all ages, but easy enough to start in preschool!)
Bingo
Hungry, Hungry, Hippo (see our version)
Any traditional game in a Jr. version - they will be simplified for easier and quicker play!




What are your favorite games?  We are ALWAYS looking for fun recommendations.



If you've missed any of the previous posts in this series:

5 Days of {my} Homeschooling Essentials:  Flexibility
5 Days of {my} Homeschooling Essentials:  Books
5 Days of {my} Homeschooling Essentials:  Manipulatives
5 Days of {my} Homeschooling Essentials:  Games
5 Days of {my} Homeschooling Essentials:  The Community

Now I'm going to share with you 9 other bloggers who are also sharing their Homeschooling Essentials, so be sure to check them out before heading back to the main post.

Erica @ Be The One

Ellen @ Grace Tells Another Story

Jenn @ Treasuring Life's Blessings

Christine @ Our Homeschool Reviews

Michelle @ Delightful Learning

Sharon @ Life with the Tribe

Hillary @ Our Homeschool Studio

Melanie @ FinchNWren 

Heather @ Principled Academy 






©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.  http://www.moms-heart.com

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

5 Days of {my} Homeschooling Essentials: Manipulatives


I firmly believe in interactive, hands-on experiences for children.  I know that many children are auditory or visual learners, but I believe kinesthetic activities are beneficial to all learners, and I strive to provide an environment where my kids can feel free to touch, manipulate, maneuver, examine, investigate and otherwise interact with the material they are learning.  So that leaves me sharing the manipulatives and tools that I like to have on hand for the preschool and early elementary ages.


Science
Binoculars
Magnifying Glass
Microscope
Tongs and Tweezers
Scales
Bug Houses
Butterfly Nets
Measuring Cups & Beakers
Magnets
Telescope
Experiment Books



Mathematics
Dice
Dominoes
Flash Cards (shapes, numbers, math facts--great for making up games)
Rulers
Measuring Tape
Pattern Blocks
Measuring Cups/Spoons
Puzzles
Counting Blocks
Abacus
Tangrams
Geoboards
Judy Clock
Calculators (for play only)
Playing Cards
Play & Real Money
Balance Scale
Judy Clock
Calender
Board Games

Using an electronic counting jar to verify his own counting





Language Arts
Letter Tiles
Magnetic Letters
Flash Cards (words, phonics, etc.--for games)
Dry Erase board and markers
Chalkboard and chalk
Magnetic writing boards
Alphabet Stamps
Journals, Cards, Stationary and materials for a writing center
Crossword Puzzles and other "fun" workbooks
Language based board games








Arts & Crafts
Crayons, Markers, Colored Pencils
Scissors - regular and craft scissors
Construction paper, scrapbook paper, cardboard, etc
Sketch paper, watercolor paper, and other art papers
Watercolor pencils
Watercolor crayons
Various types of paint; paintbrushes
Play-Dough & cookie cutters
Glue & Tape
Oil pastels
Chalk Pastels
Ribbon, twine, string and yarn
Stickers, google eyes, beads, brads and other embellishments
How-To drawing and art books

art supplies




Social Studies
Globe
Maps - world, continent, country, state, local
Atlases
Compass
Timelines 
Dress-up items for historical costumes and role-play
Cultural Music to dance to
Art books with historical art to create
Cookbooks of historical/cultural recipes




What are your hands-on must-haves?



5 Days of {my} Homeschooling Essentials:  Flexibility
5 Days of {my} Homeschooling Essentials:  Books
5 Days of {my} Homeschooling Essentials:  Manipulatives
5 Days of {my} Homeschooling Essentials:  Games
5 Days of {my} Homeschooling Essentials:  Community


Before you head over to the blog hop, check out these 9 featured bloggers who are also sharing their Homeschooling Essentials!

Erica @ Be The One

Ellen @ Grace Tells Another Story

Jenn @ Treasuring Life's Blessings

Christine @ Our Homeschool Reviews

Michelle @ Delightful Learning

Sharon @ Life with the Tribe

Hillary @ Our Homeschool Studio

Melanie @ FinchNWren 

Heather @ Principled Academy 




http://schoolhousereviewcrew.com/5-days-of-homeschooling-essentials-blog-hop/



©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.  http://www.moms-heart.com

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

5 Days of {my} Homeschooling Essentials: Books



We are a literature based, living-book loving homeschool.  Books were always a prized possession of mine as a child, and I hope to pass on the same love of literature to my children.  Books are certainly an essential in {my} homeschool.  You can open the doors to imagination and education wide open with the right books.

"A book worth reading is a book worth buying."  John Ruskin. 

Oh boy.  You see, I seem to have this addiction passion for purchasing children's books.  I very quickly came to the realization that I could not purchase all of my books new, or I would soon be in trouble . . . so I love to find alternative means of acquiring our beloved books inexpensively and even for free.
 
The Library - Obviously.  A library card is important here, because it gets you you nearly unlimited access to many books . . . for FREE.  See?  Essential.  The library is a great way to find out if a book really is worth the investment. 

Book Sales - Our library system has several sales throughout the year, and the local art museum has an annual sale as well.  I love to hit these up, because I never know what I will find, but it is always worth the trip!  Also, the website Book Sale Finder, while ad heavy, can help you find temporary and ongoing book sales.  I've even used it on vacation.  Don't judge.


Homeschooling Essentials:  Books

Thrift Stores/Resale Shops - This is another place where I never know what I will find, but if I spend the time to really look, I can find some gems. 

Imagination Library - I wrote about the Imagination Library when we first signed up.  If it is available in your area, it is a way to get FREE books every month for your children that are under five years old.  My 1 year old currently receives simple board books, but most of the books that we get for my 4 year old have been good to great in terms of quality read-aloud material, and you can easily add to your preschool/early elementary homeschool library this way.

Online - Amazon Kindle Books offers free and inexpensive digital books (you do not need a Kindle, you can download their app on another device or your computer), Librivox has free audio books of public domain works, Books Should Be Free has free public domain audio and ebooks, Storynory is free audio specifically for children, and We Give Books has free picture books and readers online.  The audio books are perfect for the car or quiet time, and the online books are great for a fun treat. 

Reviews - As a blogger, I do a lot of book reviews.  Many times they are books for my own light reading pleasure, but I also review a variety of children's books, geography and history books, and so much more.  It is a really fun way to get new books into the house without spending a small fortune.

Homeschooling Essentials:  Books



What about you?  Do you prefer to use the library, or build your own homeschool library?  How do you add books inexpensively?



If you missed the first installment yesterday, I shared how Flexibility is key!

5 Days of {my} Homeschooling Essentials:  Flexibility
5 Days of {my} Homeschooling Essentials:  Books
5 Days of {my} Homeschooling Essentials:  Manipulatives
5 Days of {my} Homeschooling Essentials:  Games
5 Days of {my} Homeschooling Essentials:  Community



Now before you head out, I'm going to share 9 other bloggers who are also sharing their Homeschooling Essentials, so be sure to check them out!

Erica @ Be The One

Ellen @ Grace Tells Another Story

Jenn @ Treasuring Life's Blessings

Christine @ Our Homeschool Reviews

Michelle @ Delightful Learning

Sharon @ Life with the Tribe

Hillary @ Our Homeschool Studio

Melanie @ FinchNWren 

Heather @ Principled Academy 



Then be sure to head back on over to the hop and check out what my Crew mates are sharing!
http://schoolhousereviewcrew.com/5-days-of-homeschooling-essentials/




©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.  http://www.moms-heart.com

Monday, January 20, 2014

5 Days of {My} Homeschooling Essentials: Flexibility


Every homeschool has "the essentials" that they need for the day to run smoothly.  You know, the perfect curricula, the schedule, the necessary school supplies, the support network . . . all those things that keep mom sane and kids happy.  This week the Schoolhouse Review Crew is doing a  5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials blog hop, where we share those things that we feel are essential to our homeschool.  So if you're feeling like you're in a rut or need to reevaluate, now might be a good time to see how others keep their homeschool running.

The first and most important thing I need for our homeschool is flexibility.  I can plan, research, schedule, and plan some more, but things happen, interests change, learning takes a life of its own.  I can predict how my child will react to a curriculum or a book, but I could predict wrong.  I cannot control the weather the day we have an outdoor field trip.  The library may not have the book I need.  The internet may go out for several days.  Things happen.  Needs change.  I have to be able to react and adapt.

Flexibility allows us to change our schedule for an impromptu trip.

Flexibility allows us to adjust our reading list.

Flexibility allows us to review for the Schoolhouse Review Crew without neglecting other areas of our education.

Flexibility allows us to take nature walks instead of reading about trees in a science book.

Flexibility allows me to change paths when necessary, to open new doors, to follow the spark and light the fire.

Flexibility allows me to challenge my child, and challenge myself.

Flexibility allows us to stop the "work" and cultivate hearts when necessary.  

Over the next four days, I am going to share with you the slightly more tangible essentials of our homeschool, but none of those would matter if I couldn't be flexible. The last six months have seen a lot of changes in my mindset, and that is where I have had to be most flexible.  Remember the challenge thing I just mentioned?  Finding our path has been by trial and error, and not without a few missteps, but because I am open to change, the transition has been, for the most part, fairly painless.  I don't submit to being a stretch-Armstrong, but my flexibility has presented opportunities we might have otherwise missed if I was a by-the-books person.  Yes, flexibility is essential to me.


So here's the lineup for the rest of the week . . . 


5 Days of {my} Homeschooling Essentials:  Flexibility
5 Days of {my} Homeschooling Essentials:  Books
5 Days of {my} Homeschooling Essentials:  Manipulatives
5 Days of {my} Homeschooling Essentials:  Games
5 Days of {my} Homeschooling Essentials:  Community


81. Erica @ Be the One
82. Ellen @ Grace Tells Another Story
83. Jenn @ Treasuring Life’s Blessing
84. Christine @ Our Homeschool Reviews
85. Michelle @ Delightful Learning
86. Sharon @ Life with the Tribe
87. Hillary @ Our Homeschool Studio
88. Melanie @ FinchNWren
89. Brittney @ Mom’s Heart
- See more at: http://schoolhousereviewcrew.com/5-days-of-homeschooling-essentials-blog-hop/#sthash.wkdVKRs3.dpuf

Now I'm going to share 9 other bloggers who are also discussing their Homeschooling Essentials, so be sure to check them out!

Erica @ Be The One

Ellen @ Grace Tells Another Story

Jenn @ Treasuring Life's Blessings

Christine @ Our Homeschool Reviews

Michelle @ Delightful Learning

Sharon @ Life with the Tribe

Hillary @ Our Homeschool Studio

Melanie @ FinchNWren 

Heather @ Principled Academy




Then be sure to head back over to the blog hop and read some more!

http://schoolhousereviewcrew.com/5-days-of-homeschooling-essentials/





©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.  http://www.moms-heart.com

Sunday, January 19, 2014

A Peek into our Homeschool: The Sciences

It's that time of the month again...the next installment in the Virtual Curriculum Fair!  This week's subject is Exploring Our World: Social Studies and more Science---includes history, geography, world cultures, worldview, biology, botany, geology, etc.

image source pear83


In case you're new or haven't realized this yet, this is an area I'm slowly growing passionate about, because I see the spark in my boys when we study science and geography!  Elliott is 7 and in 1st grade.  Emory is 4 (PreK) and likes to tag along.  We are relaxed homeschoolers with a strong Charlotte Mason flair. 

Science
Up until now, we have never used a curriculum for science.  We have mostly focused on nature study and incorporated living books and hands-on projects whenever possible.  I believe children learn best by seeing and doing, and there's no better way to learn science than to get out there and observe nature!

Nature Study - I have written a lot about Nature Study.  Nature Study with Preschoolers is so much fun, because children are naturally curious and love to explore!  My goal is to provide an environment that encourages this natural exploration and investigation.  We've studied birds, farm animals, frogs, cicadas, and anything else that catches our interest.  Now that Elliott is a little older, we're beginning to choose specific topics and focus more in-depth on them.  This year, we have been studying trees and our favorite is the apple tree study.  It's almost time for our winter installment!

apple tree nature study


Science4Us.com - I can't say much for this program yet, but we are reviewing it for the Schoolhouse Review Crew and so far we like it!  Definitely stay tuned for the review.  It is an online curriculum, but has hands-on activities included in the lesson plans.  (It is from the creators of VocabularySpellingCity, which we reviewed earlier this school year.)

Tinkers Club - Admittedly we haven't started this one yet.  It is a course on SchoolhouseTeachers that I was about to start it with Elliott, but with the science review, I'll probably hold on to it for a bit.  I really think it's perfect for a fun supplement for him though, since it's such a hands-on course.



Social Sciences
We tried to follow the Ambleside Online Year 1 History for Elliott, but it was not a good fit.  He was not connecting with the material.  It was draining his enjoyment, so it had to go.  Perhaps he will be ready for those books in another year or two, but for now, we are taking a more general approach to social studies.

The boys learn about the community through active involvement and participation at the bank, grocery store, doctor, dentist, etc.  I encourage them to handle their own transactions (such as handling their money at the bank) and to ask questions if they are curious about anything.

They learn about holidays and traditions as we celebrate them in the home and in the community.

We learn about family and family history through real life experiences, and stories and interactions.  We enjoy being together.  I am about to introduce a little simple genealogy and teach Elliott more about his family tree. 

Elliott is very interested in states and countries, and maps and globes, so we are casually studying geography and world cultures through a variety of living geography resources.


geography



Right now while the boys are young, my goal is a broad exposure to a variety of topics, so I can see what might spark a more definite interest and lead us on our next path of exploration.  



Week 1 - A Peek into our Homeschool:  Language Arts
Week 2 - A Peek into our Homeschool:  Math & Logic
Week 3 - A Peek into our Homeschool:  The Sciences
Week 4 - A Peek into our Homeschool:  Seeking Beauty


The Virtual Curriculum Fair


Now, let’s see how other homeschoolers are Exploring Our World with Social Studies and Science (all links will all be LIVE by noon on 1/20)

A Classical Approach to Ancient World History for All Ages by Susan @ Homeschooling
Hearts & Minds

Supercharged Science's eScience Program by Kristi K. @ The Potter’s Hand Academy

Social Studies & Science Resource Lists by Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses

History and Science: Learning About the World Around Us by Leah@As We Walk Along the Road

Designing a Unit Study for History, Geography, or Science by Amy @ Eclectic Homeschooling

Virtual Curriculum Fair:  Social Studies by Joelle @ Homeschool for His Glory

Uncle Sam & You- Notgrass by Lynn @ Ladybug Chronicles

My Favorite History Books for Boys by Monique @ Living Life and Learning

Social Studies in Our Homeschool by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World

Our Curriculum Choices 2014 ~ History & Science by Renata @ Sunnyside Farm Fun

We're having a Social Studies-heavy Year by Debra @ Footprints in the Butter

Our Journey Around the World by Laura @ Four Little Penguins

My Favourite Social Studies Curriculum by Kim @ Homestead Acres

Raising Map Nuts: Learning Geography Naturally by Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset

The Whos, Wheres and Whys by Michele P @Family, Faith and Fridays

Exploring Our World: Social Studies and Science in our Classical Homeschool by Sharra @ The
Homeschool Marm

Time Travel Throughout the World {or History and Geography in Our Homeschool} by HillaryM
@ Our Homeschool Studio

Virtual Curriculum Fair Week 3: Exploring Our World – Social Studies and More Science by Stacie @ Super Mommy To The Rescue

Why We're Ditching Story of the World by Tauna @ Proverbial Homemaker





©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.  http://www.moms-heart.com