Friday, August 30, 2013

Greene Bark Press (Schoolhouse Review)

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We love books in our house and we are always looking for fun new titles.  There's just something special about sitting on the couch and having my favorite little people curl up beside me as I read to them.  If the book offers a unique lesson, then that's a bonus!  Recently, Greene Bark Press offered the Schoolhouse Review Crew the opportunity to review the book Look Left, Look Right, Look Left Again by Ginger Pate.

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Look Left, Look Right, Look Left Again ($8.50) is a cute board book that appeals to a wide age-range.  In the story, Wally Waddlewater wants to send a card to his grandmother, but he doesn't know how to cross the street.  On his journey, his mother teaches him about how to safely cross the street, train tracks and other dangerous areas.

This is an important topic for young children to learn early.  You don't see many books that address safety topics in story form, and I appreciated that it was engaging for kids.  It is geared for 3-8 year old children, and I find this fairly accurate.  My 4 year old really enjoyed the book, while even my 6 year old didn't mind that I was reading a board book.  {I can't see him being interested for another year or two however, so eight years old might be a stretch in some cases.}

My 4 year old is a little impulsive when it comes to parking lots and crossing the street, especially if part of the family has had a head start.  He tries to catch up, and I worry because he doesn't take the time to look around and pay attention, but now we repeat "look left, look right, look left again!"  I always said "left, right, left" to the kids before, but it's always more fun when it comes from someone named Wally Waddlewater!

Emory reading to his baby sister.

The illustrations by Rhett Ransom Pennell are fun for young children.  I found both my boys browsing the book on their own, and I consider that a positive sign.  Even baby sister enjoyed babbling at little Wally!

Greene Bark Press specializes in printed books that offer originality, imagery and colorfulness.  They also offer toys and educational products from reputable companies.  Their shipping in the contiguous U.S. is a flat rate of $7.95, while shipping to Alaska, Hawaii and international locations will vary.  All prices at the time of this post are accurate, but are subject to change.

You can also read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew!

©2011-2013 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.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Preschool Play

This picture is linked up to Wordless Wednesday at Only Passionate Curiosity and Beauty Captured at The Pebble Pond.

©2011-2013 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.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

An Interview with the Birthday Boy

My baby Emory recently celebrated his birthday!  He says he's not a baby anymore, and I guess at 4 years old he's technically right.  He's not even the baby of the family anymore, but I am having a really hard time with this one.  Emory is excited to be starting Pre-K at home with us and about moving up in his outside classes.  He is rotten to the core, and he is all boy!  He's spunky and spirited and outgoing and loving.  I decided to interview him for his birthday, because he's the type of kid who will make up random answers to easy questions just for fun, and I wanted to see what he would say.  I'm finally getting around to posting it!

How old are you?  4  *gasp*  I'm 4!

What's your favorite color?  Green.  Red, my favorite color's red.  {It's green!}

What's your favorite food?  Tacos!  But I don't like chicken because it's nasty when it has something on it.  {He did not like my chicken tacos about a week before this interview}

What do you like to learn about?  Uh, I like um...well, you know, I uh...I like to learn about...uh, mmm...uh, you know... {or something to that effect anyway}

What do you like to play?  Dominoes  {He likes to build things with dominoes, not play the actual game of Dominoes}

What's your favorite movie?  Mickey Mouse {This would not have been mom's guess!}

What's your favorite book?  Spider-Man

What do you want to be when you grow up?  Santa.  I want to be Santa for Halloween.

And, just for fun . . .

©2011-2013 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.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What Little Boys are Made Of . . .

What are little boys made of?
Snips and snails
And puppy dog tails
That's what little boys are made of!

This post is linked up with Blogging Through the Alphabet at Ben and Me, Wordless Wednesday at Only Passionate Curiosity and Beauty Captured at The Pebble Pond.

©2011-2013 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.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Nature Study: Apple Tree Study

I recently mentioned that our curriculum's nature study suggestion for this term is trees/shrubs/vines, and that we are focusing mostly on trees because they are easily accessible for even my youngest to study and enjoy.  We chose two trees that have noticeable differences throughout the year to focus on for our seasonal tree studies.  We started with the Mimosa Tree Study, and now I'm going to share the first leg of our Apple Tree Study.

This post contains affiliate links.  Please read my disclosure for more information and thank you.

There are a couple of apple trees just outside our yard, so we spent a few days observing them for our summer installment.  Summer is obviously a great time to study an apple tree as the fruit is coming in.  I used the Handbook of Nature Study for reference.  I've only used the section on trees so far, but after browsing through the book, I am already so glad I made this purchase!  It looks like it is going to be a fantastic resource, and I can see why it comes highly recommended for nature study.

I asked Elliott to draw the tree (Emory is welcome to participate, but at his age he is not required and he chose to draw something else).

The notebooking page is from the Handbook of Nature Study blog.

It's covered in apples.  It has green leaves.  The apples are different colors.  They are red and green.  Some of them were big and some were small.  Some had worm holes in them.  Some had fallen on the ground.  Emory found three exoskeletons.  ~Elliott's narration

{Emory found cicada exoskeletons, which started us on another nature study adventure, for another post!}

As you can see, part of our nature study just focused on discussing the different colors and sizes of the apples, and how the position on the tree affects the color and ripening of the apple.  We noticed the apples on the ground were often bruised, full of holes and rotten, compared to the apples on the tree.

"It's full of bugs!"

We picked up several wind-fallen apples to examine up close.  I discouraged the children from picking any healthy fruit off the trees for now, so they can continue to ripen.

Inside, we cut open our apples.  As suggested in The Handbook of Nature Study, I cut one apple along the core.

I cut another apple across the core, so we could see the "star" inside.

Elliott completed a life cycle of the apple page.

He also completed a generic "parts of the apple" craft.  I had some large die-cut shapes, so I gave each boy an apple.  They cut out the middle, and cut the core from off-white construction paper, using specialty scissors.  He drew on the seeds, and I printed off the words for him to label the parts of the apple.

Emory was thrilled to have his own activities.  He was actually asking for a picture of a forest to color (I don't really know why . . . ) so he was happy when I found this apple coloring page.  He worked diligently to color every single apple very slowly and carefully within the lines, then he filled in the leaves all around it!

He also decided that he didn't want to eat his apple, so he discarded the paper core and glued his apple back together.

Of course, we had to eat some apples too!

I can't wait until Autumn when we do our next Tree Study installments!

©2011-2013 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.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Random Five on Friday

1.  We started back to school this week.  {First Day Pictures}  I hadn't initially planned to take the summer off, but then we moved back home and it just happened.  So right now we're easing back into things.  Elliott is doing the basics, and we're doing a mini-unit on the ocean since we're taking a trip to the beach soon.  Once we come home from our trip, we'll start AO Year 1.

2.  I forgot to share about Eleanor's doctor's appointment last week.  It went well, and she went from 12 lbs 8 oz at 5 1/2 months (8th percentile) to 14 lbs 4 oz (between 15-20th percentile) at 6 1/2 months.  My little munckin' is starting to pack on the pounds.  She hates tummy time, but she is starting to scoot around on her bottom.

3.  I found these free Lego Man Coloring Pages and my boys have loved coloring their own Lego characters.  They make for a great break between subjects during schoolwork.

4.  In the past, Elliott has complained that he has to do boring stuff (reading practice and math) and Emory gets to do fun things for school.  Emory usually plays with math manipulatives or blocks nearby during school.  Today Elliott asked if he could do play-doh for school, since Emory's playdough set was out.  Well yes son, you can!  I remembered seeing this Sight Word Activity on Pinterest, and decided to follow the rabbit trail (originally from First Grade Fever) to print out a few sight words for him.  This was a win-win for us.  He got to "play" and I still had him reviewing something!

5.  Emory just recently turned 4 years old!  He moves up from nursery to Jr. Church, and from nursery to PreK at co-op.  I can't believe it.  We're going to have some Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fun this weekend!  I did a birthday interview with him, I will have to share it later!

This post is linked up to Random Five on Friday at The Pebble Pond!

©2011-2013 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.

Understanding Child Brain Development {Schoolhouse Review}

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The Family Hope Center is an international center for the development of children that specializes in helping families with children of special needs.  Their desire is to empower parents with the tools to heal their children and help their child reach their fullest potential.  They do not want children to be limited by the labels that the medical community puts on them.  The Family Hope Center has developed a DVD called Understanding Child Brain Development that I was interested in viewing.  While The Family Hope Center does focus on helping children with autism, down syndrome, ADHD, brain injury and other special needs, and my own family does not fall into this category, I was still interested to see how it might apply to the "average" child.

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The directors of Family Hope Center, Matthew and Carol Newell, are child brain development specialists and give a very interesting presentation.  Understanding Child Brain Development is essentially a seminar that explains how the brain develops from birth, and how Family Hope Center utilizes this information to work with families and teach them how to help their children.  They give very technical information in very easy to understand terminology, to help parents see how specific parts of the brain control various behaviors, actions and development.

I was very intrigued with the information about infants, and how humans are the only mammals who put newborns on their back immediately after birth, and how we do not allow our children enough time on their stomachs.  Being on the stomach helps aid in sleep, digestion and neurological development.  I found that interesting, because we are told Back To Sleep for infants, but my middle child did not sleep well at all until he learned to roll, and then he started sleeping much more peacefully on his stomach.  He went on to discuss how tummy time leads to creeping and crawling, which a baby's brain needs to develop properly, but when we move our child from playpen, to swing to bouncy seat to other baby gear, they aren't getting that important time on their stomachs, sometimes skipping the crawling stage altogether, and this could lead to other issues down the road.  I was interesting to hear how The Family Hope Center uses creeping and crawling in their therapy even for for sensory issues, dyslexia or coordination issues.  This is definitely something I haven't heard much about, but could merit more research on my part.

The presentation is not going to diagnose anything in your child, and it's not meant to teach you how to "fix" a so-called problem.  It's meant to help you understand your child and recognize that your child is not just a list of symptoms.  The purpose is to help you recognize that your child has potential beyond a diagnosis, and there are ways you can improve their wellness.  You can take small steps at home, and of course, you can look further into Family Hope Center if it is something of interest to you.  The presentation is not flashy or modern, but it is straightforward.  I think the information presented is thorough, interesting and valuable to parents and caregivers.  The topics discussed are relevant to many people, and I also think the seminar would be appropriate for teenagers or college students interested in education or medicine.

The DVD runs approximately 2 hours and is $19.00.  To order, you can call 610-397-1737 or you may order Understanding Child Brain Development from IEW.

Be sure to check out the rest of the schoolhouse review crews on Understanding Child Brain Development.

This image contains my FTC statement for reviews

©2011-2013 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.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

First Day of School 2013


{If his pictures are any indication of how the school year is going to go...I'm in trouble!}


Our first day was August 13th, 2013.  The signs are from One Sweet Party.

This post is linked up with Wordless Wednesday @ Only Passionately Curiosity and Beauty Captured @ The Pebble Pond and Student Photo Week @ iHomeschool Network.

©2011-2013 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.

Monday, August 12, 2013

For the Love of Books

U is for Unexpected!

You know that feeling you get when you receive an unexpected little present from someone?  That's how I felt less than two weeks ago.  My husband's brother lives about an hour away, and he was down to go fishing with their dad.  While we were visiting, he mentioned that his wife sent a box full of textbooks and things for me, because they were the right age for my boys.   I don't know what I was really expecting, maybe a textbook or two or some workbooks.  What I got was an unexpected surprise.  I was completely blown away with this box!

This post may contain affiliate links; please see my disclosure for more information.

The first thing I saw were books.  Living Books.  Books that we've read and enjoyed, books that are on my favorite go-to read aloud lists for children, books with Newbery and Caldecott Medals.  Be Still My Heart!  Titles like Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag, Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton, The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats and more!  There were also a few board books, which will go in Eleanor's room.

She's also a school teacher (and has homeschooled) so there were other things she passed on to me as well.  There were workbooks, a few issues of The Mailbox Magazine, some teaching aids, a couple of art books from the children's art series Come Look with Me and a few other random books and art supplies.

Then . . . there were also 35 Readers!

The readers are various levels, and one of them is actually a 10-in-1 Storybook, so there is a great variety of reading practice here for Elliott.  Some are classics like Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik, Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish and Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel, others are I Spy books, and there are other familiar authors like Cynthia Rylant and Seymour Simon.  I'm not a fan of making trips to the library, so having a nice set of readers for the boys makes me happy!

Very Blessed
As I was writing about that unexpected surprise, it made me think of how very blessed I am to have married into my husband's family.  Everyone jokes about their in-laws, but mine are actually pretty awesome.  My husband has two older sisters, an older brother and a twin brother.  Between the 5 children and spouses, there are 13 grandchildren, ranging from 18 down to 6 months.  When you add in his parents and grandparents, family functions can get chaotic and loud!  However, it's always a fun and special time.  I can honestly say that they are all good people with big hearts.  My husband and I come from backgrounds that are similar in some ways, yet completely opposite in others, and they've accepted my differences and welcomed me into their family anyway.  Very is hardly adequate enough to describe how blessed I am and how much I love my husband's family.

Plus, it doesn't hurt that they spoil me and like to support my book habit!

This post is part of Marcy's Blogging through the Alphabet Challenge, so be sure to check out what others are sharing for V this week!

©2011-2013 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.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Living Books for Preschoolers

Today is the last day of the 5 Days of Charlotte Mason Preschool series!  The last method I am going to discuss is Living Books.

I want to say that the reason I saved Living Books for the last day is because they're not really the most important element of a preschool.  The focus should still be on outdoor time and habit training.

That being said, we do know that books are important, and it is well-established that reading frequently to children promotes literacy.  Plus, cuddling together with a good book is a precious way to bond with your child.  So when you are reading and making those memories, you should be choosing quality literature that is worth your time and is positively influencing your child.

Twaddle vs. Living Books

Charlotte Mason warned us against a little thing called twaddle.  Twaddle is any book that talks down to your child, uses simple language and offers nothing of value.  Generally, any book that makes you cringe every time your child brings it to you is probably considered twaddle.  If you find yourself skipping pages to make the book end, it is probably twaddle.  Now, that's not to say that everyone is going to agree on what is considered twaddle, and what I love, you may not find appropriate for your family.  While it is somewhat subjective, the point is, why read something to your child when it is a waste of time?

Instead, we should be sharing wonderful stories with our children.  Living books are full of rich and often poetic vocabulary.  They offer beautiful thoughts, inspirational messages or transport you right into the story.

If you start reading living books early and consistently, it will help your child develop an appreciation for literature.

This post contains affiliate links, thank you for your support.

Favorite Books for Toddlers & Preschoolers

Big Red BarnGoodnight Moon and others by Margaret Wise Brown

The Very Hungry Caterpillar and others by by Eric Carle

Chicka Boom Chicka Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault

Blueberries for Sal and other Robert McCloskey books

Katy No-Pocket by Emmy Payne

Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne (the original series)

The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper

The Real Mother Goose illustrated by Blanche Fisher Wright

Curious George and other original George stories by Margeret and H.A. Ray

The Pokey Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

The Salamander Room by Anne Mazer

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

Peter Rabbit and other Beatrix Potter stories

This is by no means an exhaustive list.  It's just a sampling of books we've enjoyed in our family, but I am wondering...what's YOUR favorite book for preschoolers?

One thing I always try to remember, that as much as I love books - and buying them - quality is always better than quantity.  If it doesn't look like a book I'd want to read more than once, I probably will not by it.  It's better to read only a few good books to your children than many worthless books.  If you carefully choose the books you offer to your preschooler, you will find that you too will delight in reading their favorite books over and over again.

Year 0 Book List from Ambleside Online & Year 0 Audio & Other Resources
Favorite Read-Aloud Books for Preschoolers from Simply Charlotte Mason
Before Five in a Row and Five in a Row Book Lists
Librivox - free audio versions of public domain books, stories, and poems

Day 1:  Beginning a Charlotte Mason Preschool
Day 2:  Nature Study for Curious Preschoolers
Day 3:  Introducing Handicrafts to Your Preschooler
Day 4:  Fine Arts for Preschoolers
Day 5:  Living Books Preschoolers

©2011-2013 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.