Our Little Pumpkin Snowman

I found a new use for our tiny pumpkins after Thanksgiving was over this year. A couple of weeks into December I realized I should do something with them. I had seen a post where someone had taken some large pumpkins, power drills and white paint and created a snowman for the front porch. I figured I try it on a smaller scale.

First the five year old painted the pumpkins white with craft paint. Then I glued them together (hot glue or super glue is best, craft glue is gummy), three stacked high. Next we painted a little face and buttons down his front. Then the eight year old crocheted a little red scarf and I whipped stitched him up a cute top hat from some felt scraps (trace and cut a big circle, cut a small circle out of the center and then cut a rectangle to size and stitch the three together).

Isn’t he cute? We’ll have to do this next year too.

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Homeschool Book List: Pre-K through 2nd Grades

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Here’s the books we’re using this year organized by grade level. The list includes suggested books for Pre-K up through Second Grade. If you’d like to see a list organized by subject, you can visit the Bookcase in the School House.

Note: The links below are Amazon Affiliate links. See Disclosure here.

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Curriculum:

The Well-Trained Mind, by Susan Wise-Bauer
The Noah Plan Literature Curriculum Guide
The Noah Plan History and Geography Curriculum Guide


Pre-K/Kindergarten:

Literature: (books to read aloud)
The Little House In the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little House on the Prairie, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
On the Banks of Plum Creek, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
By the Shores of Silver Lake, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little Town on the Prairie, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
The First Four Years, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
These Happy Golden Years, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
On the Way Home, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Little House Cookbook 

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Homemade mini-abacus

Math:
Right Start Math Abacus
Math Made Easy: Kindergarten Workbook
Math 1: Homeschool Kit (Homeschool Math Grade 1)
Math In A Flash – Addition Card Set
Math Manipulative Kit (for Saxon K-3)

Phonograms/Spelling:
Writing Road to Reading, by Spalding

Reading:
Bob Books, Set 1: Beginning Readers
Little Owl Book Set 1-8
Little Books 1-10
Dr. Seuss’s Beginner Book Collection

Bible:
The Child’s Story Bible

Science:
Bubbles, Rainbows and Worms
First Animal Encyclopedia
Nat Geo Wild Animal Atlas
Animal Atlas: Animal Passport

Geography:
State-by-State Atlas
Fabric Panel World Map

Art:
My Very First Art Book
Drawing With Children

Kindergarten/First Grade:

First day of schoo

First day of school

Literature: (books to read aloud)
The Little House In the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little House on the Prairie, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
On the Banks of Plum Creek, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
By the Shores of Silver Lake, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little Town on the Prairie, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
The First Four Years, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
These Happy Golden Years, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
On the Way Home, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Little House Cookbook
Hans Christian Andersen: The Complete Fairy Tales and Stories

Math:
Right Start Math Abacus
Saxon Math 2: Home Study Kit
Math In A Flash – Addition Card Set
Math In A Flash Subtraction Flash Cards
Math Manipulative Kit (for Saxon K-3)

Phonograms/Spelling:
Writing Road to Reading, by Spalding

Little Owl BooksReading:
Bob Books, Set 1: Beginning Readers
Little Owl Book Set 1-8
Little Books 1-10 
Dr. Seuss’s Beginner Book Collection
Bob Books Set 2
BOB Books: Sight Words: Kindergarten
Danny and the Dinosaur
Little Bear (An I Can Read Book)
King Jack and the Dragon
Caps for Sale
Nutshell Library (Caldecott Collection)

History:
The Story of the World
Past Worlds: “The Times” Atlas of Archaeology

Bible:
The Child’s Story Bible
Little Pilgrim’s Progress
The Westminster Shorter Catechism
Bible Atlas

Fabric map panel for geography games.

Fabric map panel for geography games.

Science:
Know Your Body: The Atlas of Anatomy
The Body Book

Geography:
Fabric Panel World Map

Art:
Drawing With Children
Art: Over 2,500 Works
Art: A World History
365 Things to Draw and Paint (Activity Books)

Music:
Meet the Great Composers Book 1
Meet the Great Composers: Book 2

First Grade/Second Grade:

Literature: (books to read aloud)
Hans Christian Andersen: The Complete Fairy Tales and Stories (books to read aloud)
The Lord of the Rings: 50th Anniversary, One Vol. Edition (books to read aloud)
The Chronicles of Narnia (books to read aloud)
Heidi, by Johanna Spyri

Math:
Right Start Math Abacus
Saxon Math 3 Homeschool Kit
Math In A Flash – Addition Card Set
Math In A Flash Subtraction Flash Cards
Math In A Flash Multiplication Flash Cards
Math Manipulative Kit (for Saxon K-3)

copy books

Three kids working on their copy books.

Phonograms/Spelling:
Writing Road to Reading, by Spalding

Reading:
Bob Books, Set 1: Beginning Readers
Dr. Seuss’s Beginner Book Collection
Bob Books Set 2
BOB Books: Sight Words: Kindergarten
Danny and the Dinosaur
Little Bear (An I Can Read Book)
King Jack and the Dragon
Caps for Sale
Nutshell Library (Caldecott Collection)
Bob Books: Sight Words, 1st Grade
Bob Books: Rhyming Words
Penny and Her Doll (I Can Read Book 1)
Penny and Her Song (I Can Read Book 1)
Penny and Her Marble (I Can Read Book 1)
Biscuit (My First I Can Read)
Biscuit Goes to School (My First I Can Read)
Mr. Putter & Tabby Pour the Tea
Mr. Putter & Tabby Feed the Fish
Mr. Putter & Tabby See the Stars
Mr. Putter & Tabby Take the Train
Mr. Putter & Tabby Spin the Yarn
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
If You Take a Mouse to School
If You Take a Mouse to the Movies

History:
The Story of the World Vol. 2

Bible:
The Child’s Story Bible
Little Pilgrim’s Progress
The Westminster Shorter Catechism
Bible Atlas

Science:
Exploring Creation With Astronomy
Astronomy by Memoria Press

Geography:
Merriam-Webster’s Student Atlas
Fabric Panel World Map

Latin:
Prima Latina Set
Lingua Angelica I, student book
Lingua Angelica CD
Lingua Angelica Song Book
Lingua Angelica I Teacher Manual

Art:
Drawing With Children
Art: Over 2,500 Works
Art: A World History
365 Things to Draw and Paint (Activity Books)

Music:
Lingua Angelica I, student book
Lingua Angelica CD
Lingua Angelica Song Book
Lingua Angelica I Teacher Manual

 

Older Grades:

If you have an older child and need suggestions for what to use with them consider these….

Curriculum: The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise-Bauer, Veritas Press
Math: Saxon Math, choose the appropriate grade level
Phonograms/Spelling: Writing Road to Reading or Spelling Power
Reading/Literature: choose readers or classic literature based on their reading/grade level from the public library. The Book Tree is a good resource if you need suggestions based on grade level or want to know what grade level a book is at. It reviews quality literature and gives a synopsis of each book.|
History: The Story of the World  series. Choose the one based on the age/grade of your child. Or Beautiful Feet has many good resources for a literature based approach to history.
Science: Apologia Science offers rigorous science programs for elementary, middle school and high school. Note: this is a creation based science curriculum.
Geography: The Noah Plan History and Geography Curriculum Guide
Art:Drawing With Children

DIY floor sized game boards

Turn your floor into a game board using fabric panels.

Your children become the game pieces which means they get to have fun, learn and move all at the same time.

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We use this fabric map panel in our homeschool all the time. It’s a great way to test their knowledge of continents, oceans, countries and cardinal directions as they move around the map.

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My preschooler loves this Brown Bear panel. I originally found this on Amazon, but it doesn’t seem to be available right now. We turn this in to a Twister type game which ends up with kids all tangled up in piles on the floor. Loads of fun.

There are also these The Cat In The Hat fabric panels and Sesame Street fabric panels if your child likes those.

I’ve found that Walmart is also a good place to find things like this. The nice thing is that because you can purchase just one panel width, two of the fabric edges are the selvages which means that they don’t need to be hemmed. Fold over the two raw edges, give it a quick stitch and you have a game board that folds up easily for storage, won’t break and can easily be taken anywhere. Or if you’re like me, you won’t get around to hemming it and you’ll just use it anyway. 🙂

Enjoy your fun and games!

Note: Some links in this post are affiliate links. Full Disclosure here.

Summer Learning Activities

The school year is ending. Now, what do we do with these kids all summer? Listed here are some toys, games and  activities that I like to fall back on when my kids need something to do and I want their brains to be engaged. The ideas listed here are all indoor ideas and are geared for Pre-K to 2nd grade. Congratulations on coming to the end of your school year. I hope it was a successful one and that the summer holds great things to com!

Note: Most of the links here are Amazon Affiliate links, which means that I’ll get a few pennies if you click on one and purchase something. Full Disclosure here.

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Indoor SandboxThis is what we pull out on days where we can’t go outside to play. Good for sweltering summery days where you want to stay in the air-conditioning.

Our indoor sandbox.

Our indoor sandbox.

Puzzles:

Chess:

Checkers:

Card Games:

Memory/Matching Games:

Board Games:


Coloring:


Note: I prefer that my kids color with colored pencils as they are somewhat eraseable, and harder for the little ones to eat than crayons and markers. Also since they have no erasers, the toddler can’t bite them off the end of the pencil and choke on it. Good all the way around. I like Crayola best and they have the boldest color.

Paint:

Floor Games:

We turned this fabric map into a quick geography game. Each kid gets to travel around the world by stepping on the location named. Or have race and see who can get there first.

 

Playdough:

Teddy Bear and Mickey Mouse Pancakes

5.30.14 032So I reverted back to my childhood this week. I woke up one morning thinking about how my mom used to make us teddy-bear pancakes. She would pour the batter in such a way as to create a tummy, head with ears, and arms and legs. She decorated the face of our pancakes with raisins for eyes and mouth. I don’t much like raisins, so I gave into temptation and used chocolate chips instead. Not the healthier choice I admit. But tasty. Growing up we always had such fun eating him in pieces. And I got to watch my kids do the same thing. “Oh no, I’m eating his leg. He doesn’t have any legs.” “Uh-oh, I ate his ears.” Such fun. I remember my brothers and I doing the exact same thing. And in the midst of cooking teddy bears my two-year-old, who has a thing for Mickey Mouse at the moment asked for a “Miss Mouse” pancake as she calls it. So we made a few of those too (pictured).

I have an allergy friendly pancake recipe which is gluten, dairy, egg-white, soy and nut free. Or if you don’t have any food restrictions you can just substitute 3 cups of your favorite wheat or spelt flour for the flours listed, use 2-3 whole eggs (rather than yolks) and use regular cow’s milk in place of the milk suggested.

Teddy bears sure do make for a yummy breakfast.

Cooking in the cast-iron skillet.

Cooking in the cast-iron skillet.

 

Molasses ears and a messy maple syrup face.

Molasses ears and a messy maple syrup face.

 

Garnished with bananas.

Garnished with bananas.

 

The Teddy Bear that started it all. :)

The Teddy Bear that started it all. 🙂

DIY Crayon Rocks


How many of you have seen these Crayon Rocks? They are great because they travel easily and they are easy for little ones to grasp. They don’t crumble when they get stuffed down in the bottom of your bag, and of course the little red bag that they come with is very cute and trendy. But, at $10 per bag it’s pricey for crayons.

2.13.14 013I admit, I did buy a bag that I found locally for half the regular retail price as a treat for the kids. But, then I got to thinking, why not make my own? It’s easy.

To begin, start saving all those tiny bits of crayons that you would normally throw in the trash. Once you have a handful collected, fill up each heart in this Silicone Heart Mold (affiliate link) with pieces of the crayon of the same color. This particular mold is the best I’ve found for mimicking the shape and feel of the crayon rocks. The resulting crayons are small, and the indentation in the mold makes them easy to grasp. Set the mold filled with the crayon bits on a cookie sheet for support and pop it in the oven on 200 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until they are all melted. Let them cool completely, pop them out of the mold and the kids are ready to color. Find a cute cloth bag to store them in (or go the easy route and use a plastic baggie) and you’re all set.

Molten crayon wax. Just removed from the oven.

Molten crayon wax. Just removed from the oven.

 

A bucket full of crayons.

A bucket full of crayons.

 

Pretty.

Pretty.

 

 

Snow Day Activity: Indoor Sandbox

We pulled out the indoor sandbox today that we made this summer.
Works on snow days as well as blazing hot ones. So imagine the same kids pictured below playing today in long-sleeves and sweaters.

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What to do when you’re stuck inside due to snow,
single-digit temperatures and 30 mph winds?

Today we pulled out our indoor sandbox.

Spread a large sheet on the carpet (as pictured above).

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Raid the pantry for all the partial bags of old
beans, rice, lentils that hadn’t been used in ages.

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Dump them all in.

Instant “sandbox.”

We used the box that our building blocks are usually stored in, but you could also use a cardboard box, lego tubs, laundry baskets, dishpan, canvas storage boxes, an old suitcase or even a large plastic or stainless steel mixing bowl.

(Note: Obviously this activity would not be appropriate for babies or young
children who still put things in their mouths. Lots of choking hazards here.)

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Add some colored toys or manipuatives and you have an
instant sensory, color sorting game.

Grab some cups and spoons and start digging.