Sunday, November 29, 2009

Favorite Stories

All children and even families have their favorite stories which they love to encounter time and time again. We never grow tired of them and even as children grow they always remember those special stories and even know them by heart. I was thrilled when I saw that Story Time Felts had incorporated some felt figures to be utilized with the telling of these stories into their product line. However, they do not have the same title, for instance our favorite story is "The Napping House," figures to utilize to tell the story are called nap time. There are felt figures to utilize for telling other favorites such as "Where The Wild Things Are," "Rainbow Fish," "Love You Forever," another one of our favorites and more. These figures do not come with a felt board however, you can purchase a small board or make your own. Children will love being able to place the pieces on the felt board as the story is being read. They may even enjoy taking them into their bath wetting them and sticking them to the wall.

Figures to Tell Favorite Stories

Felt Boards

Literacy for a Lifetime

This is a program set up by Usborne Books and More. It is a grant matching program where companies, corporations, foundations along with individuals can team up with Usborne to support local educational institutions such as schools, libraries, daycares and more. This helps to supply these institutions with quality books to aid in the education of children. How does it work?

Make a donation to an educational institution of $200.00 or more, which is then forwarded to Usborne.

Usborne will then match every $200.00 an up with a 50% grant.

The institute receiving the books is able to chose their books from over 1300 titles.

This program can be utilized as grant money becomes available as many times as an institute desires. There is no cap on the amount which is donated or can be matched.

Donations made to the grant program are tax deductible.

To find out more about Literacy for a Lifetime please email me at

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Can you Find????

If your child/children are like mine they love look and find books. These books are guaranteed to be a hit on a rainy day, while waiting at the doctor's office or on long trips. The benefits of these books is that they draw children into them getting them caught up in the hunt. You will love the quite they bring to those visits to the doctor's office where you can wait for hours. We flew to Hawaii (a nine hour flight plus a lay over)the boys had a bunch of look and find books which made the trip less stressful for me. It is worth the money to have a child happy with a book in their hands verses an electronic device. And let's face it a book costs less money than an electronic device or their add ons. Plus it is proven that books have more educational value then even electronic learning tools. The 1001 things to spot books will be beneficial to younger children learning their numbers. Older children will have fun looking for images while learning interesting facts with the Great Search Titles.

Look and Find Books
You will love the large assortment and various topics which are available. Buying online is not only quick, but easy.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Utilize all the Learning Styles to Teach

It can be hard to determine which program will be the most effective for the way a child learns. While their primary way of learning maybe one style they may prefer to learn, say math utilizing another. I found this out the hard way and that was when I started allowing the children choices about what programs they felt would be best for them. This has saved us time, money and frustration. It is not always smooth sailing and this is when another learning style is utilized to back up information which has been perceived, yet is not clear. Sticking with math as the example how could an educator incorporate all three learning styles? Audio is easy because you are talking to the student, however other forms of audio might serve better for a student, such as a CD. To see math instructors could utilize measuring cups to find out which is more a 1/2 or a 1/4. Other items around the house could become manipulatives, we used the boys small animals. We also use a dry erase board to really break down concepts. The above suggestions would also fall into the kinetic learning style as well as visual. Some programs incorporate both audio and visual, Math U See is one of them. Computer programs incorporate all three learning styles, but I recommend utilizing these as a supplement and not as a main program. The one thing that I did with my children when it came to math was to utilize their interest. It was amazing how quickly concepts were grasped when we were subtracting games or cookies. Spending time with students allows the educator to get a better understanding of how a child learns best. It is especially important to listen to what children say, think and feel about the programs they are using. If they are not happy with it they will have a much harder time learning. Chose a variety (I usually do three) of programs for a subject then sit down with the child and let them chose. While math was utilized for this discussion a little bit of creativity is all that is needed to incorporate all the learning styles for any subject.

While I like to include links for all my blogs, I was saddened not to find any articles which I felt would be beneficial. If anyone knows of some or one please comment on this post.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Learning Styles

An individual commented on my last blog, referring to how important it is to know how a child learns when choosing programs. Funny I was planning on blogging on that very topic.

Understanding how an individual learns aids in an educators ability to transmit information successfully. For years there have been three primary ways in which individuals learn kinetic, audio and visual. A recent article I read suggests a fourth digital. It is also known that while individuals tend to utilize more than one learning style, there is one primary way which they learn best. By incorporating all of the learning styles into teaching, an individual can be certain that information will be digested. For instance while I was participating in online classes I had information given to me in a variety of ways. I had the text book (visual,) online chats(audio,) power point presentations (visual,) which also incorporated interactive games (kinetic.) While it was all the same information I felt by utilizing all three learning styles I retained information much more effectively. This way of teaching children not only holds a greater guarantee for retention, but also makes learning more fun and interesting.

Tune in tomorrow for more on teaching utilizing all of the learning styles.

Didax Learning Styles

What's Your Learning Style

Friday, November 20, 2009

Chosing Homeschool Curriculum

This a topic which has been written about time and time again. I believe I may have some new information for homeschoolers just starting out. I don't want to discourage anyone, but only encourage. The discouraging news is that sometimes it takes purchasing and utilizing various programs for either one subject or more which a child may be struggling with. When I was homeschooling my oldest she had a hard time with math, we tried a variety of publishers before we found the one that worked best for her. The up point was that we did find something to fit the way she learned and took in information. Another up point for me was that I had two more behind her. While we still went searching for my oldest son for math also, the choice for my youngest was easy. My point is that choosing curriculum is not always easy. Some ways to narrow down choices include talking with your child about the program they are using, find out what they like and don't like. Take that information and visit a homeschool message board for some advice from others. A homeschool support group is useful for advice also. Look at reviews, while they are one individuals opinion they can be helpful. Once a choice is narrowed down ask the child what they think, Christian Book Distributors has samples from the majority of the books they carry which can be very helpful. Lastly talk to other homeschoolers to see if they might have the program you are interested in. This will gives individuals the opportunity to look at it more closely. Don't forget to let the child in on this decision, after all they are the one who will be using it. If the individual who allows a viewing is not utilizing the program they may let you borrow it. Some homeschool support groups have libraries, this is another place to look.

I have a nice collection of different programs and would love to start a lending library to help homeschoolers with situations like this. However due to lack of interest it has never happened.

Homeschool Reviews
While one will not find everything here there is a variety of reviews available. I have utilized this site before and found it helpful.

A Homeschool Review
This is a Yahoo group I belong, it is very helpful. Because this link is direct and I am already a member it may not work. However, by searching for the title of the group one should be able to find it.

Pinson Mounds

Today we are taking a field trip to Pinson Mounds here in West Tennessee. This state park is an archaeological park, which is home to fifteen earth mounds. These earth mounds are said to be created by the Native Americans to conduct various ceremonies. There is also a small but well stocked museum containing many Native American artifacts (shown above.) There is also a theater located within the museum as well. There are a variety of hiking trails where individuals will discover knowledge about the Native Americans who once lived there.

We will enjoy a lunch with the homeschool group and play some games. One of the park rangers will talk to the children about the pilgrims and Native Americans. A trip to one of the mounds for further discussion will also take place. We are excited to be able to participate in this trip and I am thankful that it promises to be a nice day because this entire event will be outdoors.

Pinson Mounds

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Book Review

This wonderful book follows a young curious penguin named Pipkin as he journeys to see how high the sky is. As do most youngsters Pipkin asks many questions about the world around him. He would like to know why snowflakes are cold, how deep the sea is and if the sun goes to bed at night. But in this story Pipkin wants to know most of all how high the sky is. With the help of various animals and modes of transportation Pipkin goes higher and higher up into the sky until he reaches the moon. As he stands on the moon and looks into space he realizes that while this is as far as he can go, he still has no answer. He returns home to inform his mother that no matter how high he went the sky just kept on going and going. With wonderful simple illustrations and enough words to hold the attention of a three year old this book is sure to be a favorite. Older children will enjoy reading it for themselves. The best thing about this book is the poster at the back of the book. When unfolded it informs the reader how high Pipkin was at each point of the story and more. Nice soft hard back cover makes the book a joy to hold.

How High is the Sky? With Poster

Wood Burning

In order to expand the boy's creativity I bought them a wood burning kit. I purchased the kit from Hobby Lobby for $16.99, not a bad price for everything you get. Plus I figured the price was worth just to get the burning tool. The boys found some wood that was not being used and sanded down the place where they would be practicing. I thought some practice would be good before tackling any of the projects that came with the kit. We all tried it and let me tell you while it is really neat it is not easy, especially turns. When their eight-teen year old sister came home she wanted to try. Being artistic she was able to work that thing even when making turns. I wish I would have gotten a picture of what she did. My youngest did not like the burning tool due to the heat, my oldest son however, spent at least an hour burning. Note, this kit says four-teen and up, my boys are thirteen and soon to be eleven. With supervision and awareness of the child I feel children within my boys age group can utilize this as well.

My almost eleven year old trying his hand burning his name into the board.

My 13 year old also burning his name into the board, man this is not easy.

Gift Jars

Gift jars are not only inexpensive, but there is so much you can do with them. When most individuals think of gift jars they think about those which contain some type of consumable goodies. However I am making one which will hold kitchen utensils. I will purchase them from the dollar store and utilize the ribbon to tie them together. I have already chosen my materials. First I picked out some scrap booking paper to decoupage onto my jar. After that I chose my acrylic paint and some ribbon for the top. As you can see I have already painted my jar and what is not seen is I have already started cutting out my pictures to utilize on the jar. In the past I have also utilized clip art, images from Google and stickers for jars. A small pair of scissors will be needed if anyone would chose something similar to mine. When painting the jar go up and down verses across, this will give the jar a more polished look. Deciding where images will go ahead of time will aid in a well balanced jar. Put modge podge either on the back of the image or the determined place on the jar, then coat the front of it as well. If stickers are used this step is not necessary. Once all images are placed on the jar go back and using up and down strokes coat the entire jar with modge podge. There are different types of modge podge I like the gloss luster for the jars. One year I was able to find some with glitter in it which I used for winter scene jars.

Younger children can have fun with this project also. This is where stickers work the best, although helping them with placement helps to ensure some balance. These jars can be utilized by children to store pencils and other art supplies as well. Personalize them by letting the child pick out the stickers for the jar.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fall Foliage & Homemade Gift Boxes

I love the fall and crafting, after being inspired by a leaf the other day, the boys and I took a walk. We looked for leaves, flowers and fall foliage. The picture above shows all the wonderful things we found. I'm utilizing my daughter's flower press and knew she had pressed some things in there years ago. I needed to make room for my finds, but I did not want to throw them away and I was afraid if I tried to store them they would be ruined. Yesterday being Sunday and a day of rest I decided to utilize a box I had purchased a couple of years ago. I love to decoupage, so I got out my modge podge, took the dried materials and began placing them. There is still some room so I will wait until the other items are dried and pressed to finish the box. Once the box is complete I will spray it with clear acrylic sealer. This is a great project for older children and can make either a unique gift giving box or a gift it self filled with candy, or anything else the receiver may like.

How We Began Homeschooling

Everyone has a story as to how they came to homeschool, here is mine. I had one child at this time, my beautiful daughter born in July of 1991. I love her to death and have only her best interest at heart, I want her to do better than I had done at that point in my life. While I knew about homeschooling I did not know a lot, I was not into the new technology of the internet highway at this point either, so she went to school. Kindergarten went okay, I say okay because her teacher had some health issues and it seemed like there was a substitute in her place more than she was. I feel children need consistency and the teacher needs to know the children she is teaching, this was not happening. Do not misunderstand me I felt bad for her teacher who was in and out of the hospital, but this was my child’s first experience with school. First grade came and that is when things started happening which always turned me off about public education. It is the things like the teacher not seeing what happened between two children, yet taking one child’s word over another. The encouragement to humiliate another child enraged me when my daughter told me about the incident. At one point they carried her into the school kicking and screaming she didn’t want to go. My daughter started complaining after Christmas break about abdominal pain every night at bed time. I figured she was procrastinating bed time as children are known to do. After a week I told my husband I was taking her to the doctor because if there was a real problem I did not want it to go any further. The doctor said it was from nervous and the beginning of an ulcer, what!!! she is six years old. School ruined her, I sent a child there that I never saw again. That did it almost the end of the school year, but I pulled her out. One of my concerns before she went to school and the reason I considered homeschooling stays true today, I want to be the main influence in my children’s lives.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Last Thursday the boys and I had a wonderful opportunity along with some other homeschoolers to meet a Native American and his wolf, Waya. He was owned by an unknown individual and found by the Humane Society. Waya’s current owner Coyote Brother or Lane knew individuals working at the Society who called him to inform him they had a wolf and thought he would be interested in adopting it. At first Lane was skeptical because he already had two dogs, some cats, goats and chickens. However, when he found out that Waya was a full blooded wolf he eagerly accepted responsibility for him. It turns out that when light reflects off the eyes of a wolf the pupil turns green unlike dogs whose turn red. Waya was found when he was two years old and is now six.Waya’s two very front teeth have been filed done to almost nothing by his previous owner, but it did not break the gentle loving spirit of this wolf.

Lane and his wife Karen (Free Spirit) and their son William (Talking Crow) belong to the Cherokee Wolfe Clan here in West Tennessee, where Lane is the Vice Chief. Both Lane and his wife speak their native language to both their six month old son and to Waya. They shared some spiritual songs with us in their native tongue along with words geared towards Thanksgiving. Three other members of the clan were present also, Dancing Crow, Crying Wolf and his mother.

I found Dancing Crow’s shirt interesting and talked to him about the material, which is deer skin. He shared with me that he is the third generation to adorn this shirt which is of the Algonquin tribe. I asked him what the shirt was held together with and at first his response was “You don’t want to know.” I did want to know and was not surprised when he said it was deer intestines. The black strands which decorate this shirt are made from the hair of a horses tail. Native Americans utilized as much of the natural materials found around them to survive. It is wonderful that Dancing Crow has such a treasure to hold onto and pass down to his children.

Crying Wolf was born deaf, but is capable of speech. While Dancing Crow said many don’t understand him, there was little of what he said that I did not understand.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Homemade Gifts

I just came in from gathering kindling for tonights fire, as I was collecting I was noticing some really pretty leaves. I remembered that my daughter had a flower press from years ago and thought I would love to press some of these leaves and utilize them for homemade gifts. This idea came after I remembered a book I wanted to get for my daughter which included how to utilize dried flowers and leaves. It was then that I decided to sit down a while and see what I could find online. First I want to say that I found this site which gives instructions for making a homemade flower press, too cool!!!! I can have more than one. Before this site however I found one for making some homemade art, a big fan of modge podge I love this project. Conducting a search I am sure one can find more items to make, for instance I saw a link for making a tray. I love doing image searches for topics like this because it leads to some great sites. Due to the economy homemade gifts for grandparents are a great idea. One idea I have is utilizing the homemade art and putting a picture of the child/children or family in it and then decorating the perimeter with pressed leaves or flowers maybe even both. Children can decide which leaf or flower they want to contribute, makes for a wonderful keepsake and the children will love telling others which flower or leaf is theirs.

If you would just love to take a walk on a beautiful fall day and collect leaves and other items, I have included a link for projects just for kids.

Homemade Flower/Leaf Press

Homemade Art

Leaf Arts and Crafts

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

13 Colonies

I decided to save some money this year on curriculum and thought I hit the jack pot when I found the Crossroads online American history curriculum. I felt I could easily utilize the middle school version with both boys 5th & 7th grades. We went along smoothly until we hit a snag, where were the 13 Colonies? They talked about the Mayflower Compact, trades and religion, and on to the Revolution. Hold up there now I want the boys to have a full understanding of how this country was built. So last night I went to work looking at web site for the 13 Colonies getting ideas of how to do this on my own. I found a site that had the Colonies listed in chronological order and decided that was it, we would studying them in order. So I worked all day reading through web site after web site deciding on what would come first and so on. I started at about 6:30 am and it is now 2:50 pm and I am done. Why so long, dial up is all I can say. The web site will be updated as we trudge along in our studies. We don't do history every day so if you go by one day and it's still the same that's because we haven't moved yet.

Virginia 1607 Jamestown

EDC Press Release

Tulsa Book Publisher Set to Launch Hot New Young Adult Series, Conspiracy 365

EDC Publishing launches, Conspiracy 365, nation-wide Friday the 13th of November. Its worldwide launch is January 1, 2010. A new book in the series will follow each subsequent month throughout 2010.

Jim Milliot, of Publishers Weekly (10/19 Issue), wrote, “The main character is 15-year-old Callum Ormond, who, following the mysterious death of his father, is told that he must find a way to stay alive for the next 365 days”. … “a cross between The Da Vinci Code and 24” …”the story is told in real time, and the books include codes and clues to figure out the mystery about who wants Callum dead. The pages are also numbered backwards, beginning with 185 and working down to 0 with each book ending with a cliffhanger.”

EDC President and CEO, Randall White said, “The hardcover for Conspiracy 365 will be $10.99. We’ve priced it so that teens and their parents can afford the initial release and the monthly installments to follow. We expect this to be a big hit. The teens who love the very popular vampire novels will surely love the mystery surrounding Callum Ormond as well.”

EDC will be selling Conspiracy 365 through retailers and its home business network.
Digital marketing efforts include Facebook and Twitter accounts, plus a dedicated Web site, Conspiracy 365 The Web site features a prologue to the first book, laying the groundwork for the story, plus trailers and a clock counting down the days to the release of the first title.

Educational Development Corporation, a Delaware corporation, was incorporated in 1965 to develop curriculum materials for schools. In 1978 the Publishing Division was created to distribute Usborne children's books, and the Home Business Division was started in 1989. In December 2008 EDC purchased Kane/Miller Publishing Company. The combination of Usborne and Kane/Miller books enables EDC Publishing to offer their customers one of the most creative and original book lines in the United States.

I Don't Like That Book!!!

Have you ever heard those words from a child in your life? Children tend to gravitate towards topics which interest them. Even reluctant readers will read if the subject is of interest to them. It is for this reason Usborne Books and More offers a large selection of books geared towards a variety of interests. One of my boys loves to cook so the cook books are great for him. The other one loves science and has a special interest in space and oceanography. Usborne carries multiple items which suit this child's interest and some include internet links for even more learning. No matter what the child/children is interested in Usborne has something for them. There are other items available as well such as the kid kits for those who really want to be hands on along with puzzles and cards.

obtain materials for FREE for both the child/children in your life along with Christmas grab bags.

Also take advantage of the discounted items and enter the monthly drawing.

Usborne Books and More

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Music and Children

Have you ever wondered what was so important about music outside of the share enjoyment it brings? Care givers introduce music to their infants before they are even born by placing head phones on the mother's stomach. Music continues to be a common household practice as care givers sing to their new born child. As time goes on nursery rhythms and finger plays are performed for the child and they begin to mimic their care givers. At a very early age children automatically move to music swaying and bopping their little bodies. I remember when my daughter was about two she would dance around in a circle when she heard the theme song from both Cops and Married with Children. My husband had it down pat once the Cops theme ended the other one would start on a different station. We never grew tired of watching her dance in her little circle every week night. Music was an important part of our family when I was growing up, when my dad was home on the weekend music vibrated through out the house. The father of my children was a bass player and many nights the children and I fell asleep as him and one of his friends practiced in the kitchen. Music continues to be an important part of our lives as we listen to music for entertainment, make cleaning go by faster and to praise God. Check out the link below to see how important music is for young children.

The picture above is my daughter at about three at a wedding leading the conga line.

The Benefits of Early Childhood Music

Where is Thumbkin?

Looking through the Kimbo catalog today I came across the “Where is Thumbkin?” CD. It brought back memories of when I utilized this for my now 18 year old. She had been enrolled in a mom and me class at the local park where they incorporated a lot of music. One day while I was doing some surfing I found a curriculum for it and purchased it. There are a lot of hands on activities to be used with each of the songs on the CD. There are songs for each month of the year making it a great supplement for a fun day. Songs included out side of the title song are “Grey Squirrel,” “Five Fat Turkeys,” “Raindrop Song, “ “Do Your Ears Hang Low?” and more. The curriculum however includes more songs than those on the CD. You could easily find some at the library if they carry music or even download them from the internet. I have put songs up on the internet temporarily in the past, now you could probably find some on You Tube. This is a fun way for three to six year olds to build important skills. Funny my children are all too old for this, yet I still have the cassette. The lyrics for each song are included and they are broken down according to the month they should be used. At the end of each song is an activity suggestion for the month.

Kimbo is selling the CD for $15.99 along with an activity guide, however I would be willing to sell anyone interested the cassette I have for $5.00 plus shipping.

While looking to share this post with another homeshool mom not only did I realize I did not add links, but that there is now another CD called "Here is Thumbkin."

View Samples of the Where is Thumbkin Curriculum Here

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Young Peace Maker

We just finished using "The Young Peace Maker," by Corlette Sande. There are twelve weeks of lessons which are geared towards teaching the intermediate and middle schooler how to respond to conflict God's way. This set includes a teacher's manual and twelve student activity books. The activity books are designed like comic books and contain a story of conflict and how to glorify God. At the end are activities which the child can complete along with additional activities in the teacher's manual. These help to reinforce the lesson being taught. In the teacher's manual there are scripture references to indulge in and drive home the message God has for us. I found this program to be very through in how to glorify God when in the middle of conflict or how to best avoid it. So often in life we and our children find our selves on the slippery slope of conflict. It is important to know how to deal with it or avoid it, particularly when dealing with a non-believer. They way we handle a bad situation or avoid one can help others to see Jesus in us. This was a great study and I would love to go through it again with the boys, we all learned a lot.

I bought my set used this year and will love to pass it on to someone else. I am selling my complete set for $19.00 postage paid. Note that one of the activity pages has been written on.

Here you can view the thoughts of others concerning this program.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Peanut Butter

I woke up this morning realizing we have a ton of peanut butter. Hmmmm peanut butter fudge would be nice, I'll have to do a search and see what else I can do with peanut butter. To my surprise there is a lot you can do with peanut butter and I found some interesting information about its history. I found another site which include a recipe for chocolate covered grasshoppers, but we are not going there. However, the site is very extensive in the way of recipes. I was also able to locate some free lesson plans geared towards K-5. They have comics available in PDF format at the bottom also. Due to an issue with my adobe reader I was unable to open it.

Peanut Butter

More Recipes Check out the chocolate pizza recipe.

National Peanut Board Lesson Plans Be sure to browse the rest of the site very informative and the kid's corner has two games to play and more.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Oriental Trading Company

Are you in charge of suppling crafts for a group of children? You may be interested to know that the Oriental Trading Company is giving away $500.00 in FREE gift cards. You can enter daily and no purchase is required, the deadline is December 29, 2009. If you are thinking about stocking up on craft materials now is the perfect time. The company is also offering FREE standard shipping on all orders of $49.00 or more until November 10, 2009. Enter the following code during check out to obtain this offer when you check out, WCX8614.

Entry Form for Give Away