Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Teaching a distractible child in a distracting home.

Learning happens in all places at our house.
It has to.  With a small house and 4 children learning it can be hard to pay attention to what you are supposed to be doing.  I have found my own little tricks and ways of making school fun and being able to get it done. 
Here Katey is doing a math page in a fort.
I even made her a little office one day when she was having a hard time staying focused because of her brother.

Sometimes we do school just at the kitchen table too.

Here Tyler is building a tower with blocks.
After Katey’s schoolwork is done she joins him on the floor.


Monday, February 25, 2013

My Go To Recipe. Simple Salisbury Steak.

My families all time favorite meal is Salisbury Steak. 
It is kind of like a grilled meatloaf.

This recipe was given to me by a friend about 7 years ago. 

It is so simple, and inexpensive.  It is a real meat and potatoes meal around here.

You need.
1 1/2 lb. Hamburger
2 eggs
1 cup bread crumbs or crushed crackers, corn flakes, etc. ( I use Italian bread crumbs, but homemade would be good too.)
Salt and Pepper. 
1 chopped onion
1 clove garlic
Mix the above ingredients together and then form patties with them.  Cook in a frying pan (so they will brown and hold their shape) Then transfer to a baking dish.  Cover with brown gravy and bake in oven at 350 for 30 minutes.
I always serve this with potatoes and gravy, and green beans.  I start my potatoes first and then make the meat, then I start the green beans and clean up while everything is cooking.
This feeds my family of 6.  4 adult eaters and 3 child eaters. 

I hope you enjoy it. 


This has been part of the Blog Cruise through The Schoolhouse Review Crew.  To get more yummy recipes check out this post.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Handwriting Without Tears.


Handwriting Without Tears has been in our homeschool from the very beginning. I had done research on how important handwriting actually is, and I like the Handwriting Without Tears way of teaching.

It increases brain activity, aids memory, and more. Studies have shown that the same paper written in two different handwritings, the neater one usually gets the better grade.

Handwriting Without Tears sent me their brand new editions of the 2nd grade workbooks and teachers manual

The Teacher’s Guide is $9.95

The 2nd Grade Printing Power workbook is $8.25

The combo of Printing Power and Kick Start Cursive is $10.25

For those of you who have never heard of Handwriting Without Tears, let me share a little bit of their teaching strategies with you.  They teach using multisensory techniques, along with a developmental approach. 

What all that means is that handwriting is taught by doing more than just repetitive writing.   Which is one of the fun factors of Handwriting Without Tears.

They teach using chalk boards, foam or wood letters, air drawing and the regular workbook practice.  As well as many other hands on activities.    None of these things are necessary to teach using the Handwriting Without Tears curriculum.


They have an array of online tools, from letter forming videos to handwriting worksheet generators.

Handwriting Without Tears is fun for my daughter because of the language they use throughout the books. 


You teach what to next in a letter by saying things like “Frog Jump” or “Bump” and many more.  One of my daughters favorite things to do is the Silly Spelling Test.  That is where I give her a spelling word and I spell it for her.  (That way she just has to focus on writing it.)




The teacher’s manual can prove to be overwhelming at first because it is so chalk full of information. It is about 200 pages.  With the workbook lesson plans starting about page 42.  Keeping bulk of the information in the teacher’s manual, leaves the student workbook simple and fun for the child.


Here she is learning how to write the many different letters that begin with “Magic C”.

Each day we do one page, some days she needs me for the whole lesson (like on Silly Spelling days). Other days I just get her started and she can do the workbook portion on her own.  Something else Katey enjoys is that she corrects her own work.  When she is finished each day she chooses the best writing for that day and circles it.  That really motivates her to do her best work. P2241278

I appreciate the videos and other online teaching tools that are available with the passcode printed on the back of the teachers manual.  Katey loved watching and dancing along to the videos that showed her how to create the different letters. 

A cursive starter book is now available for the 2nd grade level.  We didn’t make it clear to that book yet, but I know once she is ready we will be using it. 

To see what others think of this check out this post. To see a wide variety of reviews check out our crew blog.


Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Real life in my house.


We have really had quite the busy start to our year. 

We are still adjusting to me working part time.  We have good days and bad days.  We have good weeks and bad weeks.  I am not sure we are finding the swing of things yet.  We are still looking for our groove. 

The kids are getting their school work done.  Not always as quickly as I would like them to.  I just feel like I should be home with them.  Hopefully this season of my life will be over soon.  As much as I enjoy working, I feel as if home is where I should be.  I do notice some behavioral problems arising in my 3 year old.  I need to fix those. 

I only work part time about 20 hours per week, usually over 3 days.  They have certain schoolwork that they need to do while I am at work.  Other things we do while I am home, even if it means late at night, or on the weekends.


My house has been staying clean enough by using this chore system.  We do “quick cleans” a few times throughout the day.  Mainly one before lunch and one before dinner.  We do a deep clean on the first weekend of the month.  P1121056This has really been working out for us. 

We also rotate who has to do the dishes each day, along with a menu plan. I created this one.  On the top blank line I write in my work schedule.image

The blank line below the day I write who is in charge of dishes that day.  Then it is divided up into breakfast, lunch and dinner each day.  I write in a colored pencil if someone else is in charge of preparing that meal. (You can only switch out meals that you prepare).  Then I have the grocery list in order of the grocery store I most commonly shop at.  I have a small section for Walmart and the blank spot in that column is my divider for stuff I need to pick up at another store.  At the bottom I have a place for wants and other random stuff I may need from like the hardware store or other specialty stores.  I plan this out every Friday for the following week.  (I don’t know how to share this as a printable file, but I am willing to share it, so if you would like a copy, just leave your email and I will send you one. ) 

Sometimes we just need to take a break and go fishing!  P1161065

Emily and  I made chocolate covered strawberries.  They were…… DELISH!


If you have a weak stomach, then this blog posts ends for you right now. 

So thanks for reading and see ya next time.

Okay and here is a warning. Just so we are clear, if you go any further you will see a sad mangled toe with stitches in it. 

I am serious.

You have been warned.



There is no turning back after this.


It can’t be unseen. 




There, there it is, my poor 3 year old fell off the bench to our table and he had to get 7 stitches in that one toe.  We have went back for a checkup and they want to leave the stitches in even longer. 


There goes his toe modeling career I had all planned out for him. 

But all is well and he is healing well. 


Monday, February 18, 2013

Teaching another language to children using singing.

Have you ever realized how easy it is to learn a song.  Even as a young child, children pick up on songs so easy.

What about teaching your child another language using songs? 

Classical Academic Press has done just that with their Song School Curriculum

They offer Song School Spanish (which I am using) and Song School Latin and Song School Greek

Song School Spanish is designed for kids Kindergarten through 3rd grade level.  I am using it with my 2nd grader.

Let me tell you a little bit about the student book. ($24.95)


Each student book comes with a cd that has 42 songs on it, to help reinforce what is being taught in the book. 

The Student book is designed in a fun workbook format.  This makes it interactive and helps gets get involved in the learning process by making it multisensory.

Your child will learn over 100 vocabulary words throughout the 30 weekly lessons, including review chapters.

You will meet two friends, Tortuga and Conejo. A friendly turtle and a rabbit.  These two friends will help model conversations in Spanish, while making it fun.

Download a sample of the student book for free.


Let me share with you a little about the teachers manual.  ($24.95)


This book is similar to the student text as it has all the student activities in it as well as notes and activities outside the book to do, along with the answer keys to the student book.

There are often days where I don’t even look at the teachers manual.  I review it about once a week to see what types of things we will be doing that week and then I just have it for reference. 

See a sample of the Teacher’s Edition here.

There is also a free website Head Adventure Land where they can practice and review what they have been learning every couple of chapters.

They do offer Spanish Amigo Flashcards ($26.95) Which I do not have and did not use. 

They do sale everything (Teacher’s Edition, Student Edition and the Spanish Amigo Flashcards) in a bundle for ($66.95)

How we have been using Song School Spanish.

We have been doing Spanish about 5 days a week.  3 days a week, I have Katey do workbook pages and then listen and try to sing along with the CD. 



The other 2 days I have her just listen and sing along to the songs. The songs use a mix between Spanish and English words so that the kids know what they are singing about.

Here is a sample of some songs.

She loves to get out our little basket of homemade instruments to play with while listening.


She also loves to get up and dance to the songs. 

They are quite upbeat. 


From my point of view

Song School Spanish is very easy to implement into our days.  Katey has been wanting to learn Spanish and I needed a simple, easy to implement, gentle curriculum.  I got just that with Song School Spanish.

From Katey’s point of view

I like the songs. They are my favorite.  It has very fun songs that you can sing along to.  It is fun to speak Spanish words to my family and friends and they don’t know what I am saying.  The book is fun and it teaches you and it is not hard. I like the review games on the computer.


To see what others think of this check out this post. To see a wide variety of reviews check out our crew blog.


Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Valentine’s Day Party Co-op Style.


This year our Valentine’s party was a hit. 

There were 3 separate activities.

We did this craft (which I now notice, I forgot to get a picture of it finished.)


There was fun cookie decorating.


I am very proud of mine!


We played musical chairs.P2141222

We spent some time passing out valentines and just hanging out.  (I didn’t get a picture of that.)

Here is a picture of Katey making her Valentines.  She made her holder out of a butterfly cage.  She cut and colored butterfly shapes and hung them from the top as well as had some on the bottom.  She then cut out more butterfly shapes and I helped her cut a hole in them to hold a sucker.  Those were her valentines. 

Katey Valentines Holder

Our Valentine’s party was a hit. 



Saturday, February 16, 2013

Whole Child Development with Flowering Baby.

Flowering Baby LLC is a company that was created by moms.  The curriculum they provide is for children from Birth to age 5. 

You may think that Birth is to young to start teaching a baby.  That is something amazing about this curriculum.  It is intentional living curriculum.  Each month has 10 to 15 days worth of activities planned. 

The main one I am using is Volume 4.

Volume 4: Three to Four Years, is the level that I used with my 3 year old son.  There are 2 parts to Volume 4.  A monthly lesson plan and a theme lesson plan.  We used all of January’s lesson plan and part of February’s, (we are still working on it).  However for the theme plans I went ahead and did December’s in January.  Yes, it is that easy to switch around.  P1231080

The monthly guide has 10 to 15 days worth of activities per month. This makes it simple to fit right in with real life. 

There are 25 themes, each one with a suggested month to do it in.  There are about 5 days worth of activities for each theme. 





The monthly curriculum has some themes to it as well,  there are book suggestions, and holidays for that month listed. 

The plans are laid out for each day and very easy to follow.  The daily plans have simple ideas such as a book to read, a song to sing, an activity to do.  Not very many extra supplies are used.  Most things are common in a household with a preschooler. P2121177

We chose to do the monthly plan on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. We did the theme plan on Friday and Saturday.

Each day took us about 30 minutes. There were days when I decided, either because my 3 year old struggled be interested or because I was busy to break it up into 2 fifteen minute sessions.  I found that having this curriculum had me be more intentional and accountable when it comes to teaching my 3 year old.  My 3 year old loved the time we spend together doing this.  It is his special school, that doesn’t ruin the fun of learning for such a young age.  P2131178

I am glad that I tried Flowering Baby out.  I was/am one of those parents who think, “let your kids be kids”, so I was worried about to much of a “school” feel for my 3 year old.  This curriculum proved to me that you can intentionally teach your child through guided play. 

I did take a look over the other volumes, in particular the Birth to One Year volume.  I was interested to see how you would go about teaching a newborn.  That is not what this is like at all.  It goes through and tells you what songs to sing, what classical music to listen to, what books to read to your baby, also some fun, loving, interactive ways to spend time with your baby. P1271118

Here is a list of the volumes.  At the bottom of each page is a sample month for that year.

Birth to One $30
One to Two $30
Two to Three $30
Three to Four $38
Four to Five $38

You can purchase all 5 volumes for $132

To see what others think of this check out this post. To see a wide variety of reviews check out our crew blog.


Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Jumpstart your child’s education - GIVEAWAY

Jumpstart is an online and downloadable program that has educational value everywhere you look.
Jumpstart Madagascar

My daughter has been using Jumpstart for quite some time now.  She loves it.  They have teamed up with the folks from Madagascar (the fun kids movie), and created New York City, Central Park along with the fun characters from Madagascar in the Central Park Zoo.   learning-arcade-2

Some of my daughter’s favorite things about Jumpstart are the Mythies.  They are these fun fantasy creatures that you have to feed and play with.  You do certain tasks (usually of some educational value) in order to earn things for it.

The best part about Jumpstart for me as a parent is that it is monitored.  So I know my children will not be approached or harassed.  They can just play the game like they want to. 

Jumpstart has a free version.  That is worth it! 
Sign up today and take a look around.

Did you know Jumpstart also offers printable worksheets and activity suggestions?  Yes, Yes they do!  worksheet-email-js-c

Would you like to win a free premium membership to Jumpstart?
Check out the Rafflecopter for how to win! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...