Category Archives: Homeschool

Preschool Reading Projects: BOB Book Printables

While RocketGirl learns all sorts of important social skills, songs, faith messages and crafts at preschool she hasn’t been working on reading or writing at all yet.  So I’ve been working with her at home on her reading skills.

BOB printables

We both love the BOB books.  I wasn’t a fan when I first saw them at the bookstore.  The package is kind of small and the books are very flimsy and poorly illustrated, but that is part of their charm for preschoolers.  The books are not intimidating  – short and easy to read with instructions for parents at the beginning of each book.

I was SO excited when I found out there was a blog ring dedicated to producing free printables to work with preschoolers as they graduate through these books. Continue reading

Owl Lesson

Owl Ornament

This week’s theme was owls.  It all started with the Owl Tot Pack by Our Little Monkeys and then continued because I found the neat project (featured to the right) at the Dollar Store.

The craft involved wadding up peices of tissue paper and gluing them to a card stock image of an owl; why hadn’t I thought of doing that before? Continue reading

Where to find FREE Preschool Printable Packs

In the past I have blogged about a typical homeschooling day, my experiences using “My ABC Bible verses” as a curriculum, favorite toddler/preschool activities and my favorite apps for RocketGirl.  But I really wanted to create a series of resources including the BEST OF …

… so here is a list of my favorite free printable packs.  I have found many of these from Google and weaned them down over time to include the best of breed.  Others I have found through my subscription to Money Saving Mom.
Continue reading

Home protection: Fire Safety

[This post is part of the "In Defense Of" Series]

Guest Post by RockstarDad

RockstarDad is a licensed security and fire safety professional with 20 years experience designing, installing, and maintaining residential, commercial, and industrial security, fire protection and life safety systems. He has obtained the highest certification level from NICET (National Institute For Certification In Engineering Technologies) in Fire Protection Technologies.

House fire

Image by Ada Be

You only have 3 minutes to escape your home after the smoke alarm goes off.

So, What’s your escape plan?

Quick what do you do? Where are the kids? Do they know what to do? Where is your spouse? What do you take with you? Do you call 911 now? How will you know everybody is out of the house?

Wow. Scary stuff. You need a plan. Continue reading

Preschool Gardening

Today RocketGirl and BulldozerBaby helped me plant my garden.  They filled two planters with herbs and veggies for my “kitchen” garden – a container garden on my porch near the kitchen door.

RocketGirl’s Notebook

Gardening is quite the adventure with babies.  BulldozerBaby tried to swallow a bug, ate at least one handful of dirt and managed to get soaked and filthy at the same time.  RocketGirl, on the other hand, had a blast – flinging dirt all over the porch and splashing water everywhere – yet came out nearly clean!

We discussed how things grow as we planted.  We talked about the weather – how rain and sunshine help us.  The kids played in the dirt as we planted and then the water as we drenched everything. Continue reading

A day in the life

When I was working full-time and first considered staying at home with my daughter I was really curious about what the typical day would look like.  So, here I offer you what a typical day in our house looks like.  (To learn more about RocketGirl – age 3 1/2 – and BulldozerBaby – age 1 – check out this post.)

Around 5:30am, RockstarDad gets up and gets BulldozerBaby and lays him down next to me to nurse.  (This sounds way more sweet than it is because I have already gotten up three times with fussy Mr. BulldozerBaby since going to bed at midnight.)  BulldozerBaby nurses for 10 minutes and then jumps on me and yells “Go! Go! Go!”  So, I take him downstairs to play with RockstarDad’s socks while I make breakfast.  RocketGirl already requested grits and eggs for breakfast so that’s what I start working on.  RocketGirl summarily hears RockstarDad talking to me as he is getting dressed and thumps down the stairs to see him before he leaves.

RocketGirl’s Binder

It is now 6:15am.  I have not showered, dressed or even gone to the bathroom yet.  RockstarDad leaves by 6:30am and I feed the kids breakfast.  I grab RocketGirl’s binder and give her some mazes to do while I chomp down a bowl of cereal.

Since BulldozerBaby is now covered head-to-toe in grits I strip us both down and take a quick shower.  As we all know, showering while holding a baby is not relaxing or terribly effective.  Blah.  I get us both dressed anyway and figure maybe I will get my own shower eventually.  RocketGirl cleared the table in my absence and is now running around the house singing.

I get RocketGirl’s school supplies out and set her down with today’s lesson.  Letter tracing first while I cut out the parts of the Birds preschool pack.  We work on schoolwork while BulldozerBaby entertains himself on the floor with blocks.

We play with play dough next (at RocketGirl’s request).  I meditate on how I am just going to do “one thing at a time” today and focus on my beautiful daughter.  Within two seconds of taking my focus off of BulldozerBaby he has eaten a mouthful of green play dough.  He is screaming and green goo is oozing between his teeth. Continue reading

Adventures in Preschool Homeschooling

This week I finally feel like I have gotten back into the groove of life at home.  It feels like I’ve spent a fortune in ink and laminating but I now have a nice stockpile of go-to activities paired with what I feel is a pretty decent set of lesson plans (all in my head, of course, because I haven’t had any spare time to actually organize, plan and write them down).  Here’s what I found that works for us … at least this week.

We are reading .  We do approximately one letter a day, but some days it ends up being two and other days none.  I pair some sort of activity with the letter… like these cool mazes from 1+1+1=1 and then another activity with the point of the verse.  I try to find another book or story that parallels the moral of the story/verse and then find a craft to go with that.  So, for example:

A: “A soft answer turns away wrath.”  (Proverbs 15:1) RocketGirl really likes the ABC book, but it did take a couple of discussions to get her to understand the point and the references to the Holy Spirit.  (How do you explain the Holy Spirit to a 3-year old who keeps comparing it with the ghost she saw in “Harold and the Purple Crayon?”)  After discussing the story, I let her trace the letter “A” using the iPhone app while I took a shower.  (She already has A mastered so this really wasn’t a challenge; I am constantly struggling to challenge this child!)  Then we read the story of the “Lion and Mouse” and watched a YouTube clip of the same.  We discussed how responding gently and rationally to angry people can calm them down.  I tried to get her to color a picture of a lion and mouse, but she told me she was bored and wanted to read more out of the book so we moved on to “B.” Continue reading

Mom-Approved Videos

I am really picky about what my RocketGirl watches.  We only let her watch DVDs and Netflix that my husband and I approve.  We don’t let her watch any broadband media because of the commercials and the fact that I can’t monitor the content and may not get to the mute or off switch quick enough.  The first time RocketGirl ever saw a commercial was while I was in the hospital giving birth to her brother.  She got so angry about the “grown-ups interrupting” her show and couldn’t understand why she couldn’t watch back to back episodes of Curious George instead of that inane Cat in the Hat… but, I digress.

What we started with:  Oy, the mistakes we made with RocketGirl!  Not knowing anything about modern children’s shows, we started her with a claymation version of Curious George from the 1950s.  Oh, how times have changed!  In that version, the man with the yellow hat kidnaps George from the jungle, lets George smoke his pipe and is absent while George drugs himself with ether!  Try explaining all that to a two year old… argh.  Adding insult to injury (or actually vice versa) we let her watch Frog & Toad afterward since it was on the same DVD and she already loved the Easy Reader.  In that video Frog bangs his head repeatedly on the wall and does all sorts of other dangerous things that RocketGirl then tried to mimic.

Needless to say that DVD was short lived.  Next we tried Peanuts Classics like “Happy Thanksgiving, Charlie Brown” only to become even more disappointed and discouraged.  Lucy has terrible manners, is mean and uses some questionable language that we don’t use in our house.  (E.g. “Mommy, what does stupid mean?”)  My husband and I remember loving Charlie Brown as kids, but I guess we are from a bygone era … when mothers smoked while holding their babies, kids didn’t stay in carseats past infanthood and wearing a seatbelt in the backseat was optional. Continue reading

My favorite toddler/preschool iPhone apps

Preschool Media

As part of my homeschool program I let my 3 year-old daughter (aka RocketGirl) use various media.  She is allowed to watch some (monitored) TV – only DVDs and Netflix that my husband and I have pre-approved – and play some games on our computer and some apps on my iPhone.  Someday I hope to get an iPad for our family, too, but we don’t currently have one.

We limit media use to two hours a day in accordance with the AAP guidelines.  (I admit, though, that I am not perfect and sometimes rely on Netflix more than I would like… especially when cooking lunch and dinner.)

This is a three part series discussing how we use these media in our home.  I will include recommendations and links to our favorites.  This week I am starting with iPhone apps. Continue reading

Toddler and Preschool Activities

I wish I could say that I am extremely organized and that I keep a schedule (or curriculum, as it were) of activities to do with the kids, but I don’t.

On Monday I hurriedly check the calender to see if there are any holidays, birthdays or exciting current events going on and I decide (haphazardly) on a theme for the week.  Some weeks I choose the closest holiday (now Easter) and others I choose a Letter or Number of the Week or, like last week, try to use the new season (Spring) as the basis for most of my activities.

Having a theme helps me narrow down the zillion of craft choices / lessons to a manageable number.  If you are more organized than I am, though, check out the “Tot School” lesson planning resources at 1+1+1=1.  She has some amazing resources and, someday, I plan on getting more organized with her planning printables. Continue reading