What We're Really Doing for Pre-K Homeschool

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A couple month's ago I shared how we were planning on homeschooling Jay for Pre-K, and what are plans were for all of that. We started our homeschool on August 1st, the same day that Georgia public schools started, and so far we've been having a really great time. It took me a couple weeks to figure out what I wanted our daily schedule to be, and to get into a good routine that worked for us, but now that we're a couple weeks in, I'm really loving the flow of how it's all been going.

One of the things I really love about homeschooling is being able to tailor Jay's curriculum to what he needs. He's currently working on a wide variety of things both preschool level, and kindergarten, so I get to stretch him in areas he does well, and really focus on other things where he struggles. We originally weren't going to expose him to all the school subjects this year, but then once I got going and buying things, I wanted to go big, or go home, so I went big. 

The first two weeks we were doing this I was having us do a small amount of opening exercises. We would talk about the days of the week, and which day is today, tomorrow, and yesterday. We would also talk about the weather, and recite our sight words that we have hanging on the wall. I then divided up all the subjects to one day of the week. So Monday's we did handwriting, Tuesday math, Wednesday reading, Thursday social studies... etc... This was great, but it meant we had to double up on things some days, and then there were things like math and phonics that I felt needed addressing more than one day a week. There were also other things that I had wanted to add in, like having a daily devotional, saying the Pledge of Allegiance, and memorizing scriptures. I then decided for week three to scrap the entire schedule of things that I had, and rewrite a new one.

Each day now, we start class with a prayer, and say the Pledge of Allegiance. After that we do our days of the week, weather, sight words, read the numbers 1-20 on the number line, work on our scripture for the week, and then read a story from this Book of Mormon Children's book. 

After those "opening exercises" are done we move onto math, phonics, reading, handwriting, and our letter of the week preschool curriculum pages. We do all of those things in 5-10 minute "mini lessons", and then have a science lesson two days a week, one day for social studies, one day for an art project, and Friday's we play a board game. Jay also has art classes on Thursdays, and tennis lessons on Fridays.

I also bought Confessions of a Homeschooler's k4 curriculum, which at this point it pretty under level for Jay, but I print the lessons each week, and they become the light and fluffy activities that we do each week. Jay really enjoys them because they're fun, but it would have been nice to have something a little more challenging.

I also purchased some flashcards at the dollar store to help with sight words and phonics, but we've only really used them once so far. I also really wanted to focus on Jay getting more hand strength this year, so we bought a small pack of erasers and these big tweezers from the dollar store, and we practice picking up the erasers with the tweezers a couple times a week.

If you're still reading any of this, below I've mapped out for you which books we're using for which subjects in case you want some more info on that, and my thoughts and opinions about each one. 

Book of Mormon Stories: I had been wanting to incorporate scriptures into our homeschool, and when we were at a friend's house this year, she had been using this book with her kids before bed, and I loved it. It basically breaks the Book of Mormon Stories down into simple text for kids to understand and has great pictures to go with it. We read one story from here each day, and I'm surprised by how well it helps me to understand the scriptures better too.

Bob Books: For phonics work, and learning to read purposes, we've been using these Bob Books. I know some people either love or hate these, but I've actually really been liking them. Jay can read his way through the first book, and we've only done it a handful of times now. I think we'll probably work on one book for a week or two before moving onto the next one in the set (there are I think 12 in each set). 

Mudpies to Magnets: I had heard about this on recommendation from Janssen and have really loved it so far. This is what we use for our weekly science projects and experiments. All of the projects that we've done so far have been easy to make with things around the house, but I feel like it also gives a lot of good educational context too so that you feel like your both playing, and learning at the same time. 

Handwriting Without Tears: We have the pre-k level of this book right now, and I'm going to be honest in that I don't really like it. I had debated back and fourth between getting this one, or the kindergarten level one, and I feel like the pre-k one is just too easy for Jay right now. He's already about 60 pages into the 80 page book. I'm just letting him blow through it before I purchase another one in a week or so. Ideally I want to find one that is all just tracing letters, without coloring pages mixed in and all the fluff. If you have good recommendations, let me know.  

Horizon's Mathematics K, Book 1: This is the math book we bought for the year, and I'll be honest in that we haven't touched it yet. Again, it came highly rated by Janssen, but we're going to finish up The Big Kindergarten Workbook that I bought ages ago first, and then move onto this book, probably by December? 

The next three books are all through A Beka Books. This is a homeschool curriculum company that was recommended to me by a woman I went to church with that has been homeschooling the last 20+ years. She said this was her favorite company, and so I filled in the rest of our gaps with these. I will say that this is a christian homeschool company and so the books all have a christian spin to them, which is fine, but there are differences in the church we attend (Like when in our church our pastor is called a bishop, but the books use the word pastor), so I find myself having to explain differences often which I'm not sure how I feel about yet.

Art Projects K4: I will say off the bat, I do like this book. They have all the projects divided into months, and I love that they have projects for all the holidays and everything too. All the cutouts and everything that you need are already in the book, and then it has a small list of other supplies you'll need to complete the craft. Super easy and straight forward. 

Social Studies K5: This book has a great mixture of things that I was hoping for Jay to learn. I'm not sure how much of it is over his head at this point, but we're working our way through the community helpers unit right now, and he knows that fire fighters keep people safe by putting out fires with the water from their hoses... so I'm assuming some of it is getting through. 

God's World K5: This is the other science book we're using this year. I like most of the lessons in here, and Jay has really been picking them up. We just finished the unit on senses and he can tell you what you do with your eyes, ears, mouth, and nose... But the churchy influence in it is a little much. I mean, I love Heavenly Father and Jesus just as much as the next person... but it's a little over the top in this book. It's fine for this year, but I think next year I may want to find something else for science. 

Reading: I consider the Bob Books, along with our daily sight words, and flash cards that we have to all be phonics work for the school year. For reading, it's mainly me reading a chapter or two from a chapter book. Jay can either sit and listen while I do this, or color, or play with blocks. We're currently working through The Magic Tree House, but plan on doing lots of Beverly Cleary, and classics like Stuart Little, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and James and the Giant Peach too. 

So, if you've made it through this entire post, congratulations. If you're a homeschooling mama, let me know what things your using for your little ones in the comments below! Do you have a handwriting curriculum you love? What about science? I'd love to hear it all. 

25 Things About Me On My 25th Birthday

Monday, August 22, 2016

  1. I pooped my pants at a track meet in high school, and on a first date in college. (Ps, if anyone can name who this date was with, I'll personally send you a $15 fandango gift card- for real. $20 if the actual guy guesses.)
  2. My international travels only extend to a one day rendezvous in Montreal when I was 8.
  3. I stalked Derek for 7 months before we dated.
  4. I worked at The Shoe Depot for one day, and then I had to work on a Sunday and quit.
  5. The longest job I had was working at The Log Jam for 5 years.
  6. I went to 8 semesters of college (at 5 different schools... Adirondack Community College, LDS Business College, Brigham Young University, Brigham Young University Idaho, and Advantage Dental Assisting School) and walked away with a certificate in dental assisting and an associates degree in general studies. I don't have immediate plans of finishing a bachelors.
  7. It took me four times to pass my road test in high school. Ironically I passed it 8 years ago today.
  8. I lived in Upstate New York the first 18 years of my life, and have lived in three different states since then. (Utah, North Carolina, Georgia).
  9. I never wanted to have biological children and always thought I would just adopt (it was a "why bring more people into the world when there are so many who don't have homes" mentality), but my kin bring me more joy than I ever thought possible!
  10. I never thought anyone would like me enough to date me for 6 months, let alone marry me. Coming from the girl who had zero high school relationships last longer than one week.
  11. I have literal panic attacks when my house is cluttered, and throw things away to deal with the stress.
  12. I went to Catholic school for 11 years before finishing high school at a public school, and then becoming a Mormon.
  13. I have a large birthmark on my leg that looks like a chocolate chip cookie. Most often I don't remember it's there, but about twice a year I get repulsed by it and want it lasered off.
  14. I have a ferocious unibrow that I've religiously plucked since 6th grade.
  15. My hair has been bleach blonde, dark brown, black, and orange. I went 6 years post high school without dying it, and dyed it last year, hated it, and went back to my natural color.
  16. In Utah, where I went to college, it was perfectly acceptable to get in cars with random guys you didn't know, and assume you really were just going to play mini golf #BYUCulture
  17. I used a beer bottle opener for the first time yesterday to open a soda, and I struggled really hard.
  18. I have never once shaved my legs without either a) cutting myself or b) forgetting a patch of hair on my knees.
  19. I have wanted to live in Kansas for most of my adult life. I just picture myself really thriving in the Midwest.
  20. I have not eaten a single peach since moving to Georgia. Nor have I had a Diet Coke, or a sweet tea. I also don't have anything monogrammed, and my kids have never attended vacation bible school.
  21. The best burger I've ever had was at Only Burger in Durham, NC. I think Shake Shack and In N Out are gross.
  22. I always thought I would have made it as a blogger when a company offered me a free pair of eyeglasses. That moment happened last week. #winning
  23. After 8 years I finally gave into the fact that my calves are too big for skinny jeans, and have converted to straight leg. My canckles have never been happier.
  24. I once won a limbo competition against a bunch of single BYU students while 8 months pregnant.
  25. The most exciting thing in my life right now is homeschooling Jay. I love it so much more than I ever thought possible.


A Mini Birthday Celebration| German Chocolate Ice Cream Cake

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CuriousCreamery#CollectiveBias

The month of August is a busy month in our house. Jay, Em and I all celebrate our birthdays one week after another. It's a fun, and often chaotic time, but we love it, and wouldn't change it if we could. Today I turn 25. Derek and I will be going out to dinner tonight when he gets home from work, but that meant that I wouldn't get to celebrate with the kids. I didn't want them to miss out on singing happy birthday to me, or getting to eat more cake (because we haven't had enough this month), so this morning before nap time we threw a little birthday party to celebrate my big 2-5!

This really looks like such an elaborate celebration, but I luckily had all the decorations stashed away in our party drawer, and put them up in a matter of ten minutes. I also whipped together some of my favorite one bowl chocolate cake to use as a base for this German Chocolate Curious Creamery Ice Cream cake. I've tried making ice cream cakes in the past, but they've always been super tricky. If you use already made ice cream, it means you have to wait long enough for it to thaw before you can spread it, and then you worry about the weight deflating the base, so many variables. I love that the curious creamery mixes are just whipped together with a hand mixer, 16oz  of heavy whipping cream, the mix, and a little bit of sugar. The mixture is so light and fluffy that it easily spreads on top before going in the freezer for a few hours to harden. I then topped the cake with a jar of coconut peacan icing, and some more sweetened shredded coconut, and it was amazing.

I was able to get my mix at Walmart, but it's only avaiable at select stores, so use the store locator to find the nearest store near you! If you are lucky enough to find it, don't forget to print off this $2.00 off coupon!

Chocolate Cake Recipe
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Preheat the oven to 350° Grease ad flour two 9 inch cake pans (I put half the batter in one 9 inch spring pan for the ice cream cake, and the other half in anther 9 inch round cake pan).

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, and then add in the wet, and mix together for two minutes. Distribute the batter between the two pans and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle.

Once the cakes are out of the oven and cooled, prepare your Curious Creamery Cake Mix according to the box directions, and spread it ontop of your cake that is in the spring form pan. Put it in the freezer to harden for 2-6 hours, and then top with desired toppings or frosting. 

Master Bathroom Tour

Monday, August 15, 2016

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias Inc, and it's advertiser. All thoughts and opinions are my own. #MegaPrepped #CollectiveBias

The next stop on our home tour is the master bathroom. I can't tell you how good it feels to have an entire "section" of our house done. The master bedroom, bathroom, and closet constitute as a section right? It makes me feel better about the fact that the rest of the house is still far from set. 

When we moved in, there really were zero things that needed to be done to the bathrooms. The previous owners had already put a new stain and finish on all the bathroom vanities, they had installed new lighting, and even framed the mirrors in two of the three bathrooms. The only things that all the bathrooms were missing were toilet paper holders, and towel racks, which we were able to easily add ourselves. The plus side to getting them on our own was that we were able to buy all the fixtures at once, and now the all the bathrooms match and look perfect.

One thing we struggled with in the master bathroom was place a towel rack somewhere. There was a hook next to the shower for a towel or two to hang dry, but there wasn't a good place to have a full bar towel rack. We could have hung one on the large wall next to the shower, but the switch for the bathroom fan is right there and we worried about wet towels dripping on the switch and causing an electrical problem. 

When troubleshooting ideas with pinterest, and the help of my friends mom, we decided that floating shelves would probably be the best solution for the space. We installed the shelves this last weekend and I'm so glad with how they turned out. They've given us the space to store extra towels, while still using the small hook to dry the ones that we've already used. I also love that I can store extra toilet paper in the wicker basket, and other bathroom items like cotton rounds and q-tips in the small glass jars. 

We also got really lucky that all these little bathroom items that I bought four years ago have been able to work with us in every house that we lived in. It's fun to have items that follow you everywhere because it's always a fun memory of all the places you've lived. We bought these when we lived in a 700 square foot two story townhouse in North Carolina. Everything was so small, the paint was peeling everywhere, and this soap dispenser and toothbrush holder were probably the nicest thing we owned at the time. It's funny to see how far you've come sometimes when you feel like you're not going anywhere. 

The one thing that probably isn't our favorite about the bathroom is our shower. It's pretty small, and has some staining on it that we haven't been able to remove, but it's one of those things where I'm not about to rip out an existing shower and destroy my bathtub for a bigger one. Especially when I've been dreaming about having said bathtub for years. So we make due with a smaller shower, and if we ever get that annoyed with it, we can suck it up and take a shower in the kids bathroom. 

A huge plus to this house that our last house didn't have is the double vanity. we have so much room to store extra bathroom products like shaving cream, body wash, and our favorite Quilted Northern® Ultra Soft and Strong® with Clean Stretch. We always buy the mega packs (4x bigger roll) so that we're always prepared for last minute guests and visitors, and now it's awesome to have space to store it all! Quilted Northern® is a 100 year brand, so you know you can trust them for all your bathroom needs. Plus, you can buy it at Walmart, so... done, right? 

Thanks for coming a long on our bathroom tour today! Are there any updates or things in the space that you would have done differently? Let me know in the comments below. And thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible!

Bathroom Details:

Road Trip Kits for Kids

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SuperAbsorbent #CollectiveBias.

This summer we went one two road trips. We went to North Carolina to see friends for a few days, and then we spent Memorial Day weekend in Florida with Derek's college roommate and his wife. On our trip to Florida, at the last minute I decided to throw a bunch of toys in a basket for the kids to play with, and it was kind of a life changing moment. I had grabbed a basket that fit perfectly between the two car seats, so the kids were able to grab and play with things at their leisure, and I had everything that I needed all in one place, it made the drive so much easier... Except for when Jay wet through his pull-up and Em chocked on a nugget and got sick everywhere... aside from those details, the ride was rather enjoyable. 

Since then we've been playing with the idea of a few larger road trips for the last half of the year. Now that Em is going to be two this week, we have to pay for a fourth plane ticket when we want to travel places, so driving is obviously the cheaper option every time. If Derek can get the time off work (which is still TBD because he's been swamped lately with big projects), we'd like to visit my family at some point in the fall, and are potentially planning on driving to Idaho for Christmas, but that's dependent on a few things on Derek's family's end too, so these are all very tentative plans. 

Since the drive to Idaho is 30 hours, and 16 to New York, I've been thinking about a lot of different things I can do to make these long trips as easy as possible for our kids. I made these little coloring kits for the kids a few days ago and I thought they were super fun and easy. 

The first thing I did was find an empty DVD case. I took out all the old papers and everything, and then cut two pieces of duct tape to be the same width as one side of the case. I then layered the two pieces, one on top of the other (sticky sides together), so that no stickiness was exposed on the strip. I then took two small strips of tape, and adhered the larger strip to the case on each side, and placed the crayons and paper in. Super easy, and it took all of three minutes to make. More for me because I had to photograph it. 

Another fun project that I saw on Pinterest was letting your child cut up straws from the back seat, and then letting them string the pieces together to make a necklace. Since I'm clearly not opposed to trashing my car,  I thought that was a fabulous idea and decided to make a little bag for that as well.

I then got my basket ready by adding a couple blankets, some toys that both of the kids like playing with, a dry erase book that Jay is currently obsessed with, some board books that can't get trashed or ripped (because remember, we have a two-year-old too), and then our perfect road trip kit was almost complete. 

The only thing left to be added were the diapers. I know a lot of people like to only pack a few diapers when they travel, and then buy what they need when they get to their destination, but I've always preferred traveling with all the diapers that I'm going to need. I put a few Huggies Little Movers size 4 diapers (my favorite since they stay in place all day for the most wiggly babies, and they have up to 12 hours of protection) in my basket that we'll need for the drive, but then I'll pack the rest in my suitcase. I like doing this because it means one less trip to the store when we officially get to where we're going, but it also means that eventually we'll have an empty suitcase, and then we can use that one for extra things we buy or gather through our travels. You always need an extra suitcase for souvenirs or things relatives give to you, so this is a good way to guarantee that extra space. 

I always buy all our diapers in bulk from stores like Costco because it always gives me some peace of mind when we have a couple hundred laying around the house and I never have to worry about running out on a Sunday night when every store in the world is close. Or if you just don't shop on Sunday's like us. 

Starting 9/1-9/25 Huggies Little Snuggles Plus (sizes 1 & 2), will be available for $31.49 after $6 discount and free shipping at Costco. Huggies Little Movers Plus (Size 3, 4, 5, & 6) will also be available for $36.99 after a $6 discount, and starting in August  Huggies little movers diapers will be available online at costco.com, and select warehouse stores in newborn sizing starting at $29.99!

Are you planning any road trips in the near future? What are some of your favorite road trip tips when traveling with little ones? Let me know in the comments below!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...