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Growing Up

Growing Up

Apple Stamp Phonics for Short Vowel Sound Aa

Apple Core Stamps - project for short-vowel sound Aaɑ

Apples!  It is almost apple season around here – I got a great deal on Gala apples last week.  Our girls love apples.  G likes her’s without the peel.  W likes her’s with – and will eat G’s discarded peels.  Last week we were having snack time after working through the very first lesson in The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading.  And I suddenly had a great idea for a craft to reinforce the concepts taught in that phonics lesson – the short vowel sound for Aaɑ.

It seems like there is no shortage of apple activities out there.  And I hesitate to share this one with you, but we did it and enjoyed it, so I am sharing!  This simple activity built upon a number of facts the girls already know, and added a little bit more to their understanding of apples.  Here’s what we did.  Continue Reading

Growing Up

Kindergarten Homeschool Choices

homeschooling kindergarten - learning choices and goals. A plan for the school year

We jumped!

We finally got started with homeschool a little over a week ago and it is going ___.

Yes, I didn’t include an adverb at the end of that sentence because, I am trying my best to wait 6 weeks to evaluate how it is going!  I will let you know when we get through our first 6 weeks!

But I thought I would share the thinking behind our homeschool kindergarten choices for G (5-years-old as of June 2016).  I know that every family is different and each child is unique.  So, I am just putting out there our choices for our girl.  And a little bit of the reasoning behind the choices.  You will see the subjects are planning to cover, followed by my goal for the year and the plan for teaching/learning it. Continue Reading

Growing Up

Thinking of Others: Making Birthdays Special

Thinking of Others, making birthdays special.

Thinking of others is not something that comes natural to us.  We tend to be pretty self-focused.  This is proven true by examining little ones.  They have to learn empathy.  They have to learn to relate to others with kindness and self-lessness.  And they have to be taught to be caring.

I can think of almost no other place where this self-focus can be seen in kids than when it comes time to give a gift.

You know the drill:

You walk into Target and you lay out the game plan for your shopping trip: purchase a gift for Johnnny’s birthday.

Immediately upon entering the toy aisle, your little one starts shopping.  But not for Johnny.

Suddenly she finds toys she NEEDS!  RIGHT NOW!

She forgets the purpose of the shopping trip.  So she needs a little refocus.

Once you get her all refocused on the purpose of the trip to Target, she starts to have her own ideas for what Johnny might want.  And what Johnny might want looks eerily like what she might want.  I assure you, sweet girl, that Johnny does not want a pretty princess dress for his birthday.   Continue Reading

Growing Up

First Foods and First Messes

first foods and first messes - cleaned up with super soft WaterWipes
This entry is part 1 of 29 in the series Baby Days

This post was sponsored by WaterWipes as part of an Ambassador Program for Influence Central. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.  As always, all opinions are mine.

Baby skin is SO soft and so sweet.  I am not sure exactly when it loses that special baby-soft quality, but I know it disappears.  I have had friends want to smell my children, touch their whisper soft cheeks and soak in the sweet baby-ness that only lasts an instant.  Our sweet little man (AG) still has it – he is 8 months old – and I am soaking it up while I can.

Soon the snakes and snails and puppy dog tails will take over.  Our sweet little cuddle-bug  will be running around jumping in mud puddles.   Those milestone first foods will become first messes!  For now the messes are staying quite contained. Continue Reading

Devotion, Growing Up

Home School is NOT an Option

homeschool is NOT an option - some things to consider before you make the decision to home school or to send your kids to traditional school.

You may have read my initial post on the decision-making process we are currently going through to determine if we are going to traditionally school or home school our oldest child.  As I stated in that post, this topic and thought process runs deep and there are many things to consider.  So here is the next thing I have in mind as I make the decision to home school or to send our daughter to traditional school:  In many ways  homeschooling is not an option.  We are our children’s first (and I would argue, primary) teachers whether we recognize it or not.

My kids are watching me.  Every day they are watching me.

I can choose to think this is creepy (and I do), but I cannot change it.

They are observing how I behave, what I say, how I interact with other people, how I spend my time.  And they are creating their perspective of the world and how it works based on my behavior.  They are doing it with my husband, too.  So they are already learning in the school of life that we established the moment we brought them into our home.

Thus My husband and I are, by default, our kids first teachers. Continue Reading

Growing Up

Sensory Play for Baby with Tissue Paper

sensory play for baby with tissue paper - discovering the world through simple sensory play. Lots of simple ideas for making it fun for baby!
This entry is part 2 of 29 in the series Baby Days

Our youngest one (AG, 7 months) is finally getting around a little bit more and spending more time awake during the day.  And it is so fun to watch him, as his sister says, “learn how to play.”  The discoveries he makes each day are so fun!  And this portion of his growing up is so fleeting – I feel the need to soak it all up!  Today we were playing with him and I just quickly decided to throw in a little sensory fun into the mix.  And it was so simple and added up to so much fun for all of us!

All we added to the mix was some colorful tissue paper!

This is such a great early sensory experience for AG because he is getting so much sensory input:

  • the wrinkling of the tissue paper provides something new to touch
  • the crinkling of the tissue paper provides something new to hear
  • the color of the tissue paper provides something new to see, and
  • the movement of the paper provides something new to wonder at

To create your own sensory play for baby, here are some ideas for introducing tissue paper play: Continue Reading

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