Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My 3 Year Old Has A Comb Over

This is what happens when a certain three year old wakes up to go to the bathroom and finds a pair of scissors. 

IMG_3452  Do you see the bald spot?

I took him to the hair dresser to see if we could salvage his hair.  The choices ~ shave ALL his hair OFF or trim it, leaving the part a little longer to comb over his bald spot.  I love my little guys curls so I opted for the comb over.

IMG_3554Yes, his hair is still long on the sides but unfortunately he also cut a small spot on the side REALLY short so I had to leave the sides long enough to cover his handy work!

I was not home when this happened but I can’t blame hubby ~ Aiden has cut his hair before when I was home with him.   I really hope he has learned his lesson and yes, EVERY pair of scissors we own are under lock and key!


Monday, August 30, 2010

Peterson Directed Handwriting E-Workbooks ~ Review

I have to admit when I found out I was going to be reviewing a handwriting program with Aiden I was not excited.  Aiden, who is almost 4, is still in the process of learning all of the upper and lower case letters and my prior attempts at having him trace letters and numbers have not always been successful. 


After starting Peterson Directed Handwriting with Aiden I actually got excited about teaching Aiden handwriting!  This is not like any other handwriting program I have used. 

What makes Peterson Directed Handwriting so different from all the other handwriting programs?  It focuses on training your muscle memory to make letter strokes instead of doing it visually, like tracing letters on paper.  Peterson Directed Handwriting uses a four step process to teach handwriting:

  1. Illustrate & Describe (Introducing the Movements):  Using large visuals, specific movements and action words for each stoke needed to form the letter or number.
  2. Air Writing with Action Words (Gross Motor Patterning with Rhythm):  Making big strokes in the air along with action words.   The key here is to do the movements and chant the words at the same time.
  3. Finger Tracing with Action Words (Fine Motor Patterning with Rhythm):  Using printed pages a student writes with their finger, guided by their voice.
  4. Write & Say (Execution with Rhythm): Using a pencil on unlined paper first, then lined paper as a child gains practice and control, they write.  The goal is to be able to use their voice and chant the actions as they direct the pencil.

How We Used Peterson Directed Handwriting:

The E-Workbooks I received did not include lesson plans, only practice pages.  I used the four steps above to create my own lessons plans. 

I started out by writing the letter or number one on a dry erase board.  I used different colors, as shown in the E-Workbook, for each stroke needed to make the letter/number.


Aiden would erase the strokes and we would say the action words together.  I ended up writing the letters over and over for him to erase the strokes. 


We then moved on to air writing with the action words.


and finger tracing with action words.  We spent some time working on the correct way to hold a pencil ~ although when I tried to take a picture he started holding the pencil really tight!


Finally we wrote with a pencil and said the action words.

Truthfully I did not spend much time on this step since Aiden is only three.  This is something I will continue to work on during our school year.

My Thoughts:

Although this program may not be for everyone it works for Aiden ~ my little hands on learner!  The E-Workbooks I received were for K and 1st grade ~ a little advanced for Aiden.  If the budget allows I would like to purchase the Home School Kit Complete for PreK and K. 


  • The E-Workbooks can be downloaded and used immediately.
  • They are non-consumable so you can use them with multiple children.
  • If you need more practice on certain letters just print the page again. 
  • The cost ~ each E-Workbook is $19.95.
  • Free online support.


  • You don’t receive lesson plans with the E-Workbooks.  Some subjects I like to research and come up with lesson plans ~ handwriting is not one of them!

To find out more information visit the Peterson website.  It has TONS of great information!

 This product was given to me for review purposes. I was not paid for this post. All opinions expressed in this post are mine.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Preschool Corner ~ Our Alphabet Box

After I found the idea for an Alphabet Box on Counting Coconuts I went right out and purchased a container from Walmart.  As soon as I got home I started filling it with miniature objects that begin with each letter of the alphabet. 

  Alphabet Box

Here is what I have collected for the letter a ~ apple, ant, alligator, and ax.

  Alphabet Box

I finished filling the box and set it out in our school room.  My original plan was to introduce a letter each week ~ guess I shouldn’t have left the box where the kids could get it.  They have been exploring and playing with the box all week.   Emily has been playing school with Aiden, having him trace our sandpaper letters with his finger and say the sound each letter makes.  He loves to play with sissy so I have just let her take the lead and be teacher during some of our school time.

To check out more Preschool ideas and activities visit Preschool Corner!


Monday, August 23, 2010

School Pictures

Today was our first day back to school.  It is tradition to take pictures on our first day.  I decided to add a picture of the kids holding the grade the are in after seeing the pictures Carrie at Live, Learn, and Love Together took.

I can’t believe that Emily is starting 2nd Grade!  

IMG_3406_edited-1 IMG_3402_edited-1

Aiden is starting Preschool this year.  As you can see from the first picture he was NOT going to smile for me.  This is an expression I see quite frequently.  I did manage to get one picture of him smiling while he was climbing a tree.



Sunday, August 22, 2010


imageI was very excited when NOVICA contacted me about reviewing one of their products.  Have you ever heard of NOVICA?  NOVICA is a company associated with National Geographic where you can find thousands of fair trade gifts and home decor items from artisans around the world. They showcase a range of items that can be used as corporate gifts or something special for a friend ~ or yourself.

I really had a hard time deciding what to order since they have so many beautiful products!  I finally decided on the Wood djembe drum from Ghana.  I received email updates as to the status of my package as it traveled all the way from Ghana.

After about 10 days the drum arrived.  It came with a handwritten postcard from the artisan who crafted the drum.  Beautiful isn’t it?


The first thing my husband said when he saw the drum was “Your not going to let the kids play with that, are you?”  Not because he was concerned about the joyful noises they would be making with the drum ~ it was because he thought the drum was too beautiful for the kids to play with it.  His plan was to display it well out of reach from the kids.

As you can see from the picture below the kids have indeed been playing with the drum ~ and enjoying it very much!


It goes along perfectly with our geography studies this year, since it was crafted in West Africa, and it is a great addition to our musical instruments.


Thanks to NOVICA for providing me with the product to review. This review reflects my personal opinions.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Preschool Corner ~ Kittens For Keeps

Let me show you Aiden’s new love ~Willow, a bobtailed, six toed sweet heart! 

IMG_3213She is the purr-fect pet for our family ~ as she is constantly being held, kissed, hugged and played with, and she LOVES it!


Since Aiden is all about kittens I pulled out one of our favorite Before Five in a Row books Kittens for Keeps.  This book is a reprint of Jenny’s Surprise Summer which is listed in Before Five In A Row.  The only difference is the name of the little girl and kittens.

Kittens for Keeps is about a little girl, Meg, who spends the summer with her grandmother at her house by the beach. Meg is on the beach when a storm moves in and she finds shelter in a cave, where she finds two kittens. 

Lapbook from Homeschool Share:

  • We pulled out the globe and talked about where the oceans are.
  • Played a memory game with cat cards.
  • Read bible verses.
  • Charted what the weather was during the week
  • Counted cats  - ears, tails, and feet.
  • Talked about how we know it is summer.    Kittens for Keeps Lapbook
  • Read cat poems and sang songs.
  • Talked about taking care of kittens.

Kittens for Keeps Lapbook

Math: Counting and Stamping Paw Prints

I made a sheet with individual blocks for Aiden to stamp paw prints.  He rolled a dice, counted, and added the correct number of paw prints to the chart until it was full.

Paw Print Stamping

Science: Animal Coverings

I used a large piece of felt and added a piece of fur, feathers, fabric that looked like snake skin and a shell to it.  In a small basket I added animals, birds, etc.  Animal Coverings

Aiden sorted the animals by their coverings.Animal Coverings    

Sensory Tub:  Alphabet Shells

I hid our alphabet shells in the sand for Aiden to find.    Alphabet Shells 

Just for Fun:  Playing Veternarian

Aiden and Emily played Veternarian. 

Playing Vet 

They gave each and every one of our stuffed animals a check-up.

Playing Vet

To check out more Preschool ideas and activities visit Preschool Corner!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Our Homeschool Room

This is one of my favorite rooms in the house ~ now that it is de-cluttered, organized and clean!  Let me give you a little tour.

Please come on in……


This wall holds all of the items we use on a daily basis.  The small bookcase holds the books we will be using our first six weeks of school, our globe and paper.   The bins on the shelf hold our Math-U-See blocks, play-doh, and Dot paints.  I also have any items that I don’t want Aiden to reach on the shelf such as the pencil sharpener and our All About Spelling cards.  I hung metal tins below the shelves which hold colored pencils, markers, crayons, scissors, all things sticky, and pens for our dry erase board.   Below that I hung our dry erase board and a felt board.  The colored totes in the bookcase holds all of our magnetic and felt board items ~ such as letters, numbers, and felt sets so the kids can easily access them. IMG_3308 

We have a small table where we sit to do most of our school work.  Emily’s workboxes are right beside the table for easy access.IMG_3318  

Next is our pie safe ~ which holds oh so much!  In the containers underneath is fabric Emily and Aiden are allowed to play with, extra school supplies and miscellaneous items (currently it contains pirate items).  On top I have lapbook and notebook pages we will need this year and my manuals.IMG_3340

Inside the pie safe I have all of our manipulatives, flashcards, games, science things and preschool toys.IMG_3331

Beside the pie safe I have a computer the kids are allowed to use ~ NO internet access!IMG_3317

Our entertainment center holds all of our toys, games, puzzles, and movies.  On top I have toys for outside and incentive items for the kids.IMG_3309

The next bookcase holds most of our books.  On top of the bookcase I display our nature items and nature books.  Notice the cute little kitten in the window?   IMG_3313_edited-1 

This is our art and music area.  The bookcase holds all of our art and music books as well as a basket of musical instruments (egg shakers, rhythm sticks and recorder).  The bottom shelf holds easy reader books.    IMG_3343

Lastly on our tour is the kids reading area with two cozy chairs and a basket of books.  IMG_3310

Truthfully the kids are usually bouncing and playing in the chairs instead of sitting.  I hope you enjoyed the tour!

Not Back to School Blog Hop


Monday, August 9, 2010

Our Curriculum Choices for 2010 - 2011

Wonder where I have been?  I have been busy planning for the next school year ~ which will start for us on August 23rd.  I have decided to make some changes this year to our curriculum and the way we homeschool.  After much reading and praying I have decide to use more of a Charlotte Mason approach.  I have two children who learn completely differently and I can see how this approach will be beneficial for both of them.  For anyone not familiar with Charlotte Mason or her philosophy you can read more about it here

Aiden will be included in most of what Emily and I do this year.  Last year he sat with us during most of our school day so I decided this year I would include him.  I am always amazed at what he learns just from listening and watching Emily and I.

Both Kids:  Preschool and 2nd Grade (Almost 4 and 7)

Bible and Character ~ Character Concepts for Preschoolers and Leading Little Ones to God (Our main focus this year will be  character training.  After looking through the Character Concepts for Preschoolers lesson plans I decided to have Emily join us.  It really is a great curriculum which includes stories to go along with the character trait being taught, verses to memorize and hands on activities.)

Geography ~ Galloping The Globe along with Five In A Row

Science ~ Giant Science Resource Book along with living books.

Artist and Composer Study ~ We will be learning about one artist and composer every six weeks.  We are also using Discovering Great Artists.

Nature Study ~ Handbook of Nature Study

Emily: 2nd Grade

Math  ~ Math-U-See Beta

Language Arts ~ Learning Language Arts Through Literature Red Book

Spelling ~ All About Spelling Level 1 and Level 2

History ~ The Story of The World Volumes 1 and 2

Latin ~ Songschool Latin

Art ~ Draw Write Now 

Aiden: Preschool

Math ~ Count on Math:  Activities for Small Hands and Lively Minds

Language Arts ~ Language Lessons For Little Ones (This book teaches alphabet letters - how to recognize, write, and differentiate.  It also includes picture study, narration, and poetry readings)

History ~ Uncle Rick’s History for Preschoolers (which was included in the Character Concepts for Preschoolers curriculum kit)

Other ~ We will be adding some fun activities to go along with the books we read.

I have been busy putting the finishing touches on our school/play room and will be sharing pictures later this week.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Science Sunday ~ Rocks Week 2


This week we focused on the three types of rocks ~ sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic. To demonstrate how these rocks are formed we made edible rocks.  I found the information here.  Warning ~ these contain LOTS of sugar!

We started out talking about sedimentary rocks which are formed when layers of sand, small bits of rock, clay, plants, bones and mud are piled on top of each other and eventually get compressed and harden into rocks.  Sedimentary rocks are often formed in river and lake bottoms.   I asked the kids why water was important?  Emily’s answer ~ The water carries the “stuff” down the river.

To demonstrate how sedimentary rocks are formed we used the following to represent the different layers ~ bread (dirt), graham crackers (sand), crunchy peanut butter (mud with small rocks in it), strawberry jelly (dried leaves and twigs) and grape jelly (bones).  We put a layer of each on our bread


and the kids compressed their sedimentary “rocks”.


Next up Igneous rocks which are formed from melted rock.  I asked the kids what would be hot enough to melt rock?  The answer ~ a volcano.

IMG_3111 IMG_3113   

To make our edible igneous rocks we used butterscotch and chocolate chips to represent the different kinds of minerals founds in rocks. 


Melted them in the microwave to show that once it is heated you can no longer see the individual minerals (chips).IMG_3110 

We put our hot magma on waxed paper and stuck them in the fridge to cool.


The last rock we talked about was metamorphic rocks which are formed when rocks and minerals have been heated and compressed, forming a new rock.  The process does not melt the rocks completely like igneous rocks it just transforms them into denser more compact rocks.

For this experiment we used sugar cookie dough and 3 colors of food coloring.  We divided the dough into 3 equal sections and added 5 drops of different food coloring to each section. 


We rolled balls out of each color, and the kids compressed them.


Then we baked them (heat)


and enjoyed our metamorphic “rocks”.

             IMG_3281 IMG_3282

For more fun with science, check out Science Sunday at Adventures in Mommydom.


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