Saturday, July 30, 2011

Alphabet Maze Printables

Last year, to my surprise, Kayleigh did fantastic on her uppercase letter recognition.  It wasn't something I had expected her to master but, in true Kayleigh form, she rarely does as expected. LOL

So this year we're going to work a bit on lowercase letter recognition.  In an effort to promote that skill, I created these alphabet mazes for her.    

You start at the green box and follow the focus letter until you get to the red box.  There are many different ways you could do this.  You could use do-a-dot markers and stamp your way through the maze, put the sheet in a page protector and use dry erase markers to circle or mark off the letters, cover the letters with gems, pom poms or other objects of your choice.  Whatever tickles your child's fancy.  I think the next time we do this, we're going to try the gems.

I have finished all 26 letters and have uploaded them to 4 Shared for you to download.  Just click on the maze at the top of the page if you're interested.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Shutterfly Photo Book Give Away

As a mom of two, who owns a digital camera, I take a TON of photos.  Everyday.  

The thing with digital photos is that you often take so many and then they sit on the camera or the hard drive or maybe land on your blog.  Living in the digital age doesn't require us to print them out to view them so you don't see a lot of photo albums these days, unless you're a scrapbooker.

I've recently discovered, and fallen in love with, digital scrap booking.  But there I was with all of these digital layouts stored on my computer.  Then I discovered Shutterfly photo books from a digital scrap book site.  I had found my answer.  

I can upload MY OWN digital scrapbook pages to Shutterfly and end up with a beautiful, professionally bound book filled with my layouts.   But maybe you're not into scrapbooking in any form; Shutterfly still  has options for you too.  The simple path requires little more than adding photos and captions.  The custom path offers more options to customize by allowing you to resize photos, move photos, and move text.  There is an option for everyone.

The photo books come in five different sizes, from 5x7 to 12x12.  You can get hard or soft covers, padded or cloth, leather or faux lizard.  The options are endless!

My family LOVES these photo books.  I am currently working on my third book and I can't wait to finish it and have the bright, orange Shutterfly envelope arrive in the mail.  My girls love flipping through these books, reliving our family memories.  Holding that book in your hands is so much more special than flipping through pictures on a computer.

The also offer Christmas cards, invitations, calendars, and birth announcements.  And, of course, prints.

Shutterfly has graciously offered me an 8x8 photo book (my favorite size) for writing my honest opinion about their photo books.  My honest opinion is that you should get one for your family because they are an awesome way to preserve your family memories.  So I have decided that I am going to offer the free photo book to one of my readers.  

If you'd like to win, leave a comment sharing your favorite childrens book.  I'm looking to up my collection.  Don't forget to leave your contact info.  I'll draw the winner at random on Friday, August 5th.  I'll email the winner with the code for the free book as soon as Shutterfly gives it to me.

Can't wait to win and have a blog?  Sign up  for a chance for a free photo book from Shutterfly. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Try The Old Schoolhouse Magazine~ Free!!

Read It Online Today!

Take a look at the brand new Summer digital edition of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine. TOS is offering this digital issue of the magazine totally free with no strings attached. Enjoy this free gift from TOS—no registration or email address required to view the magazine! Take a peek here. Then share the link with your friends by clicking on the share button at the top of the magazine pages.

Check it out here...The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.  

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Tot School: Trial Run

Kayleigh is 41 months old

Since we’re still in summer mode, we had another easy week.  So we tried out our Raising Rockstars/ Sonlight p 3/4 schedule for a couple of days. 

Our days will be starting with our newly redone morning board.  We tried doing calendar last year but she wasn’t ready; it went much better this time.

The top of our board is your standard calendar activities: days of the week, date, seasons, weather, songs, etc.  The bottom of the board is our Raising Rockstars  components: Bible verse, verse application, song, and key cards.  You can read more about that on 1+1+1=1

We don’t have any wall space for hanging this stuff due to the insane about of bookshelves in our school room, oh the trials of being a Sonlighter lol, so I made it out of heavy foam board.  It folds up and slides neatly behind a shelf when not in use.  Love it!


Here’s the little miss counting the numbers with her pointer.  She wouldn’t have anything to do with that last year so progress has been made.

Using her Raising Rockstar prop (RR from now on) to sing our song. 

Raising Rockstar Activities
Unit Deets
Letter: Ll
Verse: Matthew 5:16
Number: 1
Color: Yellow
Shape: Circle
Sight Word: See

Here she is working on her RR binder which will hold all of her verses, projects, and key cards.  And it will be a nice little keep sake when we’re finished. 

Coloring her Bible verse for this unit.

Cutting out her vocab cards.  She did a really good job staying on the lines for the most part.

“Reading” her cards that we put in her binder.  She LOVED this!

Pre-writing using “Get Ready for L".  She did surprisingly well with this.  She normally scribbles and misses the lines entirely.  I guess she wasn’t kidding when she said she wanted to write like sissy. LOL

I didn’t get any pictures of it, but she also really liked “reading” the mini-book that goes along with the unit.  The purpose of that is mainly for working with the sight word, but since we’re not really doing sight words, we read it just for fun.  It was very repetitive and with the picture clues, she was easily able to figure out what to “read.”  She felt like a “big gurl baby.” 
She is very in love with being a baby yet wants to do big girl stuff and “big gurl baby” is apparently her way of having the best of both worlds. LOL

Other Activities
In no particular order…

Ll Maze.  Find and stamp all the big and little Ls.  Ideally, you’d do it in order, to make a maze, but she’s not ready for that so she just stamped them as she saw them. 

This is something that I made and will make available to you once I have them all finished.  I think I’m on 
V so soon.  =o)

Playing on ABC Mouse.  She also did the L unit on Starfall but I didn’t get any pictures of that.

An ABC puzzle.  This was the first time she’s worked on a puzzle of this size and she was LOVING it!  She did it over and over and over.  She was so proud that she could do it.  With a little help of course.

I printed this ladybug number book from Making Learning Fun.  We did it a little differently.  We didn’t attempt to write the number words, we just stamped the correct number of spots on the ladybug.

Dot painting L is for Ladybug.  This was from COAH. For the first time in the history of the world, she only painted on the dots.  Normally it’s all over.  And I had told her she could paint it however she wanted. LOL

She worked in her Kumon Let’s Color and Easy Maze books

Ladybug color match and big/little L sort, both from COAH.



Her star boxes, which are available after her guided activities are completed, contained Magneatos, Lacing Bears, and instruments. 

Read Alouds
She loved all of her Sonlight read alouds.  So much that we read extra.
This first book is part of RR and is where the Bible verses come from.  It didn’t really hold Kayleigh’s attention, as it doesn’t have a lot pictures.  So I’m not sure if this will work for us yet.  We’ll see.
She likes this Bible okay

but she really loves the Family Time Bible so I think we’re going to switch. In fact, she went and got it off the shelf after being unhappy that 101 didn’t have a picture of the snake in the Garden of Eden.  LOL
The Family Time Bible came with core pre-k but it’s an easier version than 101 favorites.   Sadly, the Family Time Bible is out of print.  Mackenzie LOVED this Bible for years and it shows the wear.

This treasury is one of the best I’ve seen as it has full size pictures. Woot!!  This week we read Baby Says, Pete’s a Pizza, Harold’s Purple Crayon, and If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.

All-in-all, our trial run went well.  I saw some things that I might tweak and I  have a possible review item coming up that might alter my plan a bit more.   Especially if we like it. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

About to Set Sail

I'm excited to announce that I was selected to be part of the The Old School House 2011-2012 Homeschool Review Crew.  The Crew is on it's fourth voyage and I'm blessed to be onboard this cruise as a newbie.

Things are really kicking into high gear and I'm looking forward to trying out some great products to share with you.  As I type, a couple are on their way to my location.  Woot!

You can check out a partial list of vendors on the Crew Blog.  Just check the right sidebar to see what's coming.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Look Ahead for Kayleigh

I hesitate to call this year pre-k because that isn't exactly where we're at in life.  It's more of a tot school/pre-k hybrid.  LOL  Whatever you call it, here's what it's going to look like.  I hope.

Kayleigh will be 3.5 when we start.

Our Goals 

  • ~Simple Memory Verses
  • ~Manners and social skills
  • ~Love of literature though tons of books
  • ~Letter Identification-Upper and Lower Case
  • ~Phonemic Awareness (to know that letters make sounds. I don't necessarily expect her to learn what sounds each letter makes at this age since she shows very little interest.  Although she does know some thanks to Leap Frog and Brainy Baby dvds.)
  • ~Color Identification
  • ~Number Identification
  • ~Counting to 20
  • ~Shape Identification (square, triangle, circle, oval, rectangle, heart, star)
  • ~Sizes (big, medium, small)
  • ~Patterns (AB & ABC)
  • ~Positional Words
  • ~Early Letter Writing Skills (wasn't in my original plan but she's asking)
  • ~Days of the Week/Months of the year (circle time)
  • ~Fine Motor Skills-Cutting, Gluing, Coloring, Tracing
  • ~Print Awareness (following print, understanding that letters make up words, etc.) 
  • ~Reading Comprehension (Tell me what happened? What do you think will happen next?)
  • ~Vocabulary Development
  • ~Musical Awareness (singing simple songs, exploring instruments, keeping time)
  • ~Basic Computer Skills (through the use of ABC Mouse, Starfall, and the Raising Rockstars Power Point lessons)
  • ~Very basic exposure to sight words since they are part of the RR program.  I have no expectations for this at all and we will not spend a lot of time focusing on them.

What We'll Be Using

       * Sonlight P3/4
       * ABC Mouse   
       * Starfall 
       * Letter of the Week Curriculum for hands-on 
       * Making Learning Fun activities
       *ABC Twiggles
       *Various Kumon books
       * Tot Beginnings games and activities
       * Various Learning Toys listed below

The Raising Rockstars Preschool Program and Sonlight P3/4 will be the spine for our year. Each day she will have a short "circle time",  6 guided learning activities, 2/3 learning toys for free play (rotated weekly), and, of course,  our beloved Sonlight books.   

The guided learning activities will include the Raising Rockstars components, computer time, puzzles, and other activites and crafts from LotW, Tot Beginnings, ABC Twiggles, and Making Learning Fun. I am making an effort to play more games with her this year, so I have those "scheduled" in twice a week.  I really hope I don't fall off the band wagon with that. 

Some of our Tools

Monday, July 11, 2011

Tot School: When We Didn’t Do Anything

Kayleigh is 40 months old


I had grand plans for this week that included the Letter V and fireworks units.  However, we just didn’t feel like it.  So we didn’t.  And that was great to.

Here’s what we did do.

We went to Grandpa’s for the Fourth of July weekend.  We did some boating, saw some fireworks, and hung out.



Had I known I was going to see an osprey and its nest I would’ve brought my real camera so I wouldn’t have to take pictures on my iPhone.  Next time…




We went to the Botanical Gardens with some friends to see the butterfly exhibit.  There were also a lot of fun mazes set up on the grounds.

Hay Maze


Sheet Maze


Unhappy because she had grass on her shoe


Butterflies that she later found offensive


They were scarey


Ha!! The gardens seem to love Melissa and Doug as much as I do.  LOL


It was crazy hot so we went to the splash area.  She had fun for 3 minutes.


Then an out-of-control child knocked her over HARD and she got that lovely goose egg.


Another glaring reminder of why we tend to avoid places while schools out.  Sigh…Hurry September!


Recovering.  She finally ventured back in but would run away when another child would come within 3 feet of her.


Daddy didn’t like to see her injury so he got her these.  It was all he could do to not get Buzz Lightyear too.  Please visualize my eye roll.  Thank you!


Her other favorite activity was taking pictures with my phone. LOL  Here are a few of the gems that I found on it.  She took about 20.


And that was our week.  Click the tot school button at the top of the page to see what the other tots have been up too.


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