Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Week 1- Ian's K3 Adventure

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I have never seen someone so excited about learning!

I don't know if it has anything to do with the fact that he has watched his sister learn for the last almost 3 years or that there is a lot of coloring involved or that he has his own Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles folder, but what I do know is that when I say that it is time to learn, he gets very excited!

As promised, I will be sharing with you what we did on a weekly basis.



I drew out (freehand) a capital A and a lowercase a and had him color while we said the sound that the A makes. (We are specifically working on the short vowel sounds right now.)

I purchased a composition book for Ian and made four sections on each page. In each section we practiced writing the capital and lowercase A's. I held his had and guided him in the writing. We did not focus on writing "on the lines." We focused on the hand movements of writing the letters while chanting "line, line, SMILE" for the capital A, and "circle, LINE" for the lowercase.

We did page 1 in our Numbers and Skills with Button Bear from Abeka books. We also read Chicka Chicka 1, 2, 3 (Chicka Chicka Book, A) and Five Little Ducks (Raffi Songs to Read).


We did page 3 (first page) in our Letters and Sounds for 3's from Abeka books.Again, we practiced writing the letter A in our composition book and we read A, my name is--.

For math we read Chicka Chicka 123 and Five Little Ducks again.


He had fun gluing cereal to the letter A on page 5 of the Letters and Sounds for 3's book. We practiced writing our letter A's and we read A, My Name Is--, Chicka Chicka 123, and Five Little Ducks again.

No school for Ian. However, we began learning his Bible verse for Cubbies (Awana program).

We made letter A crafts that I found on this website. We practiced writing out A's, and we did page 5 in Numbers and Skills with Button Bear. We did not read stories.

Learning for Ian is centering around fun more than academics. I do not want his day to revolve around "school." I want his day to be about fun and play. I love that he is asking to do "chores"- what he calls his learning time for some reason. Videos are a part of our day. He loves LeapFrog: Letter Factory and LeapFrog: Talking Words Factory, and I am all for using resources that help make my job easier.

This week, we are working on the letter B. Tune in next week to see what we did to learn all about the B and the number 2.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Mary & Martha ABC Magnets

I think it is safe to say that most of us have a refrigerator.

And for those of us us that have children, those refrigerators get covered in art projects, simple drawings, and assignments that gave been well done.

For me, finding magnets to hold all of these treasures has always been a challenge. In general, magnets just do not appeal to me. Until......

I was sent a box of Mary & Martha ABC Magnets.

These rectangular magnets are strong enough to hold the construction paper and card stock crafts my children bring home from Sunday school, yet pretty enough to be displayed on their own.

Each magnet has a character quality word that begins with that particular letter of the alphabet along with a simple sentence using the word. For example, "H" says "helpful" and "Use your hands to help others."

These letter magnets are great to use with young children who are learning their alphabet. Not only can they learn their letters, but they can also learn a character quality at the same time.

Another way that I have used these magnets is lining them up to spell a family member's name, snapping a picture with my phone, and sending them the photo. It has brought encouragement and joy, and the reply text was always so appreciative.

These magnets retail for $22 for a box of 26 magnets (one for each letter of the alphabet). The magnets are fairly thick (not cheap flimsy magnets with a vinyl covering) with the letter being mounted on several layers of thick paper that have been glued together to keep them sturdy.

Sheila from Mary & Martha has generously offered to give a set of these magnets away here on my blog! To enter the giveaway, use the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 4, 2014

Homeschooling My Three Year Old | A New Series

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This year, we will begin a new chapter in our homeschooling adventure- the "homeschooling" of our three year old!

I use the term "homeschooling" very loosely here, because I have chosen to take a very different approach to schooling with Ian than I did with Addie.

With Addie I had a self-imposed goal of teaching her to read by two and a half. Well, she didn't learn to read by two and a half, and she even became frustrated with reading for a bit. 

For Ian, our approach will be very different.

His structured learning time will only be three times per week.

He will learn to read when he learns to read- no mommy-imposed timelines for him.

His learning time will include having mommy read lots of books to him that include stories about letters and numbers.

Part of his learning time will still include my favorite learning videos, and some of his learning will come from a group learning time with his sister.

Lord willing, at the beginning of each week, I will be sharing with you exactly what our lesson plans were for the previous week, what we did, and what we used. Our first day of school is August 18, so you can expect to see our lesson plans for that week at the beginning of the following week.

Below are the current resources I have collected over the summer for Ian's structured learning time.

For our actual curriculum, we are using two workbooks from Abeka.

Letters and Sounds for 3s
Numbers and Skills with Button Bear

The following are videos and books that we will use to supplement what we are learning in the workbooks.

LeapFrog: Letter Factory
LeapFrog: Talking Words Factory
A, my name is--
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
Chicka Chicka 1, 2, 3 (Chicka Chicka Book, A)
Counting Crocodiles
More M&M's Brand Chocolate Candies Math
Pig, Pigger, Piggest
Five Little Ducks (Raffi Songs to Read)
Little Quack's Hide and Seek

I am sure that more items will be added to this list throughout the year. If you follow along on Facebook, I will let you know when items are added to this list.

I am excited about the upcoming school year.

I am looking forward to having a much more settled schedule.

I am looking forward to being home more.

I am looking forward to spending large chunks of time teaching and learning with my children.

It's going to be a great school year!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Nan's Journey | A Review

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I was recently part of a review team for a series of Western based Christian novels by author Elaine Littau. Honestly, I am not big on Christian romance novels. Since getting married and living out my own love story, I have not had an interest in reading anything that might have a romantic twist to it. However, Nan's Journey had quite a different affect on me.

Nan is a fifteen year old girl who has had a hard life. Her father passed away when she was quite young and her mother remarried a horribly cruel man. Not long after, Nan's mother passed away leaving Nan and her brother at the mercy of their step-father and his new wife. Nan experiences a number of life changing moments- almost losing her 6 year old brother to the internal poison of a festering wound, being accepted unconditionally by a beautiful couple who know God's love and want to share it with Nan and Elmer, meeting a young preacher who has lost the love of his life, being assaulted by some mountain men, becoming pregnant because of the traumatic experience, and marrying the young preacher who wants to save her reputation during a time when an assault on a woman was considered her fault.

One of my favorite parts of the story was the way the author wove in aspects of the Gospel based on the experiences that Nan had lived through. For example, the story begins with a beating Nan received at the hand of her step-mother. Nan took this beating in order to spare her younger brother the beating that should have been his. The author uses one of the characters to explain to Nan that the same way she took the beating for her brother, Jesus was whipped for our transgressions and took the penalty of our sins upon himself. At least four times throughout the book a direct connection was to our need for salvation and how one can receive it.

I am a busy mom, who has recently taken on a part time position at our church, yet I was able to finish this book in two evenings. The writing is wonderful- very much a story with a clear direction, yet with twists and turns that keep you at the edge of your seat. There is enough detail to let your mind picture the setting, yet not not so much that it takes an entire paragraph to describe one aspect of a room. There is a definitely a beautiful balance in Elaine's writing.

We were able to participate in an author's interview as part of this team. Here are some of the questions and answers that I think are the most applicable to this review.

Who is your favorite author? What books have influenced you most?

Living authors: Janette Oak and Francine Rivers. Those from the past: Grace Livingston Hill and Hilda Stahl.

Janette Oak’s Love Comes Softly series influenced me a lot because it begins with the start of a family and continues through the generations. I like that format. Hilda Stahl’s White Pine Chronicles had such unexpected twists and turns, I want to write like that.

Where did you get some of your ideas for a Christian Historical Fiction?

For Nan’s Journey the idea came while I was doing dishes one day. I remembered a scene from the television series, Gunsmoke. A teenaged girl had been severely beaten. Her back was bleeding. As a little child, I had never seen anything like that. My mind whirled. Who hurt the girl? How did she get to the doctor? What happened to her after she was treated?

I couldn’t remember how the episode ended so I sat with a legal pad and began to write Nan’s story. I spent a couple of hours writing and my sons got home from school. It was time to be a mom again. I put that legal pad up and dug it out several times in the seven years it took to write it.

For Elk’s Resolve I decided to write a sequel for Nan’s Journey while I still had some courage. My husband helped me brainstorm with ideas about how and when some of the characters would find one another. Many times, just before awakening, ideas of the next scene would go through my mind.

Luke’s Legacy was the book that left me in tears most of the days I wrote it. I think it is an emotional book. I find it interesting that this one is my husband’s favorite. I love the character called ‘Purdy’. She says what a lot of us would like to say but have been taught not to say.

The Eyes of a Stranger came to me as I was thinking about mail-order brides. My first thought was, “If someone ordered me, I’d be sent back for a refund.” The story went on from there.

Some of the chapters from Timothy’s Home came from something that happened when I was three or four years old. My nephew and I were playing with my teenaged brother’s twenty mule team model. Somehow it was broken. Fifty years later I found a model and began putting it together. The kit had a history and interesting facts about the mule team. I researched online and had to use this hard fought knowledge in a book. I don’t like to waste a bit of research if possible.

The Series was completed with those five books. I sort of thought I was through writing but…

Is there a message in your novels that you want readers to grasp?

Each book has an overlying theme, but the main thing each book carries is that God loves you. He has provided a way for you to overcome your struggles, and He will never leave you in your mess when you ask Him for help.

Nan's Journey (Nan's Heritage Series Book 1) is available for purchase through Amazon for $0.99 for Kindle.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Mother's Love: That Face

I recently had the opportunity to guest post at Betsy Finn's photography blog. This post made me really look into my heart in order to pull out the feelings that a particular photo I took conjures up when I look at it. Sometimes we need a photo that will remind us of what is truly important for us as moms to focus on. The post is titled A Mother's Love: That Face.

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