Category Archives: Thoughtful Thursday

Because child rearing takes so much thought, especially when home educating.

Preschool at Home

It’s hard to believe our grandson is now three years old. I think he’s adorable.

This post is in an effort to help any mom new to homeschooling. I’m going to include some online preschool resources to help you. But first I need to say,

Don’t go crazy.

Make sure you give them plenty of time to explore things on their own. Don’t get them so structured that you suck the fun out of learning and play time. ;)

Make it fun.

Little ones learn so much through play. If you can make it a game, as in something they like, they are going to be so much more engaged. Don’t insist that they do everything your way. Allow them to play and explore things.

Have a schedule.

I know this one kind of goes against the previous ones but many children thrive on schedules, as do most adults. ;) Find a way to convey your schedule to your little one. They will pick up on things like after lunch we go outside and play or after we play we come in and eat a snack and take a nap or after dinner we take a bath, read a story, and go to bed. Children do well, generally speaking, with routines.

Get them outdoors.

When the weather is not dangerous, get them outside to work off some energy. I know my grandson has a boundless supply of energy. Getting him outside helps to wear him out a bit.

I suggest getting him outside to run, climb, and play before nap time and before time to make dinner to help him be tired enough to take a nap or have quiet time quietly. ;) And also be ready to go to bed at night.

If it isn’t tornadic, sweltering, or storming, it is even good to let them outside in the rain and jump in puddles, when dressed appropriately. ;) Of course, that might just be the grandma in me and not the cool mom. :D

Read books with and to them.

It’s good to run your finger under the words as you read, so they can see a correlation between the words you are saying and what is on the page. You don’t need to do any instruction with this, just simply run your finger under the words as you read them. :)

Books are so important!!! Reading is a fundamental milestone that everyone needs to attain in their lives–but there is no age when they MUST learn; it’s about when they are ready. The important thing is to read to them and to read on your own, showing them that you read too helps them see it is important.

If your stuck with some ideas of some good book choices, here are some lists to consult.

  • Ambleside Online – be sure to scroll down the page for the book titles. I’m sure you’ll see some familiar ones. :)
  • Simply Charlotte Mason – has a good list too
  • 1000 Good Books List – Note that this link is for up to 3rd grade, so some of them will be too much for your little one to sit and listen to. Don’t force long periods. Choose books the right length for your child’s attention span.
  • What is Twaddle? – with a short list of preschool book suggestions.
  • Scribing Life – This lady combined books she found on some of the lists I’ve mentioned above and made a comprehensive list.

Seriously though, once you get a feel for the kind of books on the list and that your child enjoys, you can just pick books from the library.

Curriculum

  • Mama Hustle Repeat has some good preschool homeschool ideas. :) And more on this page.
  • Brightly Beaming Resources! – This is one my sister used with her children. This preparatory set of lessons is good for ages 2-4 and covers just 26 weeks. It focuses on a theme of the week but introduces them to a letter each week too. Utilizing a Learning Poster, changing the focus each week (completely described on the website and very simple to do). This can be made easily with a presentation board from Dollar Tree or simply a poster board.  * The first week covers the theme Cows with the vocabulary word calf, shape square (shapes alternate with colors), letter A, and number 1. It gives some book suggestions, some poems, and songs that relate to the theme. Then it also offers a gross motor skill activity, a fine motor skill activity, and a nursery rhyme. * The focus is not on the alphabet but does simply expose them to the alphabet in this 26 lesson period since the next step focuses on a letter a week. :)
  • Easy Peasy Getting Ready 1 (for 4 year olds – similar to Letter of the Week by Brightly Beaming). I only include this so you are aware that there are options but I do not recommend it for 3 year olds.

I’m sure you can see that I highly recommend Brightly Beaming Resources Step 1. They have more curricula for older ages as well. So if your child is a bit older and is already familiar with the alphabet, check out Step 2 or whichever step is appropriate for your child’s level; better to start lower and it be too easy than to be too challenging and frustrate your precious one. :)

I hope this is of help to you and that you have fun as you continue to teach your child. Remember, you’ve already taught them a lot. You’re just helping them explore more ideas and things. :)

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

An Interesting Youtube Channel

While I was looking into Patreon, I found this interesting youtube channel that I thought I’d pass along. It is an educational channel.

Now, I do have to say that I did not watch many of the videos and am sure that I don’t agree with everything they say and you may not either. However I just use that as a talking point or a topic for further research.

I hope you’ll find this link helpful to you in your homeschooling endeavors,

Michele ºÜº

Primary Colors, the real ones

Tiffany and I watch some youtube channels together; mostly she picks them. One of the art ones we watch is Echo Gillette. Now, I’m going to say this right up front, you have to be careful with her content because she will occasionally swear. Disclaimer done for now.

Recently we watched this video where she talked about the primary colors and how what we are all taught is not true. She also shared, scientifically, that it isn’t a really a color wheel because colors are seen because of different wavelengths.

I feel she did a great job explaining all of it that I just had to share. You see, I always liked to teach my children the truth as I understood it but then would tell them what other people think. In this case I would share this information and then tell them how it has been taught for a very long time.

Here is the link to the video. Be forewarned that she does use the “f” word twice and freaking 2-3 times. The first time the f-bomb is used is somewhere close to 5:45 (like maybe 5:50 or 5:51) and then again right around 9:00 minutes into the video. Normally I wouldn’t share videos with foul language but this had some really great content and is also a good teaching point that we don’t have to agree with everything someone does to learn something worthwhile.

You could always watch the video and teach it to your children yourself or let them watch it with you and then pause and skip the parts you don’t want them to hear. :)

I hope you find this information helpful,

Michele ºÜº

Book Review: Caterpillar Summer

The last of the books I got on my last library trip was Caterpillar Summer by Gillian McDunn. I finished it a few days before we had to return it to the library. I had Tiffany read it to so that I could talk about it with someone and see if I could work out my thoughts a bit more.

I enjoyed it from some standpoints but struggled with others. Here’s a bit about the story:

Caterpillar is about eleven years old. Her brother Chicken is about six or seven and has “special needs.” Her father died of cancer several years prior and her mother works three jobs. Cat has a special relationship with her brother.

It was the sibling relationship that drew me to this book. I liked the idea of it being a summer vacation kind of story. I did not realize that Chicken had special needs when I picked up the book.

I have no background with special needs children and I enjoyed reading about how Cat dealt with and helped Chicken. I felt like it gave me some insight into dealing with a child with special needs (although I’m clueless as to just what these “special needs” are, still). So from that standpoint, I think it can help shed some light, especially if your child knows someone who has a sibling that has special needs of some kind. (I’m wording this badly but I think it can be helpful in some situations.)

However, I had a big problem with the book in that the mother is pretty absent, so much so that Cat makes most of the meals and tends to Chicken most of the time. It is made pretty clear that her mom works a lot and doesn’t even stop to eat meals with them even when she is working from home. I just really felt that the children were not her priority.

Now, if you don’t want any spoilers, I recommend you stop reading here because I’m going to do a few specifics and scroll past the next two paragraphs for my bottom line and things to consider.

 

 

 

 

 

I did not like that Cat and Chicken didn’t even know they had other grandparents. They were aware of their father’s parents but not her mother’s, even though the mom says that she talks to her mom frequently. Now on top of that, she is leaving them with her parents and they are several hours away from where she has to work for the time period. Not only that but this was supposed to be a vacation time of doing things together in the evenings and now that just won’t be possible. She does promise to come on the weekends but work things keep her from keeping that promise. So you can see this book does not build a very good relationship between parent and children but it is what causes the relationship between siblings.

However, Cat is beginning to dislike the responsibility she feels to always be self-sacrificing. I think this book does a good job dealing with this aspect but because of these things I cannot recommend that you just hand your child this book and let them read it. At best, read it together (as a read-aloud) enjoying the book together and talking about what’s happening and if decisions that were made were right or if it had been better if other decisions had been made. Otherwise be sure to read it yourself and talk about it with your child(ren) even if you don’t read it together.

 

 

 

Bottom Line:

  • This book can give insight to children with special needs.
  • It is a fun summer read taking place on a NC Island.
  • It is about a girl realizing that she can do things she enjoys doing.
  • It is about finding grandparents and learning to love and trust them.
A few things to consider:
  • father is dead (cancer) but not shown
  • parent who works a lot
  • estranged relationships
  • special needs child
  • assumed responsibilities

I also really liked how there were a couple of situations that arose where there was a misunderstanding but it was resolved very quickly! Too many times misunderstandings are a whole big plot point in books but in this it was handled well.

Let me know if you have read this book or if you do read it, in the comments. I love to chat about books.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Sand: Up Close

Have you and your children been to the beach this summer? Have you seen sand lately? I bet you didn’t see it like this. :)

Yeah, I think it is a cool science link. It shows what sand particles look like magnified three hundred times. Yep, 300 times! I thought it was amazing. Then I remembered that sand is nothing but small bits of shells and such.

I won’t keep you any longer because I really want you to go check out what sand looks like magnified 300 times. :)

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

 

Early Learning Printables Galore Link

While I was looking for the preschoolers passport last week I found several other things that I’ll be sharing over the next little while, starting with today. :)

The Reading Mama has loads of printables!!! I clicked on Preschool Printables and then on the Preschool Fun Packs and then on the Summer Smileys Preschool Fun Pack. Once there I found some summer book suggestions as well as quite a few printable pages in the free download.

This download focused mostly on number recognition and used dice too. It had some two piece puzzles and some tracing pages all in color and black and white. Oh, there’s even some sequencing cards.

You could print the color for eye-appeal and the black and white pages for coloring.

There are so many printable pages on this site covering a lot of different areas like reading readiness, cutting practice, sight words, reading family books, and even Bob Book printables.

Oh! You can laminate or place the page in a page protector so that the page can be used repeatedly. And I’d probably glue the cards to a colored piece of paper/cardstock instead of printing color on the backside and thus saving ink.

There’s also a simple phonics assessment and spelling reference folder for those that have children that already reading somewhat.

I hope this website with its free pages to download and print are a blessing to you.

Until next time,

Michele

State Geography Study Resource

Thanksgiving and Big Stuff ~ Lifeofjoy.meBefore I share today’s resource, I just want to remind you that since it is July 25th, it is technically Christmas in July. ;) If you’d like to read a fun cozy murder mystery (that reads like a romantic comedy at Christmas time), go check out my daughter’s first book, Murder Mystery and the Gingerbread Cookies available on Amazon (and a few other places I can’t recall right now ;) ). She started writing it when she was 12 years old. We published a few years ago in ebook and finally jumped through all the hoops to get it into paperback this past February.


My sister told me about this wonderful resource last week when we got together. I had not seen this one before but looks really great.

The resource is 8 For Each State: US Geography. On this page you will find an overview and links to each state’s webpage. Don’t forget to go to the introduction page to get some more state study ideas.

Some links that Jessica used are no longer working but some can be found by pasting the link into the wayback machine at archive.org. I’ve had some success finding some broken links, including pdf files, there.

This could be used as a two-year geography study. What I saw of it is really good. I hope it is helpful to you and your family in the education of your children.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Reading and YA Distinction

Do you have a pre-teen or teen? Do you struggle with books for them to read? Do they think they must get books from the YA (young adult) section of the library? Do you know that YA is NOT a reading level?

I read books from all over the library. Yep, children’s department too; see these posts I did recently about some juvenile fiction I’ve read in the last month or so. I’ve got one more checked out that I want to read yet. But I digress. ;)

I’ve read some YA books and I have to say that I would be very careful about which books my kids read in that area. They are generally filled with angst and teens experimenting with all sorts of things. There are soooo many good books in the juvenile section that are worthwhile reading.

Here is a really good article and even a podcast (but I haven’t listened to that) about the YA designation and that category. It is not a short read but does have some book suggestions as you scroll to the bottom. I’m looking forward to reading some of these myself. :)

I hope this helps you steer your child through their reading adventures.

Michele ºÜº

Book Review: Lenny’s Book of Everything

This is another of those books I found at the library a couple months ago that was about siblings that actually got along. The only other thing I knew about this book going into it was that they younger brother had rare form of gigantism. Consequently I assumed it would end up being a sad book but was interested in the sibling relationship.

Lenny’s Book of Everything by Karen Foxlee

Okay, I’m just going to be honest . . . this is a hard book. It did not capture me–I had to push to keep reading it. There is a lot of loss in this book.

I guess I should start by telling you a bit more of what the story is about. First up, Lenny is short for Lenore and is a girl who is three years old when her brother is born. The book starts out very somberly! with the mother having a feeling something was wrong with her newborn. This is given credibility because it is like the feeling she had the day Davey was born, which is shared in the beginning.

Lenny’s father was in and out of their lives the first several years. So this is also a story of a “single” mom with two kids and how she handles it but told through the eyes of the children.

My Thoughts/Talking Points

  • The mother lied about her husband, saying he was dead. However Lenny says she lies from the first word of the letter, so this is definitely something to be aware of and talk about with your children. Do you agree with it being a lie?
  • The book delves in to Lenny’s feelings about her brother’s condition.
  • Lenny and Davey talk about and plan to run away.
  • Lenny goes somewhere she should not go and it disrupts her relationship with her brother (well, with everyone).

Bottom Line:

  • This is a hard one for me to bottom line because in the end it was a decent read but I have no desire to ever read it again. It is a stand alone, which is good.
  • I liked that the siblings like each other and treat each other well most of the time.
  • It shows how doing something behind peoples’ backs changes things.
  • It shows how sometimes we want something so much that it seem as if it is true.
  • The people we surround ourselves with influence what we do.
  • Accepting help is not necessarily charity
A few things to consider:
  • abandonment (father left the family)
  • death, although it is not shown
  • mother “dating”
  • sneaking behind adults’ backs
  • lies?
  • “stealing” money
  • running away
  • being left behind can cause a drift in a relationship

My recommendation is to definitely use this one as a read aloud, so that you can stop and discuss things as they happen. Talk about why Lenny thinks Mom lied in the letter and if it is really a lie. Talk about if Lenny should have met GAE. Talk about what meeting GAE did to her relationship with Davey and the adults in her life.

There is also the “dark heart feeling,” which is mentioned from the very beginning of the book. I would describe it as a sense of foreboding. Other phrases that are kind of similar

This book is a bit heavy. It does show siblings in a good light. Ones that enjoy sharing things with each other but how sometimes they can be embarrassing and how to deal with those feelings.

OH! I almost forgot to mention: if your child is into beetles or birds, they will probably really enjoy this because Lenny finds she is intrigued with beetles of all kinds and Davey is enamored with a Golden Eagle and later Falcons. Definitely a fun part of the book

I also enjoyed how they looked forward to the parts of the encyclopedia showing up each week and how they would pour over them. There is also the mention of a few television shows in the 60’s and 70’s as well as the mention of the moon landing. :) There are probably more things I should mention, like I think Mrs. Gaspar is Catholic, vandalism–which is immediately dealt with, and friendships.

As you can see, I had mixed feelings about this book. I hope I have shared enough that you can decide if it is a book for you and your children or not.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

 

Music and Child Development

I recently came across an article that talked about music helping the development of a child’s brain. They say it helps with language development, reading skills, and speech perception. It’s a short article . . .

Here’s one that’s a little longer but has a bit more information. ;)

And finally here’s an article I wrote two years ago with an inexpensive instrument suggestion. :)

Hope this helps,

Michele ºÜº