Category Archives: Thoughtful Thursday

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

Ways to Help Your Child Cope

I remember hearing Kirk Martin and his son Kacey speak at our local homeschool convention several years ago. He talked about keeping calm and asking for what you needed; he had seminars on both marriage and handling children. I signed up for his emails and have shared one or two of them with you here.

I followed a link in a recent email and listened to a short podcast. I didn’t completely agree with what he shared but there were some things I did agree with. Then I started clicking around on his sites and found this article and felt it was worth sharing. It shares about managing emotions and impulses.

I especially liked because it talks about looking for your child’s talents, strengths, and interests. It also shows the positive trait verses negative traits.

I remember when reading Caterpillar Summer, Chicken said one time that sometimes the urge to run was just so strong he couldn’t stop himself from doing it. It explained so well how some things happen with some people, so that I can relate a bit more.

Here’s an article about handling emotions that I thought might be helpful too.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº


Holiday Audio Fun and Surfnetkids

The holidays are quickly approaching. I’m deep into ordering Christmas presents and they are arriving. I’ll start wrapping them soon. :) I love the holidays. Getting my shopping done before Thanksgiving takes so much of the stress out of December and makes it so much more enjoyable.

Homeschool Freebie has their Holiday collection available now. This year they have a professionally done lapbook for Cinnamon Bear included. They also have two games with a Cinnamon Bear theme. One is a racing game and the other is a strategy game, so I’ve read from their site.

And now the set is a download instead of a physical cd sent via snail mail, so you can start right away. Of course, Cinnamon Bear adventures don’t start until after Thanksgiving though, so there’s still time for that. ;) I’m sure I’ll be posting about it again next month. :)

Do you need a little supplemental learning opportunity? has a lot of suggestions/ideas for you. It is centered around either a daily or monthly happening, like National Book Month, National Popcorn Month, a birthday, a death, or some other observance.

Each topic has at least 3 links for more information (and usually something fun to do) for each observance/day.

Check it out, you may find something of interest to your child(ren).

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Youtube Channels to Check Out

A couple months ago, when I was trying to figure out Patreon, I ran across a couple of youtube channels that looked interesting. Now, I have not had time to check these out but thought that I’d mention them to you in case they included subjects in which your children are interested.

The first is probably just interesting to those in older grades as it deals with World War 1, I believe. It is called The Great War. From 2014 through 2018 he did a series about what happened that week a hundred years ago, which is interesting.

The other channel is about various points of history and even some videos about video games and gaming. The channel is called Extra Credits. There really is a wide assortment of videos here to check out. You could use either channel along with whatever other resources you are using for the specific historical time and talk about how the information corroborates or differs.

If you check these out, let me know what you think,

Michele ºÜº

Active Toddler Link

We have conference this week at our church and are volunteering our help, so I’m going to keep this a bit short today. ;)

Children with a lot of energy have to expend that energy in order to be able to sleep. I saw this post with 44 high energy activities for toddlers. It includes things like laser chase, dance party, and hokey pokey to name a few. There are also some purchasable games that I have not heard of before, so maybe they’ll be some new ideas for you as well.

I hope this is helpful to you.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Dollar Tree Homeschooling Items

I popped into my local Dollar Tree this week and decided to look over the items that could be used for preschoolers and early elementary children. I had hoped to find those cook dice that are about three inches and have a dry erase circle on each side but my store was out of these. If you find any in your local store, I suggest you snap up a couple because they can be very useful.  You can write or draw pictures for sit, stand, jump, letters, numbers, letter blends, sight words, and any number of other things.

Next, these letter, number, and shape foam puzzles are great for kinesthetic learners. They have some nice texture to them. :) You can use the capital letters and lower case letters for matching once they are at that place. You can also put together CVC words. As you can see, this is one item that can be used in many different ways as your child grows and learns.

This play dough is really nice! I bought some for use with my grandson and I was surprised with how nice it was. You can use it to form letters and numbers  with dough rolled into ropes as well as general play.

Here is a write-on wipe-off on one side and a chalk board on the other. This can be a good way to practice writing.

These foam dice come two to a package and can be used in a variety of ways. I try to remember to share more on that at another time.

These dice are interesting and can be used various ways too. It can be used to give your child some gross motor skill work and working on left, right, and center too. (Think Mother May I type game.)

Here’s cool timer that can be used for a number of things.

These cones can be set up to have children do gross motor activities. There are some flat ones too that I think might hold a ball, which be a fun activity.

These fractional foam circles are cool to talk about fractions when ready. There are three different ones, each with a different number of sections.

I don’t know if this is similar to those dice I mentioned earlier in that you can write whatever you want on the sections but it looks pretty cool. :)

I hope these things give you some ideas of some inexpensive things you can use to help educate your children. There are also bowls, pans, trays and even the cat litter pan that you can use for things like shaving cream and rice where you can have them practice drawing the letters and numbers.

Oh and don’t forget the stickers, craft supplies, coloring books, and educational workbooks. I’d recommend getting several things to begin with and then using a few dollars each week to get a few more.

I hope this is helpful to you and your children.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Preschool Supplies


It’s always fun to have some “school” supplies and to do crafts. The dollar store is a good source for these items but don’t forget places like Michael’s and Hobby Lobby where you can use their weekly 40% or so off coupon on an item.

Here are a few links to some webpages of ladies that share what they’ve gotten to use with their preschoolers from the dollar store. Oh, and remember that stores get new inventory weekly, so check back often for different supplies.

(Sorry about the formatting of this post. I was exhausted and I needed to get it up, so I took a few shortcuts and it isn’t the best but the links are good. :) )

Dollar Tree Homeschool Deals

Homeschool Supplies at the Dollar Tree & Goodwill

Play dough mats:

How to use mats:

Dollar Store Deals for Preschool Days {and toddlers, too!}

Homeschooling Bargains at the Dollar Store

Dollar Store Preschool Homeschool Curriculum

I hope these links help you.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

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.


  • 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