Learning Dynamics Reading Program (Review)

I recently had the opportunity to review the Learning Dynamics Reading Program by Learning Dynamics with my five-year-old son. His birthday was in the spring so he just turned five and will be considered a kindergartner in our homeschool for the 2019-2020 school year. He had no prior reading instruction and was very excited to try and learn to read.

Learning Dynamics Pinterest

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The program arrived in mail all nicely packaged in a cute storage box that makes it easy to keep together. The package is a really nice perk because it is easy for parts and pieces to go missing in our house.  The kit included a lesson manual, a CD with songs to go with the lessons, a student workbook, flashcards, and character letter reward punch-outs for each letter. It also had over 50 full-color books for beginning readers.

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The program is designed with short lessons to match the typically short attention spans of young readers. The program is designed for students ages 4-7 that are learning to read. It can also be used to teach older students who are struggling to learn but may feel a bit ‘childish’ even though it could be effective.

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Even baby brother wanted to help with the unboxing!

When the program arrived, my son was very excited to try it so we got started right away. It was very ‘open and go’ and only took me a couple of minutes to know what to do and get him started. The lessons are short and only took about 10 minutes to complete.  This works well with the typically short attention span of young students.

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Student Workbook Page, Character card, and Teachers Manual

First, you introduce the letter that the student is learning in that lesson and the sound, then you read a short story about the character that goes along with that letter. Next, the student listens to the song for the letter and then completes a short worksheet about the letter in which they circle the pictures that start with the letter and put an “X “over the ones that do not.  The student can also trace and practice writing the letter on that page. Then the student listens to the song once more while pointing to the pictures that match the items in the song. Finally, you review the letter name and sound.

Once the student has mastered the first five letters, the program introduces blending so that students can begin to make words. After lesson nine, the student is introduced to the first book. My son’s favorite part was the character that went with each letter. For example, H was for Henrietta Horse who wore a happy hat. He would have me show him the punch-out of Henrietta and read her story several times.

If a child is ready to learn to read, this program could move them very quickly through learning letters, blending sounds, and into reading.  There is no busy work or monotonous repetition and so it is easy for them to stay engaged in each lesson. However, if your child is not yet developmentally ready to read this program may move too fast for them and not be enough practice to allow for mastery. In the case of my son, he enjoyed the program but could not remember the various letters and sounds from lesson to lesson which made it hard for him to progress forward. I plan to put the program away for a few months, then reevaluate his readiness in January and possibly try the program again. The age at which a child is ready to read varies greatly from child to child and could significantly affect how well your child would progress using this program.

If you have a child that is ready to learn to read or struggling with their reading and you want a short and simple approach to teaching them, Learning Dynamics Reading Program might just be the program for you. It is low teacher prep, easy to understand, and engaging for students. In addition, I am pleased to offer my readers 10% off of your purchase of this program when you click on this link and use the code: SCHOOLINSWAG . I encourage you to click on the Crew Reviews graphic below to check out the experiences that other crew members had with this program.

Learning Dynamics Reading Program  {Learning Dynamics Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

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This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

 

Pollinator Week Resources

Happy Pollinator Week! This may seem like an odd ‘holiday’ to celebrate and it certainly is not as well known as many other holidays but I think it is a great time to teach about all of our beneficial pollinators. Each year in June a week is designated as National Pollinator Week in order to celebrate and educate people about our pollinators. Pollinators are vital to our food supply and environment but unfortunately, many of them are declining in population.

Pollinator Week Pinterst

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Several years ago, we became much more aware of pollinators and all they do for us, as we became hobby beekeepers. This experience has taught us so much about bees and pollinators in general. Last year we even lost an entire hive of bees to a municipal spraying program designed to reduce the mosquito population but accidentally reached our bees. I think that the best way to help the pollinators is teaching children about them and their importance. There are many small ways that we can help in our own homes to protect them and allow their populations to grow and thrive.

For many people the term pollinator brings bees to mind. Bees are an important pollinator but they are not the only pollinators; birds, bats, butterflies and even beetles are all important pollinators. As we celebrate this week, I encourage you to start by educating your children about the various pollinators and then finding at least one small way in which you can support pollinators in your area. I will also include a list of some fun crafts and recipes to turn your learning into a fun celebration. If you have time, I encourage you to look for local field trip opportunities to really get hands on in your learning.

There are many resources for learning about pollinators.  The American Beekeeping Foundation has some great information and resources.  Pollinator Works is a great website to learn about various pollinators. In addition to websites, there are an abundance of books that talk about pollination and pollinators such as Bees, Bugs and Butterflies, What Lily Gets From a Bee, and From Seed to Sunflower. I have also included a more extensive list of websites, videos, and books at the end of this post.

Once you have learned a little about pollinators, it is time to take action to help the pollinators. There are many things you can do right in your own yard to help various pollinators. You can plant beneficial plants, set up habitats conducive for birds, or clean up trash that is dangerous for the birds.  You can check your garden and lawn chemicals to make sure that they are safe for pollinators. Watch for plants treated with Neonicotinoids. If you need more ideas, Kidsgardening.org has a great list of Ten Tips to Help Pollinators.

Now it is time for a little fun! Try to make a pipe cleaner bee, draw a chalk pastel bird, or even hatch your own butterflies. You can make cookies shaped like pollinators, taste some raw honey or bake a honey dessert (baklava anyone?). You could even listen to Flight of The Bumble Bee while you enjoy your pollinator snacks. See the list below for more recipes and craft ideas.

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Pollinator Doughnut Activity

Finally, if you have a little more time try to fit in a pollinator field trip. You could find a local butterfly garden, a beekeeper that is willing to show off his hives, a science museum with displays, or even a zoo that has bats, birds or bees. This week there are many places doing special pollinator activities but if you cannot make it this week there are still lots of opportunities to learn more about this wonderful animals from various experts.

I hope that these resources are helpful as you learn more about pollinators and what we can do to help their populations grow and thrive. If you do something to help out our pollinators or learn more about them, I would love for you to share in the comments. I have also started this Pinterest Board for pollinator resources.

 

Books and Websites on Pollinators

Wild For Pollinators

Junior Master Gardner

Magic School Bus in a Bee Hive (video)

Magic School Bus inside a Bee Hive (book)

Magic School Bus (episode on bats and one on butterflies)

Bee and Pollinator Activities

Bat Pollination Information

Crafts and Recipes

Honey Recipes

Bee Themed snack (fruit and kix)

Bee Themed Cookies

Butterfly Cookie Cutter

Flower/Butterfly Mini Set

Mixed Set of Bee, Butterfly, Dragonfly

Healthy Butterfly Themed Snack Ideas

Pollinating Doughnuts

Bat Craft

Butterfly Crafts

Bee Crafts

Butterfly Garden

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

Schoolhouse Teachers is also offering a great sale!

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Enrichment Studies has a great free fine arts memory match game this month!

Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!

 

Kingdom Code Review and GIVEAWAY!!

When I was asked about my interest in reviewing the The Complete Starter Kit by The Kingdom Code, I knew that it needed to be my son’s decision. He was very interested in starting and growing his own business but he is on the upper end of the age range that the program was designed for. However, after looking over the samples he was enthusiastically onboard with reviewing this program. According to their website,” The Kingdom Code is a Biblically-based, fun, hands-on program which helps parents and teachers educate kids and young teens about money management and how to become entrepreneurs.” Each student that goes through the program will create and run their very own service based business.

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The day it came in the mail he was ready to unbox it and get started. He already had a business idea and couldn’t wait to figure out how to turn his idea into a reality. The kit contained the student textbook, student packet, and teacher’s guide. All I needed to add to have everything ready to go was a couple of three ring binders, tabs, and a few pencil pouches.  I was really impressed with all of the resources in the student packet. In addition to worksheets for each lesson, it included a wide variety of forms to help get the business going and keep it organized. There were survey forms, ledger forms, calendars, and even a receipt book. There was also a nice map and stickers to track the student’s progress through the program.

The Kingdom Code is a really cool program. I enjoy using it to start a business. It teaches me about how to sort the money you receive to pay expenses and keep some for you and such. It taught me how to keep a ledger and make sales calls. If you are looking for a good business program I would recommend this program. – Matthew

I sat down with my son that first night and spent about thirty minutes getting everything set up in the binders, looking through the program and getting ready to begin. We then met once or twice a week to go over material from the next lesson and he would work through the other parts independently. If you had a younger child, they might need more hands on guidance at first.  The lessons vary in the amount of time/sessions needed to complete them but most include two to four 45 minute sessions per lesson. My son was sometimes able to move a little quicker because of his age and some previous experience with business.

Choosing a business to start was easy for us because my son had been cutting grass for a family member and really wanted to turn that skill into a business. He even has long term goals of running his own landscaping business one day.

Each lesson contains a variety of components that introduce Biblical money management concepts, business terminology, practical applications, and actions steps towards owning and operating a business. I noticed two things right away, the inclusion of Bible verses and Biblical principles, and that they went ahead and got started on the business very early on in the curriculum. By lesson two, they were choosing the service based business that they wanted to start. The Biblical foundation was important to us as a family because those are the principals that we try to live by as well as how we strive to operate our own family business.  Beginning the business early in the program was a huge win because it allows children to practice what they are learning immediately as well as keeps them from getting bogged down in the terminology and business lessons while waiting to get to the ‘fun stuff’.

Some programs just give a basic overview of a child’s business and then leave them to do the best they can. I really appreciate that this program takes them through step by step including details like keeping money records, writing thank you notes, sales etiquette, making goals, etc. It also teaches them economic principals like capitalism, supply/demand, being financially responsible and managing money.

We are finishing up lesson eight this week and my son already has one consistent customer and several folks that are going to use him on an as needed basis for vacations and such.  He has learned to budget his money and has his ledgers and books all set up and is ready to keep growing his business.

We have been very pleased with this program and I look forward to sharing more of our progress and my son’s business as we continue on with this program. Make sure to check out some other reviews at the link below.  Today, I have two special opportunities for you from Kingdom Code. First, you can enter to win a prize pack from The Kingdom Code by simply leaving a comment on this post telling me what kind of business your young entrepreneur would like to start or what business you had when you were a child. I will use a random drawing to choose a winner on Monday, June 24th.  This pack includes The Kingdom Code Coloring Book and The JR KCK Budget Kit. (This giveaway is open to those living in the United States and APO/FPO addresses only). In addition to the giveaway they are offering my readers 10% off of any products ordered online from The Kingdom Code. Use Code: 10TKC08 to receive your 10% discount.

giveaway items
Kingdom Code Giveaway

The Kingdom Code Complete Starter Kit {The Kingdom Code Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

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This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

 

Flag Day Resources

Flag Day is an often-overlooked holiday, but there are many great resources to help us celebrate and the history tie-ins are abundant! While it will probably never share the ‘fame’ of  Independence Day on July 4th; Flag Day is a great day to learn more about our flag and our nation’s history. I know that summer is here for many of us and we may not want to have to make one more lesson plan, so I gathered some fun resources that you can easily use to celebrate Flag Day in your home with very little preparation.  Some are more ‘school like’ but there are also some fun ideas, like a flag cake and art work that can feel more like a party than a history class.

It’s flag day because, on June 14, 1777 the second continental congress decreed: “Resolved, That the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”

Flag Day Pinterest

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My children love to make a flag cake. We typically make one for Memorial Day (which often is the same weekend as my son’s birthday) and Independence Day but it would be a perfect treat for Flag Day.  Simply make any rectangular cake that you would like (we use two yellow cake layers with strawberries in the middle) and then top with sweetened whipping cream. Once you have a nice white rectangle, they can use blueberries for stars and cut up strawberries to make the stripes. For something a bit more savory we have also made this yummy American Flag Dip.

There are a variety of great art projects and crafts ideas for Flag Day.  We really liked this free chalk pastel flag tutorial or this video lesson. If you like those lessons, you should check out Nana’s US History Course, which is currently 20% off in celebration of her birthday. In addition to chalk pastels, there is a great list of crafts here including one for small children using paint and star shaped cookie cutters that I think will be fun with my five-year-old. Older children might enjoy these patriotic jar lanterns or these washi tape flags.

If the history of the United States and her flags is interesting to you and your students, I have also added our fun ‘US History Through Flags’ packet to the free resource library. This will give you a fun and easy way to incorporate these topics in a few minutes a day throughout the year. You can also follow the US History Through Flags page on Facebook to get daily bits of history right to your news feed.

I have included a variety of resources below to help you tailor your Flag Day celebration to your children.  I would love to know what creative ideas and resources you use to celebrate Flag Day in your home.

Flag Day Resources

History of Flag Day

US History Through Flags

Smithsonian Star Spangled Banner

Flag Day Poster

Flag Day Worksheets

21 Ways to Celebrate Flag Day

Flag Etiquette

Flag Coloring Pages

Patriotic Poems

Why Are There Stripes on the American Flag? (Free on Kindle Unlimited)

F is for Flag

Story of the Star Spangled Banner

Flag Day Resource List (Still Learning Something New)

 

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

June 13th -15th 20% Sale at You Are An Artist!

Schoolhouse Teachers is also offering a great sale!

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Enrichment Studies has a great free fine arts memory match game this month!

Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!

Lightning Lit & Comp: Hewitt Homeschooling Resources (Review)

My thirteen-year-old son loves to read. He goes to bed every night reading, takes books in the car to read, and often spends his free time reading. However, he has never enjoyed literature courses, until we had this opportunity to review Gr 8 Lightning Lit Set by Hewitt Homeschooling Resources. This included the teacher’s manual, student guide, and workbook.

Hewitt Pinterest

One of the first things that I noticed was that instead of stopping every couple of chapters to analyze and review the book, Lightning Lit had him read the entire book before he began completing worksheets related to the book. For a student like my son, who reads really well and enjoys long stretches of reading this was a huge benefit. There were comprehension questions for each chapter but the teacher’s manual explained that they could be asked at the end of the week for all of the chapters that had been read that week. If that proved to be too long of a stretch for your child you could ask them more frequently, or if they were doing well you could wait and ask them at the end of the book.

The first part of this eighth grade series featured a short story. We spent the first two weeks of the program doing the introduction and the short story. The short story was a little ‘cerebral’ and he needed a little help understanding it but thought it was quite funny once we had discussed it.  Once he had read the short story there were a variety of worksheets and writing prompts that could be completed to accompany the story. Those included activities to work on fact and opinion, capitalization and apostrophes, and author’s purpose. There was also a crossword puzzle in there to keep things interesting.

Then in week three we got into the first novel of the program, Treasure Island. This adventure-filled book was an excellent choice for my son and he enjoyed reading it. He is now working on a variety of activities to go along with Treasure Island.

Once we finish Treasure Island, we will be taking a summer break before having him pick back up and finish it in the fall. The program rotates between short stories or poems and novels. This means that after Treasure Island he will work through a short grouping of poems before moving onto the next novel.  We are really looking forward to A Christmas Carol at the end of the first semester as well as The Hobbit during the second semester.

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The teacher’s manual gives a schedule broken down into two eighteen week semesters but you could easily adapt this to various schedules to suit your needs. It also includes mini-lessons to help you work on various skills and the answer keys to the discussion questions and workbook pages.

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If you complete this course in its entirety, it would work well to cover literature and composition. There is also grammar review included though if your student is weak in that area you may want to supplement with a grammar curriculum.  We worked through the first two chapters using it in its entirety and found it to be a solid but interesting program. Since we also have a writing program that we enjoy, we will probably finish it with a focus on the literature part and skip over some of the composition components. I really appreciated that this curriculum is easy for me to adapt in that manner.

If you are looking for a literature and composition course for your middle school student, I encourage you to check out the Gr 8 Lightning Lit Set and other resources by Hewitt Homeschooling Resources. They also have programs for elementary and high school so make sure you check out the reviews from the other Review Crew members at the link below.

Lightning Literature, My First Reports, State History Notebook & Joy of Discovery {Hewitt Homeschooling Resources Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

 

Our Summer Plans: 2019 Edition

There is a lot of discussion about summers in the homeschool world. Should I take a long break? School year round? Keep doing math? Spend all day outside? The choices seem endless and sometimes a little overwhelming. However, I love that each family can decide what works best and that can change from summer to summer.

Last week I shared a little about how we were going to focus on resetting our rhythms and routines over the summer to help us get back on track with chores, fitness, and Bible reading.  These are things that I want to become ingrained habits that are a natural part of our day. In addition to working on those rhythms and routines, I had to decide how I wanted to spend our summer days.

*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

 

After such a busy year, I really wanted to be sure we had some down time to relax and rest. I have left lots of ‘white space’ in our calendar to play outside, watch a few movies, make lemonade, and just enjoy our time together. We will have the opportunity to spend some time enjoying time with our family down at the river: swimming, boating, and playing in the sand.

However, I know that my children do best with a little bit of structure. I have decided that we will be enjoying some focused time on a few ‘electives’ this summer as well as some family reading. In addition, we will be continuing to work on a few new reviews for various products, so keep an eye out for those.

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Big sister helping little brother with his violin (messy bed and all).

My three oldest children have been learning instruments this year and I plan to have them commit some of their time this summer to furthering their musical goals. My daughter just moved up a level in her Practice Monkeys violin class and feels that she has a lot to learn to be successful in this level.  Some extra practice time this summer should help her feel more confident and continue moving her forward. My five-year-old son is also working in the first level of violin and will hopefully be able to move to level two before the summer is over.  My oldest son wants to play the guitar and had begun to learn but has not felt that he had the time to devote a lot to practicing. I am hopeful that this extra time will allow him to gain confidence. This also fits well into my rhythm and routine theme for summer because I believe that if he is practicing daily and making progress, it will be easier for him to fit that in when we start our regular school schedule in the fall.

 

We are excited to be spending some time at ‘art camp’ this summer. It is the perfect camp because we don’t have to leave home! It is included in the price of our regular art program, it has lots of option for various interests and ages, and I can fit in around our schedule. My plan is to get up in the mornings and work on our routines (chores, Bible time, and fitness), have breakfast and then complete and art lesson. Next, we will have snack and then the kids can spend some free time outside playing before we tackle out other projects and review work. Nana with You Are an Artist has so many wonderful art lessons for them to choose from each day can be new and exciting.

I do not want to lose the momentum that we have with reading and books. I am grateful that my children naturally spend time reading and I do not have to assign free reading but I want us to spend some time reading books together this summer. Some of these books I will read aloud and some of them I plan to purchase using my audible subscription. First, I want to read the Secret Garden. I found this great free family book club guide from The Read Aloud Revival to along with the Secret Garden and I’m excited to get started.

Next, we have been talking about reading Wonder and just have not gotten around to it. I plan to read it together and then have a family movie night to watch the movie.  Finally, a couple weeks ago I shared about how much we love the Mr. Lemoncello books. When I went online to share the link with everyone, I found out that a new book had just been released: Mr. Lemoncello’s All-Star Breakout Game. This should be a great light summer read that will make us laugh. I also have a few other books that we may find the opportunity to read and, of course I’ll be reading lots of picture books with my younger children.

 

Finally, I plan to have each of my three older children pick a topic or skill of interest to work on independently this summer. I really want to cultivate the skill and love of lifelong learning in them. I want them to experience the joy and satisfaction that comes from deciding you want to learn about something and figuring it out. I believe that my daughter is going to learn more about photography with her new camera. We have some resources that she can use in our SchoolhouseTeachers.com membership as well as some free online resources. My 13-year-old son is wanting to take beekeeping classes to further his skill in that area. I’m not sure about the five year old yet but I’m sure we will come up with something fun for him to work on.

All in all, we are excited about summer. I am hoping that this flexible plan of fun with a little structured enrichment will keep things on a smooth track. We can further some skills, get some rest, and make some memories. I would love to hear more about your summer plans.

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

  Last week for the  Schoolhouse Teachers sale!

May Sale

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Enrichment Studies has a great free fine arts memory match game this month!

Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!

Summer Plans: Rhythms and Routines

Last summer we had the ‘summer of reading‘. I tried to incorporate as much reading, both on my own and, with the children as I could fit into those three months. It was a great turning point in helping me make more time for reading, which I enjoy, but had pushed to the back burner. I am pleased that the focus on reading has stuck and I find myself reading more and more. This summer I plan to still incorporate lots of reading, I will even have a post next week about our summer reading plans. Today, I want to focus on reestablishing rhythms and routines in our lives, just like how I reestablished reading in my life.

Rhythms and Routines-4

The devastation caused by Hurricane Florence, and the time we have spent focused on relief efforts, made this a year like no other.  I have no regrets about the time we spent helping with those efforts but it did cause us to lose some of our normal rhythms and routines. My goal this summer is to get those things back on track and well established so that it will be easier to stick with them when the new school year begins again. I’ve found that time management is much like diet or exercise. All are challenging to establish, but once they become a regular part of your life it is so much easier.

biblepic

My Bible time has been more hit or miss than I’d really care to admit lately. I have been working through studies with the children, going to church, and such but my personal time has suffered from a lack of routine. Some weeks I did a good job being consistent and other weeks not so much. I’m really praying that I can be consistent this summer and make it into a firmly entrenched routine that is easy to carry over into next school year.  I’m looking forward to spending some time meditating on the word and using my coloring Bible. I also want to make sure I am working on helping my older children strengthen their daily quiet times. They listen to the daily audio Bible app but I plan to help them start journaling about what they are learning while they are reading/ or listening.

My children have had chores for many years and some of those chores have continued throughout this past year. The dishes have been done, toys put away, laundry turned, animals fed etc. However, I have found that as we got busy many of the chores started being done with less attention to detail and others fell to the wayside. We are going to spend some time during the first part of the summer re-teaching chores so that the expectations are clear. I am also planning to create a checklist to help me do a better job monitoring chore completion. I am hoping that by working on this, while not also balancing school, we can get back into good habits that are easy to continue once the school year begins again.

 

Finally, I have to get a firm handle on my fitness. I have been working on it off and on and I have seen improvements but I am still not as consistent as I need to be. While I have been walking three or four mornings a week with my younger two children (they get outside and I get exercise. Win, win!)  I need to be more consistent about adding in some strength training. I have loved the workouts that I’ve been doing with Fit2B. They have such a variety and I now just need to make sure I am utilizing them more frequently. I have set a goal of doing at least four of their workouts each week. I plan to bring out some special toys for the baby to play with during that time to keep him occupied and get my workout in before breakfast each morning. My children also enjoy the children’s workouts and I may try to join them for some of those to combine exercise and a bit of family fun! (They are having a 25% off sale through 5/18 with code mothersday25off.)

fit2bnew

If we can get into the consistent habit of these rhythms and routines, it should make the 2019-2020 school year flow much smoother for our family. It will allow me to better balance schoolwork with the other important tasks for the day. I know that once something becomes habit it is much easier to maintain.

What rhythms and routines do you need to work on this summer? In addition to all the fun summer activities, what can you do this summer to make next year smoother?

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

Schoolhouse Teachers is also offering a great sale!

May Sale

Fit2B just announced they are having a Mother’s Day sale! Use code mothersday25off for 25% off! We use this for both my personal fitness and some of our PE for the kids (all included in one membership). A great way to get you safely moving and incorporate fitness into a busy day.

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Enrichment Studies has a great free fine arts memory match game this month!

Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!

Pre-K Farm Study Ideas

My sweet, sassy, short attention span five year old is enthralled with farms and farm animals. I decided that I wanted to spend a couple weeks doing a farm themed unit study with him for his ‘school’. He just turned five so he is not officially in Kindergarten yet but he loves the idea of ‘doing school’ like his older siblings. I want to encourage his love for learning without burning him out with too much work, so this was a perfect way to get him actively engaged on something that he loves, work on a few skills, and spend some time together.

 

*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

I spent some time each day working with him on different farm activities and then gave him some free time to play and explore using his farm toys and the other farm activities that I put together. One of his favorites was harvesting letters. I took out our set of magnetic letters, some black beans that we had for a sensory bin, and a couple of toy tractors that he had in his farm set. Then I put the beans and the letters into a large metal pan (you could use any deep dish). I explained to him that the beans were ‘soil’ and he needed to use his tractors to ‘harvest’ the letters that were planted in the soil. He would scoop up the letters and then we would talk about what each letter was before putting it into the bucket and scooping up another letter.  He thought it was great fun and it helped him get a little practice with his letters.

Next, we did some shadow matching, puzzle making and cutting practice as a part of this fun on the farm printable pack from the multitaskinmom.com. We did not do the entire pack but picked a few activities that he would enjoy each day.

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We added in some art by using these fun preschool You Are An Artist Barnyard Art Lessons. He did the chick hatching out of the egg the first day and then did all the rest of the lessons the next day because he was enjoying them so much. I pulled them up on the computer and he was able to work on the independently while I was helping my older children with some of their schoolwork.

Throughout the week, we read a variety of farm books. Some of my favorites are the Usborne On the Farm Shine a Light Book and Farm Animals. We also have the Baby’s Very First Tractor Book which I read with both my five year old and the baby.  Another farm favorite in our house is the Otis series. These fun books about Otis the tractor get requested over and over.

 

For a more hands-on component of our study, my five year old helped his older brother tend our chickens and plant some squash and pepper plants in the garden. If you do not have room for a full garden, it would be lots of fun to plant a small container garden. You could plant lettuce which grows fast and can be harvested multiple times, or our family favorite, tomatoes. Herbs also tend to do very well in containers.

For some fun independent play my son has a Fisher Price Little People Farm set as well as a variety of other farm toys. He can use his imagination to set them up and ‘play farm’. He loves to build farms and create stories of the events that are going on at the farm. I am blessed that my older son is gracious enough to often get on the floor and play with him. It is a great bonding experience for them. While we have cleared out a lot of his toys because he was struggling with cleaning up and clutter, the farm set has been a staple for several years.

 

Finally, I scheduled our unit study around a fun farm field trip. We had some friends invite us on a field trip to an alpaca farm. My son loves llamas and I knew that since they are so similar, he would really enjoy the alpaca farm. We were able to see the different alpacas, learn about how they care for and groom them, and see various products made from alpaca wool. My five year old really enjoyed it and my older children are dreaming of starting an Alpaca farm.

 

As luck would have it, our church also had a farm event going on during our study. One of the generous families from our church invited all of the families with young children out to see their farm. We were able to pet a cow and some sheep, take a hayride, and hang out with the chickens. This was a great time with friends and perfect for our farm study.  If you do not know of a field trip in your area, check with local farms. Many of them will welcome scheduled groups to see their animals or crops. You can also contact your local cooperative extension to see what activities might be available.

We had a great time with our farm unit study and home you get some ideas to help you teach your children about farms. I would love for you to share any other ideas you have in the comments!

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

Schoolhouse Teachers is also offering a great sale!

May Sale

Fit2B just announced they are having a Mother’s Day sale! Use code mothersday25off for 25% off! We use this for both my personal fitness and some of our PE for the kids (all included in one membership). A great way to get you safely moving and incorporate fitness into a busy day.

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Enrichment Studies has a great free fine arts memory match game this month!

Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!

The Tummy Team is having a 35% off sale! This makes for some very reasonably priced online rehab programs or esessions. I am excited to be getting a course to help me get back to being in my best health! I have loved the other courses that I have taken from them and they are so  helpful and supportive. I know this one is not directly homeschool related but it affects so many moms that I wanted to share.

 

 

 

 

 

Freebies and Deals, Deals, Deals

I had several blog posts that I had hoped to share with you this week, but life has been busy. I think this is one of the busiest times of year as we wrap up all of our spring activities, finish the school year and prepare for summer! I am so excited for summer and the chance to relax with the kids as well as get caught up on some blogging and share some great ideas and resources with you. I have several fun things in the works that I can’t wait to share.

May Deals and Freebies!

*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

I did want to take a few minutes to tell you about some great deals that are happening right now. I didn’t want to spam you with too many deals posts so I put them together right here. I encourage you to bless others as well as our family by sharing this post with other mom’s that might benefit from these deals.

First, The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is on sale this week! It is only available for a short time and is an amazing deal.  The bundle includes 104 products worth $2,294.37. This includes 30 eCourses & Videos, 28 eBooks, 25 printable packs, 16 workbooks, 3 summits & 2 membership sites and some really great bonuses! You may be thinking that you really do not need that many items and you would be correct.  Most folks can’t and won’t use all of them, but at less than $30 for the whole bundle, using even just a few items can save you money! We are really enjoying the bookroo bonus, the Fit2B bonus (if you are not already a member you can get 2 months for free or get a $15 store credit for current members), and the soap from Puro Co.  I am also loving some inspirational printables and can’t wait to try out some of the homeschool planning sheets as well as the homeschool conference workshops this summer as I reset our homeschool for next year.  I encourage you to take a look and see what courses and printables might be helpful in your homemaking. this would be a great early Mother’s Day present.

Second, The Tummy Team is having a 35% off sale! This makes for some very reasonably priced online rehab programs or esessions. I am excited to be getting a course to help me get back to being in my best health! I have loved the other courses that I have taken from them and they are so  helpful and supportive. I know this one is not directly homeschool related but it affects so many moms that I wanted to share.

Third, The Productive Homeschooling site is now up and running and offering special pricing through May 10th! You may have heard of NotebookingPages.com but they have opened a new site with notebooking pages, apps, and so much more all on one easy to use site. They even have some great free resources. I encourage you to check them out and see what they have to offer.

Finally, Schoolhouse Teachers is also offering a May sale if you missed out on the April $1 sale. You can get a monthly subscription for $9.95 or a year for only $99. If you want to know more about Schoolhouse Teachers you can always check out my post about our hobbies.

May Sale

 

Fit2B just announced they are having a Mother’s Day sale! Use code mothersday25off for 25% off! We use this for both my personal fitness and some of our PE for the kids (all included in one membership). A great way to get you safely moving and incorporate fitness into a busy day.

Freebies!

Enrichment Studies has a great free fine arts memory match game this month!

Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

FREE Writing About Books: Book Reports and Beyond from Write Shop!

FREE: Check out this great new FREE resource for classical and Charlotte Mason education! Classical Christian Education & Charlotte Mason. Great for folks already homeschooling or if you have friends that are looking into it!

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

 

How to Get More Out of Your Nature Walks

One of my goals with our nature walks is that my children learn to enjoy nature, however, I also want them to learn from their walks. Some days they seem to just want to run down the trails as fast as they can and they miss everything around them. I do not want to make our walks a chore but I do want to help them be more observant about their surroundings.

nature walk pinterest

*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

There are some simple activities that we can do while we hike to help them. One activity that is great for all ages is the ‘pick three things’ activity. I simply ask them to find three things along the way that they find interesting. They can either collect those things or take pictures depending on what they find. Then when we finish the hike, everyone gets to share about what they found. We also enjoy trying to find something from each color of the rainbow. This one is easier in spring and summer but can be done anytime.

As the seasons change we love to go on hunts for various seasonal signs. So early in the spring we will go on a hike looking for signs of spring. We look for the first flowers blooming, leaves on the trees, birds building nests and other springtime signs. We can do the same thing at the beginning of each season.

 

 

Looking for animal’s signs is probably the children’s favorite hiking activity. This can be as simple as finding tracks on the path, seeing birds nests, or holes/burrows in the ground. As the children got older we also looked for things like scratches on the trees, scat, and plants that had been partially eaten.

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We also have edible wild food cards and a collection of nature guides. We can choose one of these before we hike and focus on finding various varieties from with-in that guide. So, if I take the trees book, we can see how many different trees we can identify. We also have a wildflower guide, mammal guide, and even a fungus guide. (Though harvesting fungus is a whole different ball game for which I am not yet trained.)

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For my older children, they will sometimes bring their nature journals and colored pencils or chalk pastels and choose something to draw. I have found that doing some nature based art lessons beforehand helped them to feel better prepared to draw what they saw. I am always very careful to not expect perfection but to have them just enjoy the process of drawing what they see.

One final simple way to keep children engaged and learning on a nature hike is to give them a magnifying glass. This does not have to be an expensive tool, sometimes you can even find them at the dollar tree. I have found that often children, especially young children, can spend hours looking at ants, bugs, leaves, and more with their magnifying glass that they would simply overlook if they were hiking without it.

All of these activities keep things fun while helping them learn. They feel more like an adventure than a ‘school assignment’ but they become so much more aware of their surroundings and develop a love of nature. Does your family enjoy hiking? How do you engage your children on hikes? I always love new ideas and I would love for you to share in the comments.

 

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

Schoolhouse Teachers is also offering a May sale if you missed out on the April $1 sale.

May Sale

The Ultimate Homemaker Bundle is now on sale! This is a very short window to grab this great deal For less than $30 you get 104 products worth $2,294.37. This includes 30 eCourses & Videos, 28 eBooks, 25 printable packs, 16 workbooks, 3 summits & 2 membership sites amd some really great bonuses! you can check out my Facebook page for some pictures and information about some of the bonuses that I really love including a 2 month subscription to Fit2B or $15 to spend in their store for folks that are already members.

Tummy Team is having a Mother’s Day sale! 35% off all online Rehab programs!

Looking for ways to stay engaged and easy fun activities for your young children. The Hands on As We Grow Activity Room has opened enrollment through May 2nd!

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

FREE Writing About Books: Book Reports and Beyond from Write Shop!

FREE: Check out this great new FREE resource for classical and Charlotte Mason education! Classical Christian Education & Charlotte Mason. Great for folks already homeschooling or if you have friends that are looking into it!