Wordless Wednesday | Marital Dispute


"Finn, you stop stuffing your beak full of seed and get back on those eggs this instant or so help me!"
 
 
 
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Wordless Wednesday at Life at Rossmont

How We Have Fun in Our Homeschool


This month the Canadian Homeschool Blogging Team is sharing how we each have fun in our homeschools.

For kids, having fun comes naturally.  Learning also comes naturally to children and I try to wholeheartedly embrace that.  I'm not saying we don't ever have road blocks or days of tears and tantrums.  (that includes mom).  As a whole though, we have fun

Learning should be fun and one way to ensure your child has fun is to sit and think about what they love.  Get yourself out of a boxed curriculum and think about what is his/her passion?  Find it (it will change often and that is okay) and brainstorm ways to learn that topic!   To keep it fun for mom as well, don't sweat too much over it.  Simply go to the library if nothing else and grab books on that topic.  Let the children wiggle and bounce and jump and while they do that, read them a book.

A few of our most fun times have been topics they chose:
Our most dreaded subjects (for us that's penmanship and math) can be fun too.  Math can be learned often through games and building toys.  Find a curriculum that works for you (for us that is Math U See) and then take a day or two for just fun play.  There are so many choices in board games out there, pick what works for your family. 

As for penmanship, what works well for us, to keep things fun, is to give each child a little journal.  We use a primary composition book and I have them draw a picture and then write at least one line under explaining the photo.  Give them freedom and choice here.  Our little journaling activity soon turned into Connor creating a whole story book!


One last subject that always had me cringing was art.  Art time doesn't have to be hard and if you're a perfectionist mom like me, it's important to remind yourself the mess is only temporary.  Simply provide a variety of craft/art books and various supplies.  Un-shelf those books if you need to, and then stand back.  I recently did just that and Connor promptly got to work crafting a "Paper Me".  Did he do exactly as instructed?  No.  But what he made from his own imagination, with out "Literal Mom" breathing down his neck, was so much better.  In the end, he declared this the best, most fun, art day ever.  I think the key "fun" ingredients here were space and freedom.


Homeschooling can be such great fun once you find the courage to just release your fears.  You are enough.  You can do this.  They will learn and they will thrive.  You got this.

To see what how rest of the team has fun, visit The Canadian Homeschooler.

This month the team is going to help 5 of you treasure your fun memories with a great Picaboo Yearbook giveaway (my recent review and experience)!  5 winners will each receive  1 softcover Picaboo Yearbook - 20 pages, 8½x11 size. CAN only. 18+.   Ends May 13th at 11:59pm EST.

La La Logic Preschool Curriculum {a review}

La La Logic Review
For the past six  weeks Emma and I have been reviewing an excellent Preschool Curriculum by La La Logic.
 
This progressive preschool curriculum takes you through 100 weeks of building important problem solving skills.  With your membership you are paying for the content, not for a set time frame.  This means that if, like me, you have a child that fits the age now, and also one that is a bit too young, you can revisit the program at a later date at no cost!  Or maybe your young child needs a pacing slower than 100 weeks - totally fine as there is no expiration.
 
La La Logic is intended for children from ages 3 to 6.  I found this to be a loose suggestion as within the program you will often find several activities that could include an older sibling (such as listening to a short story or playing along with a hands on math game).
 
There are 3 multisensory components within this Preschool Curriculum.
 
1.  Brain Challenge.
 
 
The logic puzzles, or Brain Challenges, are completed online using a web browser and as such can be played on any PC, Mac, iPad or Tablet that has up-to-date web browsers.  My 4 year old mostly played on an iMac with a mouse.  My 2 year sometimes played, with help from me, on our iPad.
 
Before beginning you will get a preview of what your student will be learning, shown in the orange section.  After clicking "Start" the Brain Challenge loads and your child is now ready to begin a short and fun logic challenge.
 
What I liked here is there are no ads, clickable links or other flashy distractions to take away from the focus of learning.
 
 
A woman's voice guides and encourages your child along with each short challenge.  Within 5-10 minutes your child is done with his/her puzzles and you are done for the day if you follow along with the provided weekly schedule.  "Extra Practice" is available for those that want more time, under a Continuous Brain Challenge Mode or you can choose specific activities that your child had a hard time with.
 
 
2.  Enrichment
 
The 2nd part of the curriculum is an offline enrichment set, which changes week to week.  These can be found in the blue section of the Home page, by clicking "Download" where you can either open the PDF and print or save it to your computer.
 
Within the download you'll find a printable schedule, which looks the same as the online version but with handy checkmarks beside the tasks.  (We just went ahead and followed along with this handy schedule weekly). Within this bundle you will also find instructions for your Enrichment Set as well as your worksheet, which I will talk about next.
 
Some examples of enrichment days we've had so far in our time with this program:
  • poetry
  • science activity
  • art awareness
  • short stories or fables
  • various math games - (Emma's personal favorite)
All of these had Emma thinking with prompts such as,  Why did that character do thatWhy did our paper lily openNarrate back to me this storyWhat if we used 2 pennies instead of 1?

On the printable schedule there is a section for you to fill in about what your child loved most about the week.  Emma's answer always revolved around the enrichment sets.

 
3.  Worksheets

In addition to an internet enabled computer or smart device you will need access to a printer to use the worksheets.  There is one worksheet per week, that vary in activity.  Some that we have completed so far:
  • cut and paste
  • shadow match
  • grouping/pairing
  • color coding
  • sequencing


My Thoughts

I'll be straight up honest with you here.  In my 5 years of homeschooling I have never enjoyed a preschool curriculum as much as I have La La Logic.  No joke.

This is definitely a high quality, well thought out, easy to use program that your little ones will love to come back to day after day.

I would very much recommend this to any family with little ones.  You're getting a steal with this brilliant Preschool Curriculum.

 
  To see what others though of La La Logic's Preschool Curriculum, click the banner below:

La La Logic Review
 
 

Picaboo Yearbooks {a review}


For many of us, our busy seasons of co-ops, extracurricular activities, field trips and schooling will be winding down to a close in anticipation of summer.  Likely somewhere along the way you have had some great moments (I pray many great moments).  Moments you'll want to remember for a lifetime. Moments you can draw upon to keep you going on the bad days (because we all know those days unfortunately come) to maybe remind you why you homeschool.

As the season winds down, now is a great time to gather up all your happy memories.  Gather your thoughts and your photos from the great times you've had and make your very own Homeschool Yearbook with Picaboo Yearbooks.

With Picaboo Yearbooks there is no minimum order to burden you.  Pricing is very reasonable, starting at $9.49 for a 20 page softcover book, which includes a free eYearbook version of your book.  If you want your book to be just for you, it can be just for you.  Make one book, order it, receive it and you're on your way to treasuring your memories for a lifetime.

Of course, there is also the option to order more than one book as well.  With Picaboo Yearbooks, you have the option to create your own store where you can mark up the books for profit, or keep it all same cost for everyone (zero profit). 



For me, one of the hardest parts of using Picaboo Yearbooks was to just try and narrow down exactly what I wanted to do with my book.  With the easy to use designing software you're literally starting with a blank slate.  Just some of the ideas racing through my mind, beyond just a simple personal memory book of our own homeschool, was maybe I'd make yearbooks for our annual family reunion camping trips.  Each family could contribute photos, journaling, and/or design and in the end each family would have their own book.

Or maybe I'd want to create a book in memory of my best friend, my Grandma, recently passed.  Family members could each add their own memories and photos and in the end we'd have a wonderful keepsake that so many could enjoy.  This is actually what I almost did instead of my own homeschool yearbook, but I would have needed months of time and no deadline pressure.  The great thing about Picaboo yearbooks is there is no deadline, however this review did have one.  :)

What I loved about the idea of making a memory book is that I could add contributors to help make our book.  There could be people that just send photos in, or to send in stories, or people that help design the layouts.  I wouldn't be doing it all alone, but would be working as a team with family.

The ideas I had for yearbooks were seemingly endless.  Just a few others I thought of:
  • a co-op book
  • Picaboo Yearbook as a student project
  • Boy/Girl Scouts camp book
  • Church camp or VBS week
  • field trips
  • extracurricular activities
  • high school yearbook
  • prom
  • baby's first year
  • daycare/nursery school
In the end I decided to create a simple record of our own school year.  The kids are young, life is hectic and we sometimes quickly forget all the great fun we've had.  We are unit study homeschoolers here, so I decided to go unit by unit on my pages.  I am no designer so I used the handy pre-designed layouts.



I wanted an elementary feel to our book, without it looking overly childish.  I searched the backgrounds for "chalk" and was presented with a list of great options for my backgrounds.  I selected a black slate for the outside cover and the inside a tan chalk for each page.  You could get way more creative than I did and have each page be unique, or you could create title pages.  I went for simplicity.

There is a high learning curve with making your own yearbook.  I found I was often stumped on how something worked, such as adding my first background or swapping a misplaced photo.  There are so many options and things got overwhelming and confusing - but this is a good thing.  Having options that overwhelm you also means you have a rather large playing field for creativity. 

Picaboo Yearbooks does very well in helping us along by providing many instructional videos and a Guidebook.  In addition there are advisors available to help, should you choose.

Picaboo Swap Photo

One thing I particularly liked with Picaboo's Yearbook Designer is that I could save time and edit photos that needed a little help right inside the program.  This saved me so much time.

Picaboo Photo Editor

Once my book was finished I previewed a copy and sent it off for printing.  I allowed myself a 3 week turnover, as stated on the website, but I found my new book came much quicker than that. 

I was very happy with the printed version of my yearbook.  The book, while being a softcover, is very durable and high quality.  More importantly, my kids loved having their very own picture book.  I found them thumbing through it often, laughing and pointing things out to each other.


I'm so grateful I had a chance to review Picaboo Yearbooks.  I'm definitely planning on making more books this summer, working backwards to the start of our homeschool and working with my family to make a lifebook of Grandma.

 

Play With Me {b4FIAR}


Mom's Heart

Play with Me is yet another title in the Before Five in Row book that Connor did not care for when he was 4.  I think maybe I pushed too hard with a traditional schooling mindset and the little guy just was not interested in anything but play.

Emma is a whole different story.  Girl loves her school.  I'm pretty much convinced that whichever method of teaching I take on, the kids will be the opposite.  lol.  Even though Emma loves worksheets and writing her letters, I don't really print them off like I did with Connor.  Maybe because I regret so much how I taught Connor when he was so little.

If you go back and read the post of when we first rowed Play With Me, Connor's answers and reflection of the book all revolve around "Mommy".  He wants to play with the girl and with Mommy, not the animals.  Mommy.  (a mommy wasn't even in this story)

Kids just want their mom to play with them.  Not lord over them directing them to learn learn learn.  They will learn in your every day average play with them.  They will learn from simple book reading and singing.  Role playing and block building.

What I did do right back then was exactly that, the play.  All the other stuff, the massive amounts of paper I printed for him to do, needed to go out the window.  Before Five in a Row is enough, all on it's own.  It is enough, mommas.  Don't do extra paperworks that they hate.

Anyways.  Emma loved this "row" as well as Connor, now 8. 

Character

In addition to our regular bible devotions we learned about patience this week.

My kids love listening to the animal stories over at Character First Education, while they color a related sheet.

 
 
We read a couple books with the theme of patience.  We read Let's Be Patient by P. K. Hallinan.  My kids just adore these little books by Hallinan.  Usually after reading one I'll have them each pick a page to copy into their little journal.  Emma, especially, loves this little activity.
 
I also picked out, from the library, Katie Loves the Kittens .  This is a story about a dog named Katie that has such a hard time being patient and calm when she's so excited, and she keeps scaring the kittens.  It matched the whole "be still" theme of Play With Me very nicely.  Emma read this book several times.
 

Language Arts
 
Because Before Five in a Row is intended for ages 2-4, and I do not like doing separate curriculums, I add in things for Connor, age 8. 
 
For this row I had him read The Adventures of Danny Meadow Mouse .  He reads independently now, then he comes back all on his own and will narrate it back, in length.  Some days I think this kid has a photographic memory.  lol.
 
Connor absolutely loves these books by Thornton W. Burgess.  I'm always surprised when I look at book lists and I don't see these books mentioned.  I'm here to say, on my little soap box, I highly recommend these wholesome books for your young ones.  Read aloud or independently. 
 
They are, of course, fictional books, but Burgess had such a passion for animal conservation and it really shows in his stories, describing the behaviors and antics of wildlife.
 
I usually try to find some related poetry books, and other fun wordy books, for the kids.
 
 
From our library I selected
  • Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow - this is really informative poetry book.  It was a little over the heads of my children, so I read a poem or two just to expose them poetry.  Each poem is a riddle, talking of a mystery creature and ending with "What am I?"  Each poem is followed by a short non-fiction paragraph or two of whatever creature, or nature related thing, such as dew, the poem was referencing.
  • The Frogs and Toads All Sang - a silly collection of poems and rhymes
  • Over in the Meadow - a counting nursery rhyme/song by John Langstaff.  There is also a book, of the same title, done by Ezra Jack Keats (of The Snowy Day) that I really wanted, but it was unavailable at our library and on Amazon.  :(   
  • Croaky Pokey! - the hokey pokey, frog style!  hilarious.
There is a cute little video for Over in the Meadow
 
Science
 
My kids beg for science so we do little things everyday.  We read about meadows and ponds, most of which is mentioned above, but I also got a pond book from the kids nonfiction section of the library.  Look around in the j577.6  to j578.7 area.
 
One day we talked about the dew mentioned in Play With Me.  At the time of this row there was still snow on our frozen ground so we improvised and showed the idea with the help of a window.
 
 
The little girl in Play With Me tries to play with a Blue Jay.  I had the idea that maybe we should try to attract some Blue Jays to our backyard.  We saved a juice bottle and poked holes, and cut out windows.  We then added a bamboo skewer, filled it with sunflower seeds and hung it with twine.

We've since learned that most likely we will not be seeing Blue Jays, as we do not have any of their preferred trees in our neighborhood (Oaks and Beeches).  We have attracted plenty of finches though!

Emma loves to color so I also downloaded this free Birds Coloring Pack and printed off the Blue Jay for her.


Art

We used our Usborne Art Treasury book this week to make a little pond art.   I knew I wasn't saving all that tissue paper from birthdays for no reason!  ha!


I am very choosy now in what I print off to have my kids work on.  If lapbooking is your thing, Homeschool Share has a great set for Play With Me.  I only used one sheet, just to see what Emma would "play" with compared to Connor's answers years ago.


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Delightful Learning Hip Homeschool Moms Weekly Wrap-Up

The Berenstain Bears' Country Cookbook {a book review}

 
Title:  The Berenstain Bears’ Country Cookbook:  Cub-Friendly Cooking with an Adult
Author:  Mike Berenstain
ISBN:  9780310747208
Price:  $12.99 (USD)
Publisher: Zonderkidz
Publication Date:  Feb 10, 2015
Ages: 4-8
 
This is a "cubs" cookbook, to be done alongside an adult.  The book is sorted into 5 sections:
  1. Breakfast
  2. Lunch
  3. Main Dishes
  4. Dessert and Snacks
  5. Extras - Grace, Honey Facts and Kitchen Measurements
Each section has a short story of the Bear family, followed by the recipes.  The pages each have an illustration and each recipe has a photo example. The ingredients and directions are each laid out in a clean and easy to read fashion.
 
This book isn't intended to be a kid's healthy, allergy free, cookbook but rather, a fun introduction to preparing meals.  It's done up in theme to the Berenstain Bears, so many recipes have honey, nuts, dairy and wheat.  There is a mixture of healthy vs. very processed recipes in this book and all are relatively quick to make.
 
The "Grace Before Meals" page offers an example for kids to follow in saying grace before a meal.  The illustration is a cute little garden scene made from food art.  I do like the page and did read it with my own kids, but it seems it would be better placed at the beginning of the book, not the end.
 
Overall, I do like this little cookbook.  It is a great way for kids to work (mostly) independently, to gain confidence in preparing a meal or a treat.  My kids enjoying looking through the book and choosing a couple things to make, or to plan on making after a shopping trip.
 
We made "Crustless Tuna Sandwiches" for lunch one day, and the kids were so proud of themselves in their accomplishments.  We also made the "Mug Brownie".  There are no nutrient values given in the book, but I would guess this was very high in saturated fats.  Even so, all things in moderation.  The kids very much enjoyed their special treat.
 
 
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
 

The Big Green Pocketbook {b4FIAR)


Recently we "rowed" The Big Green Pocketbook by Candice F. Ransom.  Before Five in a Row is designed for ages 2-4, but I find it so easy to accommodate all my students, ages 8, 4 and 2.

Character & Language Arts:

In addition to our regular bible devotions, we focused on kindness this week.  We used some ideas from Kids of Integrity, although not as much as usual because we had too recently used this great resource thoroughly.

We read several books about kindness, our favorite being P. K. Hallinan's Let's Be Kind.  Hallinan's "Let's Be..." series are all board books, and yet even my 8 year old loves these books.  They are big messages packed into a sweet and simple book.

I used this book to have both Connor (8) and Emma (4) pick a page to copy, in picture and sentence. 


From the library I selected a few books with a theme of "kind".  For Emma I found an amazing little picture book with no words, Hank Finds an Egg .  The author tells the story of little Hank who finds an egg and kindly tries to put it back in the nest.  All this is done with photography.  Such an amazing and unique little book!

For my 2nd grader I found a couple books for him to read solo. Non-Random Acts of Kindness (The Life of Ty) and Each Kindness

Science:

Little Sammy is just 2 and learning all his basics.  We got Little Blue and Little Yellow from the library and big kids joined us in a color activity.  I made a batch of playdough and gave each kid a "little blue" and "little yellow" to act out the story.  As it turned out, my 2nd grader was the only one that would actually mix it.  Emma didn't want the 'friends' to not be able to come apart again, and Sammy just was unsure of the squishy mess.  lol.


I wanted Sam to understand the color green, and since he wasn't too keen on dough I got out water and dyed it.  He was very happy with water.


Science soon turned very serious.


I think my take home message, for myself, in this lesson was to not underestimate a very basic (preschool) activity.  Color mixing is so very basic, but kids are still kids and the most basic of lessons can turn into a fantastic role playing activity.

Always have an emergency hand washing station nearby, in any chemical lab.  ;)


We also read a book about many different shades of Green.

Social Studies & Math:

We learned about neighborhoods with a few different books from the library.

Play

I made Emma a little "big" green pocketbook from some felt.  I just did it freehand, cutting it out and gluing it together, leaving the top open so she could slip in her story pieces from the lapbook at Homeschool Share.  Also, when you subscribe to the FIAR blog you are given access to all of their "Fold&Learns".

Emma wasn't too impressed by her pocketbook, but I was okay with that as we had a super surprise in store for her.


I had in mind to stop at a thrift store in hopes to find a decent purse for her, to act as her "Big Green Pocketbook".  We stopped at a thrift store to have a look at the "pocketbooks" and actually did find a big green one!!  That was part 1 of her surprise.  Part 2 was our very first city bus ride adventure!  Not one of us has ever been on a city bus before.


It was a very cold, muddy and wet walk to the bus stop and to the shops where we got some orange slices for daddy.  I do have to say I have a new appreciation for those that take the bus daily.  How privileged we are to have our own car!

Back at home we played with a couple busses in our toy collection, new and vintage.



Linking up with:
 
Delightful Learning   Hip Homeschool Moms Weekly Wrap-Up
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