Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Just Play

I don’t pull out the camera often enough when we’re just PLAYING, so I made a point to do that this past week.  (We’re taking a little ‘spring break’ from MFW K right now, by the way.)

My kiddos play with cars, dolls, foam swords, and all sorts of other typical kid toys.  Tonight the boys were driving Mack and Mater to Alabama.  (Apparently Alabama is now in our front hallway, ha ha!)  They love to dress up in costumes, play ‘restaurant’ with Jensyn’s play kitchen, play on the computer or the Wii, and do all those other fun kid things.  All three kids are into coloring right now, and Keith and I have a ‘gallery’ of kid-art hanging over our bed.  I smile every time I walk into our bedroom!

This past week, I kept the camera out on the kitchen counter so I could snap a few shots here & there from our learning through play.  PLEASE don’t think we just sit down and ‘do school’ all day.  PLEASE don’t try to do that with your little ones.  HAVE FUN with them!  Lots of fun happens in our house each week.  School is just 1 – 1.5 hours a day for Alex, and Max gets about 1 hour a *week*.  That’s all.  The rest of the time is fun, puzzles, games, and imagination.

Melissa & Doug Pattern Blocks


We have the beginner pattern blocks, too, but Jensyn wanted to do what Max was doing.


Baking with Mama…Alex is starting to understand the measurements on the cup, and he can scoop out the ingredients if I read the recipe for him.  He also LOVES to scoop the cookie dough onto the pan.  The cookies might not be uniform in size, but he’s so proud of himself!


An old Discover toys set – seriously, I don’t know why they stopped making this!  This set belonged to my nephew, and my sister kindly passed it down to us.  This is a GREAT toy!  It keeps Max busy for at least 45 minutes at a time!  (If you’ve spent any time with our active little Max, you know that’s an amazing feat!)


The closest two toys I can find are both ‘easier’ than the Picture Pegs, but still look fun:

Melissa & Doug Sort and Snap


Fantacolor Junior

Here’s a picture of what we have….if you ever spot this at a garage sale or thrift store, snatch it up in a hurry!  This is a really fun toy that teaches color matching, fine motor skills, and more!


Alex wanted to practice writing Rs on the Aquadoodle.  This was not school time; it was just what he felt like doing when he came across the Aquadoodle in his closet.  I wrote the Rs on the top; he practiced on the bottom.  While he waited for it to dry, he did more Rs in the salt box.


(This is just a Rubbermaid container filled with a thin layer of salt,
using a popsicle stick to ‘write’.)


Of course, if big brother is doing something, Jensyn has to have a turn as well!


giant Chuggington floor puzzle
(Jensyn doesn’t help…she hinders the process,
so we just let her take it apart when we’re finished!)


Connect 4…Alex is learning the rules of the game, but Max loves to fill the grid and then send the pieces tumbling out.  It’s great fine motor skill practice, and it’s just plain FUN!


Oh, I shouldn’t forget three kids CHASING each other around the house with a scooter, a 4 wheeler, and a toy shopping cart.  They squeal and giggle and run in circles through the living room and kitchen with their little ‘parade’.  I can’t wait ‘til it is warm enough for them to release their energy OUTSIDE! Open-mouthed smile

QUESTION: What are YOUR kids favorite hands-on learning toys? 
I’d love to hear what gets play with the most in YOUR house!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Take a moment to make a difference…

Have you heard about the Romeike family, a German family who fled from Germany to the United States? 

Did you know that homeschooling is, with only a few rare exceptions, ILLEGAL in Germany? 

This family faced fines, faced the removal of their children from their home, faced SERIOUS consequences if they continued to homeschool in Germany.  They sought refuge in the United States several years ago because they did not want their children educated in Germany’s school system.

Unfortunately, the Romeike family now faces deportation.  Not only does this have big implications for the Romeike family; it also means that the future of homeschooling in the United States could change drastically in the future.  You can read more about that by CLICKING HERE.

YOU CAN HELP!  Please read the link above, and then – if you feel that this decision should be reconsidered by our government – sign the petition by CLICKING HERE.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Jesus Storybook Bible–$1.99

The Kindle edition of the Jesus Storybook Bible is currently on sale for $1.99.  We love this Bible, and I’d highly recommend it.  The illustrations are beautiful, and I love the way each story points back to Jesus. 

CLICK HERE or on the image to link to the Kindle version of this Bible on Amazon.

The hardcover edition is also on sale for $10.19, and it’s usually around $16.  This would be a great gift for a baby or preschooler.

CLICK HERE or on the image below to link to the hardcover version.

Monday, March 18, 2013

MFW K–Zz Zebra

{CLICK HERE} to view the rest of our MFW K unit posts.
{CLICK HERE} to view our post explaining WHY we chose MFW K for our family.

Alex is 5 years, 2 months
Max is 3 years, 6 months

We are using My Father’s World Kindergarten as our base,
adding in some of my own printables.

This week, we are learning the letter Zz for zebra.
Our Bible words are: I can’t hide anything from God!





Here’s a quick video of Alex reading this week’s short story.  Other than changing up the last sentence just because he could, I thought he did a great job!


Alex has been excitedly counting down until “Leprechaun Day”.  I don’t know why it’s such a big deal to him, as we don’t do anything very exciting.  They get some chocolate gold coins and some rainbow colored Skittles, but for some reason it’s VERY exciting to think that the leprechauns left it while you were sleeping! Smile



We played hide and seek.  The kids played “Walkie Talkie Hide and Seek” with Daddy.  We read Bible verses and talked about how we can’t hide from God.  Camouflage may hide an animal or person.  You might be able to play hide and seek, and someone may have trouble finding you.  You might be sneaky and hide something naughty that you did.  No matter what, though, you CAN’T hide from GOD!! 

Alex was really fascinated by the thought that God is everywhere.  He sees everything.  He knows everything.  He even knows what we will say and do before we do it.  That has really stuck in his head, and he keeps bringing up that topic.

Today, he asked us if Heaven moves all around in the sky so that God can see all over the place in order to watch what everyone is doing.   If not, he asked, then does God have a LOT of eyes? Smile

We no longer cut out the picture cards and put them in an envelope.  There was just not any value in this for us anymore, so we just look at the page and name the Z words.


We still do the circle/cross out page (not pictured) and the cut and paste page (shown below.)  Most other MFW phonics have gone by the wayside now, being replaced with All About Reading.   It’s just too redundant to do both.  AGAIN, I want to say that MFW Phonics are GREAT!  We are reviewing All About Reading, though, and I couldn’t see doing both without it becoming overwhelming.


This is a “fluency page” used for reading practice. 
Alex thought it was fun to read his brother’s name on this page!


He was also very excited to read words with “qu”!


He read another new story this week, and he barely hesitate while reading the words.
He’s still reluctant to read for more than a short time, but even he recognizes his progress!




Alex can make nice Zs if there are no lines to follow.  He struggles to make his Zs carefully on the lines in order to get them the correct size.






I printed and cut out an outline of Africa while Alex colored and cut out these African Animals.  I was impressed that he cut everything nicely on the lines.  Usually, he doesn’t care.  This time, he was very careful to cut precisely on the lines!  This is more geography than science, I suppose.


We also read about animal camouflage.  Did you know that a zebra’s stripes are actually a form of camouflage to protect it from its enemies?  We learned about how other animals use camouflage to protect themselves, as well.


Ummm….yeah…found several cute crafts.
That’s as far as we got…FINDING.

We painted shamrocks for St. Patricks Day, and we talked about how the three leaf clover can represent God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.  We also made sugar cookies shaped like shamrocks.  (I have no pictures of the painting, as there were FOUR kids at the table…and a whole lot of paint…I didn’t dare look away long enough to grab the camera!)


No zebra crafts, though, even though there are some CUTE ones out there!
Google ‘marble paint zebra’  or search the MFW K Facebook group for fingerprint zebras.


With Mama’s help, Alex made “zebra-stripe pudding” for an after dinner snack.IMG_8160
(The manual suggests making pudding from scratch.  While I *LOVE* to bake from scratch with my kids, I decided to use pudding mix so that Alex could have the pride of doing it himself.  Besides, pudding is one thing I have never made from scratch!)


tot school 
(Max is  3 yrs, 6 months)

Max has a new fascination with writing his ABCs.  He still doesn’t know every letter by name, and he certainly can’t write the letters independently.  The desire is suddenly there, though, so I’ve started offering opportunities.  My mom gave the boys some write on-wipe off learning books for Christmas, and they enjoyed these this past week.


Max did an African Animal puzzle


We made shamrock cookies and did a shamrock art project.
We used this as an opportunity to discuss how ONE shamrock has THREE leaves,
and ONE God has THREE parts.


We may be linking up with the following blogs:
Tot School