Thursday, November 27, 2014

Black Friday–Cyber Monday SALE!

We hope you had a wonderful, blessed Thanksgiving Day!  Now that you’ve counted your blessings and overstuffed your bellies, you may be thinking about your Black Friday shopping.  I know I am…but all my shopping with be online, without ever leaving my house – I don’t brave the crazy, crowded stores!

Teachers Notebook and Little Monkey Printables are offering a GREAT deal from Black Friday through Cyber Monday (November 28 – December 1, 2014) that you can snatch up while cozied up under a warm blanket in the comfort of your own home…

Almost 35% Off of all Little Monkey Printables products!!!

Teachers Notebook is offering a 10% discount with promo code TG2014

Little Monkey Printables is offering an automatic 25% off – no promo code needed

By combining these two promotions, you’ll receive almost 35% off your purchase!  That’s the highest discount that you’ll ever find in my shop, making it a great time to stock up on preschool packs, handwriting pages, and number practice pages.

Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Little Hearts For His Glory, Unit 31 & 32

This year, we are using Heart of Dakota’s Little Hearts For His Glory curriculum.
It is adaptable for children ages 5 – 7.  To read more about our choice,

Alex is 6 years old.  He’ll be 7 in December 2014.

Alex is learning right now that history is HIS story – the story of God’s world!

We read about Teddy Roosevelt.  One thing we learned about was a hunting expedition.  We made a paper compass, glued on the directional words, and then I gave him directions to find a hidden teddy bear: hop to steps to the north, crawl 5 steps west, etc.   (The teddy bear is named after Teddy Roosevelt, which is why we found a teddy bear at the end of our hunt.)


looking through his ‘binoculars’

We’re doing a quick, broad sweep of American history, so we have covered a lot of interesting people and places: Noah Webster, George Washington Carver, Thomas Edison, Teddy Roosevelt, Yellowstone Park, Douglas MacArthur, and Washington DC (Capitol building, White House).  The idea isn’t to fully comprehend each person, but to be exposed to these people and places so that they are familiar in the future, when kids are ready to dig deeper and learn more.


In these units, Alex memorized Proverbs 15:3 and Matthew 5:15 – 16.  Each day, after the verse is practice, there are key ideas (usually related to the history lesson) that tie the verse together with the learning from that day. 

We are working through All About Reading Level 2.

playing a phonics game with ‘ee’ words

Kindergarten B was just too easy for Alex at this point, so we went a little faster to finish it up. We are now working through Singapore 1A math book…it started out a little easy for Alex, so he did two lessons per day until we reached subtraction.

DSCN2777  DSCN2776

finding different ways to split 10 (7 and 3, 6 and 4, etc)


We often use dried beans as manipulatives for adding/subtracting.

(Goodness…I definitely remembered to get math pictures during these units!)

I don’t have any pictures!  We weren’t able to do every science activity.  We talked about them, but we missed a few when I had my wisdom tooth removed…school was “basics only” for a few days!  We did the readings, but not the experiments.

learning about seawater – water with salt in it, learning about what substances (flour, sugar, cornstarch, coffee grounds..dissolve in water)

learning how geysers work when reading about Old Faithful/Yellowstone Park

a peanut activity when learning about George Washington Carver – skipped because Alex is allergic to peanuts!

We are using Happy Handwriting and Rod & Staff ABC series.

Alex now does Finding The Answers without help from me. 
I just tell him the page number, and he does it.
I cracked up laughing when I looked at the book and saw that he’d drawn
Sonic the Hedgehog for “It can run fast.”


Alex is working through Spelling You See, Level A.  It’s great spelling and handwriting practice.  Because it’s a little easy for him now, we only do every other page.



Alex has thoroughly enjoyed the Burgess books this year!  I’ve enjoyed these books, as well.  It’s a great time to snuggle with Alex on the couch under a cozy blanket, sharing a story together.  My little boy is getting bigger, and he’s not so interested in snuggling anymore…but Burgess time?  That’s SNUGGLE time! Smile

We recently finished reading Jerry Muskrat, and we truly enjoyed that book.  I love the character traits, the silly personalities, and the good moral lessons found in these books.  I look forward to reading them again with Max in a few years!

We read about Thomas Edison.  One of his most famous inventions was the lightbulb.  For artistic expression, Alex drew a lightbulb.  Then he started with yellow paint and painted an outline around the lightbult.  We then added a bit of white paint to the yellow, drawing another outline.  We continued to add a little white paint until the whole page was filled with shades of yellow.  What a fun way to learn about creating shades of a color!


It’s kind of hard to separate art and history, as the art projects often go along with the history.  In this art project, Alex made a camouflage tent while learning about Douglas MacArthur.


We played a happy face/sad face game when learning about the US flag and what it means to be a good citizen.  I would call out a example, and he would show me his happy face if it was something a good citizen does, or he would show me his sad face if it was an example of bad citizenship.


Alex is very interested in maps right now.  I found some maps on Google Images, printed a world map and a US map, and we have these laminated back-to-back so that Alex can refer to them any time a place is mentioned in our readings.  This map comes out during dinner, during school work, during play…he LOVES to find places on the maps!


{Disclosure: This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links.  When you make a purchase after clicking through this link, our family will receive a small percentage of your purchase price.  Thank you!}

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Review: If He Had Not Come

My children and I have started to notice the first signs of the Christmas season appearing in local stores.  The holiday catalogs are finding their way to our mailbox.  The kids are beginning to ask, “When will it be Christmas?”  Ready or not, Christmas will be here before we know it!  It’s time to prepare the house – and, more importantly, our hearts – for the Christmas season!

One thing that my children & I truly enjoy at this time of year is bringing out our stack of Christmas books, reading a few of them together each day during the month of December.   We have traditional classics, silly stories, and beautiful Christ-centered Christmas books.  I try to find a few new ones each year.  This year, we’ve added a new book to our collection, and it’s sure to be read often in our home!  It is called If He Had Not Come, and this thought-provoking tale has been brought to life for a new generation by David Nicholson.

David Nicholson first heard this story almost thirty years ago in an adult Sunday School class, and the story has stayed with him ever since.  He shared it with his family each year at Christmas time, and he felt led to republish this story.  It’s been 55 years since If He Had Not Come has been in print!

Christmas book, Christmas story, Christmas, Christ in Christmas
This beautifully illustrated tale shares the story of a little boy, reading the Bible with his dad on Christmas Eve and focusing in on the words of John 15:22.  “If I had not come…”, the verse reads.  The little boy goes to sleep with these words heavy on his heart, and he wakes to discover what Christmas would be like if Jesus had not come.  The story is simple, yet complex, all at the same time.

The church is now a vacant lot. The hospitals and homeless shelters have disappeared.  The Christmas decorations are gone.  People are grumpy and rude.  There seems to be no hope, no joy.  The Bible ends with the Old Testament.  It’s a bleak picture.  And on each page, we see the words, “If I Had Not Come…”.


But it doesn’t end there, of course!  The story comes to a close with the little boy waking up in his own bed, hearing Christmas carols and celebrating that Jesus DID come!  His dream is a vivid reminder of what Christmas is REALLY all about!


When our package arrived in the mail, Jensyn (3) was the first to notice that I was opening a new book.  Our little book lover immediately reached for the book and ran to the big, comfy chair to wait for me.  I read it to her without hesitation, but knowing that the book is intended for children ages 6 and up.  She sat and listened to every word, but at three years old, she didn’t get the full value of the story.

Several days later, I read the book to all three of our children.  It was interesting to notice how each child reacted to the story at their own level.  Alex (6) and Max (5) seemed to understand the story quite well, and Jensyn (3) enjoyed hearing it again.  The children were caught up in the story, waiting to see how it would end.

Jensyn  was quick to point out when the Christmas tree disappeared, and she is able to make the connection that no Jesus means no Christmas.  Max  listened intently, but he didn’t have much to say while I read.  He simply took it all in.  Alex frequently pointed out details he noticed on the pages, and he commented on several pages throughout the story.  Several times throughout the story, Alex said, “But this is just a dream, right?  He’s just dreaming, isn’t he?”

After we read, the children wanted to flip through the pages again to look at the illustrations.  All three children pointed out details in the pictures.  Then I took the book back, flipped to the discussion questions in the back, and picked out a few questions for a casual discussion with my kiddos.


Some of the questions are a little too detailed for my young ones, but it was fun to choose a few to which they could related.  For example, “Put yourself in Bobby’s place as he walked into his living room…” or “When you hear someone calling for you to get up on Christmas morning, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind?”  These questions led to some interesting discussion!  (Max, who had been quiet during the story reading, was vocal now!)

As we enjoy re-reading this book - throughout the season  and throughout the years – the discussion questions will become more interesting as my children grow.  This is definitely a book that will be read often this year and in the years to come.  We are so blessed that Mr. Nicholson has shared his book with our family!

The illustrations in this book are simply beautiful, the story is captivating and thought-provoking, and it is wonderful reminder of what Christmas is truly all about.  If you are looking for a new book to read with your children in this Christmas season, I would highly recommend If He Had Not Come.

If He Had Not Come is best suited for children age 6 and up, but this story is a wonderful tale for all ages.  This 8.5x11” book is 40 pages in length.  This book is available here in hardcover for $18.95 or ebook format for $3.99.  

It would make a wonderful Christmas gift for your own children, friends, or grandchildren.  I can imagine this book being shared in a Sunday School class or Children’s Church program for elementary-aged kids.

Click on the image below to read the thoughts and experiences of other reviewers and their children as they read this marvelous Christmas tale!

Click to read Crew Reviews

Crew Disclaimer

Monday, November 3, 2014

MFW K Unit 3–Leaf (Max)

{CLICK HERE} to view the rest of our MFW K unit posts.
{CLICK HERE} to read our 2012 Leaf Unit post with our older son.

In this unit, we learned the letter Ll for leaf.
Our Bible words were: I will live and grow in Jesus!


These are the books we enjoyed throughout the week – click on any book image below to read the book description on Amazon.  (We love to buy used copies; they’re usually in good shape, and the price is right!)

I love using MFW K as a good reason to snuggle up on the couch and read a stack of quality children’s books!  I couldn’t pick a handful to share this time, so you get the whole list.  “Sneeze, Big Bear, Sneeze” is a cute book that was new to us this time around.  The others are familiar stories that we enjoyed again.


Book links are Amazon affiliate links.
If you purchase through these links, you are supporting our family. 
Thank you!


Once or twice a week, we start our school day with a YouTube playlist of 4-6 songs/videos that go along with our current school lessons. 


We don’t exactly do calendar time the MFW K way.  We print a calendar page from HERE (preK and K options available), and Max fills in the numbers.  I do it some days; Max does it other days.  No rhyme or reason.


For the rest of our calendar time, we’re using a foam board that we can bring out during school time (and put away later, as our kitchen table is our school room).  The schedule on the top left corner of our board is from Alex’s MFW K days.  We don’t follow that rigidly anymore.  Right now, we’re:

  • starting with singing/video time every few days…I’d like to do it every day, but that’s just not how it’s working out.
  • Max is adding a straw for each school day to our place value pocket chart
  • Max is writing that school day’s number on the MFW K 100 Chart
  • We are singing a Days Of The Week and Months Of The Year song while Max points to the day/month on the board.  We also sing the MFW K alphabet song with the alphabet flashcards.


I love the example in this unit of how a leaf NEEDS a tree in order to grow.
In the same way, we need to stay in Jesus in order to grow.

There’s a fun action song with this unit, reminding us that we need to
stay in the Word in order to GROW in Jesus!

I try never to share too much detail in this box,
as I never want someone to use my blog rather than purchasing the MFW K manual!


sorting the picture cards for /m/, /s/, and /l/.
Max BEGS to do this!

circling the pictures that begin with L.


cutting & pasting the correct letter sound under each picture
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my own page…available HERE for MFW K users only

official MFW K handwriting page

a few more activities – pattern block L page from Confessions of a Homeschooler

and L/l letter sort (my own page…available HERE for MFW K users only)
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drawing page
hard at work – Max is very into drawing lately! Smile



Max LOVES math, so I made the page below for him based on one on that I found (for free) HERE.  I prefer a different tracing font than what she used, so I designed my own.  I don’t plan to share it, due to copyright, so I’ll just direct you to the original author’s siteUgh.  Now her site is gone.  I will have to try to find a way to contact her to see if I can share my set here.  It’s a fairly obvious copyright violation if I don’t contact her first, so I’ll have to wait and see…
We used raisins as manipulatives to fill in the ‘ten frame’, and we’re then using the same raisins to work on ‘even/odd’, ‘1 more’ and ‘1 less’.  He may eat the raisins when he’s finished with the page. 


my own 3 practice page…

Official MFW K math page – color patterns with leaves


I had the page below ready for Jensyn, but Max asked if he could do it…
count & color leaves from Autumn Leaves preschool pack

Cuisenaire Rods – Max is loving this activity!
It’s so funny how every kiddo is unique,
as Alex was pretty indifferent when it came to cuisenaire rods.


Rain. Wind. Cold.  Wisdom Tooth removed (mine, not Max’s). Field trip.

For a huge number of reasons, we didn’t get to do our nature walk at the park or go on a leaf hunt.  Now the leaves are mostly gone, and we’ve missed our chance.  Max was really looking forward to this, and I feel like a bad mom for missing out on this fun opportunity.

We did READ about leaves, we did take a leaf off of the tree in our yard…
but it’s just not as much fun as hands-on leaf hunting!


Max made this in his speech therapy class –
what perfect timing for our leaf unit!

It’s a little messed up – Jensyn got hold of it before I took a picture.


I had great intentions of making leaf-shaped sugar cookies.  It never happened.  I blew it this time around – no leaf hunt, no sugar cookies.  At least Max LOVED the memory game we played and learned a wide variety of leaves that way…so there was some fun in this unit!


This leaf memory game was in a High Five (Highlights) magazine several years ago.  Max loves it, and we’ve played it together multiple times throughout the leaf unit.

DSCN2794  DSCN2795

alphabet leaf maze from my Autumn Leaves preschool pack
DSCN2812  DSCN2808

Also from the Autumn Leaves pack, this is a mini book with leaf color words and leaves to color.  Once the pages were colored and the words were traced, Max cut apart the pages.  I stapled them into a mini book, and Max “read” it to me.  He was very proud of himself!



(Jensyn is 3.5 years old.)

I don’t insist on participation from Jensyn.  She is free to join us or to wander away, but so far, she almost always wants to be a part of MFW K!  She sits with us as we read picture books, does the art or science projects, and completes papers or puzzles at the table.  She loves the Lauri alphabet puzzle included in MFW K!

My only goal for her this year is to learn the uppercase alphabet letters, and you may notice that in many of the activities that she’s working on…

I’ve designed lots of pages that can be used to keep a preschool sibling busy while you’re working with your kindergartener.  You can find most of these pages HERE.  The pattern block pages is from Confessions of a Homeschooler.

making pattern block L and l
magnets & raisins on the dot page
DSCN2791 DSCN2788 

coloring in the dots…why?  I don’t know…it’s what she wanted to do.

Cheerios on L and l

(Random story: Jensyn says she wrote, “I ate hand sanitizer” with the purple pen.  This did happen, much to my chagrin.  We used a Dairy Queen gift card, and as we left the restaurant, I put a little blob of sanitizer on her hand.  For some reason, evne though we use sanitizer all the time, she popped it into her mouth.  Everyone in DQ heard her misery, and the employees were quick to get her a cup of water!)


cutting & pasting leaves onto the matching color box