Category Archives: Homeschool

Our new morning….

So one of my goals for the year was to be more intentional with our mornings. If you want to read about my Goals for 2012 you can do that here. ¬†Last week my kids were not getting a long very well and attitudes were not great so I sat down and made a “schedule” (more of a routine), we started it and WOW, the difference it made is still a surprise to me. I’ve never been a real structured type person, I like to have a geneal plan and go with the flow. But, that just wasn’t working, too much time was being wasted, too much fighting and too much stress. Now my sweetie pea is doing her chores without being asked and both of them are loving our new morning storytime!! Wow! I should have done this a long time ago! So here is my new morning schedule/routine:

Morning Coffee

6:00am – my sweet little honey bee alarm wakes me up ūüôā now this is the hardest part of our new routine, I used to let him watch a TV show (or two) while I got a little more rest…. but now I’ve been trying hard not to turn the TV on.¬†Some days¬†are better than others… He is ok with this most of the time, he gets to read books or play his games on our iPad without his big sister bugging him. While he does this I get up and get my coffee (this is new too… I find the caffeine helps me make it through the afternoon without being so tired! ūüôā and try to read my Bible before I do anything else. This way I am also fulfilling my Bible reading goal, yay!

At 7:00 or when sweetie pea wakes up we have breakfast and get dressed for the day, yes we have an hour to do this….

At 8:00 we start our chores for the day, sometimes it takes us an hour sometimes it doesn’t, sometimes it takes longer…

Between 9-9:30 we do our storytime and snack time, I make the snack, four small cups with something different in each cup. I try to have two salty snacks and two fruit type snacks or sweeter snacks. They also each get one marshmallow, I did this the first day as something special to get them excited about snack and stories. This has really made our storytime SO much fun. Something as simple as a marshmallow to get them excited about reading books together, I never would have thought!! I didn’t actually realize it until one day we were going to miss our storytime snack because we were going somewhere and my little honey bee was talking about books, how he wanted to read and wanting a marshmallow. I didn’t really understand until a little later I realized he mostly just wanted the marshmallow but he also knew that it was tied to our storytime!! How cool is that?! ūüôā

Between 10-10:30 we do half of our school work, the stuff that honey bee can do with us. We use Heart of Dakota Little Hearts for His Glory. There are about 4-5 activities he can do with us so we do those with him, it includes our history reading, a rotating activity (Science, Dramatic Play, Thinking Game, Artistic Expression), what we call rhyme time (a fun movement rhyme that goes with the theme that week) and our bible memory verse with song. These are simple things that we can include him in without him being a distraction and I think he really enjoys being part of what his sister is doing.

Between 11-11:30 sometimes a little later we have lunch, depends on when we are done with our school stuff and when we are hungry.

At 12:30 I like to be getting honey bee to bed for his nap, he does still take a nap. I do hope it continues for a while especially with his early rising and sweetie peas need for less distraction while we finish our school work… We do the rest of our school work while he is sleeping, the stuff that sweetie pea has to work harder to focus on, Math, Reading, Handwriting, Spelling, Read-a-Loud Storytime.

Whew! That is our morning! The hardest part to get through is the stuff before 9, after 9 we seem to do pretty good with getting to the story and school work. It is SO nice to have half of our school work done before honey bee is in bed! If we are finished with the activity for that hour early the kids get playtime and I get some free time to finish up some chores or just have some time to myself! They seem to get a long better when they aren’t just trying to fill the morning with whatever they like. I think they like the routine of it, they know what to expect and know what’s coming so they can feel more secure. Well at least that’s what I hope is going on!! I like the new routine which makes it that much easier to stick to it!

I’d love to hear how you make it through your morning or what challenges you face when it comes to your mornings!


Edible Playdough!

Today we studied the story of the Israelites waiting at the bottom of Mount Sinai and how they built a golden calf because they were tired of waiting for Moses to return.  The activity to go with it was to make Edible Playdough to create our own golden calves that we could crush and then eat, just like Moses crushed the golden calf into powder, threw it into the river and made them drink it!  What a fun activity and yummy too!!

Here is the recipe for the edible playdough:
Mix 1/2 c peanut butter with 2 tablespoons of honey, then add powdered milk until you have a good playdough like ball.

That’s all there is to it!! ¬†So if you need a fun craft/snack to try you can even bring up the story if you want!!

Have fun!

Addition File Folder Game

If you don’t know what a file folder game is check out this site – File Folder Fun, then come back here and make an addition file folder game to help your little one learn their 1-10 addition facts!

I created this file folder game to help Sweetie Pea learn her addition facts. ¬†Initially it was just match the number sentence to the answer (top of the file folder) or visa versa (bottom of the file folder). ¬† After we tired of this “game” we made new ones, we turned them over and played a “matching” game where we took turns picking a card from the pile and put it where it goes. ¬†We either played with the top or the bottom of the file folder, we haven’t played with them both at the same time but that could be fun too!

When I made this I forgot 4+4=8, so that is why there is an extra on the top and the bottom.  I have since fixed the file and made sure that 4+4=8 is included in the pdf you can download to create your own file folder game!  All you need is a file folder, two copies of each page of the Addition File Folder Game, a laminator (or contact paper would probably work if you print on cardstock) and adhesive velcro dots.

Glue/tape one copy of each page to the inside of the file folder. ¬†I cut apart all the pieces before I laminated them, but I’m sure if you didn’t want to do that you could laminate the page and then cut them, though the lamination could start to come off if you do it that way, it would save a lot of time cutting though! ¬†Then place the velcro dot in the middle on the top of each box (mine are on the left but when I rearranged the numbers to add in the 4+4=8 it worked better to place the velcro on the top) and then the matching velcro dot on each matching piece. ¬†I then store the pieces in plastic bags (number sentences in one bag, answers in another bag)¬†inside the file folder.

Now you are finished and ready to play! ¬†Let me know if you come up with any other ideas on how to play this “game!”


I LOVE Math!! ¬†I know not many people probably say that but it is true! ¬†I wasn’t always that way, when I was in school I struggled with math, I “hated” math, it was horrible. ¬†Until seventh grade when I had the best math teacher I’ve ever had! ¬†He was a student teacher and made math fun, exciting and so much fun that he actually inspired me to want to become a math teacher! ¬†While I did originally major in Math Education I didn’t end up becoming a math teacher, I found that computer programming was even more fun than math ūüôā ¬†However, I still have a passion for math (as long as it isn’t calculus…) and I want my kiddos to love math too because it really can be and is fun! ¬†As I was looking for some kind of kindergarten curriculum for math I stumbled upon Lesson Pathways, it is a FREE online curriculum for grades K-5. ¬†I started using the kindergarten Math Pathway and I was very happy with it! ¬†This site gives you on average five different activities (sometimes more, sometimes less) for presenting the topic for the week. ¬†These were all hands on type activities with some worksheets thrown in once in a while but for us we loved the activities! ¬†We finished most of the 36 weeks, some of them we skipped because she learned it so quick or we learned somethings together. ¬†But, that is another great thing about Lesson Pathways, you don’t really need to go in the order they put them! ¬†You would need to make sure you aren’t jumping around too much if they need to build on things but you can move through the weeks in any order and at any pace! ¬†After purchasing our first grade curriculum math for this year I am even more impressed with Lesson Pathways because not only are they free but we already covered most of the topics in the first grade curriculum I purchased! ¬†WOW! ¬†They really do a great job!

I encourage you if you are looking for some new activities to make math fun again to give this site a try! ¬†They have other subjects as well, I wasn’t really looking for anything else at the time but I’m sure the other subject areas they have so far are worth a look as well!

Remember math really is fun!!

SALSA Spanish


I discovered this program at Freely Educate¬†and we have really enjoyed it and best of all it is FREE! ¬†We usually watch it while we eat lunch (I know not a good habit but it makes lunch more fun to stop for?!) ¬†There are 42 episodes but 30 of the episodes are only 15 minutes and they cut off the rest of the episode so it doesn’t finish or have closure for the story. ¬†The other 12 episodes are full episodes of 30 minutes. ¬†The other thing I found that was really hard was finding the videos on Georgia Public Broadcasting‘s site, you have to search through to get the episode you want they aren’t listed anywhere very nicely, so I spent some time making a list!

*** UPDATE ***

Georgia Public Broadcasting has refurbished their site and the Salsa site now lists all of the episodes and when you click the episode it has the video embedded in the page!  No more searching for hard to find videos!!  They have also edited the videos to be much more friendly and watchable.  We are on our second time through them all and are still enjoying them!  To access them click the List of Episodes link below!!!  Enjoy!!


The Asset/ID is the link to the episode on GPB!! ¬†The ID’s that start with 4 are the episodes that are only 15 minutes, the ones that start with 8 are 30 minutes. ¬†I don’t really think the episodes HAVE to be used in order though the quiz show episodes do use the words previously learned in the show.
Here are a few other links if you want to supplement the show:

List of Episodes



Wyoming Department of Education Resources¬†there is a little arrow image next to Salsa Materials you have to click the arrow image to find the materials. ¬†I just glanced at the site and clicked the other links trying to find the materials but couldn’t seem to find them until I spent a little more time looking and clicking!

I hope you and your family enjoy it as much as we do!  We love watching baby oso!!  This has been a fun way to introduce Spanish into our family, even my two year old has learned many of the Spanish words!!

Have fun!

Workboxes with Heart of Dakota

I just started using Heart of Dakota РLittle Hearts for His Glory about a month ago and we are LOVING it!!  I went from planning 5+ hours on the weekend for our week with Five in a Row to being able to just glance through the day and go with the guide!!  AWESOME!!!  Sweetie Pea has also loved it, she asks to start school and loves to pick what we do next, which leads me to our workboxes.  Before Heart of Dakota I had 10 workboxes (with one thing each in them), Little Hearts for His Glory comes with nine parts that you do each day, so it works GREAT for us!  I made some workbox tags to go with the curriculum, each part has a little icon that I used for my tags instead of numbers.  I did have them on our cart on our boxes but we have migrated to different parts of the house or even outside instead of having our school all in one place, so instead I use a schedule card:

The way that Little Hearts for His Glory is setup you can pretty much choose what you want to do in any order (though it does help to do the History reading first because most of the other activities draw from the story). ¬†This way I have all of our tags in one place and all of the books in my basket that go with each part and we can take them where we want and Sweetie Pea gets to choose which one to do next. ¬†The bottom row is for extras that we don’t use everyday. ¬†I printed everything in black and white (mostly because in the LHFHG guide they are black and white), colored them, laminated them and stuck velcro on the back of the cards and on the schedule sheet. ¬†When we are finished with one of the parts we take it off the schedule and drop it in a cup, so when we are finished we are left with only the bottom row of tags. You could just leave those in the cup if you didn’t like them on the strip it’s just easier for me to keep track of them and switch them out if they are on there!

Here are my¬†Heart of Dakota Workbox Tags¬†for you to use if you would like! ¬†I’d love to hear how you use workboxes with Heart of Dakota and if you need more tags I am willing to add them in or send you the original Publisher file if you would like to make changes, add more etc. ¬†Also here is the planning sheet I use for my “workbox” system (I actually keep it in OneNote but I created a “hardcopy” style sheet if someone might keep track of their things that way!)¬†LHFHG Planning Sheet.

Have fun!

Homemade Play Dough

I love making my own play dough!!!! ¬†I found a recipe in one of my many community cookbooks that my grandma gave me. ¬†I love it because I know what is in it for the inevitable tasting, I can make it what ever color I want and I’m sure it’s much cheaper than buying it! ¬†I usually make it with cheap bleached flour, but I also make it gluten free (corn or soy, because they are cheap) for when my mom comes! ¬†I also recently had some really old rye flour that I thought instead of throwing it out I would make play dough with it and it turned out fine as well! ¬†I’ve added glitter, koolaid for coloring and smell, it’s really up to you and it’s so quick and easy!!


Green and purple are rye flour, blue is regular unbleached flour and pink is gluten free corn flour

Stove Top Play Dough

1 c. flour
1/4 c. salt
2 Tbsp. cream of tartar
1 c. water
1 Tbsp. oil
Food coloring

Mix flour, salt and cream of tartar in a medium pot.  Add water, food coloring and oil.  Cook and stir over medium heat 3-5 minutes.  mixture turns globby and then eventually will form a soft ball in the center of the pot.  Turn out and knead on a lightly floured surface.  Store in an airtight container or plastic bag.

A lot of recipes will call for you to store your homemade play dough in the fridge, but I’ve never had a problem with it going bad not in the fridge. ¬†It will dry out just as any play dough so make sure to care for it accordingly. ¬†Gluten free play dough seems to dry out quicker, also when making gluten free play dough it usually takes a little more flour especially when kneading the dough at the end. ¬†It also has a bit different more course texture than gluten flours but I’ve never tried it with anything other than corn or soy so that might help.

Have fun!!