Rewind Friday V4, Favorite Home School Posts

Hello Friday!

It’s the last Friday of the month and that means three things:
#1 This month is almost over so I really need to check out this months goals to see if there is any hope of getting some of them marked off.
#2 I’m being featured over at The Blended Blog today so check that out!
#3 It’s Rewind Friday!

When I started thinking about a theme for this month it seemed like there was one obvious choice, home school. But as I dug through the archives I realized I don’t really post on homeschool all that much. The irony is I started this space thinking homeschool would be where I focused most of my time. Realistically, taking time to photograph large chunks of our school day and projects just isn’t something I want or have time to do. However I have written quite a bit on the subject of homeschool, shared some product reviews, and blogged a few projects & lesson ideas over the years that are worth mentioning.

Here are 5 of my favorites. 

Rewind August

Rewind 1
Ask a Home School Mom Part 1

After asking readers to submit their questions about any and all things home school I wrote this post as a part one. My hope was to share more about why we do what we do and to encourage others who may be interested in the same path. I ended up doing two posts to answer all the question that came in. You can read those answers here, including my favorite question ever: How do you stay sane spending that much time with your kiddos without a break?

Tuesday Talk: Ask A Home School Mom: {Q&A Part One}

Rewind 2
Little Artist: Mondrian

When I was a new blogger I started a series tracking our art projects. We were studying famous artists, the pieces they created, and creating a replication of their work. This was one of my favorite projects we made.

Little Artist: Mondrian

Rewind 3
School Room Makeover

After 2 years of homeschooling at a kitchen table I knew we needed a more permanent space. The resolution was to turn a bonus space off our kitchen into our school room. This post shows the drastic changes that took place to make it happen. Over a year later and it still looks the same, however we recently added a works space for me that you can check out here.

School Room Makeover: The Reveal

Rewind 4
Home School Wins & Losses

Home school has been far from a bed of roses. In this post I opened up about the wins and losses we have experienced over the past 3 years. 

Teaching Together, Homeschool Wins & Losses

Rewind 5
Teaching Together: October 2015

In this post I shared a couple of our favorite Halloween books and some spooky & fun activities that go with them.

Teaching Together Blog Hop {October 2015}

It's #RewindFridayParty time and I am sharing 5 of my favorite #homeschool posts Click To Tweet

Rewind Friday

Meet the hosts!
Beth // Our Pretty Little Girls
Meghan // The Adventure Starts Here
Stephanie // Wife Mommy Me
Whitney // Work It Mommy

Last months most popular post was this one!

Congratulations to Amanda on being this July’s most popular post!

Have a great weekend!
We’ll see you back here on Monday!

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Now it’s your turn to link up and share some of your favorite posts from the past!
The next Rewind Friday will be on September 30th so mark your calendar now and plan to link-up.

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First Day of School {2016}

Last week our summer officially ended and we went back to school.

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I feel like I say it every day, all the time, but really…

How in the world are they getting this big?!

I sat down to edit these photos and I nearly choked up. I was looking at those little faces and the amount of growth just left me speechless. You know how every once in a while you can see a glimpse of the older version of your child in a photo. A small peek at what they may look like when they are several years older. That is how these photos feel, especially for Marissa. She is looking less and less like a little girl all the time. 

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Marissa is a third grader this year. 

She gets to learn about chemistry, finally study the life of Christ, move up a level in Awana, learn to write in cursive, and read all of the Little House on the Prairie books. She is 8 years and 2 months, 4′ 7.40″ tall and weighs 66 lbs, tall and skinny!

I asked her…

What are you most excited about this school year? // 
Learning to write in cursive.

What are you least excited about? //
The speed drills and tests in math.

Is there anything you want to learn how to do that you can’t do now?
I want to learn how to do cartwheels.

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Sharing our #backtoschool photos in today's #TuesTalk! #homeschool Click To Tweet

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Emily started Kindergarten this year. 

She gets to learn about creation, really work on learning to read, start Awana, begin learning more about arithmetic, and learn more about the world around her. She is 5 years 6 months, 3′ 11″  and weighs 44 lbs, tall and really skinny. 

I asked her…

What are you most excited about this school year? // 
Making my little books.

What are you least excited about? //
I don’t have an answer for that. I love everything.

Is there anything you want to learn how to do that you can’t do now?
I want to learn how to spell words.

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Another school year.
Another adventure with my girls.
Another time to be thankful for this home school life that we share and remember that it almost never even happened.

Take a look back at our other first day of school photos.
2014 / 2015

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Beth at Our Pretty Little Girls | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram 
Liz at Chasin’ Mason | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
Jessica at Sweet Little Ones | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
Ruthie at Rear. Release. Regroup. | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
Stephanie at Wife Mommy Me | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
Justine at Full Hands, Full Heart
Sarah at Abiding In Grace | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
Becky at BYBMG | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
Laura at Life Is Beautiful | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
Christina at Waltzing In Beauty | Pinterest | Instagram
Meghan at The Adventure Starts Here | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
Tina at Go Big or Go Home | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
Whitney at Polka Dotty Place | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram

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Summer Melon Kids Activities

I’ll admit it, I was stumped.

I started thinking about this post two weeks early. My first idea wasn’t ready to be a blog post and my second idea didn’t work out either. When things just weren’t coming together I started questioning if I would be able to come up with a teaching related post at all. 

Then I thought about what we are loving lately. 

Education should be fun.
We should strive to find things our kids get excited about and use them to inspire teachable moments. We can create, craft, explore, and engage our kids while learning about something they love. Once I reset my thinking, coming up with a post idea was easy. 

Kids craft, snack and game ideas.
One thing that both of my girls are loving this summer has been the melon patch in our garden. From planting to harvesting and eating, they just can’t get enough. So I thought of ways I could take something they already enjoy and turn it into something more. 

Watermelon Seed Spitting

Recently we played a little game of “who can spit a seed the farthest” They both loved being able to spit seeds in the air and when we finished we made a math lesson out of it by measuring and charting distances.

Seed spitIMG_0618Jellin’ Melon

With 6 ripe cantaloupes lying around I needed to be creative with how we were eating them. Then I remembered a recipe my MIL once made that we all loved and knew the girls would be the perfect helpers.

Jellin' Melon
Raspberry Jell-O filled cantaloupe. The perfect summer treat
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Print
705 calories
170 g
0 g
2 g
15 g
0 g
1424 g
540 g
157 g
0 g
1 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
1424g
Amount Per Serving
Calories 705
Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 2g
3%
Saturated Fat 0g
2%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 540mg
23%
Total Carbohydrates 170g
57%
Dietary Fiber 12g
48%
Sugars 157g
Protein 15g
Vitamin A
552%
Vitamin C
663%
Calcium
11%
Iron
15%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 large cantaloupe
  2. 1 3oz package raspberry Jell-O
  3. 1 Cup boiling water
  4. 1/2 Cup unsweetened apple sauce
  5. 1 Cup sliced fresh strawberries
Instructions
  1. 1) Cut the cantaloupe in half and clean out all of the seeds, pat dry.
  2. 2) Add the boiling water to the Jell-o and stir until dissolved. Add in the applesauce and fruit. Mix well.
  3. 3) Lay the cantaloupes in a dish and fill with the Jell-O mixture being careful not to over fill.
  4. 4) Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  5. 5) Cut into 6 or 8 wedges before serving.
beta
calories
705
fat
2g
protein
15g
carbs
170g
more
Our Pretty Little Girls http://ourprettylittlegirls.com/
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Watermelon Art

Some watermelon inspired art turned out to be a fun and simple craft. We used thick white paper (but you could also use a paper plate cut in half as well). We painted with pink, green and black acrylic paints and used a q-tip to add the seeds. We hung the art up to display it and I love the summer touch it brings to our school room. We may need to paint cantaloupes too :). 

Watermelon artIMG_0662

watermelon

Next time you are feeling uninspired think about what your kids are loving. We can find teachable moments all around us when we simply take the time to look. 

For more melon fun check out this watermelon math post from Work It Mommy!

Sharing how #cantaloupes & #watermelons inspired teachable moments in this months #TeachingTogether post… Click To Tweet

What are your kids loving lately?

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How To Organize a Homework Command Center

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CreateWithHP #CollectiveBias

As hard as this is for me to say, back to school season is here. The time to hang up the beach towels is getting closer and I find myself thinking more and more about the soon to arrive school year. There is so much to plan and prepare to ensure we are ready.

One of my priorities is our school room. As a homeschool mom I have had a lot of practice setting up desks. From kitchen table learning to permanent desks, we’ve done it all. Today I want to share how you can affordably put together a homework command center to keep you organized through the year.

1. Location, Location, Location

Location is everything. Find a spot that is close to the center of the home, but not overly distracting either. Somewhere near the kitchen is always convenient. If you don’t have an area where you can permanently set up a desk. The kitchen table has worked well for years and I have a special tip for you at the end of this post.

2. Things to Remember

A great way to remember things is to see them. An organized center will always have a calendar hanging to write down important dates and an area to hang up reminders and even accomplishments too. When things are in front of your face every day you are a lot more likely to remember them. But just in case, write them in your family planner or set a reminder on you cell phone. 

3. A paper for everything

Keeping a large variety of papers on hand and organized makes doing any project simple. From notebook paper, printer paper, card stock, construction, index cards and more. We keep a little bit of everything around.

4. Organized supplies

Have you ever tried to work on a project but you can’t find a single tool that you need to get the job done? It is frustrating, right? Homework isn’t and different. Have supplies organized and easy to find. The least thing you wan to do is waste 30 minutes of home work time looking for an eraser.

HP ContainersContainers like these can be purchased for about $1 a piece and are perfect for keeping essential organized.

5. Lighting Matters

Check the lighting in the area you have chosen. Make sure it is adequate at all times of the day. If not you can purchase a small desk lamp for around $5. to help brighten up the spot, reducing eye strain and headaches.

6. Have a great printer

Printers are an absolute must for a homework command center. Your best option is an affordable all-in-one you can count on. I recently picked up the all new HP Deskjet 3636 at Walmart and I am in printer love. I didn’t even know that was possible.

HP-Printer-Walmart
I can now print from my smart phone or tablet,  something I have never been able to do. I can’t believe I lived without this feature for this long. So often I find something while on my cell phone that I would like to be able to print right away, now I can.

HP CellWith the HP Deskjet 3636 mobile printing is made easy. You can connect your smart phone or tablet directly to your printer and easily print without accessing a network. I also downloaded the free HP All-in-One Printer Remote mobile app so I can manage printing tasks and scan on the go. 

HP Above

Another thing I love about this printer is that it comes with choices. What’s your color this back to school? This affordable AiO that comes in 3 cool colors – Vibrant Red, Dragonfly Blue, Sporty Purple. I knew my girls would love the purple and I have to admit, I am a huge fan of it too. It adds the perfect pop of color to our work space.

Not only does this printer come with an affordable price tag and all of the features I need, it gives me high-quality printing and up to twice as many pages with Original HP high-yield ink cartridges, helping to stretch the budget even further.

I can also access coloring pages, recipes, coupons and more with free HP Printables that are delivered on my schedule.

Let’s review
An organized space has…

An organized space has

*A great, well-lit, location with supplies that are organized and accessible.
*There is a board to display reminders, achievements, and a calendar to keep us on track
*And the space isn’t complete without an amazing AIO HP printer.

Sharing #howto affordably create a homework command center today. #ad #CreatWithHP #BackToSchool Click To Tweet

If space in an issue and you can’t set up something permanent here is an organization option you may want to try.

Homework-Center-Cart
This cart keeps everything I need ready to go, organized and portable. I can easily roll it from one room to the next or tuck it away when we don’t need it. 

Have you seen the New HP Deskjet 3636
What color would you choose?

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Back to Nature, Nature Bingo

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BackToPlay #CollectiveBias Thank you Back to Nature Macaroni & Cheese for sponsoring this post. Try the new Back to Nature Made with Organic Macaroni & Cheese Dinners!

There is something so comforting about getting back to the basics and going back to nature. Nature is at the core of what kids and adults need. It is finding a place where you can explore, imagine, create and have fun. As a mom, I have watched my children thrive in these kinds of scenarios, and it brings me so much joy. Today I want to share a few of our favorite ways to make mealtime our playground and return back to the simple things.

Back To Nature (2)_edited
On one of my recent shopping trips to Target, I stumbled across Back to Nature Mac & Cheee. I was instantly excited that it had no artificial flavors, preservatives, synthetic colors and it is non-GMO. My girls were equally excited about the fun shapes and varieties of their favorite cheesy meal. I knew it was a winner for our family– a convenient product that both the moms and kids love! It doesn’t get much better than that!  So, I happily let the girls pick out a few boxes and we headed home.

Back-to-nature-boxThinking about getting back to nature left me feeling creatively inspired.

Inspired to unplug and get back to the simple things in life ourselves. So I used my noodle *pun intended* to create a simple back to nature bingo game to play with my girls. Something to encourage them to explore and enjoy nature. To observe and look for things big and small, alive and dead, pops of color and things that blend in.

Back-To-Nature-Bingo-Pinterest

There are so many ways to play with these bingo cards.

*Bingo style, first to get a row wins.

*Bingo blackout, fill in the whole card.

*Take photos of what you find.

*I spy played from a picnic table or blanket.

*If the weather is too bad to play outside you can still squeeze in some nature by looking for photos of things in magazines.

You can download your copies here.

b2nWe chose to play our bingo in an “I spy” method from our picnic blanket. We even used the noodles from the Back to Nature USDA Organic Crazy Bugs Macaroni & Cheese Dinner as markers on our boards. The girls later insisted on gluing down the pieces because they were so cute. I couldn’t agree more. What a fun and creative way to turn bingo into an art project and a memory too.

Back-to-nature-bingo
And what picnic blanket is complete without a meal?!

Back-to-nature-bowlDid you know that Mac and Cheese Day is coming up on July 14th?

Mark your calendars now, pick up some Back to Nature Mac and Cheese at Target and be ready to celebrate the day with a creamy, cheesy & delicious meal.

Have you tried Back to Nature Mac & Cheese yet?

What’s your favorite way to get back to nature?

 

Teaching Together, 2016 Curriculum Line-Up

Welcome back for another month of Teaching Together.

Being labeled a home school mom sets you up for A LOT of questions. From my thoughts on learning to read clear up to what we plan to do in the high school years. But my favorite question has to be the “WHY?!” Which usually comes with an “are you crazy” expression on their face. However the most common of all the questions I get asked or emailed about is what curriculum we use.

2016 Homeschool
Here is what we have planned for the 2016/2017 school year!

Curriculum

When it comes to choosing homeschooling curriculum you really have two choices. You can by something all-inclusive *bleck* (can you tell I’m not a fan of this method) or you can piece things together on your own. I have always gone with this second choice and here is why.

It saves money
You have more variety
Its less monotonous
It’s easier to customize your curriculum to the way your child learns.

At the end of it all I am sure that both methods are effective. But, everyone has their opinion so I thought why not share mine. It is my blog after all :P. 

Marissa 3rd Grade Emily Kindergarten
I also plan to add in a few electives that will alternate daily.
These will include things like “computer lab” time, art, yoga, and typing.

Schedule

7:30 school starts with prayer
7:35-8:00 Handwriting
8:00-8:45 Math
8:45-9:00 Break
9:00-09:20 Bible
09:20-10:00 Literature/Phonics
10:00-10:30 Spelling/Emily Break
10:30-11:00 Language/ Emily computer games
11:00-12:15 Lunch Break
12:10- 12:45 Creative Writing/ Emily History or Science
12:45-01:15 Marissa computer games/ Emily Book time
01:15-2:00 Apologia Science OR Marissa’s History
02:00-02:30 Art/ Creative Play/ Yoga
 
Lets be real. I say this is our schedule, but it doesn’t mean it will stick or adjustments wont be needed. But at least we have some kind of idea on what to do when and we can tweak things as we need to.
.Goals
 

My goals for our school year are to have way too much fun, finish our books in a timely manner, and hopefully not bomb achievement tests at the end of the year.

That is all.
Surprised?

I kind of am too but where I may thrive on goals, that kind of pressure on a kindergartener just isn’t needed. 

This will be my first year of officially schooling two kids.
I’m nervous and excited.
Pray for me friends.

Sharing our 2016/2017 #homeschool #curriculum plans on this months #TeachingTogether Click To Tweet

Have a question about homeschooling or why we do, what we do? Leave me a comment!

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