Bambino, a New Way to Learn

For as long as I can remember, one of my girls favorite learning tools has been puzzles. From big chunky pieces to itty-bitty challenges, puzzles have been one of the best learning tools. Today I’m excited to share the Bambino LUK Learning System. It’s our newest puzzle find and an amazing teaching tool for kids of all ages. Thank you Timberdoodle for sponsoring today’s post and as always, all opinions are my own.

Teaching with puzzles. Exploring a new way to learn with Bambino LUK learning system.
My absolute favorite way to teach preschool and early elementary aged children is through play and one of our favorite things to play with is puzzles. Puzzles are a great hands on approach to learning and an amazing way to work on cognitive skills, problem solving, fine motor development, hand eye coordination, self-esteem and more.

bambinoLet’s take a look at the Bambino LUK system. The starter pack comes with the tray, 6 tiles, a workbook, parent guide, and a skill chart. The system is simple but offers so much variety that every time we play it feels new, exciting and challenging. You are free to begin simple and grow your collection by adding additional packs at any time or you can buy several at once.

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Recommended ages for this LUK learning system are 3-5, but I should add that Marissa (8)  enjoys playing with it just as much as her sister does. We also love the variety of focus and levels the packs offer. This allows me to target specific subjects that I want to work on. It also ensures the work I’m giving is the right level for each child. This is a tool that you can grow with for many years. 

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Like most other puzzle systems the Bambino LUK Learning System is self-correcting. The reverse side of the pieces have a bright and colorful dotted pattern that children can use to check their work. Emily has grown so much from being able to discover and correct her own mistakes and we both like the independence that she feels while playing.

Interested to learn more about how this system works?

You can watch the video above and check out more Bambino LUK Learning Sysytem products on Timberdoodle

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Sharing our favorite new way to learn with #puzzles today. #Timberdoodle #homeschool Click To Tweet

It’s your turn to link-up for this weeks Tuesday Talk!

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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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It’s your turn to link-up for this weeks Tuesday Talk!

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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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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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Simple Ways to Encourage Kids to Write

If there is one thing that I have learned as a mom, it’s that each kid is unique. They each have methods and motivators that work best for them from. This is something I felt I always knew, then we started homeschooling and it was even more clear. In the past I have become frustrated when what I think should work just doesn’t. But as I have matured and calmed down (something I am still working on some days)  I’ve realized that I need to be open to exploring and finding options that work the best for my girls. One area Marissa has really struggled with is writing. Today I want to share with you some tips and trick to encourage kids to write as well as a product that we love. Thank you Timberdoodle for sponsoring today’s post and as always, all opinions are my own.

Simple ways to encourage kids to write.

1) Choose topics your child is interested in
If I was to ask Marissa to write me a paper about Henry Ford she likely would give me a squishy face that made her disapproval rather obvious. Getting her to write the paper would be a slow and painful process. But if I asked her to write about dolphins or any other thing she loves her initial attitude about the project will be much better. When kids are learning how to write, let them write about the things they love. 

2) Write letters
Letter writing is not only a skill that will benefit your child for the rest of their lives, it is also a great way teach them how to put sentences together properly. Thank you notes are an excellent place to start or you could sign your kid up for a pen pal. I have been wanting to do this for Marissa for quite some time now.

3) Help them
Sometimes I get so set on wanting her to do things by herself that I forget we all need a little help some times. I was once encouraged by a more experienced home school mom to be willing to help her get started. 9 times out of 10 the kid just needs a gentle nudge or two and once they get going your help will no longer be welcomed. 

4) Celebrate & encourage
When a kid does something that was challenging for them the best possible thing to do is to take notice and speak love in a way that means something to them. A reward system, lots of verbal praise or even taking the time for the whole family to sit down and listen to what they wrote. You can never encourage a child too much. 

5) Equip them to succeed
This last tip is one that really excites me, equipping your child to succeed. Doesn’t that just sound so good?! It is hard to teach a child without giving them a foundation to build on and the resources needed to learn. I believe we found a gem when we discovered Daily 6- Trait Writing.

IMG_9582Daily 6- Trait Writing focuses on the 6 characteristics that shape quality writing and refines them; content, organization, word choice, sentence fluency, voice, and conventions. The lessons are simple to do so they fit right in with our existing language curriculum.

trait 2 Trait 1
And my favorite part is Marissa loves it. With just 15 minutes a day we have greatly improved her writing ability.

She is being challenged to grow and she is thriving.

Sharing 5 simple ways to encourage kids to write in today's blog post. #homeschool #momtips Click To Tweet

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What is your favorite writing tip for kids (or adults)?

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Fun Ways To Play & Learn In the Summer Time

We’ve been in summer mode for just over a month now. Summer, oh glorious, beautiful, summer. I am pretty sure I love summer 100 times more as a teacher than I ever did as a kid. Don’t get me wrong, I love homeschooling, structure, and schedules but something about summer makes me want to toss all of that out and enjoy the freedom of not having an agenda.

The flip side is that as much as I would like to toss all things educational out the window during the summer months, I know I would have many regrets come August. Today I want to share with you ways that we continue learning through the summer months that keep things simple, practical, fun and the girls hardly even realize it’s actually school work. 

Fun ways to play & learn in the summer time. Simple ideas to encourage learning in kids of all ages.

 

* Summer reading programs //

Most libraries have a summer reading program for the months of June and July offering rewards for books read and activities completed. We’ve been doing this for years now and the girls love it.

* Nature Centers //

Nature centers are a great way to get some exercise, enjoy the outdoors, and learn. Just be sure to plan this as a morning activity to avoid the heat

* Computer Games //

I am not a huge fan of computer time or games but if the learning is educational, I don’t mind making and exception. This is one of my favorite ways to trick the girls into doing school work. We really like this website.

* Topical Studies //

The summer is one of the best times to study something that the girls are really interested in that we likely wouldn’t add into our normal school schedule. From books to YouTube videos we can learn all they want to know. 


* Science Centers //

Science centers are an amazing tool for hands on learning. Often my girls just want to run all over like crazy and see all the things but I always try to pick out a few exhibits along the way to look at a little deeper with them. 

* Book Report Rewards //

It started out as a great idea, or so I thought. Summer reading could mean summer book reports! But Marissa wasn’t really a fan… until I promised a reward. For every 5 book reports she turns in she gets some kind of reward. The rewards are TBD that girl is a book-worm so I am excited to see how this goes. 

* Zoo Trips

We don’t have a zoo around here and haven’t been to a zoo for about a year now, but I know that if we did weekly trips would be a must. I am hoping that we can squeeze in a zoo trip at some point over the summer since the girls are huge animal lovers. Maybe we could even squeeze in an educational scavenger hunt while we are there. 

* Science Experiments

Summer is the perfect time to work on all of the science projects I have pinned. There are so many that we have yet to get too. Adding in a science project a week is our goal. Plus the messier ones could easily be done outside. For science project ideas check out my science pin-board.

* Grow Something

It’s no fun studying trees and plants in the middle of winter. Summer time is the perfect time to study all things plant related from leaves and parts of plants to learning how to grow and take care of a garden. 

* Art Projects

Weekly art projects are a great way to encourage creativity. From learning to draw, paint, creating collages, and sculptures the opportunities are endless. Need some inspiration? Visit an art gallery, pick a painting, then go home and try to recreate it.

Talking about fun way to play and learn in the #summer on the blog. #TeachingTogether #SummerSchool. Click To Tweet

How do you encourage learning over the summer months in your home?

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Now it’s your turn to link-up what you have been learning about for this months Teaching Together!

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I want to give a big thanks to this months “Summer School” Guest host, Stephanie from Wife Mommy Me.

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