Posts Filed Under Homeschooling

Homeschooling and Adoption

by bosssanders on April 5, 2014 with 1 comment

“Z” has been home in the US with us for 21 weeks and 2 days.

I remember searching the internet for clues on how to school a child who does not speak your language, how to catch them up quickly.  I remember the search for materials that could help us, help him, and help us help him!  I remember finding next to nothing.  I remember calling schools, frantic, asking what they could do for my son (turns out, beyond Spanish students, there’s not much for older children from different languages when it comes to integrating them into school.  Their solution?  Stick him in a Kindergarten class with children 2 years younger than him and leave him there so that he’d always be 2 years older than the other kids.)  It felt like everywhere I turned, people encouraged me to put him in the hands of our local schools… they didn’t believe I could do it.  Heck, I wasn’t even sure I believed in me… so why should they?

I’ll admit… taking a child who had NEVER had any formal schooling and couldn’t speak our language…and trying to “catch him up” was a daunting task.  Terrifying.  I homeschool 2 of our other children, but we’ve never encountered barriers like this.  They are EASY to homeschool.  They are motivated and quick-learners.  It wasn’t until I was told that they’d simply “stick” him in Kindergarten to sink or swim that I decided I could AT LEAST do that.  I could AT LEAST get him to Kindergarten, if nothing else.  And, I could give him more than 30 minutes of one on one time that the school was offering.  I could do that much, I knew.

And, 21 weeks and 2 days later… this is what I’ve learned:

- You don’t have to catch your child up to where they need to be in the first year.  If the schools in your area aren’t the best option for you (I know some schools do this VERY WELL and have experience with older adopted children transitioning in…or, at the very least… are willing to TRY and WORK CLOSELY WITH PARENTS).  I kept thinking… must catch him up to 1st/2nd grade in the first school year (which only had 6 months left in it).  It felt and looked like a mountain.  It felt impossible.  But, the truth is… we homeschool ALL.DAY.LONG.  We may put the books away, but we keep learning.  He has siblings that are eager to teach him all they know.  We don’t have to take snow day breaks and our summer breaks will be filled with learning, too.  And, when you have a classroom of 4 children, you can get MORE done in a shorter amount of time.  (We have gotten through 1.5 grade levels in ONE school year before and another .5 during the summer.)

- When “Z” first came home, he didn’t know his alphabet, colors, English, numbers, or how this world worked.  Needless to say, basic etiquette, how to eat in public, safety rules, etc… all BRAND NEW!  EVERYTHING was new.  I wasn’t prepared for that to this extreme!  (I’m not sure why!  It makes COMPLETE SENSE!)  So, we began with PRE-K and toddler lessons.  The difference, though, was that he has the CAPACITY to learn quickly and deeply (unlike a toddler).

- We began with colors, ABCs, words, safety rules, manners, and numbers.  We bought picture dictionaries (like what you’d buy for toddlers) and Richard Scarry’s books.  The kids and my husband and I (and other family members) would take turns going through it with him, pointing out things and practicing naming them in English.  We role-played for manners at the table and other places.  We sang ABCs and practiced writing those and numbers.  We put on ABC songs and ABC/counting dvds and practiced naming a new color each day.  I had a sheet of paper that i tracked his new words (so I knew what else to work on with him) and in 3 weeks, he could say his ABCs and count to ten and name his colors.  He could communicate at a basic level with words with us.

- Then, we began the Leap Frog letter factory DVD to learn his letter sounds.  Each day before nap-time, the kids would watch it (even our 2nd grader and toddler still liked it!)  We kept teaching new words, practiced writing letters and numbers.  In about 1.5-2 weeks, he knew 90% of his letter sounds.

- At approximately 5 weeks, he “graduated” Preschool level!

- Next, we began Hooked On Phonics for Kindergarten, level one.  At first, it went TERRIBLY slow.  He could sound out the letters S-A-M, but then would simply say HAT!  We were really confused and felt like the wonderful progress we’d made had come to halt!  (Our four year old was speeding through and seemed to be able to identify letter sounds so we weren’t sure where the disconnect was coming from).  We kept trudging through for a couple of weeks with no real progress on that part.  Then, we realized his “best time” was in the morning after breakfast and we were trying to read in the evenings.  So, we changed the time and then had his older sister help him practice.  I’m not sure if it was just extra time, the difference in the time of day, or having someone to compete with that made the change (or all 3)… but, soon… he was on a ROLL!  (We do notice in the evenings, when his brain is FINISHED… he’ll resort back to having difficulty taking anything in.  I can SO relate!)

- We began some basic math … “You have 2 cookies, I give you 1 more, how many do you have?” sort of thing.  We used wooden pattern blocks and pattern animals to help learn problem solving.  (He caught on FAST!)

- With a good foundation of English, we began putting him in more situations where we could teach him how to interact with others in different settings.  AWANA – where he began to learn and memorize scripture.  Prayer group.  Playgrounds.  Stores.  Parks.  Theatre.  Restaurants.  Church.  He was a quick learner!  He went from a place where “anything goes” to some pretty specific rules and he did GREAT!

- I used the World Book Typical Course of Study (google it)and a few other curriculum guides to help me be intentional of things to prioritize to learn (jobs in community, family members/roles, farm and zoo animals, etc) for each grade.  Some things, I know he’ll pick up as we go… others, I spent some extra time on.  Some things, I had to wait to teach because he didn’t have the normal experiences an American child would to pull from (ex., He’s never been to a zoo.  Explaining zoo animals vs. farm animals is HARD when you’ve never been to either.  So are a lot of other things!)

- At 21 weeks… a little over 5 months… he’s finished Pre-K and almost half-way through Kindergarten!  We are focusing mostly on Reading and Math for Kindergarten while we try to catch him up.  He is learning science and Geography with his sisters from our My Father’s World Exploring Countries and Cultures set (3rd grade + level but adjustable for younger/older kids)  He can identify the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Africa.  He knows who God is and why Jesus was sent to Earth.  He can listen to simple stories and tell you what happened.  He can say a few words in Spanish and sing “Let it Go” from Frozen :)   His English vocabulary has grown SO much!  (Because MFW goes on a “cycle,” we put our kids in together for whatever the oldest is learning for science, geography, Bible, and history.  IF he didn’t have an older sister, I would’ve probably started him in their K or 1st program and fast-tracked through.  Example — the kindergarten curriculum can be done in 1/2 the time for an older child.)

- Next, he will begin the 2nd book for Hooked On Phonics (Kindergarten)  and continue to read Bob Books.  We will continue learning about countries and cultures, together.  Soon, we will begin 1st grade math and then first grade Hooked On Phonics.

Items we used and found helpful:
- Colors, shapes, and counting DVD like this one.
- Richard Scarry’s Biggest, Busiest Storybook Ever (HERE)
- Children’s picture dictionaries like THIS and THIS and THIS
- Hooked On Phonics – Kindergarten (Here) Also, check out the Hooked on Phonics Website to see if they are running any deals!  I bought mine on sale!
- Bob books (HERE)
- Letter Factory DVD (HERE)
- World Book Typical Course of Study Lists (HERE)
- Pattern Blocks and Pattern Animals (HERE) and (HERE)
- My Father’s World Curriculum (HERE) – We are using THIS ONE.
- This Math book (HERE)

For those of you who have adopted older children, which resources did you find most helpful for learning?  Please tell me in the comments!

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Around the world – MEXICO

by bosssanders on April 1, 2014 with 1 comment

We’ve had so much fun studying about Mexico!


- We found Mexico on the map and learned some fun facts about Mexico (We used online resources, Children’s Atlas of God’s World, Classroom Atlas, Window On The World, A Trip Around the World, Children Just Like Me, Material World, A Life Like Mine)
- We learned about and colored their flag
- We learned about deserts and the plants/animals there
- We painted sombreros and tunics
- We learned some Spanish words
- We listened to fun Spanish music from Wee Sing and Boca Beth
- We watched some traditional folk dances online

-We grew cacti
- We dissected a cactus
- We made tissue flowers, tissue paper banners, and a pinata
- We had a fiesta with our decorations, Spanish music and dancing, Mexican food (a burrito/taco bar) and our pinata!

- We made string art
- We learned how to draw a cactus
- We watched Dora the Explorer
- We did some “sight-seeing” here and here
- We watched The Perfect Game on Netflix Streaming
- Watched The Three Cabelleros

See more photos here!

filed under Homeschooling

Today, March 12, 2014

by bosssanders on March 12, 2014 with no comments

Outside my window…
And…it’s cold again!  But, I’m so thankful for the nicer temps this week, that I don’t care!  And hey, maybe it’ll kill off the mosquitoes!  (Actually, probably not, since apparently our region is home to approximately SIXTY different species of mosquitoes!  And… some of those species’ eggs can lay dormant in ice and then hatch as soon as the weather is okay!  Are you SERIOUS?  Yesterday…day 2 of consistent nice weather… and mosquitoes already had begun to flog us!  Crazy!  (This is where I now beg for you to tell me in comments your favorite methods of keeping those things AWAY from us and our babies and yard!  GO!)

I am thinking…
About the new “Ban Bossy” campaign.

For those who are unfamiliar with it, it’s a campaign backed by Girl Scouts and some others to ban the word “bossy” as they feel it has negative implications and makes girls not live up to their potential.

And, while I’m all about affirming others, I’m having a hard time getting behind this thing.  I’m wrestling with why that is and trying to put thoughts into words.

First, I think there is a big difference between being bossy and being a leader.  Bossiness is when you TELL people to follow you (or else).  Leadership is when people CHOOSE to follow you.

Second, while I know words can hurt and wound pretty deeply… I think saying that one word CAUSED you to not go after your dreams or reach your potential… has more to do with you than that word.  Everyone has their own story, their own hurt, their own mountain they’ve had to climb.  We ALL have had a choice … we either climb the mountain or we don’t.  And, while I don’t condone mean-spirited name-calling, I think that our focus should be on AFFIRMING girls (and boys) in their strengths and helping to work through their weaknesses rather than just “banning” a word we don’t like because it messes with how we see ourselves.  And, just being honest… if a word like “bossy” can break us…probably so could many others.  Perhaps we should learn how to raise strong children who can embrace their strengths and weaknesses and know who they are Who it is they were made for (God).

I am thankful…
62.  For a Savior who died on the cross to cover my sins
63.  Beautiful weather and science lessons outdoors
64.  Tiny bubbles floating through my kitchen, bouncing prisms from the window light pouring in

In the kitchen…

Roasted carrots, cabbage, and chicken pot pie…

I am reading…

Here’s the synopsis:

With the twenty-first century just a distant memory and the world in environmental chaos, many people have lost the will to live.

Business is brisk at The Suicide Shop. Run by the Tuvache family, the shop offers a variety of ways to end it all, with something to fit every budget.

The Tuvaches go mournfully about their business until the youngest member of the family threatens to destroy their contented misery by confronting them with something they’ve never encountered before: a love of life.

We/I am learning…

Z and Ro are learning to read and doing a great job!
The three oldest munchkins have begun out journey into GEOGRAPHY!  First, we learned about maps and the many different functions they can have (climate, landscapes, political, etc).  This week, we began with North America — United States.  In science, we are learning about biomes (forests, lakes/rivers, oceans, deserts, etc) and habitats and animals that live in different places.

We made a compass with magnets and experimented with different magnets and what they could do…

This was Z’s first time for this activity and he was a natural!

We went to see a great play: “How I Became A Pirate”

Collecting worms (Look at La’s face!)

“Mom, I’m ready for class!”

Checking out their worms in their new habitat…

Around the house…

For Lent this year, we made a crown of thorns .  Under it, is a crimson bowl filled with stones with “sins” written on each (there are 40).  For us, the bowl represents Jesus’ crimson blood and the “crown of thorns” the crown that Jesus wore.  The rocks represent our sins and the “crown of thorns” is over them because He died to cover our sins.  A purple candle in the middle reminds us of His royalty (and thus, our adoption into royalty) and that there is HOPE.

Each night, we pull a stone out and read what the Bible has to say about each one.

A favorite quote…
“Don’t make a PERMANENT decision for your TEMPORARY emotion.”
“What other people think about you is not YOUR business.” – C.Althoff

One of my favorite things…

These are super fun!  Chopstick helpers!  You can find them here.


Today, February 24, 2014

by bosssanders on February 24, 2014 with no comments

(La lost her first tooth!  She was SO excited!!)

Outside my window…
We had a couple of BEAUTIFUL days…and then it’s back to COLD!  Seems to keep doing that…but, slowly…slowly… the temperatures keep rising little by little!  Hoping we actually get a spring and don’t go straight into summer!  We shall see!

I am thinking…
that children grow up WAY too fast!

I am thankful…
51.  For sweet daughters
52.  For La, who loves her siblings SO much that she asked if we’d please have more!
53.  For a house full of princesses, fairies, knights, dragons, puppies, kitties, moats, castles and magic galore!  You just never know what you’ll walk into here!
54.  A stocked freezer
55.  coffee dates
56.  Z learning to read!  Finally!
57.  Goofy antics from the littlest son…always making me laugh!
58.  Hubby being back home!
59.  Friends who will pray for us when we’re having a rough day (or night!)
60.  Music that sings straight to my soul.
61.  Crockpots.

In the kitchen…

Homemade beef stock simmering…
…and beef roast cooking for tonight’s supper (choice of burritos or open-face roast beef sandwiches on homemade sourdough bread)

I am reading…

The Child Catchers by Kathryn Joyce

My husband and I have seen first-hand both the sorrow and triumphs that come with adoption (whether it’s local or international).  The truth is that adoption comes with a cost, it always does.  Something heart-breaking had to happen for a child to even need to be adopted into a family.  Adoption, in itself, can be tricky…trying to navigate through what’s ethical and true…and what’s not.

I applaud Kathryn Joyce in her attempt to open eyes to some of the darker sides of adoption, HOWEVER her view is a very doom and gloom one.  In fact, it actually feels like the book is more of a soap-box rather than an unbiased look at the beauty and ashes of adoption and HOW to help without hurt.  It seems more like she dumps her “findings” at the feet of her readers as if it simply validates that adoption isn’t a great thing.

In her book, Joyce writes about the “evangelical Christian” and their crusade to adopt in order to somehow make Christians of these children.  She writes, ” To tens of millions of evangelicals, adoption is a new front in the culture wars: a test of “pro-life” bona fides, a way for born again Christians to reinvent compassionate conservatism on the global stage, and a means to fulfill the “Great Commission” mandate to evangelize the nations.”  Interesting.  I love (sarcasm) when others speak up to explain my heart for adoption.  Our goal in adoption was simple: give an orphaned child a home.  We were not interested in just “adding on to our family” (we can think of much easier ways to do that… without leaving home.  For free.)  Our rationale was pretty simple.  We love because God first loved us.  We had a home.  Someone needed a home.  PERIOD.  Granted, we WOULD be raising this child as a Christian (he actually knew who Jesus was already) like we were raising our other children, but we did not adopt as a way to simply “evangelize the nations.”

We are 100% FOR verifying children are truly orphans before adopting and weeding out unethical practices, BUT discouraging people from adoption altogether is like throwing out the baby with the bathwater.  Adoption is GOOD.  There are MANY children who NEED and WANT homes.  True orphans.  And YES, we need to have our eyes wide open to the ethical issues and we need to do due diligence and WORK TOGETHER to make this thing BETTER for birth families, for the kids, and for the adoptive parents.  But, this book?  It’s not the way to get there.

Conclusion:  TAKE it or LEAVE it?  LEAVE it.

We/I am learning…

We just finished up with our 3rd Quarter for Homeschooling, today.  La got all As.

Last night, we had a great discussion.  Our roses from Valentine’s Day are beginning to darken around the edges and droop and La wanted to know why they were dying, if she hadn’t watered them well enough.  And so, we explained that when you separate a flower from it’s plant…it dies.  You can water it, and it may look okay for a little while, but then it’ll die.  We told her it was kind of like when you are separated from God.  At first, we think we are doing okay and we seem to be fine.  Then, we start to crumble (on the inside) …like the roses.  She nodded and said, “Yeh.  I get it.  Because God is like our roots.  Without roots, we all die.”

La has been digging into her Bible lately.  She enjoys reading and has been picking up the Bible as her choice read during reading time.  I can’t express how happy it makes my heart for her to come to us and say, “Hey mom and dad, can I read this to you?  It’s my favorite for today!”  Or, “Mom, what does this mean?”  And, we get to work through word for word, the Living Word.

Rora (4) and Z (6) are learning to read.  Rora was just ready.  She came to me and asked if I could start teaching her and she’s been SO enthusiastic and she’s catching on really well!  Z has been home approximately 3.5 months and factoring in the fact that we began with Pre-K and that he’s now in K, learning to read within 3.5 months is GREAT progress!  I think his main motivation is because now both of his sisters can read.  So, we are working through Hooked On Phonics for Kindergarten.  They are both doing great!  I’m hoping that we’ll be able to get him to first grade level by summer and fast-track him through, picking up the necessities to catch him (mostly) up.

La has begun the beginnings of multiplication and division (grouping) and is enjoying this new turn in math.  We are reading some about early American History and she’s found a place in her heart for the Little House On the Prairie books.  She’s testing at about a 4.5-5th grade reading level.

Around the house…

I’m not really sure what my new house project will be… Hmmm… BUT, I did get most of the dishes done.  And, the house is MOSTLY cleaned up from our homestudy visit last week.  That surely must count for something!

A favorite quote…

(image from Ann Voskamp’s A Holy Experience–memorizing scripture)

One of my favorite things…



Go Science! (Ben Roy)

by bosssanders on October 8, 2013 with no comments

Science is, hands-down, one my family and my favorite subjects.  Learning about why and how things work has always inspired creativity and awe inside of me and it’s the very thing I hope to instill in my children.  While many people would argue that they can disprove a Creator with science, I have always found that science simply draws me nearer to Him.

In Ben Roy’s Go Science DVD series, he not only teaches science basics, but he also points it all back to God in every lesson.  He brings his charm, knowledge, and fun in each DVD lesson, providing for a fun and encouraging learning environment.


- Great for homeschooling or as supplemental learning.
- Hands-on activities can be easily integrated in.
- Each “Volume” is comprised of many lessons, and each individual lesson is short and to the point.
- Lessons point back to our Creator.
- Lessons are fun and easily capture children’s attention.
- Great for a large range of ages (4-12!)

- The only “negative” I can think of is the price – $79.95 on the Go Science site, BUT then I found it HERE for only 47.95 (for a set of 6!  That’s less than $8 each!)!!

It isn’t very often that you can find products that do a great job of explaining science concepts, are entertaining, AND point back to our Creator.  So, here you go!

What are you waiting for?  Go HERE and get yours today at this amazing LOW price!  (You can try them individually, too!)

*I received this set from the company for review purposes.  However, all thoughts and opinions expressed are completely and honestly mine!


Homeschool Notes: “What About Socialization?”

by bosssanders on June 12, 2013 with 2 comments

I’ve heard about homeschooling, and the idea seems great — but, what about socialization?  Aren’t most kids socially awkward?

Great question!  Or, questions… actually, this is like 3 different topics, so let me break out the bullets and boldness…


Socialization is, by definition,

a continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norms, values, behavior, and social skills appropriate to his or her social position.
What most people mean to ask is:  “Will the homeschooled child have enough opportunities to be around children their age.”

However, true socialization would be children learning how to interact with people of ALL ages.

Social Awkwardness

Will homeschooled children be socially awkward?  –This is one of my favorite questions EVER!  It makes me think of kids pulling each others’ fingers, making fart jokes, blowing bubbles in their juice, and being gross or throwing fits when they don’t get their way.

Know any kids like that?  (I know a few adults…but they weren’t homeschooled)

Are they all homeschooled?

See, the truth of the matter is this… everyone has a different perception of what “socially awkward” entails.  The exuberant loud person might think the quiet modest bookworm is awkward.  Or, vice versa.  And quite frankly, we all have moments of weirdness…

Like assuming a woman is pregnant…

Saying the wrong thing… (or the right thing in the wrong way)

Or that moment where you are just so exhausted or caught off guard…

There are tons of moments … some we don’t even realize!

But, I get what you are saying.  Kids DO need to learn to share, love, be compassionate, learn teamwork, learn to play with others, collaborate and experiment with others.  There’s a lot to be said for children to be around both other kids AND those older than them.

Opportunities To Interact

There are LOTS of creative ways that you can inspire interaction with others…

  • Playdates – Our children have friends in public and private (and home) schools.  We have playdates!
  • Church!
  • homeschool co-op or homeschool support groups
  • Sports… nothing like learning teamwork… on a team!
  • Clubs – Girl scouts, boy scouts, american girl, lego club, etc.  Not something already in your town?  Create it!
  • Head to the zoo, playground, museum, etc and let your child PLAY!
  • Camps!
  • Friends’ kids
  • Classes – You can put your kid in martial arts, art class, gymnastics, music, theatre
  • Family (brothers, sisters, cousins, etc)
  • Neighborhood kids
  • Throw a party!!  It’s not their birthday?  Who cares!  Grab some side walk chalk or sprinklers (or both!) and let them go crazy… outside, obviously.

What are your thoughts on “socialization” or “interaction” and do you do anything to encourage it?

filed under Homeschooling
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Homeschool Curriculum: Pre-K to 1st Grade

by bosssanders on June 10, 2013 with no comments

I’ve had SO many friends ask which curricula we’ve tried, and which we loved…or, didn’t… so, I thought I’d make a list. There are SO many that we’ve not tried and my tastes or style may NOT be yours… THAT’S OKAY!! So, if you find yourself in the choosing phase… have fun! Just because you choose one, you don’t have to stick with it forever. It’s only a tool, so quit using it when it no longer works for you!

For Pre-K, there are two books that I LOVE LOVE LOVE!

This one:

(Tip:  Buy it used on Amazon… HERE)

and… This one:

You can get it HERE.

The first book is plenty, but the science book is SO SO fun!  Praying mantis habitats and lots of other REALLY cool stuff in it!!  I think I had as much fun as they did!!


For Kindergarten, we used:

My Father’s World – Grade K AND 1/2 of 1st Grade (deluxe sets) — bought off site

Complete Book of Math for Grades 1-2 (came with my MFW deluxe set)

Hooked on Phonics for K and 1st Grade – K, off site.  1st — bought used locally

We REALLY REALLY REALLY enjoyed all of these this past year.  La did phenomenal!  She’s a SUPER fast learner and just wanted MORE MORE MORE!

MFW is pretty hands-on, which is great for our family.  We are a VERY hands-on/learn by experiencing type of family.  All of us (so far).  It’s just so fun and there’s so much adventure!  La reads and retains as well, but enjoys hand-on stuff mixed in.

1st Grade

That brings us to first grade, where we are now.

I will probably never be one of those fans of just ONE curriculum.  As I learn and experience more, my eyes are opened to new possibilities and adventure… and, hey… I like exploring… even curriculum.

I had assumed I’d just continue on with MFW (we’re covering most of what’s left of the 1st grade curriculum this summer) to their 2nd grade level.  But, as I read more and more, I’m not sure anymore.

I had heard awesome things about sonlight… and I’d jump at the opportunity to try it, if it wasn’t $800 for the core set for JUST ONE GRADE.  But, it is.  Their reading list has lots of fun books — although, I’ve read that they teach more with a world view (compared to biblical)… which is not really something I’m wanting at this point.  And, less hands-on.

Then, there’s KONOS and MFW.  OY.  I love that MFW is very pick up and go… GREAT for mom’s with babies, by the way.  But, it can feel a little “light” and “repetitive” (I’ve heard) for 2nd grade.  KONOS seems awesome but it laid out much differently and… well… I’m not sure.  Plus, more planning!  I think I’m wanting a mix between the two.  So, my choices (as I see them with the curriculum i know about) are… choose one… or, choose both/integrate them.

So, what I’m thinking (so far) is:

- Go through the MFW, KONOS, and Sonlight reading selections and choose those that go over what I want our kids to learn this year.
- Use something in-between KONOS and MFW-2nd for our curriculum… somehow integrate them?  Use both?

It’s still summer, so I’m thinking I’ll have enough time to scrap and rewrite plans to see which we like best.

What are you using for homeschool this year?

filed under Homeschooling

Kiwi Crate

by bosssanders on February 5, 2013 with 29 comments

As many of you know, we’ve been studying DINOSAURS!!!

Last week, we received an awesome green box in the mail with more…. (you guessed it!) DINOSAUR fun!

We made our own little fossils…

And EVERYTHING (even the scissors!) was included.  We all had SO MUCH FUN!  But, that wasn’t all…

Then, we made our own Dinosaur FEET and TAIL!

SHH!  We have dinosaurs in the house!!

So, what is this little box of fun, you ask?

It’s … Kiwi Crates! !!

Kiwi Crates is a company that packs age-appropriate themed activities (and all you need for them) in a box of fun!

Who is it for? 3- 7 year olds.  And, pretty much anyone!  Whether you homeschool or just want a fun activity… these boxes are great!  Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, or just the best babysitter ever…these boxes are great!

What is it? In each box comes several carefully handpicked activities that encourage growth in different development areas (the Dinosaur box covered Motor-Gross, Creating, Discovering, Motor-Fine).  Each box contains EVERYTHING you will need.  If you need scissors, it’s in there.  Clay?  It’s in there too.  Stuff to stick in the clay?  You got it!  All in the box, ready to go!

How to get it? Here comes the fun part!  (Be sure to read all the way to the end!!)  First, we have teamed up with Kiwi Crate to give away a crate of your choice to one lucky winner!  However, if you don’t win, no worries!  These great boxes are available on their website.  You can order them by the box or get a nifty subscription (only 19.95/mo + FREE shipping!) where they pack up the boxes for you and send them along each month – you don’t have to remember to do anything, they’ll do it all for you!  Great, right?  OR, you can go NOW and take a look at their newly released single boxes…only $19.95 ea with FREE shipping!  –Great for birthdays, rainy days, or…well, any other day!

So, are you ready to win?

Simply visit their website (HERE) and come back to comment on THIS post letting us know which box you’d like to win!  How easy is that??

Want an EXTRA entry?  Like on Facebook (Click Here) and leave a comment letting me know you did (these will be verified!)

Contest open to US residents 18 and older ONLY.

Deadline:  February 15, 2013 – GIVEAWAY CLOSED!!

**Disclaimer:  We received this product for review.  However, like all things on this blog, this review is honest and was not “bought” or swayed.

Congratulations, Paige L!  You have won!  (check your email!)

filed under Homeschooling, Reviews

Simple Woman’s Daybook – October 9, 2012

by bosssanders on October 9, 2012 with no comments

A Simple Woman’s Daybook for today…Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Outside my window…The sun is shining!!  It looks deceptively warm outside!

I am thinking…of lots of things.  My brain has lots going on for the past few days ;)   1.) The kids and I are working on our Neighborhood “You’ve been Boo’ed” gifts and we are super excited!  Throwing around some ideas in my head on how to decorate the frames for the gifts so they’ll be super cute.  2.) Rora is feeling better (so it seems)… so yay!  And, the rest of us have gotten over the yuck (FINALLY)…so yay, again!  3.) We are still in our homestudy process but just scheduled our last meeting!  YEAH!  SO looking forward to having the finished thing in hand!  4.) Really wish L’s school was more open to parent-involvement… I’m really not liking this switch from homeschool to public school!  (But, she LOVES it)   I’m willing to give it more time, though to see how it progresses.  5.) about Halloween… and Christmas!!  And little guy’s birthday!  I’m starting lists for what I need for each and … well, let the Christmas shopping/crafting begin!

I am thankful…for my awesome husband, great kids, and my family.  Actually, I have a HUGE list of things I’m thankful for ;)   I AM enjoying this weather though…I LOVE every different season and love how they change!

From the kitchen…We have non-paleo chocolate chip cookies and non-paleo pizza leftover from our treat last night (for lunch today).  And, for tonight… I’m thinking… Butter Chicken (paleo)

From the learning rooms…L is in school (it’s picture day!) and R and I are working through her Preschool worksheets.  We are practicing letters A-E and her shapes.  She’s got her colors down.

I am creating…crafts with R and our Neighborhood BOO gifts :)

I am wearing…My “Southern Chics” lime green LS shirt and turquoise sweats.  :)   Very colorful today!

I am reading…I’m in between books right now… have any you’d recommend? (Quick reads…maybe fiction?  Would love a good fiction…)

I am hoping…to hear our homestudy is FINISHED soon :)   Other than that… just hoping for a great day for my husband at work!

I am hearing…R playing

Around the house… I’m itching to paint rooms…well, not so much to paint them, but for them to be painted so I can re-decorate :)

One of my favorite things…quality time with my husband… and “dates” with our kids!  We have so much fun together.

I am going…to run a few errands in a bit…

A few plans for the rest of the week…Crafting, homeschooling, a visit to the corn maze, haunted ghost tour with hubby, pumpkin patch and hayrides, my brother’s bday and making halloween costumes??

A picture thought…

R is LOVING trains right now.  So, we borrowed a bunch of train books from the library and read them in style!!  (R takes full credit for putting her hat on herself –goofy!)

A trip to the railroad museum… they were super excited.  There was an ENTIRE room dedicated to a super cool train set up for model trains… they LOVED watching the trains go in and out of tunnels and through all of the display.  They could have stayed in that one room alone, I think, for HOURS.

AJ was a trooper!  I really should buy some teething pad attachments for his carrier…


Little Red Riding Hood and her Big Bad Wolf ;)


Science is Simple

by bosssanders on September 20, 2011 with no comments

Science is Simple

Why, yes it can be!

With two little ones – a Kindergartner and a toddler, science needs to STAY simple.  Both of my girls are hands-on learners, so that makes science REALLY fun in our house!

Because my girls are young, and because I believe exploration and hands-on activities (especially science!) is best, Science Is Simple is a great book for us!

Written by Peggy Ashbrook and having won the Learning Magazine’s Teachers’ Choice Award, Science Is Simple divides its experiments into lessons.

What Kinds Of Lessons Will My Child Learn From This Book?

Of course, just like with any tools or curriculum, it really depends on how you present the material and their curiosity, but here are a few of the great “lessons” listed in the Table of Contents:

Magnets and Testing Hypotheses
Year-Round Gardening
What Do Seeds Need To Grow
Why Do Some Tree Leaves Change Color?
Stretch Your Senses on a Walk To A Nearby Park
Compost Critters
Spring-Flowering Bulbs…Are Planted In The Fall
Corn and an Introduction to the Globe
Winter Birds
What is Melting
What Can the Wind Do?

Why Is This Book Different From Other Science Textbooks?

Well, first off, it isn’t a textbook!  Second, it’s written for Preschoolers and Kindergartners (although the activities can definitely be altered for older kids if you have siblings involved).

Science is Simple contains over 250 Activities and each Lesson is divided into different sections that give you tips for presenting the material to your child.  And, if you struggle with what to say or the questions to ask, this book covers that too!  Also included in each lesson is a section on other activity ideas and book ideas beyond the experiments to help supplement what they just learned.

Would I Recommend This Book?

Definitely!  This is one of those resources that we’ll continue to use with all of our children.  Whether you are a home-educator or you teach in a classroom, it’s great!

Where Can I Get It?

You can find it on HERE.  Currently, it’s $13.57 (list price is $19.95).

PS – Want to see one of our experiments from the book?  Check out our mantis babies!

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