Saturday, February 26, 2011

Children’s Magazine We Enjoy

We are happy subscribers to a few magazines, that I thought I would share some about. 

Your Big Backyard – A Wildlife Magazine geared for 4-7 year olds. This magazine is one of my favorites, The pictures are the best. imageObviously, about nature in subject, it includes lots of animal facts, but also has a few stories, games, activities (including drawing lessons and/or crafts) recommended books, recipes and ideas for getting outside. Treyton easily looks through this magazine with or with me sitting down with him to actually read it. Costs are $19.95 a year (10 issues per year).

Highlights High Five – This magazine subscription is a gift from his Aunt, which he’s gotten for a couple of years now. It is filled with little stories, some with a few spanish words, silly pages (these are Treyton’s favorite, where you find and circle something silly in a picture), hidden pictures and then they also usually have a craft or recipe in there somewhere too (another favorite of Treyton’s). This is a good, fun magazine for kids. I consider it more of a fun magazine for Treyton with some educational benefits, rather than the other way around.

Something to keep in mind, is that they also offer parent/teacher guides for each edition on their site. This magazine is recommended for ages 2-6, though Alexa (2) doesn’t seem as interested as Treyton (5). A 1-Year subscription is $34.44 with the price decreasing the more years you subscribe for.

image God’s World News (Early Edition Pre-K – 1st Grade) – This magazine is centered around current events, rather than science or literature stories. It writes of these events from a God-Centered perspective, which is my favorite thing about this magazine. The nice thing about this magazine I feel is the variety it brings compared to the other magazines we subscribe to, and the fact that it has Biblical roots is a large added bonus. It also includes a few activities and puzzles in every episode which is fun for Treyton. A full-year subscription (10 episodes) costs $24.95-$29.95 depending on the level you purchase.

image Animal Baby – The National Wildlife Federation (the same group that produces Ranger Rick and Your Big Backyard Magazines) puts out this magazine for the younger age bracket. This magazine I got for Alexa (2 1/2) and we just got our first edition which she loves! It has both real-life pictures and illustrations, is colorful, smaller in size (perfect for little hands), simply written and age appropriate for a toddler (2-4). Obviously focusing on animals, it shares little facts about specific animals. Our particular edition had an “I spy” with 4 animals to spy, a mimic poem, a cute fictional story and a craft idea. Animal Baby costs $19.95 a year (10 Episodes), depending on when you order you may receive a free gift of some sort (we got a free plate and fork).

 Time For Kids (Edition K-1) – We got this subscription for cheap through our homeschool group. It’s not my favorite imagesubscription, but not because of content, but because each month you get 4 volumes, which are basically thin 2-page layouts, rather than a “magazine”. However, what is nice about them, is that the smaller size allows for you to include them as part of your school easier. It works out to about 1 layout a week. Content varies, in a given month but it’s common to have an animal/life science edition, people/careers edition, science (sorting, patterns, shadows, etc.) edition and possibly a history/geography/culture edition.

This magazine subscription also offers Teacher’s Guides that you can download from their site. These were one of the better teacher’s guides offered, often having printables and worksheets to go along with them. TFK offers different subscriptions for different ages up to 6th grade. To order this magazine you need to order 10 or more subscriptions, so as a homeschooler, you would need to join with other families to order. The nice thing is that it’s pretty cheap.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Week 22 & 23

The weeks continue to tick on by as we get through the longest weeks of the year. January and February are the toughest months for us to get through, mostly for mom, but all of us suffer through colder days, less light and feeling trapped indoors for too many days in a row. We were very grateful for a few sunnier/warmer days for week 23, when we were able to get outside and do a little nature study.

My Father’s World 1st Grade:

We continue to learn new sounds each day, recently learning the /ur/ sound (spelled ir, er, and ur), /aw/, /u/ (spelled a, e, i, o and u).  I’m not really sure why they introduced this unique sound at this point. Treyton was attempting to read words like salad, garden and lion. I felt like it was a little above his reading level. He did really good considering, but I’m not sure how much it really sunk in and if he will remember it. Then again, a few days later at lunch we were eating salad and he went “I remember mom, salad, sal/u/d!” Despite any setbacks he might have from day-to-day, he’s so proud of learning to read, and he should be, I’m proud of him too.

He does really well reading the words that are given to him when the sound is introduced, but it takes a little practice before the sound really sinks in. It’s so fun to watch him gain confidence each day he reads. He really is doing it!! Not that I ever doubted him, I think I doubted myself, or I guess my ability to teach him how to read.

We’ve been making another animal tales book, which is not Treyton’s favorite activity, it’s mostly the illustrations that he complains about, I helped him illustrate one of the days. He does the copywork without complaining.

For extra phonics practiced we played the long e game from Happy Phonics. It’s a nice break-up to be able to play a game to practice some of our phonics. IMG_0017

AWANA Bible Verses:

Treyton is amazing me with how fast he is learning his AWANA verses. He has been faithfully learning a verse (or portion of a verse) a week. So far he’s learned John 3:16, 1 John 4:14 “the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world.” and Psalm 147:5 “Great is our Lord and Mighty in Power”.

Treyton got a CD with his Sparks book. It’s a sound track of the verses and stories in the book, Treyton calls it his Bible study and he listens to it all the time, this past week he actually had his Mommer on the phone and listened to his Bible Study with her. Treyton is on letter “P” of the sparks acronym, when I introduced it to him I said “P is for Power” I explained to him that we were going through the letters one at a time, that we were on P and that then we would do “A” then “R”, etc.

He said “P is for Power, A is for According to the Scriptures”.

I said “That’s right!! Good job! Do you know what the Scriptures are?”

“Scriptures is another word for the Bible”

He remembered all of that from his CD!!

Literature Read Alouds & Science:

We finished reading Mr. Popper’s Penguins this week, which Treyton was excited about. He was proud of his lap-journal, as was I, he really wanted to fill every page but I think we had two blank ones (I’ll probably come up with a few little things to fill it for his peace of mind ;)).

We are still reading Pippi Longstocking, the kids have really be enjoying this book a little bit more. It does have slightly better illustrations, I’m not sure if this is why or not.

WINGS Co-op:

Our WINGS Co-op started this past week. Treyton is taking a Safari Animal  class, a Build-it stack-it class, a Keep it Movin’ class and God’s Creature class.



We really enjoy Singapore math, and the more we use it the more I am learning how to use it to work for us, instead of just working us ;) We’re encouraged to use lots of manipulatives, Treyton’s favorite of which are legos.


I posted earlier this week about several of the subtraction games and ideas we are using to help him master this concept. These are working really well for us, and math has taken a much more fun position in our schooling. And of course, not one to ever stop scowering the internet, I have found a few more that I plan on implementing next week. IMG_0014

Valentine’s Day Cards:


In celebration of Valentine’s Day we ran to hobby lobby and found some cute valentines to make for the kids family and friends. They spent a lot of time coloring them for each person they wanted to send them to. IMG_0014

Treyton specifically selected each color he used carefully – it was really cute. They got them done just in time to mail them out.



Tot School:

We went to the library this week and they happened to be having a story time for birth – two year olds. They read some animal stories and made some heart shaped animals. Alexa chose to make a cat out of hearts, Treyton made a mouse (so that he could scare Mommer with it :))       

For Lexa, we focused mostly on colors these past two weeks. She matched these animal cards from Confessions of a Homeschooler and then went through and told Treyton and I what the colors were.


She is so smart.


Here she is enjoying her Zimbbos game she got from Christmas. She loves to play the actual game, but when we aren’t able to play with her she likes to stack them on her own.


Lexie is a part of our daily board every morning as well, and has recently taken a big interest in putting the numbers on the calendar. IMG_0002

I came across an old shape coloring book that Mommer had gotten for us and I had on the shelf waiting for Alexa. I took it out and allowed her to color a few pages this week. She really enjoyed this, I think that a few more worksheets will be in her future.


There is really no school that this girl hasn’t enjoyed – I mean, as long as it’s on her terms and time table.      IMG_0018 She even participates with Treyton’s computer games. She keeps asking to do her own, I haven’t done it yet, I figure she’ll be a computer nut like her mom and big brother soon enough! 

It was kind of a jumbled couple of weeks because we had a few illnesses and needed to take it easy a bit. I’m actually surprised typing this all out how much it amounted, it didn’t feel like it went that well when we were doing it. I’m happy that we were able to take two relaxed weeks and still managed to get a little bit done.


Preschool Corner @ Homeschool Creations

Tot School @ 1 +1+1 = 1

Weekly Wrap-Up @ Weird Unsocialized Homeschooler

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Penguin Unit: Mr. Popper’s Penguins

Our latest read-aloud that we’ve read and done some extra focus on was Mr. Popper’s Penguins. Not surprisingly we made an entire penguin unit out of it.

Instead of lapbooking, Treyton prefers to make books so we are now “lap-journalling” using spiral bound, plain white books I bought from bare books

IMG_0023 Lap Journal Elements

I found a simple penguin paper craft that Treyton colored and assembled for the front cover of his book. We wanted to fill his book with Penguin facts and information we learned as well as recording Treyton’s dictations as we went through the book together, which he did a great job at. Every day when we would start reading he’d say “Mom, do I need to remember what you read today?” I would tell him “It’s a good idea to try and always remember what mom reads” ":)

At the very start Treyton drew a picture of Mr. Popper and his family, dictated (and then copied) a short description of him. This is what he said: “Mr. Popper is a painter. He likes to read books about Antartica. He has a wife and 2 kids. He likes penguins.”

Because I wanted Treyton to illustrate his dictations as we went through the book so I drew him some step-by-step instructions to draw a penguin. He appreciated this resource and used it over and over again when working in his book.


Some of the other lap-journal pieces we added:

*A picture of planet earth: I had Treyton color and cut it out. We glued it in our book and then labeled the north and south pole. We have learned that it is cold at both the North and South poles, but that polar bears live in the North Pole, while penguins live in the South Pole.


* A life cycle of a penguin (from lapbook lessons). Treyton cut it out and assembled it. He loves twirling this thing!!


* I drew this little penguin book to fill with little facts we learned about penguins, we added it to our book filling in little facts we learned as we went along. IMG_0059

* Treyton was (not surprisingly) interested in the food chain of penguins, what they ate and what eats them. So I found a food chain printable and added it to our book as well.

* We learned that there are 17 types of penguins in the world. Captain Cook was more than likely an Adelie Penguin. We printed off some pictures (from homeschool share I believe), labeled them, and made a page layout about types of penguins. Treyton wanted to do them all, and I probably should have since he asked, but I never got around to finding them to print them off.


* Near the end, we added in a more detailed map of where penguins are found in the world. Treyton found this very interesting. He kept telling me “Penguins are in the south pole, Polar Bears are in the North Pole!”

Extra Fun Activities

For added fun for our penguin unit, we watched Planet Earth’s Pole-to-Pole episode, which Treyton LOVED!!


We did several penguin crafts & activities and added them all near the end of our book – I’m pretty sure this was the kids favorite part of the entire penguin study :)

Of course DLTK had a cute Penguin Paper craft.

IMG_0019 Treyton, cut and put his penguin together completely on his own – I helped Lexie with hers a little bit.


For Lexie I found these penguin and egg number match pages on lapbook lessons, I cut them out and gave them to her in pairs, which she colored to match, which she then did.  I was surprised with how much detail she put into this activity, making sure that each pair matched in color. IMG_0053

I also just so happened to find a color by number (which Treyton LOVES) addition penguin page! Ha!! Just my luck :) Treyton did AWESOME on it. I gave him the page, walked away to get the baby some cheerios, and by the time I came back he had answered all the problems!


By far our favorite craft were the penguin mosaic crafts that I found on Kaboose – it was great for both kids – Lexie loves nothing more than cutting up tiny pieces of paper and Treyton likes using elmer’s glue. So this was a no lose craft.


Here’s Treyton cutting up his mosaic pieces.

IMG_0003 Here is Treyton assembling his penguin.

IMG_0006 And Lexie… our princess artist working on her’s.


Lexie also had her own worksheets – I found a penguin pre-writing practice sheet for her to practice drawing her straight lines.  IMG_0008       


Free Penguin Lapbook

Mathwire Penguin Activities – great penguin math ideas

Love2Learn and Share – Penguins Fact and Opinion Download

Kidzone Penguin Unit

DLTK Penguins Theme 

Map of Where Penguins Live

Kaboose Mosaic Penguin

ABC Connect the Dot Penguin Printable

Monday, February 21, 2011

My Printables

I have created this separate post to organize all of the printables I have posted about on the blog, this way they are easier to find and access. I will be adding to this list as time goes on, so feel free to check back here to look around.
These are printables that I have made and have used in our schooling, I am providing them here for you to use (free of charge), however I ask that you not reproduce, sell, host or store on any other website and if you decide to use them, please link back here to my blog (not the 4shared website). Thanks you and enjoy!!
My Father’s World 
My Father’s World Kindergarten & B4FIAR combined Lesson Plans
MFW 1st Grade Word Lists
MFW 1st Grade Lesson Plan Grids (Coming Soon)

Subtraction Flash Cards (1-10)– we used these to make a subtraction fact chart and for a variety of games.
Number Sentence Creator – check out my post here for how we use this worksheet

Daily Board:
Calendar Digits
Calendar Terms
Calendar – Days of the Week
Calendar – Months of the Year

Unit Printables:
Bee Lapbook Pieces
Thanksgiving Lapbook Pieces
Spiderman Lapbook

Weekly Journal Lesson Plans (I used for Preschool Planning)
Weekly Plan & Goals (I used for Preschool Planning)

Resources: Math

Links I Like:


Sparklebox Math Themes and Printables

Homeschool Math – Printable Worksheet

Superkids – Worksheet Generator

Have Fun Teaching – Math Worksheets

KidZone – Printables and Online

Virtual Math - choose your manipulative, your background, a workmat, or a game board - a great online math resource

Super Teacher offers a wide variety of math worksheets to print for free. Including a subtraction memory game which we’ve enjoyed.


Learn More:

All About Montessori Math by Montessori for Everyone

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Math: Subtraction

We are currently on the subtraction unit in our Singapore 1A books. To go along with our unit we have been adding in a few extras.

I had picked up some 10 sided dice at the homeschool convention last year (a great tool that we’ve used LOTS) I am using them for lots of games, but you could use other dice for the following games, as well as drawing numbers randomly some way.

Three Strikes Game

The first game I found and printed from Mathwire (a new favorite site). I had seen it at CHEA this last year in a math workshop I attended so instead of making my own board I went ahead and printed it off. This particular board is actually for addition but we have modified it for subtraction (eliminating the 10 and 11 spots as options).   IMG_0014

You start the game by picking two numbers on your board (we used the pink and orange sticky notes to identify them) as “strike zones” if you get those numbers it qualifies as a strike – if you get three you lose.

We place markers on all of the remaining numbers and roll 2 of our 10 sided dice and subtract them (the lower number from the higher/total number). We take the answer and remove the marker from our game board. The first one to remove all his markers without striking out wins!!

Subtraction Board

Singapore had a really great approach for how I could group the subtraction facts together to introduce them. I made a set of subtraction fact flashcards and pulled out one of our colorful tri-fold boards and started building a subtraction fact chart.

imageAs we introduce new facts to memorize and master we add them to our board.


Since this picture we have also attached our games to the board for easy access.

This was a great idea, Treyton has loved using this board, and uses it as his “shop” (like daddy) – he says it’s his work and he will sit and do some of his school behind it during school or play behind it when we’re not doing school.

Number Sentence Creator

I saw on another blog (somewhere) this idea of making a number sentence creator worksheet. This is one area that Treyton has struggled with the most. He does well with solving word problems, hands on problems, addition and subtraction games and even solving number sentences when they are given to him. He struggles however to turn a word problem into a number sentence or to create number sentences himself.

I will have Treyton roll a ten sided die (or our number education cubes) and record five numbers across the top, we will then work through creating different number sentences from these numbers and then solving them.

imageWe’ve been using these tools quite a bit in the last week and have really enjoyed them. Treyton seems to be learning a lot, and having fun in the process. Is there anything better?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Colors of Winter: Nature Walk

Yesterday and today were the nicest days we’ve had in a while (getting up to 40 degrees) and the sun actually came out as well!! So this morning we decided to FINALLY get out and go for a nature walk. After a dull week of school last week, the sunshine and chance to get outside were a welcomed idea.

And now, after having done it, I can say I feel like we’ve all done a 180!! It feels so good to have gotten out and breathe a little fresh air. God’s creation truly is awesome and refreshes the soul in an incomparable way.

Our goal for the nature walk was to identify some winter colors. (I had wanted to participate in the Nature of Handbook Outdoor Challenge, but it was too cold the week they did it – so once again, I realize I’m late, but hey, better late than never, right?) I thought that Alexa (or Natalee as she is calling herself this week) would particularly enjoy this type of nature walk, and she did.


This was a great project, because it’s actually tough to find color in the middle of winter. This was a great exercise for both the kids and me to look past the white (snow) and brown (icky) to fresh color.     IMG_0074  You can see for yourself some of what we found:

IMG_0061It was a little funny because we went for a 20 minute nature walk and found brown, green, yellow and white but as we got in our car to head home we spotted red, orange and blue in the trees near the parking lot.  IMG_0114

IMG_0103 I felt like these leaves were really stretching it, they seemed more tan to me, but we didn’t have a tan card so I rolled with it.


We saw better green stuff but Treyton was very interested in the green bark, which I agree is pretty interesting. 

IMG_0107I was so disappointed that we didn’t find any red on our walk and it was like the Lord decided to give me a little gift as we were leaving. We parked RIGHT in front of this tree but I was so busy getting the kids out of the car and bundled up I didn’t even see it!!

IMG_0110 Treyton had really wanted to see orange, and the same thing happened for him as for me (with the red) as we were driving away I saw some dead evergreen branches hanging out into the parking lot. So we pulled over and snapped a picture.

The nature park that we went to has a lot of great trails but they don’t shovel them, so they were pretty packed down and icy. The kids were so excited to be outside they didn’t even care. I held Natalee’s hand the entire time and wore Audrey on my front, we were slow and steady and luckily I almost fell only once.


While we were on our walk we spotted lots of tracks. We talked about how snow is really good for making tracks and how neat it was that we could see where the animals had been. We also saw a few more “well beaten trails”, I pointed out to Treyton that that was where the animals walked over and over again.


We saw a few piles of brush, and Treyton noticed how there was more poop (scat) underneath the brush. I asked him why he thought that was. He made a great observation that a rabbit could easily camouflage under the trees, so he might live there or hide there. IMG_0093

We saw LOTS of deer tracks.


Both kids had fun pointing them out and telling us it was a deer.

IMG_0095At first Alexa didn’t recognize the tracks but her big brother was kind enough to point them out for her.

IMG_0099And then we found one other tracks that I wasn’t sure what it was, and I only saw one of them. I took a picture and Treyton and I are going to try to look it up later and figure out what it is. IMG_0087

Any ideas?


At this particular nature park that we went to there is a river running along it, so we walked along the river and saw the ducks.


Treyton and I made a few observations:

  • Some of the ducks have green heads, others have brown (I explained the difference was male and female)
  • The ducks put their heads under water really fast, probably to eat and drink.
  • They are good swimmers and they don’t seem to be very cold even though the water seems REALLY cold.

It was a very successful nature walk and we are all so glad we did it (even Audrey, who cried the last 5 minutes or so of the walk).

After we got home, Treyton sat down and drew in his nature journal some of the colors that we saw. IMG_0001