All About Apples

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I am over the moon excited to share our first preschool play and learn calendar of the year! We plan to start (pre)school in September but I'm gearing up and getting us all ready so these last few weeks before starting can be full of Summer fun! I see mamas out there gathering materials, going school supply shopping, ordering books, etc! So, if you like to plan ahead I've got you covered with this soft release! In two weeks I'll have a full release of all 3 units in the first term (All About Apples, Playful Pumpkins, & Happy Helpers) 150+ pages of learning and playing fun!

Instead of being themed by the month I've chosen special themes in three separate terms throughout the year. This first term starts off with a calendar "All About Apples."

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There are activities in this calendar to spark the imagination, learn about culture and history, you'll explore with STEM projects, and review basic literacy and numeracy. However what I love the MOST about this play and learn calendar is the heart behind it. We all know preschoolers are sponges constantly absorbing and learning but how they learn is so important. What better way to learn than beside mama. These activities are simple but fun while keeping the busy mama in mind. 

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Time together with your little ones is invaluable! As their mama it is such a joy to get to introduce them to lifelong learning. So many sweet memories made around the kitchen table or back porch as you teach your little to love learning! The pressure and anxiety a mama feels when it comes to teaching your littles is real. We all wonder, "am I doing a good enough job?" or "am I messing them up!?" I wish I could come put an arm around you and tell you what a wonderful job your doing. Loving those little ones, investing in them, spending time together will reap dividends of good. Every book read together and afternoon of pretend play is growing their mind and imagination. Take heart that preschool doesn't have to be a burden or stress- have fun, review letters and numbers, and soak in these sweet, sweet little years! 

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Here's a sneak peek at some of the printable activities you'll find in the calendar:

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Including this sweet hand lettered printable intended for you, mama. Just as much as you love your precious little one(s) so your Heavenly Father loves you even more! Rest in His goodness. He is faithful to lead you in the way you should go and provide every step along the way. If keeping your littles at home is what He has called you to the you can rest assured that His grace will be all-sufficient and abounding! You are the apple of His eye! 

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Little Ones in the Word

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Teaching my littles is something I'm clearly passionate about. We have the best time playing and learning in our home. From finger painting letters to review their sounds to counting jumps in hopscotch to introduce number sense and everything in between. I believe education is invaluable and so very important but above any academic skill is something so much bigger, so much more important, and of eternal value. 

Teaching my littles about Jesus, who loves them the very most, is my greatest joy. I'm no super mama and I fail every single day but I take heart in knowing He doesn't call us to perfection but to faithfulness. Today I wanted to share with you a couple of resources I've been using lately.

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Deuteronomy 6:7-9 "You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."

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The first thing is something really special our church created for children called a "Word and Witness Journal." It's divided into 4 seasonal sections with passages throughout the Bible. Each passage has activities and though provoking questions. After reading the passage for the week we talk through what we read and what that means about God. She's not old enough to journal but I love when she gets her little pencil out and scribbles her "journal entries."

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Another tool we use is the verse cards from Daily Grace Company. Macie Jane got these from her grandparents for her birthday and we have loved how sweet they are! We just used a rolled up piece of painters tape to hang them all through out the house. So many precious promises and reminders to see, read, and repeat throughout the day. 

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Of course we have always loved our Jesus Storybook Bible and last month my best friend introduced me to Hero Tales. I absolutely love this collection of true life stories. It's the abridged biographies of Christian heroes along with a pairing of vignettes from their lives. I love how each section ends with thought provoking questions and a passage of scripture to think on as it relates to the story. My children are still so small that it serves best as a read aloud but will be a great independent read as they age. 

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Ok, and the last thing I'm sharing today is one I'm so excited about! As important as it is to read and teach my children truth I want them to walk in it as well. Practically speaking we're using the cutest cards called, Tiny Tells as a means to encourage others. Christi over at Tiny Tells has developed a whole line of miniature cards perfect for handing out, tucking into, or attaching to gifts, lunchboxes or mailboxes.  

Our Favorite Do-A-Dot Activities + an everyone-wins-GIVEAWAY!

Our Favorite Do-A-Dot Activities + an everyone-wins-GIVEAWAY!

Our favorite Do - A - Dot Marker activities plus a GIVEAWAY for everyone! :) Read on to find out how you can get your own personalized dot marker activity pages! GIVEAWAY runs Tuesday, July 17 - Friday, July 20, 2018 at midnight EST

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Mapping Our New Adventure

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This is it, we're really doing it. Macie Jane goes to Kindergarten this year and she won't have to travel too far. In fact we'll be doing kindergarten together here at home! I am SO excited! The teacher heart in me swells thinking about getting to teach my own baby while the mama heart in me gets so sentimental that this day is coming- she's ready for school. (Wasn't she born a few months ago?!) 

As much as my heart is in denial I can't deny how ready she is. She is eager to learn about anything and everything. She's bouncing up and down at the thought of reading and will gladly join in any opportunity to do what she calls, "mommy school." (oh my soul, isn't she the sweetest?!) 

So here's our plan. Technically in South Carolina you can opt out of Kindergarten so technically that's what we're doing. But in reality I'm doing Kindergarten with her but using this year as the guinea pig year. (first born probs) I'll use the state standards to loosely guide me along with LOTS of wisdom and support from homeschooling mamas walking beside and ahead of me. 

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I've spent hours and days researching homeschool strategies and curriculums. I've talked to countless homeschooling families. My sweet husband (who was homeschooled through high school- my mama-in-love is amazing) helps keep my grounded. And so far I've decided for this year we'll take a very basic Charlotte Mason approach to Kindergarten. We'll read living stories, study artists and composers, memorize scripture and poetry along with learning basic number sense and how to read. We'll sprinkle in a little French and do a couple science experiments too! Because it's important to my husband she'll develop her digital literacy skills with him in the evenings or on the weekend. 

I'm not committing to a specific curriculum because I'm admittedly naive and want to plan out activities on my own that match the map I've written out for the year. Maybe I'll regret it. :) I'll let you know how it goes. A couple things I know I'll use are Coffey Design's Gospel Alphabet, How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, Evan Moor's Everyday Literacy: Math to supplement activities, and a super special project I have in development. :) Here's a sneak peek: 

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Curious to see what that map looks like? You're in luck! Click the button below to find where I linked up our Kindergarten Learning Map. It's not finished quite yet but I'll update it as we go along. There's a blank download for you to use too if you want. :) 

Anyone else new to homeschool? I'd love to hear your thoughts and plans! Oh, and if you're a fellow Charlotte Mason fan I would LOVE to hear any and all the advice and wisdom you have!!

Sensory & Sounds Dinosaur Dig

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One of our most favorite activities in the Dinosaur unit is definitely the letter sound sensory  play activity! This activity will need a little extra prep (cutting, getting small sensory bin set up) but the reward is well worth it. Here's what you'll need if you want to play! 

  • small sensory bin- this can be anything from a plastic shoe box to a sheet pan, although you'll want the sides of the bin to be high enough to keep the sensory items inside while still being low enough for your little to reach in. We're using the container from a melissa and doug stamp set. :) 
  • small sensory material- dry rice (or rainbow rice) dry beans, or if you're super brave maybe sand? 
  • picture circles
  • dinosaur cards
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Macie Jane has been working on letters and their sounds for about a year now so she could probably do all 26 cards at one time but in an effort to protect her from frustration or from the activity extending longer than the novelty lasts I only had her find and match half the letters. 

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She would hunt through the tray of dry beans to find little picture circles. She would identify the picture and it's initial sound. Then she would search through the cards to find the letter for that initial sound. It helps to lay out all the cards to see all the possible letters (some can be tricky.)

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Sadie (young 3) had fun jumping in to play with the beans and look for pictures. This activity could easily be adapted for speech and language practice with different picture cards to support articulation skills of various sounds (phonemes.)

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Unit 11: Transportation Recap

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We began the first week as we always do with a little letter fun! This week we pulled out the paint and play cars and didn't waste any time! The girls painted the letter W with the Wheels of toy cars! Tire tracks make great decorations! :) 

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Donald Crews is an author we've read a lot of books from this year. Freight Train didn't disappoint. It was a perfect book to read/look through with all three of my children (ages 5, 3, and 1.) While Sadie (3) continued to explore the book and we talked about colors, Macie Jane used number train cars to practice ordering numbers. 

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This activity helped her review number order but was also a good practice in left to right progression. 

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When it was all finished I hung it up over our calendar area for a reference anchor. Isn't it adorable?

Next up was a sorting activity. Macie Jane and Sadie looked at several different forms of transportation and had to determine where they traveled- land, water, or sky. Macie Jane practiced scissor skills cutting out the forms of transportation and had fun gluing them where they belonged in the sorting chart. 

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The torn paper traffic light was a hit! For some strange reason preschoolers LOVE shredding up paper. I gave the girls 3 sheets of paper- red, yellow, and green. They happily tore the paper into tiny pieces and sorted them into three piles according to their color. Then using the printable as a guide they filled in the three traffic light circles with the correct colors. 

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There were several more activities in the unit including a great speech/pronoun practice activity. If you want to see more you can find the full unit along with a book and resource list by clicking the button below. 

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I helped Sadie review and practice using pronouns like he, she, and they. Sadie has a tendency to use the pronoun "them" when she should use "they" and doesn't use he/she pronouns frequently or correctly. Technically this is still developmentally appropriate and nothing to be concerned over, however, I don't believe it's a bad thing to practice correct pronoun use either. We had fun with the activity, I reinforce it in conversation, and we'll just watch her speech skills develop. :)

We wrapped up the unit with lots of giggles and fun! We got a wooden board and a few toy cars, made predictions on how fast those car would go at various heights, and tested out those predictions. Cars raced across the den and the girls had fun seeing how fast they could get the cars to go. :) 

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