Apples + Preschool

We have had the most fun learning and playing this month! Apples are so much more than our favorite snack these days! We have tasted them, counted them, painted them, traced them, colored them… the list could go on!

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Our September Play & Learn Calendar theme is “All About Apples” and we have or will do almost everything you can image with that theme! We started out with an apple tasting to kick off the calendar! It was really no competition between the apples when my girls discovered there was a “pink” apple [Pink Lady] they were sold!

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The STEM loving hearts of my littles were so HAPPY to dissect apples and compare and contrast the differences in apples depending which way you slice them.

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If you haven’t noticed we’re BIG fans of color over here so this activity in particular had my Sadie bug super happy! I would read her the color name and she would color in the apples. Look at that sweet face! So proud!

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…And we’re only half way through! It’s not too late if you want to join in the fun! Grab your All About Apples Play & Learn Calendar here:

…and don’t forget next Wednesday, September 26 is Johnny Appleseed Day! What a perfect day to do an apple activity or two! :)

Mabel's Labels

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While we're still soaking up and soaking in the sweetness of Summer for just a few more weeks, I am starting to think ahead and get us organized for the new school year! My oldest officially starts kindergarten this year (cue the tears!) She is over the moon excited and I am so happy seeing her excitement! One of my favorite ways to get organized is with school supplies! This year we're using Mabels Labels to get each of the children's backpacks, water bottles, jackets, and more ready to take with us on Bible Study days, field trips, and more. 

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While we spend our days learning and playing at home there are a few outings we take each week where it's important that the children have backpacks, water bottles, etc. One of those being our Thursday morning Bible Study. Each of the children (even sweet baby Rutledge) have a class they attend while I'm off in my own small group before a larger lecture. It's one of the sweetest parts of our week!

The study we attend is full of families with small children! They require each family to clearly label all their belongs- which is very reasonably necessary! Over the years I've tried different labels that just didn't stick. Last year I resorted to sharpie on all the things. I worked but didn't look as lovely as you could imagine. 

This year we're set! Mabel's Labels has the perfect solution with personalized, adorable labels that are both durable and informative! They're washing machine and dishwasher safe! 

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As if I wasn't already sold on the personalized name stickers the custom shoe stickers sent me to the moon! I absolutely LOVE how cute these are but even better I LOVE that my cute crew can finally put their shoes on the right feet! Haha! Anyone else have this struggle?! 

Bonus: When Sadie goes to class and takes her shoes and sweater off (must be a 3 year old thing?) her teachers will know who they belong to!

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So while you're stocking up on supplies and gearing up for the new year be sure to check out Mabels Label's! They have everything from iron-on clothes labels to bag tags and everything in between! AND their shipping is free in the US!

I love them so much I want to give you a chance to try them out too! This week I'm giving one happy mama a personalized set of Mabels Label's sent straight to her mailbox! Check out my instagram to find out more! 

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Happy Labeling! 

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All About Apples

A month packed full of apple fun! 50+ pages of literacy to numeracy to STEM and everything in between! You’ll explore apples inside and out with your little! Perfect for preschool, kindergarten prep, and kindergarten too! One fun filled, inspiring activity everyday. Not too much to overwhelm you and just enough to make the time together something really special. Minimal to no prep required on most activities. Includes a suggested book list and bonus printables + a FREE art print! Read More about this unit on the blog!

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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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Kindergarten Q & A

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I was so excited to hear how excited y'all are for Kindergarten too! It sounds like there's a good group of us headed to K together this year! :) In response to a handful of emails and DM's I decided to write one big blog post with our FAQS. If you're wondering something and I missed it feel free to email me at hello@alittlelearner.com 

When do you plan to start?

We will start the first week in September. I know technically that's "late" and it coincides with Labor Day so we will be flexible with expectations. Our calendar for the year will look different so starting in September will suit fine since we'll do school year round as opposed to a traditional calendar.

Why did you choose to do year round? Don't you want Summer off?

The calendar we're using this year starts in September runs for three months through November and we have the whole month of December off. We'll pick back up in January and run through March- take April off. Then will finish out the year starting in May going through July. Combined with a couple educational weekend trips we'll get in the full 180 days. We'll have time and space throughout the year to enjoy (Christmas in December) and to relax/build up new creativity (April and August.) 

What curriculum are you using?

We aren't using a specific curriculum this year. I'm sure I'll pick a curriculum in future grades but for Kindergarten I wanted to focus on making learning engaging and developing her heart to love exploring through education. I'm using the Common Core standards to guide what we will do and mapped out a basic plan for our year. (You can read about that here)  I'll plan lessons each week from the curriculum map with the goal of learning each of those objectives/subjects by the end of the year. 

What planner are you using?

I LOVE the planner I'm using! It's simple and easy to modify and adjust for teaching at home. I include our family plans and meal plans along with lessons all in one planner.  You can find it at Target or on Amazon here

Do you have a school supply list?

I have a few basics we always get: primary journal, crayons (lots), glue (even more), construction paper, safety scissors (if you don't have some already), regular pencils, watercolors, dry erase markers, and a plastic folder. 

How are you going to teach kindergarten to your oldest with your other two around? 

Flexibility is the key and mini lessons make all the difference. It's not reasonable to ask her to sit and directly teach for 6 hours. They don't even do that in "real" school. ;) We will do a lot of activities all together- read aloud, hands on activities, etc. I'll do a daily mini lesson (5-8 minutes) in literacy, math, and social studies or science. In addition we'll organically sprinkle in activities like picture study, composer study, French and Poetry. Singing together is another fun way we can all learn together too. (Basically we'll learn French in song form)  I plan to try a morning basket routine to easily keep those subjects in the loop. 

What is a Morning Basket?

There are a number of different takes on a Morning Basket. Here's what I'm planning to start off with: A small basket with our Children's Bible, Gospel ABC set, a picture for our picture study, a couple stories within that month's theme, and any flashcards we'll go over (alphabet, sight words, etc.) This is how we'll start the day. After breakfast we'll comfortably settle in with our morning basket, read, sing, and review what we're learning. From there we'll break out into hands on activities with manipulatives or arts and crafts, etc. 

Will you be using your preschool curriculum?

Sadie (3) is going to do preschool this year so she'll have some activities specially tailored to her skills. I'll pull some from the preschool curriculum and modify the things I do with Macie Jane to prepare lessons for her. 

Will you be sharing your kindergarten activities and plans? 

I plan to share the things we do as we do them on my website and mostly through instagram. I'll also prepare monthly themed packets to supplement teaching and post them on my resource page. However, what I'm most excited to share is our Little Learner Through the Year Notebook. It's still in production and I'm working out the details but I hope to share more VERY soon! 

Any other questions? Always feel free to email me hello@alittlelearner.com or comment below! I hope you'll enjoy following along with our new adventure!