Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Go Grow Glow Foods

M's recent homework was on healthy lunch choices.
He had cut outs of what a healthy school lunch should look like.
It was a chance for us to talk about which foods were a good idea
for morning tea and lunch.

I thought it was a good idea to continue the discussion and talk
about Go, Grow and Glow Foods. What they are and why they're
important in keeping us healthy:
Go foods provide us with energy.
Grow foods help us grow bigger and stronger.
Glow foods give our skin glow and boost our immune system.

"Treats" are meant to be out of the ordinary (def.) and are not
a major food group.

Obesity is all too common in our society today. Good health isn't
something we suddenly have. It's about consistently making good
health choices and practicing self care. This is isn't a one time talk.
It's an ongoing conversation that our family will be having for many
years to come.

Go Grow Glow Guide (NAQ Nutrition)
Harvard Healthy Eating Plate
Food Plate Template + Food
HealthyBalanced Plate Activity

Monday, April 25, 2016

Shakespeare for Children {Part 1}


If you find the thought intimidating, well you and me both. I know
of a few moms who read Shakespeare to their children because
Shakespeare is something dear to them. They are intimate with
the works and are merely passing the torch to the next generation.

I, on the other hand, have a very limited knowledge of Shakespeare.
I know of Romeo and Juliet but not much more beyond that.

Now here I am today, a mom of a 6yo, a 3.5yo and a 1.5yo, excited
to be introducing The Bard's works to my little ones.

Here are some books we'll be taking along on the journey:

Tales from Shakespeare by Charles & Mary Lamb presents
Shakespeare's works as simple stories for the children to enjoy.
The book was first published in 1807, and is said to have started
the sub genre which we now know to be Children's Shakespeare.

Once the kids are nicely settled and eating their afternoon snack,
I pull out Tales from Shakespeare and read a few pages at a time.
I usually start with a recap of what's happened then continue on
past where we ended. Nothing fancy. Just mom and the kids
reading a book and enjoying the afternoon. I'll be honest, I'll be
lucky to get in 10minutes of read aloud time. Patience. Patience.
Patience. It all builds up. When the kids get squirmy, I put down
the book and we're done for the day.

Tales from Shakespeare is available online for free. You may
find the out of copyright version here.

Shakespeare's Stories for Young Readers by E. Nesbit is another
classic Children's Shakespeare book. I posted this next so you
can compare it against the Lamb version. Either would be a good
introductory book for children.

You may find the free out of copyright version here.

I so love Teach Your Child Shakespeare by Ken Ludwig. Ludwig
introduces us to some of his favourite passages and explains what's
going on in the text. What's the story about? Why did this character
say such? What key passages should we take to heart? As a
playwright and theatre director, Ludwig's experience translated
into a book that has made the plays come to life.

Our family has been slowly trying to incorporate memory work
into our meal times. We've tried poetry and bible verses. Shakespeare
is getting thrown into the mix as well. Teach Your Child Shakespeare
has great tips on how to go about memorizing Shakespeare. This book
is worth looking into if you want to take this route.

Books you may want to consider, depending on the age and
interest of your child:

I know some moms who're fans of the Shakespeare's retellings by
Bruce Coville. The pictures are beautifully drawn and the stories
are well written. The books remind me of the illustrated classics
that I read when I was a child.

Im sure young children will have fun with The Shakespeare Can Be
Fun! books. The approach of this series is more modern than the
other books mentioned. I'm sure my children will easily relate to
the illustrations in the book. Im tempted to go with this series next.

Mr. William Shakespeare's Plays by Marcia Williams is another
popular modern book that would appeal to children who like
comic books. The text is a bit small so it might appeal to those
who are already confident readers.

There you have it, a few books on Shakespeare for Children.
I hope you enjoy reading the books as much as we do in our home!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

More FREE ABC Resources {2016}

Here are a few more ABC Resources we'll be using this year.

Raising Rocks Stars Writing Practice Sheets by 1+1+1

Alphabet Writing Sheets by Wild About Teaching

Alphabet Writing Sheets by Confessions of a Homeschooler

ABC Find It by 1+1+1

Beginning Sounds Coloring Sheets by Measured Mom

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

FREE ABC Resources {2016}

This 2016 is going to be an exciting school year for us.

2015 was about laying a good foundation for Pea. Baby R was still a baby
and tagging along.

Our focus was on learning the alphabet, counting from 1-20, learning
basic colors and shapes. We mostly read books. But we did use some
printables from Kindergaten Mom.

Link for FREE Kindergarten Mom ABC Printables

We spent lots of time playing with play dough, legos and toys. We drew a lot
and learned how to use our scissors.

We went outside and played in the garden for every day play.
We continued to go to the playgroup. And went to playgrounds.
We watched learning videos when it was time for Mom to do the cooking.
It was a happy busy year.

This year, we're eager to try out some new resources.

We're drawing inspiration from activities of The Measured Mom.
And starting out with these FREE ABC Resources from This Reading Mama:

Link for FREE Alphabet Worksheets

Link for FREE ABC Printable Packs 

Pea is now 3yo. R is already 1.5yo. How time flies.
And so it is that we press onwards until we're reading, writing
and doing maths.

Some of the things we've been doing in the past can be found here.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

2016 Calendars

Calendar by scrappystinkyinkymess

2016 is off to a slooooow start.
We had recently gone on an extended holiday and had just gotten back.
The kids' body clocks are still trying to get back to normal.
I'm just playing catch up.

So yeah, I forgot to buy a desk flip calendar. You read that right, Desk Flip.
Apparently, searching for something Desk Top will just lead you
to computer desktop images. Many thanks to MaryAnne and Kristen
for our 2016 calendar.

If you're still here, thank you :)

p.s. Check out scrappystinkyinkymess if you're into book folding.
Wow! So that's how it's done!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Sensory Bin: Red

Sensory Bin: Red
Look P,
- a red helicopter,
- a red A
- a red wrench and a red bolt
- a red cog
- red "Legos"
So P, what color is this?

P enthusiastically replies (with the brightest eyes and the widest smiles):

Well, she is in a season of Pink after all!

What's wrong with me?

This is why I never really made sensory bins. M didn't like them. 
I'm guessing P is not interested in them either.

- because all red is probably not much fun 
- because she was in the mood for "developing her gross motor skills" 
(Baby R and I had to go to the bedroom. Tot P tagged along and had a 
grand time making a pillow mountain and jumping around)
- because she'd rather play with something else period. Yes, kids are 
like that.

Maybe this is what she sees?

 I'll give it a few more tries before I decide if sensory bins are a go or no go.
There are other fun ways for P to learn. We can always use other methods
to achieve the same desired learning outcome. None of them will involve a
written exam.

p.s. My apologies for the off shots. We're still in between cameras. Just
making do with what's here.

Friday, March 13, 2015

How to Start Your Pre-K / Kindergarten Home Program

This post is here because I wanted to re-plan for P who's now 2 y.o.
I also have a few friends who're considering homeschooling their kids
who're in the Pre-K / Kindergarten years.

M has gone of to Year 1 at a regular school. He's adjusted quite well.
Of course there are still areas for improvement. But nothing out of
the ordinary for a 5y.o.

Let me start by saying you don't really need to do much. Maintain
a child-friendly home and your child will have plenty of opportunity
to learn and explore at his/her own pace.

Pam has a great post on this.

10 Things we focused on:
1) Love, being and doing good, and living our Catholic faith.
2) Learning good health habits.
3) Learning self care.
4) Reading books.
5) Doing practical math.
6) Learning other age-appropriate skills.
7) Watching educational videos.
8) Using assorted materials for learning: colouring books, paper,
print outs, blocks, puzzles, crayons, etc
9) Exploring personal interests.
10) Play play play.

It really was quite random and ordinary. In a way, I envy those who
have pinterest-worthy pictures. M didn't stay interested in something
long enough so we never had one particular curriculum / activity /
etc. Not enough for me to say that we had a theme. We really just
went along doing our thing - learning and growing as best as we could.

Game changers:
1) Keeping things consistent.
- We blocked off time in the morning just for homeschooling. We made
sure to do 30 minutes of reading plus a learning activity or two.
2) Planning.
- We referred to book lists, maintained a decent monthly "book basket",
always had interesting activities available, ensured that supplies were
adequate, reviewed what worked or not, etc.
- We did basic math in the beginning. We used Early Bird Kindergarten
Math books (Singapore Math) when M turned 4y.o.
3) Choosing a less tech lifestyle.
- We invested in toys so the kids had something to play with. Rotating
the toys was necessary because kids easily tire of a toy. Sharing toys
was always a requirement.
- We kept the t.v. off until it was late afternoon. No hours and hours
of mindless t.v. The kids had no choice but to do something.
4) Playgroup / Outdoor play.
- The children and I would go to playgroup twice a week, weather
permitting. It was a chance for us to go out. The playgroup had toys
and an outdoor playground so they were able to play in a different
- There are other children in the compound and all the kids just play
in the garden. Free weekends would include a trip to the playground.
5) Valuing happy memories.

Additional Resources for you:
- Mother Hubbards Cupboard
- ABC Jesus Loves Me
- DTLK Letter Crafts
- Twisty Noodle Printouts
- Catholic Letter Crafts
- Tot School

Is that all there is to it? Well yes and no. There's more that we'd like
to do. I'm sure we'll never get to doing it all. But as a whole, it's all
been good.

Click here for Book Lists. (future update)
Click here for Supplies List. (future update)
Click here for Organizing Tools. (future)

Are you a working mom? Check out How to Get Your Child Ready
for Kindergarten / Year 1 for a simplified home school program.

Photo Credit: Dennis S.