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5 Things I Can't Imagine Homeschooling Without

The end of the school year is rapidly approaching, and it’s a great time to reflect on things that have worked well and things you might want to tweak for next year. As a homeschooling mom of two boys, we have had some great successes and more than enough flops, but there are a few things that I really don’t think I would have made it without.

So, I’m excited to share my list of 5 things I can’t imagine homeschooling without! Now, this list is really two-fold. It’s an opportunity to express incredible gratitude to the people and resources we’ve been given, but I also hope it will give you some insight into things that will make your homeschooling experience easier – especially if it’s something you’re thinking about trying next year.
So, here goes….

1. A Community of Other Homeschooling Families

I really can’t imagine trying to do this on my own. And as I talked to other homeschooling moms, this was consistently one of the top things on their lists. On days when I’m completely exhausted, overwhelmed, and feeling like I’ve failed the kids, being able to talk to, be encouraged by, and simply be reminded that you’re not alone by these other mommas always re-energizes me. Not only has this community blessed me, but it has given my kids countless opportunities to develop friendships, participate in large group activities, and grow in their social and problem-solving skills. We attend a weekly co-op with 9 other families (more on this coming soon!), and it is truly the highlight of our week! I can NOT imagine trying to tackle this alone, and having other homeschooling families nearby has made a tremendous difference.

So, if you’re thinking about homeschooling, look for ways to connect. Are there other families in your community who are currently or will be homeschooling? What are some ways you can connect with them? Look into starting a co-op of your own (again, more specifics on this will be coming soon). Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there – it’s well worth the effort!

2. Our Educational Supervisor/Teacher

We homeschool through a public charter school, specifically designed for homeschool families. Each family is assigned a personalized learning teacher who helps get your curriculum, checks in on each student’s progress, helps parents with planning and learning strategies, and takes care of ALL the paperwork/legal side of things. This is such a huge blessing! I don’t have to worry about making sure everything is documented and submitted to the state correctly. She totally takes care of all of it – gathering the information and materials she needs at our meetings. Furthermore, she conducts assessments throughout the year (so it’s not just Mom doing it), to help ensure we’re on track and give advice on things we can work on.

If you’re looking into homeschooling, research what is available in your area. Is there a school you can go through? What resources and/or services can they provide? What kind of assistance will you receive? Homeschooling is so much more than just doing some activities with your kids at home, so the more help you can receive, the easier the process will be. If there's not a school in the area that offers this (or doesn't offer something that aligns with your homeschool goals), I highly recommend checking out the Home School Legal Defense Associaton for guidelines and requirements for homeschooling in your state. 

3. A Supportive Spouse

Being a homeschool mom is a pretty thankless job. I certainly get “paid” in plenty of hugs, kisses, and smiles, but when it comes to verbal affirmation for the job I’m doing, it’s pretty few and far between. It’s primarily because no one else sees the time, effort, and energy I’m pouring into this day in and day out. However, the one person who does see it is my husband. He sees the planning, the progress the kids are making, the projects, the organization, and coordination, and he sees me do it day after day. He’s the one who takes the kids to the park just because he knows I need a break. He’s the one who cleans up after dinner because he knows I’ve been “on” all day. And he’s the one who affirms and encourages me when I feel like giving up. He does this because he knows the sacrifice I’m making to homeschool our kids. And I know I couldn’t do it without him.

So, if you’re thinking homeschool may be in your future, take plenty of time to discuss this with your spouse. Ask the tough questions to ensure you’re on the same page. Now, that’s not to say you can’t homeschool if you’re a single parent, but if you are married, you want this to be a joint decision. Because if it’s not, it will be incredibly divisive.

  1. A Daily/Weekly Routine

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Part of the benefit of being a homeschool family is the flexibility you have in your schedule. Flexibility, yes, total freedom, no. You still have material you need to cover, there are still skills students need to practice consistently, and it’s just not going to get done if you don’t establish some type of daily and weekly routine. It doesn’t need to be planned to the minute, but having a game plan for each day of the week makes a tremendous difference. Ours is simple – we have a consistent start time, we almost always begin with a song or two, followed by Bible. We then move on to language arts before having a snack and brain break time. We then move on to math, followed by history, science, art, or other activity. Now, this schedule varies a bit day to day (like on the days we have our co-op), but for the most part, the boys know what our school day looks like - and it definitely helps me on the planning end. It’s amazing how well kids respond to routine, and I’m so thankful other homeschool moms taught me about the importance of this consistency early on!

So, make a game plan. Decide how often and on what days you need to teach each subject (for example, we don’t hit science every day, but language arts we do). Think about how long you’ll need for each subject – and don’t forget to include brain and movement breaks! Then, put together a tentative schedule for your week. Know that there will be some flex in it, but bringing some structure into your week will help everything go more smoothly. And by the way, don’t feel like you need to go from 8am-3pm because that’s what your local school is doing. Do what works for your family, especially if you’ve got younger kiddos.

  1. Peace for the Storms

Finally, and in my opinion most importantly, is my faith in Christ. Homeschooling is hard – much more of a sacrifice than I ever imagined. Honestly, there have been days when I just want to give up. However, my faith in the Lord has given me strength, wisdom, hope, encouragement, and purpose as each day I strive to fulfill what we believe He has called our family to do. Not only does He bring peace to the storm and strength to the weak, but Jesus is the ultimate example of selflessness, sacrifice, and love. And it is his example I seek to follow.

While the above five things are not any type of curriculum, school supply, or even organizational system, I can’t imagine homeschooling without them.

I’d love to hear your thoughts as well! What are your must-haves for homeschooling? Leave a comment below – I’d love to connect with you!

I Never Thought I Would Homeschool.....and Look at Me Now!

Let me begin by saying I never thought I would homeschool. Never. I was brought up going to public schools. My husband went to public school. We both taught at public and private schools before having kids, and my husband currently teaches at a public school. And yet, here I am, about to begin our third year of homeschooling my two boys – and for the first time, both of them will officially be enrolled in school (T-K and 1st grade)!

So, how in the world did we arrive in the homeschooling world? Well, let me begin by saying, it was NOT because we thought the public school system was doing a poor job. It was NOT because I questioned the public school system.

So, I suppose to truly understand our reasoning, you have to understand a bit of our story.

My husband and I were both working at a private Christian school when we found out we were pregnant with our first child. And this was a BIG DEAL. You see, we had tried to get pregnant for over three years, had doctors tell us it just wouldn’t happen, and then we found ourselves staring at a positive pregnancy test – tears of joy streaming down our faces.

When our miracle baby was born, I took the 6 weeks maternity leave that was allotted, but soon after, had to return to the classroom. Financially, we just couldn’t swing living on the single income. 

Thankfully, the campus also had an infant through preschool center, so we actually had our little guy on campus with us. But every time I saw him, my heart just broke.

I absolutely hated having to get him up early every morning. I grimaced at the fact that for at least 8 hours of the day I was not with him. And because I wanted to devote as much time as humanly possible to him when I wasn’t in the classroom, I ended up feeling like I was failing at both jobs. Have you been there?

A Leap of Faith 

So, with a lot of prayer and a leap of faith, we decided that I would leave my full-time job in the classroom and become a stay at home mom. The Lord graciously provided a job for my husband in the public school system, which meant things would be tight financially, but we could make it.

Fast forward 4 years…… I was loving being a stay at home mom to our now two boys, and the daunting decision of schooling began to get very real.

And then, I learned about what I will call “the one-third factor.”

I was chatting with a friend, whose oldest son had recently turned 6, and she made the comment, “Well, one-third of the time that I will have him at home is over.” I think my mouth dropped to the floor. Yes, I knew basic math – that 6 was indeed one-third of 18, but reality hit. 6 years old seems so young, but when you view it as one-third of their time under your roof, it’s a game-changer!
These years had already flown by so incredibly fast, the thought of them being nearly one-third over made me really start to think. Yes, I knew I could still pour into their lives beyond the age of 18, but I knew I would not have nearly the influence I once had.

So, we started to think and pray, ask questions of homeschool families, and pray some more, talk to parents who had put their kids in public school, and prayed some more. And we kept coming back to two things: time and influence.

Over and over, the themes of time and influence kept coming back in our conversations. And they ultimately became the two primary reasons we decided to start homeschooling.

Time and Influence

This was a huge factor for me. These first few years with my kids had absolutely flown by – I really couldn’t believe we were even discussing school – and from what we had heard from other parents, it only sped up from there. So, being able to spend all day, every day with my kids, rather than sending them off to school for 8 hours a day, seemed incredible. And I knew that with time came influence.
Now, looking back over the past two years, this has truly been a gift. I know that I cannot and will not ever get these years back, and the sheer quantity of time spent in the every day activities (yes, even the mundane ones) with my boys is irreplaceable. Not only have I developed such a close relationship with my boys (I mean, when I leave for Bible study for an hour and a half, you would think I had been gone a month), but the bond between my boys has absolutely flourished. And I know it is because they pretty much get to spend all day, every day together.

Then, because of the amount of time I get to spend with my kids, I have a tremendous opportunity to be a powerful influence in their lives. And this, again, is not something you can just re-create. For us, we want to build a strong Biblical foundation in their lives. We want to develop Godly character, and being home with them each day gives me so many opportunities to do this. Whether it is discussing forgiveness when a toy is broken, modeling being a servant to our neighbors or choosing to show love and kindness when it’s not the easiest thing to do, being around them all the time affords me countless opportunities to pour into their lives in ways far beyond just academics.

When asked why we chose to homeschool, our short answer is, “We know that at some point, they will go to public school – maybe next year, maybe in three years, or perhaps further down the road. But when they do, we want to have equipped them enough – spiritually, academically, emotionally, and physically – that they are able to be more of an influence on others than being influenced by them.”

And the way that we are truly able to accomplish this (or at least work toward that goal), is having that extended amount of time with them and using that time to invest in their lives and character.
Are you on the fence about homeschooling? I’d love to talk to you more about it! Leave a message in the comments below!

Valentine's Day Centers

Wow! It is hard to believe that we are already in the month of February! And you know what that means......time for all things Valentine!

And since TpT is having a sitewide sale February 7th and 8th, I teamed up with some other teachers to give away a $50 Gift Card to TpT!!

To enter, you'll simply hop through the links (there's only 5) to put together a secret phrase. All of the secret words are hidden in each teacher's most recent blog post - on a conversation heart of course! Once you get back to me, you're done - and you'll even unlock some bonus entries!

But be sure to act quickly - this giveaway closes February 8th at noon EST to give our winner time to shop!

Love TpT Gift Card Giveaway

Our Co-op has been busy planning our Valentine's Day Celebration, which will be a series of centers that the students will rotate through, and then, of course, we'll top the whole thing off with sharing valentines and yummy treats. There's even rumor that a couple of the moms might set up a cookie station!

But I wanted to share a few of the things you may be interested in using for your own Valentine's Day centers in preschool, T-K, or Kindergarten.

Completing Valentine's Day patterns is always a favorite. I'm always amazed at how much their patterning skills have grown at this time of the year. And while I try to save on colored ink, these graphics are just too cute to keep in black and white!

Throughout the year we work on recognizing numbers, one to one correspondence, and counting order. And this "love bug" activity is perfect for practicing all three skills.

Rhyming words is a new skill that our preschool group has been working on lately, and this "mending broken hearts" activity is a fun way to practice this skill. Students work in pairs to find the rhyming words and put the heart together. If you laminate these, they'll last for several years! And great news.....this resource is FREE for all my subscribers! Just click the link below to grab it!

After students have a chance to work on this skill in pairs, this page gives students an opportunity to practice the skill independently. Since they are are working with pictures of the rhyming word, it really allows them to focus on the rhyming sounds.

I'll be adding a few other ideas for our Valentine's Day centers over the next few days - so be sure to check back soon!

And don't forget to enter the giveaway!!

Here's the secret word from my blog. (And it will give you an idea of what to look for on the others). Good luck!

Do you have a favorite Valentine's Day activity? I'd love to hear about it! Let me know in the comments section below! Happy February!

My 3 Favorite Post-Christmas Traditions

I absolutely love Christmas traditions. Singing Christmas carols. Constructing gingerbread houses. Re-creating the Nativity scene. Decorating the tree. Getting hot cocoa and driving around to look at Christmas lights. I just soak them up!

Not only do I enjoy these beloved traditions because they have created precious family memories, but they are also a perfect opportunity to talk about Jesus with our kids. We talk about Him all year round, but at Christmas time, these moments seem to abound - and I just love watching their true child-like faith in action.

However, when the Christmas season comes to a close, I'm always looking for opportunities to keep those conversations going. There may not be Nativity scenes displayed around the house and they may not hear Christmas carols on the radio as we drive around town, but there are opportunities to weave Christ into our conversations throughout the year.

So, to help you get started, I'm so excited to share three of my favorite post-Christmas traditions that we do each year that help us focus on a purposeful new year!

1. Christmas Tree Cross

Every year we go out and cut down a Christmas tree. We purchase a permit and actually go out into the forest and cut one down. Yes, we've had a few "Charlie Brown trees" in the past, but it is absolutely one of the boys' favorite traditions (my hubby included). After Christmas (and sometimes even New Years) the decorations come off, and it gets taken down. However, rather than just throwing it away or turning it into firewood, we take this opportunity to point to the true meaning of Christmas.
At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. We see adorable re-creations of the Nativity scene, construct baby Jesus crafts, and read books about what it may have been like that night in the stable. However, as much as I love all of these things, we cannot forget that that was not the end of the story. Because Jesus was not only born - but He was born to save the world from our sins. And so, from birth, His purpose was the cross.
So, our Christmas tree cross helps illustrate the connection between Christmas and Easter. Here's what we do:

First, we take off all of the decorations and lights. Then, the tree heads outside.

Next, we cut off all of the branches, so that only the trunk remains. (You could also use this opportunity to talk about how Jesus was stripped and beaten on His journey to the cross).

Finally, the tree is cut in two, with one piece longer than the other. Then, using twine, rope, or even zip-ties, we tie the two pieces together to form a cross.

Then, when all of the Easter decorations come out, we place this Christmas tree cross in a prominent place - as a visual reminder of the connection between Christmas (the birth of Christ) and Easter (His death and resurrection).

You would be surprised by what a talking point this has become in our house. My oldest son has "share the Gospel" with a number of people, simply because they asked about our cross.

2. Christmas Card Prayers

If you're anything like me, you absolutely adore getting Christmas cards in the mail! And with everything being digital now, it is rare to receive a card that does not have a picture. I love looking though the pictures of our family and friends, seeing how people have changed and grown. For the first couple years of our marriage, we creatively displayed these around our home during the holidays, but when the Christmas decorations came down, I was left with a pile of photo cards that I didn't want to throw away, but didn't know what to do with!

Then, one of our pastors shared this idea - which I just adore! Every year, we collect all of the Christmas cards and place them on our dining room table. We actually stack them in a napkin holder, but I have seen others place them in a basket or on a decorative plate. You can place them in whatever works for you, but make sure it will be a place that you will see every night. On a side note - if you look carefully at this Christmas card, you might notice a fellow blogger and friend! (Her kiddos' pics have been blurred out for privacy).

At dinner, we pick the card at the front (or top) of the stack and pray for that family. When the boys were young, it was a great opportunity for them to hear about friends and family that they didn't see very often - and connect it with a picture. Now that they are a little older, the boys anticipate who they get to pray for each night. They love looking at the pictures and, as parents, we see it as a tremendous opportunity to teach them about the power of prayer and the importance of praying for others.

We've also made notes on the backs of cards for specific prayer requests for that family. This has particularly come in handy for families that we don't see or hear from on a regular basis. Some cards come with letters and family updates - and we make little notes on the back of the cards so that when their Christmas card reaches the top of the pile, we can pray specifically for that.

By the time the next Christmas rolls around, the cards are bent, tattered, and often covered with pieces of food, but each of the families on those cards have been covered in prayer, and it has been a blessing to pray for them! This is truly one of my favorite family traditions that we do throughout the year.

3. Praises and Prayers Date Night

As a single-income family (and that being a teacher's salary), date nights are a rarity for us. However, for the past 8 years, this New Years(ish) date night is one that we refuse to cut out. Right around the new year, my hubby and I, get a babysitter and head out to an actual restaurant for dinner.

We sit down - don't have to worry about watching kids, feeding kids, or managing kids - and reflect on the past year. We talk about all of the ways we have seen God's faithfulness in the past year - answered prayers, unexpected blessings, strength and peace during difficult times, etc. We write each of these down in our notebook,

Then, we discuss our prayers for the upcoming year. These can be huge seemingly impossible requests, prayers for wisdom and discernment in situations, or simple everyday requests for the year. We write these down in the notebook as well.

Sometimes our conversation spills over and we just have to order dessert as well. Other times, we get a call from the babysitter and have to finish the conversation at home once the boys are in bed. But this discussion is priceless.

Then, in the next week, I go through our notebook and divide up the prayer requests over the days of the week - simply because trying to pray for everything, everyday, just won't happen here. So, on Monday we pray for a part of the list, Tuesday we pray for another part, etc. And we try to be faithful to pray through this the entire year.

Now, I cannot begin to tell you how amazing this has been for us. It is absolutely incredible, and quite humbling, to look back at the end of the year and see how many ways the Lord has answered our prayers. Sometimes it's not always as we may have expected, but this has truly opened my eyes to see some of the tremendous ways God has worked in our lives.

And now that we've been doing it for almost 9 years, it almost brings me to tears to look back through the notebook, standing in awe of God's faithfulness. We have truly seen miracles happen, lives have been changed, and even things that I almost felt silly about praying about - have been answered!

The little notebook pictured above may look incredibly simple, but for us, it has truly become a testament of God's goodness, faithfulness, and sovereignty! I hope that it can become the same for you!

Do you have any favorite traditions that help keep Christ as the center throughout the year? I'd love to hear your comment below! Thinking about trying one of these traditions out? Email me or comment below - I'd love to hear how it goes!

Literature is a great way to share Biblical truth with your kiddos! If you're looking for books that instill these truths, be sure to check out my 12 Picture Books that Instill Biblical Truth blog post!

Happy New Year!

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12 Picture Books that Teach Kids Biblical Truths

The Christmas season is upon us! This is truly one of my favorite times of the year, and some of the things that I especially enjoy are all of the wonderful children's books that we pull out for this special season. Now, we have our fair share of fun, silly, and just generally amusing Christmas stories, but the ones that I adore, are the ones that share about the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ. Whether these books are relating the nativity story or conveying a modern tale of someone sharing the love and story of Jesus, these books are gifts that so beautifully reinforce the truths I am trying to teach my children.

I love these books - and the number of these books grows each year; however, we really only pull these treasures out for the month or so between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the rest of the year they are barely touched. The problem with this is I want to be reading my children literature that supports Biblical truth throughout the year - not only during the Christmas season. So, I've compiled a list of 12 of our favorite picture books that instill Biblical values and truth - and can be read all throughout the year.

And if your kiddos are loving the Christmas books, why not gift them with a book that will support you in your teaching of Biblical values all throughout the year?

Below I have listed 12 of our favorites, with a few short notes about each one. The links below are affiliate links, but that is truly for your convenience! We simply love each of these books and I wanted to share them with you!

You Are Special by Max Lucado - This is one of the well-know Wemmicks series books. And if you haven't heard of them, check them out - seriously, each of is excellent. In this book, we meet the Wemmicks, who become obsessed with stars (good marks) and dots (bad marks). The main character, Punchinello becomes entirely wrapped up in what others think of him, until he has a meeting with his Maker, and is reminded that he is special because he was His. This is a beautiful story with a powerful truth. The book is a little on the longer side for a picture book, but both of my boys have loved these books since they were young!

If Only I Had a Green Nose by Max Lucado - This is another in the Max Lucado Wemmick's series. I really could list each one, but wanted to add some variety to my list :) In this story we again meet Punchinello, who makes every attempt to fit in, only to find that as soon as he makes a change, the fad that is "in" has changed. He learns about the importance of being content with who he is and how his Maker crafted him, rather than looking for worth in the eyes of others.

Good Good Father by Chris Tomlin - Both of my boys love the song "Good Good Father," by Chris Tomlin, so when this book came out we had to check it out! In the story we meet Tucker, a little bear who is seeking help from the King. He travels to see him, meeting several animals along the way, who each tell him one great thing about the King. As he gets closer to the castle, he has doubts about whether the King would want to see him. Yet the King appears offering sweet Tucker an abundance of love. This is a precious story about the great love of our God.

God Knows My Name by Debby Anderson - This is a delightful book that even the youngest readers will enjoy. On each page Mrs. Anderson conveys truth about all that God knows - from the number of hairs on your head to the number of stars in the sky. She talks about how God knows just what you're feeling and how he cares for things in His creation. The pictures are colorful and inviting. It is evident that Mrs. Anderson was a kindergarten and first grade teacher, as young kids are drawn to her text. I also appreciate that she includes several scripture references to go along with her writing.

The Prayer That Makes God Smile by Stormie Omartian - This is a beautiful book that teaches children about prayer. It talks about different times that you can pray, things you can pray for, ways you can thank the Lord in your prayers, and the truth that God hears our prayers. She then talks about the best prayer of all - asking Jesus to come into your heart and be your Savior. Now, I have to warn you - if you're reading this as a parent to your little one for the first time, be prepared to have tissues ready. I wept the first time I read this to my little guy, and still get teary eyed every time I read it. This book is rather lengthy for a picture book, but the pictures are adorable and the message of the book is powerful!

The Oak Inside the Acorn by Max Lucado - Yes, this is another Max Lucado book, but not a part of the Wemmicks series. He just has so many excellent children's books! This book shares the powerful truth that God created each of us with a purpose. And while it may be tempting to look around at what others have or can do, we must cling to the truth that God has a purpose for each of us, as this oak tree learns.

The Blessings Jar by Colleen Coble - This is a great one for little ones - especially as a gift from a grandparent. In this board book, Punky Grace is having a rough day - and a case of the grumpies. Then, her grandmother takes her on an adventure, looking for all of the little things she has to be thankful for. Soon, her blessings jar is filled to the top, and her grumpies have gone away. This is an adorable picture book with a great message about being thankful!

God Loves Me More Than That by Dandi Daley Mackall - This is another great story for little ones, with an important reminder for every reader. The story works in sets of 4 lines, where the first three lines rhyme and the final line in the set reminds us that God's love is bigger, higher, deeper, etc than anything! With its colorful, child-friendly illustrations, this is a delightful book that teaches about how much God truly loves each one of us!

The One Year Devotions for Preschoolers by Crystal Bowman  - This has been a favorite in our house! Over the past few years both of my boys have loved this little devotional, so much so that our copy is literally falling apart. Each day has a child-friendly devotion that centers around a topic preschoolers may face - having a rough day, making new friends, when you're afraid, etc. The illustrations are simply adorable, and each devotion has a verse and a rhyming prayer to share with your child. This is a great way to start teaching your kids to spend time with the Lord each day.

It Will Be Okay by Lysa TerKeurst - In this story we meet Little Seed and Little Fox, both of whom are dealing with fears. A beautiful friendship is formed, and as changes begin to occur and fears creep in, they continually remind each other that the farmer is good and the farmer is kind. As someone who personally deals with fear and worry, this story was a lovely reminder of the good and kind Father we serve. And just as Little Seed and Little Fox learn to trust in the farmer - and that things will we okay - this story encourages each reader to trust in the Lord, even in new or even scary circumstances.

Jesus Calling Bible Storybook by Sarah Young - Penned by the same author as the Jesus Calling devotional for adults, the Jesus Calling Bible Storybook weaves kid-friendly versions of Bible stories with a Jesus Calling style devotion at the end. The short devotion written by Young is written as though God is speaking to the reader, but can easily be modified if you think it may be confusing to young listeners. The combination of stories, devotions, and colorful illustrations make this a delightful read for kids!

With You All the Way by Max LucadoNow, this one seems to be a little harder to find, but both of my boys love it so much, I had to include it! It tells the story of three knights (probably why my boys love it) who are all on a quest to win the hand of the King's daughter. However, they must travel through the forest of the Hope-nots in order to succeed, with only the King's song to guide them. Which knight is successful - the strongest, the fastest, the smartest? It is the one who chooses the right companion for the journey knows the King's song well enough to hear it above everything else. This is a wonderful story that illustrates the way the Lord is with us in all things, and it is by learning to listen to his voice that we can have victory. There's one page that may be a little scary for the youngest readers, but such a gret story with great truth!

Now, you've got the list of 12 awesome books, but there's one more resource I want to share with you! I'm not an affiliate or anything, but my kiddos have enjoyed this so much, I simply had to share it with you! It's the Clubhouse Jr. Magazine for Kids. It's published by Focus on the Family and is such a fabulous resource. It contains stories, activities, coloring pages, snack ideas, and more for your kids! This magazine is created for kids ages 3-7, but there's also another one for older kids called Clubhouse Magazine. We've only gotten the Jr. version but my boys love it! They definitely look forward to receiving it in the mail each month - and it's a gift they receive all year long! I hope you'll check it out!

I hope you've enjoyed these resources and are encouraged to check some of them out further. I'd also love to hear your thoughts. Comment below with your favorite from the list - or leave a comment and let me know other books that you love that teach Biblical truths - I'd love to check them out!

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Home School Preschool Week 7 (Letter G)

Well, we've made it to week 7 and letter Gg of our home school preschool year. Well, actually, as I'm writing this, I'm preparing for Letter Jj Week - and week 11 of our semester (we spent an extra week just reviewing what we had learned and doing some fun fall/pumpkin activities) - but ya know, sometimes life is crazy, and I just wasn't able to get this post up! Are you with me, mommas?

But, finally, here it is! This is a quick overview of what our week looked like:

Letter Focus - Gg
Bible Story - David and Goliath - but we also spent some time talking about God's Amazing Grace!
Math - Numbers 1-10, Graphing, Sorting by Size
Other - Pumpkin Fun, Family Games

And a whole lot more fun! Check out some of our activities from the week below!

Now, when it comes to teaching the letter Gg to your preschooler, there are a couple of different approaches - teaching both the hard and soft g sounds or choosing to focus on one sound and work toward mastery of one before formally introducing the other.

As you may have guessed - if you've read many of my other posts - we chose to focus on only the hard g sound. And when I say hard g, I mean the sound heard in words like goat, girl, or gorilla. Soft g is the sound heard in words like giraffe or gymnastics. And there were so many adorable giraffe crafts, books, and ideas out there, it was tempting to throw those in as well, but I chose to only formally teach the hard g sound - the soft g will come later. But the choice is really yours, this is just my preference.

So, as is our routine, we started the week by introducing the letter and discussing the hard g sound. We practiced making the sound several times, especially since this sound has been particularly challenging for my little guy. We really had to spend some time focusing on making sure our tongue was in the back of our mouth and that the back of the tongue was doing the work - rather than the front. This is still something we're working on, but having the week focused on this sound really helped!!

After practicing the sound, we tried to think of as many words as possible that begin with that sound - and they came up with quite a list! Then, we practiced writing capital and lowercase letter Gg. We always start by practicing in the air (as Mommy describes the motion), then we move on to the carpet/a blanket/someone's back, before we move on to whiteboards and then paper.

Throughout the week we did a variety of activities to practice identifying the letter, recognizing its sound, and tracing/writing the letter. Here's a little sampling of some of what we did.

 Letter Gg Tracing

 Letter Gg Dot Markers

 Letter Gg Roll and Go

We also spent some time reading Goldilocks and the Three Bears. There are countless versions of this classic story out there, but we had the Jan Brett version and thoroughly enjoyed it. The illustrations are gorgeous! Here's my affiliate link to it for your convenience :)

And since we were already talking about "great-big," "medium," and "little" items in the story, we decided to sort our own letter Gg items into big, medium, and small. For my older son, it was a great opportunity to talk about synonyms (large, gigantic, average, teeny, tiny) for these words too! You can grab the free download of this activity by clicking on one of the buttons below.

Work with sizes, integrated our letter of the week with some of our math skills. For further exploration in math, we talked about graphing. We used this simple count and graph page. Little Bro began by counting the number of pictures there were of one object. Then, we counted that many squares on the graph for that picture. He then colored the graph for that picture. As a guideline for him, I would often draw a line with the crayon, showing where he should stop. Then, we moved on to the next picture. He really loved that it was fall/pumpkin themed :)

 Count and Graph October

We've been working on numbers 1-10 all month. Much of our time has been devoted to solidifying the one-to-one correspondence, but we are also working on number recognition. So, we completed this fun gumball dot marker activity. He stamped the gumballs according to the number-color key. And I don't know about you, just just about any activity with dot markers is a hit in our house. And this is a FREEBIE too!

For our Bible time this week, we read the story David and Goliath. They loved the version in the Jesus Storybook Bible! Then, using a Goliath printable, we tried to hit our own Goliath in the forehead. I simply taped it to the very top of our wall (where the wall meets the ceiling), and the two boys took turns throwing poms-poms, trying to hit him in the forehead. They had so much fun, but it also lent itself to a great discussion about how God was truly with David in the battle.


We also spent some time talking about the amazing gift of God's grace. We discussed Ephesians 2:8-9 and what it means. The gift of God's grace is truly amazing! And one of my favorite ways to help my little guys learn God's Word is through song. This song is awesome - and the boys love it too! We just purchased it off of iTunes, and I want to go back and buy the whole album!

Of course, we also had quite a bit of fun this week! Since it was letter Gg week, we picked a different game to play as a family each night (or rainy afternoon). Here are a few of our favorites:

If you want more information on our Family Name Game, you can read my blog post about it HERE.

And since we were getting closer to the end of October, we spent some time talking about Pumpkins. One of our favorite activities is reading the Pumpkin Patch Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs. It is a beautiful story about a loving farmer plants and grows a simple pumpkin and transforms it into a glorious sight, shining with light! So many Biblical truths weaved into this story! And in a season where there can be a lot of scary stuff around, this story is a gem!

 Pumpkin Life Cycle

  We also used this story to talk about the pumpkin life cycle. And although it's not a perfect, non-fiction reference book, it highlights the life cycle well along with the Biblical components listed above.

So there you have it - a little glimpse into our week. I'd love to hear what you are doing! Are you homeschooling your preschooler? Let me know in the comments below. Are you doing a letter a week or a more thematic approach? I'd love to connect with you!

See you with Letter Hh soon!

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