Headed to the Zoo anytime soon? (FREEBIE!)

Headed to the Zoo anytime soon? (FREEBIE!)

We are annual zoo members and have been for years. Our kids have always treasured days at the zoo, and when the weather isn’t sweltering, I always have too. I feel like it’s an excellent opportunity to get out of the house and do a little roamschooling.

I wanted to create a tool for us (and for you!) that would serve our whole family. I have babies from 2 up to high school freshman, so it’s not often we do anything or learn anythign that EVERYONE can enjoy and benefit from. However, the zoo is definitely an excpetion to that. Furthermore, with this zoo explorers pack, that’s even more true than ever.

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Review of Foundational Phonics Program

Review of Foundational Phonics Program

You may have noticed, if you've browsed this blog much, that I'm an enthusiastic supporter of All About Reading. So, it may come as a surprise that I'm sharing a review for a different phonics curriculum.

When the author of Foundational Phonics, Ariel Gunther, reached out to me with her gentle phonics program, I was more than intrigued. As we worked for years to get my dyslexic daughter reading on grade level, we tried more than a handful of programs. That process, along with the success my friend Hayley has also had with AAR, left me looking through Foundational Phonics with a discerning eye. So it's only natural that as I share all I love, or might not, about Foundational Phonics, I'll be making a few references to All About Reading as well. 

What is Foundational Phonics?

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Dear Scared, Worried (Overwhelmed) New Homeschool Mom

Dear Scared, Worried (Overwhelmed) New Homeschool Mom

I received a text from a sweet friend last night, one who is in the thick of her first year or two of homeschooling. As she'd spent many sleepless nights cradling and nursing her newborn infant recently, thoughts and concerns flooded her mind over the progress of her 6-year old daughter's reading. 

Anyone who has been in the thick of homeschooling for one year or 10 remembers those days well. Not one of us is impervious to fears, second-guessing, unmet expectations, and the torture of comparison. What follows is a version of my response to her concerns, that she and I agreed, should be shared with you as well.

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All About Reading: Level 4 Color Edition Review

All About Reading: Level 4 Color Edition Review

I was so excited when Erin told me that All About Learning Press was releasing a NEW COLOR EDITION of their All About Reading program! I have used AAR with three of my children, and it has been such a blessing to our family. This program has helped me gain confidence and skills in teaching my children to read. I’ve written before about how we use AAR in our home. Today I want to share a little more about the new color editions, and why I have changed my mind about Level 4.

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You've Been S'Mored! FREE Act of Kindness Kit + Preschool Printables (CUTE!!!)

You've Been S'Mored! FREE Act of Kindness Kit + Preschool Printables (CUTE!!!)

Who doesn’t love smores? Even with gluten, dairy, and corn allergies in our home, we’ve managed to still enjoy them. They’re a fall staple in our home, and we enjoy them immensely. A few years ago, I was thinking about s’mores and had a brainstorm for a random act of kindness. What if we chose several friends whom we love and packed s’more baskets up just for their families?

We decided to do just that! They were extremely popular. We got found out pretty quickly (despite our excellent ninja-skills), but we continued to do them each year. This year will be our 4th year and we are so excited to get them packed up and ding-dong-ditch them next week!

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All About Reading: How it Works for Our Family {a detailed review}

All About Reading: How it Works for Our Family {a detailed review}

When I first began homeschooling, the responsibility that intimidated me more than any other was teaching my own children to read. I have always been an avid reader, and I desperately wanted to instill a love of reading in my kids. I realized very quickly, however, that my love of reading did not automatically qualify me to teach someone else HOW to read. Because I had no background in teaching reading, I knew I needed to find a program that could walk ME through the process as well as my child. We tried several different programs in the beginning, but they either bored my child to tears or proceeding so quickly that she felt overwhelmed, and I felt lost without a map. 

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Top Preschool Books For Fall (AND an AWESOME Fall Printable!)

Top Preschool Books For Fall (AND an AWESOME Fall Printable!)

Our entire educational endeavors surround two things in our home- nature and books. We spend our days either outside or with little ones in a lap, perusing our latest library haul. Fall is a fantastic time to make a sweet connection between those two loves. What better than a stack of books that speak to the changing of the seasons- from miserably hot to crisp and cool. Fall brings a much needed change here, after a long, humid summer and begins to usher in the excitement of the holiday seasons.

I have two things to share today. First, the book recommendations. Some are favorites in our home and others were highly recommended by Life, Abundantly readers on Facebook.

Down below the book recommendations though, you’ll find a DELIGHTFUL FREE download that includes 11 pages of super sweet, really adorably worksheets created for the K3-1st Grade crowd.

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Collecting Nature and Encountering Our Creator (GIANT FREEBIE)

Collecting Nature and Encountering Our Creator (GIANT FREEBIE)

My Instagram feed is filled with gorgeous nature tables, muddy rainboots, and wild and free children. This speaks to my heart in an unimaginable way. While I may often get too busy to truly spend the hours out of doors that I would like... and sometimes the complaints about the heat just wear me down (we live near Satan's armpit), I know deep in my soul that being surrounded and immersed in God's creation is as close as we can get to touching him on this earth. 

When I first began reading Charlotte Mason's own personal work (and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THAT, start here), I was slightly put off. I almost felt as if she worshipped nature. But I knew I had to be missing something important, so I pressed further in. Through prayer, I realized that Charlotte was passionate about nature because she was passionate about the Creator of nature. She knew that being immersed in Creation was a sneak peak into eternity and into the heart of our Father in Heaven. Our task as mothers is to simply help our children become thoroughly acquainted with Creation, capable of truly SEEING it with clear observation.

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My Favorite Things: "Keeping Toddlers Busy" Edition

My Favorite Things: "Keeping Toddlers Busy" Edition

My sweet little boys keep life very interesting, especially as I try to homeschool a high school freshman and 6th grader with dyslexia. It's basically my mission in life to keep my boys engaged in fruitful activity throughout the day in order that I might have small chunks of silence to engage with my girls in as much of their schoolwork as possible.

I want to share a few ideas and several "go-to" items that I keep handy at all times, as well as my process for both planning and engaging my boys each day. It's not perfect, but it works well enough that we march through our homeschool day with some learning accomplished and with (arguably) half my sanity left!

Here are my current FAVORITE things for keeping my boys (currently 3 and 20 months) busy while I work in our home and teach their older sisters:

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How to Use a Preschool Morning Binder (PLUS all you need to get started!)

How to Use a Preschool Morning Binder (PLUS all you need to get started!)

I have a tenacious 3 year old who wants to do a LOT of school. He loves to learn and do things just like the big kids. I love to encourage his desire to learn, so I created a "morning binder" for him after being inspired by Yoga Pants and Pearls when I ran across her on Pinterest. You can check out her take on morning binder here.  

I initially downloaded her cute little printable but my OCD jumped in and reminded me that it didn't match the rest of the materials that I had created to complement The Gentle + Classical Preschool (<--- Click that for a FREE Preschool Curriculum)... So I had to make my own, while also using a few resources I'd already created to assemble a full Morning Binder for my little one. So here's what's in our Preschool Morning Binder (also, it's not a binder but I'll chat about that too).  

5 Steps to an excellent, beautiful Preschool Morning Binder:  

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