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Preschool and Kindergarten Community – a Little Break…

Preschool and Kindergarten Community weekly linkup

Since 2008, the Preschool and Kindergarten Community has been a place for sharing early childhood learning ideas. It has been so fun to see what other families are doing in their homes – in big and little ways. 

For an indefinite amount of time, Preschool and Kindergarten Community is taking a break. I’m mulling some different ideas and have loved sharing weekly posts with you all (thanks to those of you who have been faithful over the years!). 

In the meantime – enjoy this time with your littles! Trust me – these kids grow up so fast, and every moment we have with them is precious! 

Be sure to stop by our PreK & Kindergarten Pinterest board to see ideas posted over the years!

20% Off Wondermaps Geography Tool (Limited Time Offer)

Until  Thursday, April 20th, receive 20% off the digital download of WonderMaps [single family use] when you use the code SPRINGMAPS at checkout.

The Only Map Resource You Will Ever Need

If you’ve ever spent a lot of time searching online for the perfect map to go along with your history, geography – or any lesson, you’ll want to check out WonderMaps right now. It’s a program you can use year after year with all of your children – with any curriculum (yay!). 

With WonderMaps’ easy to use interface, you can also create custom maps and print them out for your homeschool lessons. It may seem intimidating at first, but I promise – you will LOVE it! See how easy it is to use in the WonderMaps video tutorial from Bright Ideas Press. 

Our family has been using the program for at least four years now and it definitely makes finding the perfect map much easier! 

 

If you aren’t certain it will work for you, be sure to download a preview of the program from the Bright Ideas site – especially before the flash sale ends. 

Offer valid April 18-20, 2017, single family use only.
Use code SPRINGMAPS at checkout.

Living Life Together and Another Last “First”


As I read The Green Ember (we are now 8 chapters from the end!), both boys twist and turn their Rubic’s Cubes and lounge on the couch. Listening quietly and trying to figure out what is coming next.

The book wasn’t their favorite when we started, but now as we draw near the end of the book they certainly don’t mind the daily reading time and are really getting into the story – enough that we have already ordered the second book to read together

Me – I’m nursing a cup of coffee and also listening to the crazy washer spinning in the background. Meanwhile the rest of the house is a wee bit of a disaster. Dishes are on the counter and books strewn all over the living room. Random pieces of laundry litter the floor and someone hasn’t bothered to pick up their breakfast bowls from the table. 

But we are reading together and it’s a snapshot of what homeschooling is like: school woven in with our everyday life. The good, the messy, and well – LIFE. 

 

Later in the day, we have the last of the ‘firsts’ in our house and it’s honestly a little bittersweet. Our youngest, the one who still has stuck in his head that he isn’t a good reader, sits down and started reading The Boxcar Children out loud to me. The last child to read through this particular book for the first time – an honest-to-goodness chapter book where you can’t really get reading clues from the pictures in the story.

And he does wonderfully.

He doesn’t quite fit on my lap like he used to, but he snuggles in, lets me wrap my arms around him, and kiss him on the cheek as he reads down the page. Meanwhile the other kids are walking in and out of the room, working on math, or grinning as they recognize the accomplishment in their brother’s hard work.

These are those moments in our homeschool time that I love – where life overflows into the nuances of our day. When we get a chance to relax together. Celebrate together. Learn together. 

Living life together in all the little moments. ❤️

Weekly Wrap-Up

Indoor Hopscotch Mat and Beginning Sounds Mazes – Preschool and Kindergarten Community

Preschool and Kindergarten Community weekly linkup

Ready for another week of linking up and sharing ideas? I am so glad that you are stopping by today and can’t wait to see what you all have to share this week. Be sure to stop by our PreK & K Pinterest board to see a collection of the different posts we are pinning – including yours!

Don’t forget to link up a post (or two) of yours and share what you’ve been working on with your kids! Here are a few fun ideas from last week’s linkup.

Stick & Dots Game

Here’s a fun game to get your kids thinking and challenge them! Practical Mom has a Stick and Dot game (with free printable) idea for your family – you’ll love it! 

The Rag Coat FIAR Activities

If you are looking for a book to read, pick up a copy of The Rag Coat (a FIAR classic) and visit Disguised as a Supermom for go-along activities. They kids made their own rag coat and quilt along with some other fun literature based crafts.

Free Reading and Spelling Winter Activities 

Winter Practice Activities for Reading and Spelling

Cookies, polar bears, and penguins provide an exciting and motivating way to beat the winter blues and help your child to practice their reading and spelling skills. Download the free printable pack HERE

Beginning Sound Mazes 

If you are learning beginning sounds, visit 1+1+1=1 and download her free A to C Beginning Sound Mazes

Indoor Hopscotch Mat

Stay warm inside and let the kids get a bit of energy out with this indoor hopscotch mat. Just measuring up shares a DIY tutorial for a mat that will travel as well! 

That’s it for this week!! Thanks so much for checking in with us and sharing below.

Follow the PreK and Kindergarten Community Pinterest Board

Preschool Pinterest Board

Each week I am  pinning many of your links onto the Preschool and Kindergarten Community Pinterest Board. I’m a visual person, so having pictures to help me remember posts is super helpful. Be sure to jump over and follow the board – and find some fun ideas at the same time!

Were You Featured in the Preschool & Kindergarten Community?

If you were featured in one of the weekly posts, feel free to grab the button coding below and display it on your site!
Homeschool Preschool

 

Link Up with the Preschool and Kindergarten Community!

Homeschool Preschool: Preschool and Kindergarten Community linkup at Homeschool CreationsShare what you are doing with your kids! Please link your exact blog post to the Mr. Linky below and link back here too! Grab a button for your post and be sure to take a minute to visit the person who linked up before you.



Your Homeschool NEEDS a Field Trip

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If there is one thing that I wish I could go back and tell myself at the very start of homeschooling, it would be this: take more field trips. Despite having been a classroom teacher and planning trips bi-monthly for my class, something in me was very hesitant to spend too much time outside of our home once I started teaching at home.

What if someone thought I wasn’t doing my “job” as a homeschool mom?

Maybe we wouldn’t get every little piece of our “real” curriculum completed – then what??

Field trips technically don’t count as school, right? Sometimes it’s all about having the correct number of days marked off on the calendar should the state come knocking. (I’m a rule follower, you all. Bear with me.)

I do hope you sense my sarcasm here. Learning can happen ANYWHERE, but often we get so wrapped up in the tangible curriculum right in front of us or worry about what others might think. 

img_9426(there is ALWAYS one kid with eyes closed!)

Every now and then we would take a short trip but typically on days that we had already planned to have off from our regular school time – or better yet, AFTER we had finished our “real” school time. You know, the one with books and such. Heaven forbid I think that learning really takes place anywhere other than our four walls.

One year something changed for me that opened my eyes and helped me throw off any hinderance to taking field trips. A public school friend of my girls took a two day field trip. Not to a historical location (because that screams approval, right?), but to a THEME PARK. Two days!!! I may have been a wee bit irked and beside myself at that revelation. Those teachers were getting paid to ride roller coasters and not do one bit of book-learning with the kids. Those two days were counting as their 180 days and hours of official school time. And here I was sitting at home making sure all of my boxes were checked and I was doing the correct thing so I could homeschool my kids. 

(Clearly I need to lighten up, some.)

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From that moment on, my perspective on field trips shifted. In fact, we may have promptly planned a field trip to Six Flags for the second day of school the following school year (since our school year was already completed). That day, while all the kids in public school were sitting at their desks that sunny day, we enjoyed the freedom of a crowd-free park and reveled in our homeschool life. (Granted, I may have also mentally justified the trip since we earned the tickets by reading books for the Read to Succeed program, but give me grace – I am a slow learner. At least we took the trip!)

Field trips add an extra hands-on element of learning and allow our family to experience things first hand. It’s one thing to read about early Native Americans and their tools, but quite another to visit and see how they lived.  Talking about fossils is one thing, but when our kids have a chance to literally dig into the dirt and unearth their own to take home – that makes learning so much more fun! 

A Few Tips To Get Planning

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Maybe you also struggle with letting go a little bit in this area and stepping out (literally) to have fun together as a family. Can I offer a few tips?

  • Find a friend to go with you. One of the best things I did was grab hold of a friend and plan some field trips together. Initially we started with a few families and planned a trip once a month: a forestry trip complete with a park guide, a cavern tour, a river study, an Aboriginal art museum. We tried to keep them fairly friendly for kids of all ages, but a few of them were geared toward older kids. Trips were art, science, and multi-subject based. 
  • Plan trips around your curriculum. This year a friend and I are working through US history together with both our younger boys and also our high school girls. We are planning some small and big trips together: learning about early Native Americans, Colonial Williamsburg, fossils, and many additional historical figures from early American history – even an overnight trip or two with the girls! Even if you aren’t focusing on history lessons, there are so many other options for planning trips: art studies, science/nature, geography, government/civics, etc…
  • Look into service-based projects. Beyond taking trips to a historical battlefield or your state capital, look local and see if there are projects your family can dedicated consistent time to help out. Once a month our family coordinates and volunteers to cook and serve a lunch for an area ministry that reaches out to the homeless. While it may not always be their favorite thing to do, sometimes our kids need to look beyond themselves and extend a hand to others. 
  • Check for discounts. Often sites have special homeschool discounts to take advantage of and along with that, many places offer additional activities on homeschool days. Don’t be afraid to call and ask! 
  • Don’t overplan. Sometimes you do have to have a basic plan in place for the day, but relax and let the day flow as it will. Enjoy learning alongside your kids and move on to the next thing if they aren’t as interested in something you think is fascinating. Make it a fun day out and create memories together that won’t stress you out. 
  • Look ahead for teacher’s guides or special tours. So many of the places we have visited have downloads available on their website or special tours for groups. 
  • Take lots of pictures (and actually print them off). Don’t be afraid to be the embarrassing mom with the camera or phone. If you’d like to be particularly cool, add a Snapchat filter and have added fun with your kids. Nothing will bring out the laughs and memories like a goofy face and you showing you can laugh (again, ask me how I know). 
  • Be flexible. Unfortunately, the weather hasn’t always cooperated with our field trip plans. Between rain and heat, we’ve had to scratch or adjust a few trips. Depending on your kiddos, you may not want to tell them too much in advance about a trip, especially if you have some that are tied into “but you said…” Ask me how I know.

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Remember that not all learning needs to happen based on what a book says or how many worksheets are done. Get out there and have some fun together with your kids! 

What has been your favorite or most memorable field trip with your family? 

What I’m Reading (and the Kids Too)

unoffendable-book

This month my reading pile is rather slim, mainly so I can focus in on the few remaining books on my 2016 reading list. While my overall list is fairly small, the kids and I are still reading together and those books are also listed in my ‘pile’ below. If I’m reading it out loud, it certainly counts for me too! :) 

I’m also hiding a pile of books for myself when my hubby and I travel next month. We will have plenty of time to sit and relax, so a stash of books is a good thing to have handy. Here’s a peek at what is on my pile for the remainder of the month. 

The Kids are Reading…

What I Read in September…

Out of all the books I read during this past month, I was about exhausted reading Benjamin Franklin. It’s been interesting reading some of the books along with our high school lit class (and seeing what Benjamin Franklin omitted from his autobiography). I also branched out and read The Light Between Oceansnot realizing there is a recent movie release of the book. I suppose I’ll be adding that to my ‘watch’ list as well. I also absolutely loved Roseanna White’s latest book (as I do all of her books). 

That’s it for this month! What are you reading for yourself or together with the kids? Leave a comment and share. :)