20 Best Tips

Pronouncing My Name {Reader Questions}

How often have you looked at my name signature and asked yourself, “How in the WORLD is that pronounced??” Maybe I should have had all of you chime in with your thoughts and pronunciations first, but I thought a video pronunciation would be most helpful. :)


Email subscribers, you’ll have to click over to see the clip!! :)

Now the question is ~ was that how you were saying it in your head? Or have I totally messed up your thoughts now??

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    Purchasing Velcro in Bulk {Reader Questions}

    There are several things that I use quite a bit of ~ laminating pouches and velcro. After the year that I spent what seemed close to a gazillion dollars in velcro dots at Walmart, I went looking elsewhere to find better prices.

    A heads up ~ buying velcro in large quantities is not for the faint-at-heart. I found a friend who has an obsession about the same level as my own and we split the cost and the goods between us. For the same price as purchasing about 4 boxes of velcro at Walmart, I had about 50 times the amount of velcro.

    Needless to say, I won’t need more anytime soon. :)

    Here are some great sources online to purchase velcro in bulk. Typical velcro dots at the store are about 5/8” in size. I purchased the 3/8” white velcro dots for our Weekly Grid Workbox System from Textol Systems. Textol does have the larger 5/8” velcro dots, but we purchased them much cheaper at Feiner Supply {and Feiner often has a free shipping offer on orders over $50}.

    A few things to note:

    • You need to purchase both sides of the velcro ~ the hook {scratchy side} and the loop {fuzzy/soft side}
    • Most of the velcro comes in black or white {I usually buy white}
    • The velcro comes with an adhesive back

    Hope that helps a few of you out!

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      Using Do-a-Dot Pages {Reader Questions}

      After I get a certain number of emails with the same question, I figure it’s time to answer the question online so you all can see. Besides, maybe it’s secretly a question you’ve had, but been afraid to ask!

      Chandra emailed this week with the following question:

      There are these pages that have a letter and a picture and both are full of dots. I have never seen these before, what are the dots for? Are they to be colored in? Want to make sure I use these the best way!

      In case you’re wondering, these are the pages that she is talking about {taken from my Fall Fun Printables}. Your printer is not going crazy ~ there are white dots on the letters and pictures ~ and yes, they are meant to be there. :)


      I happen to have a son who absolutely loves his Do-A-Dot markers. Not only for these projects, mind you, but anything I’ll let him stick a dot on. If you aren’t sure what Do-A-Dot markers are, basically they are like bingo markers but colorful and fun for kids!


      We have a variety of colors and use them on pages {like the above} and even for stamping out words that Kaleb recognizes on our reading sheets ~ really anything if he’s having fun and engaging in school! I put together a set of Alphabet Do-a-Dot pages {from A to Z} last year that you can download here. Each letter has two different pictures to go along with the letters.

      Alternate Ideas for Using the Do-a-Dot Pages

      If you don’t have the Do-A-Dot markers though, you may have something else around your house that you can use instead. Here are a few more ideas for you to try with the pages.

      ~ Puff ball magnets ~ Mama Jenn has a great tutorial on how to make your own puff ball magnets. The magnets are great to use on a cookie sheet. Here’s one of her children using them with a do-a-dot page:                      image

      ~ Circle Stickers ~ You know the little colorful circle stickers you can use to tag for yard sales? Those are another great fine motor activity to use with the do-a-dot pages.

      ~ Power Magnets ~ Put your pages on a cookie sheet and have fun sticking the magnets on the spots. Kids love magnets too {the power magnets are the ones we have}. With little ones you have to be careful of what might go in the mouth, but they are a hit at our house.

      ~ Transparent Counters ~ We have what seems like a gazillion of these little plastic coins and have used these as well on the sheets.

      ~ Markers ~ We’ll many times use markers to color in the dots {or crayons or colored pencils}. Depending on how detailed I want Kaleb to be, I sometimes give him the fine-tipped markers so he has to work a little harder at coloring in the lines.

      What other ideas do you have to share to use on the do-a-dot pages?  Leave a comment and share how you’ve used the pages with your kids!

      Do I Use All of the Preschool Packs {Reader Questions}

      I’ve had several people ask me if I use all of the pieces that I include in the various Preschool Packs that I put together.

      The short answer ~ no.

      The long answer ~ not because we don’t always want too. There are many times that I put something together, am absolutely excited about what I’ve created and it falls on unimpressed eyes. :) There are other times that I include something in a pack because I know that others really enjoy it.

      At times I alternate on what I print out for Kaleb to do and there are times that he literally begs me to do something time and time again ~ so I just go with the flow.

      All that to say ~ the wonderful thing about Preschool Packs is that you can print off whatever your heart {or your little one’s heart} desires to do and work on! If it isn’t a great fit for your child or if you just want to change things around and rotate the things that you present to your child, you can!

      Now I have a question for you!!! I’m curious ~ what has been your favorite part of the different Preschool Packs?

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      Font Choices {Reader Questions}

      Last week I received the following email from a reader and thought it would be a great question to address on my blog ~ just in case one of YOU had the same question.

      I was looking through the Transportation pack and was wondering if you could consider picking a different font on the materials that the children actually use? Specifically I’m talking about the letter “a” … I would prefer the “a” version as that’s how they are taught to write it.

      Specifically, here are the two different letter ‘a’ styles that are being referenced:

      a or a

      Here are my thoughts…

      I realize that I use different fonts in my packs ~ sometimes because I really like a particular font, but also because I think that it is important to expose our children to different letter/font styles. We live in a media rich society and everywhere we look {tv, books, computer, billboards, etc…}, different font styles are represented. While I teach our children to write using the standard ‘teacher’ font style, there are numerous styles of letters and numbers represented in the books that we read every day to our children. My goal is to let my child SEE those differences, know that they represent the same letter, and let them be familiar with them.

      For example, I took a picture of four books that I picked off the top of our book basket {Curious George, Tumble Bumble, In the Castle and one more…}. If you look at the letter/font styles, two of the letter a’s are shown in the style that most children learn to write their letters in and two are in the other ‘a’ style.


      The bulk of the Preschool Packs that I’ve put together were primarily created for me to use with my children during our school time. Because we’ve enjoyed them, I’ve then shared them with you. While there have been times that I’ve added an activity or switched something around, typically I try to do things the way we enjoy using them so there isn’t a lot of extra work involved on my end of things.

      Hopefully that answers your questions! :)

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      Teaching With Little Ones in Tow {Reader Questions}

      Homeschooling with Little Ones in Tow

      Several of you have asked how we get all of our homeschooling done with younger ones around. Granted, Kaleb is our youngest now {he just turned 4}, but even he has been challenging lately during our school time. We’re working out some kinks in our current schedule, but even the best laid plans can run amuck.

      Over the last few years our schedule as changed and rotated, generally in response to how we can accomplish the most when the younger ones are involved…or not involved {grins}. I absolutely do NOT have the answer to question, but can say that I am most happy that homeschooling allows us flexibility in our schedule and we can change what isn’t working and stick with what is.

      Get a Routine in Place

      The key to my sanity, however, has been having a general routine/schedule in place ~ but flexible enough that I don’t go crazy. There are times that I overplan activities {ahem}, but having that plan in place and things to do, especially for the younger ones, can help things go much more smoothly. There are days that go according to plan and days that go completely haywire, but having a general direction for our day helps immensely.

      Use Nap Time to Your Advantage

      When Kaleb and Zachary were both younger, much of our school time was accomplished during nap times. If the longest nap time period was in the afternoon, than we did a few fun and smaller school things in the morning {calendar, reading, etc…} when they were awake, but anything that required more 1:1 attention we did during nap time.

      As Zachary grew out of his nap time, we moved more toward doing morning school time and I focused on learning activities with him first thing in the morning while the older two could work on more independent activities. Kaleb was slowly worked into this routine and as soon as they were finished with their ‘work’, they were free to play outside together or in their room with special toys, or even a video sometimes. :)

      Know YOUR Best Time

      Currently, we do several things together first thing in the morning during breakfast {calendar time and devotions}. After chores and cleaning up, the kids have a bit of free time while I spend 1:1 time with Kaleb and focus on him. Then the older kids start their independent work. As soon as Zachary finishes his independent work {usually around the time I’m finished with Kaleb}, I work 1:1 with Zachary.  When we’re done, he and Kaleb have play time and I focus on the girls for a bit, until we all get back together to work on a few subjects together.

      Keep Them Busy

      Does it all go perfect and according to plan? Ummmm…nope. Kaleb often wants to be smack dab in the middle of whatever it is that we are doing. I try to keep fun and ‘quiet’ things for him to do while we are sitting down ~ so the other kids aren’t distracted. Some of these things include:

      I’ve uploaded a copy of our current daily schedule so you can see how I’ve laid out our day. Click on the image to open the pdf schedule.


      Do YOU have any tips/tricks that have helped you school with little ones around? Leave a comment and share! Susan Lemons also has an article called Keeping Little Ones Busy that might help you out also.