20 Best Tips

Skip Counting Charts from 2 to 12

Skip counting is one thing that we can definitely do a little more of in our house, but as you all know ~ I like to make stuff and make it cute.

I mean, how horrible would it be to just have NUMBERS on a document?

These skip counting charts cover the numbers from 2 up to 12. Each chart starts with a little ‘rhyme’ at the top, show how skip counting with that number works and then skip counts up to whatever 12 x that particular number would be.

These have already been a huge help in our house. We use them every day as a part of our morning routine and even our 3 year old tries to repeat the numbers along with us!

Enjoy them!!

Preschool Corner ~ Animal Sorting File Folder Game

While we still went through our usual routine this week, I’ve finally been getting back into a groove and getting ideas for some new printables.

So of course I have to put some together and test them out on my own kiddos, right?

Both of our boys love playing with animals {especially our Schleich animals}, so we gathered all of the animals that we could find around the house and had some fun playing and sorting and sorting and playing. Zoo animals, farm animals, ocean animals ~ they came from near and far to be a part of our school time.


A little later we sat down to play the Animal Sorting game that I put together. There are three different types of animals ~ farm, zoo, and ocean animals that need to be sorted and put under the header where they belong. Each animal type has 9 different animals in that category and has it’s name listed along on the card.

Zachary and Kaleb both had fun playing with this printable game and I set it up differently for both of them. Zachary spread the game out on the counter to sort the cards, but the file folder {with velcro dots} helped Kaleb have a more defined area and visible amount to sort {the printable shows how you can set it up with velcro for younger ones}.

We also used the cards for Zachary to read and identify. On a few of the cards I changed the words to see if he was really sounding out/reading or just visually identifying the pictures. For example, instead of saying ‘panda’, that picture card says ‘panda bear’.

Animal Sorting Game Collage

Click on the thumbnail to download the pdf file

Reading & Phonics

Zachary is sitting down every day to read with me, but we mix it up a little bit as to what he reads from. Two days a week he gets to pick a Scholastic reader {the little square red books} and the other two days he reads a few pages from the Beehive Reader 1


We’ve been learning about nickles and dimes in the last two weeks, so we’re practicing counting by 5’s and 10’s ~ I have a skip counting printable coming soon for these!

Zachary is doing great telling time to the 1/2 hour so now we’re moving on to the quarter hour. Both of the girls are working on Roman numerals, which makes Zachary want to learn them too. Our main clock in the house has Roman numerals on it, so he has been having fun trying to figure out the time on that clock. :)

We also pulled out our Number Card printables to sequence numbers and start learning some of the early Roman numerals {one and five}.

Favorites this Week


Ready to Link Up?

Share what you are doing with your kids! Please link your exact blog post to the Mr. Linky below and link back here too! The updated guidelines can be found here if you need them.

Cobweb the Cat ~ Beehive Reader {Review}

image For the last two months I have been using the Cobweb the Cat with Zachary {our recent 5 year old} to go along with the All About Spelling Level 1 program. Cobweb the Cat wasn’t available when our older two were learning how to read, otherwise I would have been kicking myself for not having owned it sooner!

Cobweb the Cat is the first book in the All About Reading program. It goes hand in hand with the Level 1 Spelling program, so as your child is working through their spelling and learning the spelling/reading rules they can put it into practice using the Beehive Readers. Even though it goes along with All About Spelling, it can be used independently as a reader for any child.

There are ten short stories in the reader. To give you an idea of what the stories are like, Zachary recently read the short story “The Pond” and we’ve been working our way through the other stories in the book a little at a time ~ here’s a sample of a page from “King Sam and the Bat”.


Great features of Cobweb the Cat:

  • Hardcover {making it rather durable in the hands of a certain 5 year old}
  • The pictures in the stories are all ink sketches that are beautifully done ~ yet don’t always reveal the storyline, so children don’t use the pictures to predict the story.
  • There is a handy chart {and I love charts} showing you what spelling lessons correspond to the different stories in the Reader
  • Underlining of text {it looks similar to a notebook page} helping children track the words and read more easily.
  • Wording layout encourages children to read in phrases rather than reading word-by-word
  • Short stories that are realistic {and enjoyable for adults to listen to}
  • There are more coming!! Four more readers are scheduled to release by the end of 2010 along with a teacher’s manual ~ the books are being illustrated right now!

Find Out More

Cobweb the Cat {$19.95} is available through the All About Spelling website. Shipping has been fast in my experience and Marie is always helpful in answering any questions that I might have. While you are browsing the site, be sure to also check out the great spelling program that we are using with all of our children.

Click on the Homeschool Crew banner to read other reviews about this product.

This product was given to me for review purposes, and I do not have to return the product to the vendor. I was not paid for this post. All opinions expressed in this post are mine.

Nature Friend Magazine {Review}

Not too long ago I had some sample science/nature magazines sent to us {I’m not naming any names} and I later found Laurianna with a Sharpie marker blacking out text in places. I was a little upset with her at first, but she innocently looked at me and said, “Mom, they were saying the earth was billions of years old. That’s not true, so I was crossing it off.”

A few weeks later, Nature Friend magazine showed up in our mailbox to review for the Homeschool Crew. The kid’s and I have loved pouring over the pictures, articles, art lesson, and the many other features that this magazine offers.

Helping Children Explore the Wonders of God’s Creation

Nature Friend is written from a Creationist perspective and is geared toward children ages 7-16. The magazine publishes twelve issues each year and every other month the issues are focused a little more for older kids, making it a magazine that the whole family can really enjoy and use. The magazine was:

“…born out of {the} desire to encourage children to believe in God as their Creator and to seek out, recognize, and appreciate His handiwork….Nature Friend…policy has been to simply stand on the truth of God’s Word and to present it as enjoyable fact while learning about the creatures God has created.”

It is a full color magazine that offers features similar to secular nature magazines for kids. The artwork and photography are wonderful!! Some of the features Nature Friend has:

  • You Can Draw ~ a monthly art lesson that details how to draw specific objects from nature {flowers, animals, etc…}. Children can submit their drawings to the magazine to be featured in future issues.
  • Scavenger Hunts ~ Each issue has several different things hidden in it for you and your children to find
  • The Story Behind the Photo ~ Photographers share the story of the picture that they took
  • Creation Close-ups ~ great close-up shots sent into the magazine
  • Pictures and Poems ~ contributions from readers that are shared and published in the magazine
  • Invisibles ~ a hidden picture game where you find smaller objects in a large picture
  • Learning by Doing ~ experiments and activities to further reinforce science at home

Study Guide Feature

Nature Friend also has a ‘Study Guide’ option available with your magazine subscription. For an additional $2/issue, the guide comes as an insert in the magazine and provides you with additional activities and resources that go along with the monthly issue, including crossword puzzles, research questions, writing activities, and more. The activities can be copied {for those with multiple children}. You can view some sample study guides here.

Our Time with Nature Friend

The August issue of Nature Friend had an article on cicada bugs. Not necessarily my favorite topic, but the kids were completely enthralled with the bugs. So much so that they spent hours outside hunting down their skins and presenting them to me with utter joy and lining them up on my windowsill.

I would show you the mound of skins they discovered, but in all honesty, those empty skins were grossing me out {and even scared Rick the first time he saw them!}…so they are no longer with us.

Laurianna and McKenna have really enjoyed the fun activities the magazine offers and the stories are just the right length for sitting down and reading together. I love knowing that the focus of the magazine is on God and His creation ~ and that I don’t have to worry about what the kids will come across in their reading.

The option of having the Study Guide to go along with the magazine makes the magazine even better. The two issues that we received included a ‘photo critique’ on how to take better pictures as well as a recipe, writing lessons, true/false questions, additional research questions, crossword puzzles, and art ideas.

Purchasing a Subscription

A full year’s subscription consists of 12 monthly issues. Study guides are available for each month’s magazine. Yearly subscriptions to Nature Friend magazine are $36.00 and Study Guides are also available on an individual or yearly basis {$24/year}.

You can use the coupon code BLOG93 to save an additional $3.00 off a new subscription to Nature Friend {valid until November 30, 2009}.

The Nature Friend website offers several sample issues of the magazine as well as the teacher’s guide so you can get a better understanding of the magazine.

Click on the Homeschool Crew banner to read other reviews about this product.
As a member of the Homeschool Crew, I was given this product to review,
and I do not have to return the product to the vendor. I was not paid for this post.
All opinions expressed in this post are mine.


Printable Number Matching Cards


Remember when I asked you a little while ago which printable you wanted next? And then I avoided the number cards you all chose and selfishly made some Fruit and Vegetable Matching Cards?

I promised I was working on them ~ and today they are yours for the printing! The set includes the numbers 1-20, number words 1-20, Roman numerals 1-20 and also dot cards 1-20. I am loving that I can use these will all of my kids right now: Zachary can work on his number words, the girls can practice Roman numerals more, and Kaleb can start counting 1:1.

These cards are designed to help your child identify the numbers 1-20, practice counting with 1:1 correspondence from 1-20, identify number words 1-20, and also learn Roman numerals from 1-20.You can have your child sequence the numbers in the correct order, match the correct number card to the corresponding dot card, match Roman numerals to numbers…the rest is up to you!

The full set of cards is available for FREE by clicking on the download graphic below ~ I promise it’s easy! Enjoy!


Looking for more? Be sure to check out the additional number printables linked below! 

Preschool Corner: Robin Lapbook

We had a little robin who decided to build a nest right in front of our house and we were able to watch the entire process. The kids were thrilled to discover that she had laid three eggs.

Zachary was the one who alerted us to the fact there were eggs in the nest ~ after he reached up, stuck his hand in the next one morning and felt the eggs.

We had a little discussion about leaving bird’s nests alone. Yes, we did.

That seemed like a great time to avoid those last few pesky letters of the alphabet that are hanging over my head and use the time to learn as much as we could about robins. It would be a shame to waste a perfectly good learning opportunity, don’t you think?

Drawing a picture of a robin

I posted about the robin lapbooks that the girls put together along with some great links, but wanted to do a separate post for Zachary’s lapbook, since it was a little different and more ‘directed’ by him. He was so excited to have school time along with the girls and feels like he is really doing school right now. It’s so funny to watch him.

Zachary’s lapbook only used one file folder ~ I opened it flat and then re-folded it so that there were two smaller flaps on the sides. The above picture shows the front and the back of his lapbook {cover pic is linked below} For the back cover, Zachary drew a picture of some worms and dictated a few sentences to me:

“Robins can see the ground moving. That means worms are going underground. They eat them.”

There are only a few minit books inside: Who’s Who {difference between male and female birds}, bird food, predators, a coloring sheet with a robin’s anatomy, clip art and a drawing Zachary made of a robin’s nest. I didn’t get a very good picture of his completed drawing, but it’s hysterical! The robins all have their heads straight up, mouths open and waiting for food. He was so proud because he did it all by himself and wrote “This iz a robin” along the top.

Here are a some shots inside the lapbook and with the minit books fully opened:

During the week we also worked on memorizing a little poem about “Little Robin Redbreast”. Zachary did great memorizing the first stanza of it:

Little Robin Redbreast

Little Robin Redbreast sat upon a tree,
Up went pussy cat and down went he;
Down came pussy, and away Robin ran;
Says little Robin Redbreast, “Catch me if you can.”

Little Robin Redbreast jumped upon a wall,
Pussy cat jumped after him and almost got a fall;
Little Robin chirped and sang, and what did pussy say?
Pussy cat said, “Meeow!” and Robin jumped away.

Links for the Lapbook

Be sure to check out my post about the girl’s robin lapbooks. I’m covering a lot more information about the things that we talked about during the week and will have more resources and links in that post!

About the Preschool Corner:

The Preschool Corner is a place for us to share the ideas we are using during our “preschool time” with our kids. You can join in the fun and record what you are doing in your house. Please link your exact blog post to the Mr. Linky below (if you have questions feel free to ask). Be sure to link back to this blog post so that your readers can find some other great ideas too!

The guidelines can be found here if you need them.

Share what you’ve been doing in your house this week!