August 29, 2014

Meet the {Homeschool} Teacher

It's back to school week for the school's in my district. They had their meet the teacher day earlier this week. I'm sure it was total craziness and chaos. I'm also sure that the teachers had their fair share of wacky questions and overly-anxious parents.

I decided that for my birthday we would host our own Meet the Teacher night! Just in case my kids weren't sure who would be teaching them this year, I announced their new grade levels and after a drum roll named their teacher. They were shocked! Can you believe that they got the very teacher that they were hoping to get? What excitement! They are in the class with the ever awesome Miss Lexi!

So, what questions might I get asked on a parent interview? I asked a local teacher what questions and comments she most often heard at Meet the Parent Night.

Here are those questions (as if asked by my hubby who is acting as the parental figure) and answered by me (acting as the teacher extraordinaire).

What if my child can already read, is advanced in math, or has already covered those topics?
Well, then we'll just move right on ahead. You're in Kindergarten but need 1st grade math? No problem!

How many kids are in the class?
Just one per grade level. But don't worry; it won't be lonely!

What is the student/teacher ratio?
5:1. Please remember that we are a very exclusive private academy.

Do you have an assistant?
Yes, she has been a part of our school for almost 2 years now. Her specialties are glueing my teacher's notes together, cutting up our projects, erasing things on my computer, and randomly playing music on the iPad. Punkin is quite a helper!

How do you handle it?
Lots and lots of chocolate and a principal who helps out around the house!

Is there a nap time?
No. Not unless it is for me (or if you're under the age of 3)!

How can I reach you?
Just stand in the entry way and yell. I'll hear you from the homeschool room above.

When is lunch time?
Whenever I am hungry (and whenever it's ready).

What happens if my child needs the nurse?
I am certified in Mommy First Aid and I'll handle it. I also double as the school nurse.

How often do they have PE?
Whenever I need total silence and decide to stick them out back. This could be hourly if necessary.

How many books can they check out of the library?
As many as I can fit into my library bag.

How often do they have art and music?
Daily! We emphasize the arts at our private school.

What if my child is sick?
Please make sure to stock up on some new movies for me and we'll take a day off.

What is the attendance policy?
School is in session unless I decide it's not - we always take breaks for children's birthdays, beautiful weather, and exciting field trip opportunities.

What's the daily schedule?
School, play, school, play, lunch, school, read, art, read, play, music, play, read......Someone is doing SOMETHING from 6 AM until 4 PM - this includes lego architecture, imaginative play, and reading time. You can see more about our schedule here.

Is there a dress code?
Yes. Comfy pj's are required daily unless we have a planned field trip. On field trip days, matching tie-dye shirts are the uniform. 

How do you grade work? What is the grading scale?
If it's wrong then it will be redone with my help. No grades are issued, just opportunities to master a concept.

How much time do you expect them to spend on homework?
All. day. long. Our work is all "homework!"

What can I do to support your teaching at home?
Wash dishes, do laundry, sweep the floor, vacuum, and cook dinner.

Have your kids met their teacher yet? Did you get any teacher gifts? 

I think I need some chocolate, a house keeper, and a massage. Those would be very nice gifts!

August 27, 2014

Interactive Check List for our Homeschool Day

I made some simple interactive check lists for the kids.  All the chore charts or checklists I found already had pre-created lists or task cards.  Some of them didn't fit our family and I wanted the flexibility to be able to change out the chore and task cards easily.  So, I made interactive checklists with some inexpensive clipboards.

You need:
Mod Podge
brushes or sponge brushes
small clothes pins
scrapbook paper
super glue or hot glue

I cut the scrapbook paper to cover the clipboards and then cut designs to decorate each board.
I used Mod Podge to glue on the scrapbook paper and then seal the top of the clipboards. 
Then I used super glue to attach the small clothes pins to the boards.

My kids each have their own board with task cards.  These are jobs or tasks that they are to complete daily.  Once each task is done they turn that card over and clip it back to their board.  By the end of the day each card should be flipped over.  In the morning we turn them back over to start our new day.

For the younger kids I printed small pictures on cardstock and cut those out for my cards.  For my oldest child I used words rather than pictures.

Tasks for Ladybug age 3:
make bed
brush teeth
computer time
reading time
sweep kitchen

Tasks for Bee age 5:
make bed
brush teeth
clean kitchen table
computer time
reading time
Spanish songs

Tasks for Tiger age 6:
make bed
brush teeth
clean kitchen counters
computer time
reading time
Spanish songs

Tasks for Curly age 8:
make bed
brush teeth
do dishes
computer time
reading time
memory work

Do you have a chore system for your kids? 

I Choose Joy!

Linked with Linda's Lunacy blog

August 25, 2014

{Poppins Book Nook} Little Bear's Little Boat

The theme for the August Poppins Book Nook is "What will I be when I grow up?"  We chose the book Little Bear's Little Boat by Eve Bunting.

This book is about a little bear who loves his little boat, but he is growing up and will no longer be able to use his tiny boat.  He comes up with a solution to his problem by giving his boat to another young cub, making that cub promise that he will pass on the boat to another small cub when he too outgrows the boat.

When I ask my kids what they want to be when they grow up, their answers change weekly from an author, an artist, a teacher, an astronaut, to a mom and a dad.  The future is full of possibilities for them and I cannot wait to see the path they choose. 

While I don't know what the future holds for my kids, I do know one thing.  I can start today by preparing them for that future.  My hope is that my kids will be generous, kind, caring, and unselfish when they grow up, no matter what profession they find for themselves.

To instill generosity and a servant heart for others, we found some family service projects that were appropriate for their ages.

We decided to create small care packages for the homeless.  We chose some nonperishable food items like packages of peanut butter crackers, granola bars, and packages of pretzels.  We added these items to large tube socks.  We also put in a bar of soap, travel-sized toothpaste, a toothbrush, wetwipes, and a small package of Kleenex.  We also printed out some encouraging Scriptures on cardstock and enclose one in each package.  Now as we drive around town, we have something in our car to hand out to the many homeless we see on various street corners.

Here are some other service ideas for kids:

Be sure to visit all the wonderful hosts of the Poppins Book Nook!

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom ~ 3 Dinosaurs ~ To the Moon and Back ~ Planet Smarty Pants ~ Farm Fresh Adventures ~ Growing in God's Grace ~ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Learning and Growing the Piwi Way ~ The Usual Mayhem~ Preschool Powol Packets ~ Monsters Ed Homeschool Academy ~ Adventures in Mommydom ~ Teach Beside Me ~ Life with Moore Babies ~ Kathy's Cluttered Mind ~ Are We There Yet? ~ Our Crafts N Things ~ Hopkins Homeschool ~ ABC Creative Learning ~ Joy Focused Learning ~ P is for Preschooler ~ Laugh and Learn ~ A Mommy's Adventures ~ Inspiring 2 New Hampshire Children ~ World for Learning ~ Ever After in the Woods ~ Golden Grasses ~ A glimpse of our life ~ Journey to Excellence ~ Happy Little Homemaker ~ Little Homeschool Blessings ~ Raventhreads ~ Tots and Me ~ As We Walk Along The Road ~ Stir the Wonder ~ For This Season ~ Where Imagination Grows ~ Lextin Academy ~ The Canadian Homeschooler ~ School Time Snippets ~ Peakle Pie ~ A Moment in our World ~ Every Bed of Roses ~ Finchnwren ~ At Home Where Life Happens ~ The Library Adventure ~ Embracing Destiny ~ Day by Day in our World ~ Our Homeschool Studio ~ A "Peace" of Mind ~ Thou Shall Not Whine ~ SAHM I am ~ eLeMeNo-P Kids ~ Simple Living Mama

Enter the giveaway here!

When I Grow Up Bundle Giveaway! Every month the Poppins Book Nook group will be offering readers a chance to win a brand new storybook or product that ties in with our theme for the month. This month one lucky entrant will win a bundle of fun for the theme of When I Grow Up.  This bundle will include a copy of the storybookWhen I Grow Up by Mercer Mayer, one copy of Community Helpers Puzzles by Trend, and one copy of Community Helpers & Careers Pocket Flash Cards by Trend.

Entrants must be 18 years or older and reside in a country that receives U.S. Postal mail. This giveaway is brought to you by the company Enchanted Homeschooling Mom who is owner and founder of the Poppins Book Nook. By entering this giveaway you are also acknowledging that you have read and agree to all of the Rafflecopter terms & conditions as well as Enchanted Homeschooling Mom's disclosures found here {}.  Just enter the Rafflecopter below to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Link up your favorite reads about growing up here!

Mary Poppins inspired clip art by the talented:

Hip Homeschool Moms

August 22, 2014

{Back to Homeschool} Beginning of the Year Traditions

We've developed a few fun homeschool traditions for the start of each new year.  Here's how we celebrate...

Creating Tie Dye School Uniforms - Before we begin a new year we create new homeschool uniforms tie-dye style.  Dad gets in on the action and helps the kids create tie dye t-shirts.  These are perfect to wear on our field trips - it's easy to see my psychedelic kids in crowds.

School Supply Shopping Trip - I make a separate school supply list for each child and then I take them on individual shopping trips so they can pick out their own supplies.  It's amazing how important it is for a child to pick out their pencils themselves.  It's a fun little date for us!

Back to School PJ's - I order the kids some fun new pj's and present them with their new jammies the night before we start.  For our first day of homeschool the kids have new pj uniforms.

Back to School Pictures - After I present the new pj's to the kids they take their baths and try them on.  Then we head outside in the cool of the evening and take our back to school pictures.  I print signs for the kids to hold and we take lots of pictures to document our new year.  It's so much easier to get good shots of the kids in the evening with my husband helping me rather than try to rush through them in the morning. 

S'mores Night - The night before school we have a family night where we make s'mores and talk about our summer and make some plans for fall.  It's a fun end to summer.

Cake for Breakfast - On our first day of school I usually serve something fun like a dessert!  Yes, we often have some type of cake for our first day.  And yes, it does make my kids a little bit crazy but they are usually dragging and resistant to a new schedule so I enjoy the fact that they are a little more enthusiastic to get out of bed.

Do you have any back to homeschool traditions?

August 21, 2014

{Review Crew} Happy Kids Songs

Do you need something new to listen to in the car?  We were needing some new uplifting music so we were excited to review Happy Kids Songs!  Our new songs were from the albums: Friends & Sharing, Happiness & Attitude, and Manners & Character.  We also received the workbook of lyrics and activities - Happy Kids Songs Workbook: Hands-on Activities to Build Character, Social and Emotional Skills

Happy Kids Songs Review

What is it?
Happy Kids Songs has created adult-quality music that addresses the common issues that children confront such as shyness, manners, sharing, and feelings. Through age-appropriate music, kids can learn how to best handle different situations as well as build personal character.

The songs are written and sung by Dr. Mac, (Don MacMannis), who is the songwriter for a popular PBS TV show series.  Many of the songs also feature children singing as well.

Friends and Sharing addresses the topics of shyness, reaching out, how to blend in, not being bossy, and dealing with goodbyes.  It contains these 5 songs:
  • Sailing on the Seven Cs
  • Everybody Wants to Find a Friend
  • Sharing Friends
  • Happy as Happy Can Be
  • Together

Happiness and Attitude addresses the topics of being thankful, positive thinking, paths to happiness, handling frustration, and time together/time apart.  It contains these 5 songs:
  • Shake It Out and Dance
  • Who Knows What's a Kudo?
  • I Don't Understand
  • Be Good to Yourself
  • Better Together

Manners and Character addresses the topics of lying, the Golden Rule, respect for others, accepting differences, and rudeness and manners.  It contains these 5 songs:
  • H-o-n-e-s-t-y
  • The Magic Word
  • Quirks
  • The Golden Rule
  • Six Little Kids
Happy Kids Songs Review

We also received the Happy Kids Songs Workbook: Hands-on Activities to Build Character, Social & Emotional Skills.  This workbook contains 125 pages of activities and song lyrics.  There are coloring pages, color by number activities, mazes, dot-to-dot activities, word searches, and drawing prompts.  The back of the book contains short lesson plans for each song that offer ideas for games and activities to reinforce the concepts taught in the songs.

The songs and activities are geared for ages 3-8 but can be enjoyed by the whole family!

Happy Kids Songs Review

How did we use it?
We received digital copies of the albums and a physical workbook.  I had my hubby put the songs on my iPhone so we could listen in the car.  And I have to tell you about our first listening experience:
We were running a few errands with the kids and everyone was cranky in the car.  The younger girls were arguing, Tiger was throwing things at them, and Curly was complaining about the noise level.  Little Punkin kept shrieking every few minutes to remind us that she was in the car too.  I had asked them several times to keep the noise level down but they weren't listening very well.  Finally, my husband turned to me and wearily said, "Don't you have some 'happy' songs on your phone? Please turn them on now!"  That's when I remembered our new CD's!  I quickly turned them on and turned up the volume.  Within 30 seconds the entire back seat was quiet as everyone listened.  Punkin was bouncing along to the beat in her carseat.  Sweet peace!!

So how did we use this product?  It was our go-to play list when we got in the car.  We also listened at home as we did chores.  I let the kids take turns working on workbook pages.  Tiger (age 6) preferred the word searches and Curly (age 8) enjoyed the color by number activities.  Bee liked the dot-to-dot pages and Ladybug was a fan of the coloring pages.  There was something for everyone!

We did a few of the suggested activities as well.  Our favorite was for the song Quirks where we learned that everyone is unique and special.  We looked at pictures of snowflakes and enjoyed their one-of-a-kind shapes.  Then we made our own paper snowflakes.  Then each child put on a little show to showcase his or her unique talents.  Bee was the ballerina, Curly sang for us, and Tiger gave a demonstration about his Nerf guns.  Little Ladybug put on a puppet show with the help of her siblings. 
Happy Kids Songs Review

What did we think?
I thought the concept of these songs sounded really cute but I wasn't sure how much my kids would learn from simply listening to songs about manners and character.  I learned that music is a powerful tool.  My kids were left talking about what a "kudo" was and they enjoyed complimenting each other to share kudos.

These songs held my kids' attention and didn't drive me crazy listening to them (this is very important for kids' music!).  I was very surprised with how much my kids enjoyed the beat of the music and sang along with the songs.  Whenever we played the CD's in the car, we had instant quiet as everyone listened along.  The song writer clearly understands the types of music that appeal to kids.

The activity pages in the workbook were fun for my kids.  I really appreciated having the song lyrics written out so I could review them with my kids to make sure they understood the meaning of the songs.  I also enjoyed the suggested activities and object lessons to help kids understand the concepts.  These ideas really helped me begin our discussion of the song topics. 

Happy Kids Songs Review

My wrap up!
These are great CD's of upbeat, kid-friendly music that can be enjoyed by adults as well.  The song topics and themes are geared toward the fears, feelings, and situations that kids encounter on a daily basis.  Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by how much my family enjoyed these CD's and how quickly my kids were singing along to the songs and discussing the concepts.  It was a painless and fun way to introduce different concepts of good manners and character to my kids.  We loved these songs and the messages they conveyed!

More info....
You can download each CD for $4.95 each.  You can purchase singles for 99 cents.

The workbook pages to accompany each CD are a free download with the purchase of the songs.

You can also buy the printed workbook for $12.56. 

You can find Happy Kids Songs on Social Media here:


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