Wednesday, November 15, 2017

FREE Alphabet Bundle

 I love making new homeschool activities! I've got a free one for you and all you have to do is enter your email in the ol' subscribe box there on the right side of the screen. Not only will you get the five page alphabet bundle but you'll receive updates on new blog posts. Now who wouldn't want that!?

Now lets take a look at these super cute printables. The alphabet bundle includes a two page beginning sounds activity and three pages of alphabet tracing (uppercase, lowercase, and a combination of the two). Since these are sent directly to your email (be sure to check your spam folder and add Arrows & Applesauce to your contact list) you can print as many as you'd like. Or, if you're into saving a few trees, use these super cool clear pockets and a dry erase marker to help them last longer.

Squeaks is just starting to make the connection between letters and the sounds they make. I think these are going to be a hit with her. She's catching on so quick. I see lots of fun alphabet activities in our future. Yay!


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Our Homeschool Day: Calendar Time

I take a very relaxed approach to how we homeschool. I really don't want to rush anything and squash any natural desire to learn. We have been focusing more on learning through playing rather than using structured activities. Lately though Squeaks has been asking for some activities more than others, so I thought I'd share what homeschool looks like for us these days. Most weeks we only do school maybe two days. Other weeks we do maybe half an hour a day. I leave it up to her and try not to push her to do more than she can focus on. If she starts getting impatient, I know it's time to stop for the day. It is only preschool after all and she's only three so there's no need to push it. I also try to structure most "lessons" around an interest she has. For example, one week I asked her what she wanted to learn about and she said octopuses so we did a lot of ocean themed activities that week. She's more likely to retain information if she's interested in the subject.

Aside from the themed activities we do, there are three learning tools that have been consistent hits that I'd like to share. I'll share each one in it's own post because each one is so fun and full of great activities.

Most homeschool days start out with calendar time. Both Squeaks and Little Dude love calendar time. Although I think LD mostly likes it because I sit on the floor with them and he can crawl on me. I try to include him as much as possible though even if his little two-year-old brain has the attention span of a gnat. I made our calendar board from a foam presentation board I got at Walmart. The Calendar itself was from Target and the activities on the board are a mix of Pinterest finds and my own creations. I laminated everything and attached it to the board with TackNStick so it can be easy reconfigured.  In addition to the links listed below, I include a number and letter we focus on for the week and the current weeks Awana Bible verse. (She just started Awana a few weeks ago and shes loving it. Plus she looks crazy cute in her little vest.)
 I'll start at the top and work my way clockwise down the sides first.
Months of the year banner -I attached each month directly to the board instead of hanging it as a  banner. We use a clothes pin to mark the current month.
Days of the week wheel- Squeaks loves turning this wheel while we sing our days of the week song. (See my songs board here.)
"Today's weather" wheel- We sing a weather song for this too. We live in California so we don't get a huge variety of weather, but if we visit the mountains this winter we'll use the "snow" option. 
"What Season" Wheel- Yet another song for this one. 
Our letter, number, and Bible verse for the week are behind Little Dudes head.
Rainbow Colors- I literally just Googled "rainbow", found an image I liked, opened it to PicMonkey and typed in the color names. Easy-peasy.
Shapes- I cropped it to fit everything on the board, but aren't these little shape people cute!?
Numbers 1-10 poster- I offer this one free on my Teachers Pay Teachers site. Enjoy!
ABCs chart- Squeaks loves pointing to each letter and singing her ABCs.
A closer look at the sides, although I've rearranged a bit since then.
The kids love adding the new day to the calendar (each day attaches with a velcro dot), turning all the wheels, and singing our songs. I also use a mini white board (Target dollar spot) to let them practice writing the letter and number of the week. I don't get to strict with penmanship yet though. We always end saying the Bible verse and praying together for the day. Altogether, calendar time takes about 20-30 minutes depending on how many times we sing each song (there could be multiple encores of the ABCs) or how much time we spend with the white board. So fun!

Up next in our homeschool routine: Busy Binders!! You're going to love these!

How about you? What's your favorite way to start your homeschool day?

   

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Flash

I realized while scrolling through recent posts that I haven't been sharing Flash's monthly pictures. Have you felt deprived? My deepest apologies.

I told Josh after attending a baby shower recently that I now know why moms of multiple kids give unsolicited advice to new mothers. Because it's dang hard to keep your mouth shut! With three kids under four I feel like I have a very specific and refined skill set and I just want to share the wealth. I kept my mouth shut though. Not that this particular new mom needed my advice I just had an itch to give it. New moms need to feel like they know what they're doing I think. I know I did. Too much lecturing or "advice" and they loose their mojo. Parenting takes some guts. You don't want to take their confidence down right out of the gate.

By the third kid you really do develop a more relaxed approach to parenting. I remember when Squeaks was a baby (feels like it was yesterday) and I took these monthly chalkboard pictures with her. I'd spend a good hour picking out a cute outfit, making her chalkboard perfect, and taking at least 50 pictures before choosing my favorite. By the third kid, you check for drool and just go with it. I still really wanted him to have his monthly pictures like Squeaks and Little Dude, but his are definitely more relaxed than theirs were. Yet I'm still totally in love with each months picture.


Really everything about Flash is more relaxed. He's such a quiet peaceful little guy. You could set him down and forget he's there if you get too busy. Of course he's too cute to forget though. He's just as content as could be to lay on his play mat or DockATot (mine was made by my mom and I LOVE it). He's also a big laugher though. He smiles very easily and Squeaks can get him laughing better than anyone. I got this video the other day of him playing in his exersaucer and Squeaks, for some reason, started saying "chicken" to him (kids are strange sometimes). Anyway, he thought it was hilarious. Enjoy!


I'm excited to see this little man grow. Excited to see his relationship with his siblings grow. They crack me up and I'm beyond proud to be their mom.
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