Two Weeks Into Our School Year!

I both look forward to and dread those first few weeks of school. Getting back into routine, introducing a new school year, finding out groove… it’s all hard and exciting! This year we have a 3rd grader, 1st grader, Pre-Kinder and I’m not sure whether to call Bear a tot-schooler or a distraction! Ha!

So far things have gone pretty well, the kids enjoy their curriculum (which I’ll post about each kid individually in the next few weeks) and we’ve only had a few temper tantrums (from the 1st grader) about getting our work done!

We’ve had several outings to our local library, we even did a day of school there! We’ve been blueberry picking, made some new videos for our YouTube channel, created playdough Stonehenge replicas, painted masterpieces and more!

I think my absolute favorite aspect of homeschooling is the freedom and flexibility to complete our work when and wherever we want. I’m looking forward to the temperatures getting cooler so we can take advantage of doing our work outside!

Something new we are trying this year is Reading Eggs. I was a little hesitant, I tend to steer away from using the computer or phone/tablet for school work. I do use Starfall for the littles when we need some quiet time for the big kids, and we utilize YouTube for videos, etc. I’m sold on the Reading Eggs program though! We’ve been trying the trial for about a week now and Bird is growing leaps and bounds with her letter and letter sound recognition. It’s such a fun way for them to learn their letters, she’s enjoying it and the older two have also enjoyed checking out some of the other work it offers as well!

I am looking forward to seeing what this year brings, I’m already impressed with how well the kids are doing. I also have a few fun and exciting things up my sleeve for this year!

Thank you for stopping by, don’t forget to check out my Facebook and Instagram pages, as well as our YouTube channel – you can find the links under my photo in the right column of this blog! God Bless!

Hands On Homeschooling with a Sensory Kid

Since we are talking about homeschooling sensory kids, this topic is also a great one to hit on! Most kids do really well with hands on learning, but sensory kids most definitely benefit from it.

I’ve realized over the past year, Bubby’s first “official” school year, that finding hands on activities, where your child can work with their hands or do physical activities are the best fit for him. Not only is he a sensory seeker, but he is a kinesthetic learner. This means that he needs a tactile learning style, one where he has to carry out physical activities instead of just sitting and listening or doing worksheets.

I struggled with how to incorporate activities like these into all of our subjects, but have learned some pretty fun ways to utilize tactile activities for Bubby. Sonlight offers some pretty cool lap books and history project kits that fit these guidelines.

History was one I thought would be pretty difficult, but taking the time to create some of the things we are learning about can be so beneficial and FUN!

Bubby loves using LEGOs to recreate some of the monuments and places we talk about. For instance, during a world history lesson we were talking about Egyptian pyramids. He set out to create one with LEGOs! I wish I had snapped a picture of it that day, but we were having so much fun learning that I didn’t even touch my phone to grab a shot!

The Sonlight Hands-On History boxes are full of activities to incorporate into your lessons. Since we just finished up studying about Egyptians, I thought the Senet game board was perfect to put together.

It’s amazing how calm he becomes when he has something to keep his hands busy, he and Boogie put together the game pieces with the clay. We baked those and painted the sticks so they could play this game that Ancient Egyptians played.

Anytime you can incorporate hands-on activities with your children, you should! My sensory kid is not the only one that benefits from it, and it’s so fun to do something different from book work and reading. Hands-on activities can be calming, physically moving around, putting things together… all of that helps Bubby learn and absorb the information we are discussing.

You can learn more about Sonlight and their hands-on history boxes HERE or by clicking the image below.

You have an opportunity to win a Sonlight Hands-On History box for your kids! I can’t recommend these kits enough, they have everything you need for each project!

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Homeschooling a Sensory Kid – Part 1

Let me start this by saying that I am not an expert, in fact I am the furthest thing from that. Everyday I learn something new, everyday I have to find new ways to parent and teach my sensory kiddo. This is only part 1 of this series, as I learn and as Bubby grows I’ll post new strategies and information we learn. So, let’s start with the basics.

What does it mean when I say I have a sensory kid? Bubby, our 6 year old, was diagnosed with a sensory processing disorder in Spring of 2016. He was 3 1/2 years old and we had known for a while that something was up. There’s nothing wrong with him, he just does things a little differently than most kids. Bubby is sensory seeker, so he needs everything to be louder, more intense, rough… he has to jump and move constantly, he stems with his hands when he is craving sensory input. It’s intense and crazy and loud most days, so we are learning how to not only raise him and help him with day to day life, but I’m also having to learn the best way to teach him.

It hasn’t been easy, he’s a tough kid to figure out. We’ve been out of occupational therapy for over a year now and waiting to be re-evaluated by a new facility here in NC. As sensory kiddos age, you find that their sensory needs change and that you need new ways to help them. That’s our biggest struggle right now, most days I have no idea what to do to help him.

My main goal right now is to help Bubby with focusing and learning to read, he wants SO badly to read like his big sister. However, he struggles with focusing and doesn’t like to work on something for very long periods of time. I have to keep things short and sweet, so my strategies that I used with Boogie do not work for Bubby.

We are trying some new curriculum in the next few months, I’m going to try some active games and tasks to help him with sight words and phonics. We are moving away from The Good & the Beautiful curriculum, and I may post more about that another time. I’m looking into going more towards Masterbooks and possibly trying All About Reading with him as well, but the price of that one isn’t my favorite!

What strategies and tips do you have to share? I’d love to hear what worked for your sensory kids! Leave a comment below!

Our Kindergarten Curriculum – Bubby 2018

My sweet boy has been asking since about January when he would get to be a kindergartener. It doesn’t matter that grades aren’t really official or necessary for homeschooling, all he knew was that his best buddies at church were starting kindergarten this year and he wanted to be one too! Well big guy, you are in kindergarten!

Bubby is 5 years old, 6 in November and he is beyond excited. Is he excited about doing school work every day? Nope, definitely not. But when he is, he is on it and he has seriously amazed me. There are things we’ve worked on that I thought for sure would be hard and we’d have to review. That wasn’t the case, he’s actually flying through some of his work and I’m so proud of him.

So first up is our language arts curriculum. I’m also using The Good & the Beautiful for Bubby and we are starting with the PreK book first. My reasoning for this is that we needed to review some of our ABC’s before moving on to learning to read… he’s flying through it, but I’m glad to be doing so as there have been a few letters here and there he wasn’t sure about. This curriculum is a little advanced anyways, so once he finishes his PreK book we will move on to K Primer. I’m assuming we will spend the remainder of the year on it and move on to the K book in 1st grade. As I stated in Boogie’s post, she’s on Level 1 in second grade, which is what comes after Level K.

I am really loving this curriculum, there are lots of fun manipulatives and the flip book is so much fun to review letters. Bubby doesn’t always enjoy it because it can be repetitive, but I switch it up sometimes and have him utilize it in different ways and that helps a lot!

For Math we are using Math Lessons for a Living Education for Bubby as well. He’s in Level 1 and is really enjoying it so far. Right now we are reviewing shapes, recognizing and writing numbers 0-9 and counting. So we are moving fairly quickly through it right now, but I know that we will start hitting new concepts soon, so we will see how he does with that. I had debated trying the new Good and the Beautiful math, but for now I wanted to try this since Boogie had enjoyed it so much.

For handwriting we are continuing with Handwriting Without Tears, this curriculum is what Bubby’s occupational therapist used with him last year to help with his handwriting and penmanship. We really liked it so I purchased the next book as well as some of the manipulatives which I will link below. I really like the way you teach each letter with this curriculum, it’s especially great for kids like Bubby who need straightforward, no frills directions.

You can click on the image above to find the book we are using, we also are using the following manipulatives (these are not affiliate links as the prices are OUTRAGEOUS on Amazon):

That’s it for Bubby! He participates in History when he likes and we are using some science and bible curriculum together as well, but I will share those with you in a post about our family style curriculum. I’m very happy with the choices I made for Bubby this year, he seems to be enjoying everything and it’s short and sweet and to the point! All of this fits in Bubby’s tote – I can keep the Pre-K manipulatives in my own bucket as we use those with Bird as well.

Some of the above links are affiliate links at Amazon.com, I earn a small profit on qualifying purchases and this helps fund my blog website. So thank you for your contribution to Mustard Seed Mommy if you order from one of these links.

Christmas Around the World – Curriculum Review

One of the things I wanted to be sure to do with my kids when we decided to homeschool was to learn about how different countries around the world celebrate Christmas. I remember in public school learning about it and how much fun it was to try different foods, learn about different children and all the things they did for the holidays. It’s one of my favorite memories of school.

For geography we are using a curriculum from Confessions of a Homeschooler, we really like it and it does include a small section for Christmas but it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. Then I received this curriculum from Paradise Praises. This book is packed full of so many resources, worksheets, it’s awesome! Katie Hornor has done a phenomenal job of putting this curriculum together. It covers 29 countries and then at the very end has Christmas Carols from all over the world you can study. How fun is that? Music is a big part of our life, so I thought this was a very fun addition.

At the beginning of the book you’ll find your table of contents, this makes it easy to find which countries you want to study about. You’ll also find a section on how to use this book and how the lessons are laid out (which I’ll talk about in a minute). I also like that Katie has included extra resources, there’s an entire list in the book and includes the link where you can find them. This resource list includes printable passports, travel calendars, coloring pages, crafts, journals, maps, and more! (You can see the table of contents below with all the countries that are included.

As for the lessons in this book, each country has a section that talks about Christmas in that country. There are extra learning resources and recommendations on what you can incorporate for that particular country. For instance, for Italy she suggests a few books for extra reading, a coloring book and a travel guide. There’s also some recipes and coloring pages that you can check out as well! Also, for each country you will find book lists, coloring pages, journal entries for writing, notebook pages, and then each country has a different activity you can complete (i.e. word matches, crossword puzzles, etc – these all vary by age/skill level).

I highly recommend this book for your geography lessons, it’s a great addition to utilize near the holidays, or all year if you wish! I’m already planning how we are going to utilize this come November as we start preparing for the holidays. I’m excited to share some fun activities and recipes with the kids when we begin using this.

You can find more information about this curriculum and other resources that Katie Hornor offers HERE at Paradise Praises, or you can purchase this curriculum directly from Amazon HERE. (This is an affiliate link, I will receive a small profit from your purchase. All profit made on this blog goes directly back to Mustard Seed Mommy.)

 

I received a free copy of this curriculum and received compensation for my review, however all opinions and statements are my own. A positive review was not required.