Books in our Homeschool – Blogging Through the Alphabet

Well, this week is a given for a homeschool resource that we use in our homeschool…b is for books! Lots and lots of books! I have a slight addiction, and that would be to books, and I think I am passing this on to my kids. I am not sorry for sharing this addiction!

Homeschool Books

We have books that are for homeschool. I love having the kids put pencil to paper and use a book. But, we also have storybooks that are for homeschool. The kids love that we can just sit, cuddled up, and read a book for school. This is a great thing to do for the sick days, busy days, or just because days.

Some of our favorite homeschool books are:

  1. YWAM books. These are great books that help bring people from history to life. I love to use them as unit studies now that Ray Ray has fallen in love with this style of learning.
  2. Living Books. I love finding books that teach something when I read them. All books teach something, but to have books about what we are currently learning, it is a bonus!
  3. Master Books. This is a great company that we love. This is my first choice for our homeschool supplies. I especially love their America’s Story for history.

Picture Books

I love picture books! I love the pictures the most. I make all the kids read a picture book at least once a week, no matter how old they are. I love the idea of them taking the simple book with the pictures and just enjoying. I may not be able to take them around the world or to the best art museums, but I can give them a picture book!

Some of our favorite picture books are:

  1. Rainbow Fish. This little fish has so much to share with us!
  2. No, David! Our doctor’s office has this book EVERYWHERE! It is a known fact that we will read this book every time we go to the doctor. I love the ending the most!
  3. Elephant & Piggie. These two friends make some great stories. The kids love to come and laugh while we read some of the things these two friends do!

Chapter Books

Chapter books are so much fun! They take out the pictures and add in the use of more imagination. Even before they can read on their own, the kids are listening to me read aloud chapter books. It is so much fun to see the kids engaged and listening to the stories as I read them!

Some of our favorite chapter books are:

  1. The Doll People. This is a new favorite! Little Miss got this series for a Christmas gift, and we both fell in love with reading these together.
  2. Roland Dahl. These books are favorites in our house! We love to read the book and watch the movie after. The kids always seem to enjoy the books better!
  3. Little House on the Prairie. I grew up reading these books and watching the TV show whenever I could. I love reading and sharing these books to my kids now!

Books are well loved in our house. We love to have them everywhere. My one problem, I don’t have enough shelves for all my books!

What are some of your favorite books?

Join the rest of us in our journey through Blogging Through the Alphabet. Check out my co-hosts here:

Do you have a post that you want to share? Or do you want to find more posts on the Letter B? Check it out here: 
Inlinkz Link Party

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Apples to Zebras: An ABC Program for Preschool to Kindergarten – A Review

Baby Girl loves to learn, and she loves to do school with her older siblings. While it is fun to give her copies of what they are learning about, sometimes she needs her own lessons and her own “school”. We have had so much fun with From Apples to Zebras: An ABC Workbook for Preschool to Kindergarten from Annette Breedlove at In All You Do Breed-Love.

While Baby Girl is younger than preschool, I found that From Apples to Zebras is a great way to build her learning of the alphabet and introduce her to the letters and sounds they make. This was a great introduction for her, and I plan to re-use this again with her in the next few years!
In All You Do

What do I mean by this? Well, right now, Baby Girl is not ready to learn everything that is included in From Apples to Zebras, but she is ready to learn. We are able to use some of the items, and we use them multiple times during the week. But if she was just a little older, we would be able to use so much more.

Preschool Alphabet Curriculum

So, how do I make this work? Well, I think about what Baby Girl can do right now, and I think about what she can do in the future. I know that I will be using this program with her for two, maybe three years. And this is great for me! Um hello, one price, use it multiple times to have your child master what they are learning? Yes! Especially when it is a younger sibling to a homeschool child!

While Baby Girl may be a little too young for this curriculum in its fullest, I found that this was a great introduction for her that I could use over again for a few years and make sure that she had mastered what we were learning before moving on to the next adventure. By using bits and pieces of this curriculum at this age, we have built a foundation that I am happy to keep building on!

Preschool ABC curriculum

Apples to Zebras is broken down into units. Each unit focuses on 3 letters and is followed up by a review of those letters. Each letter takes one week to focus on. Each day, for three days during the week, you get to work with your child on the letter. We decided to try Monday, Wednesday and Friday, which worked for us.

While we have been using this program with Baby Girl, we have been working on the letter name and the sound. We will repeat this program again after we have fully completed it and add in another aspect that I feel will work for her. That is the benefit to this program, we can use it for multiple years adding in new things each time we do it.

Preschool ABC curriculum

Baby Girl loves having her own school. I love having an option to re-use the same program more than once to help cement the topic into my child’s memory. I love knowing that I can have a program that we can build on. The options available with this range from easy, coloring sheets to difficult, writing the letters. This means that we can have short and sweet lessons this year, make them a tad longer next year and use the program to its fullest during our third year…um three years of school for one price?!?!? Yes, I will take this!

If you have a toddler wanting to do school with the big kids, or if you have a Kindergartener who is ready to learn, Apples to Zebras is a great curriculum for you to own. And if you have the toddler ready to learn, know that you have enough with this one curriculum to guide them through up to Kindergarten for one simple price!

What is your favorite program to use for the toddler/pre-school age?

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B is for Bible ~ Blogging Through the Alphabet #ABCBlogging

Welcome back to the second week of Blogging Through the Alphabet which I am co-hosting with Annette from A Net From Time. You can see all my previous posts right here. This week we are focusing on the Letter B.

The Letter B can be a bunch of different things, from books to balance and behavior, but today I want to talk to you about the Bible! To our family, the Bible is a key part of the homeschool day. If we don't have Bible at the beginning of our day, it is noticeable through the entire day. But with multiple ages, and different learning styles, how do you have one bible study, or do you have multiple?

Family Style Bible Study

There are a lot of family style studies that will adjust for the different ages so that you can use one study for all your kids. One that we spent some good time using is Pryor Convictions Media, Acts, Part 1 and 2. This study was perfect when we needed it. Right away in the Introduction of these books, we are told that we should not "dumb down" the bible to the child's age. This was hard for me, but I loved the results that I would see from Little Miss all the way up to Moe Man. Within the 5-day schedule we are growing in the word, working on memory verses, map work, fun games, arts and crafts and digging deeper for the older students. They have many different books to pick from and each one seems just as great as the last!

High School Bible Study

While trying to find just the right program for Moe Man, I found the Bible Road Trip. This can easily be fit into a whole family style learning, but in our family, this is the one Moe Man loved the most. The list of extra materials to go with this program is larger than I would like, but watching my son work his way through the bible and seeing him get to know God better, is worth it to me. I set aside more in the homeschool budget for bible than I do for anything else, and this is why.

Elementary Bible Study

For that younger age where coloring is the key, we love Picture Smart Bible. You simply work through the books of the bible and color. This was a fun way to learn the bible with a friend who joined us. This was something we did once a week, and are still working on it.

Draw your way through the Bible

If you are looking for something that is a little more daily, we love the Grapevine Bible Studies. This is one of the first bible studies that the kids fell in love with. I remember Ray Ray learning how to draw "people" and finding stick figures all around the house, each one telling me a new bible story.

While I don't have a bible study plan for Baby Girl yet, I love letting her pick videos from JellyTelly.com and seeing her love on them. This is a great way to get her mind thinking about God. Knowing that she is present in all the other bible studies that happen in this house, along with watching these videos, makes me know that she has a good base starting and I love knowing this. Not to mention that we love to use videos from here to help the older kids with their lessons also.

What is it that you use for your bible study? I love hearing about new ideas and having a backup for those moments when something just isn't working.

Are you joining us in Blogging Through the Alphabet? Are you looking for more great posts about the Letter B? Check out the linky below and add your own or stop by and show some more love to the other bloggers!

Hopkins Homeschool

 

 

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Welcome to Blogging Through The Alphabet!

Blogging, it is the joy of many families out there. It is the thing that helps us tell everyone about what we do in our house. Over here at Hopkins Homeschool we talk about, can you guess? Yep, homeschool! We have been homeschooling for a few years now, and while we love to tell you all about it, some days we need some inspiration.

Inspiration can comes in many forms when it comes to homeschooling. One of those can be blog hops. Recently I teamed up with Annette from A Net In Time Homeschooling to start Blogging Through The Alphabet and we want you to join us!

So, what is Blogging Through The Alphabet?

This is a 26-week long blog hop that focuses on one letter each week. We start with the letter A and move forward until we reach Z.

How can you join?

It is simple. Each week you write a family friendly post focusing on the letter of the week. After publishing the post, you link up with our weekly linky and share some of the other posts from that week. We all love the friendly social media share!

Does each letter have a focus?

No. As long as it is family friendly, you are welcome to join us! You can focus on one topic all 26 weeks, or you can jump around what fits you. We are open to anything family, faith, homeschool or homemaking themed. As long as it is family friendly, you are welcome to participate.

I will be linking each letter to this page as it goes live. You have from Tuesday 8am CST of the current week until Saturday at midnight CST to link up your corresponding post. When you link up your post, you give us permission to feature you in an upcoming post or share your post via social media.

Each week, I will pick my top 5 favorite posts and share them on my ABCs Through The Alphabet Pinterest Board. I can’t wait to see what everyone has to share and hope you have fun with this!

The rules:

  • Each post must be family friendly. If it is not, we have the right to remove it.
  • When linking up to this post, you give us permission to share your post and/or a photo from your post in future posts and social media shares.
  • Place the Blog Button from the site onto the post you are linking up.
  • Use the hashtag #abcblogging when promoting your post. This will help us find you and help us promote you as well.
  • Please visit at least one other blog within the linky. It would be wonderful to leave a comment while you are there!
  • The most important rule is to make sure you are having fun! This is not something we want you to be stressed out over. We want to see all the fun ideas that everyone comes up with for the letters!

So, if you are ready, let’s get started on this fun journey! Letter A will be set to go on Tuesday January 17, 2017. Each letter will be on the following Tuesdays. If there is a change in plans, we will let you know!

A is for Attention

Do you have an introduction post you would like to link up? Do that right here!

Hopkins Homeschool

 

 

 

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Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting ~ A Homeschool Review

Reading and handwriting, those two things are essential in my mind to the education of our children. If they cannot read or write, they will not get far in life. Even in today's society of technology, the basic skills are still necessary. We had the chance to take a look at Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting from Everyday Education, LLC as a part of this review.

Perfect Reading

We received the digital copy of the Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting book and used it with Ray Ray and Little Miss. Both of the kids are at different levels when it comes to reading and writing. Little Miss is still new to all of it, while Ray Ray knows how to read and write, yet has some frustrations when it comes to writing. I figured he would benefit from this just as much as Little Miss and actually want to have Moe Man work on the handwriting part of this as well to help him improve his handwriting skills.

Janice Campbell found Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting when she first started homeschooling and fell in love with the simple, clear penmanship that she found within the pages. Little did she know, when she went to look for again for her second child that it was out of print. After trying a few different things, she wanted to go back to this and worked hard to bring it back into print for us to use now!


Beautiful Handwriting, Literature and Poetry {Everyday Education, LLC}

Janice starts off letting us know about the simple lesson plans. They each include reviewing the previous lessons, introducing the new concepts, working on tracing and copying what was taught, practicing the sounds (phonics) or reading that was talked about and finishing up the lesson with some copywork.

We first find a section just for the parents to help us understand what we will be teaching our children. We learn about Posture and Pen Holding, Spacing, Slant, Rhythm and Size and Different Scheduling Options which are based upon the child who will be using this. We also learn that there are four different ways to use this book. You can use it for teaching the young child to read and write, help teach the struggling readers read better, teach your child fast, legible handwriting or teach yourself beautiful handwriting.

After this simple introduction, we start the first chapter, still for the parents to go over. This first chapter talks about the reading and writing that will be taught. This program works with phonics versus the sight reading that is taught in many of the public schools. Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting aims its reading skills at ages 4-6 years old. This is the best age to start the reading lessons. It is believed that if you teach the reading skills at this age, they will be bored less and turn to TV and video games less versus the books that are readily available to them.

Beautiful Handwriting

Handwriting is taught with Italics in mind. The typical handwriting that is taught only has six letters that can formed in one stroke versus the twenty-two letters formed in one stroke with the Italic style. This encourages the child to write instead of discouraging them with the perfect forms that are required in the other style. The kids really enjoyed this way of writing. Ray Ray didn't even fight that he had to sit down and spend time writing, he actually enjoyed seeing that he could write!

I loved reading the teaching tips that were included in the beginning of this book. These tips were simple, but a great reminder to the busy homeschool mom or new homeschool mom. The one that really stuck out to me was to make sure that you don't expect your child's writing to be the same as the model. I made sure to have Ray Ray read this for himself as he is always trying to have the perfect writing and the frustration follows when he can't do that.

We simply started with the alphabet when it came to the writing and reading. The very basics of each. I would have both kids sit down together and work on the tracing and writing together. This was nice because I didn't have to spend extra time between the two children and combined the lessons. While Ray Ray knows how to write and Little Miss is just starting, this program allowed them to work together to improve or learn the skills they need.

While Ray Ray knows the basics of phonics for reading, I had him sitting with while Little Miss worked on her skills. I would have him working on the copywork for the section. This way I was able to include him if there was a section that he just didn't understand when it came to reading. He was able to improve on some of the simple phonics that I was trying to work with him on just by sitting by and listening to his sister.

It is safe to say that all three of us were happy with this product. We loved the simplicity of it. I loved that is was a print and go with the digital version and I didn't have to plan for hours on end. The beginning pages that were for me to read answered any and all of my questions that I may have had on the program and I was able to jump right in on Monday morning.

Little Miss loved using this with Ray Ray. She felt older knowing that he was doing the same thing. I noticed that she spent time working on her reading and writing and found her practicing it in her locked diary. She would also start sounding out the words that we were speaking and in some of the easy reader books right away. She loved this new independence and loved watching her bloom.

PRBH

Ray Ray has always fought me when it came to writing. The fine motor skills he needed for this task just didn't seem to show up right away. Once he did start writing, it was sloppy. I would try to correct and he would be upset. When we started in on the writing here, he loved it. He loved the style. How simple it was and the one stroke letters helped him! Being able to flow with his writing, made him proud and when he was proud, he continued! I loved seeing this happen and knowing that his writing was slowly improving!

We thoroughly enjoyed using Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting. I loved all aspects of it and plan to continue to use this as a reading and handwriting program in the years to come!

Everyday Education, LLC has this and other programs available to you. Check out what these other Crew families had the chance to look at!


Beautiful Handwriting, Literature and Poetry {Everyday Education, LLC}


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Crew Disclaimer

Talking Shapes ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

What do you do with a 5-year-old who loves to play games, and learn at the same time? You have to find a program that will give them the fun and learning that they need. What program could that be? Little Miss had the chance to check out Talking Shapes: A Supplemental Curriculum for Early Literacy from Talking Fingers Inc.

A Schoolhouse Crew Review (1)

What Is It

Talking Shapes is a fun way to learn that letters are actually just talking shapes. This is a great program for ages 4-5, or even more advanced 3 year olds, or struggling 6 year olds. Talking Shapes is an interactive computer learning game that can be played on any internet device. It is a series of 7 books about two sisters who invented the alphabet. Each book will introduce your child to new letters and the sounds they make. They will build new words with those sounds.

Ideally you would be able to use this on a touch screen computer, and your child would be able to draw each letter as they learned them. You are able to use a "regular" computer and your child can use the mouse, but they won't get the feel of writing the letter this way.

Within the 7 books in this series, you will find a full phonics curriculum for your preschool child.

Talking Shapes

How We Used It

Little Miss has been using this program as a summer phonics program, preparing her for her kindergarten year. We did not have a touch screen computer, so Little Miss used a mouse to write her letters. This was a little tough at first, but as she practiced, she got better at it and was happy to show me when she could trace the letters correctly. Little Miss spent some time each day working on this and I noticed her looking at letters in a while new way. I have even started seeing letters in a whole new way thanks to this program.

After we logged in Little Miss would be able to click on the book we were working on. This helped us see how much we had done and how much was left to do. Once in the book, we would work through the different chapters. Little Miss loved the games that were played as she learned about the different letters. It is not every day that you look at a butterfly and think of the letter B, but now we do!

Each lesson, we worked on earning 4 gold eggs. If you had an issue with one of the words, you would have to redo it to get that golden egg. After you completed your four words, you would move on to reading the words in sentences. This was also made into a game of clicking on the missing words.

At the end of each book, your child will go through an assessment to see what they can remember from all they have learned. No, this is not like a test and they won't even know that they are taking a test! It is just like the rest of their games and just as much fun!

Talking Shapes Games

What We Thought Of It

While we loved using this program, the loading time was a little slow on our computer. I would get it set up, let it load and then call Little Miss over to do her work. This did get a little frustrating, but we used this time to talk about patience and what a great virtue that is. We live in a "right now" era, and when something takes a minute, it bugs us. After learning about patience, we had no issues. This wasn't any crazy long wait, and never took more than 1 minute.

Little Miss was able to play on the computer and do her school. She loved the games and they kept her interested. There was no boring game, and none that were too hard for her. They were just the right amount of challenge with a great reward for completing each one. This was the perfect summer program for her, and I could see this being a great supplement for the preschool age to use for a whole year.

We were not the only family to spend time playing this program over the last six weeks, check out these other reviews and see what other families had to say while using this with their kids.


Talking Shapes {Talking Fingers Inc. Review}

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Crew Disclaimer

S is for Smiling Sunrise ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

S is for SmilingSunrise Review

A is for apple, B is for ball, C is for cat…and you know how that goes. What if we took those letters we are trying to teach our children and use them in rhymes that talk about goodness, beauty and wonder?


Smiling Sunrise Review

That is exactly what WordsBright did with their ABC-book, S is for Smiling Sunrise!


Smiling Sunrise Review

This hardcover children’s picture book is full of beautiful colored pictures with short rhymes for each letter of the alphabet.

This is not a “homeschool” item, but could be used for your homeschooling of any age child! This is a perfect book for any child who is learning their alphabet and great way to introduce rhyming to your children. Not only will your children learn their ABCs, but S is for Smiling Sunrise strives to teach your children character development, values and virtues with each letter they learn.

S is for SmilingSunrise Review

Little Miss got to sit down with daddy for some reading time before bed with this book. She loves books, and this is no exception. After they were able to read it, we used it as part of her school, reading each letter as we learned about them.

WordsBright offers a downloadable teacher’s guide which offers you many different ideas of things to talk about with each letter. This guide gives you the concept they are trying to teach. There are also questions that go over the pictures, rhymes, comprehension and concepts. There is also vocabulary, and an activity or two to do for each letter.

Also included with this is a FREE MP3 of ABC song and sing along rhymes. This was Little Miss’s favorite part. Yes, she loved the book. Yes, she loved learning about the letters and doing the activities. But my Little Miss is all about singing and songs. This is what got her attention.

This is a very well put together book. I love it for Little Miss and feel that she can learn her alphabet and some good values and virtues from it. The pictures are beautiful. The pages are not dull in the least. Each page is full of color from the picture all the way to the border. There is nothing boring about the pages!

S is for SmilingSunrise Review

The rhymes for each page vary. I liked most of them. However, I am a poetry lover and noticed a few that could use some work. Daddy loved them all as he was reading and didn’t notice anything that I had. Little Miss could care less, as long as someone was reading to her!

The values and virtues that are taught throughout this book are wonderful! It talks about family time, the beauty of the world around us and everything in between.

Overall I really enjoyed using this book as part of our alphabet learning. I loved the pictures, I loved the concepts and activities and even though I thought the rhymes could use some work, I loved them and thought they were very cute. It was nothing that would make me like this book any less. And Little Miss loved the book, and song, so that is a plus here!

S is for SmilingSunrise Review

We are just one family that had the chance to review this book. If you want more ideas about the book, co and check these other sites out!


Wordsbright Review


Crew Disclaimer

20+ Free ABC Printables

20+ FREE ABC Printables

 

The best part about homeschooling the preschool age is that there isn’t much schooling, but a lot of fun and learning added into that fun. We did some fun things with Ray Ray when he was in preschool, and I am planning out Little Miss’s schedule since she is telling me she is ready for school.

The first thing that we focus on is our ABCs and 123s. You could go out and buy a curriculum, or like me, you can play on Pinterest and make your own “curriculum” or play schedule. I have taken those items and complied them here for you…book lists and free printables and activities for the ABCs this week…next week I will give you the same thing for the 123s.

The first thing…you can’t just hand your child a paper and think they are going to have fun, well some of them will, but for those who don’t, start and continue with fun books. Not only is reading with your children fun, but it helps their minds grow. Here are some fun ABC themed books to get them interested:

ABC Books for Fall

ABC Books for Winter

ABC Books for Spring

ABC Books for Summer

Top 10 Alphabet Books

Animal ABC Books

26 Alphabet Books

Alphabet Activities

ABC Handprints

Crafty ABCs

ABC Activities

Alphabet Weekly Themes

ABC Printables

Free Handwriting Worksheets for Preschool

Learn to Write the ABCs

Alphabet Mazes

Christmas Alphabet Book

Fall Q-Tip Painting Printables

Free Printable ABC Puzzles

Free ABC Handwriting Pages

(A Ton of) ABC Printables

ABC Printable Scripture Cards

Alphabet Do-A-Dot Printables

 

These are just a few of the many things I have found using Pinterest…I have my ABC Board that I keep adding to and love to have a variety of fun activities without being committed to one curriculum because I had to buy it. Little Miss loves doing different things each day, so if I keep it changing, she keeps having fun!

What do you do to learn the ABCs? Do you have a fun printable you want to share? Post it below in the comments…I would love to “Pin” it and add it to my board to use!

*At the time of posting these items were listed as free.*