Tag Archive Review

ByAngie

Review: Miss Humblebee’s Academy (Online Preschool Curriculum)

A few months ago I was feeling lost when it came to tracking how well my 4 year old non-verbal autistic son, Johnny Ben, was doing academically. Sure, I would see him accomplish things and notice where he had issues. However, I just couldn’t get him interested in certain activities and it was taking me a long time to sit and chart where he was thriving and lacking. We had tried a few online programs and apps with him in the past, but they just didn’t seem to get his attention or were not available on a tablet. (He lacks the coordination needed to use a mouse, but he’s getting close!) I whispered a prayer that God would help me find a preschool curriculum that would match his needs, be fun, and challenge him but also not break our bank.  It wasn’t but a few days later that I received an email from Miss Humblebee’s Academy asking if I would be interested in reviewing their program. (Can you see where this is going? It’s pretty exciting!)

 

Review: Miss Humblebee's Adacemy on Raising Sticky Hands To Heaven

 

 

Immediately I went to MissHumblebee.com and started looking around. First off I noticed that the program worked on a tablet. Perfect! It may not be an app, but that’s okay. It loads easily on our Android tablets.  Second, the characters, music, prizes, and everything else were fun and very animated. Then that was when I saw it: All instructions are audible so that the child can hear what they are to do. They could even be repeated if needed by the press of a button on most lessons. Since my little guy is just coming around to following instructions, this is a MUST HAVE. But would it cover as many subjects as I needed it to? I went on to look at what the lessons consisted of. This is where I was completely sold, because Miss Humblebee doesn’t just cover math and reading, but also science, social studies, art, and music. Not just a little here and there, either, but hundreds of lessons. This wouldn’t be a temporary fix, but something that we could continue to do over time. I can’t imagine what I looked like reading all of this, but if Mary Poppins were in my living room she probably would have told me to close my mouth because I’m not a codfish. This was exactly what I had prayed for!

 

 

Now, if you’re at all familiar with special needs children, you might know that they live for routine and hate change. It took a couple weeks of just getting him to want to acknowledge Miss Humblebee. He wasn’t interested in creating his own avatar like most kids would be. He would look out the corner of his eye at what was on the screen, but it took awhile to get him to acknowledge it was there. Being we had done this before, I knew it had nothing to do with Miss Humblebee’s Academy and more to do with it being new to him. I pressed on in a way that would not upset him.

In the beginning he would give in and do a little after a some guidance then push it away, but I could see by the look in his eye that he was intrigued. This was more than just another learning tool, this was fun and like a game. We took our time and warmed up slowly. Sometimes he would only do a little, other times he would just look around at the different options. Options like “Art Box”, “Music Room”, “Choose A Lesson”, “Rewards”, “Sticker Room”, and more. After showing him the classroom every so often, he gradually did a little bit more each time. He loves all the characters, Miss Humblebee’s voice, the music, and the “games”. I’ve never had to help him, nor did I ever have to show him what to do. Miss Humblebee made it all so easy, flying around the classroom and guiding him through the lessons.

 

Miss Humblebee's No Caption

 

What he surprisingly shows no interest in is the rewards/stickers/puzzles, but I’m assuming that is because he doesn’t quite grasp the concept. Miss Humblebee also offers printables, which is a great addition so that you can work on motor skills while keeping with the theme of the curriculum, but Johnny Ben just seems to hate paper (Maybe it’s the sound of it rustling?) so while I printed a few out, he wasn’t having it. So unfortunately I can’t give you an opinion on those aspects. That being said, Johnny Ben’s 2 year old little sister, Molly, is VERY interested in what all Miss Humblebee has to say and offer. So much so that we will be purchasing a subscription for her soon after her 3rd birthday as well. For now we have had to cut back our lessons to when Miss Molly Pop is napping or distracted. 😉 I really wish I had Miss Humblebee when 6 year old Tommy was in preschool also. It’s so fun, easy, thorough, and extremely interactive.

So, I’ve told you that Johnny Ben grew to love it and my toddler is aching to get into Miss Humblebee’s classroom… But how am I tracking Johnny Ben’s progress? Every week I receive an email to let me know that a progress report is available. When that email arrives, all I have to do is click on the link and it’s all right there in my account for me to see.  How many lessons he’s completed,  how many prizes he has earned, and how much artwork has been saved. I also have access for past progress reports so I can see how he’s coming along. It is exactly what I needed.

 

Music Class at Miss Humblebee's Academy

 

I do still believe in hands on constructive play for preschoolers. But these lessons are a great addition to all of the other things we are doing without becoming overwhelming. Besides, it is so much more fun that filling out a worksheet! Again, a complete answer to my prayer!

The price of a subscription to Miss Humblebee’s Academy is $12.95 a month for 1 child and $5 for each additional. Another option is a yearly subscription at $129 for 1 child and $60 for each child after that. Not sure you want to make a commitment just yet? There is also a free 1 week trial so you can see if it’ll work for your child.

 

Stay tuned to Raising Sticky Hands To Heaven… A giveaway for one 12 month membership to Miss Humblebee’s Academy is coming soon!

 

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ByAngie

Review: Putting On The Spirit: Ten-Minute Devotions For Busy Moms

This post contains affiliate links.

Unless this is your first time here, you know I’m a busy mom. You see it in my Facebook statuses, Tweets, & frequently here on the blog as, well, the whole theme of Raising Sticky Hands To Heaven is about making time for God in the midst of being a busy mom.

Putting on the Spirit: Ten-Minute Devotions for Busy MomsSo it comes as no surprise that I’m excited to share my review of this book with you all today. Putting On the Spirit: Ten-Minute Devotions for Busy Moms, just released this week, is one of my most favorite devotional books yet.

Katie Hornor

Author Katie Hornor of Paradise Praises put together this study for moms like you and me. The mothers who have little time to catch a breath, let alone find time to spend in the Word. For the moms whose time is valuable and cannot be wasted by reading something that isn’t just right. The ones who sometimes have to read quickly while in the doctor’s waiting room, a few minutes before the family wakes, or maybe even in the bathroom with the door locked. She knew what we needed, because she is a busy mom herself. Most of all, she let the Lord speak through her and that is what makes this book so amazing.

Putting On the Spirit: Ten-Minute Devotions for Busy Moms

Each day’s reading takes about 10 minutes, just as the title says. Along with the workbook that is available for free to download, you will realize what the Bible says about the Fruits of The Spirit mentioned in Galatians while doing some soul searching. While going through Putting On the Spirit: Ten-Minute Devotions for Busy Moms I had so many “Aha!” moments that I did not anticipate. Without being preachy, Katie teaches us how to put on the whole spirit in our day to day lives by being down to earth and speaking the truth. I couldn’t wait to read each day and even found myself crying tears of joy some of those days. Quick, meaty, encouraging, and a blessing. Exactly what I needed!

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This week only Putting On the Spirit: Ten-minute Devotions for Busy Moms is available for 99 cents! The book’s forward is by Heidi St. John and is also available in Spanish. I can’t recommend it enough! I even plan to go through it again each time my children study the fruits of the spirit in homeschool. It’s that good!

 

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ByAngie

Review: How To Manage Your Mouth

This post may contain affiliate links.

 

I can’t even begin to tell you how often I am sticking my foot in my mouth. The wrong thing always seems to pop out unintentionally. If I’m angry, it’s even worse. That filter that some people have between their brain and their mouths was left out when I was manufactured… or so I thought… The truth is that I have a problem with thinking before I speak and using self control. When Connie Hughes of Smockity Frocks offered for bloggers to review her book, How to Manage Your Mouth – A 30 Day Wholesome Talk Challenge my first thought was “Okay, I desperately need to read that.” My second thought was “But I’m not going to like what I find out about myself when I read this…” I finally told my flesh to shut up and sent an email to Connie Hughes asking if I could please review the book.

 

How To Manage Your Mouth - A 30 Day Wholesome Talk Challenge By Connie Hughes

In How To Manage Your Mouth, Connie gives us a look into her heart and why she wrote this daily devotional with journal prompts. Each day has a scripture to apply to our lives and a short but powerful read about why and how to put it into action. There was never a day that was dry, dull, or unuseful. Every day I read, wrote, and did a lot of searching in my heart.

I received the book on a Sunday and began reading it on Monday. Unfortunately, on Tuesday night I was admitted to the hospital with a dangerous blood clot. Several times I tried to begin reading the book again, but due to illness I was just not able to keep up. It wasn’t until I had caught myself saying something that I knew I was going to regret that I decided enough was enough and started all over.

A week after starting How to Manage Your Mouth – A 30 Day Wholesome Talk Challenge the final time, I found myself in a situation that I often find myself in: Arguing with my ex-husband on co-parenting issues with our two children. Right away I fell back into old habits. I was snipping right back at him with sarcastic insults whenever I felt that he was insulting me. Suddenly I remembered the scripture I had read that morning and realized that when held over a fire, I quickly failed the challenge. I stopped the conversation right there and did something that was extremely hard for me to do. I asked the father of my two oldest children to forgive me for my behavior. Yeah, that was NOT easy. The rest of the conversation went on with him and I discussing ways that we can work together to be better parents to our children.

Since that day I have had moments where I have slipped, but in all honesty this book has changed my speech. When I am about to say something that is negative (or I have just said something that I regret) I remember the scriptures compiled in this study and bring myself into accountability.

Does this sound like a book you would like to read yourself? It is available on Amazon
in Kindle format for $3.99. Don’t have a Kindle? That’s okay. You can download an app for your computer, phone, or tablet for free and read it that way. Click here to read more about free Kindle apps.

None of you are like me and need to read this book, though, are you? 😉

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ByAngie

Review: Seed Sowers: Gospel Planting Adventures

Growing up in a Pastor’s home, I always loved when missionaries came to our church and shared stories of their time out on the field. Reading books about their journeys and experiences always fascinated me as well. So when I was given the opportunity to review Seed Sowers: Gospel Planting Adventures by Gwen Toliver, I was ecstatic!

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This book certainly did not disappoint. In fact, I would say it was one of the most exciting and descriptive missionary books I have read yet. With 165 pages full of adventure just as the title states, the true stories of missionaries out on the field with the task of translating the Holy Bible into the native tongue of the people they are spreading the gospel to will keep you from wanting to put the book down! While some of the names and locations of those in the stories have been changed, each chapter is indeed a true story of a way that God has worked to help His children.

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We used this book as a “family read aloud”, but I also went back and read it again alone so I could soak it all in. The kids seemed to be really interested in what they were hearing and even asked me a few times, “Is this for real? This stuff really goes on? Cannibals and witch doctors?” Yes, kids. It does go on, sadly. But as they listened on they realized that God was there all along, keeping His hand on those He had called. The stories make it clear that God made a way for those who were not only doing His work, but also those who needed to hear the Gospel.

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In addition to hearing all about what God can do, the descriptions of the locations where these stories took place were amazing. Hearing about different parts of the world that we had never been to was really neat and a way for us to explore more geography than we usually would during the Summer time.

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Gwen Toliver, a homeschool mom and blogger, could not have done a better job writing this book. She went to great lengths to share the stories of those who had given it all to share the love of Jesus with others. I am so thankful to her for her hard work on this project!

On top of all of the information available in the book, there are also photos on the Seed Sowers website where you can see the faces and places from the book. How cool is that?

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Available for sale on the publisher’s website, you can purchase Seed Sowers: Gospel Planting Adventures for $12.50.

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If you’d like to give your children a heart for those who need to hear the Gospel and be able to read the Word of God, I highly recommend this book. It will bless you to bits and introduce your family to having a heart for others.

 

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Want to read more reviews? Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew

 

 

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ByAngie

Review: Greene Bark Press

I’m one of those moms. You know, the kind that try not to be helicopter moms, but on the inside still want to jump out and protect their kid every second. I stand back and watch my kids as carefully as I can without smothering them. While placing them each in bubbles is tempting, I have not. The best way to ease my mind but give my children freedom is to teach them every aspect of safety that I can. So when I was given the opportunity to review the book Look Left, Look Right, Look Left Again from Greene Bark Press I was intrigued. A book about safety? Sounds good. But would it keep the kids’ attention? That it did!

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Written by Ginger Pate and illustrated by Rhett Pennell, Look Left, Look Right, Look Left Again is a board book about a little duck named Wally. Wally is a lovable little character who wants to mail a card he has made to his Grandma, and eventually visit her. But to do that, he has to learn to cross the street properly. Wally’s mom helps him learn how to do this, guiding him a long the way with cute little phrases and corrections. The pages are full of color and eye catching illustrations, while the story includes sound effects for the reader to sound out. Not leaving out humor, the book drills the message of how to appropriately handle being a pedestrian in a few different scenarios home to young children, emphasizing the importance of safety.

 

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 My children adore this book. Molly loves to help sound out the sound effects with me while pointing to the photos as Tommy pops in to finish the sentences. Yes, we have read it enough for them to memorize the book and they still want to keep reading it! Just today I heard Tommy say to Molly as they played, “Be sure to look left again for elephants!”

Greene Bark Press

If you have a young child this is a great book to add to your collection. It doesn’t seem preachy, dry, or boring at all. The kids love the story and it brings a great message. Priced at $8.50 and made with sturdy board, it would make a great book to keep in the car or stroller.

 

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ByAngie

Review: Reading Kingdom

For some children, learning to read with a book just isn’t enough. They need something that is more multi-sensory. With these kids, this might mean using an online program like Reading Kingdom to help them learn the skills they need.

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Whether your child is just starting out or has been struggling with learning to read for some time, Reading Kingdom can help teach your child to read and write at a 3rd grade level. By starting out with a very thorough assessment, the program knows exactly where to place your child and what challenges are necessary to help him or her thrive. By using colorful animations with fun sounds, most 4-10 year olds will feel like they are playing a game at times instead of actually learning.

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By covering sequencing, writing, sounds, meaning, grammar, and comprehension, Reading Kingdom helps children learn to read in a more balanced approach than phonics (sounds) alone. Parents are emailed regularly with updates on progress their child is making and can log in and see where their children are at, adjust the settings (I had to increase the response time for Tommy, as he needed a bit more time to find the keys on the keyboard.), and manage the readers. That’s right, you can have more than one child on your account! Being that it is a website where you log in and not a software, you are able to use Reading Kingdom on any computer making it extremely convenient. I loved that if needed I could send Tommy to my Mom’s for the day and he could still get some of his studies done, yet I would still know his exact progress as I could look at it online.

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While the program costs $19.99 a month for the first child, $9.99 for each additional (Or the annual plan of $199.99, $99.99 for each additional child.), Reading Kingdom is flexible in that they give you a 30 day free trial before you begin paying for the subscription. This way you will know if it is the right fit for your family before you commit to it financially.

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Tommy struggled a bit with this program in the beginning. However, once I fixed the response time and he became more familiar with the keyboard he began to like it. Overall, we really like this program and I believe it might be a really good fit for him. He’s quite fond of the little characters on the screen, making up little names for them and such. When he is congratulated for getting something right by the program, he says, “Why, thank you!”. Such a funny kid. It has really helped him with sequencing and sounds.

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If you’re looking for a different approach than you’ve tried in the past, or have a beginning reader that needs something a bit more visual, I would definitely recommend Reading Kingdom. If you do try it out, be sure to let me know!

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Want to know what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought of Reading Kingdom? Click to read more reviews.

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ByAngie

Review: Bible Study Guide For All Ages

About a month ago, a week or two after we began using Bible Study Guide For All Ages to review the Beginner Level Student Pages, Beginner Level Time Line, and the Children’s Song CD Set in our homeschool, I had sent my oldest daughter, Becca, and my middle son, Tommy, to church with my parents as I was not feeling well.  When they arrived home, before I had a chance to say anything, Becca went right into telling me how her little brother embarrassed her in Children’s Church. My first thought was “Oh no, what did he do…”, so with fear I listened her tell me how he interrupted the teacher several times.

 

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Now, let me be clear that I am not condoning his behavior, and I was still embarrassed. (Melissa, if you’re reading this, I’m so sorry!) However, his reason for interrupting was because he was excited that he knew all the details of the story of Joseph that the lesson was detailing. From the Coat of Many Colors all the way up to Joseph becoming Pharaoh. After having a talk with Tommy on how impolite it is to interrupt our teachers, I walked away surprised. “He knows every detail of the story! Every single bit! Wow!

 

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Intended for ages 3 – Kindergarten, Bible Study Guide For All Ages Beginner Level is a complete Bible Study that covers more than just a simple story with each lesson, but helps your child memorize Books of the Bible, each day of Creation, lineage of the Bible, and more. There is little prep work to be done for each lesson on your part, yet so much material is covered. The most I ever had to do to prepare for a lesson was to cue the songs on the CDs that were to be used that day or find a household object to bring to lesson time with me.

 

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Each day we began by pulling out the student page we would be using. It literally walked me through each step right there, instead of having to jump from place to place to know what needed to be done. First we would go through our Time Line cards that we hung around the room. These are 8 1/2 x 11 card stock pages that go through people and events in the Bible in the order they took place. We went through each of these each day that we did a lesson, adding a new card each day. Next, we would sing a few songs and memory drills along with the Children’s Songs CD, go over some memorization and simple questions about things we had already learned, and then I would do a little lesson that was mostly read from the page where I applied the story we were about to learn to present day. Once all of this was done, we jumped right into that days lesson.

 

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Here is where it got really cool. The lesson is set out as if it were a comic strip, making it easy for little ones to follow along.At this point, I would read the story from the page and at the end of each segment there would be a little instruction for the child to color or mark the photo in one way or another.

 

Bible Study Guide For All Ages - Beginner's Time Line - Raising Sticky Hands To Heaven

 

At the end of the story, we would flip the page over and do a quick question and answer about what was going on in the photo. One example was a picture of little boy holding a glass behind his back as he told his dad that he didn’t know where his lemonade was. The question was if the little boy was lying. (Good luck to you if your child is like mine and quickly colors the glass a light shade of brown to make it Iced Tea so that the boy is not lying about not knowing where the lemonade is… 😉 )

 

Bible Study Guide For All Ages - Beginner Level Student Pages - Raising Sticky Hands To Heaven

Overall, our family LOVES Bible Study Guide For All Ages and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants a thorough, Biblical, and easy approach to teaching the Bible to their children.

The Beginner Level Student Pages are $5.95 per unit. (26 lessons, you’ll need one for each child.)
The Beginner Level Time Line is $24.95. (You only need to buy this once, and only need one total.)
The Children’s Songs CD Set is $19.95. (This will only need to be purchased once as well.)

 

 

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Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew, including reviews for products at different age levels.

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ByAngie

Review: BrainFood Learning – The Fascinating World Of Birds

Sometimes when teaching our children, they just need to “see” what we are trying to convey to them instead of only listening to us talk or reading it from a book. Other times, we get tired of them watching the same uneducational programs and movies over and over, and we wish there was something interesting for them to watch and absorb instead. Recently, our family was given the opportunity to review a DVD from BrainFood Learning. For our family it was the solution to both of the scenarios listed above.

 

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The particular DVD we received was The Fascinating World of Birds. In this DVD children of all ages, and even parents, can learn many incredible facts about birds of all kinds. Covering everything from molting to why ostriches eat rocks, this DVD will intrigue both you and your children with gorgeous video and photographs.

Some examples of topics our family learned about and were fascinated about are what gizzards are for, how nests are built, different types of food that different types of birds eat, facts about migration, why birds that swim or don’t fly have wings, how long geese stay with their mates, and more. The title of this DVD is not an exaggeration. It is truly fascinating. Even I learned quite a bit of facts I didn’t know or had forgotten!

The birds covered in this DVD are ostrich, penguin, Cnad Goose, owl, hummingbird, woodpecker, macaw, pelican, American Robin, and eagle.

We watched this DVD quite a few times and all seemed to find something we had missed the times we had viewed it before. The children never seemed bored watching it, and even Molly who is only 2 sat still for most of it.

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The DVD comes with an option to have a review of the information that is contained in the DVD play immediately at the end of the movie, or played separately from the DVD menu. There is a section of the review for early learners with flash card type questions and answers. There is also a section for older learners that includes questions with multiple choice answers. It was fun to watch Tommy and Becca try to see who could answer the questions correctly first.

One other really cool thing, that is a recent addition to this product, is a set of free lesson plans on the BrainFood website that covers a few subjects. Using this DVD and the lesson plans, you could easily have a Unit Study on birds!

At the price of $14.99, this DVD is quite affordable. Especially for the amount of information packed into it. If your children are interested in birds, you are planning a study on birds, or would like to build your educational DVD collection, then I would highly recommend purchasing this amazing resource.

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Interested in reading what others thought of this product, or about “The Fascinating World of Insects” and “The Fascinating World of Mammals” DVDs also offered by BrainFood Learning? Then click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

 

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ByAngie

Review: The Homegrown Preschooler

I must admit, I was skeptical. In the 4 years of homeschooling preschoolers that our family has accomplished, we have owned & checked out many books from Gryphon House . Don’t get me wrong, we LOVE everything this company puts out. But a book on homeschooling? I wasn’t so sure. Yet here I am, eating crow, because The Homegrown Preschooler: Teaching Your Kids in the Places They Live has gone above and beyond my expectations on what any book on homeschooling preschoolers should be.

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Written by two homeschool moms, Kathy Lee & Lesli Richards, this book explains every bit of what it is like to homeschool a young child in every circumstance. Full of tips, recipes for meals, recipes for creative play and art, an amazing amount of ideas and activities, and timeless advice this book is the source that every mother that is homeschooling a preschooler, veteran or rookie, could use. Connecting with the authors comes right off the bat in the first few pages as they explain why they decided to homeschool and how much they love teaching their children at home. Kathy, a woman who studied early childhood development and had a career in the same category, states how much she loves seeing her child experience “aha moments”. Lesli explains how she learned that you don’t have to be perfect to homeschool. I couldn’t agree with both of the authors more.

The entire book is filled with a variety of sections. From child development to how to build your own sensory table, it covers it all. There is even a chapter on homeschooling your special needs preschooler, which was timely for me personally. There is even a section on adopting a preschooler! At the end of the book are checklists, a form for lesson planning, and plans to build helpful furniture for your own homeschool.

Review The Homegrown Preschooler

 

The first part of the book covers all the tips, evaluations, routines, development, ways of handing different situations, and more. The second part of the book is the fun: The activities, lessons, crafts, and ways to help your child learn.

The chapters of this book are as follows:

  • Introduction: Our Journeys To Growing Our Children At Home
  1. Homeschooling – Harvesting A Bountiful Life
  2. Learning Through Play
  3. Sowing The Seeds – Preschool Learning
  4. Setting The Stage
  5. Home Life = Learning – Slow Down And Teach
  6. Who Has Time For This?
  7. Organizing It All
  8. Days And Season That Don’t Fit In The Box
  9. Special Circumstances
  • Activities
    •  Home life
    •  Science
    •  Gross Motor
    •  Fine Motor
    •  Math
    •  Language Arts
    •  Art
    •  Social – Emotional

The book also includes an appendix and index at the end.

 

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For me, personally, I didn’t expect to learn as much as I have from this book. I thought that in my 4 years of homeschooling a preschooler that I knew all there was to know. I’ve read countless books, articles, and blogs. However, there were apparently many things I did not know. In my life I have never taken so many notes, underlined, highlighted, applied sticky notes, etc. in one book. Not even in college. I’m excited to state that our new homeschool year for 2013 – 2014 is going to look very differently than in previous years thanks to this book. For our Summer school, I have had the little ones follow most of the activities listed in this book such as dramatic play, hands on learning, constructive play, & playing with a purpose.

With the advice for busy moms, making goals, organizing it all, recipes, and more, my outlook and approach has improved. The book reminds me a lot of the Montessori approach, but is also different in it’s own way as it has a more relaxed way of going about it.

One of the many fun things we’ve done in our home are the busy bags and bins as suggested in The Homegrown Preschooler. Some for home, some for on the go. My little girl, only 2, now helps more with household chores and is learning all at the same time. My autistic son is loving the sensory ideas and our family is excited for my husband to build him the light and sensory tables as described in the appendix of the book. (Great for children without special needs, as well!) I will likely never buy “doughs” for play or bubbles again, as there are many recipes for different types that are so much fun, easy to make, and cost much less! Our outdoor play is more organized and fun. I could go on and on…

There is no specific or right way to use this book. Each day in our home is different. But The Homegrown Preschooler is now used daily in our homeschool, sitting on top of my daily planning binder for helping me plan my days. I am asked often by new homeschoolers on how to do preschool at home. From now on, I will be recommending this book. Every new (and veteran) homeschool-preschool mom should read this. It literally covers everything you can imagine.

I do want to mention one thing specifically: I have been ill this summer with a rare blood clot in a strange part of my body. This book covers homeschooling in difficult seasons of life. It has really helped me in how I approach each day while dealing with an illness and impaired from going about our days in the way we usually do. The book has also suggested how to help my children handle it all. Perfect for what we are going through right now, and has made quite the difference. Instead of sitting around whining about how we are not getting it all just right like we usually do, we are doing what we need to do. We are just going about it at a different routine.

 

The price of The Homegrown Preschooler: Teaching Your Kids in the Places They Live is $29.95.

 

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Want to read what others thought of The Homegrown Preschooler and another Gryphon House book, Global Art? Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

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ByAngie

Review: Circle Time – Planning The Best Part of Your Day From Preschoolers And Peace

I still remember when my husband, Bobby, and I first decided to homeschool. (Ironically, it was almost a year after we said up and down that we would never homeschool.) Having been a homeschool graduate, I was ecstatic. Tommy had just turned 2 and was begging us to learn. He asked so many questions and needed to be challenged. We figured we might as well get started… While it was early, I figured we could do simple toddler activities and enjoy our time together. I assumed that as my children got older it would be pretty easy, having 3 children in 3 years, to combine everything for them to learn a good amount of things together… Boy, was I wrong! I wish I had read Circle Time by Kendra Fletcher from Preschoolers and Peace then!

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Now, let me be clear. We have always had what we called “circle time”. Here’s how it was supposed to go: About 30-60 minutes of myself with all kids (in the Summer the older 2 are included): Begin with prayer, move right in to The Pledge of Allegiance, calendar time, weather, address & phone numbers, alphabet, counting to 100, quick review of what was learned the day before, memory scripture, Bible lesson, and story time. Ahh.. No. That’s not how it went. Not at all. It either took much longer while I tried to keep Johnny Ben from either escaping the room or dumping out art supplies and Molly begged and cried until I let her get out the crayons or turn on an educational DVD (The DVDs seem special to them because we are only allowed to watch those DVDs in the homeschool room… or I’m just that boring…) while Tommy shouted “Yay! Schools done! Can I play with :insert legos, playdoh, Wii, outside, or something else fun here: now?” or much shorter because I just gave up and moved on to what was next. Every. Single. Day. Kindergartener, Delayed Preschooler, & Toddler. Why did I think it would go so smooth?!

Our circle time made a sudden major transformation about 6 weeks ago. The kids didn’t know what to think and kept insisting I was doing it wrong. They had no idea I had read Circle Time or what I was doing, but after about 2 minutes they finally sat down and went along with it. In the book, there were… wait, I’m getting ahead of myself! I need to tell you about the book!

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Kendra Fletcher is a mom to 8 kids of which she homeschools. In a way to spend more time as a family and simplify life by teaching her children of multiple ages at the same time, she has circle time so that they are all able to learn various studies together. In Circle Time, she goes about outlining how she does circle time with her children, what has worked, what hasn’t, ideas for keeping little ones busy, things to use during circle time, words from others who have circle time and how they do it, and how to transition into the rest of the day while everyone does their individual studies.

While the book is a quick read of only 32 pages, it packs quite a punch! I was able to read it, take notes, use the printables, and plan the next days circle time in one night. Since then I have gone back and referenced this little book for more ideas. It has truly been a sanity saver.

The chapters are as follows:

  • Planning a Circle Time That Works for You
  • Strategies for a Peaceful Time Together
  • How to Get Your Kids on Board
  • Questions From Moms Like You
  • Words of Wisdom From Other Moms Who Do Circle Time
  • Resources, Activities, and Ideas
  • Printable Planner Sheets

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So back to where I left off… In the book, there are printable planning/idea sheets. The night before our first new and improved circle time, I filled them out and made a goal of how long I wanted our circle time to last. It included starting off with a new way of praying that is explained in Circle Time. (What a hit! The kids now spend time thinking of what they will pray for.) The rest all went so smooth and by the end, everyone was ready to sit down and do what they were supposed to do next. My children have learned a few scriptures (much more easily) and have begun to learn other memory work as well. Even on that first day, we far surpassed my initial goal for how long circle time should last. Mom is happy. The kids are happy. Johnny Ben isn’t trying to escape and Molly isn’t bored. Success! (I would have included a photo of us doing circle time, but we are always so wrapped up in it we always forget to take a picture. :/ Sorry.)

Circle Time is available at Preschoolers and Peace for $4.99 in PDF ebook format.

 Disclaimer

Circle Time was reviewed by other TOS Review Crew bloggers as well. You can click here to read their reviews as well. Enjoy!

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