Category Archive Homeschool


5 Days Of Crafty Lessons: Using Basic Supplies To Explain How A Plant Grows And Some Thoughts

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Today is day 3 in our 5 Days of Crafty Lessons series in the 5 Day Summer Blog Hop with the Schoolhouse Review crew. Don’t forget to read Days 1 & 2 in our series as well!

With this post I want to add some thoughts, and then we’ll get into another crafty lesson.


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When lesson planning, sometimes we as parents get excited. We are certain that this crafty lesson is going to cause our children to suddenly catch every little detail of what we are trying to convey, when usually that is just not likely. Grasp the majority of the lesson? Probably. All? Not usually. Don’t be upset if you have to go over it all again in different ways a few more times before they “get it” completely.

Another problem that can come up is that in our imagination, we have this grand idea of how this craft is going to come out. It’s going to be just perfect and the kids are going to love doing every bit of it. Keep in mind, it is a child doing the craft, not a 22 year old art major. Let them use their imaginations, let them do it not so perfectly, and most of all, encourage them if there is a part of the craft that is tedious and they just want to give up. If they push through, the next step is most likely fun and they’ll forget they were ever upset.

If the above 2 paragraphs are not remembered, you can quickly become discouraged and feel like you’ve wasted a lot of time. I’ve seen it happen with others and myself as well. Just keep on going, remember you are the best teacher your child can have… and some kids just don’t like crafts. There’s nothing wrong with that.


How to teach using CRAFTY LESSONS Exploring education with a craft


Now, for today’s craft. This is one of those where in my mind it looked completely different from the way it came out, but it’s not my craft. It’s Tommy’s craft. So of course, it looks very unique. It’s not bad, and it got the lesson across. The lesson is what matters. Not the project. (Kind of like yesterday’s funny looking little mail man. That was NOT what I expected either. HA!)

Creating an example of how a seed grows into a plant:


Creating an example of the growth cycle of a flower


For this craft, the supplies were:


What you'll need for your child to create an example of a seed growing into a flower


Tommy and I have read books and I’ve tried drawing for him the process of planting a seed and it growing into a plant, flower, tree, vegetable, etc. He grasped some of it, but was still having trouble understanding it. One day last week I was putting some blocks of packing styrofoam and boxes in to the garage to be thrown out when I suddenly had an idea. I pulled one of the blocks out, cut off one of the ends, scooped a hole with an ice cream scoop on the top and another hole on the side. Then I placed it aside meaning to come back to it right away, but instead waited until the last possible minute, hence this being posted today instead of yesterday. (I do stuff like this frequently. I’m the worst procrastinator. It is my worst habit, for sure.)

A few days later, I came back to my block of styrofoam. I painted the front and sides brown along with the hole in the top. The top I painted green. (I left the back alone.)


Paint a block of styrofoam and use it as an example to explain the cycle of a seed growing into a flower to your child


The only reason I did this step without Tommy was because I knew he would not handle having to wait until the paint dried to move on to the next step. He did, however, catch me painting and asked what I was making. I just told him it was a surprise for school and he would find out soon.

Once we were ready to do our lesson, I sat down with Tommy and explained the whole process. I began by telling him that we were going to be silly and pretend that some of our craft supplies were things found in nature. He “planted” the seeds into the holes by gluing them in… but would not let us move on to the next step until we covered the hole back up with pretend dirt. So for 2 minutes, we used “shovels” and filled the holes with imaginary dirt. THAT was when I knew this crafty lesson was going to be a hit!


Plan a crafty lesson to have your child create an example of the growth cycle of a flower


Next I told him that a seed needs 3 things to grow: good soil (He pointed out that we already had that, smart alec.), water, and sunlight. So we made a stand with pipe cleaners for our pretend rain to fall from, tore up a bunch of little pieces of tissue paper, taped the tissue paper to the string, and tied the string to the pipe cleaners… but not before he used an imaginary watering can to put water on the seed himself.

Now, of course, we needed a sun! Again, we made a stand from pipe cleaners, but this time we made a circle at the top and inserted a yellow pom pom.

With our seed receiving plenty of water and sunlight, our seed was beginning to grow. He literally said, “Now I get it” which was SO stinkin’ cute and relieving! He made a little sprout from a pipe cleaner and put it in the styrofoam. Then he asked how it would become a flower… I told him it takes time, but eventually our little sprout would keep growing and it would bloom into a beautiful flower. He chose which pipe cleaners he wanted to use for his flower and with a little help from me created a gorgeous little stem and petals. Next he glued a pom pom to the center of the flower and inserted it into the styrofoam.

When it was all done, he was so proud of his creation. I asked him to tell me what each piece was and what was happening with each step. Even hours later he still had it all down pat. SUCCESS!!!

As we sat and enjoyed his little artwork, we read Planting a Rainbow, Jack’s Garden, The Tiny Seed (World of Eric Carle), How a Seed Grows (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1). It was a wonderful time of learning for him, teaching for me, and spending time together as a whole. We made some lasting memories with this lesson. That’s one of the many reasons I love homeschooling!


Reading children's books about gardening after a crafty lesson on how plants grow


While reading this series, have you come up with any ideas for Crafty Lessons? Are you enjoying these posts or do you find them silly? Should I consider making this a weekly link up? I’d love to know!


Be sure to visit the other 90 bloggers on the Schoolhouse Review Crew participating in this blog hop by clicking the image below. Thanks for stopping by!
Summer Blog Hop

Psst… Don’t forget to head over and enter the Back To Homeschool giveaway and enter for your chance to win!



5 Days Of Crafty Lessons: Explaining What Happens To Mail With Pipe Cleaners

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This really wasn’t supposed to be today’s crafty lesson. The paint on the other lesson was taking WAY too long to dry, so we had to move right along… I really should have done all of these lessons LAST week. Lesson learned! Be more organized! Now you know why today’s post is so late… Sorry!

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Tommy has been writing letters back and forth with Emily’s little girl, Adah. It was important to both Emily and I that our children learn to write letters and have pen pals, so this worked out great. These two hilarious little kids have been writing letters to each other for quite a few months now, so I thought it was time to explain to Tommy what exactly happens to the letters he sends to Adah.


Explaining The Mail System With Pipe Cleaners


The supplies we used were:

First we began by writing a letter. As soon as the letter came to an end, I asked Tommy “Where do you think this letter will go? How will it get to Adah?” He replied “Francis (our mail lady) will take it to her.” I went on to explain that while, yes, our mail lady will take it from our home, it will take a process to take to Adah that our mail lady isn’t involved in. Whether riding in a truck or on a plane, it has to get across the country some how. Once it arrives there it has to be sorted and take a couple other short rides before Adah’s mail person delivers it to her house.

As we were discussing this, we cut the letter into strips. Taping each strip to each other, we made one long strip of paper.

How To Teach The Mail System Using Pipe Cleaners

With the strip we created a scroll by winding the strip of paper up around one pipe cleaner.


Using A Craft To Teach What Happens To Mail


Once the scroll was created, we made a belly, head, arms, and legs for our little mail man, and then attached it all together by just winding the ends of pipe cleaner around another pipe cleaner.


How To Use Pipe Cleaners To Teach What Happens To Mail

Once all of that was done, we topped it off by inserting a pom pom into the head piece for a face and then gluing on some eyes.


Make A Mail Man To Teach About The Mail System


Before going into a (rather LARGE) envelope for Adah, our little guy made his way around the house on a little toy truck. Now our mail man is off and on his way to Adah, where he will deliver the letter Tommy wrote for her.


Be sure to visit the other 90 bloggers on the Schoolhouse Review Crew participating in this blog hop by clicking the image below. Thanks for stopping by!
Summer Blog Hop

Psst… Don’t forget to head over and enter the Back To Homeschool giveaway and enter for your chance to win!



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.



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.




5 Days Of Crafty Lessons – Introduction And Teaching Influence With Tissue Paper

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Welcome to the 5 day Summer blog hop with the Schoolhouse Review Crew! It’s rather exciting, isn’t it? 90 bloggers all sharing their tips, advice, methods, and more for 5 days? I have a feeling Raising Sticky Hands To Heaven’s and my personal Pinterest boards are going to be blowing up! For those of you who have never visited our blog before, I’m so glad you’re here and hope you’ll stick around. (Wow, I promise there was no pun intended there.)


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For this blog hop, my topic will be Crafty Lessons. This method comes pretty easily to me, because there are 3 things I just love to do: Talk, teach my children, and crafts. By teaching with crafty lessons I am able to do all 3 of those in our homeschool.


How to teach using CRAFTY LESSONS Exploring education with a craft


How exactly does one teach with a craft lesson? Well, first, you have to get creative. I usually use this method for something that would be otherwise difficult for my children to grasp. Let’s take for example, teaching my children the importance of caution with who they allow to influence them, and the influence they have on others lives. That would normally be nearly impossible to explain to a 5 year old, but I noticed that in his little life this was something he really needed to understand. I was able to teach this lesson to my son Tommy in a way that he would not only fully comprehend, but remember and put into use while having a tangible reminder of the lesson that he learned.

So you have your concept that you need to help your child grasp. How do you use a craft to teach it though? Some of lessons are pretty easy. For example there are a plethora of ways to explain blood cells, planets, or the alphabet with a craft. But some concepts, and even full subjects, are much more complex.

When this happens, there are a few things I do. First I either look at the text book we are using or just go straight to google. I get a visual picture of what I am going to be teaching. (If it is not something physical, I use a dictionary to get a clear definition.) Then I do some research to find out every single detail of what I am dealing with. Crafts can sometimes come out looking not quite right if you don’t get the little details just right.

Next, I consider 1 of 2 things. If it is a physical object that is the focus, I make a list of supplies that would have a similar texture to the item. (Never be afraid to just have the child paint or draw a VERY detailed and labeled picture of what you are teaching if it is just going to be way too difficult to match up what you are teaching. While most lessons can be taught with a craft, once in awhile there is something way too difficult or expensive to recreate. That’s okay.) An example would be if for some reason I wanted to create a bear. I could use fur, felt, fleece, cotton, etc. For a concept, I would consider what exactly the action of that would be and try to think of a substance or material that could help bring the thought to life.

If at this point I am unable to have an epiphany that causes me to annoy my husband with my wonderful idea and call my mom and best friend to share my excitement, I hit google and pinterest and type in the substance or material I want to use and “craft”. Easy peasy.

At craft time, instead of the kids watching me while I explain the lesson, we dive right into the craft. As we are going about our time of fun, I talk… a lot. I explain every detail of not only what they are to do with the supplies before them, but what I am teaching them. I get very repetitive and let them ask me questions, and I ask them questions as well. Just as I love to have discussions with friends as we craft together, my children and I do the same.

This is a great way for my children to learn. They are very hands on, visual, auditory learners. Teaching them with crafty lessons just seems to be a great fit for them, among many other methods.

So just how did I explain the concept of influence? I don’t know how to explain it, but tissue paper bleeding just came to me. Tissue paper, especially the cheap low quality kind, bleeds when wet and stains everything it touches. The same goes for the influence of others on us. Not one single person we meet in our lives goes without touching us in some way. It’s just that some make more of a difference than others, particularly those we spend a lot of time with.


Teaching the concept of influence to little ones with tissue paper


For this craft, the supplies were:


This fun activity is so easy, a toddler can do it.  The best part is you don’t have to worry about a mess being made or taking a lot of time to clean up.


Toddlers Can Learn About Influence Too

Toddlers Can Learn About Influence Too!!!
(Pardon the mess, toddlers can also make HUGE messes while you gather your supplies…)



I had the children sit down and gave them each a white piece of card stock. I told them to pretend that this paper was them. Right away, before I got a big “huh?”, I had them help me rip the tissue paper into pieces of all different sizes. I explained during this time the meaning of the word “influence”. That there are people in our lives, like our pastor who are a good influence on us, for example our pastor. However, there are also friends and family in our lives that as much as we don’t like their actions or words that come out of their mouths, they still have an impact on our thoughts, actions, and words. We may not notice it right away, but eventually if we are not careful, the bad influence will start to seep in and do damage. I went on to explain that this damage can be repaired by carefully breaking bad habits and spending more time with those who have good influence, but we should be careful in who we select to spend a lot of time with or look up to.


Using a tissue paper craft to teach the meaning of influence


Next, we started placing one sheet of tissue paper at a time on various places of the card stock, “painting” the water on to the papers. This took about 10 minutes or so and was just enough time for us to talk about how we should not be mean to those who have a bad influence, but should show Christ’s love to them. That we should strive to be a good influence to others, especially those who are not always showing such great character traits. I used Acts 20:28 to point out that influence is mentioned in the Bible and that we are instructed to be cautious in our approach with others.  Tommy stated how sad he would be if someone else did something bad because of something he said or did. At that moment, I knew I got through to him.


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Hours later, when the papers were dry, we peeled off the dry tissue paper. Immediately Tommy noticed that there were both the “good” and “bad” colors on “him”. I made sure to point out that there were some parts where the blue was covered by red, so much so that the blue was very faded. The same goes for us, that when we have been influenced in a way that is not healthy, we can change our path and “fade out” the bad. Then Tommy taught me a lesson, “Mama, the paper can also be the earf (earth), and I want my influence on it to be good.” I think it’s safe to say, this crafty lesson was a success!


Teaching little ones the meaning of influence using tissue paper


Just in case you were wondering, I did choose the colors red and blue for a reason. Our home has a patriotic decor of red, white, and blue. Right now we are redecorating our entry way and hall way. Not only will these creations make great “art pieces” to hang on display, but they will be a reminder to our family as we head out the door to not only be cautious of others, but especially ourselves. (The semi star shape was total accident, how cool is that?)

So, what do you think? Like the idea of crafty lessons? Does it sound too complicated to you, or have you actually done some yourself?



Be sure to visit the other 90 bloggers on the Schoolhouse Review Crew participating in this blog hop by clicking the image below. Thanks for stopping by!
Summer Blog Hop

Psst… Don’t forget to head over and enter the Back To Homeschool giveaway and enter for your chance to win!



Coming Soon: Schoolhouse Expo (And today, a GIVEAWAY!)

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The Old Schoolhouse has so many resources to offer homeschool families. There’s The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, a FREE magazine that you can read online every month either on their website or on an app with your phone or tablet. I even read it recently on an airplane at 30,000 feet. The articles in this magazine are incredible. In fact, it’s so hard to believe it is free. The magazine is loaded with high quality articles full of advice, ideas, reviews, and sometimes even some freebies. Then there’s, a membership website full of curricula that can either be used as supplements to what you already use or as a full stand alone curriculum for your children, ebooks, planners, and more. (If you join now, your first month is only $3! There are yearly memberships available as well.) Schoolhouse Library is the newest resource of The Old Schoolhouse. For a one time membership purchase of $25 your family has access to an entire library just for homeschooling families. And of course there is Schoohouse Review Crew ( 😉 ) among several other branches of resources. But today we are going to talk about one of my absolute FAVORITE resources, Schoolhouse Expo. No, this isn’t the monthly Schoolhouse Expos you are thinking of. Yes, those are great also… But this is the granddaddy of Expos…


Giveaway for 1 ticket to Schoolhouse Expo from Raising Sticky Hands To Heaven August 4-11


While comfy on my couch, headphones on one ear, coffee in hand, and most likely my hair a horrid mess I will be listening to some of my favorite homeschool speakers for 5 days this month. I don’t have to get a baby sitter or worry about packing a suit case. Since the daily sessions begin at 10am pacific time (That’s 1pm eastern) I will have just enough time to get the kids out of bed, clothed, and fed. Chores will be done. My children can play and enjoy some games while Mom learns and equips herself for the upcoming year. (Can you guess what I’m excited about yet? I’m such a homebody… And it shows!)


Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? I would say you wouldn’t believe the price, but you’ve already seen it in the graphic above… But seriously, $24 for an expo of this size? That’s a bargain! If I were to travel (cost right there), stay in a hotel (more money), attend a conference… you get the picture. This way, I’ll be listening to speakers like Marie Rippel, Tyler Hogan, Molly Green, Jay Wile, and others while chatting with fellow homeschoolers. What if the kids interrupt, you ask? Not a problem. All sessions will be recorded and available to attendees to listen to later.


Just think, if The Old Schoolhouse Magazine is so great every month… I can’t wait to see how the Schoolhouse Expo is!


If you’re interested in attending Schoolhouse Expo, you can click here to purchase a ticket. But if you want to wait and see if you’re able to win this spiffy giveaway, that’s okay too. 😉


The winner will be announced one week from today and will have 48 hours to claim their prize. (I’ll send the winner an email, don’t worry busy moms.) Sorry, but entry is only open to those in the United States. You can see the rest of of the terms and conditions in the widget below where you enter.

Hope to “see” you there!


Disclaimer: I was given a free ticket to Schoolhouse Expo in exchange for this post.



Back To Homeschool Giveaway! Kindle Fire HD,, And MORE!

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It’s Back to school time! Some will be beginning school this week or month. Some (like our family) will begin next month. Some families have already begun the new school year! Regardless of when you begin, you likely need supplies and desire to be well equipped for the year ahead. One way to help you do that would be to follow along with 90 members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew this week as we have a 5 day blog hop, with each blogger writing about a different topic on homeschooling. I can’t wait to read everyone’s posts! Be sure to follow along with us this week for Raising Sticky Hands To Heaven’s part in the 5 day blog hop. I’ll be writing about Crafty Lessons! A fun way to teach your children in a different approach than the norm.
I’m joining with 10 other bloggers and 3 homeschool companies to give you the opportunity to win some terrific prizes to celebrate the start of the new homeschool year.
The GRAND PRIZE is a Kindle Fire 7″ HD Tablet!
And because we couldn’t possibly have a Back to Homeschool giveaway without some homeschool curriculum and encouragement, a second reader will win this awesome prize package, a $284 value!
One-Year Membership to ($139)
Please stop by to visit the contributors to this giveaway:
Now it’s time to enter! Use the Rafflecopter below. All entries will be verified. Contest is open to U.S. Residents, age 18 and older. Other Terms and Conditions noted in the Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


I can’t wait to see who wins these prizes. Talk about a blessing! May the odds be ever in your favor… 😉

I have another giveaway for a free ticket to Schoolhouse Expo coming up tomorrow morning, so be sure to check back and enter that one as well. (It was supposed to post yesterday, but silly internet issues prevented that from happening. )

This all reminds me I need to make my list for what we need to purchase for our homeschool this year… What’s the item on the top of your shopping list for homeschool this year?


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.



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.



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.


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



Giveaway! Schoolhouse Planners

This post contains some affiliate links. By clicking on them, and then purchasing a product, Raising Sticky Hands To Heaven receives a small portion of the profit. These funds go to maintaining & running our website. Thank you for using them!

I don’t know about those of you that homeschool, but for me this is a crazy time of year. I scramble around trying to figure out what I’m going to do this next year and how to make it all flow smoothly. One great tool that helps me pull it all together is a planner.

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine & (An amazing homeschool resource website owned by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine) has been gracious to offer 1 “Big Mama” planner and 1 student planner  to one of our readers!

Schoolhouse Planners Giveaway

These thorough planners are PDF editable format and can be printed out as many times as needed. All planners are available for purchase individually on, however if you are a member, you can enjoy them for free! The cost of membership is $3 for the first month, and $12.95 every month after that. Another option would be to join for a year at the rate of $139 and receive some extra goodies.

1017317_546087365453470_1308755149_nThe “Big Mama”  Schoolhouse Planner ($39) would be the planner for the teacher in your home. However, it is not only for homeschooling. It also contains forms for your home management binder to help run your household. The 2013-2014 Schoolhouse Planner, according to the website (Though owning the planner myself, I can verify), contains the following:

  • Helpful articles written by homeschooling experts like Kim Kautzer, Dr. Mary Hood, and Cindy Wiggers, as well as homeschooling parents just like you.
  • Interactive calendars, planning pages, field trip logs, and transcripts.
  • Must-have lists, including books of the Bible, grammar and spelling rules, a periodic table of the elements, U.S. Presidents and more!
  • Helpful household forms such as chore charts, grocery lists, and meal-planning charts.


There are 4 other planners available for students. They are as follows:

1013688_546087405453466_1501674660_nThe Special Learner’s Schoolhouse Planner ($29) is a great option for those who have children with special needs. I plan on using this planner, along with the “Big Mama” planner, this year as I have a child with moderate-severe autism among other things. Features of this planner are:

  • Helpful articles written by special needs experts like Carol Barnier, Cynthia Ulrich Tobias, and Melinda Boring, as well as homeschooling mothers of special learners.
  •  Interactive calendars, planning pages, and household organization charts.
  •  Homeschool Individualized IEP, medical and therapy forms, and weekly food and behavior diaries.
  •  Task analysis cards to help teach life skills.
  •  And much more!


946520_546087292120144_1115095582_nThe Primary Schoolhouse Planner ($9.95) is another planner I’m excited to be using this school year. My son desperately needs to learn organization and how to keep track of things. It includes:


  •  Engaging articles written just for primary students.
  •  Information lists such as Caldecott and Newbery award winners, grammar rules, story starters, math tables, and animal classification chart.
  •  Calendars, planning pages, field trip report sheets, book and video logs, chore charts and a Bible reading schedule.
  •  Recipes for delicious dishes they can make themselves.


995668_546087275453479_1793378920_nThe Intermediate Schoolhouse Planner ($19) is a great tool for your 5th – 8th graders to learn more responsibility and keep organized. It comes packed with:

  • Interesting articles written just for them.
  • Planning sheets and calendars
  • Forms for writing goals, course objectives, and book reports.
  • A kid’s financial record, Bible reading schedules, and an address book.


947145_546087262120147_56744759_nFinally, The High School Schoolhouse Planner is a resource that can help prepare your teen for adulthood. Inside, you will find:

  • Encouraging articles for him written by homeschool graduates, as well as expertly written articles to help with study skills, college planning, and creating a high school course.
  • Calendar and planning pages, record-keeping forms, transcripts, and forms for goal planning and objectives.
  •  A guide for planning a high school course of study.
  •  A college checklist, forms for tracking scholarship information, and for exploring career ideas.
  •  Logs for tracking community service, discipleship, bible memorization, and independent study.



So what are you waiting for? Enter in the Rafflecopter below! Again, one winner will receive 1 Big Mama planner and their choice of 1 student planner. This giveaway will be ending on Saturday, July 13th, so don’t delay!






a Rafflecopter giveaway


Giveaway! Oak Meadow Complete Curriculum Package

It’s that time of year again! The time when homeschooling parents begin planning the next school year and try to figure out how to pay for it… That is why I am so excited to help one reader obtain a full curriculum for free with this Oak Meadow Complete Curriculum Package giveaway!


We have teamed up with DenSchool and Teaching with Cents to bring you this great giveaway from Oak Meadow! Enter today on the Giveaway Tools form below.


One lucky reader will receive a Complete Curriculum Package (of their choice) from Oak Meadow. Imagine that, everything you need for homeschooling your child next year – for FREE!

Complete Curriculum Package Review

Oak Meadow has specialized in homeschooling curriculum for 35 years! They are committed to providing creative, innovative, and child-centered educational materials that can be utilized towards every family’s needs and routine.

We believe that true intelligence arises when children are given opportunities to engage not only their heads, but their hands and hearts as well. Our curriculum includes assignments that ask children to read, write, and think, and also to paint, draw, play music, write poetry, and build things, encouraging balanced and healthy development.

Oak Meadow

Have you begun planning your next homeschooling year and not sure where to start? Stop by DenSchool to read reviews for some of your favorite curriculum packages! There, you will learn all about Oak Meadow and what this great giveaway has to offer you!

Visit DenSchool’s Oak Meadow Reviews


DenSchool has reviewed curriculum packages for Grades 3, 4, and 6 – with an 8th grade review coming in August!


Contest Information:
*This great giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada, ages 18+.
*Giveaway ends on July 24th at 11:59 p.m.
*DenSchool Contributors, immediate family members, and group giveaway bloggers are not eligible to enter DenSchool giveaways.