Kindergarten and Preschool for our 2015-2016 School Year

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What we are using for Kindergarten and Preschool in our home!

I have written before that I try to keep a balanced approach to Pre-K and Kindergarten. I don’t feel like my kindergartener has to be reading in her kindergarten year. If she does, great. If she doesn’t, I know that first grade is rolling around and she will learn it then.

I really try to let the child lead in kindergarten. If they want to learn how to read, we will work on it. If it’s really hard for them, we set it aside for awhile.

As for preschool..I do just a little bit when they are 3 and use the Horizons preschool book in their 4th year. Since Deborah has a December birthday, we might start the Horizons book in January. I’ll share what she is doing for now below.

What we are doing for Kindergarten – age 5 with Olivia

All About Reading Level 1. This is an awesome reading curriculum for Kindergarten age!

Reading – I really wasn’t planning on jumping right in to reading with Olivia at the start of our kindergarten year. Last year was a super difficult year because of a rough pregnancy. I didn’t complete the pre-reading program from All About Reading with her, and thought we might need to do that first. She came to me one day and asked if she could learn how to read, so we pulled out level 1 to try.

To my surprise and relief, she is doing great! I am excited to see how far we get this year in reading.

We love using All About Reading!

If there is one curriculum that makes me want to almost cry with joy over finding it, All About Reading would be it. When I pick it up, I feel relief and joy. Seriously, a year later I still feel happy when I pick up the book. I plan on going through all the levels with each of my girls. We are in the middle of the second level with our second grade daughter.

Math – We started kindergarten math right when she turned 5 in December, and we are about ¾ through book 1 of Horizons K math. We go slow, but she seems to be good at math. She loves patterns, and gets excited when she sees a pattern in toys or in a book. :)

Handwriting- A Reason for Handwriting, K. We also use the Handwriting without tears app on the iPad, and that has been fantastic for her! I’ve tried several handwriting apps but that is by far my favorite.

New-ABC-Ringers-Delightful

I’m planning on printing out and laminating this free ABC Ringer set to take with us places (like music lessons) for her to keep practicing her handwriting.

She sits and listens in on the book we read as a family. Right now Sean is reading a biography of a man from our church in the evenings, and I’m reading “These Happy Golden Years” from the Little House on the Prairie set in the mornings to them. We try to have devotions and then do our read a loud book right after that, while everyone is still together.

What we are doing for Preschool – age 3 with Deborah 

I mainly do preschool because the younger children see the older ones doing school, and they want to do workbooks as well! When they are 3, my goal is to keep them busy. Why not keep them busy with educational things if they want to do it?!

Right now Deborah’s favorite thing is her ABC Wipe-Clean book from Usborne. I plan on getting a lot more of these Wipe-Clean books, as she just loves them! The quality of the books are really good as well.

Wipe Clean books for Preschool and Kindergarten age from Usborne! She listens in on our read alouds, plays blocks, sings, and colors a lot! Lately her favorite coloring book has been the Weddings color book. Lots of girly stuff to color in that one. 😉 The girls also like building puzzles, and playing legos with the older ones!

The ABC Wipe Clean book from Usborne is a fun Preschool and Kindergarten book!

That’s about all we do for the young ages! We focus mainly on math and reading in the kindergarten and first grade, because once they get those skills down they can accomplish so much!

I recently joined Usborne Books and More as a consultant. Honestly, I joined for the fun of it because my children adore the books so much! My 9 year old loves the history sticker books, both boys devoir the history and science encyclopedias, and our girls love the activity books (doodle art books, fashion drawing and coloring books, and much more!). Plus all the other educational items they offer.

I’m having an Usborne Facebook party this Thursday night at 8:30 PM Central time, I’d love to have you have join as I’m giving away some free stuff! 

I’d love to hear what you do for Kindergarten and Preschool in your home!

 

 

 

How I’ve Made Over My Morning and Created A Routine

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How I've Made Over My Mornings and Created A Routine!

I’m not a person who routine comes naturally to. Schedules tend to make me stand in awe of the moms who pull them off. We do best with routines, and even that gets tweaked a lot.

When I first went through the Make Over Your Morning course, It wasn’t a dramatic change. I didn’t end the two week course and have a totally new morning routine.  I  had a new baby when I went through it and it was a hard time to make change come about.

A few weeks ago however, I realized that a lot of things have changed about my morning, thanks to the course. I finally have a routine! Here is what it looks like.

Wake Up, exercise, take a shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, do devotions with the children, and start school.

Doing everything in this order makes my day go so much better!

Want more details? Here you go. 

1. Wake Up – I wake up between 6-8 AM. Right now I don’t try for any earlier than 6 because I’m up several times a night nursing an almost 5 month old. If I’m up super late, I don’t push myself to get up early and sleep in until 8. I’m trying really hard to get enough sleep though, so I can get up at 6-6:30 every day. My goal is to be in bed by 10:00, but that does not always happen.

2. Exercise – I’m doing an 8 week challenge right now, and part of that includes doing 30 minutes of exercise six days a week. I alternate between doing a Walk Away The Pounds DVD, and doing a harder 15 minute workout from Fit Yummy Mummy. When I do the 15 minute workout I normally go across the street in the evening to the elementary school and walk. The children play on the playground and the baby is in the Tula carrier.

I’ve been looking forward to exercising because I get super encouraged while I do it. Really? Yes it’s true! I’ve been listening to homeschooling podcasts from Read Aloud Revival while I exercise, and it gives me a lot to think through from what I’m hearing. I occasionally listen to business podcasts as well ( a favorite of mine is How They Blog). Fresh encouragement as a homeschooling mom has been awesome. A word of advice? Don’t wait for your once a year homeschool conference to be refreshed. Find a podcast to listen to once in awhile as you do chores. I start my day so excited to jump in and homeschool now that I’m listening to these podcasts!

3. Take A Shower – If for some reason I exercise later in the day I skip the shower. If I am all hot and sweaty I take a shower. Most days. 😉 Sometimes as much as I want to get a shower in it’s just not possible. I wash my face in the shower with the L’BRI Deep Pore Cleanser.

4. Get Dressed – This was an area that taking the course really helped in. It made me realize I needed to have a better wardrobe for this crazy busy time with a new baby, and still needing to lose postpartum baby weight.

I was spending a lot of time picking out an outfit in the morning, and most of the outfits needed ironing. Since the baby sleeps in our room and is normally still asleep when I’m picking out an outfit, I don’t like being in my room long.  I was feeling pretty frustrated with it all and wanted to simplify some things. I went to our local Cato store and they had some maxi skirts on clearance, so I bought three of them. They are wrinkle free and I have several shirts they go with. Plus they fit better than a lot of other clothes right now (not happy about that one…but working on it!).

Maxi Skirts from Cato's for an easy morning routine.

The Make Over Your Mornings course suggests picking out your outfit the night before, but I just haven’t been able to get that in my evening routine. So I appreciate adding some easy outfits.

5. Eat breakfast – This one still needs a lot of work. My poor husband. Does that give you a clue that fixing breakfast is not my strong point? I try to have cold cereal in the house for him, and the children eat a lot of oatmeal, eggs and toast, and yes, cold cereal. I have greek yogurt with fruit and honey mixed in. My goal is to have muffins and waffles made up in the freezer, and just pull them out the night before. I just can’t seem to get that pulled off. I did make a waffle mix and that has been helpful.

6. Have devotions with the children – We do different things for devotions, right now we are reading through a scripture story book, other times we read through Proverb for the day, or use an actual study (like something from Character Concepts) and work through it. I need to work on adding in my own devotion time in the morning, but so far I just use this time for myself as well. Being honest here…I know others have created this amazing morning routine with journals and highlighters and printables for what to pray over your family. One day I hope to be there. I will say I pray in the shower a lot. :)

That’s a look at my morning! If you are needing a morning makeover, I have good news for you! Today only, the Make Over Your Morning course is on sale for only $10! This is the cheapest it will be for the rest of the year (in fact it’s not supposed to be on sale the rest of the year). It’s totally worth the cost of the course, and I have been so grateful I went through it.

Whether you are a homeschooling mom, or a mom that works out of the home, I think this course would be a blessing to you! It’s not about getting up at a certain time, but more about creating routines and schedules that work for you! Lots of resources are included in the study guide!

If you purchase the group, please ask to join the Make Over Your Mornings Facebook Group that I started a few months ago! There are over 1000 members there with lots of helpful ideas!

In Case You Were Wondering…

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Wondering about how backing Character Badges on Kickstarter really works? Here are the answers!

 

We’ve received a number of questions from people who are interested in backing Character Badges on Kickstarter, but are not quite sure how it works or what we’re offering. So, we thought we would publish our answers here for everyone to see. Here goes…

Q: Are you asking us to fund your company? Like, a charity or something?

A: No. And yes. (Is that clear? :) Kickstarter works like this – we offer you (our backers) a product we’ve developed but not yet manufactured. Your pledges are essentially a pre-order for the eventual product. We’re definitely not asking for money without offering something in return (though we certainly wouldn’t refuse donations!) But here’s the thing – we will not be able to produce Character Badges unless we reach our funding goal. So yes, we’re asking for your help to get Character Badges off the ground but not without offering you some really great products in return for your pledges.

Q: If I pledge money to preorder something, does the money instantly come out of my account?

A: No, absolutely not. Again, we don’t receive a penny until the end of the campaign and only if we reach our funding goal. The reason for this is that we’ve worked really hard to determine the minimum amount of money we need to manufacture Character Badges. Reaching anything less than the full amount wouldn’t help us and taking anything less would be unfair to you, so again, no money changes hands unless the funding goal is reached and the campaign ends.

Receiving the cheerfulness badge from our Character Badge program!

Q: Why are you on Kickstarter? Why don’t you just start selling your product?

A: The short of it? We just don’t have $15,000 lying around to part with. Kickstarter is a crowdfunding site – that is, you pledge an amount of money in exchange for the product we’re offering. If enough people “pre-order”, we can produce Character Badges. Kickstarter is a great way for people to back projects they believe in but that wouldn’t otherwise exist without their support.

Q: What do I get in exchange for my pledge?

A: See below for a list of things we’re offering and for a more complete list, stop by our Kickstarter page and look on the right side of the page. Everything is all right there.

REWARDS!!

We want to be able to offer Character Badges to you and others as a ready to go system right out of the box. Take a quick look at a few of the things we’re offering through our Kickstarter campaign. Most of our sets are heavily discounted over the eventual retail price should we be so fortunate to go to production.

Badges are a fun aspect of Character Badges that children look forward to earning!

BADGES – $35 (Early Bird price) or $40 – $5 – $10 off retail!
A set of 12 colorful, durable, and flexible Character Badges that you can award to your child for exhibiting good behavior. Each badge draws upon a scriptural story or an example from nature to illustrate a particular character quality.

Character Badge Starter Set!

CHARACTER BADGES STARTER SET – $60 – $10 off retail!
The starter set works for up to 2 children. It includes 2 obedience charts, 2 disobedience charts, a consequence chart, a set of 12 Character Badges, a dry-erase marker, and a 24 pg. full color manual.

Character Badge Complete Set!

CHARACTER BADGES COMPLETE SET – $70 (Early Bird Price) or $80 – $10 – $20 off retail!
The complete set works for up to 2 children. It includes 2 obedience charts, 2 disobedience charts, a consequence chart, a rewards chart, a set of 12 Character Badges, a 17″ x 22″ reference poster (Do’s and Don’ts Chart) a set of 12 Character Coins, 2 Character Coin Banks, a dry-erase marker, and a 24 pg. full color manual.

Our plan is for Sean to produce more items for families. For example, we hope to put out a Proverbs 31 set for girls, but we have to fund this and get it off the ground first. We hit submit on the campaign with a prayer that the Lord’s will be done in this, as many things rest on getting this funded.

Click here to see the Kickstarter Campaign

Don’t forget to watch the video until the end, there are some funny bloopers. 😉

Have questions? Just leave a comment and we will get back with you!

 

 

Our Kickstarter Campaign For Character Badges is Live!!!

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Help us fund Character Badges on Kickstarter! We are so excited to get this creative character training program into the homes of families!

We’ve been working for months on this project. Rather I should say Sean has been working for months. :) After having used Character Badges in our home and selling it here as a PDF download, Sean has dreamed of selling Character Badges as a ready made, physical kit. We finally decided to stop dreaming and do something about it.

The solution? Launch a Kickstarter Campaign!

Character Badges is  a fun way to reward your children to do good!

When Sean sold his business and went back to college for graphic design, his strong desire was to make a difference, for good. His dream is to design products that will be a blessing for families, and he hopes to start with Character Badges.

While the PDF download has been very successful, it takes a lot of time to cut, assemble, and put together. I know I’ve purchased some downloads that just sit there as I never get the time to put them together. Character Badges has been such a help in our home, we want it to be a blessing in as many homes as possible!

Sean has completely redesigned Character Badges. It still works basically the same but a lot of it has been streamlined and simplified and he’s given the badges and charts a fresh look. One of the biggest changes came as a result of feedback we received from families using the system – managing rewards. A flexible reward system has been added to the complete bundle set, but we also hope to offer the reward system as an expansion kit at a future date for those who will continue to use the PDF version in their home.

The new, completely redesigned Character Badges!

Other changes? The charts are pre-laminated and are dry erase. There’s a 17″ x 22″ reference poster that lists every character quality and area of poor behavior for you and your child to refer to as you instruct them.

The badges no longer require lamination! Instead they are made from soft, flexible PVC and are able to be clipped to your child’s clothing. The cheerfulness badge is my favorite badge, it always makes me smile looking at it. :)

The instruction manual is full color and packed with helpful tips to help you use Character Badges in your home. There’s even a dry-erase marker with an eraser in the cap and a magnet for you to stick it on the refrigerator for quick use.

Our first Character Badge prototype

A lot more information can be found on our Kickstarter page. We encourage you to take a look!

Not sure what a Kickstarter Campaign is?

It’s basically an opportunity for you to place a pre-order, and help us get the funding we need to manufacture these items. We’re in the prototype stage, but if we reach our funding goal, that will enable us to go to production and get these into your home!

We have a large variety of rewards we are offering, starting at just $10 and going on up. You can pick to purchase just badges, or just charts, or the complete set – you have a lot of options to choose from! There are even limited early bird options that save you even more money! You’ll want to act quickly though on the early bird rewards as these prices may never be seen again!

Complete Deluxe set of Character Badges on Kickstarter!

Character Badges is a fun way to reward your children for doing good, and correct them when they are not following the house rules.

 

Our children still enjoy Character Badges, even our almost 12 year old. They love receiving checks on their obedience charts, and while they don’t like getting the disobedience checks, it’s made it so much simpler to have punishments already in place for when they disobey.

It’s our hope that this creative character training system will bless your family! You can click here to go see our Character Badge Kickstarter campaign, and you won’t want to miss the video we made, along with the bloopers at the end. 😉

The success of a Kickstart Campaign is largely dependent on getting the word out on social media. If you could share this post, or the actual Kickstarter Campaign itself on your social media, we would be so grateful!