Kindergarten Homeschool

Homeschooling Kindergarten can be a time of fun and learning. I have 9 kids that I have homeschooled for over 20 years and I have successfully homeschooled my eldest son into the U.S. Air Force Academy. I love each and every grade, but Kindergarten is a time full of wonder and learning like no other grade. A lot of people ask me how I homeschool, so I am sharing how I homeschool Kindergarten in our large family with you today.

butterfly

I have an eclectic style of homeschooling. I pick and choose which curricula I would like, instead of purchasing an all-inclusive package that has all the subjects and everything you need. One isn’t better than the other, I just prefer to pick and choose. I also have a pretty laid back style of homeschooling Kindergarten. I feel that it should be a time of discovery and a time to develop a love for learning. We have a set schedule everyday, but that’s because I am a schedule kind of person. Homeschooling doesn’t need to happen on a schedule. I just find it easier to get the kids’ school done everyday if I am on a schedule.

muffin tops

I don’t do sit down, scheduled pre-school. I have found that pre-schoolers tend to learn through play. So, Kindergarten is the first time we actually sit down at a table to learn. Kindergarten is all about learning the basics. If a child hasn’t learned their alphabet, then that is what comes first. I teach them the alphabet song and then work on letter recognition. We then match lower case letters to upper case letter. In the photo above, my boys are play the Muffin Top Game from Happy Phonics that I purchased at www.LovetoLearn.net. I have one daughter who pretty much taught herself to read after a few lessons in the book, Alpha Phonics, however, the rest of my children did not learn to read so easily. Numbers are equally as important as letters, so number recognition is learned at the same time as the letters. Colors, shape, and other basic skills are usually already learned by the Kindergarten year. If not, these are best learned through play and daily conversation. A lot of kids learn to read and write before they even enter Kindergarten, and that is fine of course. I prefer to focus on their gross motor skills first, and then their fine motor skills. Life skills are taught on a daily basis when a child is homeschooled, so they need not be taught in the scheduled class time.

cooking cookies

Basic things that children should learn in Kindergarten besides learning to read, write, and do math facts are:

Tying their shoes
How to write their full name
How to write their address
Telephone number and how to use a phone
How, why, and when to dial 9-1-1
Basic safety (fire safety, earthquake, etc.)
Basic physical education (kick ball, jumprope, walk on a beam, etc.)
How to count from 1-20 and backwards (at least)
Basic reading and writing
How to share
How to take turns
Holding a pencil correctly
Using scissors correctly

Child making butterfly

Below is a list of curricula that I like to use in Kindergarten homeschool:

Explode the Code for learning letters, sounds, and reading
Alpha Phonics – reading
Singapore Math (I use this in Kindergarten only)
Saxon Math, which I use through Middle School
Apologia Science (this is actually for the older kids, but the Kindergarteners listen and do some of the activities)
Christian Liberty Press books for history, beginning science
Italic Handwriting Series by Getty & Dubay
Apps on my iPad for learning math facts
Apps on my iPad for spelling
Apps on my iPad for learning Geography
Large maps in the hallway (1 of the U.S.A. and 1 World)
Happy Phonics from Love To Learn

botany notebook

Below is our current homeschool schedule:

7:00 a.m. – Wake up and do chores while mom cooks breakfast
8:00 a.m. – Eat breakfast. Teens start lessons. Little kids run around outside if weather is good, mom exercises.
9:00 a.m. – Prayers, reciting & learning 10 Commandments, Bible Story, and 4 Chapters of Bible Reading (1 Chapter Old Testament, 1 Proverb, 1 Psalm, & 1 Chapter New Testament)
9:30 a.m. – Teens go to rooms to do school. K – 5 graders do Science & History together.
10:30 a.m. – K – 2 take turns doing math facts on iPad. Kindergarteners do their handwriting, play phonics games or go outside again. Mom sits down and does math with 4th & 5th grader. 2nd grader does Explode the Code, educational apps on iPad.
10:45 a.m. – 4th & 5th grader do their math problems, mom does math with 2nd grader, and periodically helps with phonics games for little ones.
11:00 a.m. – Kindergarteners do math & Explode the code while 2nd grader does her math problems.
11:30 a.m. – Mom starts 4th & 5th graders on their Language Arts lessons. Mom does Language Arts with 2nd grader.
Lunch at 12:30 p.m. with Daddy who is home for lunch.
Kids do keyboarding, art, other subjects after lunch on their own time while teens are finishing up their lessons. Mom works at home on her business.

painting tube

snake craft
Our schedule is not as hectic as it sounds. It actually flows quite well. As you can see, the kindergarteners sit for Bible reading, etc. for approximately 30 minutes. Then they sit through our science and history lessons with the older kids for an hour. They can get up and move around if they like while we are going over our science and history. Then they just take turns playing phonics games or doing educational games on the iPad until I have time to do the rest of their school. If it is really nice outside they just go play outside and do the phonics games & iPad games later in the day. At about 11:00, the kindergarteners sit down for book work in their Explode the Code and their Singapore Math. This takes about 15 minutes.

Nick getting his USAFA appt.
Receiving Appointment to USAFA

I have successfully homeschooled my eldest son through High School and then he was accepted into the Air Force Academy. So, don’t think I am too laid back in my homeschooling. The Academy has very rigorous standards and is difficult to get into. I miss my eldest son now that he is grown and gone. One of the best things about homeschooling is that I am able to spend my days with my kids. I never thought I would have the patience to homeschool, but God has given me the patience and has rewarded me with more time with my children. If you have any questions about homeschooling kindergarten, please ask them in the comments below. Also, I would love to hear your homeschooling experiences, so please share your kindergarten homeschool ideas in the comments below.

Blessings,

Rosanne

Best Homemade Ice Cream Recipe

I hope you had a wonderful Father’s Day last Sunday. We enjoyed the day by going to church, grilling bratwurst, and making my husband’s favorite – homemade banana ice cream! His family has been making this recipe for at least 50 years, so it is a tried and true smooth recipe.

How to make homemade ice cream:

Ingredients

  • 3 Quarts Half and Half
  • 2 Cans Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 5 Bananas Mashed (or any fruit you want to add)
  • Ice (if using ice cream maker)
  • Rock Salt/Ice Cream Salt (if using ice cream maker)

Directions:

We use an ice cream maker but you can also mix ingredients well and place in a pan, freeze at least two hours, and then scoop. (omit ice and rock salt)

  • Place Half and Half, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, salt, and mashed bananas in ice cream maker. Mix well.
  • Fill outside section of ice cream maker halfway with ice, layer some rock salt on top, then repeat ice and rock salt until full.

ice cream in ice cream maker

  • Turn ice cream maker on until ice cream is to desired thickness.
  • Enjoy your yummy homemade ice cream!

ice cream

Our kids LOVE it:

boy eating homemade ice cream

Dad is happy!

dad with homemade ice cream

 

Best Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Father’s Day is this Sunday! Are you ready for it? Dads are notoriously difficult to get gifts for. What do you get Dad? Here’s a list of the best gift ideas for Dad on Father’s Day:

  • Favorite Hobby: Enjoy his favorite hobby with him! We usually take my hubby fishing because it is his favorite summertime activity. Take dad golfing, hiking, swimming, camping, bowling, boating, surfing, or whatever makes Dad smile.

Family swimming

  • Gift Certificate: If you can’t enjoy dad’s favorite hobby with him, then get him a gift certificate. Not just any gift certificate though, get one to his favorite golf shop, outdoorsman store, fishing shop, etc.
  • Make His Favorite Meal: The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, at least that’s what they say. So, grill dad his favorite steak for dinner or start the morning off with homemade cinnamon rolls.

Grill

  • Framed Funny Photo: Give dad the gift of a smile. Frame a photo of the kids goofing off or a photo of your last vacation together. A digital photo frame can let dad see lots of different photos that will show him just how special you think he is.
  • Picnic: Have a picnic down at the lake, at the park, or in your own backyard. You can make it fun by using downloadable printables from Lia Griffith that you can get here.

family picnic

  • Attend Worship Service Together: We always start our Father’s Day by attending church. It helps us to remember that we are not alone and that our heavenly Father loves us.
  • Visit Care Center: Make cards to give to other dads who may not be blessed enough to have visitors on Father’s Day or if you don’t have a dad around to celebrate. Visit your local nursing home, veterans home, or a neighbor.
  • That Thing He’s Always Wanted: You know what it is. It’s that thing he researches on the internet, always looks at in the store, or wishes he had but won’t buy for himself.
  • Time: Most importantly, give dad the gift of your time. That is what he really wants anyway. 🙂

dad holding girl's hand

  • Write Him a Letter: In today’s digital age, hand-written letters show just how much you care. Write dad a letter telling him exactly what makes him such a great dad. Your caring words will be cherished for a lifetime.

Have a safe and happy Father’s Day!

Blessings,

Rosanne

DIY Lava Lamp Fun

Our kids love to make DIY lava lamps! It’s a fun thing to do during the summer when it is too hot to go outside or when we are experiences an afternoon thunderstorm. Below are the directions on how we make our lava lamp fun:

lava lamp supplies

Ingredients:

  • empty plastic bottle
  • vegetable oil
  • Alka-Seltzer
  • food coloring

Directions:

Fill the empty plastic bottle about 2/3 with vegetable oil.

lava lamp oil

Add water to fill the bottle.

lava lamp water

Add several drops food coloring. Each of our kids picked a different color so we knew which lava lamp belonged to each kid.

lava lamp food coloring

Break an Alka-Seltzer into several pieces and add each piece one at a time to the oil/water mixture.

lava lamp 4 pieces alka seltzer

When the tablets hit the water they will start to fizz.

lava lamp starting to bubble

Each time you add a new piece of Alka-Seltzer it will fizz more.

lava lamp really bubbling

My boys set their lava lamps on a lighted flashlight for more lava fun. The kids really loved this and it was super simple. I hope you have fun with it!

Blessings,

Rosanne

How To Perfectly Peel Fresh Hard Boiled Eggs

If you have backyard chickens you know that trying to peel a fresh hard boiled eggs is, at best, difficult. Fresh eggs just don’t peel well when hard boiled. If you want to make deviled eggs and have them look nice, it is difficult. I used to just buy store bought eggs if I was bringing deviled eggs to a potluck. But, that defeats the purpose of having backyard chickens, doesn’t it?

I finally discovered how to make perfectly peeled fresh hard boiled eggs when we received an instapot as a gift last year. Steam them! The fresh eggs come out looking nice, smooth, and beautiful. If you don’t have an instapot, I highly recommend this one:

How to Make Perfectly Peeled Fresh Hard Boiled Eggs:

  • Put one cup of water in the bottom of your instapot.
  • Place fresh eggs in steamer basket in an instapot.

eggs in instapot

  • Make sure there is some room in-between the eggs for steam to flow through.
  • Close the lid and set at high pressure for 5 minutes.
  • It will take 5 minutes to build to pressure and then they will cook for 5 minutes.
  • Wait an additional 5 minutes for pressure to naturally reduce and then do a quick release. If you’d like, you can just let the pressure cooker reduce pressure without doing the quick release and the eggs will come out fine, but I prefer to do the quick release.
  • When pressure is completely released, place eggs in cold water to stop the cooking process BE CAREFUL! The eggs are hot! I use a hot pad to pick the eggs up and place them in a bowl of cold water.
  • Peel right away or wait until later. They will peel beautifully!

Here are some photos of my kids collecting eggs:

Getting eggs  girl collecting eggs  collecting eggs  collecting eggs

Backyard chickens are a huge blessing to our family. Eggs are a great protein and the kids love our chickens. Our daughter Celia is head chicken keeper and she loves to sing to the chickens. Their favorite song is “Happy” by Phararell Williams. 🙂

Blessings,

Rosanne

 

This post contains Amazon affiliate links. Please consider using these when viewing the recommended products to help our family. There is no extra cost to you. Thank you, we really appreciate it!

#1 Item Needed to Have a Safe Summer

Exploring the world outdoors is the best part of summer! Unfortunately, it can be filled with unwanted dangers – poison ivy, sunburn, bug bites, and more. One of the most disgusting dangers is ticks!

tick

There are a wide variety of tick-borne diseases and symptoms may not appear until weeks after the bite. You may not even know that there is a tick on you or your kids. It is important to check for ticks after any time spent exploring outdoors.

Our family does a LOT of hunting and fishing so I have discovered ticks on my kids from time to time. The very first time I completely freaked out and didn’t know what to do. I called my husband and he gave me some pretty bad advice that he learned from his parents. I have since learned the best way to remove a tick and it does not include squeezing it, burning it out, or pouring anything on it. These methods can cause the tick to vomit back into the skin or release more saliva which can increase the possibility of disease transmission, can leave part of the tick embedded in the skin, or making the tick embed even deeper into the skin. YUCK!

So, the #1 item needed to have a safe summer is one (or three) of these:

We bought this three pack so that we can have one at home, one in the truck, and one in our motor home.

How to remove a tick safely:

  • Use tweezers or a tick removal tool to grab the tick by the head or the mouth, close to the skin. We bought this three-pack of “Ticked Off” tick remover:

The Original Ticked Off Tick Remover Three (3) Pack with Key Hole family Colors May Vary (affiliate link)

  • Pull firmly and steadily until the tick lets go of the skin. Do not rock back and forth or twist.
  • Put the tick into a jar or a plastic bag in case you need to identify the type of tick later.
  • Wash your hands and the site of the bite thoroughly with soap and water.

It is important to seek medical care if:

  • The tick has been on the skin for more than 24 hours.
  • Part of the tick remain embedded in the skin.
  • A rash of any kind develops, especially a red-ringed bull’s eye rash or red dots on wrist and ankles.
  • The skin looks infected at the bite site.
  • There is any fever, muscle or joint ache, and/or stiff neck or back.

How to prevent tick bites:

  • Always check for ticks after any adventures outside on skin and hair, especially the scalp, behind ears, under the arms, and around neck.
  • Avoid tick infested areas.
  • Wear long sleeves and pants. Tuck pants into socks.
  • You can use insect repellent with at least 10% DEET. Our family chooses not to do this.
  • Place all clothes into the dryer immediately after being outside and before washing. This will kill the ticks if any are on your clothing. We always do this after a day of hunting.

Exploring outside, hunting, fishing, and hiking are all fun activities to enjoy in the summer but it is important to be safe. Tick prevention, removal, and monitoring for symptoms of tick bites are important tools to keep safe in the summer. Please use my affiliate link if you decide to check out the tick removal tool by clicking the image below.  This helps our family and we really appreciate it.

Have a safe and fun summer!

Blessings,

Rosanne

 

The above post contains Amazon affiliate links. Please consider using these when viewing the recommended products to help our family. There is no extra cost to you. Thank you, we really appreciate it!

10 Great Ways to Sneak in Exercise

Short on time? 10 Great Ways to Sneak in Exercise

Everyone is so busy in today’s world. Who has time to fit in 2 hours at the gym after a hard day at work, at school, or taking care of the house and kids? When I was single I thought I would always work out 2 hours a day, 6 days a week. HA! Boy, did that change!

bride holding bouquet

Let’s face it, you are BUSY! There are only so many hours in the day, so where can you find the time to get and stay fit? Well, here are 10 sneaky ways to fit exercise into your everyday life:

  • Have a multi-level home or office space? Run and/or walk up and down the stairs. Who needs expensive exercise equipment?

couple running up stairs

  •  Cleaning? Pump up the music and dance while you clean.
  • If you watch tv, see how many push-ups you can do during a commercial.  You can do this with sit-ups, jumping jacks, etc.
  •  Do face exercises during your commute. I like Jack LaLanne’s Face-A-Tonic exercises.
  • We spend SO many hours in front of a computer, on our laptop, tablet, etc., why not do it on a stationery bicycle or treadmill? Get fit while checking your e-mails, typing that proposal, checking your social media, or surfing the web.
  • Take up a new hobby that gets you moving. There are always great classes at the local community college to try. Tai chi, yoga, etc.

Yoga

  • Every hour run in place for 5 – 10 minutes. This is great to battle the ever-widening rear end when stuck at a desk. Get your co-workers to join you (just explain to the boss first and get his/her okay).
  •  While on the phone do squats, leg lunges, leg raises, etc. It’ll go faster because you have someone to talk to. You can even call a friend and have a phone date to exercise while catching up with the latest news.
  •  Walk during your lunch hour. If you pack a quick salad to eat, you can get in a good 45 minute walk during your day!
  •  If your kids are playing outside, walk the perimeter of your yard, or better yet, join them in a game of tag. If your kids play sports, walk around the field while they are practicing.

Our bodies need exercise to stay healthy and well. We can’t all spend 2 hours at the gym, but we can all get some kind of exercise every single day.  Aim for at least 4 fifteen minute spurts of exercise and you can easily get in an hour a day! I hope you enjoyed my list of 10 great ways to sneak in exercise. Please comment below and add your own ideas, I would love to hear them!

Blessings,

Rosanne

Wheelbarrow Blessings

Did you know that wheelbarrows can be disguised as blessings? I didn’t either! This past weekend our family put in raised beds for our garden because we are unable to use our regular garden space due to needing our leach field extended. We have patiently been waiting for two months for the septic company crew to put in a leach field extension since our current one does not accomodate our large family. When they do finally come, they will need to drive right through our garden area. So, we are only doing a much smaller garden in raised beds this year.

My husband built four raised beds measuring 10 ft. x 5 ft. and we placed them where we needed them.

empty raised bed

Next step – Filling them with dirt! Well, we don’t own a wheelbarrow so we improvised by filling 5 gallon buckets with dirt using the one shovel we own, then wheeling the bucket from the backyard (where the dirt from our septic tank is dug up) to the front yard (where the raised beds are) on our one dolly.

dolly and bucket

This, of course, would have probably taken forever to fill the beds, but we were determined to get it done in one day. Thankfully, our neighbor walked by and asked if we’d like to borrow a wheelbarrow. YES!!!! Thank you!

wheelbarrow

I happily trotted down our hill, walked past our neighbors’ pasture, and up his hill to retrieve the blessed wheelbarrow. He even filled up the front tire for me with air.

As I was trudging up my steep hill with the wheelbarrow, another neighbor asked what was up. Well, after a brief explanation, they offered a tractor. Well, I don’t know about you, but I would much rather use a tractor over a wheelbarrow.  I’m weird that way.

The neighbor delivered the tractor, my hubby hauled the dirt, I distributed the dirt with our one shovel, and it took hours! Hours! How long would it have taken with a bucket on a dolly? I don’t want to know and am so incredibly thankful for the blessing of that wheelbarrow, because if it weren’t for the wheelbarrow I would not have received the blessing of a tractor.

Here’s a photo of my hubby being weird while filling the raised beds with dirt.

hubby on tractor

Finally, filled raised beds:

filled raised beds

Gardening With Kids

Kids love to garden. We grow a garden so that we can lower our food bill and provide organic vegetables for our family. We did not always have such a big garden. We started out one year with two tomato plants and two zucchini plants in our front flower bed. Eventually, I wanted more vegetables, so we tilled up some lawn and planted a 50 ft. x 50 ft. garden, installed drip lines to make things easier, and ordered more seeds. Here is a photo of part of our garden from last year:

Garden

If you have never gardened before this is the year you should give it a try. It is a lot of fun and the kids LOVE eating vegetables that they grow themselves. If you need to start small,  start with planting some basil and oregano in some containers indoors. Next year, try planting two tomato plants and two zucchini plants in your flower bed or in big containers like we did.

If you are a little more serious you can rent a rototiller and mark off where you want your garden to be next year. Don’t let any kids or animals play on it for a year, then plant your vegetables next year. If you already have a place for your garden then the easiest way to have a garden is to purchase plants already started that you plant into the garden, but this can be expensive. You can start plants in your home for a lot less money.  If you run drip lines purchased on-line from DripWorks or from your local hardware store the lines drip right where the vegetable are planted. No wasted water!

Weeding

It’s great to have the kids learn about plants and how they grow. Each year we plant some cherry tomato plants and snap peas so that the kids can eat them right out of the garden. We all go out and weed together. The little kids “help”, but really they mostly play and ask a lot of questions. The older the kids get the more they really do help. It is great listening to them talk while we enjoy the fresh air and sunshine working outside. They make up funny stories, play “I Spy”, and “20 Questions.” They laugh and get to talk to the neighbors about the plants.

Kid in Garden  garden friend

Our dogs enjoy hanging out with us in the garden too!

Dog in Garden

I hope you will give gardening a try. There is nothing more tasty than vegetables from your own garden. The kids love eating what they grow, they enjoy fresh air and sunshine, and they learn to work without complaining. Gardening with kids can be such a joy!

garden harvest    bell peppers  green beans

Starting Plants Inside

I started some seeds inside my home earlier this year to prepare for the gardening season.  Starting plants is easy and economical.  It saves you money to start your plants yourself instead of buying plants from the store.  Plus, you can grow organic plants at a fraction of the cost of buying organic produce in the store. Here is how I start plants. You can save this information to save money next year starting plants instead of buying them.

First, you need high quality soil.  I use BACTO professional soil that I can pick up at a local nursery.

BACTO Soil

Fill six-cell planters with soil to the top.  You can get these at any nursery, hardware store, or big box store.

Putting soil in

Plant one seed in each cell. If you want to start a lot of plants you can plant more seeds per cell per the recommended amount listed on the seed packet, but then you need to separate after they grow a little and re-plant in individual cells.  I don’t have a lot of room, so I only plant one seed per cell.  Then, cover the soil with the recommended amount of soil, which is also stated on the seed packet.

Make sure you label each cell with a popsicle stick.  Write the name of the plant and how many days it takes to grow on the stick.  When you transplant your plants into your garden, you can stick the popsicle stick in the ground next to the plants outside and you will know how many days it takes for the plant to mature.  Water your started seeds well.  I use a little watering can a friend gave me.

small watering can

Place your planted six-cell containers into a flat.  You can find these at any store that sells gardening supplies.  Place a clear lid on top until the seeds germinate and poke through the soil.

Covered plants

Place on a shelf with a 4 ft. flourescent light as close as possible to the lid.  This is to keep the soil and seeds warm so they germinate.  Turn the light on when you wake up in the morning and turn the light off when you go to bed.  Once the seeds start poking through the soil, take the lid off and lower the light so it is very close to the plant, but not touching.  Check the soil often to see if it needs watering.

 

VERY IMPORTANT:  Write down when you started your plants in a notebook.  It is very important to take notes on start times.  You can refer to the seed packet so you know when to transplant into your garden, so save the seed packets!

That’s it!  I have metal shelves that I bought at Home Depot that I put my started plants on.  These are easy to hang the lights from and fit four flats on each shelf.  I use Johnny Seeds and buy organic seeds.  Their catalogs are great and tell you exactly what to do with your plants.  If you aren’t ready to start seeds yourself yet, order the Johnny’s Seed catalog (it’s free) and start looking at what kinds of plants you might want to grow.  There are many plants that you can direct seed in the ground (instead of starting early in the home.) Types of vegetables you can directly seed in the garden are zucchini, green beans, snap peas, beets, and many more. Johnny’s Seed Catalog has LOTS of information to learn about gardening.

 

Happy Growing!