Getting Ready for Kindergarten with EmbarK12

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This post brought to you by K12, the leader in online education. All opinions are 100% mine. If you've been reading my blog for a while then you may remember that I used to homeschool my daughter.  I've spent a fair amount of time researching curriculum and homeschooling options. One of my favorite curriculums was K¹².  In fact, we almost enrolled our daughter in the K¹² 1st grade this past fall. I was pretty excited to learn that K¹² has a brand new Kindergarten readiness program, EmbarK12 Comprehensive- Online and hands-on preschool program for your early learner..  My son missed the Kindergarten cut off this year by two months and I really wanted to have something for him to do at home, but just never got around to finding something.  We were pretty happy to try out EmbarK¹² for a few weeks. One of the things I love most about EmbarK¹² is the hands-on curriculum - the books and resources are amazing! It's like EmbarK¹² took my homeschool wish list, put in a box and shipped ... [read more]

Pony Beads Suncatcher Craft

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Pony Bead Suncatcher

Keep the kids busy melting pony beads to create colorful and fun suncatchers! This is an inexpensive and fun craft that kids of all ages will enjoy creating.   Last week we were studying the letter "S" and "s is for sun" as part of our homeschool lessons. We were getting a little bored with just worksheets so I went on a search for a sun themed craft.  I thought about making a sun with hand prints - you know I love Christmas tree  or reindeer handprints, but I wanted a non-messy craft.  I found a cute idea to melt pony beads in to suncatchers on Pinterest. I adapted the craft to make smaller, star shaped sun catchers so that we could make them in the toaster oven.   First, you have to use a metal baking dish.  Glass will not work.  I have these small foil star shaped baking cups that I bought at a dollar store years ago. They worked great! These are our pony beads that we already had on hand. They are the three pointed ones and they worked just ... [read more]

Summer Crafting with Kids – The Green Way

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Last week it was unseasonably hot.  In Las Vegas when the weather man tells you in June that it's going to unseasonably hot, you cringe.  Sure enough, we had temps ranging from 104-107 degrees for a few days in early June.   For those days we hunker in, get some DVDs and call it a movie day (or weekend).  But there is only so much TV watching you can do before the kids get tired of it. I was really happy one balmy 107 degree day to find my Green Kid Craft monthly kit sitting in my mail box.  I barely got in the door before the kids were tearing in to see what they could create! Founded in 2010, Green Kid Crafts is a monthly craft subscription company that offers planet-friendly, monthly projects that spark creativity and cultivate respect for the environment.  Suitable for kids ages 3-8, each kit contains three projects.  All materials (except for stuff like glue and scissors) are included in the package. Our box contained three crafts: wind chimes, a scrapbook, and a loot ... [read more]

Butterfly Garden

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I thought I'd give you a little update on the butterflies.  It has been absolutely fascinating watching these itty bitty larvae grow into fuzzy caterpillars.  Then the caterpillars changed in to their cocoons (or chrysalids) in less than a few hours.   There is part of this whole process that is just really gross, but mostly it's truly amazing. These are the caterpillars spun up in their cocoons.  I can't move them in to better light for a good picture because apparently they are very delicate right now.  The next step is to put them in to their netted garden and wait for the butterflies to appear. Aside from watching caterpillars all week, I've also been scouring the internet trying to solidify our homeschool curriculum for next year.  I love the fact their are so many wonderful choices, but it's also so overwhelming.  Every time I decide on something, I find another fabulous possibility.   At this point I've made a list of possibilities and I'm planning to check out a used ... [read more]

Babysteps to Homeschool: Teach Your Child To Read

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When we started our pseudo-homeschool year back in the Fall I had exactly one goal: the alphabet.  I still wasn't certain that Ella knew all her letters mostly because my strong-willed little girl has decided that she doesn't want me to know if she knows them.  In fact, I still am not sure that she knows all the letters! But, I do know that Ella is reading. I started the year off just introducing letters.  When Ella didn't really take to that I tried using Alpha-Phonics.  I loved that book, but Ella not so much.  I just threw my hands up in the air and called it quits... for 3 months.  Then, at a Christmas party, a friend of mine was raving about a phonics book that she just loves and uses with her kids.  I was shocked when she showed me the book -- Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons because I own that book!  I had tossed it in a pile to re-sell because it just looked too confusing and overwhelming.   But after her recommendation, I decided to give it a try. And it's ... [read more]