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A Book On Every Bed

Here’s a great idea–make sure a book is the first thing your children unwrap on Christmas morning!

The easiest way to do that is to make sure Santa leaves the book at the foot of their bed. I can’t imagine even the most anxious kid being able to pass up the opportunity to unwrap the first gift they see on Christmas morning.

Start a tradition: My hope is that other families will enjoy a tradition that revolves around reading together. I further hope that librarians, teachers, bookstore owners and literacy advocates spread this idea as far and wide as it will go, making it possible for any family that wants a child to receive a book to get one.

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Newest Carnival of Homeschooling Is Up!

Thanks to Christine at Our Curious Home for hosting this week’s Carnival of Homeschooling and including us!

There are so many good articles in this week’s edition, and these are some of our favorites so far…

Montessori Print shop has some good tips on getting started with Montessori at home. We are a far cry from full-blown Montessori style learning around our house, but it’s nice to have a little area set up for the kids to come and do self-directed activities they enjoy.

Robin at Crack The Egg has a great idea on creating and using a robot book. This idea can be used for whatever subject your child is interested in. For us, that would be a flower book. Two of them.

And finally, some advice on dealing with people who are hostile to the idea of homeschooling from The Common Room. Bottom line–everybody has to do the best for their particular families based on their particular situation. In the end, you may not be able to help them see why it’s the best decision for your family, but it may help  you understand why they react the way they do.

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Bright Ideas What Others Are Doing

Our Co-op For Preschoolers In Action!

Ana isn’t going to toot her own horn about this here, so I’m going to step in and toot it for her. A few months ago, she posted on a local website asking if there were any other moms in our area who would be interested in starting up a home preschool co-op for a small group of kids. The response was great, and before they knew it they were having a meetup so the kids and moms could all get acquainted.

The results have been so much better than we could have hoped for! I can’t speak for any of the other families/kids, but we’ve seen a huge acceleration in Pea’s learning since she started going to a “real school” with other kids who have different talents and abilities. The biggest benefit has been the different skill sets and creative ideas the other moms have brought to the group. Of course, Ana is teaching reading, but other moms are in charge of math, writing, science, cooking, calendar time, art, etc. Every session has a lead teacher and a helper which allows the moms who aren’t teaching to help take care of the smaller siblings.

The school meets Monday and Tuesday mornings for instruction, and Fridays are for field trips and play time. It has been an incredible supplement to the things we work on every day at home, and the introduction of other kids and teachers have had an impact on Pea’s behavior and interest in learning from other people.

I’m so thankful for Ana and the rest of the moms in the group for their huge efforts and contributions to our children’s educations!!!

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Just For Fun What Others Are Doing

Literacy Lowdown – Some Helpful Resources

Today’s Literacy Lowdown is dedicated to sharing some online resources that can help you teach reading at home. Happy reading!

Help With Spelling! Spelling City is a cool free site that lets you make your own spelling lists – a great way to combine vocab words into spelling lessons. Your kids can practice their words, take tests, and play games with the words you choose. They also have some cool vocabulary games that your kids can play using the same words. Check out this site for a fun way to do spelling!

studying for your weekly spelling test has never been easier.

StoryNory publishes weekly audio stories for kids. Our three year old LOVES to hear stories, and these are well told, entertaining, and FREE. You can listen to them right on their website or download the files as .mp3s and make CDs–a lifesaver in the car!

The Reading Tub is a site dedicated to promoting literacy. They have great suggestions for children’s books and great tips on literacy and reading with your kids.

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What Others Are Doing

Fun and Easy Word Family Review Cards

Here’s a great idea from the Frugal Homeschooling Mom for creating your own word family review cards. It’s a great way for your toddler/preschooler to work on their letter-sound correspondence!

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Just For Fun What Others Are Doing

October Contest Winners

Thanks to our readers who joined in on the fun for our October Lesson Idea Contest! We had some wonderful entries via email and it was tough to choose just three winners…but here they are:

  • 1st Place – A Year Subscription to Highlights Magazine : Congrats to Rachel for sharing how she used Stump The Teacher to get her son to dig deeper into the chapter book they were reading together. She was really impressed how it only took him a couple of nights to come up with some insightful questions.
  • 2nd Place – Special Reading Kit: Thanks to Valerie who had lots of fun playing Straight or Curvy with her 4 year old son. Now he points them out everywhere they go! His special made reading kit will include many cool things he can use to make his straight and curvy letters.
  • 3rd Place – $10 Abunga gift card: I hope Lori has a good time choosing a gift for her daughter on Abunga.com! She shared how she has helped her daughter learn more vocabulary words in the books they read by playing Vocabulary Riddles.

Congratulations to these three ladies and thanks to everyone else who joined in! I love reading how you guys use the lessons to help your children read at home. Although the contest is over, I would love to keep hearing from our readers (just remember to post your experiences in the comments!)

More contests to come in the near future…so stay tuned!

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What Others Are Doing

I Won!

You may remember that I mentioned The Latin Baby Book Club here before. If not, be sure to check them out to find out more about Latin authors, bilingual books and reviews, songs, and much more!

So they were having a book giveaway on their site this month…and I won! I never win anything, so I’m really excited about winning! Plus I’ll be adding this great bilingual book to Chick Pea’s library:

If I Could is a lovely and imaginative book written by Nancy Sweetland. With full text in both English and Spanish, it follows the imagination of a little boy who wonders what it would be like to do things, if only he could.

 

They’re going to have another giveaway next month, so give them a visit, join the giveaway, and see if you win! Muchas gracias Ladies!

Speaking of winning…don’t forget to join our own October Lesson Idea Contest for your chance to win some cool prizes!

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In The News What Others Are Doing

Start Your Kid’s Day With Cheerios and a Free Book!

They’re at it again…Cheerios will be giving away free books this fall for their Spoonful of Stories Program!

If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a program that works to donate books to kids who need them. From Cheerios:

In celebration of the 6th anniversary of the Spoonfuls of Stories® program, First Book and Cheerios® are distributing 100,000 children’s books by John Lithgow to programs serving children in need across the country.

The book titles for this year haven’t been released yet, but they will include 5 award winning books inside each Cheerios box. They will even be printed in English AND Spanish – can’t beat that! Although I prefer the honey nut variety, I’ll definitely be picking up a couple of boxes this fall!

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Bright Ideas What Others Are Doing

Eat Up These Literature Tins!

Looking for a great idea to do with your kids to tie in some of the literature you’ve been reading? Well then you have to head over to Sycamore Stirrings for one of the most innovative ideas I’ve seen in a while! She shows you how to tie in food and treats with the books you read in a really fun and cute way…and your kids can help!

Here’s a preview:

You can see more examples here.

Katy has ready made tins for many popular books and she also hosts contests for her readers with different themes. Be sure to check this out!

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Just For Fun What Others Are Doing

Literacy Lowdown – Sept 1

I hope everyone enjoyed the long weekend! Our thoughts are with all of those that are being affected by Gustav.

This week’s Literacy Lowdown offers some cool resources that you’ll be sure to use again and again. Have fun browsing…

Book Hooked: Do you remember that first book that really got your interest? The one that made you love reading? Well, go share it with the world over First Book! They’re running a voting contest to find out what the top 50 books are that made people love reading as kids. At the end of the voting (Sept 15th), the state that wins will receive 50,000 of those books to give to children in need. What a great cause…spread the word!

Cool Tool: What’s my number one tip for parents and teachers? Read aloud to your kids!. There are so many great things that come from reading books aloud…so keep on reading to them! Here’s a really cool (and totally free) resource that allows you to upload different types of text (word docs, PDFs, websites, etc.) and then have the computer read it to your child. Read The Words can be so useful! You can also use this as a teaching tool for writing. When I was in the classroom, I would always make my kids read their writing aloud to me so they could hear what it sounded like. About 90% of the time they would catch their own mistakes and make it better without me saying a word (just because they could hear that it didn’t sound right or make sense). This would be a great tool for older kids to use for that purpose.

The Classics: While on the topic of reading books aloud…here’s a great free resource for getting classic audio books. You can download the MP3s and even listen to them on your iPod. What an awesome way to expose your kids to the classics!

Comprehension Tips: As I’ve mentioned before, I’m in the process of adding to our Comprehension section. Stay tuned for the upcoming Comprehnsion Strategies and Skills series of posts! In the meantime, Collen Felz shares some great tips on encouraging reading comprehension that go along with the suggestions I’ll soon be sharing with you.