Our Traditional Thanksgiving

November 28, 2008 at 9:00 am (Uncategorized)

Thanksgiving and tradition go hand in hand.  Here is what we are did for our Thanksgiving…

Our "tradition" is to be home for Thanksgiving.  My husband LOVES to cook and this one of his BIG days of the year!  Having lived 2000 miles from family up until this year it is normally just us for Thanksgiving.  Although we always welcome company!  Many years we have hosted friends and co-workers who had no other plans.  My kids really never know who to expect to show up for dinner on Thanksgiving. 

This year for Thanksgiving day it was just us.  We ate our HUGE lunch at around 2:00 and then we went Ice Skating!  LOL  Ice Skating is a new tradition for us I suspect.  There is an ice skating rink at the mall near us and on Thanksgiving day they had a $5.00 special.  So we gave it a try and it was FUN!

Cute litle wall hugger!

Getting use to the ice.

A little help from daddy.

The agony of the feet! LOL

We had a great time skating and I am sure we will do it again next year if it’s $5.00 again!

Today…the company will start to arrive.  This is who should be at our house by the end of today:

1 – wife (Me LOL)
1- husband
3 – of my kids
2 – of my husband brothers
3 – nieces
3 – nephews
1 – great niece
2 – great nephews

Total = 16!  5 of the above are adults.  One is a teenager, one is 10 and the rest are 8 and under! It is going to be LOUD!  LOL

We are very excited about all our company that is coming for Thanksgiving weekend.  This is one of the reasons we moved across country earlier this year.  My kids LOVE spending time with all their cousins.  It is SO fun to watch them all hanging out and enjoying each other.  I will hopefully have some great pictures to share on Monday!

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! 

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

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American Girl Club and ABC Class – Questions

November 26, 2008 at 9:56 am (Uncategorized)

I have had quite a few emails lately with questions about the management side of running the Preschool ABC class and the American Girl Club. Below I have combined the questions and will do my best to answer them.

Are either of the classes drop off classes?

No way!  Honestly, I have no desire to teach anyone’s children  but my own.  However, I LOVE getting together with other homeschool families and learning together!  Coordinating classes like this through the years has allowed my family to build some wonderful friendships, for both the kids and ME!  This alone is worth the effort of putting the classes together.  But, I have other reasons too.  As much as I love homeschooling I also know that my kids can learn a lot by being in a classroom setting occasionally.  By offering the classes myself I don’t have to send them off to someone else for them to get the classroom experience.  

Another benefit of offering "mom and me" type classes is it gives me a way to give back to the homeschool community.  I have been blessed with the gift off "craftiness" and I have learned through the years that not everyone has the same gift.  So for me it is easy to set up crafts and lead parents and kids on how do assemble them.  There have been so many homeschool mom’s through the years who have offered classes for my kids on things that I couldn’t teach, so I feel blessed to be able to offer classes that I can teach.

How do you cover the cost?

I charge a class fee. However, I keep it very reasonable and it only covers my expenses.  For example right now I am charging $1.00 a week for the Preschool class and $2.00 per week for the American Girl Club.  Now bad, huh?  Am I breaking even?  It depends on how you look at it.  The preschool class for example, I have been teaching it for years and collecting material for it for years.  So I consider all the felt board stories and other things I have pulled together over the years as part of my kids education.  We use them at home a lot too.  Does the dollar a week cover the craft?  Pretty much.  I try to keep the crafts to $1.00 per week.  Although there are weeks I go over and weeks I am under.  I think it balances out.

For the American Girl Club I have struggled to do it for $2.00 a week.  We are doing crafts that use higher quality materials and it hasn’t always been easy to find what I need for the projects for $2.00 per week.  I may boost it up a bit when we do the next set of books.

How do you handle the food for the group?

I have a sign up sheet and the mom’s bring the food.  I give a list of suggested snacks and the recipes for the snacks for the American Girl Club.

Do you pay for a place to meet?

Nope.  We find a free place.  Sometimes this means we meet in peoples homes.  Sometimes we have met at churches.  Right now we are meeting at the public library for the preschool class because they happen to offer a room for free if you have a library card. 

Do you delegate activities to be guided by other mom’s?

Not much.  I tend to like to do the organinzing myself because then I know it’s done.  As far as during the class I may occasionally ask a mom to lead an activity, like when we built the gingerbread houses at American Girl Club.  But, for the most part when I am teaching a class the mom’s are working with their own children and I am working with mine.  I am just also giving driections and answering questions as we go along.  I usually take a sample of what we are making along too.  That is very helpful.

How is it working doing a lapbook as a group?

Well, the American Girl Club is the first time I have tried to incorporate a lapbook.  We tried to work on it together the first night and the girls were too wound up.  It was decided that everyone would do the booklets at home.  Then we thought we would assemble the lapbook together the last night.  Honestly, I don’t know if anyone is doing it.  LOL

How do you handle the organization of the project? 

I try to work a few weeks at a time.  They ABC class is pretty easy for me because I have done it so many times.  Plus as I am out and about I keep an eye open for things that fit the upcoming letters.  The American Girl Class I have been trying to shop 3 weeks at a time.  I made a list of all the crafts we will do for the whole 12 weeks before we started and I assigned dates we would do them.  So I am just working through the list.  There have been weeks that I have made a run to the craft store on American Girl Club day!  LOL

How do you keep it all organized?

I have 3 crates I use for the 2 classes I am currently teaching.  One is filled with all the supplies that go with both classes.  Scissors, glue, glue sticks, tape, color pencils, markers, newspaper, baby wipes, etc.  Then I have one crate that is dedicated for each class.  In those I have a notebook with all the details for the class including the sign up sheet for snack, and an envelope for everyone to make their weekly payment.  Then in these crates I put all the supplies for the class for the week.  So basically the crate with all the supplies can stay in my van all the time.  (Except since it’s gotten cold my glue keeps getting solid!  LOL) Then I just pack everything I need each week for the other 2 classes in the correct crates and pop that one in the van on the way out the door to class each week.

How do you find time to "do it all?"

I don’t!  I do a lot, but I never get it all done.  My housework takes the brunt of the toll.  I could use a housekeeper!  LOL  I don’t cook a lot of fancy meals and honestly I have zero ME time.  But, I am okay with that.  My kids will grow up all too fast and I can have a neat and tidy house then.  When that day comes I will have more than enough time for ME.  And I still won’t cook a bunch of fancy meals!  LOL  But, I know for sure I will miss these busy crazy days and most of all I will be very glad I invested this season of my life in my kiddos.  They are already growing up much too fast!

I hope that answers all the questions.  All I can say is if you are considering teaching a class like this for your kids I say "go for it!"  It is completely worth the time and effort.

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

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American Girl Club Week 6 – Samantha

November 25, 2008 at 9:11 am (Uncategorized)

We have finished up week 6 of American Girl Club!  We are half way through our study of Samantha. 

For week 6:

  1. The girls came having read the 2nd half of book. 3.  Answered questions about the chapters they had read.
  2. Read about Victorian Letter writing.
  3. Read about store windows in our In Samantha’s World book.  We learned that L Frank Baum was a store owner and was inspired to write the Wizard of Oz from a window he created.
  4. Looked at wedding pictures I found online of a 1904 wedding.  Talked about the jewelry and fashions.
  5. Learned that crayola crayons were first sold in 1903.
  6. Made tissue paper snow flakes
  7. Made a gift for mom.  (I can’t tell you about it because the girls are saving it for Christmas!)
  8. Wrote a proper letter to mom on stationary to go with the gift we made.


Here is the first post I did about our American Girl Club
Here is the my post about weeks 1 & 2
Here is my post about week 3
Here is my post about week 4
Here is my post about week 5

If anyone is following along and wants to know what we made email me and I will fill you in!

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

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Awana Grand Prix

November 24, 2008 at 11:30 am (Uncategorized)

This weekend was Awana Grand Prix for us!  Although we have been in Awana eleven years this was our first Grand Prix!  (Not all the churches we attended offered Grand Prix and some we missed out on by moving mid-year.)  This was a LOT of fun and I hope it is NOT our last Awana Grand Prix!

Here is my youngest working on his car.

Here is dad helping out our daughter with hers.

Here is my oldest making his, he and I got to race the other leaders.

Here are the kids with their finished cars.

Here are the cars. (Spiderman, Smiley Face Pirate and a Princess car trimmed in pearls. LOL)

The preschoolers don’t race the big cars.  They bring Hotwheels to race! (Which was totally and completely adorable!) Since I am a leader I get to race too.  So I had my preschooler make my car.  I am sure everyone wondered why I am in to Spiderman!  LOL

Oh, and my daughter’s car won 4th place for the Sparkies!  (Out of about 30 kids!)  She is SO excited!

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

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Giraffe Felt Board Story

November 21, 2008 at 9:06 am (Uncategorized)


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Rachel emailed me yesterday and said she was planning to teach preschool for her littles similar to how I do it, except with animals.  I just happened to be making a felt board story for the letter G.  So I thought I would share it!

Giraffe Felt Board Story


I printed the pieces from this website  http://goodnightstories.com/images/alphabet/ I reduced them to 70% to get the size I wanted.  Once we had colored them I cut a small piece of white felt and glued to the back of each one so it will stick to the felt board.

To tell the story start on the far right side of the felt board and put up each letter in order moving to the right.  When you get to the last letter it will spell Giraffe!

(E) Put up letter

I am the tallest animal you will ever see!

Who am I? Am I an Elephant?  NO!

(F) Put up letter

My legs alone can be 6 feet tall!

Who am I?  Am I a Frog?  NO!

(F) Put up letter

My hooves can be as big as a dinner plate!

Who am I?  Are you sure I am not a frog?  NO!

(A) Put up letter

I have a powerful kick!

Who am I?  Am I a Alligator?  NO!

(R) Put up letter

I have little knobs on top of my head!

Who am I?  Am I a Rhinoceros?  NO!

(I) Put up letter

My neck is so long I eat from the top of the trees!

Who am I?  Am I A Iguana?  NO!

(G) Put up letter

I am a beautiful gold with brown spots!

Who am I?  Am I a Giraffe???  YES!!!!  I am a Giraffe!

I got all these giraffe facts from Lions At Lunchtime.  The Magic Treehouse book that is my daughter is reader for this week. 

Okay, Rachel now you have to let me know what animal ideas you come up with!

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

P.S. Sorry for how messy this post looks.  It is perfect when i preview it!  LOL  I am too tired to fight with it tonight.  So I hope you all can make some sense of this!

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THM 11-19-08 Holiday Crafts and Activites

November 20, 2008 at 9:06 am (Uncategorized)

Fall is my favorite time of year!  So I thought I would share with you some of the Fall projects we have enjoyed doing.  You will find the free patterns for all of these on my blog.

These easy to assemble sweet turkeys are a favorite with my kids!

This is a fun little pumpkin hat I loom knitted!

Here are some fun Fall Photo Placemats made with our fall pictures.

This Turkey Hat is super simple and makes little ones smile!

You will find more fall project ideas in my recent post about Leaf Day!

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

This article is from this weeks issue of The Homeschool Minute.  If you are interested in getting The Homeschool Minute as well as the Freebie Friday Newsletter you can subscribe for free HERE.  I will be passing along FREE goodies for your homeschool each week in both of these newsletters.  (Not to mention all the other great info you will get from The Homeschool Minute!)

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E – F – G

November 19, 2008 at 8:51 am (Uncategorized)

I have been doing a good job posting about the American Girl Club I am teaching.  But, I have barely posted about the ABC Preschool Class I am teaching for my youngest.  We are moving right along though!  This week we will be doing the letter "G"!

So let me tell you a little bit about what we are doing. Each week I have 2 crafts as well as something that starts with the letter of the week to glue on that letter. 

For E we did.

Elastic – glued on the letter
Craft #1 – Elephant Toilet paper tube
Craft #2 – Decorated a fun foam egg

E is elastic

Elephant

Egg

For F we did:

Feathers – glued on the letter
Craft #1 – Fish on a pole (Painted with bubble wrap to get that fishy look!)
Craft #2 – F is for Flag.

F is for Flag

F is for feather

Bubble wrap painted fish.  (We painted on the bubble wrap and then laid the fish on the bubble wrap to stamp it onto the fish.)

For G we will:

Glitter Glue – to glue on letter G
Craft #1 – Giraffe Paper Bag Puppet
Craft #2 – Fun Foam Gingerbread Men!

After craft time we have show and tell.  This is a FAVORITE time for the kids!  Each child brings something to show the class that starts with the letter of the week.  After everyone shows their letter we go though each item  and sing the "C is for Cookie" song changing it to the letter and item each child brought. (My 4year old LOVES this part.  He thinks all week about what he wants to take.  For the letter F he made this Fish Face Mask.  It was so cute!)

After show and tell I try to bring something science related.  For E we had a model of the Ear, for F we had models of how a tadpole becomes a frog.  We have also looked at a model of the brain, models of how caterpillars change to butterflies and for the letter E I brought real cotton that was still attached to the stem.  I don’t have an items for each letter, but I have collected quite a few over the years.  Again, preschoolers love the hands of learning.

Then we have stories and felt board stories.  They LOVE the felt board stories! For the letter E didn’t have a felt board story so we read I Can Read with My Eyes Shut and Green Eggs and Ham.  For F I have 2 great felt board stories, The Old Lady Who Swallowed The Fly and The Wide Mouth Frog. For F I also have these awesome face felt pieces.  I put these out for free play time after they finished craft.  They were a big hit! For G I have the Gingerbread Man Felt board story. 


Face Felt Board

After story time we have snack.  The parents sign up to bring a snack to share.  Whatever they bring coordinates with the letter of the week.  We have had apples, bananas, cookies, donuts, fish crackers.  (For E we had some snack bars and we called it E is for EAT!  LOL)

After snack I do some large muscle activites with them.  I try to tie it into the letter if I can.  For A we did ABC Stomp.  For B we played games with bean bags and Phonics Ball.  C was Jack Be Nimble and the kids jumped over a candle stick!  (We replace Jack’s name with each kids name and go around the circle letting each kid have a chance to jump over the candle. Very fun!) We also did a counting game for C where I wrote the numbers one through 10 on pieces of fun foam that are 4"X6".  Then I put them in order on the floor and we went down the line and each child took turn stepping on the number I called out.  For E we put plastic easter eggs in the parachute and had fun tossing them in the air.  A parachute is a great investment when you homeschool!  For F we played "Fly or Fling", a game I completely made up!  I gave each child a bean bag and then put a basket in the middle of the room.  They each took turns either flying of flinging their bean bag into the basket.  It was FUN! For G we are going to play Red Light Green Light! 

That’s it!  We meet for 2 hours and are usually done with the activities in an hour and a half.  Then everyone helps clean up since we are using a room at the library and have to be out in exactly 2 hours.

It has been really good for my 4 year old.  The first few weeks he had no idea that he needed to wait his turn and listen.  He thought that since mom was teaching he should be upfront and in charge!  LOL  But, the last several weeks he has been doing great!

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

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American Girl Club Week 5 – Samantha

November 17, 2008 at 8:07 am (Uncategorized)

Here is what we did for week 5 of American Girl Club!

  1. Each girl came to club having read the first 3 chapters of book 3.  We went over our discussion questions.  Talked about how Victorian Christmas were alike and not alike our Christmas today.
  2. Made 2 Gingerbread houses! ( In the story this week Samantha is getting ready for Christmas and one of the things she wanted to do was make a gingerbread house.)
  3. Read about Turkish Corners in victorian time and made a Turkish throw pillow.
  4. Snack – Ice Cream Snowballs.

The Gingerbread houses were a BIG hit with the girls!

We worked on making 2 of them.

My daughter loved it!

Sadly one of them collapsed!

So all the girls finished this one together.
I think you can tell they all enjoyed it quite a bit!  LOL (We had a small group this week.  6 girls were not there this week.)

Here is the Turkish throw pillow they made.
I pre-sewed 3 sides on my serger to make it easier for them.  So they got to stuff them, sew them shut, make the tassels and sew them on. This is a 3" x 3" pillow.

Here is my daughter ready to have her yummy Ice Cream Snowball!

It was a fun night! I find it very enjoyable to get to take one night a week to slow down and spend time fellowshipping with like minded mom’s and their daughters.  The girls are all becoming great friends and the mom’s all get along great too!  This has been a real blessing for my daughter and myself.  If you are thinking about starting an American Girl Club I highly recommend it!

Here is the first post I did about our American Girl Club
Here is the my post about weeks 1 & 2
Here is my post about week 3
Here is my post about week 4


Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

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12 Days of Freebies!

November 14, 2008 at 10:02 am (Uncategorized)


http://joyoushome.com/

Today’s Freebie is…

Make sure to stop by everyday for the next 12 days to get all the great freebies Season’s At Home is offering!  These 12 free downloads will give you a good idea of what you can expect if you subscribe to their magazine.  I can’t say enough good things about this magazine!  If you are looking for a support of being a homemaker this magazine is for you!  Each month their are recipes, crafts, sewing project, etc.  I just LOVE it!  There are just not that many places in this day and age the support the idea offering a homemaker!  Season’s at Home does it beautifully!

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

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Free $29.99 Custom Cover Photo Book

November 14, 2008 at 8:28 am (Uncategorized)

This deal ends tonight!  So don’t delay.  Read all about it here:

http://www.oprah.com/slideshow/oprahshow/20081029_tows_messyhouse/7

The site is super busy and the checkout is a pain.  But, I finally got through it and only had to pay $7.57 in shipping to get my $29.99 custom photo album!  (You will have to put in all your credit card info and go all the way through checkout before you see the $29.99 discount.)

What are you waiting for? 

Thank you to the reader that shared this info with me.  And NO I don’t watch Oprah!  LOL

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

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