Free We Can/Can't Play Door Hangers

July 31, 2009 at 8:38 am (Uncategorized)

When we lived in Las Vegas our house was the neighborhood hang out. Las Vegas has year around schools which means at any given time some of the neighbor kids were out of school.  Add in the weird fact that our neighborhood was assigned to 2 different grade schools. (odd number houses went to one school and even numbered went to another.  Don’t ask me why, I have NO idea.) This meant that just because you were out of school your neighborhood friend weren’t necessarily out too.  Now my kids since they were homeschooled they were home 24/7.  The neighborhood kids were VERY happy about this!  In there eyes my kids "didn’t go to school" so they should be available to play anytime!

Soon after we moved into the neighborhood the doorbell started ringing!  I was happy to have the neighbor kids come over and play, but I also had a newborn baby that needed some peace and quiet so he could nap.  (Not to mention we actually DID do school at home, contrary to what the neighbor kids believed!) The constant ringing of the doorbell quickly became a problem!  A couple weeks after we had moved in the doorbell rang at 7:30 in the morning with a neighbor kid wanting to know if my kids could come out and play!  I knew I HAD to do something!  So I went over to my local craft store and picked up 2 of those fun foam door knob hangers.  One was red and the other green.  I glued them together, making one side red and one side green.  Then with a Sharpie marker I "NO we can’t play right now." on the red side and "YES, we can play now" on the green side.  I figured even the little kids in the neighborhood could recognize "Red means stop, and green means go."  Then every night I would hang the red side out before we went to bed, Once we had our school work done the kids would go flip the sign and the neighbor kids would start pouring in!  If I needed to put the baby down for a nap I would send everyone home and flip the sign back to red.  I can’t tell you how many times I opened my front door and found kids sitting there waiting for the sign to be flipped!  LOL (It did take some training to get the neighbor kids to pay attention the the door hangers.  But, after a few weeks we had everyone in the neighborhood on board with our system.)

I though I was so original in my idea!  Until yesterday morning when I got my daily email from Skip To My Lou!  They are offering an ADORABLE free printable version of my door hanger!  LOL  (There’s is much cuter than mine, but it still uses the red and green!)  So whether you need something to keep your doorbell from ringing all day during naps and school or just want some peace and quiet during dinner you can download your free door hangers HERE.

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

P.S.  We are going out of town today so this will be my last post for a week or so.  See you later!

P.S. Again…I just thought of something funny…After the door hanger I made for the front door was working so well I decided to try one for my bedroom door.  My daughter had just turned 3 and she was constantly barging in while I was nursing the baby to sleep and waking him up.  Since she couldn’t read yet I just glued the red and green ones together and reminded her that "Red means stop and green means go."  Much to my dismay she paid no attention to the door hanger and continued to barge in.  One day the baby and I were both almost asleep in the rocking chair when she woke us both up!  Annoyed I said to her "What does red mean?"  meekly she replied "Stop."  Then I said "And what does green mean?"  (Sounding plenty annoyed I am sure!)  She grinned and replied "GO AWAY!"  Kids are SO funny!!!!
 

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funsteps.com

July 30, 2009 at 9:00 am (Uncategorized)

I had an email from a reader who was wanting to find a preschool curriculum where they could be "creating and having fun".  She said she didn’t want to pull it together herself but was looking for a curriculum to show her how to do it.  This is out of my area of expertise, but it did remind me of the preschool program my friend Faye used with her boys.  So I sent Faye an email and this is what she had to say:


The curriculum I used was called Kapers for Kids. They are still around, but they have changed their name. They have two programs, one for ages 2-3 and one for ages 4-5–which is what they had when my boys were little. It’s kind of pricey, but we really did love it, and it was so incredibly easy for me to use, since they provide just about everything. Here is the link to their website. I hope your reader will enjoy the curriculum as much as we did–I can still see my boys on the airplane doing one of their activities–and people around me were so impressed that I was so organized–Ha!–how little they knew!

Funsteps, Inc.
http://www.funsteps.com/home.htm


After looking at the website and I can see why my friend always raved about it.  Each month you get  monthly training manual, music, calendar activities, craft projects, number and letter activities and colorful teaching aids.  I took a quick look at the pricing and it looks like with shipping it would be around $40.00 a month for one child.  (It gets significantly cheaper per child, but that doesn’t help most homeschoolers.) That is more than I spend putting things together myself, but if you factor in all the ink and paper I use for printing freebies and the gas I use running back and forth gathering craft supplies it may still be comparable.  (And if this is something you are looking for then you also have to factor in how much your time is worth each month pulling everything together.)

Just thought I would pass along this info since I know that if my friend Faye used it and loved it then others will love it too!

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

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Field Trips

July 29, 2009 at 8:21 am (Uncategorized)

I took the kids on the most awesome field trip yesterday.  I can’t tell you about it because the place we went is pretty unique.  It is one of only 2 of such locations in the USA. (If I told you were we went you could pretty much guess where we live.) As we were having a great time learning together I was thinking about what a great "gig" being a homeschool mom is.  I mean part of my "job" is hanging out with my kids at fun places!  Over the years I have spent countless hours teaching my kids at places that other people come to for vacation!  Honestly, I can’t even tell you how blessed I am to be a homeschool mom!

Since I can’t tell you about the trip we took yesterday I thought I would reminisce about a few of my favorite field trips over the last few years…

Probably my favorite field trip ever was when we went to the FBI in Las Vegas.  My son and I were just talking about it yesterday and oddly enough the thing we both remembered most was the cool name tags we got!  LOL You can read all about it here:
http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/jaminacema/128246

Another super fun field trip was when we went to NASA!  What’s not to love about NASA?  You can read about our visit here:
http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/jaminacema/530461/

The Borax Mine in California was one of those off beat things that we were so glad we didn’t drive on by.  We had no idea all the things Borax is used for until we visited the mine.  You can find out what we learned here:
http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/jaminacema/362622

We LOVED when we got to experience what life would have been like in Bethlehem when Jesus was born.
http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/jaminacema/633129

The California Train Museum is a place full of memories for our family.  We have been there many times and it never dissapoints!  You can read about our most recent visit here:
http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/jaminacema/362282/

Of course the 2 weeks we spent in Washington D.C., Virginia and Philly last May was the creme de la creme of field trips!  In case you missed any of it you can read all about it here:
http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/jaminacema/699075/

These are just a few of the OVER 70 posts I have written about our field trips we have gone on over the last 3 years!  You can check them all out here:
http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/jaminacema/540778/

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

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Spelling

July 28, 2009 at 8:44 am (Uncategorized)

Both my 5 year old and my 8 year old have just exploded with their spelling this Summer.  My 5 year old is just at the point that he is realizing that letters really do make words.  So he is constantly asking "How do you spell XYZ?"  Then he runs and writes down whatever the word is we spelled for him.  He has figured out that if dog is D-O-G then H-O-G must be hog and F-O-G must be fog.  I find sheets of paper all over the house with lists of all the 3 and 4 letter words he has figured out. It is such a fun stage!  I am really looking forward to doing Sing, Spell, Read and Write with him in the Fall.  I know he will be reading in no time.

My daughter is spelling everything too.  Part of it with her is that her little brother is constantly asking her how to spell things and it is making her want to work hard to stay ahead of him. (Good peer pressure does exist!  LOL)  Yesterday morning I was already up and on the phone/computer when the littles got up.  I was talking to my Mom and my daughter called me over.  She pointed to the magnetic letters on the fridge.  She had spelled out "we want food"  It made me laugh. 

One more funny spelling story.  My husband was spelling something to me over the kids heads the other night.  My daughter said "Dad you spelled that wrong and proceeded to spell it correctly for me."  Dad didn’t miss a beat, he looked at her and said "I think I liked you better before you could read."  She was SO proud of herself for correcting Dad and thought his response was so funny! :^)

It never ceases to amaze me how much the kids bloom and grow over the Summer.  Many times I have considered schooling year around.  But, I honestly think the kids need the Summer time "off" so they can process and proceed at their own speed.  God certainly made children with a wonderful ability to learn!  I am so glad I get to sit back and watch it all happen with my kiddos.

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

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Acronyms, Anagrams and Acrostics Oh My!

July 27, 2009 at 9:32 am (Uncategorized)

I can never remember the difference between an acronym an anagram and a acrostic.  I always have to go to my 14 year old to remind me which is which.  He laughs at me when I can’t remember.  I smile and remind him that I am the only teacher he has ever had…

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

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The Mystery in Las Vegas

July 24, 2009 at 9:28 am (Uncategorized)

My daughter has been looking for a new series of books to read since she has almost finished all the Magic Tree House books.  Last week we were at the bookstore and we came across a series called Carole Marsh Real Kids Real Places Mysteries .  We were flipping through the locations…Biltmore House, Golden Gate Bridge, Disney World, California Mission Trail, LAS VEGAS!   WOW, I didn’t ever expect to find a children’s book based in Las Vegas!  Of course we snatched it right up.  Even though I struggled to feel at home in Las Vegas the 4 years we lived there comprise most of the littles early memories.  My two little ones were very excited at the proposition of reading about what they consider their "home town". (They were 3 weeks and 2 years old when we moved there, so honestly Las Vegas is their "normal".)

So here is the premise of the book.  Two kids travel to Las Vegas with their grandparents.  The grandparents are hesitant to take them to Las Vegas at first, since it is known as a "adult playground".  But, after the kids research all the kid friendly things to do in Sin City ;^) the grandparents relent and take them. Once in Las Vegas the adventure begins!  They meet a boy and girl who have come from India to bring two rare white tigers that are to be a part of show at a new hotel.  In no time the tigers are stolen and the kids are off traipsing all over Southern Nevada looking for clues to solve the mystery.  The story was really fun!  We learned about a lot of fun Las Vegas sights including Hoover Dam, Ethel M Chocolate Factory, Ice Box Canyon and Lake Meade not to mention all the touristy stuff on the Strip and Fremont Street.  I thought the author did an amazing job of including a lot of neat facts about the area and it’s history.  My kids just LOVED reading about all the places we use to hang out!

This would be a great book to read before a visit to Las Vegas, and if you live there, it’s a must read! 

Here is a list of all the Real Kids Real Places Titles:

#1 The Mystery of Biltmore House
#2 The Mystery on the Freedom Trail
#3 The Mystery of Blackbeard The Pirate
#4 The Mystery of the Alamo Ghost
#5 The Mystery of the California Mission Trail
#6 The Mystery of the Missing Dinosaurs
#7 The White House Christmas Mystery
#8 The Mystery of the Iditarod Trail
#9 The Mystery at Kill Devil Hills
#10 The Mystery in New York City
#11 The Mystery at Disney World
#12 The Mystery on the Underground Railroad
#13 The Mystery in the Rocky Mountains
#14 The Mystery on the Mighty Mississippi
#15 The Mystery at the Kentucky Derby
#16 The Mystery of the Grand Canyon
#17 The Mystery at Jamestown
#18 The Mystery in Chocolate Town…Hershey, Pennsylvania
#19 The Gosh Awful Gold Rush Mystery
#20 The Counterfeit Constitution Mystery
#21 The Mystery of the Haunted Ghost Town
#22 The Mystery in Las Vegas
#23 The Mystery of the Graveyard of the Atlantic
#24 The Ghost of the Golden Gate Bridge
#25 The Wild Water Mystery at Niagara Falls
#26 The Colonial Caper Mystery at Williamsburg

We are looking forward to getting more of these and exploring more places through the books.  I am even wondering if these would be a good series to as a book club for my little man when he get a bit older? (Like the American Girl Club I do for my daughter now.)  One great thing about these books is that the author has already included a Built-In Book Club in the back of the book. There are discussion questions, activities, trivia and vocabulary words.  (In the Las Vegas books there are vocab words like chauffeur, concierge and impersonate. :^)

If you are looking for some fun new books be sure to check these out!

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

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Crutches

July 23, 2009 at 7:47 am (Uncategorized)

That kids informed me yesterday I was being a BEAR!  That is not the norm for me, which is apparent by the fact that the kids noticed my mood. We have been way too busy lately and I am just tired.  Add normal life stresses, a sick kid, a few recent disappointments, more week than paycheck and well everyone is entitled to a grouchy day!  So last night after I had dropped my oldest son at youth group I was sitting in the parking lot alone and So Long Self came on.  I closed my eyes, laid back my head and just listened closely to the lyrics.  That’s when I started thinking about crutches…

Every once in awhile I will hear someone will say something to the effect of "religion is a crutch!"  or "Christianity is a crutch."  and it always makes me smile.  Why?  Because it’s true!  You see if I have a broken leg I am going to use a crutches to get around.  I wouldn’t apologize for it, or be embarrassed by it.  I would be grateful for the crutches and that they made me able to get around. Now, I don’t have a broken leg, but I am a broken person.  I am NOT perfect, I am so, so, so far from it!  Everyday I mess up.  I get mad, I get tired, I get frustrated, I think of myself before others.  Sometimes I just want things my way!  Sometimes I get tired of explaining things and just want everyone to let me be!  But, I have a crutch!  His name is Jesus and he takes all my brokeness and forgives it!  Not only that He takes a broken mess like me and uses me to bless other people!  Hopefully more days than not I am a blessing to my husband, my kids, my family, my friends, my  church family, my neighbors, my blog readers  That takes a BIG God!  Because trust me, I am a mess!  A broken, selfish, weak, imperfect mess.  My God is so GOOD and I am so grateful that He is my crutch!  I have a sneaking suspicion that I am not the only one who knows that they are not perfect.  No matter how hard I try I am not capable of being who I really want to be. I am not capable on my own of being all God wants me to be.  Only God could make something beautiful out of a wretch like me.

Hopefully, for my kids sake, today will be better.  I am going to do my best to be nicer to my kids, get some rest and give my worries to God.  I am going to pray that when people see me that also see my crutch!  Because He is awesome! I pray others will see that I am doing what I can to get through life as a broken person.  I am trusting in the only one who can be trusted.  I have learned that the harder I lean on Jesus the closer I get to Him and the further away I get from my imperfect self!

So yes, I will gladly agree that Jesus is my crutch!  And if you don’t know Him…I highly recommend you lean on him yourself!

John 3:30 He must become greater; I must become less.


Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin
 

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Let's Finish Some Sentences…

July 22, 2009 at 8:02 am (Uncategorized)


1. Maybe I should be….cleaning my house.  

2. I love…….my kids and my hubby!  

3. People would say that I …..have a lot of energy.

4. I don’t understand……God’s ways, but I have learned to trust Him and things will turn out right.

5. When I wake up in the morning…..I am happy to see my kiddos faces.  

6. I lost….my mind many years ago.  

7. Life is full of……opportunities!

8. My past taught me….that God is good and I can trust Him.  

9. I get annoyed when…..someone yells at me.  

10. At a party I……TALK, TALK, TALK!  

11. I wish……I could rewind and keep all 3 of my kids little for a looooooong time.  

12. Dogs……steal my heart.  

13. Cats……are nice, but I am a dog person first. 

14. Tomorrow…..I have a busy day.  

15. I have a low tolerance for…..bickering.  

16. If I had a million dollars…..I would pay off our house in Las Vegas and then give it away! (Maybe to the ministry The Vegas Project? )

17. I’m totally terrified of……the current economy and the direction our country seems to be going.  :^(

Now it’s your turn!  Let me know if you post your finished sentences.

Jamin

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Free Poetry E-Book

July 21, 2009 at 7:42 am (Uncategorized)

In case you haven’t seen the current CurrClick freebie is something pretty unique.  Here is the description:

A simple book of poetry forms to use with your children as you continue on in your joyful and successful homeschooling adventure! Introduce your family to the wonderful world of poetry by letting them write their own. With simple, clear instructions and sample poems, your child can write sense poems, haikus, diamantes, and Scripture poems. You might want to write some poems too! Enjoy!

http://www.currclick.com/

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

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We Choose The Moon

July 16, 2009 at 10:50 am (Uncategorized)

I said I wasn’t going to post until we got back from the family reunion, but I HAD to share this:

http://wechoosethemoon.org/#

In honor of the Moon landing 40 years ago (Which I remember so well, it’s hard to believe I was only FOUR!)  they are re-enacting the whole moon mission from old recordings and videos in real time.  SO COOL!  After the whole mission is over you will be able to go back and go through the whole thing at your own pace.  The launch has already happened, but there are still hours and hours of the mission left!

Enjoy!

Now, back to laundry, packing, cleaning, errands and VBS.

:^)

I will see you sometime next week.

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

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