Category Archives: hip homeschool hop

Preschool Art Class Part 6

art class 6

For week 6 of our preschool art class, we focused on Pointalism. We talked about great artists who use this method and looked at examples of their work.

I did not have a chance to get to the library before this class. So, I googled pointalism on my tablet and took some screen shots of work. I showed my little ones a slide show. We zoomed in closely to see the dots that are characteristic of pointalism.

A-Sunday-Afternoon-on-MEDIUMOne of the most famous works of pointalism is “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” by Georges Seurat

After viewing works by famous artists, I let the kids try their hand at pointalism.


We used Q Tips and THESE TEMPLATES from Therapy Fun Zone.

Most kids hung in there for a while and did individual dots in each circle, but by the end, they were mostly using their Q Tips as paint brushes and making big strokes across the paper. They had a great time!

Don’t forget to check out the other posts in this series:


Van Goh

Dr. Seuss

Eric Carle

Jackson Pollock

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Color By Music Note- Snowman Edition

Back by popular demand! Here is another installment in the Color By Music Note Printables!

Two versions are available. Click on the link BELOW the image for the printable version:

Snowman 1

Click to download printable version—–>> Color By Music Note Snowman 1 snowman 2Click to download printable version —->>>Color by Music Note Snowman 2

You can find the other Color By Music Notes HERE and HERE.

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Mid Year Evaluation of Our Homeschool Year

mid year

*post contains affiliate links*

I think this is a good time to take a look at what we’ve been doing with our school year. I’ve been checking in with the kids and finding out if they are still excited about what we’ve been learning. I’m looking back over the fall and trying to figure out what’s been going well and what we need to change up.

I blogged about our 2013-2014 curriculum choices HERE.  For the most part, we are sticking with the original choices. Well… at least I am with Big Brother. He has really enjoyed Easy Peasy. He loves the control of using the computer. He has especially enjoyed science and projects involving making power points.

This is our first year really using lapbooks. I, for one, am a really big fan. I like that all the work is contained in one folder. We don’t have tons of loose, random papers floating around.

While I have enjoyed doing language arts through Easy Peasy with Big Sis, we are going to be changing things up for the rest of the year. Our library has a pretty complete selection of the American Girl Historical Books. Big Sis (and probably Little Sis at times) will be using the American Girl Books to go through American History. I’m actually not very familiar with the books so it will be a learning experience for me as well.

I will be posting more as the year goes on about our adventures with American Girl. We will be starting with this one:

Meet Kaya (American Girls Collection)

The books are also available on Kindle. The first one in the series  Meet Kaya (American Girls Collection) is only $1.99!!

I have printed out some pieces for a Kaya lapbook and a horse lapbook to get us started for the week. I also picked up this craft kit on ebay to go along with the study:

I haven’t told Big Sis that this is what we will be doing. I think she is going to be super excited when she finds out!!!

We are continuing with Math U See for the Big Kids as well as incorporating legos into our daily school. Big Brother has expressed interest in learning about animation. I am going to look into checking out books about claymation, stop motion and other forms of animation. I also recently got the  Crayola Animation Studio for our computer. Big Brother is excited about exploring it.

Little Sis does school with us when she chooses. She does a lot of with learning letters, basic math skills and crafts. I have several resources from my teaching days (I taught preschool) that I pull out to use with her. We don’t stick to one curriculum or program.

How about you? Have you stuck to your original plan for the year or have you made some changes?

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Preschool and Toddler Busy Bag Swap with Free Printable

busy bag swap 2

After the success of our previous Busy Bag swap, some of the ladies at our church wanted to get in on the action. We had a VERY informal get together… everyone came to church about fifteen minutes before the service and dropped their goodies off with me (I had a few minutes to divvy up the goods because I was teaching Sunday school and my little ones weren’t there yet). Everyone picked up their stocked bags filled with busy bags at the end of the service.

Here’s what we each walked away with:


1. Paint chip matching (we had this at our previous swap as well)

2. A Button Snake… kids lace shapes onto a long ribbon. You can see another example of one here.

3. A Lacing Toy… this awesome lady cut up a plastic dish drain and provided strings and pipe cleaners for endless play time. Toddlers can pull the string through the holes. Preschoolers can practice lacing and weaving.

4. Color Matching wheel … See below for the FREE printable that goes along with this one. Kids match colored clothespins to the color wheel.

5. Color Match circles… A Big circle is laid down with a color written on it. Kids match smaller circles with pictures done in the same color. (Example… the big circle says “green”… kids place a small circle with a green smiley face on top.

6. Pom Pom Push…. we also had this one at the previous swap. It is a huge favorite at our house. You take a small plastic container at cut a hole in the lid. Kids can push the pom poms through the hole. This mama put duct tape around the hole so no little fingers get cut with jagged plastic.


7. Magnetic Wand bottle… this is totally the favorite with all of my kids right now… even the eight year old wants a turn. The bottle is partially filled with small jingle bells and pipe cleaners. Kids use the magnet to pull the items up and let them drop. You can see another example here.

I showed in the previous post how I use zipper pouches to make the activities available to Little Sis. I don’t let her have access to all the busy bags at once. I like to rotate activities to keep them fresh and exciting. Here’s where I keep them in the mean time…


It is simply  a mid size Sterilite tote I picked up at Wal-Mart that I keep to the side of our school stuff. It’s easily accessible. I keep the individual activities in zip lock bags and in the tote when we are not using them.

And now…  the FREE printable of the color wheel (#4 above). I recommend laminating or covering the color wheel with contact paper to make it durable. Be sure to click the link BELOW the picture to download the PDF.

Color Wheel

 Click to download printable version ————->Color Wheel

Come back next week for some more ideas on keeping your preschooler and toddler busy while doing school with the big kids!

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Our Morning Homeschool Meeting

Calendar 1

In general, our homeschool day begins together. All the kids (ages 8, 6, 4 and 20 mo) sit with me in the living room to do our Bible reading, prayer, calendar and what ever else comes to mind.

We are using Easy Peasy for many of our school subjects, including our Bible reading. This is how we start our day. Most of the time, I read and then we discuss, but every now and then, Big Brother reads for us. When we finish reading, we pray about what we’ve read and how to apply it to our day.

We then move on to our calendar board:

calendar 2

1. This is simply a blank piece of paper that I laminated to use as a whiteboard of sorts where we can write whatever we need during calendar. It may be a country that we are praying for or a sentence stretching activity or a phrase in Spanish. The possibilities are endless.

2. The calendar. This is just a blank calendar I printed out and laminated. Each day we write in the date and talk about the month, day and year. We also use this to practice counting.

3. Weather chart. This camefrom Confessions of a Homeschooler. I placed velcro dots on the chart and the weather pieces. Each morning, someone checks the weather and places the appropriate card on the appropriate day.

4. This is another blank, laminated paper. I added a clip (secured with packing tape) on which to put our memory verse for the week. We are reading through My ABCs of Scripture with Little Sis. I printed all the verses on cards when Big Brother was little. We are placing the cards here for everyone to memorize together. This week is D- Do all things without complaining and disputing- Philippians 2:14.

5. Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow Chart- Also from  Confessions of a Homeschooler and also utilizing velcro dots.

6. Books of the Bible Chart

7. Days in School Number Chart from Homeschool Creations

8. Here I have another clip secured with packing tape. Big Brother is working on Multiplication this year and I happened upon these skip counting practice sheets from Homeschool Creations. Each week we will work on something different. This week is skip counting by 15.

9. Prayer Guide. We printed this guide out as one of our devotional activities from Easy Peasy. We talked about the word compassion and made an acrostic using the word as a guide. The kids came up with ideas to pray for including “children in Uganda” “missionaries” and “orphans.”

When we finish with our morning time together, we head to the table to do our workbox/ table work. Our morning meeting takes anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes depending on attention spans. We also might use this time to watch videos that go with school (School House Rock counting by 5s is a big favorite).

Do you have a morning meeting or calendar time in your homeschool day?

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A Day in the Life of Our Homeschool

A day in the life

Before I begin what a typical day in the life of our homeschool looks like, let me share my facebook updates from yesterday and today:

Trying to get psyched about taking all 4 kids to the dentist this morning. Maybe Jesus will come back before I have to go.”

You want glimpse into a day in my life? As I’m standing, checking out our 60 plus books at the library, Big Sis hurls herself, feet first at a glass wall (thankfully, it didn’t break), Little Sis announces that she is gargling her own spit and Big Brother is off to the side doing armpit farts.”

I share those to say, I’m not sure what a typical day looks like because I’m not sure we have typical days.

I’ll share with you how MOST days go when we don’t have dentist appointments or library trips or park play dates or enrichment classes or co op or hiking or swimming or birthdays, etc.

We generally wake up around 7 and when I say “we”… I mean… Little Sis comes barreling out of her door and whichever parent hears her (or admits to hearing her) first gets up and gets the day started while the other parent catches a little extra sleep.

The kids eat breakfast and then play until around 9:30. We gather together to read our Bible and meet together… eventually, I’ll institute a morning calendar time like we did last year. I’m easing into that. Our morning meeting time usually lasts between 10- 20 minutes.

We move on to snack time from here for about 10 minutes.

IMAG3768This is our command central. Our kitchen is also our homeschool room. We have our workboxes, family calendar and supplies all in one place.

Next, we move on to table work. We use workboxes. Each night, after the kids go to bed, I load their workboxes with their table work… this includes math, language arts, science, special interest learning (Big Sister was working on a Panda lapbook recently and Big Brother is working on Simple Machines), and daily Lego building challenges. I am usually having to be pretty hands on with Big Sis during this time. She is not very confident in her reading and asks a lot of questions. Big Brother is pretty independent but does need me nearby. Little Sis is turning four this week. She desperately wants to do school like the big kids. She has three workboxes where I put different activities daily… usually having to do with a letter of the week. She has a bin of busy bags that she can use as well. Table work usually lasts about 1 1/2 to 2 hours a day. We try to finish up by lunch.

After lunch, the kids play until around 2 when we have quiet/ rest/ independent reading time. This is when the littles take naps and I try to exercise.

We usually have some kind of free technology time in the afternoon as well. The kids can choose to play in the Tablet or Computer. Big Brother and Big Sis get half an hour each and Little Sis gets about 15 minutes.

I would like to eventually add in some music instruction like guitar or piano… but that will have to be down the road of this year.

Now… that is how it SHOULD LOOK. Let’s take a look at how it ACTUALLY LOOKS.

Let’s take Friday of last week for example.

IMAG3771Morning Meeting time… we read the Bible while Baby Girl (19 months) sat in my lap and screamed because she wasn’t feeling well and didn’t like the dress I put on her.

We headed to the doctor because Baby Girl was quickly developing croup and it was Friday and I didn’t want to go into the weekend with a super sick baby.

We then went to Wal Mart to pick up a prescription for Baby Girl and a birthday present for a friend.

We came home and had lunch, late.

I put baby girl down for nap and then we started our table work.

Little Sis, who was just getting over croup herself, cried because I showed her how to use the water colors to paint a letter C page … she wanted to do it herself. She wouldn’t quit crying and throwing paint brushes… so I sent her to her bed… where she fell asleep for a nap.

The older two completed their table work without much drama… thankfully.

By that time, the afternoon was gone and it was time to start on dinner.

I’m okay with not having every day look like that last. I do think there is value in routine. I do think that kids need some sort of structure, but you know… life happens. Kids get sick. Friends want to have play dates at the park. Library books need to be returned. Sometimes we need to meet daddy downtown for a frozen yogurt date. I don’t want to be so tied to my schedule that I forget to enjoy my kids and that they forget to enjoy me.

How does a “typical” day in your homeschool look?

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Preschool Busy Bag Swap


Yesterday we got to be part of a Busy Bag Swap with some of the other families in our homeschool community. I was really excited to see some first time homeschoolers come out and join us!

What is a busy bag? Glad you asked! They are simply a way to organize activities to keep little ones busy (usually while older kids are doing school or when you want your preschooler to work independently). They usually center around basic concepts like matching, sorting, colors, shapes, letters, fine motor skills, etc. Take a look at the wonderful activities the ladies shared at our swap.

First, we generated interest among our local community, then everyone picked an activity, agreed on a date and time and the swap was on! Each person picked an activity to make and made multiple sets of that one activity. We each brought our items to the park and shared about what we had made:


Everyone shared what they had made and instructions on how to teach our child to use the activity. We had SEVERAL toddlers, preschoolers and elementary age kids running around so we made our presentations quick and to the point.

Next, we set out the activities on a table and each person got to take one from each pile. So… when we left, we each had nine different busy bags to take home!

IMAG3823You can see baby girl’s little busy fingers trying to get her hands on the activities already!

I felt like what the kids must feel like at a Valentine’s Party! We each had our bags and loaded them up with our loot from the day!

Below is a description of each of the activities that were made:

Busy Bag Swap

1. Pom Pom pick up. The child has a container filled with pom poms and a set of tongs. The lid of the container has a hole in it. The child can empty the pom poms and then use the tongs or their fingers to put them back through the hole in the lid. This activity also came with a straw… the child can blow the pom poms around the table!

2. Homemade Play Dough… every kid I’ve ever met loves play dough. It just has so many great learning aspects… especially development of fine motor skills. You can find my recipe for homemade play dough here.

3. Felt Pizza… with order slips!! The child can create custom pizzas with this fun activity. They have crust, sauce and a variety of toppings. The activity also has order slips to make custom order and practice counting how many of each topping goes on the pizza.

4. Color Match Puzzles. I used this printable, laminated it and cut it into puzzles.

5. Spoon Matching with Shapes and Numbers.

6. Spell Your Name Bunting. This mom made personalized busy bags for each of the families that participated. You can find more fun printables like this on her blog.

7. Block Puzzles. The child estimates how many blocks will fit in a certain shape and then does the puzzle to find the correct answer. You can find this activity here.

8. Paint Chip Color Match. My kids LOVE using clothes pins!

9. Lacing and Shapes. Children lace the ribbon through various shapes.

So… now you have all these great busy bags, how do you store them?

IMAG3827I picked up several of these zipper pencil pouches from Wal- Mart. I have a tub with about five or six different busy bags that Little Sis can pick from when she wants to do school with us (Little Sis is almost 4). I try to rotate the activities weekly. The other busy bags that I have, I keep in ziplocks in a drawer until it is time to use them.

Check out this board on Pinterest for more Busy Bag ideas!

Have you ever done a Busy Bag Swap? What are your favorite Busy Bag ideas?

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Our Homeschool Curriculum 2013-2014

Homeschool Curr

Until about five days ago, I was all set to use My Father’s World, Creation to the Greeks this year. I had already bought the basic set and student sheets for Big Brother and Big Sister. I even went to Wal Mart last week and got the suggested school supplies to go along with the curriculum.

And then…

I realized, I didn’t really want to teach the material. I was NOT looking forward to the year. I love My Father’s World and would recommend it to anyone. I think it is solid and complete and very Biblical. I just wasn’t feeling it this year.

Last year, I finally felt like I was getting into the swing of things with school. I hit my sweet spot and really felt like things were clicking. I’ve been using My Father’s World because it is a complete curriculum.. laid out for me with day to day instructions. I needed that… it seemed to be that every year, we were either moving or having a baby. I needed to not have to do much planning in terms of school.

This year, we are fairly settled (although, I know things can change) and I’m not pregnant (again… I know things can change)… and I feel ready to be creative and see where the year leads. Sounds very unschoolish, doesn’t it?

I started by asking the kids, “What do you want to learn about this year?” Wow… were they excited. They were thrilled to pieces when I told them they could have input in what we learned about.

IMAG3790This is Big Sis’s list.. learn about animals and airplanes and furniture.


And this is Big Brother’s… he wants to learn about “how stuff works”


That’s where we’ll start. We went to the library this morning and got books about machines, airplanes and pandas.

Now… I’ve also recently discovered Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool:

Easy Peasy

A complete, online, Biblical, FREE homeschool program. It’s pretty amazing. I’m planning to use that for our language arts… and maybe throw in some history and science as well. I am a little concerned with screen time, but others have reassured me that it is not an issue and the kids will have plenty to do off screen.

We will still be using Math U See for our math. Big Brother is now in Gamma and Big Sis is in Alpha.

We will also be utilizing legos A LOT in our learning. I would LOVE to somehow become affiliated with legos and be able to product test and do fun reviews and giveaways. That is all my children want to do these days! And they are SO creative. It really blows my mind. Check back monthly for our daily lego challenges. You can find the one for August here.

I am hoping to get this Simple Machines Set from Lego Education:

As far as Little Sis is concerned, I’ll be working with her on her letters. I’m going to be using Getting Ready on Easy Peasy. As well as resources I’ve used in the past like this one:

My ABC Bible Verses: Hiding God’s Word in Little Hearts

We will also be utilizing Busy Bags… more on that later!

And then there’s Baby Girl. She’s going to be a challenge. She is my passionate toddler who is in to everything. Last year, we were able to get school done while she took a morning nap. This year, well… we will just have to take it one day at a time with her!

So… it appears that our curriculum will be growing and building as the year progresses. Honestly… I am so excited. I feel so free and adventurous. I know this is going to be a great year. We are starting tomorrow and my kids are so excited as well.

How about you? What are you going to be doing this year?

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Make Your Own Lego Idea Book with Free Printable

Big Brother is ALL ABOUT LEGOS these days. He can almost always be found building and creating. We got a free 2 year subscription to Lego Magazine. They have a section called “Cool Creations” where children can send in their creations to be featured. Big Brother comes up with at least two or three creations a day that he wants to send in!

We got him this book for his birthday this year (worth every penny):

It is filled with creations that came from those who decided to think outside the lego box and instruction manuals. The books and it’s ideas have challenged Big Brother in his own building.

We decided that, instead of sending ALL those cool creations to lego magazine, we’d put together his own ideas book.

lego book Whenever he makes a cool creation, we snap a picture and print it out for his book. He can then add whatever descriptions or name he wants to complete the entry.

Yesterday, I came across this wonderful collection of LEGO WRITING PROMPTS from Homegrown Learners. Big Brother decided to use them to write stories about minifigures which he will include in his Lego Ideas Book.

And now… here are a couple of Free Printables to get you started. Click on the link BELOW the image for the PDF.

Lego Idea Cover BookClick for PDF—————>  Lego Idea Book Cover

Meet the BuilderClick for PDF ——————> Meet the Builder

I hope this is something you are able to use!!!

**I found the MiniFigure Template on Flicker from Dutch Micro Figures **

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School’s Out for Summer… Or Is it?

I used Grammarly ( to grammar check this post, because I am not a grammar ninja.

summer school

I don’t know about you, but my kids just don’t seem to know how to function without some kind of structure in their day. We finished school for the year about three weeks ago. The kids seemed a little lost. They just didn’t seem to know what to do without it! I find Big Sis reading to Little Sis. I find Little Sis doing her busy bags. Big Brother quizzes me on math facts. If I don’t organize school, they will!

They’ve had a three week break. We did VBS last week at our church in Atlanta. We will have our church’s first VBS ever at the end of July. Between now and then, I am going to have a loose school schedule. Of course, trips to the lake and pool trump school during the summer.

Here’s a sampling of the things we will do for school during the summer:

1. Read Swiss Family Robinson

2. Big Brother made a goal of reading 100 books this summer. He is using THIS BOOK LOG to record the books.

3. I grabbed THIS WORKBOOK from Sam’s for Big Brother. He will use it for reading comprehension and math review

4. Read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe… and possibly do a lapbook

5. Theater Workshop (taught by super dad… his idea) to learn how to write, direct, rehearse, and star in a play

6. Classes at our local children’s museum

7. Worksheets like THIS and THIS for Big Sis to review her math

8. Big Sis will complete her Bible notebook from My Father’s World First Grade (the only thing we didn’t finish during the year)

9. Make a list of things to learn about from “How it’s Made” while we still have a free trial to Netflix

10. Hands on review games like THIS and THIS and THIS to make learning fun and functional

What are you doing to keep learning happening this summer?

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