Christmas Story Starters

Inspire Me Story Starters Fall Fun

Inspire Me! Story Starter Photo Cards feature a simple photograph on the front, and word ideas on the back.  You can see more about why they were created and how we use them here in our original post!

We have a brand new CHRISTMAS set for you today, with 6 different photographs with a Christmas theme to inspire young writers. Many of these Christmas photos feature animals, which are sure to inspire young writers!

Word ideas print on back if desired!



See a video walk through here showing you how we use and organize our cards, and the extra printables we use alongside of them.

We have more themes coming and many will be released here on my blog for FREE.  I am also listing sets in my Teacher’s Notebook Shop.  Be sure to subscribe to our blog posts so you don’t miss any of our free printables!

Have a theme idea for a set? Leave me a comment!

Download your free Christmas Story Starters here!

Inspire Me Story Starters Christmas

Looking for more Christmas fun?

Christmas Printables and Ideas


The printables shown below were were created to go along with our story starters! 

Choose-your-Own-Writing-Paper4312122  Choose-Your-Own-Alphabet-Chart412122  Young-Writer-Printables2122

Grab our other free Story Starters…

Summer-Fun-Story-Starters-Printables[1] Bugs-Story-Starters-Printable-Photo- Cats-Story-Starters-Printable-Photo-[1] Free-Fall-Story-Starter-Photo-Cards1[1] Dogs-in-Costumes-Story-Starter-Cards[1]

Tot School Gathering Place Week 149

Welcome to Tot School™ Gathering Place! Gather together here, gather ideas from other blogs, share your own ideas on your own blog. Browse around at the other posts linked up, leave a few comments if you have time, and be sure to check back to see if your blog was featured!

Each week we will feature photo{s} and ideas from blogs who link up. Remember, provide a link back to Tot School Gathering Place within your post that you link up, so you can be considered for the feature! {disclaimer ~ affiliate links used in this post}


There are so many things to be thankful for this week! I am beyond blessed! So thankful for my husband and kids, living close to my family, and for each of you, my readers! It’s always a highlight of my day to go through the different posts and see the wonderful memories you are creating with your Tots during their Tot School time. You are doing a great job! Don’t forget to link up your posts to the Gathering Place, you inspire me and others with your joy and creativity!

Are you looking for ideas to help teach or strengthen your Tot’s knowledge of the letter D? Head on over to The Magnolia Barn and see what Mama Tara put together for Tot Summer! Some of these activities are sure to capture your Tots attention!

11152015 The Magnolia Barn

Are you starting to gather ideas for Christmas activities for your Tot? Take a peek at what Mama Vanessa from Mama’s Happy Hive has gathered for Little Bee and see if any of them may be enjoyed by your Tot!

11152015 Mama's Happy Hive


Letter “L” was featured this week over at Adventures in Tot Schooling. Take a look to see all the fun Munchkin enjoyed throughout the week!

11152015 Adventures in Tot Schooling

Were you featured? You are welcome to a button but you certainly don’t have to use it! Totally optional! Tot School Feature

<center><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="I was featured for Tot School!" src=""/ ></a></center>

Do you have your FREE

Where to Begin with Tot School eBook?


See the Tot School webpage here!

Follow {1plus1plus1} Carisa’s board Tot School Ideas on Pinterest.

Can you believe it’s Christmas time again soon?  Be prepared and prepare your Advent activities in advance, gather {or buy some new} Christmas books, and prep your Christmas printables so you can full enjoy the season once December arrives!

Organize Advent Activities in Advance Favorite Christmas Books for Kids Christmas Activity Notebooks


See our most recent early childhood gift guide here!

Ultimate Early Childhood Christmas Gift Guide FB

 Are you NEW or have never been featured? Read this! Basics: write a specific post about what you did with your tot, link up the permalink from your post, link back to Tot School within that post, put your tot’s age in months in ( ) like this: (43 months).

Bible Verse Printables Letter X

RLRS Letter X


Our Raising Lil’ Rock Stars Bible Verse Printables for the Letter X are available to download for free! X is in eXalt! This set is based on Luke 14:11, “For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”  This is a tricky verse to explain and we spent lots and lots of time with the story and our discussion time.

Here’s a peek at the work she did at home.

Coloring ~  I love coloring time because it gives such a great opportunity for discussion, which we did a lot of for this verse.  While she colors I read her the story about the verse {included in the printable pack} and we discuss the meaning. I didn’t get a photo of her coloring, this is the page she colored.


Cut and Glue the Verse ~ this is a great word work activity for her, identifying words and sounds she knows, as well as the Bible verse as a whole. She uses the printable that has the light gray matching words on it.

RLRS letter X -0228


The verse tune printables are only available in the bundle but you can hear her singing along in the video. The tune is “If You’re Happy and You Know It.”

The free version is ONLY for home use.  If you will be using these printables in a church setting, private group, co-op, preschool or other group you will need to purchase the group bundle here.

Download your free Letter X printables here!

Raising Lil' Rock Stars Letter X is for eXalted


 Scroll down until you see the graphic for letter X and click on it to download the PDF file.

Download or printing trouble? See tips here!

These printables are from Raising Lil’ Rock Stars!

Want to purchase the entire downloadable bundle for only $12?  See info here!



See other letters in action by clicking the graphics below!

RLRS-Letter-A-Philippians-2-5-Bible-[1]  RLRS-Letter-B-John-3-16-Bible-Verse-  RLRS-Letter-C-Genesis-1-1-Bible-Vers

RLRS-Letter-D-Isaiah-48-17--Bible-Ve[2]  RLRS-Letter-E-Philippians-2-Bible-Ve[1]  RLRS-Letter-F-Matthew-4-Bible-Verse-

RLRS-Letter-G-Matthew-28-Bible-Verse[1]  RLRS-Letter-H-Psalm-33-Bible-Verse-P  RLRS Letter I  Bible Verse Printables  RLRS Letter J John 1 Bible Verse Printables

Bible-Verse-Printables-Letter-K-is-f[1]  Bible-Verse-Printables-L-is-for-Ligh  Bible-Verse-Printables-M-is-for-Migh[2]  Bible-Verse-Printables-N-is-for-Neig

Bible-Verse-Printables-Letter-O-Psal[1]  P-is-for-Praise-Bible-Verse-Printabl[1]  Q-is-for-Quiet-Bible-Verse-Printable  Bible-Verse-Printables-Letter-R11222[1]

S-is-for-Servant-Printables32222  Proverbs-3-verse-5-T-is-for-Trust-Fr[1]  Raising-Lil-Rock-Stars-Letter-U-Prin[1] 

RLRS-Letter-V-1-Corinthians-15-Bible[1][1] RLRS Letter W[5]

Monthly Homeschool Wrap-Up October 2015 {1st, 4th, 8th}

Homeschool Monthly Wrap Up October 2015

You can see our detailed curriculum posts by clicking on the graphics below.

1st-Grade-Homeschool-Curriculum-Choi[1] 4th-Grade-Homeschool-Curriculum-Choi[1] 8th-Grade-Homeschool-Curriculum-Choi

{disclaimer ~ affiliate links are used}

All Together Learning




We do 3 subjects all together and really enjoy our time with our kids all together {most of the time}.

Daddy teaches Mystery of History which is awesome.  We are almost finished with the 1st book and will move on to part 2 when we are done. My kids use the notebooking pages, and my daughter colors the coloring page.  Daddy teaches and I write notes on our board to help guide the kids with their note taking. I love our timeline notebook which is shown below…

History -0977


We still love our Heroes of History books.  We finished up reading Ben Franklin and are well into George Washington now. We are still enjoying Liberty’s Kids DVDs, to help deepen our American Revolution knowledge. 

Homeschool -0308


You can see our entire World Geography plan here.  We are LOVING this so far.  We have been focusing on South America and are finishing up the last few countries! Here’s a peek inside of their notebooks…

Geography -0968

1st & 4th Together Learning

Ladybug and Krash do 2 subjects together and it is working well!  We do Picture Smart Bible {K-3 Old Testament} and US Geography twice a week.

They absolutely love US Geography and I think it’s because they both really love coloring and they love birds.  Seeing the bird for each state is very exciting for them! We have completed states through Maryland and they each have a beautiful notebook for review!

You can see Ladybug flipping through her notebook in the video below…

We review all the states we have learned each day we do a new one, we use our USA Geography PowerPoint for this.  The PowerPoint show is a favorite and is really great for review.

We have added in a couple more resources to expand our US Geography learning.   The kids absolutely LOVE the awesome USA States song/video by Readeez

You can see a bit of it in action in the video below


My kids LOVE this and we listen to it daily now! You can also see Krash playing Stack the States on our iPad.  This is too advanced for Ladybug but she likes to watch. 

Homeschool -0555

    We enjoyed playing Sequence States and Capitals together and will be using this game much more!  If you don’t own this game and are working on states and capitals, I highly recommend it!

    Homeschool -0636

      We are enjoying Picture Smart Bible together and have completed through Numbers and are working on Deuteronomy/Joshua.

      Homeschool -0641

      8th Grade

      Homeschool -8893  8th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices[3]


      Pac is by far my least photographed child because a majority of his schooling is done independently or with his Dad.  All of my photos of his are usually taken during his science experiments, since that’s the most exciting thing to photograph of an 8th grader’s homeschooling!

      He is awesome about including his siblings when possible. 

      8th Grade -0297

      8th grade -0834 

      He is a pretty easy student and we are thankful.  Sure, we have issues, but overall he does what he is supposed to do. His dad oversees his math, spelling and science completely.  I oversee everything else.  Writing is the only subject I am still teaching directly.

      One of my favorite portions of his homeschooling is his reading.  He recently finished Elijah of Buxton.  His favorites are in bold, with Peace Child being the absolute favorite so far.

      Here’s his completed list…

      All of his other subjects are going well, we are pleased with our choices for him this year.

      4th Grade

      Homeschool -8866  4th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices[4]


      In order to stay committed to his gymnastics he doubles up on his schoolwork 2 days a week so he can be free to practice the other 3 days. I have recently been coming to the gym for an hour on his break to do a few subjects.   

      4th Grade -0627

      I am WAY low on photos of him during school!  Nothing has really changed, we continue to be pleased with his progress.

      We finished our first novel together, Robinson Crusoe which he loved! We were both sad when the book was finished, it was a perfect fit for him.  We are now reading Mighty Men together, which is a collection of short stories. 

      He also reads books on his own at night and currently reading Revolutionary War on Wednesday.

      His reading list so far this year…

      1st Grade

      Homeschool -8872 1st Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices[6]



      I continue to use Lessontrek for her weekly planning and then build her daily work grid from my lesson plan.  She chooses the order of her subjects each day.  She likes to come with me to the gym when I teach Krash so she does some work there too. 

      1st Grade -0491


      In no particular order, here’s a recap of her past month.  You can see her very first week of 1st grade in our post here.

      First Week of 1st Grade Homeschool FB[4]


        We have been enjoying her science together.  On a whim I decided to use an Evan-Moor science book and I love it!  It is simple, and has a project at the end of each chapter. One of her favorite topics this past month was leaves.  Here’s she was working on her leaf rubbings, which we turned into leaf friends and a leaf family tree.
        Leaf Friends -0271


      After reviewing The Curious Kid’s Science Book we decided to add it into our curriculum and continue to love it.  She chooses one project to do with Daddy per week.  Here she was exploring how different liquids melted.

      1st grade -0251

      1st grade -0253


      Below you can see a peek into a really fun paper flower project.

      1st Grade -0872


      I have been letting her choose an animal to study which has been really fun. We finished our fun unit all about FROGS.

      Exploring Frogs Unit Study and Lapbook


      Handwriting is one of her favorite subjects now and she begs to learn more cursive letters! 

      We are using Logic of English Cursive.  We begin by introducing each letter in the salt tray, she loves this!  We also use the salt tray for review, which is fun and low stress for her since she can easily erase a mistake.

      1st grade -0675


      Here’s a video clip of a review time…


      She started writing words recently and LOVED this!

      1st grade -0800


      She makes a little card after we learn each letter by turning the letter into some sort of shape!  This is our collection recently…

      1st Grade -0577


      We do a few different things for math and our combination is working beautifully for her.  She continues to LOVE Life of Fred and is finished with book 1 and well into book 2.

      1st grade -0260

      Spielgaben is a great fit for her and we do about 2-3 lessons per week, mostly using the worksheets.  See our recent post here…

      Hands on Math with Spielgaben


      Growing with Grammar and First Language Lessons are both wonderful and she enjoys both.  We use both because they are different, yet similar. 

      Here’s a video clip of her working on her second poem she memorized, Work {she’s using our Poem PowerPoint}.


      All About Reading 2 is moving along completed through lesson 24. She is moving along as a reader at a pretty rapid pace now, it’s exciting! She loves the games in the lessons.

      1st grade -0430


      Here’s a video peek of her reading her level 2 reader aloud.  She LOVES these stories!

      Ways we supplement reading development…

      We go to the library at least twice a month, sometimes more! Her library books are read daily both independently and aloud!

      1st grade -0227  1st grade -0243

      Before we take books back I ask her to set out her very favorites and I snap a photo and share on Instagram.  These are some recent favorite stacks…

      1st grade -0218 Library Love -0483  Library Love -0799


      We are almost finished with The Dragons of Blueland, the final book in the series.  She LOVES these books!  We also started the first Little House on the Prairie book, MUCH to my JOY!!!

      1st Grade -0608


      We recently got the Life of Fred Beginning Readers for review and she LOVES them!

      Life of Fred Readers -0537

      We Choose Virtues has been awesome, we are finishing up our last virtue currently!  She talks about them a lot and loves our display!

      1st grade -0680

      Whew!  I think that’s it! It takes me forever to write these posts but they are my favorite to look back on!

      Here’s last month’s post…

      Homeschool Wrap-Up The First 6 Weeks with 1st, 4th and 8th Grade[3]


      You can also see much of our everyday homeschool life on Instagram!


      Linking up with Weekly Homeschool Wrap-Up

      A Homeschooler’s Early Childhood Gift Guide

      Ultimate Early Childhood Christmas Gift Guide

      {disclaimer ~ affiliate links are used}

      I get asked a lot how I acquired so many fabulous early learning toys for my children.  One of the most helpful methods was by adding them to gift wish lists!  My parents and my in-laws were gracious and often bought learning toys for birthdays and Christmas!  Today I have an extensive Early Childhood Gift Guide for those of you hoping to stock your homeschool space with great learning tools for your young children. Any questions – leave me a comment and I will do my best to help!

      Click on the graphics to see prices and links!

      Alphabet Toys


      lauri abc puzzle   Alphatales    lauri alphabet puzzleAlphabet Counstruction Set  Alphabet Soup CansLauri Alphabet Stackers    Puzzle Boards ABC    Sequence Letters


      Numbers and Counting Toys

      71JfIWn4qvL._SL1000_Lauri Number Puzzle Boards71vt7HH53nL._SL1000_LR Pop CountingLR Number PopsiclesNumber puzzlesLR Muffin Tin   LR Number Construction


      Colors & Shapes

      Beginner Pattern BlocksShape Bean Bagsmagnetic pattern blocksLearning Resources Counters Giveaway from www.1plus1plus1equals1.netLR Cookie Shapes   LR Color Pie Shape Puzzle  


      Building Toys

      City Blocks  Magneatos Stacking Pegs SetInterloxCandy ConstructionFoam BlocksStraws and Connectors 705 pieces  Wedgits  Link n Learn


      Grow with You Games & Toys

      Many of these would technically be geared towards elementary aged kids, not tots or preschoolers BUT don’t overlook these!  These provided tons of fun during our Tot School years and are toys and games my kids STILL play with!  We used the pieces for color sorting, building, fine motor work, and all sorts of other things!


      BlokusCitiblocsQwirkleZoobs 1

      Suspendwho lives where


      Gross Motor Fun

      Many of these are featured in our Blessed with Boundless Energy post, you can read why we recommend these there!

      Balance BallBalance pods Balance Boardplasmacar DiskSONY DSC                       Waliki the Jumping BullGonge See Saw


      DVD Sets

      These are great DVD sets to begin collecting when your children are young!  My daughter is 6 and LOVES all of these!

        whats-in-the-bibleLiberty's KidsFriends and Heroes DVDs


      Want even more gift ideas?  See our complete list of gift recommendations here! See direct links to our specific lists for toddlers, preschoolers and more!

      Christmas Gift Ideas for Kids


      Here’s direct links to the gift idea posts we shared last year featuring my son and daughter’s favorites at age 5 & 8

      Gift Ideas for 5 Year Olds  Gift Ideas for 8 Year Olds