Archives for October 2012

Calendar Connections ~ Thanksgiving Updated

Last year we released the Thanksgiving Calendar Connections cards. This year the date of Thanksgiving changes, so there needed to be an update.  Making one new card would be nice, but the date of Thanksgiving throws off the rest of the set, so I went ahead and made pages at the end for the next 3 years too.  While I was at it, I made the premium set {with the color border and prints front to back, that we usually sell}.  I did not make the eBook and will not have time to get that done in time, so there will be no bundle {sorry, time slipped away from me and it is too late now!}.

Thanksgiving Calendar Cards

The premium version of the new Thanksgiving Calendar Connections cards updated for 2012-2015 can be downloaded on the main Calendar Connections webpage, for FREE! Just scroll down to the Thanksgiving section.

The facts are written at a 3-6th grade level but you will be able to water them down for younger kids. It’s a great way to involve your entire family in exploring a particular theme.

NOTE: these DO print front to back, as they are the premium design.

I updated the small set for 2012 only, will change those each year, since they are easier to switch around!  The 2012 version is on the site also.

The cards fit my particular pocket chart calendar.image

but you could use a poster foam board and velcro to easily create your own set up. You could also use a standard pocket chart.

You can use most of our Calendar Connections cards for any month! We now have 13 sets to choose from, and we will still be adding more too!

Calendar Connections Set 1

Ideas for Using ~ Roll & Graph

I get questions frequently about certain printables I offer, from moms wanting to know what they are intended to be used for.  In honor of these questions, I am doing a series of blog posts, based on the printables I get the most questions about! If there is a printable included in a Preschool Pack, Tot Pack, or others, that you have wondered about, let me know in the comments and I will add it to my list of future posts!

Today I am going to share ideas for using Roll and Graph Printables

Ideas for Using Roll and Graph

I am certainly not the only one to offer these, they have been around for years.  I offer roll and graph printables in a few locations on my site, mostly within theme preschool packs.


I use the 1-5 graph when tots are just learning, this is what ladybug is using now.  I move up to the 1-10 graph after confidence with a 1-5 graph.  Ladybug began enjoying this activity around age 3 and now at age 3 1/2 it is one of her favorites.  Krash, who is 6 1/2 still loves these and participates often.

Baby Animal GraphingPreschool Pack Pretty Bugs3

The cube printable just needs to be cut out, folded and taped together.  I print mine on fast draft using cardstock, the cube is usually worthless after the unit is over and difficult to store, so I don’t put a lot of effort into making the cube perfect.  We throw it out when the unit is over for the week{s}.

Doc McStuffins GraphDoc McStuffins Graph


Almost all of my theme packs have a roll and graph activity, just browse around here!

Printables Packs from 1plus1plus1equals1

You can also find TONS of dot fun activities on Homeschool Creations, 2 Teaching Mommies, and more.

Here are a few of my ideas of how to use these printable in a variety of ways! If you have more ideas, leave them in the comments!

Dot Paint is just perfect for these and tots love it {usually}!  In the beginning, I have her roll the cube and find the matching graphic on the sheet.  I then point to where she is to mark and emphasize the number of dots she has.

It doesn’t take long for a child to learn where to mark on the graph, and this is a fabulous skill to have at a young age, making the basic graphing skills learned in Kindergarten and 1st grade so simple!

Roll and Graph Printables

Ladybug loves to pull out many colors of dot paint and make her graph a piece of artwork, sometimes I don’t allow this, sometimes I do!Roll and Graph Printables

Krash likes to select a “winner” before he starts and cheer for that graphic as he marks his page.  Ladybug just likes to fill up her entire page, and will keep rolling until she does!

A little take turns game is another awesome way to use these printable, teaching valuable game-playing skills with a simple activity.  I give each child a sheet and a dot marker, with one cube to roll.  They take turns rolling the cube and marking their own sheets.

Lots of comparing and contrasting is done during this activity, which is another great skill taught using these fun printables!Roll and Graph Printables

If you want to use the same sheet twice, I recommend grabbing a cookie sheet and some mini magnets and marking the answers that way. We have pom pom magnets and gem magnets.  I made both with a glue gun, mini magnets, and that’s it! It adds a different element to the same activity, and allows the sheet to be reused.

Roll and Graph Printables

We mainly use those items with our roll and graph printables, but you can get as creative as you want with marking the squares, many of the ideas shared in Ideas for Using Dot Fun Printables would also apply.Ideas for Using Dot Fun Printables

  • markers ~ color the squares
  • small stickers
  • balls of play dough

What would you like to see a “Ideas for Using” post about?

Curriculum Choices 2012-2013

Homeschool Curriculum

Finally, my updated 2012-2013 Curriculum post! See other curriculum posts here:

See our new Weekly Wrap-Up posts here where I share more about what our group time together looks like, as well as a peek into Krash and PacMan’s homeschool life!

Back to School 2012-1043

Ladybug ~ Tot School, age 3 1/2

Back to School 2012-1059Krash ~  1st, age 6

Back to School 2012-1070PacMan ~ 5th Grade, age 10

Back to School 2012-1030 Family


I heard your boys are enrolled in a cyber school, how does this work?

Yes, they are and we have a VERY unique situation.  We are enrolled in a cyber school but we traditionally homeschool just like someone using Calvert who bought it from their site.  The only difference is that my kids get their supplies, curriculum, computer, printer, and MUCH support for free.  We are so incredibly blessed to have this option, it is working for us right now.  I teach them every single subject, and we use traditional Calvert texts and books…hardly anything is done online for my boys-except fun games and such we have access to.  This is another perk for us we have free access to: First in Math, Study Island, Let’s Go Learn, Brain Pop, and more.  These sites are amazing.

If you are wondering what state we live in, you can email me privately.  I just don’t publicly share the name of our specific school and location online.  Let me emphasize that all sates are different and ALL cyber schools are different.  I personally do not know ANYONE else who has a situation like mine {except a few who are enrolled in my particular cyber school}, most are much more controlled from what I have heard.  Here is a place on Calvert’s website that allows you to seek out using Calvert with a partner school in your state.

Would you use Calvert even if you didn’t get it for free through your state? 

I am not sure.  I do love it, but I think I would look into something like Sonlight or My Father’s World ~ with a more Christian backbone.  I have heard great things about those.  I also think Mystery of History and many products from Bright Ideas Press look awesome.  I would probably piece together subject by subject, although the box curriculum approach is really nice and works for us.  So, maybe I would stick with Calvert, maybe not.  I honestly don’t know!  I have NO problems with Calvert, and it has served us well since PacMan’s PreK year.  I specifically have really enjoyed Calvert from grade 2 on, which is the beginning of where I am not as comfortable teaching!  I absolutely love Calvert this year {5th grade} and am really benefitting from the box approach in a grade I am so uncomfortable teaching!

Why are you using All About Reading for Krash if Calvert has a good reading program within it?

Honestly-I got AAR to review and decided to review it fully to help my blog readers.  I do not need a program to teach reading, I have done it with hundreds of children and it just comes naturally for me {I am a former Kindergarten teacher for any new readers}.  Something I truly love.  I followed Calvert’s program with Pac, but still basically did my own thing, which is what I have done with Krash too.  BUT, I get tons of questions from moms who tell me that teaching reading does not come naturally for them!  They want me to recommend a program and up until now I couldn’t since I had no experience with any homeschool reading program {other than Calvert}.  I can’t recommend Calvert’s reading program separately {it is great, but it only comes with the complete box curriculum}. When given the opportunity to review AAR Level 1, I jumped at the chance, knowing this would give me the experience I needed to give my readers an opinion on this reading program-which so far is amazing and definitely what I recommend!  I used All About Spelling Levels 1 & 2 with Pac and loved it.  We went to AAS when he began struggling early on.  He has now went back to the Calvert spelling program and does fine. Our great experience with All About Spelling led me to want to review All About Reading.

Will you enroll Ladybug in the cyber school when she is in PreK?

Probably not, I am thinking of taking PreK-1st and doing it myself for her.  But, that may change and we may enroll her if Calvert is still available.  Being a former K teacher, I just really, really enjoy doing my own things for these lower grades!

Will you always homeschool?

We believe in making this decision on a year-by-year, kid-by-kid basis.  We had no idea we would ever be homeschoolers, so we realize that we have no clue what God has in store for our family.  For now, we cannot imagine not homeschooling, and are very thankful to have been led here.

Are you against public/private school?

Absolutely NOT!  I believe that the decision of schooling needs to be made by individual families based on so many different circumstances.  I NEVER thought we would homeschool, but now am so glad we do {although it was very rough for me the first year}.  Some homeschooling families need to go back to group education for various reasons or during different seasons of life and who knows-that may be us one day.  I know the Lord will guide us each year in making this decision and I trust He guides families individually in this area. 

Why do you homeschool?

Honestly we started because of the area we live in.  We are inner city missionaries living in one of America’s toughest neighborhoods and the schools aren’t anything to jump for joy about.  We looked into private school but it just wasn’t in the budget, and it wasn’t something we really felt called to.  We have fellow missionaries on our team who homeschool and even though at first I thought they were a bit nuts-ha ha, I now adore them and the knowledge they have shared with me.  Although the decision to homeschool was made due to circumstances, we now feel we would continue even if we had the opportunity to send our kids to a great public school.

Do you have a daily schedule or routine? How do you “do it all”?

Updated: See our A Day in Our Homeschool Series Here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 {part 4 coming eventually}.

Loosely, yes…but we seem to work better being a bit more flexible.  We know what we need to accomplish and we usually do that-but we tend to go with the flow more since Ladybug often has sassy attitude problems and throws our mornings off a bit.  We school intensely each afternoon while she naps…even if she doesn’t sleep she is in her bed from at least 1-3:00.  This afternoon quiet time is vital to our day!

We try to keep a basic outline of a routine…Calendar Notebooks first thing, Pac upstairs to accomplish independent work while I play with the little 2 {focusing on Ladybug for at least 30 minutes each morning}.  Snack, recess, lunch… Then nap for L-bug and individual school for the boys.  We usually finish up all school around 3pm each day.  In the middle of it all we fit everything in somehow!

We still use a lesson plan blog for PacMan, and Krash is pretty easy going with following my lead for school, so we don’t have a super cool plan, we just get things done.  I now categorize Pac’s blog by colors {green-independent, blue-possibly need help, red-with mom}. It is SO easy and we both love it.

It is hard for me…the whole schedule thing.  We have good and bad days.  We have on and off-routine days.  We get things done most of the time and then there are days when I let the little 2 watch too many “educational” DVDs.  There are days I adore being with my kids all day long and days I wish I could bury my head in the pillow and not emerge for hours, or possibly days!  If you are struggling with creating a routine/schedule that works…know you are not alone.  I have been at this homeschooling things for 5 years now and I still struggle.  We get through yes-but it is still a struggle for me.  I often get asked how I “do it all” and I wrote a post about that here if you’ve wondered my thoughts on this topic.  The post is older but still applies!

If you have any other general questions about our curriculum, please leave in the comments below and I will do my best to add the answers to this list!

Tot School ~ Pumpkin Theme

~ Ladybug is 42 Months Old ~Tot-School_thumb3_thumb_thumb_thumb_

We have so many pumpkin theme activities, this was just our first week, and it wasn’t even a full week!  Here is her Tot School area all set up, she loved it!

Pumpkin Tot School-3446 Pumpkin Tot School-3484

She loves her activity notebook, and was anxious to flip through it and choose her first activity.  She is very into mazes right now so I printed a few and sure enough, that’s what she chose first!Pumpkin Tot School-3487

{All pumpkin printables in her notebook are pinned to my pumpkin theme pinterest board!}

After the mazes, she chose to play “find the letter” with me, and soon after Krash joined in too {he used the lowercase sheet, she had uppercase}.  I called out a letter and they had to put their little marker on it as fast as they could!Pumpkin Tot School-3493

Notebook fun occurred many times during the week!  Here she is coloring pumpkins…Pumpkin Tot School-3535

Her dot fun activities are in the notebook for her to pick from and she loved the new pumpkin sheets!Pumpkin Tot School-3540


I had to direct her away from the notebook to check out her tray activities, and she immediately wanted to play roll and transfer the pumpkin erasers.  She rolled the little foam die, then transferred that many pumpkin erasers with tongs {these are from an old bug collecting kit from Target} to the ice cube tray.  We counted the total as we went too.Pumpkin Tot School-3498

Pumpkin Tot School-3496


She loved the color cubes activity I made for her!  I will have to try to make a few more as we do different themes, she loves these cubes!Pumpkin Tot School-3502


We got down our busy hands play dough box and created fun pumpkins!Pumpkin Tot School-3509


She loves our pumpkin songs, and asks to sing together daily.


One of the favorites is “5 Little Pumpkins” she loves to act her songs out!

Pumpkin Tot School-3542 Pumpkin Tot School-3545

Pumpkin Tot School-3547


Our pumpkin sensory bin is a big favorite.  This day she made a leaf/pumpkin pile for her stuffed animals to jump in!Pumpkin Tot School-3561

We have much more to do with our pumpkin theme so stayed tuned for part 2 next week!


Ladybug’s week on Instagram {I am using Printsgram to make the layout for the week!}


We are 1plus1plus1 on Instagram, follow us here!


  • Tot School Blog Roll 2012-2013 will be coming soon!
  • New to linking up here? Read this first! 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).

Moments to Remember ~ October 2012

Moments to remember


Moments to Remember was developed as a simple way to look back on our week as homeschoolers and find photos that encompass the memories we want to remember.
The week may have been tough, there may have been more bumps than smiles, but in the end these are the moments that keep us going, the ones we need to remember.

This is the first Moments to Remember post where I opened up my photo folders for the entire month and scrolled through to remember our moments from this past month.  I like the new idea of recording monthly, it makes the memories stand out a bit more.

My favorite memory from October was definitely getting our puppy, Sweenie, and seeing my kids embrace this new furr-ball with such joy.

New Puppy-2642


Right up there with getting the dog was our family camping trip.  I love that we can take trips even on school days thanks to the freedom homeschooling brings.Hayride with my babies!


A few during-homeschooling moments that are joyful memories…

This photo is definitely my favorite from the month.  Showcasing the fact that you can come to school shirtless, join in for a 5th grade lesson even when you are only in first grade, and sit on your big brother’s lap whenever you want {if he will let you of course}.Homeschool-2423


Ladybug joining us for our Home Art Studio project was so cute!  I love seeing her in with the big boys!Home Art Studio Rose Windows-3344


Our What’s in the Bible time together is one of my favorite homeschooling times.  The kids all love it and I do too.

Watching What's in the Bible and looking super cute. I ❤homeschooling.  



I love that Ladybug can sit back and soak up K’s lessons {All About Spelling seems to be her favorite, along with Draw, Write, Now} whenever she wants to.Melts my heart every time she begs to sit in on K's school time. She is sitting in the background ad his All About Spelling lesson repeating everything.


So many memories from the month that I hope I will cling to and focus on, instead of the difficult moments.  I am grateful for the still {quiet} moment a camera can capture that can stir up so much love and gratitude in my heart.Homeschool-3376

Many of my pictures are thanks to Instagram, you can follow me here {I am 1plus1plus1}!

Want a button? Use this code, or feel free to just copy/paste the header from the top of the post!

Link up your moments to remember post below, be sure to provide a link back and be sure to use a permalink to link up your exact moments to remember blog post {not your blog home page}. Your post can be as simple as one photo, or as detailed as tons of photos and tons of words!  This linky is for homeschoolers, or families who are keeping their kiddos at home during the early years {we consider you homeschoolers too}.

When adding your link, just put your blog name for the title and choose an image from your Moments to Remember post for the thumbnail.

Special Note ~ Moments to Remember is now a MONTHLY feature on the last Saturday of each month {instead of weekly}.  Stay tuned for the next Moments to Remember Linky to go up on Saturday, November 24!

The linky will stay open for the weeks in between, so you can add your post at any time!  Please be sure it is specifically a Moments to Remember post and follow the guidelines above.  Remember, this is not a Weekly Wrap-Up, you can link those up with Kris here!