Archives for November 2012

Jesse Tree eBook

The Jesse Tree eBook

Our Let’s Explore ebooks take the awesome Calendar Connections themes that Shannon has developed, and turns them into full size files to be used as eBooks. You can read them on your computer, your iPad, or any device that supports PDF files. Yes, you can even print them full size! Remember, I have a tutorial for using these on your iPad here {the format is the same as the Easy Readers}. We both have iPads so that what we will be using them on. Each eBook page has a number, which correlates with the order in the Jesse Tree Calendar Connections cards.

Jesse Tree Calendar Connections

BUT, you don’t have to use this eBook with the CC cards, it can stand alone as a simple way to learn about a particular topic. The series is created with 3rd-6th graders in mind, but it isn’t limited to those grades. It is a great way to explore a topic across grade levels within your homeschool!

Here’s a peek…

The Jesse Tree eBook 1 The Jesse Tree eBook 2

Download your FREE Jesse Tree eBook here!

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We also have Jesse Tree Printable Ornaments available!

Jesse Tree Ornaments

Calendar Connections ~ Jesse Tree

My wonderful friend Shannon is still working with me to create the Calendar Connections cards. She is a fellow inner city missionary with me and also a homeschooler {and former school teacher}.

We chose The Jesse Tree as our base for this new December set! In the creation of these we learned that there isn’t one set way of going through the idea behind the Jesse Tree; but many different symbols, readings, and graphics used.  So, if you are using a different version of The Jesse Tree in your home this season, these probably won’t match exactly!  This set is based on the concept of the Jesse Tree, which takes us from God’s Creation, through the genealogy of Christ. Each card has a symbol, and a scripture reading, as well as information.

Jesse Tree Calendar Connections

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 NOT print front to back, only the premium design does, which will come out for next year, since I just don’t have time to get them done in time for this year.

The eBook version is available here!

Looking for more Jesse Tree Activities and/or information? Here’s a few links for you…

The cards fit my particular pocket chart calendar.image

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

I am now creating smaller sets to go along with the small pocket charts found in the Target $1 section. Be sure to visit this post for a tutorial of how to sew your $1 pocket chart into a calendar!

There is also a new sheet included to be used in a Calendar Notebook if you are using those too!Calendar Connections Small Jesse Tree

I printed my numbers on cardstock and laminated them before cutting them apart.

You can download these for FREE here!

You can use most of our Calendar Connections cards for any month! We now have 14 sets to choose from, and we will still be adding more too!

Calendar Connections Set 1

If these calendar cards aren’t right for your family this year, maybe our Christmas Around the World set might be!  The calendar cards are free, and the eBook version is only $1.00!

Calendar Connections Christmas Around the World a  Lets Explore Christmas Around the World eBook

Looking for more Christmas Ideas?

Christmas Printables and More

Just Color ~ The Alphabet

The idea behind Just Color! is simple ~ theme packs all focused around coloring. There are mostly coloring pages, and a few coloring activities. The coloring pages are all in one download to make it easier to download and print all at once, in case you have coloring monsters like I do!

I just added a new Alphabet Coloring set!

Just Color Alphabet

Remember, if you want to make a mini coloring book, you can always scale down PDF files! If you have any problems downloading or printing these or other PDF files, see troubleshooting tips here.

Looking for more ABC fun?

Alphabet Ideas

Ideas for Using ~ ABC Letter Crafts

Ideas for Using ABC Letter Crafts

There are many creative art opportunities for you to explore with the Animal ABC letter crafts.  The templates are blank and simple in nature for this reason, so you can use your own ideas based on what YOUR child enjoys.  Here are some ideas for you to get your creative juices flowing!

Even if you don’t use Animal ABCs, you can still use the letter templates provided and make fun letter crafts with them!

Marble Painting

Put the whole letter page in a shallow cardboard box and drop a large or small marble in and squirt some paint in.  Let your child choose colors as s/he names them.  This activity not only produces a beautiful piece of artwork in the end, but also gives your child the chance to work through many skills.  Balancing the marble and getting it to go where desired is a big challenge for most young kids!

Marble Painting

{blog post featuring marble painted letter}

Cloud Painting

{or snow painting}

Mix white glue and white shaving cream together in about equal parts to make a fluffy cloud like paint.  Add a few drops of tempera paint for color.

Cloud Painting Cloud Painting

(blog post featuring cloud painted letter E, & cloud painted letter D}

Tempera Paint

Simple, yes, but oh so fun for a tot.  Be sure to allow color mixing at this stage, it’s so much fun for tots to explore freely with paint.  My girl is usually a one color girl, by her own choice!


Your choice of brushes, or painting materials, can change up this whole activity.  Here’s a few things to try…

Melissa & Doug Jumbo Paint Brushes (set of 4)    Young Artist Texture Painting Set    Alex Toys Beginner Brushes (3)    image

{blog post featuring  painted letter C}

Water Color Paint

Also simple, but challenging for tots as they think through the way to get the paint on their brushes!  None of my tots have enjoyed water colors, but I always expose them at an early age!

Water Color Paint

{blog post featuring water color painted letter A}


My tots love markers {washable of course}.  Simply coloring the letter with markers can be a fun choice, and is one Ladybug chooses often!


{blog post featuring letter F}

Dot Paint

Dot paint is fun and most kids love it!  Allow your child to dot paint the full sheet and then you can cut the letter out after it dries!

Tot School Letter Q  Dot Paint

{blog post featuring dot painted letter Q}


If you have letter stickers you can use those.  If you have stickers of the featured animal…cool!  Or just a fun variety of stickers to reinforce the letter shape while working on fine motor skills.Stickers

{blog post featuring stickers on letter L}

Finger Paint

You can see her stickers on the letter, which we did prior to the finger paint.   I let her fingerpaint on the whole page first and then cut out the letter after it dries.Finger Paint

{blog post featuring finger painted letter L}

Sponge Painting

A bit of tempera paint and a small sponge just adds another element of creativity to painting.  Again, I leave the page whole and let her paint away, then cut after it dries.

Sponge Paint

{blog post featuring sponge painted letter N}

Letter Stamps

We have the Melissa & Doug ABC Stamp set and this large ink pad.

ABC Stamps

{blog post featuring stamped letter M}


You can have your tot paint the letter first, or just use glitter.  I outlined the letter in white glue and then gave her shakable glitter to make the letter stand out.  I hate glitter, but she loves it so I bust it out every so often!Glitter

{blog post featuring glittered letter K}

Tissue Paper Collage

Use colored tissue paper {or construction paper if you don’;t have tissue} and help your tot tear it into small pieces.  Provide a small cup with watered down glue {a few drops of water in with white glue} and a Qtip.  Show your tot how to add glue to the paper and then stick tissue paper on top.  They can also lay the tissue paper and apply the glue right over the top! Tot School Letter X Collage

After the tissue collection is dry, cut out the letter and apply the animals!Homeschool-3951

{blog post featuring tissue paper collage letter}

I made a simple pdf file of these ideas that you can print out and keep with your supplies, for those days when you are feeling less-than-creative! You can download the printable file here!

ABC Art Ideas ABC Art Ideas

See more “Ideas for Using” posts ~

Ideas for Using Dot Fun Printables Ideas for Using Roll and Graph

Tot School ~ a Few Questions Answered


I have gotten a few questions lately revolving around Tot School, and since it is a holiday week, I thought I would use the weekly post to answer them for you!

What will Ladybug be doing when she finishes Animals ABCs?

Ladybug is completing the last 2 units of Animal ABCs in December and will be ready to move on after the holiday season.  She will be starting Raising Rock Stars Preschool as soon as holiday visitors settle and we get back into our routine in January.

I will be doing RRSP a tad bit different than I did with Krash, since her fine motor skills are more advanced than his were at this age.  I created RRSP and the letter order in honor of Krash needing to learn to write letters in the simplest way possible {using the method of straight lines first, then diagonal, then curved}.  Since Ladybug can already write most letters on her own, I am going to go in ABC order with her.  I am redoing the PowerPoint shows in a very basic fashion, to put the numbers in the correct order.  This will throw off the color of the week a bit, but it was just too much work to change that!  One of the reasons I am going to go in ABC order with her is to go along with the 2nd half of All About Reading Pre Level 1, which goes through the lowercase letters in order.  She did the upper case letters in AAR along with Animal ABCs, so doing the lowercase with RRSP will work out great for us! I also created a new set of lowercase Animal ABCs which we will be using also.  These will release soon for all of you too!

We will be using many supplemental activities and printables for each letter, as I did with Krash.  I am putting together Pinterest boards for each RRSP unit, and pinning all blog posts of anyone who has one featuring RRSP units!  You can see letter Aa here.  I also have new boards for general letter ideas, which I will be using to pull ideas for Ladybug!

image image

I got most of the posts that are pinned from those of you who linked up, but also did a Google search and found a few more.  If you have RRSP featured on your blog, let me know so I can pin your posts!

Will the Tot School linky continue here after Ladybug isn’t a “tot” anymore?

Yes!  I have a plan for the weekly linky that will feature participants who link up each week!  The idea has been in progress for a long time behind the scenes, and will be unveiled in January when Ladybug’s posts become the weekly RRSP posts.  Tot School is officially through age 4, but since Ladybug is beginning RRSP, I am going to begin doing a weekly RRSP post for her to document her home preschool journey.

I finally updated the Tot School webpage, hopefully it is more user friendly for all of you and new visitors!Tot School early learning through play


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

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Christmas-Gift-Ideas-for-Tots4 Gift-Ideas...preschoolers4



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).