Thursday, March 31, 2011

Homeschool Village Garden Challenge

My garden at the moment is S.C.A.R.Y. It literally has not had a thing done to it since last fall..except for tossing the remains of some old plants out there. And it really didn't bother me since I didn't have to look at it at all this winter....after all, it's been covered in mounds of snow and ice for months!

But the snow has melted (although I'm almost positive more will be headed our way in April..par for the course!) and I really need to start tending it if we plan on having any kind of a productive garden this year.

The Plan (no progress yet!): First things first! For the month of April, we'll be cleaning out the bed, raking it, turning over the soil and calling the utility company to come out and mark their lines so we can add on this year. We plan to triple the size of the garden as Reagan has big plans for the vegetables she wants to grow (although Mommy *did* remind her we have to eat what we grow!). Mother's Day weekend is always our planting weekend, so we'll plant seeds directly into the ground then.

Lessons/Resources Being Used: In April, we plan to make an egg carton seed starter. (Note: due to lack of warmth and good sunlight our seeds usually don't do well being grown inside so if that happens, we'll just use it to our advantage to talk about why, but we won't plan on these being used for actual planting unless-miracle of miracles, they actually grow!) In addition to the egg carton seed starter and Easter (which is our main focus in April), we plan on studying birds, weather and worms and of course, we'll be talking about how all three can help plants grow. Our library has great concept kits and this month we'll be using the WEATHER concept kit they have and using the theme "April showers bring May flowers".

Reagan is super excited about the garden this year. Right now we're both drooling over seeds and she has specifically requested to plant potatoes and corn. A great book about planting potatoes is Two Old Potatoes and Me. Definitely inspired Reagan to try something new! (By the way, in case you do decide to check this out, you'll want to know it's about a little girl who's parents have just divorced and she and her dad start planting potatoes together, thereby helping her adjust--the divorce theme is definitely toned down so if you're not a divorced family-we aren't-it should still fit in perfectly!)

And just because she's cute, here's a picture of Reagan with our garden last year (our first attempt at planting seeds directly in the ground as opposed to starting them first!) and a picture of Reagan and cousin Emily with fresh zucchinis!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My Cute Tot!

Cute Tot

Reagan was featured on Totally Tots Cute Tot's page! Check out some other great homeschooling mom blogs by clicking on the Totally Tots Cute Tot page!

Monday, March 28, 2011


Kathy, please contact me at lovegrowsbest @ with your address so I can send your giveaway items to you!!!!!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

People.....RUN, don't walk for this deal

Every homeschooler I know has a love affair with their laminator, and I am no exception. Right now, you can get a pouch of 100 laminating sheets for $10.99 at Amazon! I've been using these sheets for a while now and I love them! Hurry to get your sets! I'm ordering three!

And yes, I promise to post the winner of the giveaway soon!! I'm reevaluating our plan for this year to make sure we finish up what we need to by the time we start My Father's World K in September!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mining for Numbers

I took this idea from No Time For Flash Cards and tweaked it a little bit for us. My daughter is great with shapes, but we still need to get number recognition down pat.

I used the sensory box idea from No Time For Flash Cards and filled ours with puzzle numbers, number magnets and bits of craft foam with numbers written on them. Then I typed out a simple sheet that read "Find the Numbers!" with each number in a column. When she found a number in the sensory box, she had to say the correct number name and sort it into the correct column. Fun learning!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A soft answer turns away wrath..

Reagan and I have just started using My ABC Bible Verses: Hiding God's Word in Little Hearts by Susan Hunt. I already love this book! This week we've been working on the first Bible memory verse, Proverbs 15:1: "A soft answer turns away wrath." And wow--there are tons of activities that revolve around this one tiny verse!

To start, there is an AMAZING homeschooling blog out there called 1+1+1=1. (By the way I promise to post about all of my favorite homeschooling blogs later on!) Carissa is a homeschooling mom to three and she is putting the finishing touches on Raising Rock Stars Preschool, in part based on....drum roll please ..the ABC Bible Memory Verse Book! You can see Letter A which corresponds with the Proverbs 15:1 memory verse, here.

And of coures, there are tons of other great ideas around the web. I took this idea from Spell Outloud. I have to say that the pompom jar is ingenius. After a huge blow up between my four year old and I (we have the same temper and she can push buttons no other person can push, which in the end makes me forget I'm a 30-something adult!), we started using this jar in conjunction with the Bible verse we were learning (God has an impeccable sense of timing doesn't He!) It definitely made our day much better. We recognized that we were snipping at each other and we both tried to react differently! Amazing! And she has had so much fun filling her jar with pompoms :)

Tomorrow we'll be working on the toothpaste activity found here at Spell Outloud.

Promise to share pictures soon :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Rainbow Rain

I saw this craft over at Funny Days with Mommy and Maddie and since today is a miserable, dreary, rainy day, we decided to make it too.

Obviously ours didn't come out quite as well as theirs did, but I learned something about us. Reagan and I, although we absolutely love to do crafts, are just really too impatient to spend much more than five minutes on one!

I also attached a photo of Reagan blowing bubbles to cheer up our sick cat, Pritsha, who had just been force fed her medication and lunch!

Hope you enjoy crafting your rainbow rain!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Reading Thing 2011

I'm not really sure I *should* be linking up to Spring Reading Thing 2011 over at Callapidder Days, but ...I am. (I have a major addiction to books--once I start reading a book, EVERYTHING else gets put on the back burner until that book or series is completed. I'm trying so hard to balance reading and Let's see how that works out in this challenge!)

Alright-So here's my list!

Books I'm re-reading:
My Heart's At Home by Jill Savage (I love this book and I want to reread it again to try to incorporate some of her ideas into our busy life!)

Pride and Prejudice (Can I just go ahead and admit I've never read it although I absolutely love the movie? The formal language is so hard to deal with, when I'm usually looking at reading for an escape into a fairytale..but I *WILL* make it though this time!)
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (this has been on my list before and I was never able to grab it!)

The Mom I Want to Be
Love and Respect
The Language of Love and Respect
Turn up the Heat

Books to Read Aloud to Reagan:
-20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Children's Version)
-The Three Musketeers (Children's Version)
-Little House on the Prairie

Now, for the big question-how do you join?

Create a list of some books you’d like to read or finish reading this spring. Write a blog post including the list of books you want to read and post on your blog. Then make sure to link back to Callapidder Days' Spring Reading Thing 2011. Go here to see the posting rules! Good luck and have fun!

***OH! And if you're reading this before 3/23/11 at 12:00 pm EST, remember to check out our giveaway here! Great additions to your children's (or neices/nephews/friends!) Easter baskets!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

I'm linking up to the Super Saturday Giveaways at Mama to 4 Blessings! Head over there to check out more great giveaways, but make sure you stop HERE to join our giveaway first!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I'm very excited about this giveaway for two reasons: #1-it's the first ever giveaway (of many I hope!) on my new homeschooling blog and #2-the three products up for grabs are staples in our home!

And what's up for grabs? Well, I'm glad you asked!

First up are two Read-Along Storybooks! Both include a storybook and a CD, which you can also use on your PC to download an interactive storybook, coloring pages and lyrics for the songs. One is Noah's Ark and the other is Jonah and the Whale. My daughter loves to listen to these-especially on short trips around town.

The second is probably Reagan's favorite movie of all time-The Jesus Movie from the Read and Share Bible Series.

If you haven't seen the Read and Share Bible, you and your family are definitely missing out. I can't tell you what a blessing this series has been in our lives. We not only have the Jesus Movie, but we also have the Read and Share Ultimate DVD Bible Storybook Volume 1. I think Volume II will be making it's way into some one's Easter basket!

The series is well done and simplistic enough that even the youngest child will understand and remember the Bible stories. As for your older children, they'll enjoy the illustrations and the loving and tender way that the Bible and God's gift of love and redemption is woven throughout. There's a particular scene in the Jesus Movie that always brings tears to my eyes--where Peter's child leads Jesus to the bed of her grandma and tells him "we prayed to God to make Grandma better and now you're here!" Such simple faith..and that's all we really need isn't it? I encourage you to look at this series for your children, even if you don't win the giveaway!

And how do you win the giveaway?

For the mandatory entry, become a friend of this blog by using the Google Friend Connect button on the right hand side and leave me a comment letting me know you did! (If you're already a "friend" let me know that too!)

For a second entry, "Like" Love Grows Best Homeschool on Facebook and leave me a comment letting me know you did! (If you've already "liked" Love Grows Best Homeschool, again leave a comment letting me know!)

For a third and final entry, leave a comment letting me know what you would like to see in a homeschooling blog that you haven't already seen out there on the web!

Good luck to everyone! You have until March 23rd, 2011 at 12:00 pm EST to enter! I'll post a winner soon after the entry time is closed!

*Disclosure: I was not in anyway compensated for my review of the Read and Share series.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

What are the Leprechauns doing in your house for St. Patrick's Day?

I've been trying to think of some creative ways to 'celebrate' St. Patrick's Day with Reagan this year and there are some amazingly creative moms out there! Check out this list from Dollar Tree Crafts.

Here are the ideas I think we'll be using this week!

Rainbow Pancakes from I am Mommy

A Visit from the Leprechauns from The Idea Room and the treat our Leprechaun will be leaving is this yummy magical Leprechaun powder from Rutherford Family Happenings

Marshmallow Rainbow from No Time For Flashcards

St. Patrick's Day Unit from Musings of Me

Rainbow and ROYGBIV fun from Toddler Approved

St. Patrick's Day bookmarks from Sweet and Lovely Crafts

I'll be posting pictures next week!

Number Hunt

You know those kids that know everything about a bunch of random stuff--like water cycles, magma and lava, plates crushing into each other, a zillion random facts about dinosaurs, etc, etc----yet they are missing some of the basics--like number recognition?

That's my little one. She has such a hard time recognizing 6,9 and 10--honestly does not get them (yet she can add....very strange!) So we've been having number hunts. We go around the house searching for a certain number. I'll point out a number and say "is this a 10?" and we shout NO! (Or yes as the case may be!) Or she'll point out a number---Mommy, here's a number 10! Great fun and it's really helping her get these few numbers down!

Here are some tips for the number hunts:
-Look for numbers everywhere: on the clocks, in pages of books, on bottles of lotion, on the microwave, on measuring cups!
-If you're worried about not having enough of a certain number to find, make number strips and tape them to the wall. On our walls right now we have 6s, 9s, 10s, and 7s and 8s thrown in there for good measure.
-Have your little one carry a bag, basket or purse to collect the numbers. Reagan will collect the bits of paper, number magnets, books with the number in it, foam numbers, even lotion bottles in her purse!

This has been working so well for us I thought I'd share it with you! And for those of you who get frustrated, as I do on a daily basis, try to remember (as I am) that all children get different concepts at different times!

**This post is linked up at Link and Learn at No Time For Flash Cards (a GREAT site for crafts and learning activities!)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

An update

The past year went by so fast and it seems like this year is reaching a unbelievable rate of speed as well! I was so sure that the 2010-2011 school year was going to be Reagan's Kindergarten year (although she was starting out as 3.5 year old) and although she definitely is intelligent enough, she certainly was no where near the maturity level needed.

And that was fine. We've adjusted and have enjoyed continuing preschool. Some days we have school and some days we don't..and we pursue other interests-play dates, story times, book buddies, going on 'field trips' or just doing all the things that take up the daily business of life. And Mommy has learned quite a bit about rushing things....

I don't believe we'll consider next year a Kindergarten year either, although she'll certainly be old enough-5 in December 2011. But we're also not considering it a preschool year. We're just going to learn and enjoy ourselves without any grade labels. (Our state doesn't require compulsory attendance/homeschooling til age 7 so we are still way ahead of the game!)

That being said, after much much more research than I ever intended and after having said that I was going to go with a certain curriculum, only to realize that although it would work for me, it certainly would NOT work for Reagan (we have very different learning styles), I think we've made a final decision for next year's materials.

Next year, and possibly next if she enjoys it, we're going to use My Father's World (Kindergarten-yes, although we're not considering this a Kindergarten or Preschool year!) I like that it's Biblical based, it's a completely contained curriculum and it has tons of activities-which is a big bonus for Reagan. She learns best by doing hands on work.

We'll continue supplementing with other materials as well that I've found and really want to use with her. I'll continue to update and post links to some fun things we're learning and websites I've found that have really helped us!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Time 4 Learning Review

Over the past 30 days, I've had the privilege of using the Time 4 Learning program in our homeschool. This has been such a blessing to us, as I was having a very hard time getting Reagan excited about the reading and math aspects of school (she is very much a strictly science oriented girl!).

In fact, Reagan enjoyed the program so much that she begged to do it every day and completed almost all two levels of preschool in the 30 days we were given to review it! Some days she would spend an hour or two just playing and redoing lessons she had already done FOR FUN! I can't tell you how excited and happy I was to find something that engaged her and that she enjoyed doing. In fact, I've just now bumped her up to Kindergarten level math, in the hopes that Time 4 Learning has given her the incentive and confidence to tackle a non-science subject!

What is Time 4 Learning exactly?

According to the Time 4 Learning website, they are a technology based program that teaches preschool through 8th grade using a combination of animated lessons, interactive activities and reinforcing worksheets.

Not only is the Time 4 Learning program great for homeschoolers, but students needing a little extra reinforcement outside of school can use it as well.

For a low monthly fee, you have access to Language Arts, Phonics, Grammar, Science, Social Studies and Math. (Science and Social Studies are available in 1st and 2nd grades respectively).

A typical lesson on the preschool side included a short story or video to introduce the lesson and then several activities to reinforce the lesson-ranging from sequencing, to playing the syllable drum, putting together puzzles or Reagan's favorite, playing a game with Brainy Bot. Some lessons even include an idea notebook filled with activities to reinforce the lesson outside of the computer.

I was impressed not only with the fact that Reagan was learning, but she was amassing amazing computer skills. In 30 days she moved from barely being able to use the computer at all, to spending an hour or two on her own manipulating the program. And how many preschoolers are introduced to the concept of syllables? Not many I'll wager..but Reagan got it!

Some great items to note about this program:
-There is no contact, you use it on a monthly basis and cancel at any time.
-There's a two week money back guarantee.
-For all levels (except preschool) there are parent progress reports that you can log in and check at any time to see your student's progress.
-You can review lesson plans ahead of time to mesh with what you're currently learning.

For more information, please visit Time 4 Learning. You can click here to check out a free lesson demo or here to check out a preschool demo, and here to check out Time 4 Learning's Lesson Plans and Scope and Sequence.

Disclosure: Please note that I received a free 30 day Trial for review on my blog. However, the opinions expressed therein are mine alone and were not written by Time 4 Learning.
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