Learning to Breathe

We have been in a season. (Then again, who hasn’t been lately right?)

It’s been so tiring and at times I have found myself questioning so many things about our homeschool journey, about all the changes we have been experiencing, and well, just  about LIFE.

To say I am tired is an incredible understatement and yet through all that exhaustion and strain, I feel so incredibly blessed.

The last few months with Mister M have been such a very difficult navigation in regards to our homeschool. Between Mister O leaving for 30 days in February and then him coming home just as we are preparing our house to move and then us actually making that big move to a whole new state, city and life, our son has had a tremendously difficult time adjusting.

I should have anticipated it. I should have prepared myself for it. I should have been interceding in advance for it but I didn’t. I was consumed. I was overwhelmingly consumed with packing and planning and traveling and moving and adjusting all on my own. I was struggling physically, emotionally; I forgot all about the littlest member of my family and all that he was going to have to leave behind this time during a season of his life that he could actually understand and would remember. The impacts of that were profound. For the first time, he had developed real friendships. He had real communities of involvement. All of his known memories were from the place we had to leave behind and his heart was struggling and this Type A Mamma, in the midst of all she had to do and take care of, missed it.

So from February until the beginning of this month, we were barely able to get ANY school work done. We had to adjust our school calendar and add days. I know. I know. Most of you are saying, “You don’t have to do that. Just give him a break.” And the truth is, we did have a break. Almost two months of break. I couldn’t do it. He couldn’t do it. We were in burnout mode without either of us really understanding that was what it was. As we came into May, I was determined for us to be back on routine. I was determined for us to prevail and go back to life and all that we do. I was naive enough to think it was that simple.

So I dove head first; back to the grind and to all the worksheets, the projects, the reading. All of our rigid routines. I forced him into that classroom and I said, “We ARE doing this. No more excuses. Huge and pregnant and out of breath or not, we are FINISHING all of our school work and we will do it with determination.”

I am sure at this point, inside my sweet 7 year old’s mind, he was thinking, “Ughhhhh. Mommy, I need you. Can’t you see I need you to see that I literally cannot do this? I literally cannot handle one more thing? Don’t you see that I am hurting Mommy? You aren’t the only one who misses friends and feels lost and displaced. I miss my whole world. Why can’t you see that Mommy?”

But he didn’t speak those words out loud so I naively thought he was fine. After all, they say kids are resilient right?

WRONG.

They can be. They sometimes are but life affects them just as much as they do us and yes they are resilient over time but sometimes they aren’t. Sometimes they also hurt and feel and grieve just as we do. Sometimes they experience the same types of struggles and frustrations that we do so how is it we so easily forget and overlook that and just expect them to adapt and adjust without question or struggle?

So, with my determination we dove in and it was ROUGH. Every day was an exhausting struggle. We were schooling ALL day long because I, in my stubborn ways, refused to let him not complete EVERYTHING that was outlined for him to do. Some days I cried. Some days he probably cried too. It was bad. I mean REALLY bad.

And then it happened. He woke up one Friday morning that first week of May and everything came flowing from out of his mind, through his mouth and into my shocked world.

My precious little man woke up with tears and began to tell me how much he had been hurting. He missed his best friend. He missed our old house. He missed our old Co-op. He missed our life. Why did we have to move here? Why couldn’t we just have stayed and why, WHY, WHY, WHY did we have to have another baby and why did I have to have a GIRL!!!!!!!

And then it hit me like a tidal wave.

I had failed to see the single most important detail of them all. In the  midst of already overwhelming situations and transitions, we were adding an entirely more intense change: we were bringing a little sister into this family.

Until this point, Mister M has been the baby and with his sisters staying in Arkansas, he has been an only child from age 3 to now. All of his memories are mostly compiled of him being the entire center of the universe. Every activity, every thing we do has been centered around his little world. How on earth had I not paused to think that while he said he was excited for a baby that he might also be so terrified of a baby coming?

I felt like such a failure in that moment. I was stunned and unsure of how to speak so instead, I sat down on the bed, I pulled him close and I let him cry for a moment. I let him get out all his thoughts which included asking me, “Will you still love me the same? Will you still have time for me? Do you still want me to be a part of the family?”

My heart was crushing a little more with each question and I lovingly and calmly shed some of my own tears as we talked about what bringing Little Miss M into the family would be like. We talked about fears. We talked about changes. We talked about what might happen and what to expect. We also talked about how hard it might be but how good it would be. And then I did something I never do. I did what I honestly never thought I would be able to do given my issue with needing routines and plans and schedules.

I looked at my little guy and said, “How about we set aside school today and we just spend some time doing whatever it is YOU want to do today.”

His look of total shock said it all. “Really?? But what about  my worksheets? What about my reading? Won’t Daddy get mad at me?” To which I shockingly (to both myself and him) responded, “It all can wait. Today, we just need to enjoy being together.”

So, that’s exactly what we did. I put aside my routine and our schedule and we spent the day curled up under blankets watching movies and reading together and playing Uno. We laughed and we talked about lots of things and we got through the meltdown and by the end of the day, I had a different little guy.

The next week, we went back to homeschool but I approached it all with a different mindset. I approached it from the  mindset of what does my SON need to take from today and how does he need to take it in his current season. I tweaked how we are doing our schedule and began to incorporate breaks where we pause and play games or watch an educational show. I began to evaluate all his busy work because honestly, my son was doing SO much written work and worksheets that he made public school homework and classwork look like nothing. I asked myself what is most important? I shifted my focus and BAM.

It happened.

We overcame and we began to flow into our beautiful routine again. Don’t get me wrong, he still has a workload because that’s just how we work things, what his curriculum requires and he does so well with it. But we changed HOW we are doing the work and HOW we approach it and it has been so freeing. Some days we do his writing worksheets while other days I have him write letters to a friend or family member or write a story of his choosing in his writing journal. We did away with our Arithmetic Speed Drill worksheets and started doing flashcards together instead. Trust me when I tell you this made a big difference. He does two sheets of Math a day for his lessons and then when you add a 60 second timed Speed Drill worksheet on top of it, you find yourself with a kid who isn’t so much loving Math that day. We started doing reading first thing in the mornings because he loves to read and I changed the order of what we do when and it has been so refreshing.

While I know deep down, this won’t mean that he isn’t feeling the sting of his homesickness still, I know that he sees that I can recognize when he needs a time out. He knows I see that he isn’t just some robot that can handle and do whatever we say without any emotion or feeling. I know he knows how much I care because I cared enough to finally say, “Okay. Maybe I need to change things. Maybe you need a MOM right now, more than a teacher.” And suddenly, he is back to loving his learning experiences and being determined to keep his “straight A” status.

We have to school until almost July this year and then will take our “Summer break” until the beginning of September and that’s okay. We will finish our work. We will learn and laugh and we will do it all together. Taking those months off during all those changes wasn’t something I planned, it wasn’t something I wanted but I believe with all my heart and soul it was exactly what God had planned because He knew what was coming and how it was going to affect our little guy.

Life is hard. Sometimes, we miss things but it teaches us that sometimes, we have to stop long enough to see that something isn’t quite working and we need to readjust our focus. Homeschool is a beautiful journey for so many reasons but one of the very most important ones that I can think of is that it gives us the ability to see when our children are hurting, to allow ourselves grace to say that we need a break and to take it. Right then and there. We aren’t having to pace it just like everyone else. We can and if it works we do but sometimes, life happens and we need to let ourselves deal with it.

I am so thankful for a God who always reveals in the perfect time what is needed and helps us to realign our priorities and our life. I love that He gives us teachable moments when we least expect them even if they aren’t always easy or fun but most of all,  I love that I get to have this journey. I love that I get to love my children all day every day, that I get to be both their Mom and their educator and that I get to do it in a way that impacts them in every way possible.

This journey is beautiful and it is a blessing but sometimes I just have to take a deep breath, pause and remember that I am first a Mom and second a teacher.

We all are.

In Christ’s Love,

Kristy ❤

We Know the Pledge Wednesday!!!

Before I begin showing you some of the fun and creative things we did today for homeschool, I just have to take a moment to say that I am so very proud and happy for my son as today he was able to say the ENTIRE Pledge of Allegiance all by himself INCLUDING the word indivisible!!!

I know. I know.

It’s probably NOT that big of a deal to you but it was huge deal to us and we were so excited to video it and post on Facebook for Nana and Grandma to see.

Once we got over our excitement of that little part of our day, we moved onto our Bible Lesson. This week we are learning about Saul becoming King. I usually break my lessons down to spread over the entire week, doing a different activity each day while reviewing the story over and over so that Mister M really learns and takes in each Hero of the Bible and what made them so significant and special. So on Monday, we did the lesson and then a coloring sheet to go with it. Yesterday we reviewed the lesson again and played a review game giving him points for each question he was able to answer correctly and today we made a crown just like Saul was given when He became King, only we made sure to let the whole world know who deserves to be King! 🙂 I found the pattern for this crown over at Ministry-to-Children.

Max in his crown

You will have to excuse his poor red and swollen little self. He went duck hunting location scouting with his Dad and in spite of best prevention efforts made, he was eaten alive all over his poor face 😦 He is still smiling and quite the trooper!

Today’s Math lesson was all about Graphing. So we did some fun examples on the board using some items from Max’s table and worked on the board first:

Graphing for Math

Once we were done with practice, Max started on his assignments and ROCKED them! I was so proud of his diligence and excitement!

Max graphing

From there we took a 10 minute break and then to just change up our routines, we dove into our art project for today. Since it is December and the holidays, we will be doing a craft or art project every day this month. I love crafts so this is always just as exciting for me as it is for Mister M! I found these awesome paper strip Christmas Tree Art projects on Pinterest and dove in to make them ours. We used some cotton balls at the end to add some “snow”. I think he did excellent!!

This was a great way to break up the monotony of going from one core subject to the next. After this we took another break to have lunch and give MisterM some free time. I have learned that trying to just sit and do it all at once can be very tedious even if we are doing fun hands on things. His mind needs a break and he needs time to just be five. Taking these extra breaks the last few weeks was wonderful. It mostly started because I just needed extra time from surgery recovery but it quickly become a new routine for us.

After lunch, we dove into our phonics, reading and writing! To start off our phonics lesson, I wanted to really take time to focus on working on reviewing the letters and sounds we have learned all the way up to date. I notice Mister M struggles hearing the letter sounds if they aren’t at the beginning of the words so this past weekend, I took to Pinterest in search of a fun and creative tool we could use to practice this and I came across the cutest and most awesome Phonics Game EVER!

This adorable ice cream themed pack comes with your vowels, consonants, the Capital and lowercase letters and additional scoops of ice cream with images to help your child hear the letter sounds for each letter. These are intended to be for the letter sound they start with but I actually went through and used them to identify letter sounds in the entire word. For example Apple is of course for A because we hear that sound but Mix could be for both the M or the I because it has the I sound in it as well! We worked to review our vowels today and tomorrow we will be working on our consonant sounds we have learned so far 🙂

I got this via one of my subscription emails from Free Home School Deals. I get some of the most amazing FREE printable worksheets and activities from them.

Our handwriting sheet came from some adorable Christmas Tracing Pages I found over at TotSchooling. There were 7 different sheets in the set. I like it because it gives Max just enough work to practice his handwriting but also gives him something cute to do along with it so it is not just the same old handwriting work.

Christmas Tracing Sheets

and finally our reading assignment came from Heidi Songs. It is an adorable easy emergent reader, “Pete’s Christmas”. With it there were also some other downloadable activities that I thought Mister M would like so I snagged them too. I use printable emergent readers because they tend to be easier for him at this stage and are both creative and the perfect levels for Mister M.  We do the same one all week long then move to a new one. This allows him to not only practice his phonics but to also learn word recognition. Plus he loves that he can color them! 😉

Pete's Christmas

This is just the first page of the book’s printable sheets but I thought it would give  you an idea.

We ended our day attempting to do our Geography lesson but Mister M was too excited about our guests for the day so we worked on just going over the documents for Connecticut and then we will finish the booklet tomorrow.

It was a busy and fun day and I am all set for tomorrow! I hope your homeschool day was just as successful!!

In Christ’s Love,

Kristy Delgado

 

 

First Step Reading, you saved my day….

This week has been a very off one to say the least. With my back being in such pitiful shape the last few days, I have had to greatly alter our lessons and do very minimal things. I attempted to do too much Tuesday evening and found myself feeling exhausted and in a great deal of pain yesterday so our regularly planned homeschool lessons were too much for this recovering Mamma to handle.

I felt frustrated at first until a sweet friend reminded me that my son is only in Kindergarten and that if he is learning ANYTHING he is learning and that is okay.

So I set out to find some online resources yesterday morning that would work in lieu of our traditional homeschool lessons while I rested and tried to get my back in working order again. Thankfully, I found an amazing FREE program that I knew I just had to share with all of you:

FirstStepReading.com

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There are over 50 FREE lessons to help teach your child to read.

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They have these adorable interactive critter characters, as I call them, who help teach your child to sound out sight words. So while they teach them to recognize the word, they also teach them to sound them out so that they can hear the word themselves and learn it by both sight and sound. I completely love this as my husband and I both felt on the fence about just sight words or just sounding out words. This was the perfect way to blend in both techniques at once.

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Each time your child, along with their adorable new critter friend, work on one of the words together and learn it, they celebrate your child’s accomplishment with confetti or balloons and loud cheering. Not only is this adorable but it also gives them incentive to keep on going!

I was absolutely amazed watching Mister M go through each word with them. He was guessing the word within seconds of hearing the two sounds put together. I felt so excited and proud as I realized how much my son truly does love to learn.

If you are looking for a supplement to add to your homeschool lessons or are a teacher that is looking for a fun, interactive way to teach your students how to read, this would be a GREAT resource for you. I am so thankful and blessed I found them, they came to my aide in a very needed moment!

Mommas, life is going to happen. Homeschool does NOT have to be burden. We can make up days later if we must, we can do extra on another day if we feel we need to but if we don’t allow ourselves room for life to happen sometimes, then we will get weary and this incredibly wonderful journey will become a burden that we want to shed. If you are having an off week, that’s okay. If you did ONE thing to help your child learn that day then you did homeschool and it’s going to be okay. Don’t sweat the small stuff or the big stuff because God called you to this and He will be bring you just the resource you need at just the right moment.

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Isaiah 43:1,2

“But now thus says the Lordhe who created you, O Jacob,
  he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
  I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
  and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
  and the flame shall not consume you.”

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Blessings and love,

Kristy ❤

Life & Learning

Today was one of those days.

There are not a lot of them that demand I take on roles other than Mommy or wife but today, I had to put on one of my other “hats” and spend an entire day getting some important things taken care of. While one part of me cherishes these moments as they make me feel like I get to impact others OUTSIDE my home, there is always this inner struggle as this also means that the daily routines and schedules we have are temporarily put on hold.

The old Kristy would have PANICKED over this. Not being able to do exactly what I wrote on my list that day would have caused me to have a near panic attack or to just totally shut down and not even be able to concentrate long enough to get any of the other important things done at all.

Thankfully I serve a God who takes away the old and makes ALL THINGS NEW.

There was that brief moment where the guilt set in. After all, I am a homeschool Mom now. The days of my days being about whatever activities I WANTED to be able to involve myself in and have a day of no rules or set plans have had to come to a close (for the most part). I went into this journey determined to not only be the best mother I can but also the best teacher my child will ever encounter. (Not that I put ANY pressure on myself right?)

So as I was busy having lunch with some very important people and we talked about preparations for a very important event next week, I found myself remembering in detail all the lessons I had planned for today. I found myself fretting silently over letting my son down as I should be there teaching him. After all, that’s my new role. A most important one at that.

And then, from out of nowhere, as He often does, God used one word that came from the lips of one of my lunch companions to quickly snap me back into reality: flexibility.

Right there in my booth, I was flooded with the images of so many blogs and articles I read from experts to newcomers to homeschooling pros who all said the very same things: “Learn to be flexible and not put so much pressure on yourself to make homeschool like a classroom but rather make homeschool where learning and life blend together to make one incredible and remarkable journey. Your children won’t remember the schedules or the designs but they will remember the moments you let learning take over and just had fun with it yourself.”

*Deep breath* What a relief.

I needed that reminder today.

So I dove in. I took in every second of those conversations and I found laughter and joy and purpose in the middle of those lies from the enemy that I wasn’t getting it right.

After all was said and done and I finally made my way home after lunches and planning and assembly meetings, I got to come  home and eat with my sweet family and STILL find the time to fit in at least one important lesson for today: our Bible Lesson. Omar joined us as we talked about the first day’s creation and assembled an ADORABLE St. Valentine’s Scripture Wreath that I have simply fallen in love with. I am going to make sure this is stored safely so we can reuse year after year. Each year remembering the first year of Homeschool together ❤

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At the end of this day, I realized two valuable things. We didn’t live out this day according to a single schedule and that was exactly as God planned it. I got to fulfill my other much needed roles while my son got quality time with his Dad. How could life be any more precious than that and what lessons could be any more valuable?

So take a deep breath. The schedules won’t always be what’s most important and those experts and newcomers and homeschool pros are so right. Education is most valued when life becomes part of the learning. It is the best way to fall in love with both at the same time.

Blessings and Love,

Kristy Delgado ❤

TGIF…Thank Goodness It’s Fun

Some days I just find it so much harder to get moving than others. As a matter of fact, some days I truly contemplate laying in bed all day in my pajamas and refusing to do a single thing. It always sounds good in theory but those dishes that pile up and the laundry that takes over the floors and the water that somehow ends up from the bathroom to the living room during that time in bed is a quick reminder that life must continuously move. Every day.

So thank goodness it’s fun.

Today we took half the day off to let Mister M rest as he had a somewhat restless night and a hard time getting to sleep but when he woke up there was much excitement to be had because we finally remembered to get some Washable Paints while we were at WalMart last night 🙂 Oh how we love paint.

So today, we quickly did our “busy” work by making sure Mister M worked on writing his letter Cc and the number 3 and practicing his name. I love that as soon as he is done, we wipe the sheets off, put them up and they are ready for the next day. It’s that easy.

We were also equally excited about our Letter craft for today: C is for Cookies. (But I mean, it’s a craft. About cookies. Who wouldn’t be excited about that?)

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I found this awesomeness on Pinterest (of course) and I can’t really say where it came from because I just glanced at the photo I pinned but to whomever created this, we adore you 😉

After we finished this sweetness, we completed Miss M and Miss P’s Valentine’s Care Package by letting Mister M paint them some custom V-Day Cards and I of course had to add some last minutes touches. We are so excited to get this in the mail! I will share some of that awesomeness that I created later. I want them to be able to get it first 🙂 ( I didn’t even use the ones I found on Pinterest. I just totally let my creative side flow.)

And then we painted. And painted. And painted. We pretty much painted for HOURS. Which was both fun and therapeutic. I found a really amazing project I want to do for the Grandparents but need to purchase some blank square canvases tomorrow. So there will be more on that shortly 🙂

What I love most about painting is how much Mister M loves it. He gets lost in it. Just creating this or that and he is OBSESSED with Rainbows so after he was done playing he wanted me to draw one with a pencil so he could paint it. He added a sun and some clouds and produced quite a sweet keepsake. ❤ His very first (of many I am sure) original paintings. *sigh* How did we get to this place? It’s he was a teeny baby, I blinked and BAM…almost 5 year old painting away. It’s insane really.

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So my dears, if you are having one of those days; if you find it is hard to motivate…shake things up. Get creative. Make learning FUN. Make life FUN and remember that tomorrow is always a new day to do it all again. That’s the most marvelous blessing about our time here on earth.

We can create a magical  moment and then wake up and do the same thing the very next day our entire existence on this earth. Why not make it fun? Why not paint for hours?

We only get these moments for one lifetime. Then it’s gone.

I am sorry I did not get to upload my detailed images of the “Busy Bags”. I was knee deep in paint and dinner and laundry. It was amazing. But tomorrow is a new day so maybe I will get to do it then!

Have a blessed and wonderful night!

With love,

Kristy ❤

“Busy Bag” Madness

I mentioned last night that I would share with you my lovely, coveted (for lack of a better word) “busy bag” stash. I had originally planned to photograph each bag individually and show it’s contents but, my friends, I have far too many bags to overload my WordPress with that many photos 😉

So, I took a couple group shots for you and because I love you each so much and want to make things easier for you, I have included an ENTIRE list of each bag and where you can find the FREE Downloads for them (simply click on the underlined titles or words). Now a few of the bags are ones I created myself with items I already had so those you will just have to try to revamp to make your own or maybe you will be as lucky as I and have them lying around 🙂

Before I get started, I want to share a Groupon deal with you that I stumbled across today because it is too incredible not to share. I am talking about Canvas Prints starting at just $6.99!!! It’s REAL! I got two 20×13 Canvas Prints for a price that should be considered ROBBERY! Better hurry though because it is only good for 3 more days. You can find these incredible offers here 🙂 (You’re welcome!!!)

Okay now on to “BUSY BAGS”!!

Why “Busy Bags”?

1. They are great for allowing your child to learn while playing at the same time. They actually HAVE FUN while stretching their minds and learning things that are important.

2. They are called “Busy Bags” because they actually keep your children busy which allows you to be able to change out that load of laundry, get that paper written for that class you are taking or feed the newborn you are trying to care for also during the day. Whatever your need for some busy time for your little one, so many of these will fill the spot!

3. They are fantastic for road trips and easy to store. Throw them all in a small tote bag in the back seat and your child has hours of QUIET, educational and fun entertainment to make that drive so much easier.

And without further adieu…

The Delgado Family Busy Bag Collection

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Letter Stencils: This bag is one I did myself with stencils I had purchased from The Dollar Tree as well as a Dry Erase Paper Line for Him to write on. Throw in a Dry Erase marker and you are all set 🙂

Tangram Puzzles: Also a bag I made with the set of Tangram Puzzles I purchased at The Dollar Tree.

Two-Sided Puzzles: These I had on hand. They were these adorable small, thick, 2-sided print wooden puzzles that Maximus received in one of his monthly boxes from Citrus Lane. We only did used this service for a few months before I cancelled the subscription but we are about to re-subscribe. Each month they would send him snacks and toys that were perfect for his age 🙂 He misses getting that surprise each month.

Trivia & Quiet Games: Don’t laugh but these were comprised of 3 different toys in my son’s Chick-fil-a lunches 🙂 We LOVE Chick-fil-a and the fact that they give educational toys? EVEN BETTER. The ones we have are: Rock, Paper, Scissors; 5 Second Rule – Just Spit it Out and 100 Wacky Things.

First Words Writing: I made this one with a set of “First Words” Flashcards I found at The Dollar Tree and simply threw in another one of the Dry Erase Paper Line boards I had and a dry erase marker. Easy Peasy 😉

Now for the Free Downloadable Ones:

Hot Chocolate Mats: I LOVED these. They are seriously so adorable. They include an entire set of these adorably designed Hot Chocolate Mugs with these cute little faces on them. Each of them has a number on it. You put them in the bag along with a bunch of white or multi-colored small sized pom-poms. The idea is that they pick a card and then have to add the number of “marshmallows” that are listed on the mug. The download includes a set in color and black and white so you can decide how you want to print them. These are GREAT for teaching numbers and even math 🙂

Block Puzzles: I bought several packages of colored foam blocks at The Dollar Tree. I threw a set in along with these block puzzle cards. They are great for teaching about patterns and learning how to estimate. Also another great one for math skills as you can have them count how many of each color it took and then the total they had to use for each puzzle.

Shape Tracer & Matching: Easy way to teach your little one their shapes. They can trace each shape as they match with the coordinating shape card. Print them on card stock, laminate them and throw in a dry erase marker so that you can reuse them again and again.

Letter Lacing: Another fun and easy activity. I love this one because besides the fact it teaches sight words and the alphabet, it also helps with hand-eye coordination 🙂 I used small wooden alphabet beads and a pipe cleaner. We love it!

Bottle Cap Phonics Cards: This one can be done one of two ways. You can collect water bottle caps that you write each letter of the alphabet on (which we are doing each time we get one) or you can just be sure your cards are laminated like mine are and just simply have them practice writing. I like to have him do both so he can practice his spelling and letter recognition but also his handwriting 🙂

Sight Word List & Writing: I found this great Sight Word List and that I printed on card stock and laminated. This is also a great assessment to use on your child to keep track of their progression with sight words. I want to teach Mister M to be able to read by using letter sounds but I also think it is good for him to recognize words as well until he is able to fully understand and use his letter sounds. I also added a laminated Writing Sheet that he can use to practice writing as he is learning each one.

Letter & Number Tracing: Love this one.  I printed each sheet and laminated them and threw in a dry erase marker. This set comes with the entire Alphabet and a sheet of numbers plus a blank writing sheet for them to practice on their own. I am a huge fan of this woman’s site. She is also amazing because she has her OWN Curriculum that she sells. It is downloadable or can be purchased via CD’s that are mailed to you. The prices are crazy affordable and the curriculums are seriously incredible. Her curriculum is one I am strongly in the running for using for our K-5th grade lessons! You have to check it all out while you are there!

Name Tracing: This one is pretty self explanatory and the best part is that this site actually allows you to CUSTOMIZE the printable with your child’s name or whatever you would want on it really. I printed this on card stock, laminated it and threw in a dry erase marker. Great way to help your little one learn to write their name and recognize it 🙂 I am working on printing and laminating one that will also teach him his address and phone number and emergency numbers in case he should ever have to call 9-1-1 🙂

Maze Play: I recently discovered that my son LOVES to do mazes so I went and found some adorable ones. I also found an adorable Pete the Cat one and printed it as well. Mister M LOVES Pete the Cat. 🙂 As with all my cards and sheets, I laminated these and threw in a dry erase marker so he can reuse them over and over. These are so good at helping your children learn problem solving and work on their critical thinking skills.

Animal Sorting: This particular busy bag can be used in a few ways. I laminated each card so they will last. You can use them to teach all the animals and  discuss each one. You can group them together based on species, the environments they are found in and even which animals might eat the others. There are so many possibilities. This download included some extra blank labeled cards so I laminated those and threw in a Dry Erase marker so Mister M can try to draw them. He is an avid little artist as I mentioned in yesterday’s blog 🙂

Color Puzzles: Simple and easy way to teach your child to not only recognize their colors but also to recognize the sight word for each of them.

Rhyming Puzzles: We have not used these much but as Mister M starts to really focus on learning to sound things out and understanding what it  means to rhyme more these easy cards will be a great way to help him learn 🙂 I also subscribe to this site because they offer a LOT of free printables and activities that are so great and are grouped according to age and grade.

I Spy Games: This activity has both the downloadable sheet with coordinating cards as well as Two I Spy books that Mister M got from Chick-fil-A. I loved this activity but I will warn you. This one took me a LOT of time to compile. This activity has the sheet of course with all the objects on it and then there is a small card FOR EACH AND EVERY OBJECT. You have the child draw a card and then they have to find the object on the sheet. I, being the person I am, had to have it colored :/ So I and a good friend literally spent over two hours coloring each object on the sheet and then coloring the cards to match. It was NUTS but well worth it 🙂 Maximus loves this!

Graphing Colors: I could not for the life of me remember which site I found this worksheet on. There are a TON of them all over Pinterest and more if you were to Google it. This one is easy also and could quite frankly be done via Excel. This link takes you to one site I found on Pinterest but there doesn’t appear to be a download. It gives you an idea of how to create it should you not find one just like it. I threw in another set of the color foam blocks and use this to teach math and number skills.

10 Commandments Lap Book: I actually created this lap book awhile back for the Awana’s Class I temporarily helped to teach. I fell love with it so I made an extra one for Mister M before I ever even made the decision to homeschool. This one is special to me because it reminds me of the fact that God prepares us and equips us to do something long before we realize we will be doing it. That’s pretty awesome. For this one you just need a file folder and some popsicle sticks. Any color will do. I laminated all my cards and colored everything that wasn’t colored 🙂 It’s awesome sauce and great for helping your little one learn the Commandments of our Lord and instill in them that are consequences when we disobey 🙂

And last but not least:

Road Map Fun: This one is just a cute for fun activity. It is good because it can teach them about staying in lines and encourages creative thinking and planning skills without them even realizing it. This set comes with the little map and three little printable cars 🙂 I printed mine on cardstock and laminated them of course but I also keep a couple of my sons toy cars in there in case he would rather use them.

And there you have it. My entire “Busy Bag” collection (thus far anyways). There will be more because I am seriously addicted to this entire concept. I LOVE IT. I am excited to make some this summer and maybe even do one that has sand and seashells in it. That might be a “tad” messy but still awesome 🙂

Tomorrow I will work on actually photographing EACH and EVERY bag and then create a viewable album on my DropBox that I can share so that you can view all the images in detail.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. Have fun with this. You can make your own. You can download these or you can find HUNDREDS, even THOUSANDS more all over the web. They are a great resource.

I pray your day was wonderful and blessed. Until next time…

Blessings,

Kristy ❤