Posts tagged home school

Letter of the Week – F

The Gemini Mama Letter F


After a long week together, or was it two? I made the decision that we do not get along with the letter F. Why?


Well I told you in my letter E update that I did a poor job in some of my book selections. I requested and selected books for letter’s E and F at the same time. I should have made adjustments after E went the way that it did, but I did not. I am glad that nothing is, or has to be set in stone. It really makes me feel better.


The week wasn’t a complete failure. We had some successes, and pin pointed some areas to work on.



Writing capital F was easy for K1, but lowercase is right up there with lower case E. They are both a struggle for her. This caused me to take a step back, and add in more dot to dots this week, and we will come back to writing letters later. I mean she has her whole life to learn that. I have to admit I really wanted to push her to write her own name, because (shun me now) I have seen that other kids her age can. That is totally unfair of me. “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Totally true, and children develop differently, at different times. Yes I am sure that she could learn to write her name today, if I sat down and did that with her, but maybe she isn’t ready? The “Letter of the week” is about her, and only a guide for me. So I will let her do more of the guiding.


Onto the books. I am still using as a guide, and here is a link to the suggested “F” curriculum.


The Firebird (affiliate link)- this book was the biggest surprise of the week. Early in the week I breezed through it, and the pages looked too wordy for my kids. Because of that I skipped over this book all week long, until there was nothing left to read. Remember I was jaded in my book selection for two weeks also. My children ask me to read them a “book they never heard before” so I grab this one. They were so sucked into the story! Maybe it was the gold on the pages, or the story itself, but classic. It was a good book, not as many “F” words in it as I expected, but for a story book it was great.


The Foot Book – I started the week with this book. Lot’s of “F” words in it. We played the game where they jump up each time they hear a particular word. I chose “feet.” K1 loves when we do this with books that we have already read once, but she doesn’t quite have the concept down yet. She needs pauses and reminders “what word was that?” Still fun for her.


Down on the Funny Farm and Rainbow Fish were also good choices that my kids enjoyed.


The last of the “good” books is Flamingo (Heinemann Read and Learn) (affiliate link). This book was a great choice to teach a young child about flamingos. It was exactly what I was hoping for.


If you choose to teach your children about the flamingo during “F” week, you could also teach them the ASL sign to go with it. Side note, I thought about including a video for you of this sign, but not being a member of the deaf community I might be the wrong candidate. Also the sign that I have learned for flamingo is different than what I could find on the ASL sites online. They show “pink bird,” what I learned looks like a flamingo and to me is more tactile for children. It could be a dialect difference, not sure. Put your index and second finger down and curl the rest into a fist. Bend the index finger at the knuckle and tap the second finger on the open palm of your other hand. Flamingo.




The Fish book from Sesame Street wasn’t too bad. It had lots of great information, but not my first choice. That opinion could be clouded because I don’t love Sesame Street in general.


All the other books were poor choices for my almost 4 year old daughters age group. That book Forest is about a deer. Yeah that got me too. I wanted a book to teach about the forest. The books on fractions were cute, but we very focused on percents and decimals too, which was too much. They had everything mixed together. It was not in sections, where I could skip what we weren’t ready for.


Strangely the Fire Truck book didn’t even hold my kids attention. They love fire trucks, so this was a surprise. I was hunting for a book that talked about the job of a firefighter, and wasn’t finding anything. This book is about building a firetruck, but was too detailed for us. Maybe next year.


Have you been doing a letter of the week program? What did letter “F” look like for you?




Letter of the Week E


Ah, letter “E.” This week in letter e, we were practicing the short vowel sound. So Egg, not Easter.


I was proud of my planning ahead because as you will see I did a great job again of including mammals, and animals, but also geography. However it was also somewhat a fail.


Above are the read a loud books that we used this week.


Eggday was by far the favorite of the three. The kids wanted to hear it a few times, and it captivated both children. K1 who’s 3 1/2 and K2, who’s 2. It was also fun to read.


The Empty Pot was very slow, and not nearly as fun to read. I had to go back through the book a second time and do a lot of reading between the lines for my 3 year old to fully understand the concept of the story. I also had a very hard time keeping her attention during the story (probably why I had to go through it so much). I would say that this is a good book that contained a great lesson, just not for our age group. (or maybe just not this week)


 The Elves and the Shoemaker I didn’t actually read. Daddy did at bedtime on Friday. He said that the kids enjoyed it and that he made it more fun while reading it. He asked them questions to keep them engaged, and acted out parts. He can be silly like that.



I also checked out these books to teach about elephants, emperor penguins, Mt Everest, and Ecuador.


I selected these myself, and I pretty much sucked. I knew from the looks of it that the Ecuador book was inappropriate, and I thought that I would be able to extract information to “teach” with. No, don’t do that.


I do recommend using Ella’s bath and National Geographic’s Great Migrations Elephants books. As well as the book on Mountains Surviving Mt Everest. While some of the information in these books was a little over my 3 1/2 year old’s head most of it was not. Oh and Ella’s Bath was fun for the whole family, it’s a pop up book.


To go with learning about elephants, we did an elephant craft also.



Naturally I continued to include writing, and working on the sound the letter makes. I really think that now we are ready to start sounding out words with the letters we have already learned. I am going to try that next week, I will let you know how that goes.



Each week while we work on learning to write a new letter, I refresh the old letters with her. Her favorite letter to write is still A, so she has to be prompted to write others. I am also noticing that she is understanding the mechanics of how letters are formed much more quickly than she was 5 weeks ago. I think that I might try to teach her to write more letters at a time. I’d like her to be able to write her own name. There is no rule that says I can’t do more at time so I will, I just don’t want to do so much that she doesn’t retain it.


Side note, I am reading for daddy to be done with his training an home on a regular routine. It has effected all areas of our daily life. I am not complaining, this is a change for the better, but it also explains why they past few letters have taken two weeks each.


Any how moving on and looking forward to F is for fish!


What are you working on this week? What activities did you do for the letter E?

Another Week In Photos

Did you miss me last week? Bookmark this new address, the old one is toast.

It might take me a little getting used to, so I am sorry in advance for any strange hiccups that are bound to happen.


Now on with what we were up to during all that silence, and the last week too.


Sometimes daddy’s do silly things and I actually have a moment to capture it. That is not an apple in the slicer. It’s a nectarine, which would really slice nicely if it weren’t for that pesky seed in the middle.


After #MugSwap2013 I decided that I deserved my own coffee cozy. This is what I made myself. I am currently in the process of making my design even better. Smaller needles, so it will be a little less poofy, and adding a liner to the inside so it doesn’t slide up.


I promised myself I would use this more. I often opt to leave it home because it is somewhat heavy on my neck. It takes amazing photos especially outside, I just need to have it to use it.



Every now and then it’s good to find ways to take advantage of you position in life. Often times as a Stay at Home Mom I don’t see all the happy that I really do have. I also don’t take advantage very often. What do I mean by that? I haven’t done things like take just the kids and I on a trip, even just camping, without daddy. To me, I don’t know why, I doesn’t feel right. I don’t drag the kids along to things that are really just for me. So when I decided to have a beer last week it was random. Random because these days I don’t drink very much, and the kids were napping.


It was the only one I had, but it was nice to take advantage of my position for once.


Don’t you love it when you try to snap a shot of a sweet sweet moment and then, well, you get this. “Arrgg.” I have successfully turned my daughter into a pirate. Your welcome.


We did have a lovely picnic out side of the science center waiting for friends to come play with us. No, no one walked the plank.


This photo should have accompanied my last post about my class disaster and migraine. This lovely selfie, which is so not my thing, was the next morning. I have to wear a hat right now because K1 managed to break my sunglasses again.


After a migraine Thursday I did not drink any coffee Friday. For some reason on Saturday I brewed my mug all the way to the tipp-ity top. I even had to sip some out to put cream in. Guess I was making up for missed coffee.


This kid is the cutest. If his sister wasn’t so darling I would say he’s the cutest troublemaker in the house. Alas it is totally a tie. This, this “Oh I didn’t know I couldn’t do that look” makes me laugh so much it takes away from telling him “that’s not safe.” Besides no one under two believes you when you tell them something amazingly fun is not safe, until they get hurt. Yes he dumped out all those clothes on the couch himself.


Midnight #MugSwap2013 mug.


8:30-9 mug swap mug filled with coffee. So much happier. I was too. Note to self, don’t open mail after class. Apparently I’m grumpy then. I was sad that I didn’t receive a note, and I shouldn’t have been. Why? Because my swapper was smart like me and didn’t want to pay shipping twice just to send a little love note that can be typed later.


Every now and then I need a humbling reminder that life isn’t all about me, and or what is in my head.


Isn’t this the cutest little mug ever?! I have seriously been using it all day. No exaggeration, I am drinking water out of it still right now.



This morning. Playing their little hearts out. They love the science center. I love that soon this will be considered “school.” That is one part that makes the idea of homeschooling so fun!


What were you up to this week? 

Linking up here …
life rearranged

Preparing to Home School

When you are a stay at home mom or dad, everyone believes you have nothing but free time to get things done. Sometimes even I think I have a lot of time to complete random tasks, until I look back at the end of the day and see how much didn’t get completed. There is a reason why people make money for taking care of kids all day, it is a job, and can be demanding.

Yesterdays “work” those clouds below the helicopter are
all dots for kids to trace. K1 can’t. 

Quite a few months ago I planned to do some research online about home schooling. I have heard about a few hybrid programs where kiddos go to a school two days a week and are home schooled three days. That sounds like a good idea to me, and I wanted to learn more except I never seem to find time to look it up. Here I am several months later, and I finally STARTED looking at information about home schooling.

By started I mean, now I know that I want to attend a curriculum fair. I have never heard of such a thing. I want to do this before I need to, just to be sure that this is something that I can handle. It’s possible I might not be able to, ya know? I have been wondering if it is too much to consider with two kids.

When I told myself that I was going to start looking into homeschooling I also said that I was going to print out activity sheets for K1. I was thinking better to start now, then later. I finally did that on Sunday. Daddy was funny telling K1 that mommy decided she was starting school today.

Some of things that I printed out I am aware other homes with kids K1’s age already do. I just didn’t realize that some of the things in activity books we have were actually age appropriate. I just bought them because they were one dollar, not because of their content. They just always seemed to hard for her and I didn’t even try them. Like mazes. Just going and printing out pages was eye opening for me.

I learned a bit. I didn’t know that dot-to-dots and mazes lead up to writing letters. It helps with fine motor skills, in case you didn’t know too. I found a few free sites to print from. It was nice because for things like the dot-to-dot’s I had choices I never even considered. Such as numbers, capital letters, or lower case letters. Then beyond that, how many, 1-10, 1-20, A-G, A-M, a-h, or a-z, that kind of thing. The pages for handwriting also had different A is for _ choices. I tried to select three letter words so that she could learn about reading and site words at the same time. Not that I really know what I am talking about when I say that, but the idea sounded good in my head and that is what I went on. There really is a lot to think about and learn for both of us.

K1 is really good with letters, and okay with numbers. We have been doing dot-to-dot’s with her the past few days and boy is she a stubborn one. She randomly forgets what, let’s say a 5 looks like. Really? Mommy and daddy both get frustrated and at that point we decide she is done learning for the day and switch her over to coloring. She always freaks out until we suggest coloring. She is enjoying this right now, I just don’t want to make it a chore for everyone. At least not yet.

She is also having a hard time with connecting dot’s that aren’t numbered. I thought that would be easier!

Here are the sites that I used for free printable’s Handwriting, and connect the dot’s.

What were your kids preschool challenges? Got any great printable site suggestions?


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