Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Free Early Literacy E-books!

Photo provided by startupnation.com
Today I stumbled across some awesome early literacy e-books/resources at schoolsparks.com.

In this plethora of information, I discovered 2
e-books that School Sparks has put out. Both contain worksheets that can assist in homeschooling or practice just for fun.

The first e-book is called Stepping Stones For Early Readers

And the second is called Early Writing For Little Hands

Both of these will pop up in an Adobe Acrobat file, so if you need to update or software, or download Acrobat you can get a free copy here.

Enjoy!

*I'm missing out on Wordless Wednesday again this week. All of my computer "stuff" and my camera are still packed away. :(*

Monday, September 19, 2011

Consequences...

It feels soooo good to be back! I went AWOL as we moved from our little apartment back into my mother-in-law's so that we can save up some money for a house. Not ideal, but you do what you have to do!

Image courtesy of http://www.escrowassociates.com/
Having moved in with my mother-in-law, we've been there a week and 2 days, has already become eventful. It's not that we don't get along, we get along just fine. But it's the things surrounding us that are chaotic.

This past Saturday, my husband flew out of bed at 2:20 am with such a start that it woke me up in a panic. "There was a car accident! I've got to go see if anyone needs help", is what he told me.

He bolted out the back door, and I went to the front window to see how bad the accident was (we are living on the corner of a relatively busy intersection) and if I needed to call 9-1-1. Only there weren't any cars. So I went to the side windows. Still no cars, still no accident.

My husband HAD to be nuts! I started panicking, maybe he's sleepwalking, maybe he's having a PTSD attack (he's an Iraqi war vet)! I wandered out the back door, still in a sleeping stupor, and started walking down the street toward the smoke, still not seeing my husband. More horrific thoughts started to race through my head, my husband has a hero's spirit, and I could totally see him running into a burning building, or trying to pull someone out of a burning car.


Photo courtesy of AnnieMayhem.com

Once I arrived in front of the nieghbor's house I woke up. A drunk driver had plowed into the house, pushed a car through the attached garage, backed out of the garage (the smoke was from the tires, he was stuck on the garage door), smacked the tree in the front yard, and took off down the street! I couldn't believe it!

Thankfully, the police found the truck, parked at the driver's place of residence, and after denying that he was even home in the first place, he was pulled out of bed and taken to jail.

After thanking God that the homeowner was alright, I started to think about the consequnces of this guy's actions, and how one "mistake", getting drunk and getting behind the wheel, turned into a laundry list of mistakes: DUI, distruction of property, fleeing the scene of an accident, and lying to police.

It became apparent to me that this event was meant to teach me as a parent, that not only do I need to teach my child right from wrong (Don't drink and drive in the first place), but also how to deal with the consequences of his actions if he does make a mistake (Don't run away after you cause an accident). Obviously, these lessons are a long way off for my 18 month old, but that doesn't mean that the lesson can't be applied as he is growing up.

An excellent, light hearted book, that gets kids thinking about consequnces, is What if Everybody Did That? by Ellen Javernick. It poses the question to kids, what if everyone didn't follow the rules; and goes on to illustrate just what would happen. "Bad" concepts like, litering, bathing, and talking out of turn are all covered. And the story concludes with a "Good" concept--"what if everyone gave a hug". It's a fun book that opens the door to talk about the consequnces of our actions, both good and bad, with our children. Check your local library for a copy, or pick up a copy off Amazon.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Make-It-Yourself Travel Alphabet Game

Photo courtesy of Cracked.com
This week I stumbled across one of my fabulous new follower's blogs, Grandma Bonnie's Closet. And I just had to share this brilliant idea and bargain that she wrote about with you guys!

Grandma Bonnie created a fun magnetic alphabet travel game with a metal lunch box and alphabet magnets, from the bargain bin and the dollar store! This is my kind of toy, educational, perfect for the car, and CHEAP! Check out her full post here! Grandma Bonnie's Closet: Great Home School Deals

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Curious George Turns 70!


Curious George "Now"
Image courtesy of Problogger.net
 I bet you didn't know it, but the cute little curious monkey that we all call George turns 70 this month. And though he's changed his look over the years, man, does he look good for his age!

Every year in Boston, Massachusetts, Curiosity Day is celebrated. The event strives to encourage a love of reading in children and their caregivers. This year, Curiosity Day is being celebrated on September 24th at the Boston Public Library. But even if you don't live in the Boston area, you can still participate!

Curious George "Then"
Image courtesy of Houghton Mifflin

Houghton Mifflin put out an awesome Curiosity Day Kit, with all kinds of fun ideas and activities for you and your family to enjoy. Everything from hosting a "Curiosity Day--Birthday Party" for George, to printables, to a list of 70 different activities to do with your kids that encourage curiosity. It's an all inclusive resource for all things George.

If you're still jonesin' for more George after checking out the Curiosity Day Kit, George has his own website and Facebook page. Just click around, both are full of resources. Your child can even be selected at the Facebook Fan of the Week if you submit their photo, a big deal for any little person.

And of course there's always the books! Chances are you'll find them in the picture book section of your local library under the author H.A. Ray. If your child falls in love with the books, you may consider letting them watch Curious George on PBS, or letting him or her play some of George's games online. George has even starred in his own full-length movie and sequel!

George seems to be everywhere in his old age, and kids still just can't get enough of him! So much for early retirement for you George. Happy Birthday!

And happy (early) Curiosity Day to all of my human friends!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

It's September, and it's time for Michigan Reads!

Every September, for the past several years, The Library of Michigan has partnered with Target to "provide librarians, early childhood educators, parents, and caregivers with ideas to help children develop literacy skills through play-based activities" (Michigan.gov/mde), via the Michigan Reads! program and this year is no exception.

The Michigan Reads! program is targeted to reach children from preschool to early elementary, and to show parents just how important (and rewarding) it is to read to small children. But if you're not from Michigan, don't worry, you can participate too! All you have to do is pick up a copy of the book and read it, it's that easy to get involved.

For September 2011, The Library of Michigan has selected Memoirs of a Goldfish by Devon Scillian and illustrated by Tim Bowers. Memoirs of a Goldfish is "written as a diary. A goldfish takes the reader through his passage from a quiet life in solitude to each addition to the fishbowl and the changes his life undergoes. As the bowl becomes more crowded, the goldfish must confront his feelings about each of his new neighbors until finally he is alone again, which presents a new set of feelings."

Memoirs of a Goldfish holds many opportunies for parents to turn the the simple act of reading with thier child into a learning experience. Given that Memoirs of a Goldfish, is a book centered around feelings, this may be the perfect time for you and children to discuss different feelings, and when those feelings occur. This conversation may assist parents and children in bringing up the topic of bullying, or other situations in which feelings can get hurt, and how to deal with them.

The story also is a fun way to showcase the importance of writing things down, in a diary or otherwise, as a way to cope with different emotions, and even as historical record. You might want to take the time to craft a journal with your child, or encourage your child to tell you about or write a story about their day.

Photo from maryinhb.blogspot.com
And if niether of those topics seem to peaque your interest, there's always the allure of the different aquatic creatures. It might inspire a trip to the local pet store, or even a nature preserve to investigate the types of fish and other aquatic creatures that live all around us, both in tanks, and outdoors.

The Michigan Reads! program has an entire (printable PDF) handbook, to go along with Memoirs of a Goldfish. It contains everything from tips and tricks for parents, to activity sheets and suggestions for the kiddos. So be sure to check it out.

To obtain a copy of Memiors of a Goldfish, check out your local library, and if it becomes a favorite pick up a copy at your local bookstore or online at Amazon.com.