Monthly Archives: September 2012

All About Reading Level 2 Release and Sale!!!


We have been anxiously awaiting the release of All About Reading Level 2!!!  Great news…it was released today!!!!!!  All About Learning Press is having a sale on the AAR Level 2 program.  From today until October 8th, purchasers receive a 10% discount on All About Reading 2 products!!!!    You can click on my affiliate link in the “Favorites” section following the end of my posts, or click below:

We LOVE All About Learning Press!  We currently use All About Reading Pre-Level 1 and Level 1, and Barbie will be beginning both All About Reading Level 2 and All About Spelling Level 1 soon!

Here are some of the things you can expect your child to learn using AAR Level 2 (taken from website):

  • Reading contractions
  • Understanding homophones
  • Understanding synonyms and antonyms
  • Learning phonograms WH, EE, ER, AR, OR, ED, OY, OI, AW, AU, OW, OU
  • Gaining fluency and comprehension

These aspects do not cover everything that will be learned, but give a small sampling of what you can expect.  Follow my links and select All About Reading Level 2 to see samples, to get a placement test, and to order!  Reading and spelling have become a highlight of the day thanks to this program!!!!


Baby Cereal Warning…


My mom told me about a recent finding of arsenic in baby rice cereal.  Below is a link with more information…

Madigan Warns Parents About Arsenic Levels in Rice

I suggest talking to your child’s doctor if you are concerned or have questions.  I know I will be doing the same.

Flowering Baby Giveaway WINNER!!!!


Congratulations, Angel!!!!  You are our Flowering Baby Giveaway Winner!!!  I will be emailing you with details, so please reply within 48 hours or a new winner will be drawn:)

I used to draw the winner.  I only used the Random Number Generator once to choose the winner.



Thank you all sooooo much for entering!  I will be trying to host more giveaways soon (as time allows), so stay posted:)

School as I knew it…


As you read yesterday, we figured out how to adjust our living style to make room for three more children.  But what about homeschooling???  I was used to teaching only one child, and she had my full attention at all times.  Now I had to learn how to teach 2 children (both on slightly different levels), work with a toddler, and keep a baby happy.  After taking a week off last week, I think we have found some ideas that work for us!  The past two school days have been wonderful.  Although they are not perfect, we get much more done in less time and everyone seems happy!

My first area of change was to adjust our workbox system.  I re-read Sue Patrick’s book and decided to follow her system a little more strictly.  We added in schedule strips (below) to help the girls be more accountable for their own work.  They know what they should be doing at all times, and can move on to the next task without me making them.  They love seeing the cards disappear off of their strips and look forward to the next box.



We still use our workbox carts.  When they finish a box, they take the number off of the schedule strip and add it to the workbox number.  In the picture, you can see number one has both, while number two just has the workbox number.  They can look and see which ones are complete by seeing which numbers have two cards.



I stagger the contents of the workboxes so that one is working with me and the others are doing independent work.  Sue Patrick’s system is supposed to get the children working independently.  While I see the need for this, I love teaching and I love having one-on-one time with each child.  However, I do like that they do work on some things independently while I am helping someone else.  I also added centers for the children to do.  These have been a big hit, and keep them all busy while minimizing the mess they make.  I limit the activities to 4, and they know that they are only allowed to play with what is out.  Yesterday, we had Kitchen, Froggie Feeding Fun game, those beads you put on a plastic design and iron together (I have no idea what they are called, but we LOVE these), and Lincoln Logs.  Before centers, they would tear apart my house playing with whatever they wanted without cleaning up:(



Our quiet time area has been re-vamped, as well.  TV is not allowed anymore, and I get out our book bin, coloring books, and crayons.  Talking is not allowed, and they can either use the supplies provided or lay down and take a nap.


One more thing that has helped me stay organized and reduce the amount of time I spend searching for materials/worksheets is to use an expandable file folder for each girl to store their materials in.  Each pocket holds one days worth of materials.  I do lesson plans on the weekend and get all of the sheets they may need for the week the SAME DAY as I do lesson plans.  I put the sheets in their correct pocket.  Then, when I need to fill boxes the night before, I can easily get to the right materials.  Every night (sometimes morning) used to be a scramble to get everything together, but now I simply reach and fill:)


Implementing these changes has really helped me stay ahead of the game and keep organized.  My days do not seem as hectic and I am not as exhausted as I used to be.  If you have any questions, or have more ideas to help, please leave a comment!  I am always looking for tricks to make life (and school) easier:)

Life as I knew it…


Just 6 short months ago, I had everything figured out.  I had one beautiful little girl, her and I had the whole homeschooling thing down.  We had a routine and a cleaning schedule, and our house stayed spotless.  I knew I was having a baby boy very soon, but I was confident that he would not change our schedule aside from the waking up every few hours to eat.  Then, our homeschooling family exploded in the blink of an eye  and expanded to 4 children!!!  Our little boy arrived bringing many more changes than I ever anticipated (and 2 kids is way more than twice the work).  He was not as calm as his older sister had been, and refused to sleep anywhere but in my arms for the first several months.  He has turned into such a joy, but he is a baby and needs a lot of love and attention:)

On top of that, I received the wonderful opportunity to private tutor (full-time) the daughters of a good friend – add in 2 more children.  They have been such a blessing, and days they are not here seem weird!

My once clean home became a place of chaos and my wonderfully laid-out plans for homeschooling flew far away.  At first, I was in a state of shock and was unhappy about my messy home and my inability to keep everything perfectly planned.  I would apologize to everybody that walked in my door until someone told me to stop worrying…it was only for a season and I had nothing to apologize for.  As I thought about that, I gained confidence and changed my mindset.  My house did not have to be perfect, I did not have to be perfect, and our days did not have to be perfect.  I began rethinking the way I did things because I was still trying to fit 4 children into a one child lifestyle.  Here are some of the things we did as a family to readjust to our now big family:

  • I have a cleaning schedule, but I don’t worry if it does not get done.  The laundry is always done (we need clothes and burp rags), dinner is made (even if I have to wash the pot right before I cook), and the floor is vacuumed (we do not want baby choking on anything).  The bigger tasks can wait until baby is a little older and more independent.
  • My husband helps out more around the house to give me a break.  I was extremely hesitant to ask him to do anything because he works several hours a week.  However, he pointed out that I work a lot, too, even if it is not away from home.
  • We take turns putting our oldest to bed (our youngest won’t even make it into his room without me).  Before baby, Jasmine had never been put to bed by my husband.  She was not happy at first, but has come to enjoy the time she has with her dad at night and even asks for him to be the one to tuck her in:)
  • We spend less time away from home.  Aladdin still takes 3 naps a day, and he does much better at home.  Taking a year off of doing gym twice a week will not hurt Jasmine (she still goes once a week).  Turning down a few homeschool classes or trips will not affect our year.  Having a happy baby and happy children will make the year better, and we can return to a busier schedule when Aladdin is a little older.

When life changes, as it is bound to do, make the best of it!!!  Change your plans and change your head.  Things do not always have to go as planned, and as a control-freak I know how hard that can be to accept.  Understand that you cannot make everything go your way and stay positive.  Everything will work out for the best and you can survive the changes that will surely come your way!  Stay tuned tomorrow to see how our schooling has changed!