Homeschool Discoveries

Sharing a few things I've discovered along the way…

Collage Saturday: Summer Fun + Summer School July 14, 2012

Filed under: Weekly Highlights — kirstenjoyhill @ 11:40 pm

This week marked a bit of a transition in our summer.  It was still a week full of summer fun, but we added in some “summer school” as well.  The kids and I aren’t ready to say we are “back to school” yet.   But everyone was okay with the idea of adding a bit of more formal learning back into our routine.

Here are a few highlights of our week:

1. We started our week with a trip to the Minnesota Children’s Museum on Monday. One of my friends from high school had the day off work and joined us at the museum!   The kids had a blast (pun intended!), and they were happy to see the Curious George exhibit they had been eagerly anticipating.

2. We kicked off “summer school” on Tuesday by beginning our American History journey for the year.   We also dusted off our Logic of English materials and reviewed the lesson we stopped on (and didn’t quite finish) back in May.  For the month of July, History and Spelling will be our two formally planned subjects (besides Mr. E continuing 10-15 minutes a day of reading practice).  We’ll most likely add in Math in August, and then have our “official” back-to-school either the last week in August or the 1st week in September.

3. One of my goals for the summer is to teach the kids new skills around the house.  This week Mr. E (age 5) folded and put away all his own laundry for the first time, while Miss M taught Mr. K how to sort the towel/napkin laundry and then fold the washcloths.

4. We fit in two pool trips this week.  Mr. E spent about 48 hours at Grandma’s house (each kid gets 2 or 3 days of 1 on 1 time with my mom each summer).  While he was gone, we went swimming.  Mr. K tells me he is pretending to be a mummy as he drys off after swimming.  😉

5. Always lots of arts and crafts and messes around here.  You would never know we had desks and tables in our school room for the volume of work the boys do on the floor!

6. And there’s always plenty of time for play, as my firefighter-super hero-pirate shows.

7. and 8.  We had some unplanned/spontaneous science this week.   Among other things, we investigated a really large caterpillar in our back yard, and we tried to figure out why pop cans explode/burst in the freezer.  I’ll post more about our science endeavors sometime in the next day or two!

9. I went to a local homeschool mom’s book sale.  It was at least her second effort to get rid of books and they were priced to sell — 25 cents each!  Here are a few finds I was particularly excited about   I came out with 28 books, including lots of history, science and living math titles.

Then today, we had a big family outing:

We did an interest-led unit study on the History of Aviation and Early Aviators back in May.  I did a little research and found out that an air show/expo of historic planes would be in the metro area over the summer.   Today was the day!  We spent a couple hours at a small airport in the suburbs seeing authentic WWII era planes and replicas of even older planes.  Some of the planes did flights while we were there.  No stunts at this air show, but some of the fighter planes did fly in formation.  It was hot and tiring but fun for all — but as you can see in the last picture, Baby J was really ready to call it a day by the time we were done.

I’m linking up with Collage Friday @ Homegrown Learners and the Weekly Wrap Up @ Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers!

Homegrown Learners


Book Discoveries this Week: Little Runner of the Longhouse July 13, 2012

Filed under: Books,Themes — kirstenjoyhill @ 11:40 pm
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We got started this week with our first unit in our US History studies — Native Americans and Explorers.  Our “book basket” (it’s really one of those stacking cubes) is overflowing with titles.  Once I got started requesting books, I really went a little bit overboard!

I can’t remember if I found Little Runner of the Longhouse on one of the book lists that I looked at, or if I just requested it after one of those “one thing leads to the next”  late night library catalog browsing binges.  😉

I feel like most of the books we’ve brought home from the library about Native Americans are fairly culturally sensitive.  This one, maybe not so much (especially if the two “one star” reviews on amazon are to be believed).  I want to generally make sure I’m presenting honoring, accurate views of Native Americans to my kids.  But this book is cute, regardless.  I’m hoping that the kids understand the difference between a fictional book like this and the books from the non-fiction section of the library.

In any case, this easy-reader book appealed to all the kids.   Little Runner is a young boy who wants to participate in his (not-identified-in-the-story) tribe’s New Year traditions, but his mother tells him he is not old enough. The “big boys” dress up and “steal” things from other members of the tribe.    Little Runner wants to “steal” something he can use to trade for all the maple sugar he can eat.  I’m sure all the kids can relate!  He cleverly thinks he can “steal”  Little Brother and hold him for ransom, suggesting to his mother all kinds of things she might give Little Runner to buy back his younger brother.

Miss M chose this book to read from the book basket, and of course it only took her a few minutes to finish it.  Mr K asked me to read the book to him (Mr. E was at Grandma’s house during this first reading).  Then today Mr E tried reading some of it aloud to me.  He made it through about four pages before handing the book over to me to finish it — it was just a bit over his patience and reading level at this point.

After listening to the book today, the boys, completely on their own, decided to make masks that were loosely inspired by the masks they saw in the book.  All I had to do was cut the small mouth holes and tie on the elastic strings.  And not to be outdone, Miss M had to make one too once she saw the boys’ masks (she’s holding a basket because she is the “basket lady” in the book):

After checking into it just a bit (and this was before I read the amazon reviews), I discovered that Little Runner of the Longhouse is loosely based on Iroquois traditions.  I wasn’t clued in though while reading the book that the masks are sacred objects.  I had been hoping not to fall into the trap of too many stereotype-promoting activities in our studies of Native Americans, but it appears we were both stereotypical and a bit sacrilegious today.  Whoops!  The kids had fun reenacting the story though, and this just goes to prove that I never need to bother with spending money on a curriculum that plans out activities for my kids — they are going to find them to do whether I am involved or not.  😉

I’m linking up with Read-Aloud Thursday @ Hope is the Word!


U is for United States History July 11, 2012

Filed under: Curriculum — kirstenjoyhill @ 8:21 am

I am so excited for our coming year of history studies.  There are many, many options to select from in looking for an American History curriculum for early elementary.  But even with so many options to choose from, I still didn’t find just one program that I liked completely!  I liked books from many of the curricula, and each had some books I didn’t care for as much.  Some were more or less expensive.  Some didn’t have the types of written work I was looking for (I wanted some lapbooking, notebooking and other papercrafts/activities!).

But, since I am a planner at heart and I love, love, love looking at book lists…I decided I could plan my own United States History curriculum for this year!  We’ll study American History from the beginnings to about 1850 this year (2012-2013), and study 1850 to the present next year (2013-2014).

I didn’t plan out a week-by-week schedule.  Instead I divided the first part of American History into five units or time periods.  For each unit I planned out various key non-fiction texts, literature read-alouds, literature for my 3rd grader to read alone, materials for use in making a notebook and timeline of what we are studying (and crafty projects too if Miss M would like to do them), as well as a big list of books for a “book basket” of optional reading.

We’ll make sure to work on history in some way each day, working through books from the book list and taking time at least a couple days a week to do something for the notebook (a notebooking page, a lapbook piece, etc).  I’ll be trying my best to keep a record of what we do with weekly or bi-weekly posts, as well as reviews/recaps of many of the books we read.

Want more details on what we are doing? Be sure to visit my “United States History Year 1” page, which has more info and a link to my spreadsheet of books.   And be sure to stop back often this year (or subscribe via email or RSS) if you want to see how this great experiment in D.I.Y history curriculum works out for us!

I’m linking up with Blogging through the Alphabet at Ben and Me (this week’s link-up coming on Thursday).

Blogging Through the Alphabet


10 Pieces of Advice for Homeschoolers Starting Out in the Preschool Years July 10, 2012

Filed under: Babies and Tots,Preschool — kirstenjoyhill @ 7:56 am

I’m joining in once again with the iHomeschool Network’s “10 in 10” Blog Hop topic for Top Ten Tuesday @ Many Little BlessingsThis week’s Last week’s topic is “10 pieces of advice you would give to a new homeschooler.” (I started this one last week and ended up with a different post instead!).

People come into homeschooling at a variety of points in their kids’ educational journey, but I feel most “qualified” to offer advice to those who find themselves in the same boat I was in — families who decide to homeschool while their oldest child is a preschooler (or even younger).

As I mentioned in my “Top 10” post two weeks ago, we discussed homeschooling as an educational path we wanted to pursue before we were even married.  Needless to say, I was a super-excited-future-homeschooler by the time Miss M was about two years old!  Friends gave me some good advice, and I learned a few things along the way that I wish I could go back and tell my six-years-ago-self or friends who are in the same spot:

1.  Relax and enjoy. This sounds like something that should be the culmination of a list like this, but I wanted to start with it because it’s so important.  Keep the preschool/kindergarten years fun! You aren’t going to “mess up” your child if you don’t use the perfect preschool program.  You will have plenty of time for serious academic pursuits as they get older, so don’t get too stressed out about it now!

2. Don’t compare.  One child may be ready to read at four, while another isn’t ready to read until age six or later.  Your neighbor’s kid or some blogger’s kid may be adding and subtracting at age three while your kid can’t even count to ten.  Maybe you’re the one doing the happy dance that your kindergartener just figured out multiplication, yet you are puzzled as to why his handwriting is barely legible. It’s okay.  Every child develops differently, even within the same family.  Kids may be ready to excel in one area while developing typically in another. Follow your child’s cues.  Give your child the “work” they are ready for.  Are you trying to teach your child the letter sounds but he runs off to play with his cars instead? Don’t sweat it, he might not be interested right now.  But if she is constantly asking you to “do math” or he is asking about learning to read, go for it.  Don’t worry about the age you are “supposed” to do those things.

3. Don’t fall for “parlor tricks”.  Maybe this isn’t so popular any more, but when Miss M was a toddler/preschooler I felt like every mom was trying to “show off” what their kid could do.  One could recite the alphabet at 18 months.  Another kid could count to 100 at age three.  Some kids had gobs of poems and Bible verses memorized in Kindergarten.  It’s not those little “tricks” at a young age that matter when it comes to being a good student and a lifelong learner as your kids get older!  I don’t think knowing the alphabet at 18 months is any indicator as to whether or not a kid is going to be an early reader.  It’s fine to teach kids those skills and have them memorize/learn to recite various things (especially if they love to do it)…but it’s not the end-all-be-all of preschool.  Reading books and doing fun, hands on activities together is probably a better use of time.

4. Read and Research.  Channel your passion for homeschooling into learning as much as you can right now, so you are knowledgeable to make decisions as your kids get older and you really do need to chose curricula for the 3 R’s and more.  There are tons of great books, informational websites and blogs out there to help you learn in your homeschooling journey.  While your kids are young is a great time to explore different styles and methods of homeschooling as well as the many curricula available.

5.  Try out curricula/methods you find interesting.  You don’t really need a curriculum in the preschool years.  You even only need a few basic things for Kindergarten.  But, it can also be a good time to try out some curriculum products to find out what you might like or dislike.  If it wouldn’t have been for trying out the Bright Beginnings preschool curriculum when Miss M was four, I might not have realized until she was older than an all-in-one curriculum is not my style.  I didn’t want to have to stay “on the same page” in all subjects.  If I wouldn’t have tried Saxon Math K in the few months before Miss M was in Kindergarten, I might not have known that a spiral math program would drive me crazy.  It’s much easier to switch things up and make changes during preschool/K than it is as your child gets older and you may have more concerns about sticking to a certain sequence in a curriculum.   One nice thing about most homeschool products is you can find resale opportunities pretty easily, whether locally through swap meets and buy/sell email lists, or on the internet through or various message boards.

6. Be sure to check out the many free printables for the preschool and Kindergarten years available on the internet.  Not all these activites may be your child’s cup of tea, but I know I wish more of these would have been available when my oldest was a preschooler.  A few sites to check out include:

7.  Enjoy the flexibility you have with your time.  Once you hit the elementary years, the reality is you’ll have to spend more time regularly doing school.  While some families are sucessful at homeschooling even if they are on the go every day, most families find they need to have consistent time at home most days for getting school done.  Preschool, on the other hand, doesn’t need to be that way!  You can much more easily drop everything for spontaneous field trips and playdates.  If you want to read all day, go for it.  It won’t be quite so easy to do that once you are in the world of spelling lists and 4 digit subtraction problems.  🙂

8.  Build your network of homeschooling friends.  Homeschooling is so much easier when you have friends to share the journey with you.  If you don’t already have a network of homeschooling friends, now is the time to check out play groups, co-ops, support groups and more.  If you aren’t finding something in your area that is open to younger kids, why not start your own informal group?  It doesn’t have to be fancy — try making an announcement on local homeschooling email lists (if you don’t know of any, check yahoo groups as a place to begin your search), and you’ll probably find other parents of preschoolers who are planning to homeschool and want to make connections.

9. Read, read, read to your child! It can’t be said often enough — your child will learn so much as you read to him or her!

10.  Have fun with all the topics and activities that are most enjoyed in the tot, preschool and kindergarten years!  The library is brimming with fun books and the internet bursting with ideas to have fun with topics from Astronauts to Zebras and everything in between.  Find out what your child is interested and have fun learning about those topics!

What do you wish you could “go back and tell yourself” in the early years?
Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings


Baking Cookies in a Solar Oven July 7, 2012

Filed under: Fun Stuff and Extras — kirstenjoyhill @ 6:00 am

The heat wave is finally breaking here in Minnesota, but it has been scorching hot here for well over a week prior to this.  When it’s over 100 degrees no one wants to turn on their oven…so how about using some of that solar energy to bake cookies?

Tony thought it would be a fun family project to bake cookies in a solar oven on the 4th of July.  We were inspired by tutorials at Playsational and Home Science Tools as we built our very own pizza box solar cooker.

It only take a few simple items to make a solar oven: pizza boxes or other cardboard boxes, black construction paper, aluminum foil, and plastic wrap or a plastic baggie.  You’ll need some tape and/or glue to hold things in place as well.

Here’s Tony and the kids assembling one of the reflectors.  (I didn’t take step-by-step photos, so check out those tutorial links above if you want to know exactly how to do it!)

I made a batch of cookie dough, and we took our ovens outside:

I also decided to see how it would work to put some of the dough in our hot, enclosed van:

Here’s how our dough looked after about 30 minutes:

We left the cookies in the ovens/car for at least three hours, though after about two hours I’m not sure they got any more done.

Here are the final cookies…after hungry kids (and grown ups) devoured some many of them:

All in all, the cookies were tasty, yet still somewhat doughy.  Our not-very-easy-to-read oven thermometer indicated that the solar ovens did not get much above 80 degrees C.   The car-baked cookies were a bit better done than the cardboard box cookies (I wish we would have had a thermometer in there too!).  Perhaps we need better-insulated boxes next time!

Solar ovens aren’t just for cookies — Solar S’mores are a tasty treat with no fire required.  And I even found this entire page filled with solar oven dessert recipes (and links to many other recipes for non-dessert solar oven cooking too).

Linking up with…

Science Sunday


Collage Friday: Hot Sticky Summer Fun (weeks 5 and 6)! July 6, 2012

Filed under: Weekly Highlights — kirstenjoyhill @ 6:05 pm

We’ve had another fun and adventurous two weeks of summer break since my last “wrap-up” post.  Of course it’s been hot and sticky here…I think that’s true everywhere at the moment, right?!?

Here are a few highlights from the past two weeks:

1.  Almost two weeks ago (wow, time flies!) we went to ride the Como-Harriet Street Car line. (Read more: S is for Streetcar).

2. Our monarch caterpillar finished it’s metamorphosis and became a lovely butterfly (Read more: From Caterpillar to Butterfly).

3. We visited the Minnesota History Center with my mom last week.  We viewed a rare early copy of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, saw Depression-era art work, viewed a few of the regular exhibits and the kids made “fly around Minnesota” pinwheels.

4. Homemade ice cream in a bag — another item checked off the summer bucket list! It was tasty but we didn’t shake the bags long enough — the ice cream was a bit liquidy!

5. Spontaneous kids-doing-something-educational-together time.  The boys were working on a Kumon cut and paste book while Miss M did tanagrams.   What was particularly significant about this was that Mr. K  (age 3) was actually following the directions.  After Mr. E told him what to do, he did the activity as directed! Aww, he’s growing up!  😉

6. I cleaned out our “done bin” today. (See more about our “done bin” in this post).  I had done this only two months ago, but it was already stuffed completely full.  This stack was just Mr. E’s item.  It was so tall I counted the stack — 175 items!  Most of them are original drawings…only a few are coloring pages or worksheets.  Amazing!

7.  Some of the kids’ “big kid” cousins visited last week.  Lots of fun and wrestling was had by all.  🙂

8. With all this hot, hot weather we’ve spent a lot of time at the Richfield Pool (where we have a pass).  Happy 8 months old to Baby J in this picture, who loves to sit and splash at the edge of the wading pool area.  We’ve also had our backyard wading pool inflated twice, and the kids have been to three neighborhood park wading pools. We are so thankful for all these ways to cool off.  I think the kids have cooled off in the water in some way maybe 12 of the past 14 days!

9. “Music Man” movie night with friends!

10. & 11.  We skipped a couple of our usual 4th of July traditions (going to the parade and hosting a big backyard BBQ) due to the humid, 101 degree heat.  Instead, we did some decluttering and cleaning, made solar-oven cookies (Read more in this post!), and had one family over for dinner, and still went to fireworks at our neighborhood park!

12. Today we cooled off with a trip to Target and a treat of Frappucinos (thanks to two BOGO coupons, they were even a good deal!).

Hope you are keeping cool in the summer heat! I’m linking up with the Weekly Wrap-Up and Collage Friday!

Homegrown Learners


Book Discoveries this Week: Grumpy Dump Truck and other picture books July 5, 2012

Filed under: Books — kirstenjoyhill @ 2:47 pm

I’ve been trying lately to jot down the titles of picture books the boys and I enjoy before we return them to the library, to help me remember to share them in a Book Discoveries/Read-Aloud-Thursday post every now and then.

One book we read quite a few times before its return to the library was The Grumpy Dump Truck by Brie Spangler.   Bertrand the Dump Truck has a bad attitude.  Nothing seems to go right for him and it’s hard to haul heavy dirt around all day.  He meets Tilly the Porcupine, who takes just peek under Bertrand and is able to help Bertrand find out exactly why he has been feeling so grumpy.  This book is really sweet, and kids and adults can all relate to Bertrand’s grumpy feelings.  It’s a good conversation starter to help younger kids look beyond the feelings of the moment into why they might be feeling grumpy too.

We recently had Wink, the Ninja Who Wanted to Nap by J.C. Philipps for the second time in a few months from the library, but I don’t think I have shared about it here before.  This is actually the second book about Wink, but we still haven’t read the previous title, Wink the Ninja who Wanted to be Noticed (I finally did request that from the library, and it’s on it’s way to our branch).  Wink is not your average Ninja who sneaks around and doesn’t let anyone see him — he’s a star with many adoring fans.  That turns out to be a problem, however, when he is just plain tired out and needs to take a nap.  With the help of Ninja Master Zutsu, however, Wink comes up with a clever solution.  My boys love to “sneak around like ninjas,” so they really enjoyed this story.

Here are a few other titles we’ve enjoyed recently (a few of which we found from other bloggers’ Read-Aloud-Thursday posts!):

The Boy Who Cried Alien – A funny twist on the classic “boy who cried wolf” scenario.  Be ready to read “alien talk” in your best alien voice.  🙂

Interrupting Chicken – The Little Red Chicken can’t help but add her own twists and comments to her bedtime stories! (Sound familiar? I have at least one child who does this…)

Z is for Moose – Moose got left out for the letter M…now Moose will try and get in anywhere he possibly can.  🙂 Very funny!

Ice Cream for Breakfast – While not a literary classic by any means, my kids loved this Busytown book.  It inspired them to ask for their own “backwards day” — a bucket list idea I’m still working up the courage (energy?) to pull off!

Smash, Mash, Crash – Lots of great sound/action words in this garbage truck book.

Don’t Forget the Bacon – A boy’s list for the store gets humorously, but not hopelessly confused.  It’s the kind of book that will get stuck in your head, but not necessarily in a bad way — kind of in a fun “language play” sort of way!


T is for Take a Summer Break

Filed under: Fun Stuff and Extras — kirstenjoyhill @ 9:22 am

I wanted to publish this post on Tuesday for this week’s “Top Ten Tuesday @ Many Little Blessings“.  But I didn’t get this post finished on Tuesday…or Wednesday.  And I didn’t have anything written yet for this week’s “Blogging Through the Alphabet” post, so…now T can be for “Ten Reasons to Take a Summer Break.”  🙂

As homeschoolers, we set our own schedule for the days, months and years.   Some states may require a minimum number of days or hours (ours doesn’t), but for the most part each family can plan its days off and vacations as it suits them.

More and more public and private schools are moving to year-round school schedules of various sorts.  People often ridicule the typical school year schedule as being outdated.  (Though I have learned through reading the “Laura” and “Rose”   Little House books that school terms in the pioneer days, were perhaps actually in the Summer and Winter, with Fall and Spring off for farm work!). So why might a homeschool family want to take the summer off? Here are a few reasons we take a break (or significantly scale back) from school work in the summer:

1. To enjoy beautiful summer weather outside.  Okay, so this may not apply to all areas of the country and it doesn’t apply to us this week (or for most anyone…isn’t almost the entire country under a heat wave?) — but especially here in the northern US, summer is the only time we can swim outside and consistently be guaranteed weather warm enough for going to the park or other outside activities.

2. To take advantage of inexpensive summer recreation programs.  Our park system offers many low-cost, fun athletic opportunities for kids.  These are not high pressure competitive sports.   Miss M has the opportunity to play tennis every morning for four weeks (at least every morning that the court isn’t too wet!).   The program she participates in teaches basic tennis skills to kids through fun games.  Mr. E is doing a once-a-week soccer class that, again, teaches skills through fun activities and mini-games.  In past summers we have done swimming lessons and tumbling classes through the parks as well.

3. To enjoy more playdates and casual hangout time with friends.  Maybe some homeschoolers can fit in lot of playdates with other homeschool friends while also getting school work done…but I find it hard to do this when we are on our regular academic year schedule.  In order to actually “get school done” each day, we need to be home and working on academic pursuits most mornings.  By the time school is done for the day, we may still have errands to run and there are always chores to do. Soon we’ll have a more fixed nap-time to consider (once Baby J is too old to just fall asleep anywhere in his car seat or a baby carrier!).  Some days we have our co-op or other extra-curricular activities.  By the time you consider other families’ schedules on top of our own, it can be hard to find time to spend with friends!

4. To take extra field trips.  Ditto to all the reasons in #3 — I can only handle a max of one field trip per week during the school year, and sometimes only one every couple of weeks.  But two or three outings per week in the summer is very possible!

5. To be able to say “yes” to reading all afternoon or doing long, complicated craft projects.  With no pressure to get regular school work done and all day to get errands/chores done, we can easily pull out a picnic blanket and read all afternoon in the shade (or in the air conditioning instead!).

6. To give mom a chance to plan and organize for the new year.  Our school room gets cluttered.  Our art and game cabinets often need a summer clean-out after a year of use (not so much this year, since we just overhauled the school room in January!).  I need time to decide on new curricula or plan what we’re going to do.

7. To allow time for kids to develop more maturity.  Whether it is character areas or academic areas that a child was struggling with, a several weeks or a couple months of time off may allow for some of those areas to “percolate” under the surface and start anew more ready to tackle their school work.

8. To have time for focused practice or study in a certain area.   I find it hard to fit in some of the “extras” during the school year — Cooking/”Home Ec”  is one that comes to mind right away, as well as art and music appreciation.  A summer break from the regular routine might allow the opportunity to spend time on electives like these.  I’m also hoping to hold a “Chore bootcamp” for the kids this summer (and hopefully make it fun!) to teach them new chores I’d like them to be responsible for over the next school year.  Summer might also be a good time to do an in-depth study on a topic you just couldn’t quite fit in during your regular academic year.

9. To allow for travel or camp without taking too much time from the regular routine.  Of course, homeschoolers can take a break for vacation any time.  But I have noticed that sometimes preparing for a trip or vacation plus “recovering” from it after the fact sometimes takes up more time than the trip itself.  Or maybe that’s just me?!?  😉  During summer break, it’s no big deal if a week long vacation feels like it really takes two weeks of your time once all that packing, unpacking and laundry is factored in.  Our kids also get to spend a few days each at Grandma’s house.  This is one-on-one time with Grandma, which they just love! It’s easier for us to fit in this unusual scheduling issue of one kid at a time being away from home during the summer break.

10.  To just have a break.  We all get tired of doing the same thing…even the kids! It’s nice to have a break from the routine and get back to things with a fresh view.

With all those reasons taken into account…I will say that we don’t take the whole summer off or take as long of a break as some public schools do! After about six weeks completely off we start adding in a subject or two — but we are still “mostly” on our summer routine until late August or early September.  I also encourage some regular math practice, and reading is a habit that never stops at our house!   But all in all, late May through late August definitely have a different feel than the other nine months of the year!

I’m linking up to Top Ten Tuesday @ Many Little Blessings (since the linky is still open, even though it’s not Tuesday!), and to Blogging through the Alphabet @ Ben and Me!
Blogging Through the Alphabet Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings