Continents

Laminate Map and trace continents

Continent Montessori Cards

Labeling Continents: Cut and Paste: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Label-the-Continents-and-Oceans-Cut-and-Paste-3506314

Memory Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ls9yVu5VPg&index=1&list=PLzw7LsBY-uJ090zG-f3gXyxNkDwBFczpn

8 activities to teach your children Adam and Eve

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  1. Read the story straight from the bible. Don’t think your children are too young for the real bible. Even my preschoolers attend to stories straight from the bible. In fact, I read them a chapter every morning. The easiest bible translations for children are the NIrV (New International Reader’s Version), NVC (New Century Version), ICB (International Children’s Bible)–all of which are a 3rd grade reading level.
  2. Watch a YouTube video- there are plenty versions of the story of children ranging from 3 minutes to 20 minutes depending on what kind of time commitment you have. Just search “bible creation story for kids”.
  3. Gospel Game– I got this idea from Kingsley Corner. After every bible story, I set up a game board out of wash clothes. The kids answer questions as they proceed through the “board”. The last piece is usually a memory verse. The kids get a cookie when they reach the end. In order, to feel less guilty I make “healthy” cookies. Recipes coming soon. Here are a list of questions for the creation story (focused on the fall)
    • What was the name of the first man? Adam
    • What was the name of the first woman? Eve
    • Where did Adam and Eve live? The Garden of Eden
    • What was God’s one rule? Do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil
    • What will happen if they eat the fruit from the tree? They will die
    • Who told Adam and Eve the fruit would be good to eat? The Serpent (or Snake)
    • What did the Serpent tell Eve would happen? You will become wise like God
    • Did Adam and Eve obey God? No

**** I only do about 4-5 questions. You can do more depending on the age of your kids. We do this everyday for the same story for one week, rotating questions. For younger children that have difficulty answering the questions use a delayed model meaning you ask the question, provide the answer, and then ask the question again allowing the child answer the second time.

Example:

You: What was the name of the first man?

You: Adam

You: What was the name of the first man?

Child: Adam

4. Grapevine Studies Curriculum– This curriculum uses an instructed drawing method to teach bible stories. They call it “Stick Figuring through the Bible”. Grapevine offers a free sample of the creation story lesson here– available in 5 levels. It is found in the links under “Sample Lessons- Studies by Level”

5. Create a creation garden using real vegetation found in your yard. Gather a baking pan, shovel, and gloves. Dig up some dirt, moss, grass, etc. Insert sticks in the dirt to make trees. Add flowers, leaves, rocks, etc. Read the Genesis 2:8-14 for a description of what the garden looked like. Add some diy peg people (or buy the ones from etsy) or stick people.

peg people

6. Study Fig leaves. The bible says “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Look up pictures of fig leaves. Draw them (or for younger children- trace them). Learn about the environments that they grow in. Go to the store and buy figs to eat.

7. Make clothing out of leaves. You probably don’t have fig trees but you can use other leaves to make clothes. Gather some twine, a plastic children’s sewing needle, and head outside to make some clothing.

8. Make the garden of Eden out of LEGOS. Read the Genesis 2:8-14 for a description of what the garden looked like.

lego garden

How to teach your kids to not believe in Santa

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My husband and I decided we were not going to do Santa with our kids. See my post about why we made this decision here. But we really struggled with how to do this without “ruining” Christmas. We didn’t want Santa to be taboo. We didn’t want to refrain from participating in Christmas events and activities in our community that involve Santa. We wanted our kids to be respectful of children that do believe in Santa. Here are some of the conversations we have with our children, starting as early as 2 years old.

When we see Santa at the mall or other places I explain to my children that the person is dressed up in a Saint Nicholas costume. I tell them that Saint Nicholas was a real person long ago and he was very generous and humble. He often did kind things for people in secret and expected nothing in return (similar to God). Around Christmas time people dress up like Saint Nicholas (Santa) in order to celebrate and remember the wonderful things that Saint Nicholas did. **I am sure to have this discussion when other children are not around to avoid displeasing other parents.

I also explain to them that some children believe that Santa is a real person. Sometimes people have different beliefs and opinions from us and that is ok. We should respect people for what they believe in. I tell my children that they can tell people about their own beliefs but should not argue with people about whether they are right or not. They should not force their beliefs on other people. We talk about respecting people with different beliefs often, not just at Christmas.

What if my child tells his friends Santa is not real? I have yet to encounter this situation. My plan is to tell my children to let their friends believe in Santa. They can support their friends without participating in believing Santa is real.

What about the extended family? My nieces and nephews do believe in Santa. I felt it was important to confront their parents and grandparents about our decision to not do Santa. This way they are not surprised when they find out. I leave it up to them to decide how to handle the situation. They usually just choose to avoid discussing Santa at family gatherings.

How to respond and how to teach my children to respond to questions and comments regarding Santa? We commonly encounter comments such as “What are you asking Santa for for Christmas?” or “Did Santa come to your house?” or “What did Santa bring you for Christmas?” These conversations can get awkward if I or my child mentions anything about not believing in Santa. So we simply say “Santa doesn’t come to our house.” I encourage my children to share with people the way we celebrate Christmas morning. (A blog post about that coming soon.)

What about pictures with Santa? My kids do take pictures with Santa. We don’t make a big to do about it. We don’t pay for it. We don’t force it. And we don’t make special trips to take pictures with Santa. But if there happens to be free pictures with Santa at a community event we go to, I’m not opposed to them. We usually get free pictures with Santa at a church event we go to every year. As a twist to the traditional Santa visit and in efforts to make Christmas a little less selfish, I may have my children bring a gift for Santa or instruct them to ask Santa what HE wants for Christmas.

How to celebrate Christmas morning? Our Christmas morning is loaded with Santa-free fun. Check out my post on Fun Ways to Make Christmas More about Jesus and Less about Santa.

In the comments below, please share any obstacles you have faced in your decision to not do Santa. I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas.

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5 Reasons to teach your kids to not believe in Santa

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Santa, Santa, Santa, Santa! It’s hard to teach your kids about baby Jesus when you have to compete with Santa. After much debate and many conversations, my husband and I decided we are going to teach our kids to not believe in Santa. This is not an easy thing to do these days. At school they learn about Santa, their friends talk about Santa, Santa is at the mall, at the store, at the fire station. Sometimes he is even at church. One of the most common questions I hear people ask my kids around Christmas time is “Is Santa coming to your house?”, “Did you tell Santa what you want for Christmas?”, etc. Annoying…I will talk about how to answer these questions in a bit.

So we made the decision to teach our kids not to believe in Santa. But how do we do this? The reaction I get from people when I tell them we don’t do Santa is “What” Gasp! The reality is…Santa is fun! Most of my great childhood memories from Christmas involve Santa. Writing him letters, searching for his sleigh in the sky the night of Christmas Eve, baking him cookies. All of these things made Christmas fun and I definitely don’t want to take the fun out of Christmas. I can’t believe I just said that…Christmas isn’t fun without Santa? I believe Christmas should be fun, Jesus should be fun. After all, God invented fun.

Why I don’t want my kids to believe in Santa:

  1. I want my children to be givers, not takers. Santa makes Christmas about getting not giving.
  2. When they find out Santa is not real, Christmas is ruined. It is no longer fun. I clearly remember Christmas being boring years following my discovery that Santa is not real. It wasn’t until I became an adult that Christmas was anticipated with the same kinds of joy as it was when I was a child.
  3. I don’t want to lie to my kids. I want my kids to trust me and take seriously the things I say to them. If Santa is not real…what about Jesus?
  4. Santa is an idol. People don’t just believe in Santa..they worship Santa. He takes the place the God. Eternal, Present-everywhere, Omniscient.
  5. It teaches children to value material things. Christmas ends up revolving around material presents instead of the gift Jesus, friends, and family. These are blessings that come from God, not Santa.

Coming Soon: How to teach your kids to not believe in Santa and Fun ways to make Christmas about Jesus

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6 simple ways to boost your child’s literacy skills

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Homeschooling is hard…and this is just preschool! The hardest part of homeschooling for our family is finding time to actually do it. Most days, I don’t actually sit with my children at the table to do school-like activities. Despite our lack of structured activities, my children are making great progress. They definitely surpass the typical skills at their age level, which is why I have adapted a routine-based homeschooling method. I wanted to share with you some activities I use to bridge the gap between those days that you don’t make it to the “classroom”. These are also great for maintenance (maintaining the old skills while you move onto new ones).

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  1. High Five Practice– Trace and cut out your child’s hand or print a this free pattern. Write a letter, word, number, etc. that you are working on and hang the hand near a door at your child’s level. Each time you exit the door have your child high five the hand and say the letter, sound. word. etc.sight-word
  2. Exit Book– I keep a spiral journal in the pocket on the back of the passenger seat in our car. Each page contains a sight word or word family that we are working on. Before each child exits the car they have to read a word from the journal. As we conquer new words I add them to the book.

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    Photo credit:  Peaceful Parenting

  3. Snack Letters– Make letters with food during snack time.
  4. Transition word lists– Post a word list or letter list in a common place or transition in your home. For example, the bathroom door or above the bed. Have your child read the list everyday after brushing his or her teeth or before bed. target
  5. Environmental Print in daily routine– point out the letters in environmental print (McDonalds, Jewel, ect.) during your daily routine such as running errands.

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    Photo Credit: Multi-grade Matters

  6. Stairs Practice– Tape sight words or letters on the stairs and practice when walking upstairs.

 

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Fair Trade Halloween

I recently discovered that most major chocolate brands get their cocoa beans from farms that enforce child labor and sometimes even child slaves. THAT IS NOT OK! I cannot in good conscience purchase products from these companies and I feel compelled to educate people about this practice. So in spirit of Halloween, I am treating my trick-or-treaters to some fair trade candy. Here is a printable of the sign I used:

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Word Doc

PDF

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David & Goliath

Bible Story 1 Samuel 17

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Introduction to Story: We talked about the 2 main characters in the story (David and Goliath). I wrote their names on a white board. The children identified the first letter in each name and the sound it makes. We counted the letter and syllables in each word and discussed which word is longer.

Read the story from the The Rhyme Bible Storybook for Toddlers– pages 98-103

Summarize story

  1. Goliath was a big giant. Everyone was afraid of him. He bragged that no body could beat him.
  2. David was not afraid of Goliath. He knew God would protect him.
  3. David fought the Giant and killed him by throwing a stone at his forehead.

act-icon Act it out. Make costumes for David and Goliath. Gather pretend stones and a sling and act out the story.

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question-mark-iconReview Questions

  1. What was the Giants name? Goliath
  2. What did everyone do when they saw him? Ran away
  3. Who wasn’t afraid of Goliath? David (Simplier: Was David afraid of Goliath?)
  4. How did David kill Goliath? Threw a stone at his head

 

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Socialization Activities

I hear all the time that people think homeschooling is a poor choice due to the lack of socialization. However, I can tell you that my kids get more socialization than any children their age can get from the average preschool program that meets 2-3 times a week for a couple of hours. In addition, almost everything we do is FREE or very inexpensive. I’m am writing this with preschoolers in mind since I do not have any school age children.

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MOPS– MOPS provides an opportunity for both mom and child to socialize. It meets at a variety of churches every other week during the school year. There are at least 5 MOPS groups that meet with in a 10 mile radius of our home. You can find a group near you by searching your zip code on the MOPS website. During MOPS mommy’s meet to discuss hot parenting topics, play games, do crafts, and study the bible. Meanwhile, the children go to Moppets which is a preschool-style experience which includes a bible based curriculum. There also a nursery for babies.

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Awanas– Awanas is a youth group type experience for younger children. They start as early as 2 years old. The children engage in bible story activities, play games, crafts, and music. Each child is given a handbook with carry over activities to do at home. There is also a memory verse each week. I love how the handbook keeps you connected as a parent.

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Library- The library has a wealth of free resources for children- storytime, art club, lego club, video gaming tournaments, book clubs, 3d printing classes, etc.

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Coffee Break– This is a women’s bible study associated with the Christian Reformed Church. During meetings, a preschool type childcare is provided for children 6 and under through the Little Lambs and Story hour program. This is free and you can find a group near you here.

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Children’s Museum Membership- We usually ask for a membership to the local children’s museum as a family Christmas gift. You can find a children’s museum near you on the Association of Children’s Museums webpage.

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Scouts- My kiddos are not old enough for scouts yet, but I am signing them up as soon as possible! Scouts learn many valuable skills that are often overlooked in schools such as survival skills, service, character, etc. You can sign your child up for scouts starting in first grade. Find a local boy scout troop here and a girl scout troop here.

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MOMS Club– Designed for stay-at-home moms, these clubs meet during daytime hours for discussions, playgroups, and holiday parties. It typically costs between $15-$30 for a year membership. Click here to find a chapter near you.

Fitness Gyms- Lifetime, XSport, L.A. Fitness, some park districts and other private clubs offer childcare. Lifetime offers structured activities like kids Zumba and sharks and minnows.

Other activities for Socialization include-

  • Playgrounds
  • McDonald’s playland
  • Nature Centers (usually offer inexpensive or free preschool programs)
  • Park district programs
  • Sunday School (offered at most Christian churches)

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Birthday Parties for Charity

I love hosting birthday parties for my kids. Event planning is one of my favorite hobbies. I often go all out and have large parties with many activities for kids. There’s only one problem…more people = more presents. My children have more than enough of everything they could possibly need. The last thing they need is more toys or clothes. I have found that birthday parties are a great opportunity to pay it forward and to teach children about generosity and giving to people in need by asking guests to donate a particular item in lieu of gifts. I found most people do not like to just give money, so I try to come up with ideas that involve actual items. With three kids, we have had to become creative with charity drives to avoid doing the same thing for every party. Here is a list of some creative charity drives we have done or plan on doing in the future.

  • Items for Operation Christmas Child boxes
  • School supply drive
  • Food drive
  • Pet food/supply drive
  • Homeless care package drive (socks, deodorant, toothbrushes, gift cards, etc.)
  • Toy drive
  • Pillow case drive for Little Dresses for Africa
  • Diaper drive for local food pantry
  • Garage sale items (we had a garage sale to raise money for a family in the adoption process)
  • Bra Drive for victims of sex trafficking through Free the Girls
  • Book drive for prisons (click here for a listing of organizations)
  • Water bottles filled with change to provide clean water (Charity Water)
  • DVD drive for children’s hospital (Kid Flicks)
  • Used sporting equipment (The Sports Shed & Leveling the Playing Field)
  • Cleaning supply drive for local food pantry
  • Pajama drive (Pajama Program)

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Product Review: The Rhyme Bible Storybook

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Price: $12.86

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This is the best book of bible stories I can find. It is difficult to find a bible story book that maintains the children’s attention. The use of rhymes and repetition make the stories appealing to young ears and aid in memorization and recall.Rhymes and repetition also enrich general literacy skills. The book also contains great illustrations that aid in the child’s understanding of the story. I must mention that the bible stories do not contain much detail, but I think they are appropriate for toddlers. The stories focus more on the big picture and introduce children to main characters in the bible. As my children grow, I intend to move on to more detailed bible stories. The author, L. J. Sattgast, also wrote The Rhyme Bible Storybook, which is intended for older children and contains more details. I do not have any experience with this book.

IN SUMMARY

Pros:

  • Great rhyme and repetition
  • Good illustrations
  • Simple, engaging stories
  • Inexpensive

Cons: Cannot think of any!