Welcome!

We are starting a new journey into homeschooling. If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you will have seen that I have a passion for teaching and watching kids learn, especially my own child. So this isn’t really a new journey since I’ve been intentionally teaching him all along; however, we are going to be a bit more structured and intentional from here on.

The decision to homeschool was not made lightly. We had many discussions and prayers about Snowflake’s education before making this decision. And just because we’ve decided to homeschool for now does not automatically mean we will continue for the duration of Snowflake’s academic career. We will re-evaluate as needed, keeping his best interests and those of our family in mind.

That said, I am excited about this year. In the next few posts, I will talk about the curriculum I have decided on for this year, our weekly schedule, and daily routine. In the beginning, as we get started, I will probably post several times but ultimately my goal will be to post twice a month. This blog will be more for my records but I am inviting you to follow along. I hope you enjoy reading along as I continue the journey of Teaching a Snowflake.

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Language Arts

The language Arts curriculum was an easy choice. About a year ago, I came across a Facebook post in a homeschool group about a curriculum called Sing Spell Read & Write. I did a little research and quickly decided this would be a good fit for Snowflake. It is a multi-sensory reading program using music and games as it’s primary instruction methods. The main song Snowflake will be learning to start is the ABC Phonics Song


Sing spell read & write teaches letter sounds alongside letter names and puts everything to music, increasing the child’s ability to remember. This will be especially good for Snowflake who can sing a song back after hearing it only one time. The first half of the school year will focus on letter names and sounds. The second half will focus on letter sounds, rhyming words, and reading 3 letter words. 

The second part of our language Arts curriculum will focus on handwriting. While sing spell read & write has a handwriting component, due to Snowflake’s weakness in this area, I felt he needed a more hands-on and direct approach. Rather than just practicing tracing the letters as the sing spell read and write curriculum uses, we are going to take a multi-dimensional approach using the handwriting without tears curriculum. Instead of just tracing letters, HWOT uses much more hands-on instruction practices to teach handwriting. Each day we will be working with letter pieces to build letters, chalk and sponges for wet dry try, and playdoh or a salt tray for tactile practice. The tracing and actual writing are almost considered secondary in this curriculum.  


Choosing these language Arts programs was easy; keeping it in our budget was the difficult part. Thankfully my deal finding and diy skills came in handy. The SSRW curriculum is normally $275 for kindergarten and 1st. I got the instructional portion used for $100. I purchased the workbooks (for this year and next year) new for $50. So, buying used, I was able to save about $125 and the cost per year is about $75. The HWOT curriculum is about $400 for a complete, new curriculum. This was WAY out of reach as our budget for handwriting was closer to $40-50! I purchased the instruction manual and student work books for $30. My handy husband made the wood pieces, I made the mat out of a piece of balsa wood and foam sheet, I found the little chalkboard and sponges in my stash, and finally I created the letter formation cards and bought a pencil box and salt to create a salt tray. We will make playdoh as part of our science next week. This saved us over $100 and I decided the other parts of the curriculum were not necessary for one on one instruction. 

I am excited to see how Snowflake takes to these programs, hand-picked for his learning strengths. 

Jesus Time

While we encorporate God in our everyday conversations, we do try to set a few minutes aside each morning and evening to learn more about what the Bible says. I’d love to have us doing something as a family each morning or evening. We haven’t been as consistent as I’d like but we are taking some steps to get there. 

Part of the reason for the inconsistency is that he very rarely seems to be paying attention. However, later in the day or the next day, he will often make a profound statement or ask a question that tells me he understood and heard far more than I gave him credit for. For example, today he was watching Daniel Tiger and the character asked, “Do you have a baby at your house?” Snowflake answered, without missing a beat, “no, our babies in heaven.” Then to me, “mommy, why our babies with God?” This question stemmed from an ongoing conversation we’ve had with him. He never seems to care or be paying attention but it’s obviously sinking in as he’s asking questions. There are days I don’t want to go through the routine because it doesn’t feel like it’s making a difference. Then there are these times, when he asks random questions, that make those days of struggle worth it. 

This year, for our morning devotions, we will be using Five Minute Devotions. I love these because they aren’t long, they are engaging, and there are discussion questions at the end. 

Before bed, we will continue reading from The Jesus Storybook Bible, The Story for Little Ones, and Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing (not pictured). We love these books and have read through them as a family multiple times already. 

Finally, this year, we are going to start working on bible memory verses and being able to retell Bible Stories. I’m going to be using the same curriculum I used when I had my daycare, Mother Goose Time. The kids loved it and I hope Snowflake does, too. Each month we will focus on one bible story, one verse, and there are planned activities to do along with the story. The first month, we will be reading about Noah’s Ark. 

Science and Social Studies

These subjects are Snowflake’s favorite. Partly because they are at least 90% hands-on and active. But even more because he loves learning how things work. What better way to learn than through experiments? 

We’ll be doing lots of experiments this year. We have a science kit that he asks to play with at least once a week. This year we will actually do the experiments suggested, as well as others I find on Pinterest. The color tabs are a great addition and he loves to mix them to make black. 🙄 lol

Our social studies will focus on history, geography, jobs people do, and feelings/emotions. He loves to find places on maps and he’s set on traveling to California to be a cowboy when he grows up (ha!). I’m going to use this to my advantage and we are going to map out his routes, talk about, and research landmarks he’ll see along the way. 😉

Snowflake loves Richard Scarry books so this book, What Do People Do All Day, should be a big hit. I found out about the feeling cards from Timberdoodle, the curriculum company we used last year. I purchased them from Amazon. Finally, to round out our Social Studies curriculum, I picked up the history sticker book from Barnes and Noble. 

In addition to the above, I’m looking at doing a study of habitats using Disney and other children’s movies and usborne books as the foundation. I’m not sure when we’ll start this but it will probably be sometime after Christmas. 

Finally, as part of Snowflake’s social studies curriculum, we will be talking A LOT about how to take care of a puppy. We may or may not be getting an addition to our family this school year. Stay tuned and SHHHH…. (He doesn’t know!) 😉

Solar Eclipse 

Today the big topic of conversation was the total solar eclipse. While we don’t live in an area that saw the total eclipse, we got about 80% coverage. 

This morning we made an eclipse “puppet” and watched a cartoon video on YouTube. Snowflake was extremely interested and understood much more than I expected. He did a puppet show for me explaining what would happen. And while we were out today, he had his puppet and told everyone, “The moon is going to block the sun and it’s going to be dark.” 


This afternoon, during the actual event, we happened to be at therapy. A fellow therapy mom was prepared with glasses for all of us to use. And the therapists brought the kids outside to see it. Snowflake was so excited. He exclaimed, “oh my child; that is cool!” (I’m known to say, “oh my dear child” and he’s picked it up. Lol.) While it didn’t get dark like some had predicted, it was pretty cool to see. Snowflake later said it looked like a rainbow (shape). 

Not a great picture but it is my own.

Touchmath

Last year, we used timberdoodle preschool curriculum. I chose it because it looked engaging and was mostly hands on and interactive without a lot of seat work. The farmland math component was given very high ratings by parents who had used it and said their kids loved it and thrived. The companion to farmland math was a mathematical reasoning work book that the parent and child work through together. I knew that wasn’t going to be a hit but I got it anyway because I wanted to make sure we touched on all the major concepts, even if it meant using the book as our guide. 

One month in, I knew farmland math was not going to work for us. Snowflake does not think like other kids; I’m not able to pinpoint exactly what it is that makes his thinking unique but having taught preschool and kindergarten in classroom settings, I can tell you he thinks and learns differently. He loves to pretend and act things out, so I thought the manipulative based story problems would be a great fit. However, I neglected to realize 2 things. First, he has to be in charge of pretend play. He was not willing to play along if I was in charge. We tried several different approaches but nothing worked and it was a constant power struggle. Second, the story problem format was too complex for him. I now know this is because he has a language delay (he struggles to understand concepts he should be able to because his understanding of the language is delayed). He is now in speech therapy which also works on the language issues and we are already noticing some improvements in this area. I scrapped farmland math around Christmas time and worked with him on numbers, counting, position words and other math concepts in other ways. We slowly worked our way through the work book, but again the language barrier held him back, so we improvised. 

When I started looking at curriculum for pre-k, I knew I needed something concrete, flexible, and active. I looked at several curriculums before deciding on touchmath. The downfall of touchmath is its expensive. However, I’m creative and not afraid to DIY, so doing that saved us a couple hundred dollars. I made the touch numerals, number cards, and number poster. I purchased the student/teacher books ($199.00 for preprinted; $159.00 for the digital copies which you have to then print) and touch shapes ($16.99). We skipped the computer portion of the program because I didn’t feel it necessary at the pre-k/kindergarten level. 


While technically in pre-k, and though behind in his understanding of some concepts; overall, Snowflake is ready for the kindergarten level in math. I will go slow and review areas that are a struggle for him but I didn’t feel the need, nor did I feel it was appropriate, to hold him back in the areas in which he is excelling. Each day will consist of hands-on activities using the touch point numerals, touch shapes, or number cards and 2-4 short and easy worksheets to demonstrate understanding of the concepts. Average time spent per day will be 20-30 minutes (mostly depending on his attention and focus). 
The unique thing about touchmath is that there are dots on each number that correspond to the value of that number. It encourages counting and is a simple way to introduce addition and subtraction concepts. We’ve already played with the numerals and he really seems to enjoy them. I’m hoping this will be a better fit for him and his unique learning style. 

Preparing for Pre-K

We will be officially starting our next year of homeschool one month from today. Snowflake will technically be in pre-k but we are doing a mixture of pre-k and kindergarten. 

Today I started working on our homeschool room. It had turned into a dumping ground after selling some storage furniture in a garage sale, so it needed to be decluttered and reorganized. I accomplished both today. There are still a few things to do but it’s coming together. 

I’m very excited about the table I found on a BST group for $50. It retails for over $100 and it’s like new. The legs are adjustable so it can grow with him. It’s the perfect size for both of us to sit at and do school work. However, much of the curriculum I’ve chosen is hands on/active, so we won’t be doing a whole lot of seat work this year. 😉

Clothespins and Popsicle Sticks

Who knew these 2 items could be the start of a fun learning activity? Thank you, Pinterest! Snowflake is struggling with the teen numbers, both counting (15/16/17) and identifying (11/12/13). I made up these number lines with one missing number, which I wrote on the clothespins. It was a big hit and it zoned in one the exact numbers he’s struggling with. I’m positive this will help get him over the hump and ready for the next skill.