Homeschooling Multiple Ages - Podcast Episode!

Come join us over on the HomeschoolingIRL podcast for an episode that's all about homeschooling multiple ages. My hubs and I are talking about 3 easy things to implement, and we talk a lot about Circle Time, too.

Never listened to a podcast? It's super duper easy, and this is one your kids can hear, too. Just click here to listen to the podcast or the image below and you'll be taken to the episode. From there you'll see the LISTEN HERE button - click and you'll go to the page where you can listen!

HomeschoolingIRL is also on iTunes, which means you can subscribe to the podcast and it will automatically pop up in your podcast app on you iPhone. 


Where Did I Come From? Answering the Question From Guest Author Danika Cooley

Preschool-aged children are naturally curious. I mean, really, how many questions do you get asked each day? Why is broccoli good for me? What is this for? Can I pour that? Fielding twenty thousand questions a day is all part of the preschool parenting experience.

There's just one question that has made parents queasy for centuries. Where did I come from? It's this question that has caught parents off guard, and brought about a plethora of strange and fantastic tales. For centuries parents in Europe answered the question by telling children that they were delivered by storks. The tale was so established in European mythology that Hans Christian Andersen based his 1838 moralistic tale The Storks on it. My own mother answered my questioning by allowing our cat to give birth to a litter of kittens and then having me "assist" the cat in giving birth.

"Where did I come from?"

The question Where did I come from? is an important one. Our answer to that question has theological, scientific, and relational ramifications for our kids. It's not something we should brush off or gloss over. In fact, it's a question we should plan for and consider answering before our children even think to ask it.

When my children were small, I used to tell them the story of their beginnings, detailing how they grew in my womb, or in the womb of another (I have two bio-kids and two heart-kids). I'd explain that God planned them from the very beginning, talk about their development, and then explain (non-graphically) their birth. It was such a special time, and a favorite tale in our home. Instead of Where did I come from?, I often heard Tell me again how I grew inside of you! or When did my heart start beating?.

It was this special time with my kids that inspired my new book Wonderfully Made: God's Story of Life from Conception to Birth. As much as I enjoyed sharing the story of life in the womb with my kids, it would have been wonderful to have had a readily available visual aid, Scripture verses, and exact scientific information. I thought this special time was so precious, that I wanted to be able to share it with other parents--with you!

What about the S-E-X question?

How did I get into your womb? is an important question, and it deserves an answer. I found, though, that my kids didn't ask about the road to conception until a little later. Wonderfully Made is all about life in the womb, and while it briefly touches on the beginnings of life (created by God as an expression of love within marriage), the book isn't about that. Wonderfully Made is all about development within the womb. You can see the very first page addresses the conception issue succinctly. Of course, parents can add their own dialogue as appropriate. Likewise, the birth process is not detailed.

Wonderfully Made: God's Story of Life from Conception of Birth is a lovely story of life for kids from ages 5-11, told from the perspective of a mom with science and Scripture.

A lasting memory...

One of my fondest memories of the preschool years with my boys is the time spend answering the question Where did I come from?. Now in middle school, my youngest two still sometimes enjoy listening to the story of how God took the time to form them, purposefully and intimately. They smile when I talk about how anxious I was to meet them. May your children, too, never doubt just how wonderfully made they are!

Wonderfully Made Giveaway ~ Ends 3/21/16

Wonderfully Made: God's Story of Life from Conception of Birth is a lovely story of life for kids from ages 5-11, told from the perspective of a mom with science and Scripture.
Wonderfully Made: God's Story of Life from Conception to Birth (Christian Focus 4 Kids, 2016) is a science- and Scripture-filled picture book for kids ages 5-11. It can easily be broken into two or three sittings for preschoolers! The book is told from the perspective of a mother telling her child about his or her development in the womb week-by-week. You can learn more about Wonderfully Made and download free resources like posters, Scripture memory cards, and a fetal development lapbook over at the Wonderfully Made book page.
Wonderfully Made: God's Story of Life from Conception to Birth {Preschoolers and Peace}
Void where prohibited by law. Must be at least 18 years of age. This giveaway is in no away associated with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. No purchase necessary for entry. Odds are determined by the number of entries. Selected winners will have 48 hours to respond to email notification to claim their prizes or another winner will be drawn.
Danika Cooley is the author of When Lightning Struck!: The Story of Martin Luther, Wonderfully Made: God's Story of Life from Conception to Birth, and Bible Road Trip.   Danika Cooley is a mother of four, none of whom were delivered via stork (though two were dropped off on the front porch). She and her husband live in the Pacific Northwest where they homeschool their youngest two children. In addition to her new book, Wonderfully Made, Danika is the author of When Lightning Struck!: The Story of Martin Luther (Fortress Press, 2015), and Bible Road Trip.   Image: The Stork, 1885, Carl Spitzweg (1808-1885), Public Domain

How to Plan an Easy-Going Preschool Year at Home

I originally wrote this post in 2007, when our 6th of 8 was a preschooler. She definitely had the benefit of birth order, getting a solid but realistic preschool year that fully prepared her to start kindergarten in our homeschool. Today she is a 6th grader, a strong math student, and a lover of Nancy Drew books.

And that 9th grader? He's 22. It goes ridiculously fast.

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I'm a bit late on the preschool planning this year. The 9th grader is taking the bulk of my planning time, but the beauty is that once I've planned his, the others will be easier to plan as they hit the grades he's already finished because the skeleton will have been built. I tweak each year to fit the child, so things change a bit; still, the framework tends to remain the same.

Our preschooler this year will be four in December. She's our Beach Babe.

Beach Babe.jpg

She knows her basic phonics sounds, thanks to Leap Frog Letter Factory, but as I prefer the vertical approach to teaching and learning phonics, we still have phonics to learn. What's a vertical approach to phonics? In a nutshell, it means that all the phonics sounds are taught for each letter as you go, as opposed to a horizontal approach wherein the child learns just the short vowel sounds and one sound per letter, going back to learn a letter's other sounds later. If you want to know more, you can read about it at VerticalPhonics.com.

By way of example, though, the child using the vertical phonics method would learn that the sounds the letter "A" makes are "a" as in "cat", "ay" as in "plate", and "ah" as in "talk".

Our current preschooler is a girl, which tailors some of our choices. Dolls come to mind - my boys weren't much interested in those. 

Here are our choices for this year, and in a future post I'll share our daily routine, as well:

Preschool Workbooks

Craft bags, made for her by her big brother

Nursery Rhyme Pockets

DK Children's Illustrated Bible

Lauri Puzzles

Arts and crafts and table activities get rotated every two weeks or little ones get easily bored:

Monday - Clay

Tuesday - Fingerpaints

Wednesday - Wikki Stix

Thursday - Stamps

Friday - Coloring pages or Paper Craft

Monday - Trains

Tuesday - Wedgits

Wednesday - Dolls

Thursday - Duplo

Friday - Preschooler's choice: weaving loom, pegs, or lacing cards

What's going on in your preschool this year?