Wednesday, May 29, 2013

2 (diy) iPads -Plus early reading Kindle and iPad app ideas

You gotta love kids ingenuity. :) 
Cardboard iPADs. 
Their idea. 

Love those sweet eyes popping out behind her work. :)

They took their iPADs to the park. 
Sharing an IPAD with their friend. 

A little story for ya...I was given an IPAD for Christmas by my husband. He surprised me completely!!!! We had decided not to buy gifts for each other this last Christmas because we just didn't have the funds after our long stint in the States. Well little did I know that the few odd jobs my husband did for a friend while in the States was a behind the scenes scheme for my gift. I was so blown away and humbled by my husbands CONSTANT ability to think of me and lavish his love on me. 

Ok that was the jumping to the present. Our iPad has been such a great tool in homeschooling. Is it necessary? No. Is it helpful? Very. Living overseas and homeschooling has its challenges in getting the materials you want and need, especially books. iPad and kindle have been invaluable tools to me this past year. 

Early Reading recommendations for iPads, Kindle etc.:

I really have enjoyed this app for my two younger ones. It is NOT reading junkfood. This is truly a helpful app. and builds upon itself so that your kids are learning reading skills. I paid 3.99. To me excuse my cheapness, that is pretty high but I have not regretted it and it is one of the only apps I have paid for. :)

Also this site: ProgressivePhonics has early reading books for FREE. They are similar to Bobs Books but again are FREE and have a bit more script and more story. Plus let me add again they are free. ;)

The best part for me regarding these books is that they have formatted their books so that you can save the books they can be transferred to your iPad device or Kindle. This has been sooooo great for us. 
This site is worth the time and it has saved me money. 

One more tid bit is that I have found several free kids Kindle books by following: 

With much care to any and all who take the time to read these posts.  Hope this is helpful.
In our west corner.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Mixed media art bookmarks. It is well with my soul.

I hope you enjoy the courage and simplicity of these little pieces of art. 

After my last  post, I wanted to share these bookmarks I made for some ladies that passed through my home the other day.  They too each have situations and hardships in their lives that have or are teaching them to say 'Whatever my lot, it is well with my soul.' 

Both these bookmarks are made out of cardboard pieces.

In my west corner using what I have to create courage for my soul,

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

It is well with my soul. or is it?

I have recently started compiling a list of my top 10 things I am grateful for. Things that produce in me an inexpressible joy and inability to ever say thank you enough to the giver.  This is causing me to really look and meditate on all the things in my life that I am grateful for and then recognise the weight  of some of these gifts.

This excersise has come at a time where I am struggling DAILY with apartment living and being surrounded by no green. I am determined (with Christ's tender reminders) to see truth in my days instead of entitlement!

Our 2013 first... all kids have their own bikes. First day bike riding. :) 
I am reading a book that my mother-in-law gave me called Choosing Gratitude. It has been timely for me. I see my need for a heart change and a discipline in the way I look and speak about things in my life.

This old hymn has breathed courage into me these past few days, it has also humbled me greatly.
Oh that this could be my expression of faith as well.

'Whatever my lot, you have taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul. ' 

This video is the song and story of the writer of this amazing hymn.
Enjoy and I hope it breathes courage into you today.

In my west corner.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Homeschool Journey and Journal #4 ~ We're connecting

As I take the time to reflect over this past year of homeschooling and write in this journal within my blog. I think the thing that stands out to me the most is that my oldest daughter and I are connecting at a heart level. I know her, she knows I know her and that I like who she is becoming.

Since choosing to homeschool we have faced some difficult and very isolating and rejecting moments. Even with that I would say that my daughters attitude and heart are so much softer than last year. We have truly connected and I see her in a new way and understand her so much better. She also is learning about me my weaknesses and strengths. Being so close in proximity so often has brought out the best and worst in both of us. I remember one day we both went to our rooms crying after a math lesson. :)

I am so grateful for this past year with my daughter. I have no regrets in keeping her home at all!

I still get concerned if she is learning enough and if  I am providing her with an education that is full of life and inspires her to want to learn and is with in her learning style.

I have grown in not worrying about her being behind or ahead, which level she is at and that has been a huge burden off my shoulder (and most likely hers too ;)). My child will learn and is learning and her pace is her own. We have time and so I think next year will be a bit more enjoyable as I am a really learning to stop comparing or pushing my daughter ahead.

Lastly encouraging my daughter to find something she loves has been a bit of an adventure with highs and lows but at the end of this year I see my daughter really delving into this creative passion of Art Journaling, plus she also has started to excel in her piano and is starting to really see the fruit of her labor which is an awesome lesson.

In both of these things, being piano and art journaling we have given her privileges as we have seen her excel in these talents. For art journaling I now allow Autty to have a secret pin board on my Pinterest where she can pin all different kinds of art journaling examples. She has the freedom to pull them up whenever she needs, to use when she is journaling.

With piano we were going to go down to only one lesson a week because of time and money, however after our daughter did her first recital and experienced what practice can bring and the thrill of preforming she asked if she could stay with two lessons a week until at least summer. We agreed to this and have seen a fresh desire in her love for music and piano. With both of these interests they could stay or they may go but the thing that I love is that she has found something that she is good at and loves and it fuels her desire for learning overall. 

Autty at her first piano recital. :)

Learning and understanding our kids is an art and it takes time and time being with them, watching, listening observing, putting away my wants to engage in theirs.

I have so much to learn and honestly it makes me nervous sometimes, but at the end of this first year of homeschool (being still a month left), I am hopeful about our homeschooling future. :) I haven't seen results in her math like I was hoping or her writing per-say, she has excelled in reading and spelling but all this is not how I am measuring the success of this past school year. I know my daughter better, we are connecting this is success to me!!  She has become confident and has learned to preserver.  At the end of this year I would say I am still a bit  nervous but very pleased, and grateful to know better how my daughter ticks.

In our west corner, homeschooling~

Monday, May 6, 2013

Butterfly Study (geared toward ages 7-10)

For spring I wanted to do a study on Butterflies to welcome in the happy change of seasons and explore something that is related to spring. This study was not only fun but very eye opening to the wonder of creation and the creator. We all enjoyed it completely. I hope someone else can benefit from these links and resources.
Butterfly Study

Mighty book: Metamorphosis song  
This is such a peppy song that engages kids as to what that big word Metamorphosis means.

After the kids watched this a few times I told them that whoever could spell metamorphosis without making any mistakes I would give 50 kurus.

Butterfly lapbook
We included a lapbook in our study of butterflies. This one was great. We used several parts of it.

Butterfly Film
This video is $15.00 but it is excellent and the footage of butterflies is fabulous. We throughly enjoyed watching this. It was very informative and I personally learned a lot. It was however at times over my 6 years olds head and my 9 year old sometimes got lost in vocab but the photos and constant motion of the film kept them captive. Butterflies are truly a remarkable creation.

Butterfly Book and reading
We think Ms. Frizz is super cool and so this book was another purchase we made ahead of time. Easy to find online for very inexpensive.
The Magic School Bus #26
Butterfly Battle 

We recently discovered Ms. Frizz and the Magic School bus online with full episodes for free. We were  even more delighted to find one about Butterflys!!! Yippee for us and creative educational cartoons. 

Butterfly Food fun 
Nothing too exciting just simple ideas that makes us happy to eat a tasty butterfly that doesn't have warning colors. ;)
I made this. Lunch time

Kids made these. Snack time

Butterfly Craft
I got this ideas from a few different places, which of course I pinned so I could find them later. 
Gotta like pinterest for easy finding. 
My older daughter used wire and my son used pipe cleaner. 

My inspiration.

and Here:



Our next step is to explore outdoors and discover butterflies in their natural surroundings. Now that Spring is really here I think we will start to see more and more butterflies. 

Edit May 21st 2013: I just recently found this great FREE Butterfly resource unit!! Worth your time.

In our west corner in awe of Gods design and creative working in nature.

Friday, May 3, 2013

A rock family for our balcony garden

Don't they look so cute sitt'in up there as snug as a rock in a sock. 
Seriously poetry is like a major gift of mine. 

We found a small farm just outside of town so we bought some seedlings:
cucumbers, strawberry plants, lettuce and cherry tomato plants
We planted our own seeds of  basil, lettuce, morning glories and cilantro.
We LOVE our balcony herb gardens we have done in the past.
Here and here
This year it will be fun to see what else we can grow on our balcony in pots and plastic containers. :)

The kids are especially excited about the strawberries. 

Of course a rock family for our balcony garden was an obvious next step, right?
Not sure how it happened but it was fun and those painted rocks sure are happy
They need a few little ones, don't ya think. ;) 

Our garden planting ~ rock painting day. 

Using the things we have like rocks and plastic containers to create lasting memories and splashes of colour to our days.

In my west corner,
Being me and doing what I do.

linking up to these parties
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