Disclaimer: This is not your average blog post, so I apologize in advance for the length of it. I have separated it by red titles so you can get to what interests you in a timely manner. But there is a LOT of good information in here in case you can make time to read the whole thing. So grab a cup of your favorite drink and read on, mama!
One of my favorite things to read when I started home educating my kiddos was reading about other mama’s curriculum choices. At that point in life, I felt very much overwhelmed by the plethora of resources, books, curriculums available. All I wanted was for someone to tell me “This is what we use, and here’s why we decided to go with that”
Don’t get me wrong, it was clear from the very beginning that what worked for my neighbor, might now work for me. I knew I needed to find my family’s own material, especially because we have a bilingual homeschool, so the material needed to be customized to fulfill our family’s values and goals.
But boy was I thankful for the moms, bloggers and friends who shared with me their choices, and were kind enough to explain the why behind them.
Fast forward 4 years, and here I am, typing this blog post for all of you, new to homeschooling, mommas! With this post I hope to share in hopes we can provide some clarity in some of them, describe exactly how they work and provide some feedback so you can decide whether they will work for your family, you want to find something similar or if you want to do something completely different.
My husband and I chose the following material keeping in mind the age, grade, and skills of our two older children. Our daughter is an August birthday who will turn 11, going into 5th grade and loves languages, enjoys reading, does great at math even though she must work hard at it at times and struggles with Spelling. And for our son who is 9 years old, going into 4th grade, avid reader, does great at math but struggles with spelling.
Just to make our lives easier and for them to have a buddy tow work with, we chose one level curriculum for the two of them regardless of their age and grade difference. We slow down things a notch when needed for one or speed them for the other. It is also so fun to watch how they help each other when one is struggling with certain subject or topic.
After all, that is the beauty of homeschooling– You can adjust it and mold it to fit your exact needs.
Without further ado, here it is:
Our Curriculum Choices
(For a 9 and and 11 year old)
Language arts and History. Our efforts to raise culturally aware children with a worldview biblical perspective.
- My Father’s World: Creation to the Greeks
We will be traveling back in time to Old Testament days to see God’s hand throughout ancient history. We will be learning how the biblical account fits in with other civilizations such as Egypt, Greece, and Babylon. We are going to be learning and acting out Old Testament stories making celebrations from the past come to life, we will also review science from a Christian perspective God’s design including dinosaurs and other discoveries.
To say that we are excited for this material is a total understatement! I cannot wait to introduce all these lovely topics to my children and learn alongside them as the Egyptian and Greek culture is quite new to me.
With this curriculum you will follow a four-year chronological study of history and I think is important to mention that we will pick and choose what material we are going to use and what we are just simply going to skip.
For example, we will be using a different kind of science material so we will skip that. We also use a different book for heritage studies so we will be adding that on top of this book but is certainly not necessary.
The titles pictured above: Streams of civilization; Milk and Honey: A year of Jewish Holidays; Aesop Fables and English from the Roots Up, are all books we will be reading from as part of MFW curriculum-so Exciting!!
- Writing Rhetoric: Narrative II
This is the culturally rich and beautiful curriculum we use for most of our Language Arts. This fun book exposes students to new genres of story, including historical narrative and legend. It includes a variety of culturally important examples. All of the skills practiced in the previous book Narrative I are extended, and new skill sets are introduced, including identifying the difference between fact and opinion and learning to ask the five W’s of a historical narrative: who, what, when, where, why. We have loved the previous two books, one was on Fables and the last one, like I mentioned was about narrative as well.
These are wonderful books full of history, and classics. they are simply delightful books to learn with.
- The Logic Of English: Essentials A spelling pack
This is a new one we are adding this year. You see my kids are avid readers. They comprehend quite good and write the same, but the struggle has always been spelling. We keep finding out every time they write things down, and their test scores confirm it. So after reading the wonderful book written by Denise Eide, we made up our minds that this was just what we were looking forward to help our children become better spellers.
Reading this book was like the biggest ah-ha moment in my teaching homeschool journey and being English my second language, I am grateful for it and totally looking forward to trying the system out with my kiddos. We shall see!
Last but not least…
- BJU Press: Spelling 5
No long explanation here other than it is important and vital for children to have nice handwriting. As Mrs. Mason said:
“It is sometimes objected that this elaborate and beautiful handwriting will interfere with a characteristic ‘hand,’ but it seems to me that to have a beautiful, instead of a commonplace, basis for handwriting is a great gain.” (Mason, vol. 1)
I have absolutely loved to see how one or two pages a day has improved my kid’s writing tremendously. Especially for my nine-year-old boy since writing doesn’t come in him as naturally as it does for my daughter. He has a long way to go but it’s nice to see his improvements. especially since they both write in cursive or script. (Note: I do not buy a teacher’s manual for this, just the student workbook. This is something that takes them about 15 minutes a day.)
Nature, Science and Math
- BJU Press: Math 5
The beauty of any book by Bob Jones is that is Christian based. However, it does not mean this math book has any biblical content like perhaps their science book does. We simply chose this book for math because we like their lesson layouts, all the fun activities that it includes for kiddos to get a lot of practice and it’s also neatly organized and colorful which is fun for the kids. Math is (ah-hem) my least favorite) and after trying Math-u-see and other math curriculums we decided this one catered the best for our family. We did find lots of value in their teacher’s manual, so we bought it along the student workbook.
We are also not fully done with math 4 so we will finish that one and jumped into 5 as soon as we can (One of the reason why homeschooling rocks!)
***Math add-on: The Life of Fred books are just funny, and smart stories that teach math. they are designed to be used in alphabetical order in it teaches math concepts effortlessly and brings them to life!
- BJU Press: Science 6
Science is very special to us.
Here’s why: we share teaching with another homeschooling family and dear friends of ours. We started this a year ago and cannot wait to do it all over again this year. We go to their house every couple of Thursdays a month and she graciously teaches my kiddos along with hers, science; she is a science teacher that taught in public school a while back for several years. I, in the other hand, teach their kids along with mine sewing, arts and crafts.
Again another reason why homeschooling is so beautiful. We can decide whether a grade is too young, too advanced, or just right and adjust accordingly, and we can have an awesome time learning together with friends!
We love Bob Jones Science 6 because it teaches kids about the incredible intricacies of cells and organisms, matter and energy, astronomy, heredity, the nervous system, and the immune system all with a biblical perspective. They also do easy and fun experiments which a great to do when you are in a small group or with several siblings!
- Nature studies: Exploring Nature with Children
This is our second year using this lovely curriculum and we really enjoy it. Multiage includes art, poetry and gets your family’s sense working with every theme. The only thing that I don’t love is that it was created in the United Kingdom, so a couple of the themes do not match with our Minnesota weather or season. Other than that it is simply exceptional!
We use it as a guide as to what we should like for when we are out and about in our hiking experiences or when we go out with our Wild and Free nature group.
Faith, Ethics and Values
- The Gospel Project: Home Edition Semester 2
Can I just tell you how much we love this curriculum? Let me start by saying it includes a student workbook for K-2nd grade and a student workbook 3-5 grade which is perfect for my five-year-old to join in and feel part of the lesson and for the little ones to do older work more appropriate for their age. It also includes a DVD that introduces the lesson with an 8-minute video plus an application video about 5 minutes long that leaves you and your kids thinking and analyzing what was learned. It brings concept to life with down to earth applications. The illustrations and graphics throughout are exceptional too.
I did order the teacher’s manual for this, and I totally recommend doing so. In every chapter, it will show you an overview of the lesson for you to jump right in and know from the beginning what is the theme, the lesson, the Bible verse to memorize and any other simple materials you need to gather. Usually nothing more than a couple index cards a picture of the family, a roll of tape, etc. Just simple things that you probably have around the house.
- Heritage Hymns by dear mama Amber O’neal Johnston, Heritage Mom
Hymns have always been so interesting and beautiful to me. Growing up in a different country, I didn’t know they excited until I married my husband at age 21. And I truly fell in love with them, every time we sign them at church I get teary eyed. To me they mean more than any other worship song, they feel like they provide a deeper connection with the Lord, and I am all about whatever bring my family closer to Jesus!
I met amber through Instagram, and I was simply thrilled when I found out she was releasing this wonderful guide.
This guide includes 15 hymns along with links to the sheet music, lyrics and audio or video of multiple versions of each song. We cannot wait to dig in and spend some time studying the meaningful lyrics of the hymns included. My goal is for my family to memories at least a couple of them if not more. This is again a new resource, and I am expectant to see how it goes so be sure to check back for a review!
The rest of the titles pictured above: They are just a bundle of books that were borrowed to me by a dear mama friend that just got done going through Creation to the Greeks with her kiddos. I plan on using them as guides, and to educate myself during this year of learning. I don’t anticipate reading them entirely because…life. But they are already sounding and looking so good that I might just have to!
The David C. Cook Journey through the Bible: This book will help me better understand favorite Bible stories so I can teach their purpose better. I might even read some of the chapter’s out loud with the kids.
Celebrating Biblical Feast (in your home or church): We will be recreating several feasts during the year and this book will serve as our guide, so we do them properly.
Bruchko: This book tells the story of a nineteen-year-old that heads into a south American jungle to evangelize a murderous/savage tribe, the Motilone Indians as well as other islands in the Pacific, etc. His decision meant capture, disease, terror, loneliness, and torture but what discovered has revolutionized missions. I might start this one tonight! 🙂
The Narrow Road: This book features true stories of Brother Andrew and other believers who risked their lives smuggling Bibles into countries where Scriptures are outlawed; with an aim to raise awareness of the persecuted Church. This one looks great but it might be a little deep for the kids, so we might just skim through it and save it for when they are older. I included in here because I have heard wonderful things about it and it has been recommended by several friends. It is packed with dangerous adventures and high drama, testifying to God’s miraculous provision for those who follow where He leads.
The Story of the World Vol.1 DVD set: We are starting to watch these with our kids every Sunday evening to get us ready for the year ahead! This is a series of 8 hours on 7 CDs where Susan Wise Bauer brings to life the stories and records of the peoples of ancient times. Written in an engaging but straightforward manner. Sunday here we come!!
It wouldn’t be Cedar Hill homeschool if we didn’t add music and art!
- History of Art: This will be our third year using this lovely guide that comes with the flashcards picture above. We take it slow but every time we get a chance to do a little bit of this book we fall in love with it all over. Usually the kids would say something like: “Mom, we should really do this book more often” Totally recommend.
This book is designed to give students a concise body of information that can easily assimilate. It includes 32 art movements featured in the cards in this series, it includes fun project suggestions (out favorite part), but you certainly don’t need to do those if they seem like too much for the time you have. They do vary to appeal different ages which is perfect for the homeschool setting.
- Classical music CD’s: This part is suggested in the My father’s World curriculum and it sounds wonderful to have the opportunity to have a rich introduction to some of the most well-known classical music artists like Handel, Vivaldi and Bach.
You can get the three music CD’s plus 3 more with the story of each of the composers here
As you may know by now, I am Spanish Immersion teacher so most of the language will be designed and put together by yours truly and we will be mostly using the unit studies that I create. In addition to that, we are going to be using two books from the Latin American editorial Santillana that are fully in Spanish one will be for Language arts and one for Math that we will alternate with our English curriculum so they continue working in their Spanish acquisition. But I think this part needs a full blog post on its own. I will link the website in case you want to take a look here. Now I am going to share about my two favorite and biggest allies when teacher my kids the language:
Rosetta Stone: Friends, this is the classical program that you have heard to learn a language for a long while, and I would say they have been around this long because they simply are that good. I really believe they are excellent, so we invested in an online membership for each of my kiddos and yes, unfortunately they each require their own membership, there is no sharing allowed in this, but, totally worth it!
Rockalingua Spanish: Friends, Rockalingua is so.much.fun! This is the program I use to get worksheets, videos, and songs from. They are exceptional and even though they have use European Spanish, it still works great for my students as well as my kids. You do have to pay a membership to get access to everything and I think it is totally worth the price, but also you can find some of their videos on YouTube and they do have some free content on their webpage. But again I would totally consider investing in the membership. And one membership gets you access to everything so that is always a plus.
***Rockalingua has graciously offered a 20% discount code for the readers that sign up to receive my email notifications. Use the code HOLA on their website once you sign up with your email here . Just scroll all the way to the bottom.
There you have it, friend, I hope I didn’t overwhelm you but rather gave you enough information to help you decide what would work for your family. And because you made it this far, I am going to gift you a printable of a Curriculum Planning Sheet so you have a space to neatly organize your ideas in 🙂 This file is part of my Homeschool Planner pack that will be available in my shop soon. You can download the freebie here:
Thank you for reading and happy planning!
Today I have a short and sweet-VERY SWEET message to share. Basically I want to introduce you to my new unit study! A comprehensive guide on Tropical fruits where the focus is for your child will put his/her senses to work while experiencing all the new textures, smells, flavors and more.
Included you will find basic but interesting information about tropical fruits, what makes them “tropical” where do we find them, a climate zone map and more.
You will also find a two-page poster with the names of some of the best tropical fruits. I tried to keep it somewhat “common” that way you can still try to find them at your local supermarket, because this fun guide works best if you are able to find some of these fruits and try them.
I included a couple fun STEM activities including a science experiment, math (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and fractions) You will find math activities for K-5th grade that way everyone can join in the fun!
To work in some LA you will find a couple tracing activities for the little ones, handwriting for writing siblings a crossword puzzle, a poem and more!
As a bonus am sharing a booklist that will tie beautifully with this unit.
Available in Spanish and English and after purchase you will receive a 33-page PDF file that you can save on your computer and use it for years to come!
Would you like to take a look?
Feel free to heck it out here
If you decide to try it, and take the time to leave us a review, I will send you a bonus coupon that you can redeem in my shop as a way of saying thank you. We all know reviews are EVERYTHING nowadays 🙂
That was me 4.5 years ago. I was feeling completely intimidated by the fact that I had a big goal in mind, but no one would help me reach it. Don’t get me wrong, I had 100% my husband’s support and encouragement, but him being busy at work, was not going to be able to provide a lot of help; other than keeping me motivated to keep going. For that, I am very thankful. However, it was me saying “YES, let’s bring the kids back home”, “YES, I will home educate them” “YES, I will teach them Spanish”…yet, inside I was like “What am I getting myself into?!
Well, my friend, I stopped giving the idea so much thought and decided to simply say “YES” and trust that we would figure it out along the way.
If you are like me, whether you are an English speaker who learned the Spanish language or were born in a Spanish speaking country or you want your family to start learning the language together, you have a desire for your kids to learn the language and are willing to put some effort into the journey ahead of you.
But now that you have decided to do it, one more concern comes up to mind “How do I teach to all my kids at the same time?!”…You may have 2, 3, 4 or even more kiddos to care for and while you have all the intentions, taking on a second language with many kids to care for, might sound like mission-impossible. But mama, let me tell you something:
YOU ARE CAPABLE-YOU ARE EQUIPPED
Putting things into perspective, you already care for all of them, you already teach them all the things on the daily, you already decide the way your days will look like based on their passions and interests. Don’t let fear get in the way.
Here are three things you need to do or have to succeed:
- Practical ideas
- Spirit (lots of it!!)
Information and advice grounded on research and real-world
experience should serve as the foundation for your bilingual journey. The better informed you
are, the better equipped you’ll be to create an effective plan for your particular set of
Most books on raising bilingual children naturally focus on offering guidelines.
Second, you need practical ideas. Knowledge of general guidelines is vital, but they can’t
really be implemented successfully without concrete ideas that you can draw on daily to
advance your child’s language development. These ideas involve not only strategies for
nurturing language ability, they include awareness of suitable resources for supporting your
Think about it. You can be the most knowledgeable person in the world when it comes to
guidelines and practical ideas, but if you don’t possess sufficient spirit to carry them out, to
see them through, you simply can’t succeed to the degree you hope.
The reason spirit is so enormously important is because raising a bilingual child is a large,
long-term effort (in many cases, 18 years, from birth to college!) which demands daily
attention and action. In the face of frustrations involving the child’s language development,
and the other challenges of life that will naturally occur throughout this time, you must
continue to step forward, day after day, with your greater goal in mind.
These three -super helpful- ideas were found in an amazing little resource called “Instant Inspiration for parents raising Bilingual kids” by Adam Beck, the author of one of my favorite books “Maximize your Child’s Bilingual Ability”
Now that we got those out of the way, lets go onto the practical lists of things you can do to teach your kiddos Spanish in a multi-age family home
- Books, books and more books. Read to them when possible, have older siblings do the same.The goal is at least one book per day.
- Call things for him/her in Spanish. Their bottles, their toys, parts of the house, etc.
- Flashcards are always a good idea! Alphabet, numbers, etc.
- Have him watch shows every now and then in Spanish. But be make sure they are slow, and life-giving programs…It’s crazy the stuff you can find out there for little kids (just awful)
- Songs, songs and more songs. (Los Pollitos Radio on Pandora has beautiful classics!)
- Get in the habit of greeting them and saying goodbye in Spanish as well as saying “please and thank you”.
- Books, books and more books. Read to them daily but also get board books or level 1 readers so they can start to practice their reading skills.
- Songs, songs and more songs!
- Translate their daily rhythm or schedule in and place it in a visible place
- At this point, you can find some helpful educational apps for them to practice vocabulary. Duolingo is free and excellent, also, Rockalingua Spanish offer several free resources as well.
- Board games are a very fun way to practice a target language. Some of our favorites are Bingo, headbands, guess who, Candyland, sorry, and monopoly. Pro tip: You can find the Spanish version of most of these games online but if you have a favorite, you can always translate it. It will require a little bit more prepping time upfront but lots of fun in the long run!
- Ask them easy questions daily in Spanish. For example: “How are you?, Do you like this?, Would you like a drink?, etc.”
If your child is already around this age group, he can start doing the same things as the little ones but the nice thing is that they will outgrow those activities super fast, giving way for you to start working on more elaborated things like grammar, spelling, reading and speaking. But don’t rush on this, your child will show signs of being able to take on more and that is the clue you should look for.
- At this point you might want to invest in a program for them whether it is a curriculum or an online program like Rosetta Stone.
- Books! The goal is to read to them at least one book per day plus provide a mix between readers level 1 and 2.
- Keep the songs going, but at this point you can have them translate parts of their favorite songs, memorize them, etc. Seek songs that are enjoyable for their age.
- Have them write sentences, questions, and easy stories at least twice per week.
As you can see, most of the activities are very similar per age group, but you just add a little bit of depth and/or complexity to older siblings or make it easier for the little ones.
The beauty of learning a second language as a family is that everyone can participate as much or as little as possible.
Here are some things that we do together to practice Spanish:
- Books are essential and that is why everyday, I designate a child to pick out a book of their level for me to read to everyone out-loud. No matter the level everyone will get something out of that time together.
- Board games are fun because everyone or more than one child can be included and you simply just forget you are practicing Spanish. I try to do at least board or card game twice per week.
- We have “Spanish lunchtime” We all take turns asking a question in Spanish and the rest answers in Spanish” for my little guy, I just ask him what does he want to ask and then I help him translate it into Spanish and then he repeats every word after me.
- My son (middle child who is 9 years old) practices Duolingo daily and my 11 year old girl does Rosetta Stone daily as well.
- Lastly, unit studies are an excellent way to practice the target language as a family as they typically include activities for different age groups and they are all focused around one topic.
WHERE TO FIND SOME OF THE RESOURCES MENTIONED
- Lots of books in Spanish. I’m usually adding new books per age group to my Amazon store front. Feel free to follow me if you’d like here
- Duolingo Spanish
- Rosetta Stone Spanish
- Songs via Pandora. Our favorite playlist here
- Unit studies: We LOVE unit studies and you can find them in the shops of my amazing friends and in my little shop!
Remember parents, guidelines, practical ideas and LOTS of Spirit. That is the key to successfully start teaching a second language. No one is more equipped than you to design the perfect plan for your kiddos.
I would recommend dedicating a couple hours to sit down with your spouse or on your own and put some thoughts into paper, design a simple doable plan and jump in!!
Was this helpful? Did I spark some ideas or questions in you?- I would love to hear your opinions. Also if you are reading my blog posts, do you mind leaving a comment in them? I am quickly finding out readers are more enticed to read after seeing a review from someone else first 🙂
Thanks in advance and happy learning!
Order here now: Tap on this link
The Forest Schooling Mega Bundle is here and it is incredible, my friends!
Only $25 from now through June 15th this bundle contains a new and thoughtfully curated collection of forest and nature learning resources that are perfect for children ages 3 – 13.
Inside the bundle you will find over $500 worth of forest themed:
- Unit Studies
- Art Studies
- Math Units
- Literacy Units
- Early Learning Packs
- And even a few Spanish learning resources! Let me show you a few pics of my bilingual unit study:
There are over 70 different products, many of which are brand new releases! This collection will only be available until June 15th and after that, it will be gone for good.
A portion of the proceeds raised from this bundle will be going to help two lovely homeschool moms from this community. Ashley @growingbrave who is battling breast cancer and Shanell @twolightsacademy who has been recently diagnosed with epilepsy. We are so glad to be able to support these women through the sale of this bundle!
Suitable for ages 3 – 13
Over 1700 pages
Valued at over $500
Now, let’s take a couple minutes to check out the following graphics, I would seriously overwhelm you if I showed you all that is included, but you can getter a better idea here:
𝐒𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐢𝐦𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐧𝐨𝐭𝐞𝐬:
– This bundle WILL NEVER be for sale again. Please don’t miss the opportunity to bring this treasure in to your home. After every bundle we recieve countless emails from people still wishing to purchase but due to the contractually-bound sales terms of these collections we can only sell them through the sale dates.
– These products REALLY DO cost $500 individually. That is the only way you’ll be able to get them once the sale ends so don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to purchase this beautiful collection for just $25!
– Once you purchase the bundle and download it to your computer, you will have access to it FOREVER – to print as needed for years to come.
Are you ready to get yourself this amazing bundle?
You can purchase now by tapping on this link
Happy summer learning, friends!
One of the perks about home educating our children is that education can be individualized and catered to each individual. In our case, we have three little ones to cater to and while they all love learning about nature, each has a different desire and preferred style of learning. Nature is one of those things that welcomes all with open hearts in such an organic way. Everybody is able to try without effort, and it’s also the perfect gateway to include any language learning.
- My 11-year-old daughter sees nature with a Classical Conditioning approach, meaning she finds comfort in the things she learns, and loves to find those things over and over throughout a hiking trip. For example, we study mushrooms, and every time we find mushrooms she finds excitement from already knowing what they are, what they do, how they look like, their benefits, etc.
- My 9-year-old son however is one that learns through Operant Conditioning, meaning he thrives when he has access to cause and effect opportunities and that’s how he forms associations and internalizes information. He learns quickly and remembers what was “fun” or “dangerous”, “safe”, etc., and loves to recreate activities that provided positive feedback. So he is definitely my risk-taker and enjoys seeing the outcome of all his nature experiments
- Lastly, my 5-year-old son, being the youngest of the group, thrives in an environment that allows him to learn through observation. He is super visual and a very observant little man. So everything that sister and/ brother do, he observes and learns from it. As well as what my husband and I show him during our time outdoors.
I feel like it is important to know what style each kiddo thrives in, so if you can relate with any of these styles. Keep reading! 🙂
OUR FAVORITE CURRICULUM OF ALL TIME
It is not that you “need” a curriculum per se, but you guys, it can help you stay organized and intentional and aware of some wonderful resources out there, so that is the reason why we actually made a tiny investment in a curriculum.
This curriculum is so gentle, natural, and good for all ages!! You can also buy it once and review it every year. You can add more to your studies and take different approaches with the same topic.
The name of it is Exploring Nature with Children. You can check it out right here
As we use this curriculum as a guide, we have found that unit studies are our best ally. We check in ENWC what we should be learning that specific week, and then onto looking for rich and interactive unit studies to go with the topic.
A unit study is a collection of learning activities tied to a theme. They are popular because they provide a hands-on approach to learning, that incorporates subjects such as math, science, language arts, and social sciences all tied together
Since we are a bilingual family and it is important for us to add the Spanish component to whatever we are doing, I have been working to create rich and interactive unit studies that can be tied with our nature studies.
This week I am prepping and getting material ready for next week’s study which will be one of my favorite topics ever, we will be learning about….wait for it…
And here is how I prepare for the week ahead:
- Review I am doing the correct week by checking our ENWC calendar.
- Read the lesson plan, decide whether I want to include the art piece of the poems included or find my own (always, always include Spanish titles too)
- After reviewing the book recommendations in ENWC and doing my own research, I check out my local library’s website to order the desired books (again, in both languages).
- Following that, I simply research from my favorite websites and small shops for a good unit study to use during our week.
- Translate and/or create any Spanish material I want to use for the week. Sometimes I create my own unit studies and when I do those, I take my time because my goal is to publish them for other bilingual families so they can use them too. Quite honestly, there is not a ton of quality Spanish material out there, so I hope to continue to work on solidifying material to serve the Spanish community as much as I possibly can.
- I print out the material and get it ready (cut, laminate, hand, etc).
- I set up some visuals for my kids so they can get excited about it too (Not: It is super important for you to display material mostly in the target language). This usually helps them look forward to the week and express what they are most looking forward to learning about the topic.
- We have a full week of little bits and pieces of studies which usually include math, reading, writing, art, many read alouds, and, of course, tons of time exploring outdoors!!!
Note: This is how I prepare so we can have nature studies weekly, no matter the topic. And I just let the curriculum guide us as to what to study, but every once in a while, if my kids have the desire to study something different, I use this same planning technique for those!
Our study on butterflies is going to be a special one because I am collaborating with a sweet shop that creates super fun educational material, you can find them on IG @thisleandbiscuits. I enjoyed every second of the time that I worked with them. I worked together to bring you an out-of-this-world unit (88- page long-mind you) that that is packed with fun and didactic material. There are also activities for different age groups, so this caters 100% to families with multiple children. Honestly, I cannot wait to use it with my own kids. It is SO GOOD
If you would like to see in detail, what this fun unit includes please click here
Also, if you are already using ENWC, butterfly week is the last week of May, and during that week you will find great material offered at wonderful prices. Just search on IG the tag #ENWCBUTTERFLYWEEK.
But, you can just grab this one too! 😉
If after reading this any questions come up, please leave them in the comment section below. I would also love to hear if this was at all helpful to you.
Thanks for reading and happy learning!
“She is like a wildflower. Beautiful, fierce and free.”
Flowers…the beauty of the world…
The ones that inspired this fun little hobby that my daughter and I have 🙂
After receiving several requests, we are going to be sharing here what you need and how you can also create pretty resin-coated jewelry with pressed flowers.
My daughter and I have found this is a fun way to spend time together, and we want to encourage you to take on this hobby with a loved one!
Although the process requires attention to detail, and patience, etc. It is a relatively easy process and a fun way to bond with your girls…or boys for that matter 🙂
From picking out the flowers that you are going to use for your piece, to choosing how to arrange them, to waiting for things to dry; this is an activity that will provide lots of quality time for you to spend with one or more children, a girlfriend, your mom, grandma, etc. It will also encourage you to go out in nature and admire the beautiful work of our Creator. No flower is like any other and it is an amazing thing to experience and observe from up close.
Without further ado, let’s jump right in. First things first, the materials. (I will be sharing items here from my Amazon storefront. I may get a small commission if you purchase through the links and we thank you kindly for it. BTW, when you click the links within this post, you will be taken to Amazon. I recommend adding the items to your cart and once you are done reading this tutorial, you can head to Amazon to make some shopping decisions!)
What you will need:
- Pressed dried flowers. We mostly get our from our garden, but if you are in the middle of winter and the creating bug has bitten you, then you can get these pretty ones! —- I am working on a tutorial to show you how you can make your own flower press, but that will come in a different post. For now, just a thick encyclopedia or dictionary would do the trick! Just place your flowers in between two pieces of paper and put them inside of the book for a long while. Around a week or so.
- Clear Epoxy Resin Kit. There are so many options out there. All the sizes, all the prizes, etc. If you are trying this for the first time, I suggest starting small and keep costs low. Try this kit. A small bottle will go a long way as you will need a tiny amount for each piece. The one I used asks for an equal amount of Resin and hardener, so if you decide to go with something different pay close attention to the amounts required.
- A protective mat to put on your workspace. Resin is very sticky so make sure you cover the table or desk you will be working on. I love the size and thickness of this mat.
- Tools, cups, and molds to work with. You will need lots of craft sticks 🙂 get these at the dollar store or buy in bulk through Amazon. You will probably use one per project. You will need cups for mixing the solution, suction pipettes for transferring little amounts of product from the cup to your jewelry piece, some tweezers to handle your delicate flowers, and if you want you can get awesome casting molds, that will make your life easier. You guys, the possibilities are seriously endless and you could spend lots and lots of $$$$ buying all the fun stuff!—— This right here is a basic set of tools that has everything you need to start. And these are our favorite casting molds thus far 🙂 They are SO fun to use! As far as tweezers go, I like these ones.
- Jewelry. I suggest going to Hobby Lobby, Joann Fabrics, Michales, or any other local craft store near to you where you know they sell jewelry materials and have fun with it! You just need items that are hollow so you can fill them up with your pretty flowers. Like these Loop earrings that I found at JoAnn Fabrics:
What you do:
Step 1: Place your resin safe mat on the desired surface.
Step 2: Gather your resin, hardener, a mixing cup, and a craft stick, and proceed to mix your solution as described in the directions of the product you bought. I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to mix the solutions exactly how the directions tell you to do it. Mix well with your craft stick and allow the product to sit for a bit so most of the bubbles disappear. Make sure your cup is dry and free of any debris by the way!
Step 3: Gather the desired flowers and Jewelry. We usually pick the jewelry piece and start playing with the flowers. Just start adding flowers to the empty part of your jewelry piece to visualize how it will look like. It is a good idea to do this while the solution sits for just a few minutes.
Step 4: Once you are happy and have decided on your design, place your flowers right where you want them to go and use a pipette to start very slowly adding your resin+hardener mix to your piece. A little bit goes a LONG way, so do it little by little. Allow one drop at a time to sort of slowly spread through the inside of your piece and add one or two more drops until you have covered the entire surface. Make sure you do not overfill your jewelry piece otherwise you will have lots to trim afterward. (If you are using a casting mold, do the same exact process, the only inside of the mold). Remove any bubbles with one of your tools by gently pushing the bubbles against the edge. In our opinion though, a few bubbles add character to the piece, so we like to leave some.
Step 5: Leave your product in a safe place where no little siblings or pets can touch it and wait for at least 12 hours for your piece to fully dry. We like to wait full 24 hours before moving the piece. Drying time for a piece inside a casting mold does need full 24 hours. Look at the pretty puzzle piece necklace charm we made:
Step 6: Touch gently to make sure everything is 100% dry and inspect your piece. Does it need a little bit more epoxy? Then add it and repeat drying time. Do you need to trim the edges? Do so, with small and sharp scissors. (the set of tweezers that I linked above includes excellent scissors!
Step 7: Carefully lift your piece from underneath your mat or push it out of your casting mold. and finish your piece by adding a cord, a chain, or any other pieces that will complete your piece. For example, we found these cute earring loops at Walmart and needed to add the “fishhook” part so you can hang them on your ears 🙂 I bought these in bulk here but you can buy a set of 4 or 5 at a craft store.
Here is a link to a video so you can see all the steps that way they make more sense: Just click here
Also, here is a PDF with the materials and the process for you, in case you would like to print it.
A couple of notes:
- Your piece will be clear on one side and a little “foggy” in the back. This is 100% normal.
- Some flowers might turn white and it is hard to identify which ones will do that, so you just have to experiment and have fun with the fun but unpredictable process 🙂 We used some dyes to “paint” some but most of them did keep their beautiful color. We used fabric dye.
- The best way to clean your mat and tools is with VINEGAR! I tried hot water, alcohol, polish remover, etc and nothing did it as vinegar did.
- I would use latex gloves if sticky solutions bothered you and wanted to care a little extra your hands.
- The epoxy that I bought is odorless, but if you purchase a different one, you might want to consider wearing a mask.
- Use this tutorial for any piece that you want to adorn with pretty flowers and cover with epoxy for long-lasting beauty!
- If you loved the pieces but don’t have the time to make them, please message us. We would LOVE to create a fun piece of jewelry for you!
- Check out https://www.instagram.com/lasflores_jewerly/ on Instagram as we will be sharing there more about this fun hobby.
And there you have it, folks. I hope you and your loved one have lots of fun creating these! If you follow my tutorial and share on FB, IG, Pinterest, etc, Please remember to give us a shout-out and share our website so others can also make these, and you help spread the love 🙂
Oh- please don’t forget to leave us a comment below if you liked this tutorial and if you have any questions.
Okay, gotta go, adios amigos!!!
Being bilingual provides a great advantage in life, expands our cultural horizons and helps us gain cognitive and academic advantages. When you learn a second language, you are also encouraging love of learning, empathy, and dedication.
If you are a homeschooling parent who understands how especial it is to become proficient in a second language and you have a set mind that this is what you want for your children, then it is important for you to support their journey at home.
But “How do I do this?” you wonder.
There are 3 essential things that you must do to be able to help your child or children achieve a comfortable level of Spanish learning on a regular basis at home.
Being from Colombia and having Spanish as my native language, has caused me to worry over my children’s language learning because I truly want them to learn the language and regret not doing it from the very beginning. I’m sure you have heard and read that the sooner you start the learning a second language, the better.
However, please know that it is never too late to start.
We decided to home educate our children about 3 years ago and one of the main purposes was to be able to focus more on Spanish learning. When we started doing research on material and different approaches we wanted to include in our homeschool, I came across an excellent amount blog posts on this topic and these are the three common recommendations, I took out of my research, which I happen to agree with 100%.
How to help your children achieve a comfortable level of a language:
- Have a clear understanding of how languages are learned. Now, please keep in mind the age of your children so you take the right approach to teach the language. If your children are under 12 years old, an Immersion approach is ideal. If you have older students (middle school-aged or above) you can still have an immersion approach, but they should also obtain direct grammar instruction. Having students in groups has great benefits. For younger learners they will just learn through experiences and all the knowledge will come “naturally”. Older students will learn efficiently because they will be able to make connections and draw parallels between their native language and the one they are trying to learn.
- Choose an appropriate curriculum or program and plan to use it consistently. Once you have assessed the type of approach that works best for your child (children), then you can take some time to do some research and find the right Spanish program. Whether it is a Spanish Immersion Class, at home unit studies, and online program and so on. Make sure you map out an easy-to-follow schedule where there is at least 20 minutes of Spanish learning per day. Consistency is key to learn a second language. Thankfully though, we live in an era where we can have access to millions of resources at our fingertips.
- Surround yourself with resources and support. No mama should try Spanish homeschooling alone!! Connecting is important. Try to make Spanish speaking friends or neighbors who can share with you about the language, their culture and can give you a word of encouragement during hard times. With a little bit of research and planning you can also join a CO-OP or find a group of people that shares the same Spanish goals as your family. Places like this one is great ways to find Spanish friends. Check your local Facebook pages or through your church. Make sure you supplement as much as possible with books, movies, music and most importantly: try to incorporate Spanish on your regular activities. Check with your local library to see if they host any activity or story time in Spanish, set up playdates and try to stay in the loop of any Spanish resources available in your area. YouTube has a wide range of excellent stories, Storytime, and videos in Spanish. Just make sure your scan those first for safety before you show them to your kids.
I cannot stress how important it is to be consistent and to bring the desired language to the usual rhythm of your house. If your child sees this is something “we do” then it’s going to become a natural thing for them. It is also important that you teach by modeling to your children how to do it. If they see you excited about it, then they will become excited too.
A couple practical things you can do are:
- Label the parts of your house in Spanish
- Write down a list of common phrases you use in your daily life and perhaps consider translating them and saying them in Spanish. Remember that Spanish friend? – Try to run those phrases though her so you can hear the proper pronunciation.
- Whether you are a family that runs on schedules or rhythms, consider writing those in Spanish and teaching them to the kids. For example, every day when it’s time to transition to a new activity, consider saying it in Spanish. For instance, say “Recoge los juguetes” If they give you the kind of response like “Whaaat?”, try to say “yes, remember? pick up the toys- Recoge los juguetes” and then say it slowly and ask them to say it with you. Simple intentionality goes a long way when learning a second language!
- Their favorite movies, shows, audiobooks? Most of them have a Spanish setting. Try playing those in Spanish for your kids. Most of the time, they won’t even complain because- hello…screens!!. this is a way to efficiently use their screen time!
I hope this ideas are helpful for you. You don’t need a whole lot to start. I’d say the only thing you need is the desire to teach them, a dictionary or a translating app, and a video site.
Did you enjoy this article?, did I leave some ideas out? share them with me in the comments.
This post is a continuation of the “New to homeschooling” series and today I will be talking about curriculum.
If you haven’t read the first article you can read it here. In it, I share how you can give the leap of faith (so to speak) and do the things that God has call you to do. It is is full of info if you are considering the idea of homeschooling.
Today, it’s all about our curriculum choices.
With so many options out there, it is hard to feel overwhelmed right from the start. That’s why I suggest taking some time to ask yourself these questions:
What is your child’s learning style?
What is the reason you decided to homeschool your children?
What beliefs are a priority in your family?
What do you want your kids to learn?
After I thought about these questions, I made a list of our priorities and discussed them with my husband. We then had a “family meeting” to get the children on board and hear any comments they had.
Without farther ado, here are our curriculum choices and the reason behind them.
4th Grade curriculum choices.
We chose Exploring Countries and Cultures as our main curriculum for many reasons. ever since I heard of it it sounded beautiful and just very practical. It is a Christian homeschooling curriculum that combines the best of Charlotte Mason’s ideas, classical education, and unit studies with a biblical worldview and global focus. We had lots of fun with it because it’s pretty much open and go and we can always be creative with it. They provide an excellent book selection that you can get from the library.
Some of the things that we have enjoyed the most have been:
- Cooking recipes from all over the world
- Enjoy learning about their cultures and the way kids live in other countries
- We have enjoyed making of fun crafts
Supplemental books for ECC:
Sticker dolly dressing around the World : my kids love to dress the figures with their authentic outfits!
Usborne Big Picture Atlas : The illustrations in this book are big, colorful and fun! full of interesting information from all over the world too!
This is How We Do It: One day in the lives of seven kids from around the world. An absolute favorite around here!
My Father’s World Kids passport: We bought a book of passport stamps and every time we “go” to a different country the kids look forward to a stamp in their passports!
Science and Nature studies:
- We Love the Usborne Living encyclopedia. A great book rich in information with wonderful illustrations
- Properties of Ecosystems I personally love the application activities this books includes in each lesson.
- Exploring Nature with Children : Now this one is by far one of our favorite nature study books. It is the curriculum that we sued on our Wild+Free Nature Gatherings! ( I totally recommend joining a W+F group. ENWC encourage us to study, explore, investigate, analyze and spend lost of time outdoors with friends! We pair it with a nature journal notebook which we just got at craft store. I recommend a mixed media one for thick sturdy pages so kids can use watercolors, paint, etc. We do a lot of fun art projects inspired in our outdoor adventures! You can find more info about Wild+Free here.
Math has been a little challenging to figure out for our children. This is our third year of doing school at home and we have finally found the right curriculum for our children.
We chose Bob Jones Math enjoy, that it includes a fun and practical STEM activity at the beginning of each chapter, the pages are fun and colorful and it includes a LOT of practice sheets. We certainly don’t do them all every time but they are nice to have for when a subject is challenging and the kids might need a little extra practice to get it down. You can buy the teachers manual which it includes the answers to all the worksheets all in one and a neat thing about Bob Jones is that they also offer tests in case that you want to check your kids skills every once in a while.
Handwriting, Spelling and Social studies:
For these three subjects I also went with Bob Jones. Their books are just beautiful, organized and most importantly they all are faith based. For these three subjects, I ordered a teachers manual for the Spelling and the Social Studies books because because there is a lot of history, dates, etc. that I may not remember at the top of my mind and because spelling is very important at our house and I like to teach each lesson before the kids go onto practicing the newly learned content.
Cursive writing is a dying art and I am determined to preserve it. In my opinion Bob Jones handwriting books are just fantastic
Faith and Bible Studies:
We recently just started this new program. It is called The Gospel Project. We heard from it from our former church back in Columbus, OH. It is a program used by many churches for Sunday school and after looking into it and comparing it to other options, I felt like it was exactly what I was looking for. It comes with a DVD full of short stories that introduces each week’s theme. I love it because they have a workbook for my younger son who is 4 and a workbook, of the same program, for my older kids; that way we can all work on it and enjoy fun activities designed for each age group. It has been wonderful to bring Bible studies back to our regular Rhythm. It is definitely drawing us near to God, we spend some time reading God’s Word, talking about the reasons behind the stories in it, we are working on Bible memorization and the best, in prayer. I can already see how it makes a difference in everyone’s day.
Pre-K Curriculum choices:
My little one is only 4 years old but he was eager to start school so I got him all the material needed but there are some things that we might repeat and add on next year once he is a little bigger. For his young age I chose MFW too as the main curriculum, and then I found the cutest math program, again through the Homeschooling community on Instagram.
He has mastered almost all of the alphabet and we are currently working on learning how to read. He is really good with numbers so we are already doing some addition, subtraction and for fun, we do Sudoku games included in the curriculum.
- My Father’s World: God’s Creation from A to Z a learning adventure that will encourage a lifetime love of exploration and discovery. The 26 hands-on, easy-to-teach thematic units focus on the wonder of God’s creation.
- Math: Kinder Nature Beginnings A supplemental math program for ages Pre-K through 3rd grade with nature as a spine. This resource is designed to work alongside any main curriculum. The purpose is simply to gently introduce various logical and mathematical skills. Since y little one is so young I do not use any other program; just this one and it has worked great for us. We love that is nature-based!!
- Language Arts: The Logic of English Foundations A: I learned about LOE 3 years ago from experienced homeschooling mamas. Without it, I would have never jumped onto teaching my little because of fear of failing since my native language is Spanish. Here we are, a year since we started and my little guy is starting to read. LOE has been ideals make perfect sense and I’m thankful for it. The handwriting part of it, however, is a bit advanced for my little guy so we will do it over again next year to cover what we skipped this year 🙂
- Reading practice: Bob Books. We LOVE them. They are fun, short and my son is learning how to read with them beautifully.
I teach a Spanish Immersion class at our house. My kids love that they get to learn Spanish with some friends! We supplement with Rosetta Stone, Rockalingua and Duolingo, that way they get a feel of a Spanish Immersion at home! If you are Rohester local, you can learn more about my Spanish classes here.
A couple last thoughts:
If you are unsure of what subjects do you need to teach your child “legally” in the U.S. It might be a good idea to check out the laws from your state. This article might help you with that:
Here is a map where you can click to read info pertaining to your state specifically:
Here, at Cedar Hill Kids Homeschool, we study the following subjects:
Bible, Language arts: handwriting, spelling, reading, and composition; Math, Science, History, Nature studies, Music, Spanish and, Physical Education.
What makes homeschooling doable is its flexibility. Even if you have multiple children. The more the merrier I would say!
How is homeschooling flexible you ask? There are many ways that you can make it work, it adjusts to your family’s needs and wants. You can also use one these ideas to make it fun, easier, and enjoyable for everybody:
- You can find multi-age curriculum, so you don’t have to isolate one program per kid. Isn’t that amazing!?
- COOPS. You can cover some subjects and they get to learn with friends!
- Outsourcing subjects. You can do this with a mama friend with expertise on certain topic or subject. You can work out a fun deal, like we did for science with a dear friend. She’s a former science teacher so we meet every so often; she teaches my kids and hers science and I teach mine and her kids Spanish , art and sewing. We all look forward to our meeting always- It’s super fun!
- Family activities. Music and other activities can be learned as a family affair. You can take a taekwondo class together, go swimming together or learn a skill/craft.
I hope you found this helpful. If any questions come up, let me know and be sure to like and/or share with your friends, I’d definitely appreciate it!
By the way, the next article of these series is about creating a workable rhythm for your family over a schedule and how to prioritize time, so stay tuned for that!
¡Hola! Are you located in Rochester, MN?- I have a great opportunity waiting for you and your family!
Bring your elementary and middle school-age kids to join my Spanish class.
I am a native Spanish speaking homeschooling mom, born and raised in Colombia (South America) but moved to the U.S in 2007. I came to this country to learn English but found love on the way!
On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, we will meet and have fun while we practice Spanish. I will be using the curriculum that I have been putting together through all the years of tutoring and teaching Spanish to kids at the elementary level.
I was a Spanish teacher for Futura Language Professionals for almost 3 years and worked for almost 3 years as a bilingual teacher for Tri-valley Opportunity Council. In addition to these, I have worked for 10+ years as a translator and for different hospitals as a medical interpreter.
Each week, we will have a fun and different topic (Farm, Shapes, Greetings, etc.). I like to make my lessons very practical and interactive. There will be singing, acting, playing games, story-time and, crafts. All while incorporating the Spanish language.
Your kids will get first hand immersion so that means they will learn the best pronunciation possible and I like to keep the group small for each class which means they will get a lot of undivided attention. We will slowly work our way up to a Spanish conversation type of class and I am planning to have extra events where parents can join us as well!
If you would like to see what my class is all about, be sure to check our FB group here
I have 4 options for you:
- Level 1: Class is designed for students that are new to Spanish or the following: Recognize numbers, alphabet, colors, shapes, greetings, body parts, and opposites. We will study the Alphabet, numbers 1-100, greetings, shapes, parts of the body, farm animals and, colors and more.
- Level 2: Class is designed for students with basic Spanish knowledge (see Level 1). Child is also able to read and write in English. We will study alphabet, numbers 100-1000000, the rest of level 1 topics plus continents, time, city, parts of the house and transportation. Child is able to read and write in English
- Level 3: Class is designed for students that have completed Level 1, Level 2 (or equivalent), have previous Spanish knowledge, and is able to read and write in English in a more advanced way). We will also study:
- Grammatical rules.
- Speaking in full sentences (beginner’s Spanish conversation).
- Expanding his/her vocabulary to more complex topics.
- After-school class: This is an option for kids that attend a school or don’t want to interrupt the regular school rhythm at home. This class combines Level 1 and level 2.
Classes meet every Tuesday morning (8:30-9:30, 10-11 am), afternoon (4-5 pm) and Wednesday afternoon (4 – 5 pm)
The class is $15/hour and you pay by the month during the first class of each month (cash or check is accepted). If interested in any of these for your kiddos, please fill out the following form.
Maestra Dayana 🙂