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Jan 28, 2013

Reading Through the ABCs: Letter L


My very favorite book for the letter L was Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney. This is a story about a mama llama putting her baby llama to bed. When mama llama leaves the room, baby llama feels lonely and calls out for a drink of water. Mama llama answers and says she'll be there soon, however, she gets caught on the phone. At first baby llama waits patiently, but as time goes on he works himself up into a fine tizzy.

Liam and I enjoyed this book and he was laughing out loud at some of the pictures in the book, so I was really surprised to see some one star reviews on Amazon. One complaint was that the pictures in the book of the baby llama getting upset was upsetting for some little children. My little guy isn't particularly sensitive to this, so it didn't turn out to be an issue for us, but perhaps it is something to keep in mind.


These two books by Sebastien Braun have lovely illustrations. The words are simple and touching. They make great bed time stories!


Our alphabet book for this week. A whole alphabets worth of industrious little peas.


Leaping Lizards is one of the MathStart books written by Stuart Murphy. I love these little books. There are three different levels of these books. Liam and I are currently going through the level one books. Each books presents a math concept in a fun way. The concept introduced in this book is skip counting by fives and tens.


Simple text and her signature illustrations are what make books by Denise Fleming so special. Liam has loved every book we've read that was written by her. Lunch was no exception. One day Liam asked for this one to be read three times in a row. I'm pretty sure it was a hit!

Learning with Liam: Letter M

Liam and I were working on the letter M this week during learning time. It was another rough week for us, but I did escape without pulling out all of my hair, so at least there is that.

Here Liam is working on his letter M craft pages from All About Reading Pre-1. Liam really enjoys doing these craft pages. I don't usually make him follow the directions on the back exactly when he's doing these. A lot of times he has his own idea about what he wants to do and that's fine with me. I've been saving these craft pages each week and this week I put them all together in a binder for him. He really liked it, and sat down several times this week and looked through his book. I could see on his face how proud he was of his work.

Since I've complained that Liam has struggled with some of the activities in this program previously, I want to update now and say that he has started to get the hang of some of the skills that were previously causing frustration. I'm really pleasantly surprised. My boisterous little man walks around making up silly rhymes, and telling me things like "Flower starts with F, Mom." It's so cool!

Liam is a very active little boy (is there anything other kind?) so I try to include activity during our learning time too, like in this picture. We sing Here We Go Round the Letter M, while we walk/run around the letter M (I walk and Liam runs circles around me. Seriously!)

Here he is doing some of the activities from the COAH Letter of the Week curriculum. I think you can find many of these activities for free here.


Here are some of the math activities we did this week. I really like the number order coloring pages from 3 Dinosaurs. You can find them on this page. The number three handwriting page is from Little Monkey Printables. These are $2 here on Teachers Notebook. Liam loves the pattern block pages and did several of them this week. Pretty much every single one that I have printed out and available to him.


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Jan 23, 2013

Free Valentine's Day Mini-Pack

Valentine's Day is just around the corner, so here is a free mini-pack for you to share with the preschooler in your life. My little boy is 44 months old, so I tailored these activities to his skill level, which is probably pretty typical for his age. Please feel free to share this, but if you do remember to link back to this post on my blog and not to the file itself. I hope you have fun doing these with your kiddos! Click the image below to get your copy.


Also check out the Valentine's Tot Pack from last year if you have a younger child!

Jan 16, 2013

Fun With Books: Lemonade in Winter

I was searching for books for the letter L at the library last week when I came upon this one. I had been scanning the shelves for winter books as well, so it was perfect that it fit both criteria.

Sometimes I have ideas for the books I want for the week, but many of the times it is just me randomly searching the library's shelves for a book that has a word with our letter in it. Or doing a search on Amazon for books with certain thematic elements, then requesting them online through my library. I like it when I end up with living books, like this one, that teach something in a way that doesn't seem so much like teaching to children.

Lemonade in Winter: A Book About Two Kids Counting Money by Emily Jenkins is about a little girl who, along with her younger brother, decides to set up a lemonade stand in winter. Of course, her parents try to discourage her from the idea, but little Pauline is so excited by the idea that she hardly hears their words. As the title of the book suggests, it's essentially a book about two kids counting money.

There were quite a few lessons presented in the book and probably countless ways you could expand upon it, but here is what I chose to do with Liam.

I didn't get any pictures for this first part, because this was sort of an impromptu lesson. First I got out a handful of coins from our coin jar and laid them on the table in front of Liam. I showed him each of the different types of coins: pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. Then we counted out the value of each of the larger coins with pennies explaining that five pennies is equal to a nickel, ten pennies equals a dime, and twenty-five pennies equals a quarter. it was good counting practice too! After that I asked Liam which he thought would be easier to carry, twenty-five pennies or one quarter? I think he was being silly when he answered the pennies. I put the pennies in one hand and the quarters in the other. His little hands weren't even able to hold all the pennies, so he quickly saw that it was easier to carry the quarter. I explained that is one reason we have different types of coins to represent different values.

I then asked him to sort the coins into the different types and started off each pile for him. He did have trouble distinguishing the nickels from the quarters (the book also mentioned the nickels were tricky to tell apart), but the other coins he was able to sort pretty easily.

Then I made a quick graph and we graphed how many of each of the different types of coins we had. I know it's sloppy, but little boys attention spans go quickly, so I wasn't trying to make it perfect. We talked about which coins we had the most of, which we had the least of, and the type of coins that had the same amount.

I also tried to incorporate a skip counting (by 5s) lesson, but I think that part was over Liam's head at this point, so I didn't push on that. However, if your child is old enough to understand it would be easy to extend it into a skip counting lesson as well.

We enjoyed this book, and I was pleased with all the learning we managed to incorporate after reading it. Definitely check this one out from your library and have some fun teaching your children about coins!

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Jan 15, 2013

Alphabet Crafts: Free Q is for Quail Template

Good morning! I'm sharing the next printable craft template with you this moring, Q is for Quail. These printable craft templates are some of the most popular posts on my blog. It makes me happy that so many people find these helpful! Just click the image below to get your copy. Hope you enjoy doing this one with your kiddos!


Jan 14, 2013

Reading Through the ABCs: Letter K


I'm still trying to get caught up on these reading through the ABCs posts. Today I'm posting the letter K and I hope to get the post for the letter L up later this week. Once I get that done I'll be caught up and moving along with the Learning with Liam blog posts again.

Before I started writing these posts I did an internet search for something similar. When I couldn't find anything, I decided to share the books I came up with for each letter here on the blog because I figured others might be looking for something like this as well. Thus, Reading through the ABCs was born. Sometimes I've found it challenging to find books for a particular letter (like this week and last week), so I've decided to try to update these posts with new books as I find them by either leaving my two cents as a review or by adding them to an Amazon widget.

I am an Amazon affiliate, but like I say in almost every Reading through the ABCs post, I check out most of these books through our local library. I simply could not afford to purchase every book we read. Also, since my only real capacity is a homeschooling mother, not a children's book expert, it's a great way for me to screen the books before deciding whether I want to purchase them or not. It's worked out great for me.

Alright, on to books for the letter K.

We read the Three Little Kittens by Paul Galdone. It's a retelling of the classic story. I like Galdone's versions of these stories because I like the illustrations and he sticks pretty closely to the original tale as I remember it. I liked this one too, however, both my husband and I felt it ended on a somewhat odd note. It's been long enough ago that I can't remember exactly what happened at the end, but I do remember that it struck both of us as somewhat odd and we looked at each other as if to say, "What the heck?" right as he read the last page in the book.


This was our alphabet book for the week. A creative alphabet book that shares something about a little girl and her new kitten with each letter that is shown.


I have a soft spot for the Berenstain Bears. I didn't read them as a child, but I'm glad I can share them with Liam because I think these are great books for children. I think the storyline is pretty much a giveaway here.


You can tell I had something of a kitten theme going with the books I chose. To be honest it was about the only thing that started with a K that I could find books for. I didn't particularly like this choice because I was afraid it would be confusing to Liam after going through C is for cat, but he made the distinction himself at some point and said, "C is for cat and K is for kitten." during the week. It took me by surprise when he said it is why I remember.

I've written about Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes before. This book is so much fun! The illustrations are all in black and white, and the expressions on the kitten's face are captured so well. It was also the winner of the 2005 Caldecott Medal. It's about a kitten who mistakes the moon for a big bowl of milk.


Plant a Kiss by Amy Krouse Rosenthal is a story about a little girl who plants a kiss, waters it, tends it and watches as it grows. Then instead of keeping it to herself, she shares it with the world. This is a sweet story about sharing and generosity. Liam was rather intrigued by the idea of planting a kiss and questioned it just like the children in the book. Great book for children.


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Jan 12, 2013

Learning with Liam: Letter L

I'm sorry that posts have been pretty scarce this past week. We were getting back into the flow of our learning time routine and it made for a booger of a week. We made it through though, and by the end of the week Liam's behavior was shaping up.

We continued on with our All About Reading Level Pre-1 lessons. I know I've complained that Liam wasn't understanding some of the additional lessons on rhyming and such, but now I must admit that something about these lessons must have sunk in because making up silly rhymes is one of his favorite things now. And he does it quite frequently throughout the day! Here he is coloring in his letter crafts for the letter L.

We did our wiki stick and playdough letter Ls. He enjoys doing these hands on activities.

Here are some of the letter L activities we did from the Confessions of a Homeschooler's Letter of the Week curriculum. I believe you can find the letter L activities for free on this page. I really like using this. Most of the activities don't require any preparation, but when there is preparation it's pretty minimal. Even though I don't use every single printable it's been way more than worth the $10.


We did a letter L craft this week, which I haven't been that great about doing this year, but I found the idea for this super easy craft on KidsSoup and it only took about 5 minutes for us to get it done.

Here are some of the math activities we did this week. We do a number of the week each week along with our letter, even though I don't usually mention much about it. This week our number was 2. The color in number order puzzle and the firework roll and cover printable are both from 3 Dinosaurs.


Here are pics of Liam engaged in some fine motor and gross motor activities. Sacramento is an odd sort of place temperature wise. The temperature can get quite low at night, below freezing even, but on nice days when the sun is shining during the day, it will be quite temperate at around 50 degrees or so at this time of year. We're taking advantage of this to get out and get some activity in.

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