Story Book Lessons

Preschoolers and Kindergarten aged kids LOVE a good story.  How do you know if it’s a ‘good’ story for 3-6 year olds?

1) They will request it to be read again…and again…and again.

Although you may be tiring of reading the same story over and over, try to keep your enthusiasm!  Multiple readings increase your child’s vocabulary, improves listening skills, and builds a sense of story.  It opens up opportunities to briefly discuss story elements (sequence of events, characters, setting, beginning, middle, end, etc.).  Most importantly, rereading books generates enjoyment and positive memories/experiences of interacting with you and books – creating a foundation to build the love of learning for years to come!

2) They aren’t completely quiet as you read.

Do you hear your child trying to chime in on some of the words or phrases as you are reading? That’s a wonderful sign that you’ve found a perfect book with engaging text! The text in the book is probably repetitive, predictable, contains rhyme, or silly/nonsense words.  It may even be able to be sung. 

3) They ask questions and/or make observations.

Are your kids making connections between the illustrations and what is being read aloud in the text? Are they making predictions about what they think might happen next?  This shows they are interested and making connections!  They may be able to relate to the characters (people and animals) and look forward to turning the page and seeing what happens to them!

4) They continue to refer to the story long after it is over.

Do you overhear your child spontaneously retelling the story to someone else? Do they make statements in their play and everyday living referencing some connection back to the book? Do they desire to act out parts of the story?  These are positive indications that you’ve found a great book for them!

Whether teaching in a Kindergarten classroom or reading to my young children at home, these were the signs that a ‘good’ book had been discovered!

Over at Hubbard’s Cupboard, I have listed more than 25 ‘good’ books to use with preschoolers and kindergarten children.  Each book link gives ideas for rereading the book over a period of five days and lessons to accompany each story. May you be able to adapt these story lesson ideas and use them within your own home or classroom to encourage a love for reading!

Ten Red Apples  It Started As An Egg  Caps For Sale

Story Lessons

What are some books that your 3-6 year olds ask to have read again and again?

Bible Reading As Kids Grow

From cover to cover on every page God tells us something about Himself… Look for Him in His Word.  Open the covers of the Bible and discover the great God of the universe, who needs nothing and yet who left heaven to come as a man to die for sin so that we could become His children.
~ from Sally Michael in her children’s devotional God’s Word

Bible Reading as Kids Grow

As you read the Bible aloud, young children can understand Truth in Scripture and can begin to see God’s character revealed.  Throughout the Bible, God shows Himself to be all powerful, holy, the righteous judge, merciful, gracious, loving, faithful,  and true (as well as many other qualities).  In each passage and story, we should be able to ask, ‘What does this tell us about God? How does this point us to Jesus?’

If you are looking for ways to incorporate reading and studying Scripture with various ages of children, check out Bible Reading at Hubbard’s Cupboard.  There, I’ve shared lots of different ways we’ve incorporated Bible reading as a family in the past as well as some simple methods for encouraging individual Bible reading as children grow.

It brings joy to this mama’s heart to be in the Word with our kids as well as to see them continue in the Word on their own!

Solidifying Science Concepts

Over the past several years our children have studied, explored, and enjoyed delving deep into science concepts using the Apologia Young Explorer series by Jeannie Fulbright.  I like the author’s tone in which she writes directly to the kids, how there are hands on experiments and ‘try this’ areas throughout the chapters, the biblical worldview and young earth creation focus throughout each text, and the depth that each book in the Exploring Creation series provides – not just lots of surface level ideas. 

We also utilize Apologia’s corresponding science journals, especially for our upper elementary aged kids, with great success. The upper level journals provide note taking spaces, copywork, vocabulary crosswords, and cut apart booklets or lapbook type sheets for each chapter – all of which help our kids to develop more focused attention and to solidify and review the science concepts being studied.

For a few of the books, I have found it beneficial to create a notebook just with our youngest learners in mind.  Please hop over to Hubbard’s Cupboard and take a peek!  They love having a notebook designed just for them that they can use to engage with the science concepts at their own level as their older siblings work in the Apologia journals.

   Apologia Young Explorer Science Series     

We have free printable notebooks and additional projects for the following science topics…

My Nature Notebook: From Seed to Plant  
My Nature Notebook: Birds, Bats, and Bugs  
My Ocean Creatures Notebook  
Animals in My World 
My Body: God’s Amazing Design

From Seed to PlantBirds Bats and BugsOcean CreaturesAnimals in My WorldMy Body: God's Amazing Design

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The notebooks can be used fully, in conjunction with the Apologia books (our first choice =) ), or pick and choose a few pages to print and use to support and enhance your own theme/science learning!

Meal Planning for Busy Moms


Oh, busy mama.  I know that you’re tired.  It’s late afternoon and you’ve almost survived another hectic homeschool day. The clean laundry is dumped out over the couch.  The baby’s about to awake from his afternoon nap.  One child is still working nearby, trying to correct their math.  Two kiddos are sent outside to play, but before closing the door, one looks up and asks the dreaded question…

‘What’s for dinner, mom?’

Stop!  Let’s halt this scenario. 
This daily question doesn’t have to be faced with apprehension.

Here are a few easy steps that have kept this mama of five sane over the last several years…

1)  List the Main Dish
Make a list of 20-30 main dish dinners that your family enjoys. When plotting out our meals on the Menu Plan sheet (step 2), I refer to my Main Dish List sheet which contains about 25+ meals that we can rotate through.  Having a Main Dish List makes the chore of planning meals for each night of the week so much quicker!  It means that I don’t have to recreate a meal each time.  I just need to choose one and write it in!

2) Print and Plot
I use a printable Menu Plan sheet for each week in which I chart out our dinners. I like the sheets because I can add any notes about activities we are doing each day, evening commitments, a reminder to thaw a meal the day before it is needed, etc.  The sheet also has a sidebar to list items required to purchase.  I usually plan meals for 2-3 weeks at a time (marking them in pencil for flexibility), utilizing my Main Dish List.  Although planning for several weeks may sound daunting, I’ve found that it actually saves me time and mental energy in the long run. 

3) Shop, Wash, & Chop
Once you’ve made your meal plan and have a list in hand, you are ready to shop!  Since you are planning in advance, you could easily choose to visit the store less frequently, but our family still gets groceries weekly.  That’s just how we roll.  You may wish to wash and cut any fresh fruits and vegetables after returning from the store in order to save you even more time during the week as well.

4)  Follow the Plan
As much as possible, try to stick to the meal plan that you have written.  It can save both time and money.  However much you plan though, it is inevitable that you’ll choose to have company over at the last minute or have an activity come up that can throw off your meal plan.  If you wrote your plan in pencil, you can easily switch a couple of meals around or circle them as a reminder to save them for your next round of meal planning.

One last suggestion…. Consider choosing meals that can either be prepared in the crockpot or can be doubled and frozen.  It isn’t much trouble to either double a meal or divide it in half for two 8 by 8 dishes.   By doubling or splitting the portion (depending on your family size), you can then eat a meal that night AND freeze an identical meal for a future date!  (Do make sure to keep track of what’s available in your freezer.)

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The ‘What’s for Dinner’ question should be anticipated daily.  With one quick look at your Menu Plan sheet, you’ll have the answer!  Now, if only the meal would make itself. =)

This is just one way we’ve attempted to make meal planning manageable in our own home.  What meal planning suggestions do you have for busy mamas?

Meal Planning Printables

FREE Meal Planning Printables!
Printable Main Dish List– to list your family’s favorite dinner meals
Printable Menu Plan– a sheet to plan your dinners and grocery list
Printable Freezer Meals – a sheet to keep track of what’s in your freezer

Crockpot Ideas and Freezer Meals on Pinterest

5 Things No One Ever Told Me About Having Teens

1. They will rise to the challenge.

So many times, I have heard disparaging comments directed at teens – for their lack of motivation and desire to be involved, for being prone to trouble, etc.  Those kind of remarks seem to set a really low bar for teens and young people.  But, can I let you in on a secret?  Teens can easily rise to your expectations..and greatly surpass them.  Encourage them to break the cultural norm of low expectations and remind them to strive to do what Colossians 3:23-24 tells all of us…. 

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart,
as working for the Lord, not for men,
since you know that you will receive an inheritance
from the Lord as a reward.
It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

        Encourage them to  follow 1 Timothy 4:12’s advice of…

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young,
but set an example for the believers
in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

        Also, the following books (in addition to the Bible) are great in the hands of a
       preteen or young teen. They come highly recommended by our oldest.
          – Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris
          – Start Here by Alex and Brett Harris
          – Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper
          – Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus by Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg
          – The Power of a Praying Teen by Stormie Omartian
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       Encourage your teens to work hard, to pursue things that are worthwhile, and to 
       remember that everything should be done for God’s glory.

2. They can own their faith.

Being raised in a Christian home is a huge blessing, but there is also a hidden challenge.  It is possible to attend services each week, go to Sunday School, memorize Scripture, and be around other Christians without letting all of that head knowledge ever reach your heart.  You can ‘feel’ like you are a Christian just because you were raised in that atmosphere.  However, it takes the Holy Spirit reaching your heart with His Word and Truth.  At some point, you either accept or reject the Truth you have been taught.  Teens, who truly love the Lord and have a saving faith in Jesus alone, are prepared to own their faith and take a stand for what they believe.  They are eager to dig deeper into His Word with others and on their own.  They are willing to share the hope of the Gospel with others.  Pray for the Holy Spirit to convict your teens of their sin and that your teens will truly own their faith in Christ.

3. They want to serve and have purpose.

Teens need to feel valued and to be useful.  Provide opportunities for them to serve in meaningful ways– in the home, in the neighborhood, in the community, in your church, etc.  By serving well, they gain respect, trust, and confidence. Service opportunities provide them a bigger vision of God’s world, broadens their perspective, and builds compassion for others.  Also, teens really do make great leaders and role models…and the younger kids love them!  Encourage your teens to seek creative ways to minister and serve others – especially your more introverted ones.

4. They are constantly learning and growing.

At this point in their young lives, teens are blossoming and discovering who they truly are and what their interests are for the future.  This is the perfect time in their life to question, research, experience, and try out things they may be excited about  – writing, photography, programming, sports, theater, debate, drawing, technology, music, etc.  They need the freedom to attempt new things under-girded by your loving support.  They will learn from both their successes and failures, but within a safety net of grace.  They may never again have this much time, freedom, grace, and assistance to discern the direction in which God is leading them.  Attempt to provide experiences that will lead your teens to discover their interests and passions.

5. They still need you…just in a different way.

When younger, our children needed constant supervision, direction, structure, and ‘how-to’s.  As they have become older, they have gradually gained more and more independence – in their play, in their chores and responsibilities, in their relationships with God and others, in their education, and in their goal setting.  We are still their parent, role model, and protector, but our role is gradually shifting from rule enforcer to encourager, cheerleader, listener, and guidance counselor – continuing to point them to God’s Word as they learn to wisely manage their own lives.  They still need to know that you love them, care for them, and are always there for them!  Be intentional with your time, words, and actions in order to express your love and commitment to your teens.

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    I’m encouraged and blessed as I see our our young teens, preteen, and their friends branch out and become who God has called them to be!  I pray that I am not in a tiny bubble here –  I see great hope in this next generation and how God is raising them up and working in and through them!  May our teens continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ – keeping their hearts and minds focused on Him. 
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