Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tis the Season for Parties!


As many of you know, I’ll be throwing a little party here on my blog and on my Facebook page next week, April 4-9th. This is to celebrate my 2nd year blogging, my birthday, and to celebrate you!

In case you are a new viewer, let me tell you a little about what goes on here at Spell Outloud:


I’m a former elementary school teacher who now has a classroom of 6 students at home. My oldest is 12yrs. old and my youngest is 5mo. (This is our Christmas picture---it’s the only picture with all the kids in it). We are a Christian homeschooling family living in the Midwest. My blog has nothing to do with spelling---but is a play on my last name.


I like to share activities that I do with my toddler and preschooler. I also write an ABC column over at Totally Tots which focus on Letter of the Week activities.  Here are some of my toddler/preschool features:

Read and Do: Activities centered around books
ABC Printables
Toddler Time
Bible Crafts


I also love to do reviews. The photo above was taken while reviewing an online cooking class for kids. I mainly do educational reviews, family-friendly product reviews, and children’s book reviews.


I invite you to come stop in and join the fun here next week. I’ve got several give-aways and freebies lined up. Be sure to follow along on Facebook, as special party favors will be listed there (I’ve posted a couple of sneak previews.)

If you are visiting from the Ultimate Blog Party, feel free to look around and subscribe to this blog so you don’t miss anything! Thanks for leaving me a comment letting me know you were here. :)

(Aww, my kids look so little----My Ultimate Blog Party Post from last year)


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Getting Ready to Garden

I have been gardening now for 2.5 years. Yep. I’m still a gardening newbie. I’m working my way up to eventually growing enough at one time to feed my family a salad, or to can a couple jars of green beans (I do have a family of 8!) So my garden has been more of an experiment over the last two years, but I’m learning! This year I actually took a garden planning class at our local cultural museum. My goal this year is to be able to can salsa, green beans, and homemade tomato sauce.  Oh, I thought I might experiment with making pickles too.


This is my garden at the moment. Pretty ugly. It was so cold it snowed yesterday, so I haven’t even started doing anything to the garden. I use the Square Foot gardening method and love it! I hardly have to do any weeding, which is why I never gardened before. One box is 2’x8’ and the other is 3’x8’. The lovely tablecloth on the ground is to kill the grass. I plan on putting mulch all around the garden this year.


If you look through the fence, you can see a small plot of dirt. That is another weed patch garden. I would really like to built 3 more Square Foot garden boxes out there this year. I’m not sure it will get done though. This area gets full sun all the time. I plan to plant most of my tomatoes out there this year. I also have a couple of raspberry starts that just might produce a berry or two this year (that is if the kids didn’t dig it up!)


Pretty soon though, it will be time to add some compost and turn over the soil.


So for the time-being, we’ll see if any of our seedling survive being cared for by a toddler and preschooler (They like to move the sticks around and water the plants often.)


So far so good! 

My garden last year
Another view of my garden
My garden the first year
Easy Egg Garden (Homemade Chia-Pet)


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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Latin for Children

I had never considered teaching my children Latin. I knew learning Latin roots would be helpful and thought we’d hit that eventually, but that was it---just a thought. Then I was given Latin for Children Primer A from Classical Academic Press for review. I will admit, I was not sure what to expect but was looking forward to seeing what Latin was all about.

What it is:


This is the first book out of three in the Latin for Children series. It is geared toward children in the upper elementary grades. Along with introducing vocabulary, students also learn grammar and derivatives.  The goal of Classical Academic Press is to eventually have students able to read original works in Latin.

LFC (Latin for Children) Primer A — Student text and workbook. The foundation of the curriculum

LFC Primer A Answer Key — features the actual text with answers in bold print

LFC A DVDs & Chant CD — offers chapter-by-chapter training by the author with 2 students. The chant cd contains all 240 vocabulary words chanted and sung in both the classical & ecclesiastical pronunciations.

LFC A History Reader — Read Latin stories from history that are geared toward the grammar and vocabulary being learned in each Primer.

LFC A Activity Book! — Play games and puzzles that help students master the Latin vocabulary and grammar from each Primer.

If you would like to see more, check out the sample pages.

What We Thought:

As I mentioned before, I don't teach following a classical model of education, so I had never really considered teaching my children Latin. I had never had any Latin classes as a student, so I was not familiar with anything concerning Latin. I decided to try this program out with my three oldest children: 12, 11, and 10yrs. old.

The first day we played the DVD lesson, we had some participation problems because certain students  didn’t want to chant aloud. After changing some mindsets and having them try again, things went so much better! After listening to the DVD and the CD chants for a couple of days, we were all able to understand what the presenters were saying :) Because we were so new to Latin, we stretched out the lessons to 1 1/2 - 2 weeks instead of weekly lessons.

We enjoyed learning from Dr. Perrin. He would throw in a little humor every-once-in-awhile which kept my kids’ attention. They especially liked the "How the West was Unus" dramas and went ahead to watch them all.  The student textbook did a good job of reinforcing the teaching in the DVD. This program is meaty and requires kids to learn how to conjugate verbs and decline nouns. It presented it in a way that wasn’t too overwhelming though.

This curriculum was an unexpected hit at our house! Even my 2yr. old and 4yr. old can tell you some Latin words and meanings now. If you are new to Latin, purchasing the whole bundle is the way to go. I could not have done it if I didn’t have all the components----that’s what made it easy for this Latin newbie to implement this program with my children. I saw how much my little girls liked learning too, so now I have Song School Latin on my wish-list as well.

Classical Academic Press Homepage

Latin for Children Level A bundle price: $99.95

Free Additional Latin Resources

For More Classical Academic Press Reviews See:

Disclosure: I am a member of TOS and I was given this product free for review purposes only. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Little Gorilla Craft

Letter G was the letter of the week, and we read Little Gorilla by Ruth Bornstein. This is a cute book about a little gorilla who is loved by everyone in the jungle, but when he starts to grow big, he isn’t sure if everyone will still love him.


We made a craft to show Little Gorilla growing up.

washable brown paint
brown yarn
gorilla face printable
banner paper or white cardstock
piece of colored cardstock or craft foam

First get your student’s foot full of brown paint. I covered the bottom of a plastic shoe-box with paint and had my daughters step in it and then step onto banner paper.

Next, cut out the footprint after the paint has dried. I had three of my children do this craft so that we could have 3 different sized gorillas.

After the footprint is cut-out, adhere onto colored cardstock or craft foam. Cut small pieces of brown yarn and glue onto the top of the foot.

Print and cut out the gorilla face and ears and glue onto the top of the foot.

Here is Little Gorilla growing up!

Check out what else we did for letter Gg week over at Totally Tots.

Linked to:
stART : A Mommy's Adventures
Read. Learn. Explore.
Preschool Corner

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

$2 for a Computer


To some, this might look like a glitzy scouring pad. Nothing special. Functional—maybe even pretty, but still disposable.


But to a 2yr. old, it was a computer, a telephone, a boat, and money.


My 4yr. old was very adept at using her computer. “Dad,” she said, “Can you unlock Webkinz?”

These two played with these scouring pads on and off for days. I loved seeing them use their imagination. Once they are done with them, I’ll pass them on to the older kids to use as intended. It was $2.00 well-spent! :)


Monday, March 28, 2011

Preschool Activity: Painting Squares

The other day while browsing the aisles of my local Dollar Tree, I spied one lonely sink mat sitting on the shelf. So I picked it up, put it in my cart and knew I’d figure out something to do with it---well, besides putting it in the sink! :)

I have been trying to be more intentional to include time each week to experiment with different art techniques. Since my toddler and preschooler have been working on patterns and shapes, I thought that using the sink mat as a stencil would be a fun project to try.

preschool art supplies 

checkerboard sink mat or stencil
child-friendly paints
foam rollers or foam pouncer/daubers
masking tape
watercolor paper or cardstock

preschool art: masking

Place the piece of watercolor paper onto the table. Line up the stencil and tape the edges down. Then tape (mask) every other row.

preschool art: rolling paint

Have your child pick one color and roll/paint over the surface of the grid, making sure the exposed squares are painted.

preschool art: more paint

Next tape over the row of squares that were previously painted. Remove the tape from the rows that need to be painted. Pick a coordinating color and paint.

preschool art: square art

Remove all the tape and unveil your square masterpiece! You can leave it as is, or use it as a background for another art project.

-- Use Unifix cubes or other objects to make pattern trains.

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Toddler Activities: Tea and Trees

toddler activities: pouring

My 2yr. old loves her tea set. She actually filled up the tea pot with water herself. Then she poured everyone a cup. What a great, natural way to practice some practical life skills (and clean the floor at the same time ;)

toddler activities: rock transfer

These smooth rocks were used for another activity, but she asked to play with them. I gave her a bowl and a tray and she spent some time putting them in and out of the bowl (I love her little tongue sticking out!)

catch Picasso's Rooster

One of the books we read this week was Catch Picasso’s Rooster by Julie Appel and Amy Guglielmo. Both my 2yr. old and 4yr. old loved this book and asked to read it over and over. The book is a wonderful introduction to art for young children. The easy-to-repeat phrases and the fact that children can touch and feel an aspect of the artwork made this a perfect book for toddlers. There are more in this series and I am looking to add them to our collection.

toddler activities: painting

After reading so much about art, we decided to have an art day and experiment with different types of brushes and paint. I taped banner paper onto the table and let my 2yr. old try out different brushes(We used brushes similar to this brush set, except I found mine at Hobby Lobby.) We also did another painting project which will be in another blog post :)

toddler activities: planting a tree

The kids also helped Papa plant trees at his house.  This tree was planted especially for my 2yr. old and 4yr. old. This is a family tradition for each grandkid to help plant a special tree with Papa. I think this is a dwarf cherry tree, but I can’t remember for sure. The girls loved hanging out with their Papa.

These were some of the highlights of our week!

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Tot School Best toys for toddlers