Review Alphabet Fun-Schooling Journal

So, let get down to the nitty gritty. We all know we can buy Alphabet books galore from the Dollar Tree and we have them! But this Alphabet Fun-Schooling Journal is so much more lovely and my Cupcake picks it 9 times out of 10.

Not only does Journal have lovely illustrations, but it also has prewriting practice before each letter and arrow instruction for each letter as well. And since I didn’t focus on correct penmanship of writing the letters with Pumpkin (most Dollar Tree books don’t include this) this is a feature very important to me.

This post does contain affiliate links, but as always only to things we love.

Cupcake is 6 and since we are not starting “formal” schooling with her till next year, I shared more about that here, I let her pick and choose what pages she wants to do in the journal. This relaxed approach is working quite well, especially since she wants to learn. I simply say “Its Alphabet journal time, what letter are you going to do?” and more often then not she will invite mama or little brother to color with her when she is done.

At the end of the journal are comic book style drawing and then writing pages. Cupcake loves drawing stories and then narrating them for me to jot them down. We are unintentionally very much a Brave Writer Family…I think story telling might be in their blood.

I’ve also decided to use this same Journal as a “Brother Book”! Like I mentioned above, Pumpkin didn’t learn all the proper formation of his letters. Don’t get me wrong, he draws them correctly but writing them correctly has been a struggle. And it’s “little kid work” to work on it again. So, the smart mama I am…

I picked up another one of these Alphabet Fun-Schooling Journals and since Macaroon isn’t ready to write yet he gets to do the coloring page and the pre-writing part of each “lesson” while Pumpkin teaches him the letter name, sound and how to write the letter they are working on, with those arrow instructions. When he is done with that part, Macaroon lets him help color too. (This is a great time for ME to get some one-on-one time in with Cupcake or work on my own Mom-School.)

Not so secret hope…I hope the folks at Thinking Tree make a variation of this same book with cursive as well!


Review Thinking Tree Spelling Time C Journal

So the kids are playing freely with their dramatic imaginations when all of a sudden Pumpkin is pretending one of there characters is from Belgium. To which we all have a fun fact sharing time and it ends with him pretending to be the little boy peeing fountain that Belgium’s like to dress up in costume. Oh, if only I had gotten that photo!

And then because we had recently just enjoyed learning as a family about the Netherlands with Stories From Around The World, we were able to talk about the Netherlands being north of Belgium and that one of the languages they speak is the same. “They don’t speak Belgium, they speak German and French and Dutch just like Jasper!”

The study of Belgium wasn’t a country I wrote up in our lesson plan, but it is a place included in the Spelling Time C Journal Pumpkin is working on. And if I had any thought that maybe we should be doing something else, the last few minutes of their play confirmed that this journal is the perfect choice for us right now.

I shared more here about how Pumpkin is using this journal as part of his Minimalist Learning Plan for this year. But because we are so loving the journal I thought it deserved it’s own post.

This post does contain affiliate links, but as always, only to things we love.

From A-Z there are 26 animals for nature study, hello science! There are 26 musical instruments, music history and appreciation right there…perhaps some play if I’m feeling brave. And 26 places! Countries, cities or states in such variety with only your child’s interest to limit what you are learning about them. And then there is advanced spelling words, vocabulary, creative writing, coloring and drawing too. This Journal is a gold mind!

This journal really is the perfect addition for us to our family symposium and math fun-schooling and language arts. It provides just the right amount of research of a variety of subjects to provide a feast of knowledge. The lessons are as short or as long as you and your child wish to make them. And if you have younger siblings there are corresponding journals A & B that go along well with it if you wan to include them. Personally, we are enjoying working this journal into our one on one time each week.

Now, you may note that this journal that we are using is for ages 10 and up. Well, Pumpkin is not 10 yet but I’m not asking him to do this journal all on his own. We do work on it together, sometimes he writes his facts other times I write them for him while he dictates to me. He watches videos, reads books or uses read to me books from Epic for his research. If we are unable to find anything from those sources we have, mama will take to google and read content to him.  We are both enjoying this timing together and it’s been a great way to gently teach him how to research on his own.

I had originally thought we would do one letter a week, but because we Slow Loop and Roadschool it’s taking longer then that. But since we are not really using it for spelling that works well for us. If you are also looking for something simply to expand your child’s interest base and the core journals feel a bit overwhelming to you and them I suggest giving this one a try. It might be just what your child needs to inspire their own delight directed learning and prepare them for a core journal like this Minecraft one on our shelf.



Winnie-The-Pooh Party & Audiobook Review

This morning I woke up to my oldest dressed in his Christoper Robin Costume and his bear dressed in his Winnie-The-Pooh costume. Their bed was set up clean and neat with his old Pooh Bear blanket hung like a banner.

This boy of mine melts my heart all the time! He is all for pirates and zombies and studying WW2 but he also loves Winnie-The-Pooh. I credit this love to our Winnie-The-Pooh audiobook.

This audio-recording of the book is so very lovely and it’s all of them! And the narrators are British, they do a much better job of reading these stories then I could.  I find myself fully enchanted and giggling at the original story. (Disney does a good job but A.A.Milne is brilliant!)

I know that most of us consider that Silly Ol’ Bear something for babies, but the original story really speaks to the heart of a child heading off or recently off to school. That being said, my Pumpkin thinks Christoper Robin should have been home schooled so he could have had more time for adventures with his friend.

Well thanks to his love we all had a lovely morning in the 100 acre woods and there is a little sister and little brother who are discovering the wonder much earlier then he or even I did.

Shhh…I totally plan on buying my one day grand-babies all things Pooh!

For more audiobook suggestions check out Listing Time.

This post does contain affiliate links, but only to things I love.

Morning Nature Study

I recently listed to another great podcast over at Read Aloud Revival, all about nature study. What an inspiration. If you can take the time to listen, I suggest you do! It might fuel you with an abundant of inspiration as well. The big take away for me from the podcast was the use of living books for nature study.

I’m already a fan of living books and have a virtual book shelf full of them, but I’ve not been putting them to use like I could. Then I remembered when I wrote about the Slow Loop that Morning Time Nature Study is a perfect time to work those long beautiful books in. And use literature, like the above the podcast talks about, as some of those nature study readings all well.

This doesn’t mean we don’t get outside and study nature in person. It also doesn’t mean we don’t utilize other sources like movies or television shows. We will just do that at a different part of the day.

Here are a list of the books we have on our current reading list for our Morning Slow Loop.

Because we travel and shelf space is limited most of these books live on my kindle. We are currently reading Bear Brownie and it’s delightful to even hear Macaroons narrations from the readings. If shelf space wasn’t limited I would so very much rather have an illustrated copy of the book.

This post does contain affiliate links but only to things that I love.

Listening Time

If you are an introverted mama like I am, or if your kids no longer nap and you need a quite time activity for everyone (with secret hopes that they will all take a nap anyway). Or if your just tired of being the one to speak and you need a moment from listing to their non stop narration. (Anyone else with extroverted family members?) May I suggest Listing Time!

Listing Time is choosing an audio-story, educational teaching or music to listen to. Pretty simple isn’t it. Listing Time is also a part of our Slow Loop for when we listen as a family, but we also listen during some one on one time and on our own.


Today, my oldest woke up way too early and was super emotional and we ALL needed a break. So I had them make a bed on the floor and I turned on Ballet Stories. We listened to two of them and all felt happier when we were done.

I have Listing Time with my children but I also have Listing Time by myself. Podcasts or audio-books via headphones while I watch my children play outside or while I do some stand still housekeeping. Dishes and laundry are a great time to sneak in some listing time for mama. Right now I’m listing The Zoo Keepers Wife via Prime and its captivating! It is one I for sure will listen to with the kids when they are older, so much history and nature in it. Total living book and the narration is beautiful!

Sometimes I will listen while the kids are within hearing but otherwise occupied with play. Pumpkin discovered Jane Austin this way and was captivated by the BBC audio-drama  and fell love with Anne as well just as I did when I was his age in the same fashion.

“Mom, you may NOT listen to this book with out me! This is a book we have to share together….okay?”

Like I’m going to deprive him the love of literature or Anne or the quality time sharing books together. Books are my favorite thing and so far he is my book buddy.

Audio-books are a favorite of ours. Before we hit the road we would check out CD’s from the library, after we became a full time traveling family investing in Audible was worth it for us. And since I still lean towards the frugal side I take full advantage of my membership.

So each month I pay my monthly subscriber fee to Audible and that fee gives me a credit. I then make sure that each credit I receive is used on books that cost more then what I pay for the monthly subscription. There are even search features to help narrow that down! You can Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks.

I will also buy  eBooks using the FREE Kindle Reading App and choose the add narration feature, I have gotten some great deals on books that way. And if you happen to already have Kindle Unlimited you can get the audio on lots of books without actually buying the ebook and instead just purchasing narration. (FYI Kindle Unlimited is AMAZING and feeds my book addiction and they have an amazing selection of children books as well. They even have a 30-Day Free Trial!)

These are some of our favorite Audible books so far. I will try to keep this list updated as we discover new books we love.

Also, not all narrators are wonderful. I super suggest that you listen to the sample of the book before you make your purchase to make sure the narrators voice is pleasing to your ear.

This post does contain affiliate links but only to things that I love.

Our Fun-Schooling with Minecraft part 2

Y’all, the creators over at Thinking Tree have done it again! They have made another Minecraft Fun-Schooling Journal and this time is geared to the 6-8 crowd or younger readers.

While the first journal has a mining theme, this new one is an animal and farm theme. So for us this focus is extra awesome because now big brother gets to teach little Pastries about subjects they are learning about too.

I was given a copy of this new journal as a PDF for my honest review and let me tell you… I like it even more then the first journal. But maybe because it meets more of the needs my son. Plus this journal has way more colored pages!

This journal includes:

  • Reading
  • Handwriting
  • Logic
  • Spelling
  • Classical Literature
  • Classical Music
  • Mathematics (My son just about freaked out when he found out that he gets to not only use Minecraft but also “bricks” for math.)
  • Addition, Subtraction and Multiplication Practice
  • Animals and Habitats
  • Geography
  • Computer Skills
  • Building & Design
  • Creative Comics
  • Research & Library Skills
  • Unit Studies (based on the students favorite topics)
  • Poetry
  • Brain Games from Dyslexia Games A & B

I still suggest the PDF of this journal because of the beautiful color pages, ability to print for more then one child and adjust the lessons per your need. However they are also selling the journal HERE and in black and white on Amazon.

This post does contain affiliate links, but only to things I love.

First Virtues: a book review

Generally I find toddler books that are to inspire “virtues” into children well…LAME. So when one of my fellow Charlotte Mason loving mama friend suggested First Virtues by Dr. Mary Manz Simon I appreciated her suggestion but I wasn’t in a hurry to go out and buy it. However, I did check my local library and they had a copy of Kitty Shows Kindness. Well, before our first reading was over my 4 and 2 year old were putting into practice what they were hearing. And now a week later a simple reminder of “be kind like kitty” speaks volumes for all my children.

Now before you think older brother (7) is not going to get anything out if this book, or that it will be too baby for him (and if it were just him it would be), he is getting the message too. Plus the ability to be the one who gets to READ the story to little sister and brother himself. Something big brother really enjoys is being the one to “teach” the little two.

Our full set of First Virtues arrived today, and I’m excited to choose our next virtue to focus on for the week. We purchased the hard cover compilation book and at the end of each story is some encouragement and suggestions for mom and dad too. By the way, I think this book would be a stellar addition to Before FIAR!

Here are the books that are included in my volume of First Virtues:

  • Kitty Shows Kindness
  • Piglet Tells the Truth
  • Bunny Loves Others
  • Duckling Is Patient
  • Tiger Forgives
  • Puppy Makes Friends
  • Squire Says Thank You
  • Bear Obeys
  • Lamb Is Joyful
  • Lion Can Share
  • Panda Is Polite
  • Koala Does His Best

***This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links I may receive financial compensation. That means more books for me to review for you!***