Week in Review: Easter Week

We have had a great two weeks. It’s been at least that long since I’ve done a week in review.

I’ve eased up on Raisin. I’ve given him and myself less pressure to get things done. As a result, we sleep late, eat late, do less school, play more, and feel happier. Continue reading

Toddler School: Shapes Fun (Math Madness Wednesday)

I have noticed that my toddler, Strawberry, does not recognize shapes: she knows heart, moon, and star, but not the basics like circle and square. She calls ovals “footballs” and gets excited when she sees them though! I have been thinking for weeks that we needed to focus on learning the shapes.

When I saw that Krista’s Math Madness Wednesdays this week is about shapes this weeks, I thought it was time to put some ideas into action. Continue reading

Mentor Monday: Poetry Learning with Joyful Noise

This week’s Mentor Monday is about poetry picture books for kids, the same as last week’s subject. I realize I’m two days late here; it has been a crazy week in terms of getting any free time.

Nevertheless, it’s almost good we waited, because I get to write about what we did this morning: learning with Joyful Noise. Continue reading

How to Read a Poem: Billy Collins for Kids

It is not as hard as you may think, reading a poem. Maybe you came to this page because you are searching for the elusive answer. Maybe you have found your way to poetry and are curious to see how I intend to show reading a poem via this blog post.

Or maybe you are here to join in the 2014 Poetry Celebration and Contest!

No matter how you got here, this is what I want you to remember: I cannot “teach” you to read poetry in a single blog post, because there is no right way to read a poem.

I believe one of the most important things a teacher or parent can do is instill a love of learning into poems. How do you read a poem? You start with enjoying it.

One of the most popular American poets is former poet Laureate, Billy Collins. Collins writes image-rich poetry that speaks of the human condition. Many of his poems are incredibly accessible to the most unfamiliar readers of poetry. I believe his poems would be perfect for upper elementary school children as well. Continue reading


Would you like a gift card? What about some free educational products to help you in your teaching?

I have joined in two different birthday celebration giveaways this week, so I wanted to make sure you knew about them! Continue reading

Mentor Monday: Teach Poetry with a Metaphor Poem Picture Book

This week’s topic for Mentor Monday is perfect for me, since I’ve been creating units for kindergarten using picture books to introduce the poetic concepts of rhythm and rhyme (and metaphor is still in progress). Today I thought I’d write about another picture book that would help in teaching older children about poetry: Red Sings from Treetops by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski. Continue reading

Week in Review: Close Reading

An Experiment in Close Reading | Line upon Line Learning blogRaisin is a very strong reader, and he loves to read anything and everything! This week he has been reading about scabs. And all the other gross things on our bodies. The library books he checked out have real photographs of scabs on the covers. I call them the “icky books” and Strawberry has begun to parrot me when she sees them. “Mom! Icky book!”

At any rate, Raisin likes to read fiction too, and enjoys reading in his free time and before bed. Because he is a strong reader, he breezes through a book and then cannot tell me what it was about, beyond basic plot points or even specific things that happened that stood out to him. I’d love to talk over fine literature with him, but I have not been sure to best methods to use.

So, that said, close reading is my goal with Raisin for the coming months. I have determined that we need to read together more frequently and notice what we read more. We need to talk about it together and predict together.

Continue reading

Never Say Never: 8 Things I Said I Would Never Do

8thingsneverdoBefore I had kids, I was one of those people who had a list of things I would never do. Some of these were more important than others, but all of them really turn out to not matter that much.

Of course, now that I have two kids, I find these things I said I would never do quite amusing.

  1. I would never …. blog. “[My sister] has taken to writing a blog online every couple days…. I think it’s the kind of thing that will fizzle out and die eventually,” I wrote in early 2007. I started my own blog about six months later and have been blogging since then on five or six different blogs.
  2. I would never … complain when I was pregnant. I was so excited to have babies that I was determined I’d never complain about the discomfort once I was finally blessed with a pregnancy. Well, I guess this goes to show that you should never say never because I was a whiner with my second pregnancy! I was not any less excited but, let’s face it, it is not comfortable to grow a baby.
  3. I would never … not wear makeup when I went out. I remember in the early days of my marriage, I was having lunch with a friend who was a mother to three kids and who was not wearing any makeup. I distinctly remember the thought that I would never leave the house without at least putting on some mascara. Ha! How priorities change through the years. What’s makeup?
  4. I would never … wear pajamas all day long. Same situation as with the marriage. Surely, I would never “stoop” to wearing jammies all day! LOL.
  5. I would never … get tired of reading picture books aloud to the kids. How could one tire of spending time reading with adorable children?! Alas, I’ve been knowing to fall asleep mid-book before. “Mom? Are you still awake? Mom?”
  6. I would never … not make time to read my own books. I was a compulsive reader before my second child was born. I knew I’d always make reading my books a priority in my life. Now that my second is here, I embrace the moments I have with them far more than I ever did when I read compulsively. I still read, but I’m much more balanced with enjoying my little oens.
  7. I would never … say “potty.” I hate that word. I still do. But before my children were toilet training age, I was determined to avoid the “potty” word. Because it just sounds so crass. It has become a solid part of my vocabulary at this point.
  8. I would never … homeschool. When my husband mentioned it in our early days of marriage, I discounted the idea. I would never do that, I was sure. Well, here I am, two years after we jumped in with both feet!

The moral of the story is that I have changed and adapted. I did not know how I would be in the future. Looking back on the more younger, more naive me, I realize that my judgement of others and situations were completely unfair. We don’t know what other people are doing and how things are going for them. We don’t know what we will do in a similar situation.

Never say “Never.” You don’t know what you will be asked to do next.

What silly things did you say you would never do? How have your plans been changed?

Find List it Tuesday at Many Little Blessings and Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Credit: Tatlin