St. Patrick’s Day or St. Paddy’s Day this year will be on Saturday, March 17th, 2018. This is an opportunity for children to learn about Ireland, go on nature walks looking for clovers, trying out new Irish food, and so much more. In a different post, I will share what all we will be doing as we study Ireland. So excited about this upcoming unit!!!
To introduce the topic to the preschoolers, I created this set of clover ABCs that can be printed, laminated for durability, displayed on your word wall. What’s even more fun is that you can use this set to:
This is the best laminator I have found and used by many of my teacher friends and homeschooling friends. Laminating helps me save tons of time and helps make everything last longer so all the kids can use the same materials.
This FREE Clover ABC Printable is perfect for the Bilingual home or for those who are introducing the Spanish language or for those who want to use the English alphabet only.
The only difference between the English alphabet and the Spanish alphabet is the letter ‘ñ’. There’s been much debate and revision of the Spanish alphabet at different times regarding whether the ‘ch’ or the ‘ll’ should be included. When I learned the alphabet in Spanish those letters WERE included. However, much has changed in the last few years. For more information, read what the Real Academia Española has to say about the alphabet. I researched online before making this set just to be sure only the ‘ñ’ was to be included.
Spanish ABC Song
There are some ABC songs in YouTube we enjoy that include the ‘ch’ and ‘ll’ and I am totally okay with that. It introduces the sounds those two letters make together. But for the purposes of the alphabet, I only included the ‘ñ’.
This song is really fun to dance to and so catchy!
English ABC Song
This is the best ABC song in my opinion and also includes the sounds to all the letters. My other favoriteABC song is this one.
Spanish literature is very rich in language. The descriptions, rhyme, and key phrases are gripping to anyone who sits down to read a novel in Spanish. In this post you will find 7 famous Latin American authors who have left their mark in literature. Some of these authors are award winners of prizes like Miguel Cervantes ( a highly recognized award). You will also find some of their most famous quotes and their most well-known works. The works below are geared for young adults and adults. For books to read with your children in Spanish, please check the following posts:
If you are wanting to dive into reading in Spanish, take a look at these titles. I recommend starting with Isabel Allende, a very popular author. All her works have also been translated into English, though, I do think you should read it in Spanish first. Or the book Martín Rivas, a love story. You can read more about it at the end of the post.
Juan Rulfo is a Mexican author, well-known for his book Pedro Páramo. This is a very famous book that even Gabriel García Marquez has said had memorized. Other authors have also considered Pedro Páramo to be a masterpiece.
Mario Benedetti is an Uruguayan author, he took more a political style of writing later on in his life. His book, Andamios, tells the story of a man who returned to Uruguay after being exiled from his country. Definitely a very, very good book. His writing takes you right to the scene he is describing. Another great title by him is La Tregua.
Isabel Allende is a very well-known Chilean author. Most of her works also depict the political / cultural climate lived during military dictatorship. Two of my favorite books by her are Hija de la Fortuna (Daughter of Fortune) and De Amor y de Sombra.
Ernesto Sabato, also from Argentina is well-known for his novel, El Túnel. Just about every high-schooler ends up reading this book during their senior year. This is the story of an artist who falls in love with a woman, when she appreciated his art in a way that nobody else had before. This leads to a series of events which lead to tragedy.
6. Gabriel Garcia Marquez:
Gabriel García Márquez is a Colombian author. His most famous works include 100 Años de Soledad and Amor en Tiempo de Cólera.
7. Alberto Blest Gana:
Alberto Blest Gana is a Chilean author. One of his best works is Martîn Rivas, where he writes about the gap between social classes and the love between Martín and Leonor. I can’t recommend this book enough. If there is one title from this list that you should read, this one is very VERY good!!! A real classic of Chilean Spanish Literature. Martín is a poor boy and Leonor comes from upper class when they fall in love. Of course, the culture is such that such differences don’t allow them to be together. You have to read this story to find out how they deal with the circumstances.
Love begins at home.We want our children to know they are loved and what better way than telling them in writing so they can read notes from us in years to come?
Several years ago I read this Five Love Languages for Kids by Gary Chapman. At the time, I learned there are different types of ways that speak love to our children. Sometimes it can be the same language for all of them, other times it can be a different language for each of the kids, and other times children change love languages in the same year. It all has to do with their personality and how they grow.
I could not recommend this book more. I hope you enjoy it and get much out of it!
As Valentine’s Day approaches, I have come up with a printable that you can use with your children. One of the love languages presented by Gary Chapman is Words of Affirmation. This printable is for you to tell your child with words what makes him or her special. Words of Affirmation is a way for you to build up your child. 🙂
All you have to do is print it out and fill it out. I suggest placing one or two hearts each day from February 1st through February 14th, Valentine’s Day. Or you could even start today. You can use the same one as many times as you would like.
Today I joined a group of Spanish speaking moms who discussed with sadness in their tone how difficult it is to get the children to speak Spanish even at home in an English speaking country. During our time, it was agreed that children don’t want to speak Spanish, even when they know the language.
Living in different parts of the country, I have experienced this, too. Many of my bilingual friends across the country have experienced this as well.
There is nothing more gratifying than passing on our heritage language or our native language to our children.
The gift of language is the gift of a lifetime.
There is no return policy on it.
So why does this happen?
First of all, we live in an area where everything is in English. Schools, friends get-togethers, story time, books…everything is English.
It is our nature to produce (output) the language we hear (input) the most. There it is natural for our brain to produce what is more used to.
Therefore, why should the child speak Spanish?
There needs to be a clear need to use the target language, Spanish in this case.
That’s right. There needs to be a real need as to why speak in Spanish (or the minority language).
6 Ways to Create a Need to Speak in Spanish (or the Target Language):
Participate in a Spanish Story Time program at the library.
Check with your library if they have story time in your target language where there is a read-aloud, some songs, and a craft.
Take advantage of technology and call family that only speak Spanish.
Use your Saturday afternoon to call family and use your webcam. This is a great time for sharing stories, recipes you have cooked this week, tell a joke or two! Show your pets, etc. Use this time to talk with family in Spanish. Maybe they have never met in person, but thanks to technology, they get to see each other through the webcam.
If you have toddlers learning to talk, have a playgroup where moms and children participate together using Spanish.
This is a great time to teach and learn to speak Spanish in an authentic way through play. Pretend to be doctors, cooks, and play in Spanish. So much language can be learned through play!!!
If you are homeschooling, do memory work in Spanish.
Every week we work on memorizing a new Bible verse and sometimes a poem, in addition to Spanish songs we learn every month. Instead of memorizing in English, which they probably will one way or another, use this time to learn them in Spanish. It will build their confidence! You can also write out the verse, talk about the meaning and vocabulary in Spanish. Much will be learned by memorizing a short verse.
Find a local church in Spanish where children could attend Sunday School in the target language.
Participating in a Spanish speaking environment with other teachers and children could be very beneficial. It would show them that there are many others out there who also speak Spanish. They could see the same activities they do at home or in school can be done in Spanish.
If you have older children, have them do peer tutoring.
Think of foreign students just arriving to the US who need help learning English. They may need a lot of help studying math or science when their vocabulary is limited. Have your child help them in their native language to become more comfortable with school work. There are many advantages of learning subjects in the native language even while learning a second language.
What ideas do you have to create a need for children to speak in Spanish?
Keep checking this page, which will be updated throughout the rest of the week and next week with current deals to help you achieve the goals of your homeschool.
Black Friday Deals
Little Passports has a deal offering their best deal all year, save up to $40! LOVE this subscription box that teaches culture, language (indirectly), and geography. Take monthly field trips around the world through Little Passports. Promo Codes available: BF10, BF20, BF40.
Bramble Box available in Canada, also! Mom hand-curated activity boxes for kids age 3-7. Perfect for keeping the younger children occupied while learning and teaching a Math lesson with an older child! They have a 10% OFF for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Mona MELisa Designs is 20% OFF right now. Their products promote Hands-On learning. Great for any curriculum, honestly. Several match up with Classical Conversations; could also be used with Charlotte Mason.
The Maestro Classics 12 CD Music Collection comes with music cds and 24 page activity book. I mean, talk about a way to teach classical music. This beautiful set, a total investment for your homeschool. Classical music relaxes and teaches melody, composition, and the beauty of the arts. Check the link to see what it includes.
Bonus Buy: Any new member will get the premium content snack videos ($20 value) absolutely FREE.
There will be 4 videos showing your children how to use the food processor, how to separate eggs, and how to find healthy snacks. There will be engaging demo videos that will teach your children to make homemade crunchy granola, energy bites, and pumpkin pie bars. Check it out here.
You want your toddler, preschooler, early elementary child to learn Spanish in a fun way, hands-on, without it really seeming like a language class.
Red se dice rojo. Repeat.
Two se dice dos. Repeat.
Here you will find a running list of ideas for games and ways to teach content in Spanish to young children. These are the very same things they will need to learn in their first language (i.e. English). Using these items, they will be expanding their Spanish vocabulary in an effortless manner.
You could also put word-object puzzles together like this one that uses a picture, the word for the object in English at the top, the Spanish on the bottom. This puzzle could be used for a long time, a great asset for the homeschool as well. You could work on spelling, making sentences (or silly ones!), story starters, etc. It can be done independently as well, since it is self-checking. Ingenio Spellable Bilingual Spelling Game helps children build vocabulary in English and Spanish.
Children love to learn new songs, dance to music. Why not get them a new Music CD with fun Spanish songs? They will build on vocabulary and learn to say new sentences without even meaning to! Coloreando: Traditional Songs for Children in Spanish is available as a CD. You can hear a preview of each of the songs and purchase one at a time if desired. Another option for Spanish music is José Luis Orosco de Colores. It has traditional songs, his voice sounds really nice, nice music. I even sing along!
Fact 1: homeschool provides freedom to have your own schedule…
Fact 2: when there is no routine, everyone and everything is all over the place which may lead to chaos.
Many times friends and family ask me “how do you homeschool when you have 4 children?!?! You must be very organized!”- they tell me. Well, in a sense, I am organized when it comes to the routine I have set up for our homeschool based on what I see are the needs and goals of our homeschool. I look at our needs and goals and see (and pray a lot!) on what we can do to achieve those goals.
The main aspect to remember throughout homeschooling, like in all things, is to be consistent. It is imperative to have a consistent routine, or schedule, or rhythm to you home life.
Below I am sharing 11 tips that have been a true life saver for me!!! These tips are what keeps our homeschool running smoothly and guarantees a successful homeschool week. After all, isn’t that what we all want!?
Recently I read in a book by Rachel Carman where she stated the importance in planning and setting up a routine for success in your homeschool.
Because after all, we are people of habits!!!
We strive with routine. Children, especially, strive when they know what is expected of them. Children and adults do well with routine, clear expectations, and everyone does better when they know what they are supposed to be doing.
Therefore it is very important that we set up a homeschool routine for success! It takes a little bit of planning on our part and going the extra mile, but with prayer and dedication, you will see your work paying off when your homeschool week goes smoothly!
11 Steps to Set Up a Homeschool Routine for Success
1. Set a Weekly Theme – what is a common theme in your lessons / read loud for the common week. Look through your homeschool books and see what the the unit will be about. What is one aspect that is tied into your lessons? What is an animal/place/thing that your children became interested in? Use what you see as a common theme to tie into different subjects. For example, our math book had a travel theme for a unit, so each day we talked about a different country based on what was presented on the book.
2. Plan read alouds – Set a time in your week for read alouds at the table over a yummy snack, poetry tea-time, or snuggling on the couch. Set a goal to read a book over a week’s time, then choose a new book for the following week. Imagination Stationor Magic Tree Houseseries have books that can be easily correlated to a theme.
In our bilingual homeschool, we have two main read alouds: one in Spanish and one in English. Plus many other books we read throughout the day on varied subjects.
In our history curriculum at the very beginning of the year, we studied about the Vikings: who they were and their travels. This book by Imagination Station was so fun to read while adding a living book element to our history lessons. This book is the first one in the series. As soon as we finished the first one, my kids were ready to continue with book 2.
Most, if not all, Magic Tree Housebooks have been translated into Spanish. The books are very easy to read, the children are able to follow them well. If you feel you would like to read them in Spanish but are hesitant about comprehending the text, pick up a copy in English. Read a chapter in both languages to help you guide the discussion and pick up vocabulary the kids might need further assistance.
Overall, I have been very pleased with using Imagination Station and Magic Tree House series for read alouds. Both series are quite engaging, quick to read, easy to follow. I really like the non-fiction elements included throughout the stories. Very much like a living book.
Magic Tree House has been my go to series for reading chapter books in Spanish. My kids have enjoyed them very much to the point that whenever they find a Magic Tree House book, they always request it to be in Spanish.
3. YouTube Time: Take advantage of YouTube and travel around the world, visit museums, farms, learn about a new animal, etc. Tell your children to come up with a question or two each on something they really want to know about the weekly theme. Use this time to look up videos on YouTube that could help answer the questions. Then write a sentence or two as a follow up activity. Have some fun and learn something new together!
4. Nature Walk and Nature Journalying – Set a time for the week when you plan on going outside for a walk. Pick a day of the week that you intently go outside and observe animals, trees, bugs, etc. See this post with ideas on additional books and supplies for a nature walk that could help expand on this activity. Perhaps even use your Spanish during this activity. Go on a language Scavanger Hunt around your neighborhood.
5. Pick a Bible Verse for the Week– Pick a verse from a book like Psalms or Proverbs and read it every day. You may work at memorizing it or you may simply just talk about this verse daily. Take it a step forward and use it for copywork! We like to memorize a verse in Spanish to practice throughout the week. They each recite it at the end of the week.
Also use this verse to talk about vocabulary, attributes of God, and life applications.
6. Set a loop schedule – A loop schedule consists of a set of subjects that are taught every day in no particular order but that are completed daily. I am of the opinion that certain subjects should be taught every day such as Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Bible, and Spanish. There are other subjects and activities that I assign to a few days of the week like History twice a week even though it tends to happen more throughout the week which is great when it happens. We do Geography every day so that is also part of our loop schedule.
7. Chores – Part of our homeschool routine is to complete chores around the house. It teaches responsibility and basic entrepreneurship skills. Children receive an allowance for their completed work. Then they get to divide their money into three areas of money management: give, save, spend.
I strongly recommend reading this book by Dave Ramsey to teach money management skills from a young age.
8. Cooking – Cooking is a regular activity my children do throughout the week. Since a very young age, they each have been involved in helping with a meal like getting the ingredients, helping find a recipe, mixing and stirring, peeling, etc. There is so much of the Spanish language my children have learned from cooking with me!!! We take time to study about eating healthy and read books that will enhance our understanding of food. We also watch cooking videos in Spanish to get an authentic input of Spanish language.
Learning to cook is just as important as learning math or science. It is a life skill that will save them money someday when they know how to shop and what ingredients to get to be able to cook themselves a meal. My children have enjoyed cooking, they look forward to our time spent in the kitchen just as much as our read aloud time! I am quite fond of this online course that teaches children how to cook basic meals, how to use an instapot safely, how to use knives, and how to try to eat varied foods. Cooking is so much fun and allows them to become more creative and develop problem solving skills!
9. Extra-curricular: Any classes, activities that you have signed up your child outside of home. It could be music lessons, sports, art, language classes, additional tutoring, etc.
10. Co-Op: A once a day when children attend classes with other children. If you are in a season of hygge, use this time to connect with a smaller group at your own home.
11. Devotional – Grow together as a family when you gather to read the Bible and present your requests and praises to God. These have been my go-to devotionals for my children. I have yet to find a devotional book for them in Spanish.
Having a personal devotional book, allows each person to have some quiet time where they can read, reflect, pray, and interact with the text. When we gather for discussion, we take turns sharing about what we read.
As a homeschooling family, much time is spent gathered around our dinner table. It is the place where we eat, yes, but it is so much more than that.
Our dinner table is the place where we do school, make crafts – even messy ones, the place where my kids get to help cook different meals, the place where we read and paint.
Our dinner table is the place where many of our family memories are being made.
Our table is scratched, stained with different colors of oil paint and it is okay with us. We realize this is just a season in our lives. Someday, we may have a new table with zero scratches and perfectly looking wood. However, the fact that my table is the way it is signifies that it is loved by a group of people. I would not have it any other way.
As we spend even more time around the table, I am going to delve into Sally Clarkson’s new book, The Life Giving Table. She is such a candid, well-spoken, sincere woman. I look forward to her new book and learning more ways about to make my table more Giving than it already is.
Sally Clarkson’s book, The Life Giving Table, is an inspiration to make the most of the time we spend gathered around this wooden table. Her book is inspiring us to grow, to connect, and to invest our time during meals into more than eating food, but to be together as a family where many of our memories are being made.
Her book also comes with a companion book to help digest the content of her book into applicable lessons.
In some ways, my dining table makes me think of the book The Giving Tree. Our table gives, gives, and gives. This is the place where gather to make memories, to pray, to read our Bibles, where we have conversations, where we work hard to edify one another. Our table is the place where we put our phones away to just be with one another.
As we enjoy meals, read books, take pictures, spend time together, our table is the place where our fondest memories are being made to last a lifetime. Research also shows that families that eat together are healthier and closer. Children who have a healthy experience around the table are also healthier adults later on in life.
The table is a place to cherish one another, build each other up, engage in conversation, hear jokes, hear about each other’s day, ask questions, answer questions.
The table is the place to be together.
The table is the place to be united.
The table is the place to grow in love.
The table is the place to grow closer together as a family and closer to God. The maker of all things.
What is your Life Giving Table like? Will you be reading Sally Clarkson’s new book? Let me know in the comments.
I fell in love with everything Pumpkin flavored some years ago when I first tried Pumpkin Pie. It was so new to me. I never had anything pumpkin flavored in Chile. It was not a popular flavor. In the United States, however, as soon as September hits, everything and I mean EVERYTHING is pumpkin flavor. There are cereals, desserts, foods, coffee, candy…everything that you can think is more than likely available in pumpkin.
My table also looks very Fall-sy, Fall-ish, Otoñal, Autumn-ish. The decoration in our home is also representative of Fall: pumpkins, sunflowers, yellows, oranges, and brown. More about my Fall table on this post: My Life Giving Table – Fall Edition.
Usually for snack time, when time permits, I like to make a special snack for the afternoon to go along with our read aloud time. This time I made Pumpkin Yogurt with banana slices, because we always so many that need to be used up, and crumbled Graham Crackers.
The process to make this Pumpkin Yogurt was very simple. Too easy, if I may say so. We had some vanilla yogurt and added pumpkin puree, a bit of cinnamon, and blended the ingredients in our Ninja blender. In the meantime, my children got some Graham Crackers in a ziploc bag to crumble the crackers. Another one cut up some banana slices to garnish the Pumpkin Yogurt.
As you can see, the process was very simple and it was delicious. As I was trying to write down the recipe that day, my children asked for more, so it took quite a while until I was able to sit down again to write down the recipe. Can we still call it a recipe? You tell me. Go ahead and make it. Let me know how you like it!
Ingredients to make Pumpkin Yogurt using Flavored Yogurt
Steps to make Pumpkin Yogurt
Blend yogurt, pumpkin puree, and cinnamon until desired consistency. Serve, Top it with banana slices and crumbled Graham Crackers.
Ingredients to make Pumpkin Yogurt using Plain Yogurt
Blend yogurt, pumpkin puree, and frozen bananas until desired consistency. This way you will have a natural sweetener (the bananas), your yogurt will be mostly natural flavors this way. Very healthy.
Nature Study is a VERY important component of our eclectic homeschool. We enjoy spending time outside, walking, observing plants, bugs, trees, leaves, etc. God’s Creation is so beautiful and intrinsic; there is always something new to learn about outside.
Charlotte Mason hit the nail on the head when she coined that children should spend time outside playing, in nature, observing, LEARNING from nature.
Since even before we officially began to homeschool, we had spent time outside just in nature. Sometimes walking a trail, other times even in the backyard observing the plants that are in our home.
My advice to you is to become familiar with the flora and fauna you have in your area. Visit natural museums or look up books about your state’s nature. Palm trees are local to Florida whereas Michigan has willow trees and pine trees everywhere. Take advantage of those geographical differences to discover and learn about nature right where you are.
So many times when going on nature walks, we stop to observe tiny caterpillars or worms. The kids wish we could take them home to continue observing them. This Bug Catcher and Viewer helps us transport the bug to our garden to continue our observations. This set comes with an Insect Magnifier, a Catcher, and 2 tweezers to pick up bugs without actually touching them.