A Few Changes for the Upcoming School Year

As you may remember, last year I homeschooled DS for preschool.  Overall, it was a positive experience.  By May, however, we were both burnt out and just let a lot of things slide.  We have been doing some review this summer of basic concepts, like letters and numbers, but we have not been terribly consistent.

Rather than homeschooling DS this year, DH and I decided to enroll him in a 2 day/week Pre-K program.  With the new baby coming, I’m just not sure I can devote a lot of time to a curriculum, so I think this is the best option for all of us at this point.

I’m still very interested in homeschooling in the future, if that’s where our journey takes us.  And maybe we’ll still throw in some stuff from ABC Jesus Loves Me on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  🙂

Back to School with TreeSmart Recycled School Supplies

I’m always on the lookout for ways I can live greener. So, when TreeSmart contacted me about reviewing some products in their line of recycled school and office supplies, I took them up on their offer! They sent me one of their All Star Recycle Sets (which includes 12 Newspaper Pencils, a Recycled Ruler, and Color Pencil Set) in exchange for a review.


I was very impressed with the quality of our TreeSmart pencils! They sharpen easily, write cleanly, and erase nicely. I also love how you can still see a bit of the newsprint on the pencil itself! The little 6″ ruler was great, too. It’s the perfect size for a school pencil pouch. 🙂


My favorite product, however, was the colored pencil set! They come pre-sharpened in a cute little cardboard tube. Little man LOVED to color with these, and sort them, and name all of the colors he knows.


For those of you in education – TreeSmart offers a wonderful school recycling and fundraising program! You can send in clean newspapers, and in exchange, you receive pencils with your organization’s text and logo on them!

TreeSmart is based in the US, and has been making recycled school and office supply products since 1998. Learn more about the company here, and be sure to follow them on social media – Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

{TreeSmart provided me with an All Star Set in exchange for this review. All opinions are 100% my own. Please read my disclosure policy for more information.}

Create Customized Children’s Games with TinyTap

**This is a review written for TinyTap. No compensation was received.

Over the past couple of weeks, Little Man and I had a chance to test out a new app for iPhone and iPad called TinyTap. TinyTap is a unique app, because not only does it offer educational games for your child, you can create customized games for your family using your own text, photos and voice!

The app comes pre-loaded with a few games already, one of which (“Who is bigger?”) became an instant favorite in our house!


There are a lot of other games available to download, created by people just like you! (Bonus: Most are FREE!)

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You can also search for games by language and/or age, which makes it easy to find all sorts of games for your child’s skill level.


But how do you create your OWN game? It’s super easy! On the home screen, select “create a game”. You’ll be taken to a blank canvas with several options. Here you can import photos from your camera, Dropbox, or use stock images from the TinyTap app.

I decided to create a counting game for my son, so I didn’t want to overwhelm him with images or colors. I left the background white and added black text. The next step is to add sound to the game. Again, there are several options to choose from, but I figured “Ask a Question” fit the best with what I was trying to achieve. With this selection, I was able to record a question, an answer, and what would play if a mistake was made. From here, you can continue adding slides until your game is complete!


Even at 2 years old, my son had so much fun with the TinyTap App on our iPad! The app is geared towards kids from ages 1-12, so I’m sure it would be a fun activity to add to your traditional preschool or homeschooling curriculum.

TinyTap is available for download now on the App Store! There are also 12 individual games currently available for Android devices (just search for “Tinytap” in the Google Play Store), and the rest of the TinyTap games and game creation capabilities are coming soon!

{This is a review written for TinyTap. I received no compensation for sharing this information. Please read my disclosure policy for more information.}

Tech-Savvy Tots

As a mom (and a human), there are a lot of scary statistics out there. Anything and everything EVER will severely injure or kill you…at least today. Tomorrow, half of those things will be good for you again.

The same goes for children with television and computers.

I’ll be honest…the TV is always on at my house (which drives my husband crazy). I just leave it on in the background while I’m cleaning playing Candy Crush #thatstupidgameownsmylife! The hum of the TV is my white noise.

When the TV is just ON, Little Man doesn’t usually pay attention. He’s too busy knocking down a tower of blocks, “sweeping” my floor, etc. But there are a lot of educational preschool programs that he does enjoy. He loves Elmo (Sesame Street is a CLASSIC!), Yo Gabba Gabba (this show is AWESOME – especially the bands and music!), and now he’s getting into Blue’s Clues, which is fun. (The old episodes with Steve, of course!)

So, am I “rotting his brain” and “wasting time” with passive entertainment? No, I don’t think so. I’m sure there are some shows I watch that would be considered a time suck *coughRealityTVcough* But, I don’t see the harm in what he’s actually paying attention to – and some people actually agree with me!

Now, let me be clear – I’m not advocating using television as a babysitter. I always make it a point to interact with my son while he’s watching his shows. “What color is that? What sound does a puppy make?” (But sometimes I will step away briefly to go the bathroom alone!)

I feel even more strongly about children having access to computers and tablets. Little Man has “his own” iPhone with kid-friendly apps on it. (It’s my old one – and I’ve disabled Wi-Fi connectivity and phone service.) He also plays games on our iPad fairly often. For the last couple of months, we have had the opportunity to beta test a new app called KidMastermind, which I highly recommend! (No, I’m not getting any perks for saying that! It’s just really neat!)

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He’s not even two yet, and I’m already thinking about our options for his education, whether it be traditional schooling or not. I would be naive if I didn’t include multiple forms of technology as part of his learning process. It is the way of the world today. I’m just trying to give him a head start.

And don’t worry, I make sure he still has plenty of time for other activities!


Montessori learning {video}

In reference to my last post, there are a couple of fantastic videos comparing Montessori to conventional public schools at Montessori Madness.

Interested in Montessori Parenting & Education?

I posted a while back about my concerns about the public school system and what the heck we’re going to do when {Hunter} gets to the preschool stage and beyond. I’ve been scouring the internet for information on various schools and education methods, and the one that has intrigued me the most is Montessori!

If you head on over to Living Montessori Now (fantastic resources there, by the way!), you can enter a giveaway! Two lucky winners from the U.S. or Canada will win a paperback copy of Montessori Parenting: Unveiling the Authentic Self!

And now I start worrying about things 4 years in advance…

Being a mom involves a lot of worrying. Is he getting enough to eat? Did he poop today? (Seriously, ask any mom…) Is he hot, cold, tired, etc?

And back before you’re actually HOLDING the baby, when you’re just PLANNING to have children, you worry about finances, college funds…

Now I’m starting to worry about SCHOOL. For my (almost) 5 MONTH old.

I’m not talking about preschool. We are very happy with the daycare facility he’s currently attending, and they do have a preschool curriculum, so provided we don’t move (which we are considering…more on that in a later post), he will stay there until he starts kindergarten.

And that’s where this new worry comes in.

I always assumed I would send my kids to good old public school. My siblings and I went to public school, my mother was a teacher, and is now a librarian in a public school system. But public school (at least around here) isn’t what it used to be.

All they do is teach these kids to memorize useless facts and fill in bubbles on scantrons. They’ve cut funding for P.E., Art, and Music. Elementary schools only have 30 mins of recess a day, and they’re telling the parents to put their kids on ADHD medication because the kids can’t sit still in class. I heard this firsthand from a co-worker who was told her 6 YEAR OLD needs medication. HE’S SIX! OF COURSE HE CAN’T SIT AT A DESK FOR 6 HOURS A DAY! HE NEEDS TO HAVE TIME TO PLAY OUTSIDE AND HAVE PHYSICAL EDUCATION MORE THAN ONCE EVERY THREE DAYS!!!! (For the record, of the 17 kids in his class, 7 of them are already on medication…but that is also a rant for another time.)

So I started talking to my SIL about the PRIVATE SCHOOL my oldest niece (who is 4 and in Pre-K) started attending this year.

I’ll admit, when I heard that my BIL and SIL were going to send their kids to private school (they have 3 currently, and will possibly have more), DH and I had a good laugh. “Private school?! It’s like paying for college twice!! What’s wrong with public school?!”

But the more I think about it, the more concerned I get.

My kids are going to be smarter than your average bear, no doubt about it. My DH is a freakin’ genius. (No lie. Graduated from college with a double major and a 4.0…) I’m not too shabby in the smartz dept, either. Though I’m less academically smart, I can play music and cool stuff like that. I also taught myself to read at age 3. So there. lol

ANYWAY – my special snowflakes are going to be BORED OUT OF THEIR MINDS in public school.

But private school is expensive. And usually religion based, which my DH is not thrilled about, because he doesn’t want any specific religion crammed down our kids throats. I don’t think have the patience to be a homeschooling mom. (Plus, once they get past elementary curriculum, I won’t be able to help them. Unless they want to play an instrument or learn basic Spanish…)

So, for now, I’ll just add it to my list of worries…and cross my fingers that we win the lottery soon.

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