homeschool

Letter/Number Practice Pack – FREE Download!

The new school year is upon us! Whether you’re homeschoolers like us or your kids go off to school, there’s so much excitement wrapped up in the new school year! The teacher in me loves getting all the new supplies and curriculum. I’m kind of an eclectic homeschooler, in that we use a mix of a few things for our curriculum. This year my boys are in fourth, second, and first. Plus I have a preschooler and the baby (oy… he’s a whole post in itself!) We’re big fans of slow learning in the early years – I don’t push them to read before they’re ready, and we don’t do formal school until at least kindergarten. Because play IS learning for littles!! But sometimes my preschooler wants to “do school” like his big brothers, and my first grader could use some review. So I created this FREE download – a letter and number practice pack for preschoolers to first graders! Print it off and add a few materials that you already have on hand to give your kiddos some fun learning activities!

There are six activities in this Practice Pack, though you could easily use the pieces to create even more!

Here are the materials you’ll need to grab from your house:

  • Egg carton
  • Cardboard tubes (we used our Young Living tubes because we have exactly 13,000 of them)
  • Old magnets (the kind that people send you in the mail with calendars, business cards, etc.) – if you don’t have any on hand, you can buy magnet strips at craft stores or online here
  • Cheerios or other small manipulatives
  • Liquid glue and/or glue stick
  • Scissors
  • Download your free  Letter and Number Practice Pack
  • Optional: cardstock or laminator

We don’t use a lot of worksheets for school in our house, but we do like hands on learning activities. When kids are learning about letters and numbers, having something they can hold in their hand helps their brains to make connections. Cheerios is a perfect choice for this! We already have them in our house (Honey Nut Cheerios is literally the number one food my kids beg for at the store!), I don’t have to worry about the baby choking on them when they fall on the floor, and cleanup is easy … it all goes right into their mouths! ;)

I made a variety of letter and number activities at varying levels. Some of them can be used more than one way depending on your little one’s needs.

Here are the different counting activities:
Have your kiddo count out the correct number of Cheerios to match the number of stars on each number card.

Draw a number card (1-20 available). Your child will place the card next to a star and fill that star with the correct number of Cheerios.

With so many kids and homeschooling them all, it’s important for me to have some learning activities they can do without a lot of direction. After I told them the instructions, they were able to do it all on their own!

Of course, your child will need to have a snack mid-activity. This is crucial to their learning. ;)

For this circle activity, your child will count out the correct number of Cheerios to match the numerals around the circle.

Place number cards in each section of the egg carton. Have your little one count out the number of Cheerios to match the numeral. Cut the egg carton in half for kiddos who are just learning numbers, so that it’s not quite so overwhelming.

Here are the activities for Letter Recognition:

This craft has a bunch of different activities you could do with it! Put your magnet strips on the backs of your cardboard tubes. Glue upper or lowercase letter cards to the front of the tubes.

Put the letter tubes onto a magnetic surface like your fridge or a white board.

Have your kiddo say the letter sound as they slide a Cheerio down the tube!

If your little one doesn’t know letter sounds, focus on identifying letters. Ask them to slide a Cheerio down a certain letter tube. This is such a fun activity – ALL my kids liked it, even my almost ten year old! Because who doesn’t love shooting Cheerios down a tube?? ;) I love that I don’t have to worry about my 11 month old getting a hold of the Cheerios as they fall, unlike a marble or some other small manipulative.

You could also print out another set of number cards and glue those onto the tubes if you want to focus on numbers. Then have them slide the correct number of Cheerios down the tubes!

Within each letter strip, have your child find the lowercase letter that matches the uppercase letter at the beginning of the row.

Whether you homeschool or not, these are easy activities to whip out on a moment’s notice with your kiddos. If your littles need a little extra help learning their letters and numbers or if you just need a few fun activities for them to do when they’re begging for some screen time, these are easy to pull out without a lot of prep. If you want your activities to last and be able to use them over and over, make sure you print or glue onto cardstock or get them laminated.

I’m not even kidding when I say that my boys would eat cereal all day if I let them. Ha! I really appreciate that Cheerios has no High Fructose Corn Syrup (one of the biggest no-no’s in our house), and I love that they’ve removed the preservative BHT from their cereals.

When I was pregnant with my youngest, oh my goodness I craved Cheerios!! Unlike my kiddos, I’m not usually much of a cereal eater, but I think I have some childhood nostalgia around Cheerios, because I love a big bowl with bananas. So yummy! :) As we get back into our homeschool groove, having quick and easy breakfast options is important to me. We can toss them in a Ziplock bag for mornings when we need to leave the house early. Plus, can I get an Amen for Family Size boxes?? A total big family necessity!

So grab your FREE DOWNLOAD of the Practice Pack, grab some Cheerios from any local retailer, and have a smooth transition into the new school year!

Download your Letter and Number Practice Pack

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An Ordinary Day in the Life

Last week, I woke with a long day ahead of me. My husband was out of town and the dangerously cold temperatures were going to keep us cooped up inside all day. I was faced with a choice: I could watch the hours drag on or I could capture the moments of the day, monotonous and messy though they may be. Into my head popped my dear sister-in-law and how she captured her own family’s season of life.

Brooke is an incredibly talented photographer in Michigan (we’re not blood related, so I’m not biased, I swear ;). She prefers to shoot in a photojournalism style, where no one is posed and she’s more a fly on the wall in the midst of whatever it is that’s going on. Looking at her photos is like getting a peek into someone’s life. I love that they capture a moment in time, and she inspired me to capture the ordinary.

I chose to make this a day worth remembering. I carried my camera around throughout the morning and early afternoon, only intervening as I normally would. Nothing was staged or posed. We went about our day, and I watched through my lens, finding the beauty in the everyday. There will never be another today, and I want to remember it. My floors weren’t swept and there are boxes piled up for our impending move, and most of the boys stayed in their jammies longer than necessary. There were tantrums and frustrations and cuddles and silliness. But oh, the sweetness of these boys. Their little toes and their eyes and their Star Wars obsession… these are the things dreams are made of. The way my family is right now won’t be how it is in six months, six years, sixteen years. I want to remember this moment, this season, in all its messiness and beauty.

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A Day in the Life…

Today both Simply Rebekah and Simple Homeschool are inviting readers to share what a day looks like in their life. The other day I took some pictures and decided to play along, so you could get a little peek into life at our house.

IMG_70837am… I try really hard to get up before the kids, so that I can have some time alone to prepare for my day and spend time reading my Bible. Some days I am better at this than others. I was up with my youngest last night, who has been sick, so this morning I snuck in a couple minutes as my hubby starts breakfast for my oldest, who is already up.

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8am… still breakfast time. The kids woke up in shifts, so breakfast is taking a super long time this morning. But mornings go slowly around here, and we really like it that way.

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9am… the boys snuggle together on the couch to read the books we got yesterday at the library. We read a LOT of books in our house. At this point in our homeschool journey, unschooling feels right for us. So reading is one of the most important things we do during our day… and it happens often.

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As they read, I drink this glorious loveliness. Morning is not morning without coffee.

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10am… the boys play, and I referee. They would be content to play with their trains pretty much all day. And some days they do.

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11am… It is ridiculously warm outside today. 50 degrees in Wisconsin in January is pretty unreal, so since the rain has stopped, we head outside. In sweatshirts. In January. Ridiculous!

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12pm… Lunch. We eat a lot of peanut butter and jelly, because I like lunchtime to be easy – no arguments. And today we have no clean plates, so I bust out the paper ones, completely guilt-free. Because sick baby + pregnant mama = putting off the dishes even more than usual.

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1pm… Baby went down for a nap by 12:30 and the big boys rest on the couch. I walk in to find my three-year-old asleep, which is something that never happens. [later I discover he’s caught his younger brother’s fever]

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2pm… it’s raining again now, so I set the pattern blocks out on the table. My five-year-old loves these, so I let him have at it. And apparently today he needs to wear his hat all.day.long. Even though it’s 50 degrees in Wisconsin in January. I do some laundry and make myself sit for a few minutes, while I can.

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3pm… I almost always spend some or most of naptime in my sewing room. Today I don’t actually sew, but I clean off my sewing table, because I couldn’t even see the top of the table anymore. It’s a [super rare] refreshing sight! My three-year-old isn’t feeling up to playing after his nap, so my five-year-old writes and colors next to him on the couch. Writing is another natural part of our unschooling that happens daily.

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4pm… Dishes. I hate dishes, which should be obvious since we had no clean plates earlier. It is my absolute least favorite household task. The boys are all up and play surprisingly independently while I do this.

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5pm… dinner prep, with about fourteen gazillion interruptions by these amazing little humans who fill my day.

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6pm… normally we’re eating by now, but I totally forgot that I asked my hubby to stop at the store on the way home. So I keep the food warm and snuggle with this dude, whose fever is still lingering.

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7pm… After dinner, I get to snuggle and read with my feverish three-year-old. Actually, I listen to him “read” to me the books that he’s memorized. I pretty much can’t handle the sweetness of this moment.

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8pm… Kids are in bed, so I write up a quick blog post. And completely ignore the mess on the floor in front of me, because this prego mama is super exhausted.

The day ends not long after this… some nights I sew in the evening, some nights we eat ice cream and watch something on TV. But many nights we’re in bed by 9:30. Because we’re old and boring. ;) And between our kids and my ginormous baby belly, sleep is a rare commodity in our house. And tomorrow the loveliness of my ordinary and yet extraordinary day begins all over again.