Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Homeschool Montessori Preschool Program

Sonlight Preschool Program: Fiction, Fairy Tales, and Fun

The following is a sponsored post in collaboration with Sonlight Homeschool Curriculum. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

July is quickly approaching and that means parents across the country are going to get serious about prepping for the new school year. Tons of parents homeschooled their preschoolers last year, and judging by the number of parents of toddlers joining our Hispanic and Bilingual Homeschoolers group, I'm guessing a large number will be homeschooling their preschoolers again this year. So today's review of Sonlight's new Montessori-based PreK program is for them!

 

Quick Overview


Program: Sonlight's Preschool Pack: Fiction, Fairy Tales, and Fun
Subject(s): literacy, 
Religious Perspective: Christian
Format: Books and manipulatives/Montessori approach
Grades: Preschool
Language: English
Price: $350.00


Literature-based Montessori Approach

Sonlight's new PreK program is a feast for book-loving families. With a strong focus on literature and the Montessori method, Sonlight has improved upon their previous preschool curriculum by adding on titles and activities that develop pre-reading, pre-writing, and pre-math skills, as well as those that explore science, foreign language (Spanish), and music. The focus is on nurturing mastery of self-directed activities, which is keeping in line with the Montessori approach.

Sonlight Preschool Books

Preschool at Home

I have often talked about the importance of preschool, whether it be at home or in a school setting. Research shows that children who attend a good preschool and have involved parents are more likely to have better self-esteem, higher IQs, and fewer behavioral problems. They have higher literacy rates, test scores, and graduation rates. They are also less likely to repeat a grade level, smoke, drop out, or experience teen pregnancy.

And preschooling at home can be just as effective, if not more so, provided that parents are actively involved with teaching the essential skills and habits that preschoolers need to learn to prepare for kindergarten and beyond.

This curriculum is easy to implement; it only takes 30 minutes a day, three times a week. It comes with a fabulous teacher's guide to help you get started and stay on track. 

And what an abundance of literature! So many excellent books to read to your child. They make up the heart of this program. From Richard Scarry's What Do People Do All Day? to Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales and Harper Collins Treasury of Picture Book Classics, there are so many great titles that your child will be exposed to thousands of words to boost their vocabulary.

But it also comes with a small box full of manipulatives or tools, which my 3-year-old absolutely loves. The program focuses on sensory items to stimulate your child's learning. Shape stencils/puzzles, sandpaper letters, round number counters, are all fantastic for capturing a preschooler's interest. 

Sonlight Preschool Program manipulatives

The teacher's guide comes printed out with holes on the side for placing in a binder, which I did. Each lesson starts with a simple chart overview for the week, then is followed by a few pages with more detailed instructions. The lessons are broken down into five "subjects" overall:

  1. Bible
  2. Letters, Shapes & Numbers
  3. Read-Alouds
  4. Arts & Crafts
  5. Music/Spanish
The detailed instructions give a better explanation for procedures to the parent. They also list optional activities, which I really appreciated. 

**This program is only available in English, however, it does include the DK book, My First Spanish Word Board Book for those families who are just beginning their journey into raising bilingual children. If you are an English-speaking-only parent, Sonlight does have a page on their website where you can listen to the Spanish pronunciations to the words in the book (not a native Spanish speaker, but still accurate).

Here's a quick overview of everything included in the package that you'll receive:


What I love

I love that this program is so FLEXIBLE. I can use the guide as strictly or as loosely as I'd like. And I am. I often stray, adding in activities or resources that we have at home that I feel complement my 3yo's learning or simply grabbing one of the books to read before they're introduced in the lessons (we can always read them again!).

For example, I purchased this fantastic easel with a dry-erase board on one side and felt board on the other. It was a perfect substitution for pencil and paper while using the shape stencils, which we did, too, as the guide suggested. But letting him also do this on the dry-erase board brought a little freshness to the activity.

Sonlight Preschool Program shape stencils

I also absolutely love the amount of books included as well as the titles that were selected. Fortunately, we didn't have duplicates already in our home library. So most of these stories were new to my youngest, though a few had been checked out before at our local library. 

And I really liked the relaxed schedule. Preschool isn't about memorizing the months of the year or adding double digit numbers. I love that my kid can just be a kid, learning at an easy pace in a fun way. All the pressure that goes with academics can come later if it must. Right now it's just time to enjoy learning about the world and diving deeper into those things that fascinate him.

The Giveaway!


THREE winners will be selected to receive the new Sonlight Preschool curriculum. I would love for one or more of you to win! To enter, use the form below...

A Complete Package


If you've been looking for a complete preschool program that is centered around children's literature, this may the one for you! Visit their website to read more about this great program for preschool.





Monday, June 28, 2021

25 Crafts & Activities for the 4th of July


The 4th of July will be here before we know it!

Celebrate summer’s favorite holiday with some red, white, and blue crafts and activities. The kids are going to love these ideas!

Fun crafts and activities are the perfect way to fill the time while kids are waiting for fireworks to start. Of course, these patriotic kids activities are great for Labor Day, Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day, or just about any other day of the year. Red, white, and blue is always a good idea!

On this list, you’ll find everything from coloring pages and a slime recipe to tie-dye shirts and handprint crafts. There is something on this list for kids of all ages. I promise you’re going to want to work your way through these patriotic activities all summer long. 

Crafts & Activities for the 4th of July


Crafts:


  1. 4th of July Piñata Balloons :: The Gunny Sack

  2. Uncle Sam Pringles Can :: Anti-June Cleaver

  3. Patriotic Kids Blower :: Natural Beach Living

  4. Easy DIY 4th of July Planter :: Thrifty Jinxy

  5. Uncle Sam 4th of July Craft :: Big Family Blessings

  6. Paper Lantern Kids Craft 4th of July Style :: The Crafting Chicks

  7. Patriotic Party Slime :: The Farm Girl Gabs

  8. DIY Confetti Poppers for 4th of July :: Happiness is Homemade


Flags:


  1. Tissue Paper Flag Suncatcher :: The Simple Parent

  2. Paper Plate Flag :: Crafts on Sea

  3. Handprint American Flag :: The Soccer Mom Blog

  4. Edible Flag and Craft :: The Educators’ Spin on It



Stars:

  1. DIY Fourth of July Pinwheels :: ModernMami

  2. 4th Of July Patriotic Stars Thumbprint Craft :: A Dab of Glue will Do

  3. Popsicle Stick Star Streamers :: Happiness is Homemade

  4. Yarn-Wrapped Stars :: Fantastic Fun and Learning


Wearables:

  1. DIY Sparkler Tee for the 4th of July :: Mom Endeavors

  2. 4th of July Craft Bracelet for Kids :: Fantastic Fun and Learning

  3. Firework Headbands :: CraftBits

  4. The Original Bomb Pop® Tie-Dye Shirts :: The Shirley Journey

  5. Easy 4th of July T-Shirt Wreath :: The Soccer Mom Blog



Printables:

  1. Free 4th Of July Coloring Pages :: Easy Peasy and Fun

  2. 4th of July Bingo Scavenger Hunt :: Big Family Blessings

  3. Fun and Free Printable 4th of July I Spy Game :: Two Kids and a Coupon

  4. 4th Of July Vocabulary Activities :: ABCs of Literacy




Thursday, June 24, 2021

Homeschool Online Spanish for Teens

Vista Academy online Spanish course

The following is a sponsored post in collaboration with Vista Academy. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

As the new school year approaches, lots of homeschooling parents are beginning to plan their children's course schedule. One of the curricula that receives a lot of attention from MommyMaestra readers is Spanish language. We've had a chance to take a peek at Vista Academy’s inaugural fall 2021 Spanish courses for homeschooling students.


Quick Overview

Program: Vista Academy Spanish courses
Subject(s): Spanish
Religious Perspective: Secular
Format: Online course
Grades: 7th - 12th
Language: Spanish
Price: $700 - $950 for an entire school year (See the different tracks described below.)


From the Owners of Santillana

If you follow MommyMaestra, then you already know about the many benefits of bilingualism. From advanced problem-solving skills to ability to better empathy and even the delayed onset of dementia in later years are just a few of the advantages of bilingualism. But most of you are already striving to raise bilingual children.

A few months ago, a post in my Hispanic & Bilingual Homeschoolers group caught my eye. The poster shared that Vista Higher Learning Pre-K-12 is planning to launch their Spanish Academy for homeschoolers this coming fall. This raised a lot of interest because, as some of you may know, Vista used to be Santillana (or maybe they bought it, I'm not sure) which is absolutely beloved and sought after in the Spanish-speaking homeschool communities for their excellent resources in Spanish.

So when I had the opportunity to take a look, I did! Here's what I found.

Vista Academy Spanish Online Course


Online Spanish Course

Vista Academy (VA) has actually been around a while, but now it is being made available to the homeschool community. 

According to the site, "VA is a cutting-edge, virtual world language school that provides an innovative learning environment with native speaker oversight and instruction." 

VHL Central is the platform utilized for VA’s curriculum. And it was created specifically for online language learning. It's currently used by almost 2 million students around the world. In addition, over 6,000 educational institutions currently rely on VHL’s technology to deliver their fully online and/or hybrid courses.

There are two learning tracks: ¡Olé! and ¡Bravo! Both are designed to build your child's speaking, listening, reading and writing skills. Here's the difference between the two:

Vista Academy: Spanish course for teens

When you sign up, you choose a teacher and a program. We signed up for the Senderos 1 course. I asked my 15yo (9th grader, 10th grader in the fall) to do the program. He's my reluctant Spanish child. Refuses to speak it and has been the hardest to teach Spanish. So I consider him a beginner, unlike my oldest, who is pretty good. 

When you sign up, you go to your dashboard. It looks like this:

Vista Academy: Spanish course for teens

From here, he can see his assignment and the due date. To begin, he simply clicks on Lección 1: Contextos and then begins completing the individual lessons...

Vista Academy: Spanish course for teens

These involve a variety of activities to learn the vocabulary and dialogue for the topic. In this instance, it is introductions and the words used then you meet someone for the first time, or if you are meeting up with friends. 

The activities are a blend of watching videos, listening to dialogue, matching, listen and repeat, and multiple choice. 

***This is pretty much an immersion class.*** 

At first, my son was like, "I don't know what any of this means!" But then he found that for the beginning vocabulary activities, there was a button below each picture that showed the English translation of what he was hearing and seeing. This is not an option for every lesson, but just for the beginning ones. And from our dashboard, we were able print a list of all the vocabulary (Spanish & English) for this first lesson. 

That, however, was the only offline resource he had and/or used. The portal also offers all of the vocabulary on flashcards that your child can go through whenever it's convenient for them. 

Everything is built into the online program. And if you have a question about anything, you can click on the link in the bottom left hand corner of your screen so you can message your teacher. 

Oh, and yes, a native speaker teacher teaches each course. 

I believe there are live classes associated with this course, also, but we haven't had one of them yet. I'll try to update this post after that begins. 

NOTE: Your child will need a computer, access to the internet, and a microphone for this course.

Vista Academy online Spanish class


What I Like


I really love that this course is designed for beginner students who are ages 12 to 18. Too often we are told the lie that only young children can learn a second language. I know that's not true as I have many friends from other countries who learned English in their teens and they speak it very well. I, myself, learned French in high school and while I'm not fluent by any means because I simply haven't had the opportunity to use it, I was amazed to discover how much of it I remembered while traveling through Belgium four years ago and was able to order meals for myself and my family.

The point being, that it's never too late to learn. But it may just take a little more effort. Learning language comes pretty easily to young children, but young adults and even old ladies like me can learn another language. We see this every day in high school and college kids learning to code, which is a language unto itself!

I also like that everything is in one place and that my 15yo can maneuver it on his own without me having to teach it or juggle a curriculum. I've made it a requirement for him to take 3 years of foreign language in high school, so this is a great option for us. 

The sticker price is a bit of a shock, however. Most homeschoolers are on a pretty strict budget and spend $250 - $300 AT MOST on a single subject. But I'm  hopeful that the company will adjust their pricing once they have a little more experience in the homeschool market. 

A Discount for You!


Use the discount code SPANISH20 to get a 20% discount coupon which can be applied towards registration. Expires Nov. 30, 2021.

If you're looking to introduce your middle schooler or high schooler to Spanish and are looking for a no-fuss online course, visit their site today to learn more.

Want to find this post again? Pin it!

Vista Academy


Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Updated Heritage Journal Series


My Heritage Journal series is getting a facelift and the first new cover is out. I absolutely love it and have to give a huge shout out to artist, Rosa Lopez, for her amazing talent and for helping my series finally be perfect!

The first new cover is for My Mexican Heritage Journal. The series was created for children ages 8 to 14 and provides them with a way to record their family's story and heritage.

It's a great project for kids to work on over the summer or as an elective during the school year. And the stories, interviews, recipes, and memories written inside will make it a family heirloom that your child will treasure always.

If you want to read and see more about the inside of these books, visit my original post

The next cover will be My Puerto Rican Heritage Journal. I can't wait for its reveal!

You can purchase your copy of this new journal here:

Monday, June 21, 2021

CM Simple Spanish


The following is a sponsored post in collaboration with CM Simple Spanish. All thoughts and opinions are mine. 

Spanish, Charlotte Mason Style

Have you heard about CM Simple Spanish? This is a new Spanish learning program mainly for PreK and elementary-aged children, but I believe they plan to keep growing and developing their materials for older children. 

Simple Spanish follows the Charlotte Mason method of teaching new languages. You can find a detailed explanation on their site here. Their goal is to help parents gently weave in Spanish to daily situations so that our children learn Spanish simply and naturally.

AND the materials are set up that an entire family can learn Spanish together, so parents who do not speak Spanish can still teach their children. Read on as I explain how.



Early Years Units

I've had an opportunity to review two of their products: Unit 1 and Unit 2 of Early Years. I don't think you could make teaching Spanish any easier. The 5-page download includes a page with the lyrics to a song, a page with lesson plans, and printable flashcards.

There are five simple lessons that teach children Spanish by centering the learning around a song. The first time around, children learn a sentence that also teaches a color, item, and basic sentence structure. The five lessons are repeated the next week teaching new vocabulary. And then repeated a final time. By the end of three weeks, your child will have learned:

  • 3 colors 
  • 3 items
  • 3 sentences 
  • 1 song

The cool thing is that you can learn the song by simply using your phone to scan a QR code (there are a lot of free QR reader apps!) and it takes you to a YouTube video. 

And I love that I learned of a new Spanish musician - Ana Calabrese - and her album, Short, Fun Spanish Beats.

These lesson are super budget friendly; Unit 1 is only $2 and Unit 2 is $3.50. Really, you can't go wrong here. 

If this sounds like something you'd like to try out this summer with your little ones, visit CM Simple Spanish!

Friday, June 18, 2021

El Gran Nacho: A Spanish Literacy Workbook

El Gran Nacho

The following is sponsored post with Nacho Books. All thoughts and opinions are mine. 

Last month, I told you about Nacho Books' new website and that they had added new titles to their selection of books they sell. Today, I want to tell you about one of those titles that I think many of you will really like.

A Spanish Reading and Writing Master Activity Book


El Gran Nacho is 288 pages of literacy developing activities. It is definitely THE activity book to get to engage your kids during the summer or throughout the school year.

It's designed for children in the first grade. The book's introduction says that the exercises emphasize the following:
  • stimulates the development of literacy skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing
  • exercises basic function such as visual perception, auditory skills, fine and gross motor skills
  • and motivates children to follow the instructions of their teacher (you!), while helping them understand their leading role in the building of their own knowledge.
Okay, so what does this all mean? A LOT of experience and work has gone into creating this book.

It presents letters carefully; the most frequently used letters in the Spanish language are taught first. So naturally, the book begins by teaching the vowels and vowel sounds. The book teaches letters and words in a structured manner so that your kids can start building sentences.

Really, there's an entire process to how the alphabet, sounds, words, and language are taught in this book. And it's all backed by sound pedagogy.

But it's totally fun for kids. The illustrations are very well done, and the activities include things like tongue twisters, poetry, riddles, and crosswords. I even like how they mix print and cursive together to teach children how to read and write both.

I really love this book. And I think that you will, too.

Take a peek at some of the inside pages. Check out how they progress in difficulty...

El Gran Nacho

El Gran Nacho

El Gran Nacho

El Gran Nacho



If this looks like something you're looking for, click over to Nacho Books now and purchase your copy.

A Discount for YOU!


MommyMaestra readers can get a 30% discount on any order of Nacho Books. Just use this link and the discount code MommyMaestra at checkout.


Thursday, June 17, 2021

15 Sandía Crafts for Summer!

 


Summer is here, and that means it's time for sandía! Not only is it the perfect summertime snack—juicy, sweet, and refreshing—but it makes for great artistic inspiration too.

Your kids will love this list of fun watermelon crafts and activities to help fill their summer days. From sticky watermelon slime to sponge-painted watermelon slices, there's something here for every kid. There's even a watermelon ojo de Dios yarn weaving project that would make a terrific summer camp craft. Kids will also get a kick out of the erupting watermelon science experiment based on the classic baking soda and vinegar reaction.

Ready to get started? Make one of these sweet crafts today!

15 Watermelon/Sandía Crafts & Activities for Summer Fun



  1. Watermelon Card | The Best Ideas for Kids
  2. Torn Paper Watermelon Craft | Fantastic Fun & Learning
  3. Paper Plate Watermelon | Glue Sticks & Gumdrops
  4. Paper Handprint Watermelon | Fun Handprint Art
  5. Button Watermelon Craft | A Cultivated Nest


  6. Watermelon Sponge Painting | Fantastic Fun & Learning
  7. W is for Watermelon | Must Have Mom
  8. Watermelon Bookmark | Sunny Day Family
  9. Watermelon God's Eye | Red Ted Art    ** This is an awesome ojo de Dios craft.
  10. Painted Watermelon Flower Pot | Mommy Moment


  11. Paper Watermelon Toy | Moms & Crafters   *** PERFECT for young children with play kitchens!
  12. Watermelon Fan | Crafts by Amanda -- Super cute! I think this is a great idea for my 3yo.
  13. Watermelon Slime | Giggles Galore
  14. Erupting Watermelon Science | Natural Beach Living -- 
  15. Painted Handprint Watermelon Letter W Craft | Kindergarten Worksheets & Games

Printable Sandía Preschool Pack



It's not a craft, but don't forget my Sandía Activity Pack! It keeps those nenes busy, busy. It's available with all the activity pages in English AND Spanish (the letter of the week for the Spanish versions, though, is S). 

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Lesson Plans for In the Heights

In The Heights Lesson Plans

Like many of you, I spent the weekend watching In the Heights. I read that some of you were renting theaters to go and watch with your trusted group of family and friends. Others, like myself, clicked on HBO Max and watched at home. 

I was fascinated to find that the movie finds its roots in Lin-Manuel Miranda's undergraduate imagination. He wrote his first draft of it in 1999 while attending Wesleyan. In 2004, he worked with author, Quiara Alegría Hudes, to further develop it and by 2008 it premiered on Broadway. 

I love it, of course. And decided it would be great for my teen. 

Psst! Did you know that it's available as a book?

I've heard a few teachers talking about it and started wondering if there were lesson plans available. And, yes! There are!

Listing them here for your pleasure...

In the Heights Lesson Plans

    Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Lin-Manuel Miranda Lesson Plans, Study Guides, and More


There are a lot of lesson plans about Miranda on TpT. Check out this great selection for a variety of ages:

Books for kids about Lin-Manuel Miranda


First the ones for little kids: (aff links)

And here's one for young adults:

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Homeschool High School World Literature Curriculum

Learning Language Arts Through Literature

The following is a sponsored post in collaboration with Common Sense Press. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

I'm continuing today with my homeschooling high school series. Today's post focuses on Language Arts. This was really a huge struggle for me, but I am ecstatic that I have finally settled on the Learning Language Arts Through Literature (LLATL) curriculum from Common Sense Press that delves deep and provides us with exactly what we need to study language arts in high school.  

Quick Overview

Program: Learning Language Arts Through Literature: The Gold Book - World Literature
Subject(s): literacy, literature, world cultures, ELA
Religious Perspective: Explores World Religions through their literature
Format: Books
Grades: 9th - 12th
Language: English 
Price: $14.00 - $27.00


Homeschool Literature Curriculum


Finding a language arts curriculum that meets my expectations has always been a struggle. And once my middle kid started 9th grade, my stress level about this subject skyrocketed. UNTIL I learned about LLATL. I just wish that I had learned about it before we started 9th grade instead of a few months ago. 

This program is simple and easy to implement. Easy to teach AND easy for my student to get done on his own. I don't necessarily have to teach this subject. But I do because I love it.

LLATL - World Lit sample


Open-and-Go Curriculum


The program uses two main books: the text book which contains all the lessons, and A World Literature Anthology, with excerpts of (yep!) world literature. To complete the course, I ran up to my local Half-Price Book Store and purchased copies of The Odyssey by Homer, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, and Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton. I had to order No Fear Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare off of Amazon.

That's it. The textbook and anthology are the main materials my son needs. It's set up for a 5 daily lessons each week, but honestly, you can do as many as you want in a sitting. Sometimes we do one lesson in a day, and sometimes we push and do all five. I LOVE the versatility of it!

But what I love even more, is that this program explores literature from all over the world and throughout history. I've loved learning and exploring right alongside my kid. And when I'm excited about it, he enjoys it more and we have great discussions.

This course isn't designed to read just a few books in their entirety. Instead, it is like a smörgåsbord that presents amazing literary works from all over the globe. 

The text itself is divided up into 5 sections:
  1. Early Literature,
  2. Epic Poetry,
  3. Medieval - Renaissance,
  4. Enlightenment - Romanticism, and
  5. 20th Century.
Right now, we are in Epic Poetry, partially because we've so enjoyed exploring some of the new stuff. For example, we've all heard of haiku poetry, but neither one of us had ever heard of tanka poems. We spent some extra time with that. 

I am SO grateful that we homeschool because I don't feel pressured into getting it all done as quickly as possible. We can enjoy this and while we may go ahead and push the learning through the summer, if we don't finish until a few months into the new school year, we're okay with that.

What I Like BEST


I love the diversity and thoroughness of this curriculum. So far, we've read excerpts of Hindu hymns from the Rig Veda, the Epic of Gilgamesh (of course!), African proverbs, Japanese folktales, Aesop's fables, Zen parables, portions of the Bible, the Analects of Confucius, and even suras from the Koran.

Seriously, you can see why I like it and highly recommend it. Last week, I told you about the world cultures curriculum I'm planning for my elementary kid. Now, I'm sharing one for my high schooler!! Yay!

I just cannot stress enough how important it is to me for my kids to travel the world. And if we can't do it physically because of a pandemic, then we'll do it virtually through online programs and books. And curricula like this one from Common Sense Press is excellent. I recommend 100%!!

I also love that my 15yo kid actually LIKES it. This is not always the case with him. He struggles so much with dysgraphia that he automatically complains about any subject with written assignments (Hello? All of them?!). But he does enjoy these lessons.

Based on this experience, I do plan on using their other curricula for high school literature with my kid. Next year, we'll probably dive into British Literature as my kid loves all things British (including the accent).  

If your kids aren't old enough for high school, yet. Check out their other LLATL textbooks. They start with 1st grade.

So if you are homeschooling a high schooler (or preparing to do so in the fall), go and check out this curriculum.

The Discount 


If you're already convinced and off to buy it yourself, then here's a discount code for you! Get 15% off when you enter the code: Summer2021

It's valid through July 31st.

The Giveaway!


The winner gets to choose 1 Teacher/Student set from Learning Language Arts Through Literature or 1 Great Science Adventures!



Want to find this post again? Pin it!

Learning Language Arts Through Literature


Wednesday, June 9, 2021

K - 8th Activity Guide from Smithsonian


This is so awesome! This week I saw that there is a new Smithsonian Education activity guide for kids available for download online.

Inspiration Nation is filled with inspiring stories, hands-on experiments, and art projects for students in K through 8th grade. The 40-page activity guide is bold, creative, and colorful, and portions of it are bilingual. 

It focuses on three main questions:

  1.  “How have you been inspired?,” 
  2. “How have others been inspired?,” 
  3. and “How can inspiration change the world?”

This resources is part of their Learning Lab collection, so when you download it, you'll have the option of taking a tour. If you've never used a Learning Lab, it's pretty fascinating. There is a tool bar that lets you do/read a variety of things including:

  • information about what you are seeing, i.e. a description and other details,
  • additional resources or interactives that the artist has uploaded to supplement the piece,
  • the option to add the piece to your own virtual collection (!),
  • the ability to bookmark it as one of your favorites,
  • the option to cite the source if you are doing research (it will create the citation for you in MLA, APA, or Chicago style),
  • and the ability to flag the source if you are especially impressed or concerned about it.
Overall, what a fabulous resource to keep your kids engaged and learning this summer in a really fun way!

Click here to get your free print-friendly PDF of “Inspiration Nation.”

Monday, June 7, 2021

Printables for Summer Fun Learning

Are you looking for fun activities to keep your kids busy, entertained, and learning this summer? Consider some of my bilingual printables! They're available in English and Spanish - you pick the language that best suits your needs. 

This year, I have some new activities for you, such as the Sandía Activity Pack and the 4th of July Book of Words. 

Older kids may prefer the Bilingual Travel Games for long road trips, or even the Magic Tree House pack of supplemental activities if they are just now reading the first three books in the series (in EITHER language!). 



Lots of fun activities to develop math, literacy, and fine motor skills!




Introduce vocabulary for celebrating the holiday.




Ways to extend the learning with this fun series of books!




If you are embarking on a family road trip, help boost your kids' English or Spanish vocabulary along the way with this bilingual packet of 10 travel-related games. 

Friday, June 4, 2021

Special Discount Code from Spanish for You!


Summer is officially here in our household!

One kid has gone away to camp and another is taking college essay writing classes. What does your summer look like? Does it include language learning for your young ones?

If so, Spanish for You! wants to help. They are offering MommyMaestra readers a $5 coupon code that can be used in any of these ways:

You can't beat that! 

So don't wait. Take advantage of their kindness and go download some lessons! Just remember to use the discount code MommyMaestra5 at checkout! This coupon will be good through June 30th.

Happy learning!

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Igniting Wonder for World Cultures with Picture Books

Beautiful Feet Books

The following is a sponsored post in collaboration with Beautiful Feet Books. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

I'm a planner. And when it comes to homeschooling, few things excite me as much as discovering new curricula that I think will delight my kids while teaching them valuable lessons. So while I currently have a preschooler, I'm already looking forward to Kindergarten curricula. And my most exciting discovery at the moment, is the Around the World with Picture Books literature pack from Beautiful Feet Books.

(Psst! Don't miss the GREAT giveaway and freebie at the end of this post!)

Quick Overview

ProgramAround the World with Picture Books Part 1 from Beautiful Feet Books
Subject(s): literacy, literature, world cultures, geography
Religious Perspective: Christian
Format: Books
Grades: K - 3rd
Language: English 
Price: $27.95 for the Teacher Guide up to $205.95 for all the materials (books included)


Charlotte Mason's Good Books


Beautiful Feet Books is a Charlotte Mason-inspired history and literature curriculum for homeschool families. (If you are new to homeschooling and don't know about the Charlotte Mason method, here's a post I wrote for a quick overview.)

I consider us to be an eclectic homeschool family drawing from various methods those aspects that inspire and engage us the most. What I love best about the Charlotte Mason approach is the use of living books instead of text books. Living books are those written by authors who are knowledgeable and passionate about a particular subject. They make history come alive for the reader and capture their imagination. I used these extensively with my older children and am now looking forward to using them with my youngest.

I also am striving to raise global citizens who can interact with any person of any background from anywhere in the world. So when I discovered that Beautiful Feet Books has several literature packs that explore world cultures, I was ecstatic! 

Beautiful Feet Books


A Literature Approach


My favorite way to teach young children is through reading, reading, and reading more great books. And that's exactly what Beautiful Feet Books provides. 

I chose to receive Around the World with Picture Books Part 1, which covers Asia, Africa, Australia, and Antarctica. The Asian books dive into China, Japan, Thailand, and India. And the African books explore Morocco, Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, and Ghana.

The complete set comes with 17 books, a teacher's guide, and a composition book. Included in the 17 books is an atlas that I've been dying to buy for years, but my big kids were just too old for it. I'm so excited to have my hands on it. More about it below...

BUT if you are on a budget, you can also purchase JUST the teacher's guide ($27.95) and then request all the books from your local library. They probably already have most of them, and if not, would surely be happy to order them for you.

Beautiful Feet Books

The Teacher's Guide


Oh. My. 

That's exactly what I thought when I saw the teacher's guide. Seriously, it's remarkable. It's beautifully done. The full-color guide walks you through each of the 70 lessons and provides lots of extra activities and resources to explore, including artworks, nature connections, recipes, and more.

The guide goes from one country to the next until all 11 countries have been explored. As your student completes the art assignments, they should cut and paste them into the notebook (which, by the way, is imported from Japan and specifically designed for beginning writers). Many of these will be the reproducible maps and drawings found in the back of the guide that your child will color in with colored pencils or watercolors. So the pages of the notebook will mostly contain these pieces of art, with minimal writing. Instead, the lesson encourage oral presentations and dialogue with your children to foster a deep connection both with the subject matter and between parent and child.

The Books


And the picture books have been carefully curated to best represent each country. I love the authenticity of each one and the glimpses of culture that they contain. Some have no words, such as Anno's China, which has only illustrations (the back of the book has descriptions of each scene). Each page is full of activity, a collection of snapshots of daily life in China.

Personally, I love that someone has done all the legwork for me and that I don't have to take time to go and search for books for each country and then try to find them in my library, bookstore, or online. Having it all put together saves me time, which I simply don't have to spare. And the guide makes it possible for me to simply open and teach. I can grab it, look it over, then sit down with my youngest and the book(s) of the day.

Beautiful Feet Books


What You'll Need


As I mentioned above, this is a literature-based program. The box that arrives supplies almost everything, but you'll also need the following:
  • colored pencils
  • set of watercolors
  • paintbrushes
  • watercolor paper
You may have all of these already. But I really appreciate that there's not a ton of stuff I have to buy to use this program. 

There's also ingredients for the recipes, but that's certainly up to you if you want to make your own, buy it (if you live near restaurants that serve the dishes), or decide to skip some all together. 

One of the great things about this program is that it very flexible and the guide simply provides you with ways to explore and build on the books being read.

My youngest was there for the unboxing and immediately grabbed the book Maps by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski. He was enthralled (to my delight!) by all the illustrations. And we've even read some of the books already at his insistence. Totally okay. We read the same books over and over again. So it'll be fun when we add the activities from the guide - that will give the books a fresh slant. 

If this sounds like type of program you're interested in using with your elementary student, go take a look at their product page for more information!


The Freebie


Beautiful Feet Books is giving away the free eBook, 5 Ways to Know If A Book Is Worth Sharing With Your Kids by Josh Berg. To get your copy, sign up here.

The Giveaway


Don't miss this generous giveaway! TEN (10!) winners will receive $100 in store credit to use at Beautiful Feet Books!




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