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37 Favorite Books from our First Grade Homeschool

Wow, did we cover a lot this past year! I finally went and sorted through the books my son and I worked our way through for his first grade year.

It made me smile to see all the different subjects we covered – art, music, biographies, history, science, culture… I realized what a rich homeschool year we had, despite the setbacks and shortcomings that inevitably happened.

I’m sharing some of our favorites below, in case you’re looking for something new to add to your shelf (fiction, non-fiction and reference books).

** For reference, we primarily followed Cycle 2 of Classical Conversations, which covered medieval to new-world history, physics, and astronomy, along with Beautiful Feet Book’s Around the World Europe study (with a few others mixed in)**

If you have pre-K or Elementary aged children – I promise these books will not disappoint!

The Arts

The Magical Garden of Claude Monet

Van Gogh and the Sunflowers

The Story of the Orchestra – Four Seasons in One Day

A Stage Full of Shakespeare Stories

Who Was Leonardo da Vinci?

Leonardo and the Flying Boy

Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

Nature + Science

A Butterfly is Patient

A Rock is Lively

The Beetle Book

Bees – A Honeyed History

Trees – A Rooted History

There Once Was a Tree

Ants – Just Like Us

The Night Sky

Who Was Neil Armstrong?

Who Was Isaac Newton?

Hot Air – The (Mostly True) Story of the First Hot Air Balloon Ride

History + Culture

Time Traveler

I Lost My Tooth in Africa

Anno’s Journey

Anatole

Manfish

Ferdinand

Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland

Martin’s Big Words

When Rosa Parks Went Fishing

Reference Books

MAPS

Nature Anatomy

Read-Aloud Chapter Books

The Long Winter

My Father’s Dragon

The Trumpet of the Swan

Chronicles of Narnia – The Complete 7 Volume CD Box Set

The Mouse and the Motorcycle

Around the World in 80 Days

The Little Prince

King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table

The Adventures of Robin Hood

 

 

**I’m an affiliate of Amazon, which means every purchase from product links helps keep this website going. I only write about things I’m truly passionate about, and products I actually recommend and use for our family.**

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Our Favorite Picture Books for Kindergartners

favorite picture books for kindergarten

We are big into books over here.

Like really, really into books.

Picture books hold a special place in my heart because they spark a love for reading at literally any age. Both of my boys will look at picture books and listen to me read them for hours.

“One more thing is of vital importance; children must have books, living books; the best are not too good for them; anything less than the best is not good enough; and if it is needful to exercise economy, let go everything that belongs to soft and luxurious living before letting go the duty of supplying the books, and the frequent changes of books, which are necessary for the constant stimulation of the child’s intellectual life.”
― Charlotte Mason

Ever since I posted a list of my preschooler’s favorite picture books, my bigger boy has been wanting to gather his favorites. So here is our list of our family’s absolute favorite picture books for kindergartners (although I should say my preschooler loves them, too.)

{This list doesn’t include holiday-themed books, non-fiction – except the Storybook Bible, he wouldn’t let me leave it out – or chapter books… another post for another day}

favorite picture books for kindergarten

My Kindergartner’s Favorite Picture Books

**You can probably find most of these at your local library, but we try to add our favorites to the shelf, because ALWAYS more books!**

Walt Disney’s Alice in Wonderland

The Cat in the Hat Comes Back

Roxaboxen

 

The Tree House that Jack Built

The Lorax

Mike Mulligan and More: Four Classic Stories by Virginia Lee Burton

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (picture book edition)

Children of the Forest

Frog and Toad Together

The Velveteen Rabbit

The Jesus Storybook Bible

The First Bear in Africa!

Bread and Jam for Frances

A Year in Brambly Hedge

Richard Scarry’s Bedtime Stories

The Storybook Knight

Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose

Thy Friend, Obadiah

One of my favorite places to find good book recommendations is over at Read Aloud Revival – go hop over there and be amazed at the amazing resources Sarah has! I especially love her holiday and seasonal book lists.

I hope you found some new books to read with your Kindergartner!

**I’m an affiliate of Amazon, which means every purchase from product links helps keep this website going. I only write about things I’m truly passionate about, and products I actually recommend and use for our family.**

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My Preschooler’s Favorite Picture Books for Preschoolers

It’s no secret that we are a book-loving family. My big boy was reading short chapter books by the time he was four, and both boys will sit for hours and let me read to them. Because of them and their love for reading, I’ve become a huge fan of children’s literature.

For posterity’s sake, I went ahead and compiled a list of our family’s favorite fiction books for toddler to preschool aged children – all selected and approved by my own little one. If he didn’t love it, I didn’t include it.

(This list doesn’t include holiday-themed books, non-fiction books or books my Kindergartner loves – those will be in a separate post!)

A few of these I’m borrowing from the library until I can snatch them up, but most we own, because we love them and read them endlessly. I consider these books heirlooms, to be passed down someday to my grandchildren (good Lord, that’s scary to think about).

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One of my favorite places to find good book recommendations is over at Read Aloud Revival – go hop over there and be amazed at the amazing resources Sarah has! I especially love her holiday and seasonal book lists.

Some of these are new books, some are classics – but we love them all!

Our Favorite Picture Books for Preschoolers

**You can probably find most of these at your local library, but we try to add our favorites to the shelf, because ALWAYS more books!**

10 Little Rubber Ducks

Blueberries for Sal

Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Climb the Family Tree, Jesse Bear!

Frog and Toad Storybook Treasury

Green Eggs and Ham

Go Dog, Go!

Goodnight Gorilla

Goodnight Moon

Home for a Bunny

How to Be a Bigger Bunny

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

If you Give a Moose a Muffin

Inch by Inch

Jamberry

Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear?

Little Blue Truck

Looking for a Moose

Olivia

Run, Peter, Run!

Sophie’s Squash

Stellaluna

Stone Soup

The Cat in the Hat

The Grouchy Ladybug

The Little Fireman

The Little Red Hen

The Story About Ping

Where the Wild Things Are

 

I hope you found some new books to check out with your little ones!

 

 

 

 

 

**I’m an affiliate of Amazon, which means every purchase from product links helps keep this website going. I only write about things I’m truly passionate about, and products I actually recommend and use for our family.**

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DIY Tide Pool – Ocean Science Activity for Kids

This week we studied ocean zones while following the Classical Conversations Cycle 1 Week 19 curriculum – and to add an extra element of fun, we also studied the Intertidal Zone.

Did you know that the Intertidal Zone is one of the harshest environments on earth? It’s true. Animals who live there have to withstand extreme variations in temperature and water levels, not to mention crashing waves and predators.

Amazingly, so many little creatures still make tide pools their home, like sea stars, puffer fish, crabs, anemones, barnacles, mussels and even baby octopuses!

See, I bet you learned something. Class dismissed.

Jk.

One of the ways we studied tide pools was this fun little backyard activity. I know it’s winter and 30 degrees outside, but my boys were not opposed to playing in the water. It’s a mystery, but it’s true.

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DIY Tide Pool

  • First, get some sort of large container to act as your tide pool. We used the top of an old plastic bird bath, which was perfect. You could also use a trash can lid or storage container.
  • Put a few scoops of sand or crushed rock in the bottom.
  • Add some seashells or small rocks. Check your local dollar store or craft store for shells, sand dollars and starfish. We got a very inexpensive bag of shells (since we live nowhere near the beach) and it was so worth it!
  • Add some mini sea creatures – but only ones that live in the intertidal zone! We used sea stars, sea turtles, crabs and a little octopus.
  • Have your kids fill up the tide pool with buckets of water. They can take turns making it high tide and low tide. My boys especially loved making waves by rocking the container back and forth.

This activity kept my boys occupied for hours!

Further Resources

 

Wild Kratts Stars of the Tides episode

Tide Pool Secrets

Look Inside a Tide Pool

 

 

 

 

**I’m an affiliate of Amazon, which means every purchase from product links helps keep this website going. I only write about things I’m truly passionate about, and products I actually recommend and use for our family.**

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Classical Conversations Cycle 1 Week 19 Activities + Resources

cc cycle 1 week 19 lesson plan

Science

We did a lot for science this week, since we LOVE learning about the ocean.

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Ocean Layers Activity
This was a great way to visualize the epipelagic, mesopelagic, bathypelagic and abyssopelagic layers they learned about at CC.

Learn how to do it here.

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Tide Pool Sensory Play
If you’ve been around here for any length of time, you know I’m all about sensory play. We created a little tide pool from a discarded bird bath top (you could use any kind of container), play sand, pebbles, shells and mini sea creatures from the dollar store. Add water and let them play in their mini tide pool.

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Ocean Layers Felt Board
My biggest boy and I made this scene out of felt scraps and it ended up being such a great tool to learn about which species live in each layer of the ocean. So fun!

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Growing Overnight Crystals
My kids could not get enough of crystals at CC day and begged to do more, so we followed this lesson and they turned out amazing!

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History Resources

The Usborne Encyclopedia of World History

About the Anasazi

Fine Arts

To go a little more in-depth, I set out all of our instruments with some labels and had my big boy try and group them into types of instruments: percussion, strings, brass and woodwinds.

If you’re looking for a good book that introduces little ones to the orchestra, we LOVE this First Book About the Orchestra and can’t recommend it enough!

(This is the musical instruments set we used.)

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Nature Study

This week was field trip week with Exploring Nature With Children, so we went to a local trail to search for tracks and wildlife signs. Luckily, everything in Colorado this time of year is super muddy – perfect for spotting animal tracks. We recorded what we saw in our nature journals and even played around with making tracks in Kinetic Sand.

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Resources

You can probably find most of these at your local library, but we try to add our favorites to the shelf, because ALWAYS more books!

Super Simple Ocean Projects

Oceans: A Journey from the Surface to the Seafloor (3-D Explorer)

Tide Pool Secrets

See Under the Sea: Lift-the-Flap Book

Wild Tracks: A Guide to Nature’s Footprints

Who Pooped in the Park?

Tell me what you’re doing with your kids this week!

 

 

 

**I’m an affiliate of Amazon, which means every purchase from product links helps keep this website going. I only write about things I’m truly passionate about, and products I actually recommend and use for our family.**

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Making Morning Time Work with Little Ones

Hello again, friends. Last year I first read about the concept of Morning Time over on Farmhouse Schoolhouse and I immediately fell in love. Visions soon filled my head of what our very own Morning Time would look like:

*Everyone in their chairs, gathered peacefully around the table.*

*Delicious muffins and fresh fruit set out in pretty little dishes.*

*A candle flickering peacefully next to a vase of flowers picked from the yard.*

*A feast of beautiful poetry, thought-provoking literature, encouraging scriptures. Hymns. Composer study. Artist study. Shakespeare.*

Any other mamas of littles laughing their heads off right now?

Fast forward to this year and I realized pretty early on that I seriously had to readjust my expectations for what our homeschool day actually looks like. I have 5-year-old and 3-year-old boys. They are capable of focusing and sitting still for about 10 minutes, on a good day. Even then, there is a fair amount of drink spilling and fart noises happening.

I don’t want my kids to look back on their childhood and remember Mom trying to force them full of information and ideas. That is not our vision, nor does it kindle a passion for learning.

A few days ago, I read during my before-the-kids-wake-up-and-the-house-is-quiet time a little verse in Sarah Mackenzie’s Teaching From Rest (an AMAZING book and if you haven’t read it stop what you’re doing and read it right now):

Little drops of water,
Little grains of sand,
Make the mighty ocean
And the pleasant land.

So the little moments,
Humble though they be,
Make the mighty ages
Of Eternity.

Even if I can just pour out one drop of goodness, beauty, or truth into their hearts each morning, even if it’s just one poem or one song or one prayer – those little drops add up. That one thing matters. Those little moments add up into years.

How very encouraging to my mama heart.

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Once I accepted our reality and let go of my vision for Morning Time, I scaled way, way back and chose just a couple of simple, quick items. So here’s what Morning Time looks like in our house right now:

  • We gather for breakfast. Usually, we have oatmeal, except for about one day a week when I make something really fancy, like muffins. I find that breakfast time is when the kiddos are most engaged – and it’s harder to make dragon noises with food in your mouth.
  • I put a classical music station on Pandora. Sometime’s I’ll point out – “oh! this is Bach,” but most of the time it just plays in the background.
  • First, we read a poem or two from our all-time favorite book of poetry for kids, A Child’s Book of Poems, by Gyo Fujikawa. (Side note: I never pegged myself as a poetry person. It never made sense to me. This book is filled with the most wonderfully engaging and rhythmic poems and rhymes – many by famous poets – and stunning illustrations. The boys are in love with this book and it has changed me forever!)
  • Some days I will find the same or a similar piece of poetry on The Daily Poem podcast, and we will listen to that. They are usually only about 5 minutes long. This usually doesn’t happen regularly, though.
  • Next, we read our devotional from Indescribable – 100 Devotions about God and Science. Each devotional is two pages, with a scripture verse and a short prayer.
  • Finally, we go around the table and pray – we each thank God for one thing and ask him for one thing. Prayer can be a tricky concept, especially for littles. (Okay, adults too.) My biggest boy said to me once that he didn’t want to pray because there were no instructions on how to do it, which is why we use this little format. It helps to give him a jumping off point. It’s been incredible to see their little requests often get answered throughout the rest of the day – such a trust-building thing.

That’s it. We clean up our breakfast plates and move on to chores.

The reality is, some days Morning Time is just one poem and then we’re off cleaning up a giant glass of spilled milk. Or someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed (ahem) and Morning Time doesn’t go peacefully at all. And that’s okay. Little drops, they add up.

I’m sure our Morning Time routine will change with the years – in fact, I have a whole list of ideas I want to include in the future. But for now, this works for us. Morning Time helps us start our day by feasting on the good and beautiful, and for that I am grateful.

(If you want to learn more about what Morning Time is, hop over to this post.)

“Teaching our children to love which is lovely will go a long way toward shaping our students’ affections and orienting them toward the good, the true, and the beautiful.” -Sarah Mackenzie

What does your morning routine look like with little ones? Do you have any additional resources or recommendations? 

 

 

 

**I’m an affiliate of Amazon, which means every purchase from product links helps keep this website going. I only write about things I’m truly passionate about, and products I actually recommend and use for our family.**