Back off Marie Kondo! Book Haul: What We found in January

Why Book Hauling Matters!

Creating a wonderful home library for my kids to have access in our home has been a major goal of mine since my first born was little.

At first I would buy Wesley brand new books. But this was very expensive. Especially as a single mom. Finally one day I realized that buying books used at thrift stores and garage sales was the way to go! Then I started frequenting book sales, Facebook Buy & Sell groups and Kijiji.

Now our home library is exploding for a fraction of the cost! My kids can never say there is nothing to read in our home.

I want to share with you some of the books I was able to find used this month to add to our collection. I hope for some, you will see what kind of awesome books you can buy used. For others I hope it will give you some great ideas on different kind of books you might want to read with your child.

Thanks to Marie Kondo’s Netflix show, I find that the book selection at thrift stores is amazing right now! Thanks Marie Kondo! And yes, books make me happy! I see them on their shelves and it just warms my heart knowing that they are right there at my finger tips.

And without further ado, our January 2019 Book Haul video & Book List!

January Book Haul

1)Butterfly Blues (Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew)

2)Camp Creepy (Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew Book 26)

3)Ready, Freddy! Shark Tooth Tale

4) Valentine’s Day from the Black Lagoon (Black Lagoon Adventures, No. 8)

5) Daisy the Kitten (Dr. KittyCat 3): I was so excited to find this book at Once Upon A Child. A friend of my told me how much her son loves this series, so I’m excited to try one out with Zakari.

6) Nate the Great and the Mushy Valentine

7) Splash’s Secret Friend (Dolphin School 3)

8) Horrible Harry Bugs the Three Bears

9) Chomp of the Meat-Eating Vegetables: A Branches Book (The Notebook of Doom 4)

10) Whack of the P-Rex: A Branches Book (The Notebook of Doom 5)

11) Watch Out! Man-Eating Snake! (The New Kids of Polk Street School)

12) Happy Little Family 

13) Lost in the Snow (Pet Rescue Adventures)

14) Barkley’s School for Dogs 8: Blue Ribbon Blues

15) Barkley’s School for Dogs 5: Snow Day

16) The Case of the Zoo Clue (Clue Jr. 5)

17) Save Our Squirtle! (Pokemon Junior 3)

18) Surf’s Up, Pikachu! (Pokemon Junior, No.1)

19) Raichu Shows Off (Pokemon Junior 6)

20) Bulbasaur’s Bad Day (Pokemon Junior 4)

21) The Snubbull Blues (Pokemon Junior 12)

22) A Pokemon Snow-Down (Pokemon Junior Chapter Book, No. 8)

23) Double Trouble Monsters (Bailey City Monsters)

24) Vampire Baby (Bailey City Monsters)

25) Snow Monster Mystery (Bailey City Monsters, 8)

26) Happy Boo Day (Bailey City Monsters, 9)

27) Mrs. Jeepers’ Batty Vacation (Super Special, No.22)

28) Frankenstein Doesn’t Slam Hockey Pucks 

29) Holiday Special: Leprachauns Don’t Play Fetch (The Bailey School Kids)

30) Ogres Don’t Hunt Easter Eggs (The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids, Holiday Special)

31) Dracula Doesn’t Play Kickball (The Adventures of Bailey School Kids, 48)

Please share in the comments if you found some book gems this month! I always love hearing about what awesome books other people discovered.

Homeschool Collection {Third Edition}

Raising Bookworms: What We Read in January 2019

Where Did January Go??

January has come and gone. What a crazy month. Like I promised last month, I’m back to share what we read in January. If you missed the first post of my Raising Bookworms Series, be sure to go check out Raising Bookworms: What We Read in December 2018.

The first month of 2019 was a hard one for our family. First both myself and my hubby were hit with a nasty bug. The big kids were also hit with it, but it seemed to pass them quickly. However this sickness seemed to not want to let the adults in the house go. Any Mama here knows how hard it is to keep the house going when we are under the weather. Especially those special needs moms out there. Really brings the meaning of no rest for the wicked to life.

While we were still trying to recover from our sickness, we got a call no one wants to get. My hubby’s grandfather passed suddenly. This was a terrible shock to the family. While we knew he hadn’t been feeling well, no one really expected this.

So we were sucked into a world wind of emotions. There were late nights being with our family. The day of the funeral we had several family members over afterwards to continue celebrating Grandpa’s life. My in-laws are a very close knit family, so this hit them all very hard.

Throughout this month we still managed to spend lots of time reading together. I was glad to have my voice back after a bout of laryngitis in December. I’m happy to say this month we read 17 chapter books. There were more night then I liked that bedtime was later then ideal. So instead of reading 1/2 a book, we only got through a chapter or so. But 17 books is 6 books ahead of our 11 books a month goal! So I’m going to call it a huge success.

Now Without Further Ado, Here is What We Read In January!

1)The New Year Dragon Dilemma (A to Z Mysteries: Super Edition #5) I picked this book off my shelf without reading more then the title. Then a few paragraphs in, I realized that it was about Chinese New Years that is celebrated in February. Not January 1st New Years. Well Zakari was already interested so we decided to continue reading. If I had planned this better we would have read it in February. But that’s OK!

2) High Tide in Hawaii (Magic Tree House #28) Once again the Magic Tree House did not disappoint! This time we went back in time to a Hawaiian island of long ago. We learned about what the islands were like before, and all about tsunami.

3)New Year’s Eve Thieves (Calendar Mysteries #13) This is a series that I choice not to read in order. We just grab the book of the month and read it together. So far I haven’t found that we are missing anything by reading them this way. I feel they can be stand alone books.

4)Callie (Kitty Corner #1)

5)Monsters Don’t Scuba Dive (The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids #14)

6) Mystery Ranch (The Boxcar Children #4)

7) The Scarlet Dragon (The Kingdom of Wrenly)

8) No Grown-ups Allowed (Cul-de-sac Kids, #4) If you have a child with ADHD, this is a book you might want to check out. My son has ADHD and we really have to watch how much sugar he has, and how much sleep he gets. Otherwise he can get really dysregulated. In this book we follow Jason, who decided that when his parents go out of town for the weekend that he is going to trick his grandma. He chooses not the take his medication, sneak too many sweets and stay up late. We follow him through the story while he discovers the consequences to his actions. While we don’t do mediation, Zakari is not crazy about the supplements we have him on. So this was a great story to share with him!

9) Who Was Neil Armstrong?

10) Princess (The Puppy Place #12)

11) Chill of the Ice Dragon: A Branches Book (Dragon Masters #9)

12) Hockey Rules! This was another new series we tried this month. One of Zakari’s aunties who loves hockey got him the series for Christmas. This was an amazing book that talked about rules, and the importance of using your head when it comes to the internet. Things you post online are there forever and can’t be taken back.

13) The Hidden Stairs and the Magic Carpet (The Secrets of Droon, #1) This was another win for us this month. This is a series about a group of kids that find a stairway to a secret world in their basement. I’m happy to say its a series that has 36 main books and several special editions. I feel if your kiddos like the Magic Tree House for the adventure they will like this series.

14) Ivy & Bean (Book 1) Well I’m going to be honest, we were not overly crazy about this book. It wasn’t terrible, but I mean I feel like there are other better books on the market. We own a few of these, so we will try one more and see if we get drawn in. But if we don’t I think this series might not have a permanent space on our bookshelf.

15) Fred’s Midnight Prowler I was so excited to find a few of these books at the local book sale this fall. It is a Canadian series that I thought was only available in French. However I found some in English and grabbed them up.

16) Usborne Pinocchio

17) Stories of Cowboys (Usborne Young Reading: Series One)

Looking for more book suggestions?

Check out some of my other book related post:

Raising Bookworms: What We Read in December

Book Review: Benjamin Birdie’s First Flight

Chapter Books For Boys With Autism & Book Haul

75 Books We Read Aloud : Homeschooling Kindergarten

What books did you read with your child last month? I’d love to know in comments below!

This post contains affiliate links

Homeschool Collection {Third Edition} Review Quality Online Homeschool Resources { Reviews}

Has anyone else hit the after the holidays, homeschool slump?

I know I did! So that is why I was so excited when I got the chance to review My family was blessed with a Ultimate Annual Yearly Membership, and we were happy to jump right in!

What is is a Christian, Self-paced, Online Homeschooling Courses with Customizable Curriculum. They offer over 425 course options for all students ranging from preschoolers to seniors in high school.

The best part is that there are no textbooks or workbooks to buy and it is self paced. Allowing families the flexibility to go as fast or slow as they want. Parents can also allow their children some freedom to help select courses they may have a passion for. Since everything the student will need is available on the site, cost is not an issue.

They also offer members access to other great sites like World Book

Many of the course throughout use World Book as their spine. You also get access to great ebooks, timelines, games and printables. You basically have a library available to you at the click of a mouse.

SchoolhouseTeachers screen the books in the course from World Book and warns parents of pages that might contain content that might not match Christian benefits. While they remind parents that World Book must be used with caution like a public library, they try their best to spot things that might be opposing to your worldview. Video Library

With your Ultimate Annual Yearly Membership, you have access to 450+ videos at no cost to you! They include:

  • several academic areas, like Science, Math, Bible, etc
  • kids’ entertainment,
  • marriage
  • parenting,
  • apologetics,
  • Bible study,
  • holidays
  • and more!

How Did We Use

All of the stuff I mentioned above on its own is great, but the more I dug around on the more great stuff I found. Some of the resources we used since we started with are:

Starting Out with First Grade Math

Zakari and I are always looking for new ways for him to learn new math skills. While we have a few curriculums we are currently using, I love throwing in new ways to review information we have already learned, or coming at a subject from a different angle.

As a parent who really isn’t organized enough to put together my own curriculum, I loved that this course was laid out for me. 36 weeks, 73 lessons, 5 days a week. I either present a slide show presentation, or print out a worksheet for us to work through. There is no more then 5 mins of prep required before hand by me as the teacher.

So far the lessons are interesting enough to hold Zakari’s attention, while short enough to allow us to just add them into our current math programs.

Parent eBook Library has a collection of 40+ ebooks for parents. They include topics such as homeschooling styles, gifted children, devotionals, homemaking, budgeting and more.

One of the Parent eBooks I had the chance to read through was The Value of Homeschool Conventions.

This short eBook takes parents who might be trying to decide if the expense of attending a local homeschool convention is worth it.

The author takes the reader through the Factors. For example:

  • The WOW Factor
  • The Encouragement Factor
  • The Camaraderie Factor
  • and several more

World Book Learning Ladders: My Body

We tend to lean towards a literature based curriculums, so when I saw these Learning Ladders books from World Book under the science Unit Studies, we had to check it out.

Zakari and I have been learning about bones, muscles, organs, the 5 senses and more. Near the end of the book there is a puzzle page, fun facts, as well as true and false quizzes.

Parent Course: Encouragement for Homeschool Moms

I love that there is a section dedicated to parents. They offer different courses for us to use. While homeschooling mom’s are always focused on educating their children, it is important for us to keep our minds fresh too!

I chose to download, print and have bounded Devotional Bible Study called “Encouragement for Homeschool Moms”. But this is not necessary. You could just read off you computer and tablet and write in a blank journal.

This 31 day devotional is designed that one day you read the Scriptures and answer questions about what you read and conclude with prayer. The next day you are given two pages for journaling your own thoughts on the topic discussed the previous day.

I’m hoping that over the next 31 days I will have the chance to make sure I’m taking care of my heart too. We can only pour into our children if our cup is full. So its important to take into consideration our own self care. I love that remembered this, as a lot of mom’s miss this important step in our journey.

Who would work best for?

After spending some time on, this site is a gold mine for mom’s who love to build their own curriculum. The Planning type will love having so many lesson, videos and unit studies available in one spot to choice from. There are even printable planners available to help mom’s do just that.

Now if your homeschooling mom like me who prefers a curriculum that is laid out, is still a valuable tool to have. Doing a quick search, I’m able to find videos, World Book content and so much more on topics we are learning with our current curriculum. Now I have a vast library available to dig deeper on subjects my son is really enjoying.

Click the banner below to read other great reviews: is a HUGE site full of great materials. So there is no way that I could possibly talk about every great feature. To hear about what other homeschooling mom’s have liked about this site, be sure to check out the other Homeschool Review Crew reviews by clicking the banner below.

Thank you for allowing me to review your amazing site! My son and I are excited for this to be a big part of his homeschooling journey this year. Quality Online Homeschool Resources { Reviews}

If you think would be a fit for you family, this is a great time to join. My readers can use the Coupon Code: CREWFOLLOWER and pay only $90/year (Regular Price is $179/YR).

Let me know below in the comments if you’ve ever used If you have, what did you enjoy most? Quality Online Homeschool Resources { Reviews}
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Our Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum

Most homeschool moms like to share their curriculum choices before starting the homeschool year, which I did on YouTube. However, I was reluctant to share our final plans here. I guess I was worried that I wouldn’t get it all done. Now that we finished up our homeschooling year and are well into grade one. I thought I should share what we used. What worked and what didn’t.

You can check out the video below showing what we started our Kindergarten Year using.

You will notice we made some changes as the year carried on. We adapted to what my son needed, and that was very empowering. I love that as a homeschooling family we can tailor our lessons to my son’s needs.


This year Zakari studied Geography and Culture(Social Studies) using Bookshark PreK as our main Core from September to April. This program provided him a small glimpse of our large world with the colorful Kids Beginner’s World Atlas. Zakari was also introduced to history and how cities and streets have changed over time. From professions to transportation, this part of the year was a great first step to exploring the world.

After completing this Bookshark PreK Course we switched over to Build Your Library Level 0/Kindergarten. From April to August Zakari was given a gentle introduction to the geography of all 7 continents, and how children live life in each location. Zakari responded well to this literature-based approach.

If you want to see exactly what we used with Build Your Library, you can check out the video below where I shared the program.

Throughout the year we also supplement with read-aloud chapter books(fiction and nonfiction) on some of the places we were visiting during our lessons.

How We Studied CANADA

Zakari completed ‘The 52 Weekly Stories About Canada’. The stories in this book have been designed to expose children to Canadian symbols, animals, birds, seasons, months of the year, special celebrations, famous places, and famous people.

We also continued blending the IAHP/Doman International Intelligence Program prescribed to Zakari to teach him about geography, cultures, and history. We did this by working on vocabulary words on the subject and homemade books(See my post about our homemade books).

Diving into SCIENCE

For the first part of the year, we used and completed Bookshark PreK as our Science core. Zakari learned about seasons, weather, plants, animals, the ocean.

In the second part of the year, we switched to Build Your Library Level 0/Kindergarten and explore the different ecosystems and animals found on each of the seven continents.

Throughout the year we also continued blending the IAHP/Doman International Intelligence Program prescribed to Zakari to teach him about science. We hit topics such as weather, biology, zoology, & why things happen, just to name a few. We did this by working on vocabulary words on the subject and homemade books(See Homemade Books List).


IAHP/Doman International Program:

In August 2017 Zakari was seen by a group of Child Development Specialist at the Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential in Philadelphia. They prescribed an updated reading program for Zakari. For the good chunk of the year, Zakari was introduced to several hundred written words, sentences, and 100 homemade books. This program was able to blend together science, history, geography, and more.

Hooked on Phonics Grade 1:

Zakari completed half of the Grade 1 Hooked on Phonics. He could have completed the entire Grade 1 level, however, time did not allow us to get to it as often as we would have liked. This will be continued in September.

Bookshark & Build Your Library: We used Bookshark & Build Your Library’s read alouds as a building block to Zakari’s reading program. Zakari also went through Bookshark’s program to reinforce letter sounds and build on his vocabulary.

MCP PLAID Phonics Level K:

It is described as a program that develops Alphabetic and Phonemic awareness, phonics, and oral language skills youngsters need. Letters and sounds are introduced through a consistent six-page lesson sequence, which includes letter recognition, writing the letter, phonemic awareness, sound-symbol correspondence, and a Picture Dictionary page. An array of multisensory teaching options address different learning styles.

The Big Bad Scary Subject of MATH

Even back to when I was homeschooling Wesley, math stressed me out. Trying to find the perfect curriculum that fit my child seemed to be the search for the lost treasure.

However, as time goes on I realized there might not be a perfect curriculum. I’m discovering it’s OK to mix different methods and attack the subject from a few different angles. Later this year when I share what we are doing for Grade 1 you will see I have even stepped this up more this year.

Critical Thinking-Mathematical Reasoning Beginning 1:

I found this was a wonderful program to use to start teaching Zakari math. Zakari is intellectually capable of learning math concepts, but sometimes his fine motor skills and impulse control make it difficult to use typical math programs that involve a lot of writing or the use of small manipulatives. This program was a great fit for him because it really only required pointing or circling the correct answer. I was able to stabilize his hand and use the program like a choice board like we were taught to use for communication at the IAHP/Doman International.

After completing this book Zakari was able to demonstrate a solid understanding of concepts like big and small, tall and short, more or less, first-second third, etc. He was also able to build confidence in learning how to use and learning with a workbook.

Jump Math K.1:

Zakari was able to complete this book within 2 months. He needed some help with the fine motor skill parts of the program. However, had a clear understanding of the materials.

Jump Math K.2:

We were able to get about 50% of this book finished up. However, Zakari became aversive to it after a while. We decided to take a break and put it away. We plan to complete it at the beginning of September.

Random Workbooks Completed:

On top of the programs I have shared with you, we added in some supplement workbooks. My goal with these was to help Zakari become more confident with table work type of learning. While he knew a lot of the materials in these books, I needed him to learn how to demonstrate this.

Kindergarten Graduation

There was only one thing that made me sad last year. I guess I kind of felt like we missed out. As the end of June hit, my Facebook Newsfeed was flooded with Kindergarten Graduations. For some reason, my heart hurt a little.

So I talked to Travis, and we decided that Zakari needed to be celebrated for his achievement, just like all the other kiddos finished kindergarten. So we planned a day when the big kids were with their other parents, and we took Zakari to Flying Squirrel. Just one on one with us.

I encourage all parents to find a way to adapt some of the public school milestones for your homeschool kiddos if you ever feel left out. While Kindergarten Graduation might not be important to other mamma’s, apparently it was to me. So we found a way around it.

I had my fears and doubts for our first full year of homeschooling. This was a huge leap of faith for me. I’m happy to say I feel like our kindergarten year was a huge success. I left the year feeling confident that we could continue driving down the homeschool route for years to come.


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Raising Bookworms: What We Read in December

“Mom Read Chapters Please…”

Nearly every night Zakari and I turn the lights off in his bedroom. He cuddles with his big, brown stuff toy dog and covers himself with his blue comforter. I sit or lay next to his bed and by flashlight read to him what he affectionately refers to as “Read Chapters”.

Since we have started this powerful routine, bedtime is no longer a battle of wills. It is a time we both love, and look forward to each night. As a mother, having my child fall asleep to my voice gives me such purpose.

Autism, Bedtime & Books

When it comes to bedtime with kiddos on the autism spectrum, sometime this can be an even bigger challenge to parents then the neurotypical child. Getting them hooked to bedtime stories can be such a powerful tool. Turning bedtime into a bonding time takes the stress and battle out of the end of the day.

One of the most important things a parent can do for their child’s development as shown by research is read aloud to them. Children who are read to have larger vocabularies,

The American Academy of Pediatrics Agree

The American Academy of Pediatrics released this statement in April of 2018:

Recommending parent-child home reading beginning at birth and continuing at least through kindergarten. Behavioral evidence has shown that children who are read to, especially before school entry, experience stronger parent-child relationships and learn valuable language and literacy skills. 

According to the AAP reading aloud and story times positiviely effect the brain. This gives these children a head start when they go to kindergarten. Children that are behind in Kindergarten often do not catch up to their peers later on.

What Should We Read Then?

So I stand firm behind my thoughts that reading to your child is the most important thing you can do for your child’s education. But what should we read?

I believe you should read what your child is interested in. If you have a child who is interested in dogs, find a series based around dogs to get them hooked. You want to suck them into the world of reading. Then after you have them hooked you can start branching out to books on other topics.

My Child Is Too Young To Have Interests, What then?

If you have a newborn at home and you want to start early, you can basically read them anything at this point. I mean I’m not sure I’d start with Steven King or anything, but at this point is more about hearing your voice and hearing new words. So you can try:

  • the newspaper
  • more G rated fictions
  • a non fiction that interested the parent. (I know of a mom who as studying for nursing and read her textbooks to her son for those few years. She needed to study so she combined bedtime stories with studying. This little man developed a real thirst for knowledge on the human body.
  • poetry books
  • classic children’s literature
  • If you have an older child, just include them in what you are reading the the older sibling

What We Read in December 2018

I love reading what other families are reading! So its only fair I share too! Check out my video about what we read in December 2018. All the books are listed below.

Roar of the Thunder Dragon: A Branches Book (Dragon Masters #8)

This is the series that dragged Zakari into the world of chapter books. It was a series of 5 books that I found at Once Upon a Child and just decided I should get it. I’m really glad we did, because it opened the world of chapter books up to him. They have to be read in order, so make sure to start with book one and work your way through.

Gremlins Don’t Chew Bubble Gum (Adventures Of The Bailey School Kids, #13)

This series was around when I was a kid. However my school library was kind of crummy and I didn’t get to read very many of them. But now that I got Zakari hooked on them, I am reliving my childhood. You do have to read the first book in the series to get to know everyone, but after that you can read them out of order. Of course that is if your OCD doesn’t kick in like mine does LOL.

The Lost Stone (The Kingdom of Wrenly, #1) 

This is a new series to us. I have to say I was impressed. It was a simple, but sweet story about a prince named Lucas who was very lonely. Since we have only read one books I’m not sure if you have to read them in order. But I assume they build on each other.

Thanksgiving on Thursday(Magic Tree House, #27)

This is another staple series in our read aloud lives. Along side with the Dragon Masters series, the Magic Tree House helped foster my son’s love for books. We have now followed Jack & Annie on 27 journeys and we just can’t get enough. This is another series that should be read in order.

Skipper And Sky:

I forgot to pull this book out to show you guys in the video. Sorry!

Noodle (The Puppy Place, #11)

This is another favourite series of Zakari’s. This particular book would be great to talk about safety on ice, especially for kiddos that live near or spend time near lakes and rivers during the winter.

Usborne Stories of Mermaids

Usborne The Frog Prince

Ghosts Do Splash in Puddles (The Bailey School Kids Jr. Chapter Book, #1)

These are great books for kids that are just getting into chapter books. They can be read out of order in my opinion. As they are harder to find we have been forced to read them in any order we can get our hands on them. But I haven’t felt like we are out of the loop. They are not as great as the original series because they are shorter and used simpler vocabulary. But great for a quick read.

The Yellow House Mystery (The Boxcar Children, #3)

Every time I pick up one of these books, I’m expecting to be disappointed. We had enjoyed the first books so much, I couldn’t believe the author could do it again and create something so wonderful. But this book did not disappoint. I have no idea how I missed this series when I was a kid.

Always in Search

I hope you have found this helpful. I often consider myself well versed in what is available in children chapter books, but I am more times then not surprised about series that have been out a long time, but I have never heard of.

Please share below in the comments books your children are currently enjoying. I’m always looking for new ideas!

Homeschool Collection {Monthly Round UP}

90+ Ideas for the Glenn Doman Inspired Reading Program

Reading Program

Glenn Doman Reading Method

Teaching my boys to read early(Wes as a preschooler and Zakari as a baby)has been one of the highlights in my parenting career. Glenn Doman called mothers who used the Doman Method “professional mothers”. In a world that undervalues mothers, especially stay at home moms, this is very empowering.

My First Early Reader

When Wesley was a baby I stayed home with him for my one year maternity leave, but a week before he turned one I had to take him to daycare so I could return to work. As a single mom, staying at home full time was not a viable option for our little family of two.

I refused to let this get in the way. You can read more about my story teaching Wesley to read in the post How to Teach your Baby to Read on a budget. 6 Helpful Tips.

My Second Child

My approach to early learning was very different with my second born. With Wesley, I only found out about this method when he was just about 2 years old. Now with Zakari, from the moment I fell pregnant with him I started planning.

Your Baby Can Read. So Can Your Toddler, Preschooler…

If teaching your young child to read is something you are interested in doing, I highly recommend reading How To Teach Your Baby To Read.

Be forewarned this book is often overwhelming for parents. Please do not allow the amounts of materials they suggest you make scare you off. Just do what you can. 

I know how it felt when I sat down the first time to make my child flash cards. After the basic words like Mommy, suddenly I couldn’t seem to remember any words in my native language. My mind was racing, “If I’m struggling with this how am I suppose to create homemade books.”

“But I’m not a writer!” I thought.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to be. From my experience, you just need to be able to use Google search engine and a Word Processing program(I use Google Drive because it’s free).

Making Word Card Bits

At first when your creating word card bits for your child the words will likely come easy to you. Mommy, Daddy, brother, sister, cookie, etc. But over time it becomes more and more difficult.

Some sites that I have used to help me beat “writer’s block” have been:

100 Words Middle Schoolers Should Know

Cambridge English: Preliminary Vocabulary List

Animal Vocabulary Words

Making Couples and phrases:


Then came the couplets and phrases. Oddly I suffered major writer’s block with this. But go through the words your child has already learned and start pairing them up for couplets. By this point, you should have quite a few words in the retired pile. It’s time to start putting them back to use.

Don’t be afraid to make the combos funny like”

grumpy daddy

rubber noodles

chocolate bugs

As for phrases, I looked up poetry, took clips of sentences from fact books, and of course combined words from the retired list.

Making Sentence Bits

When it comes to creating sentences for your child to read, I suggest keeping it simple. Start off with sentences using words in your child’s retired list. Just like phrases, kids appreciate some silly sentences mixed in there.

Look online for random facts about things that interest your child. Teach any words your child isn’t familiar with, and then add them into sentences. Eventually, you will find that you can teach new words in sentences and your child will pick them up just fine. But at first, keep it simple. 

Do not worry about teaching words like a, an, am, can, it was, etc… Your child will pick these up naturally.

Making Homemade Books the Easy Way


Homemade book intimidated me when we first started the program. Especially when we saw how fast Zakari was going through them. However, I found a few quick and easy ways to pump out homemade books.



4 Tips for Creating Homemade Books

  1. I find books they already love, and using voice to text on my phone or computer, I summarized it. If the story was on the long side I would make a homemade book based on only part of the story. Make sure that you edit your work, voice to text is not always accurate. But for me, it is still easier to correct the text than to type up the whole thing.
  2. You can also lookup children’s encyclopedias online, copy the information into the work processor, and blow it up for your child. Now you must be careful that you do not share these or publish them on a blog as your own work. It is my understanding as educators, we can take information and make it most accessible for our children to read. Our kiddos cannot easily see the print on the computer screen, nor is the screen the best way to teach them. But we want to respect copyright laws and not share these files. They are for personal use only.
  3. You can take photos of your child on an outing or doing an activity and narrate the photos. Creating homemade books all about them! These may become some great keepsakes that your child keeps coming back to even after the book is long retired.
  4. Find the lyrics to some of your child’s favorite songs and turn those into a homemade book.

Homemade Doman Inspired Books Completed:

Last year I created tons of homemade books for my son. Below you will find a list of the titles of our homemade books. I’m sharing this with you to get ideas for your own child. It is also good for you the see that you can use homemade books to teach your child about any subject you want.

  1. Super Why Fairy Tale Friends
  2. Why Onions Make You Cry
  3. The Luna Moth
  4. The Sloth
  5. Volcanoes
  6. Antarctica
  7. How Orcas Hunt
  8. What Makes a Year?
  9. Facts About Winter
  10. September in Canada
  11. The Robin
  12. Facts About Snow
  13. Things You Can Do In The Snow
  14. All About Manitoba
  15. All About Valentine’s Day
  16. What Happens During Spring
  17. Canada
  18. All About Winnipeg
  19. Canada’s Flag
  20. All About April Fools Day
  21. General Rules for Picking Kite Flying Days
  22. The Red Fox
  23. All About The Forks
  24. All About Wind
  25. Autumn in Canada
  26. All About Rain
  27. October in Canada
  28. The Groundhog
  29. Canada’s Symbols
  30. Thanksgiving in Canada
  31. The Beaver
  32. Cricket
  33. Oak Hammock Marsh
  34. Grand Beach
  35. The Black-Capped Chickadee
  36. All About the Prairie Crocus
  37. Canada’s Capital City
  38. Canada’s Prime Minister
  39. The Canada Goose
  40. The Chipmunk
  41. The Cardinal
  42. Canadian Coins
  43. The CN Tower
  44. The Raccoon
  45. Canada’s Wonderland
  46. Green Gables
  47. Halloween in Canada
  48. November in Canada
  49. Good Night, Bear
  50. Great Gray Owl
  51. The Toronto Zoo
  52. Remembrance Day in Canada
  53. Facts About Penguins
  54. Banff National Park
  55. Royal Canadian Mounted Police
  56. All About Dogs
  57. Antarctic Seals
  58. Justin Bieber
  59. Chris Hadfield
  60. Robert Munsch
  61. Alisha J. Newton
  62. Confederation Bridge
  63. Michael J Fox
  64. Season in India
  65. Fun Facts About Sphynx
  66. Black Creek Pioneer Village
  67. December in Canada
  68. A Guinea Pig
  69. Bengals
  70. Cloud Song
  71. Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse
  72. Devon Rex
  73. Ants
  74. What is Family?
  75. Growing Pineapples
  76. Parts of a Banana
  77. Camouflage
  78. What is Farming?
  79. Growing Bananas
  80. Air
  81. What is a Carrot?
  82. What are Mushrooms?
  83. Parts of a Pineapple
  84. Fruits & Veggies: What’s the Difference?
  85. Christmas in Canada
  86. Winter in Canada
  87. What is an Orange?
  88. All About Lemons
  89. Alberta
  90. Lungs
  91. Spring in Canada
  92. Easter in Canada
  93. Groundhog Day in Canada
  94. American History
  95. January in Canada
  96. February in Canada
  97. Valentine’s Day in Canada
  98. April in Canada

If you are already on a Doman program,  with Doman International, what topics do you teach your child using homemade books? Leave them in the comments below. I’m always looking for new ideas!

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What to Learn More About Doman International?

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My Word of 2019 & Top 5 Most Popular Post of 2018

Looking Forward To 2019

The last few weeks I have seen fellow Schoolhouse Review Crew picking words for the year 2019. As hard as I have been thinking about it, nothing came to mind. But as I was working on other posts a word popped into my head. I don’t know why it took so long to come to me, but better late then never right?

Drum Roll Please…

My word of 2019 is

Consistency has always been my downfall. I’m always great coming out of the gate. But this year I would like to make a conscience effort to be more consistent in several areas in my life. For Example:


When we started homeschooling our youngest in September 2017, I was worried I would not be able to be consistent enough. I’m happy to say while we were far from perfect, we managed to get what we needed done. I was more consistent then I expected I would be. However I know with more consistency Zakari could have a richer education. So after a rough December, we are going ahead full force and January is the start of being more consistent in our homeschooling

Weight Watchers:

My goal this year is to get to lifetime before my 34th birthday in May. With consistency this can be easily achieved. However I have really been pushing boundaries with the program and I need to go back to basics and just get it done.


This year I need to enlist the help of my older kids and focus on teaching them the life skills needed to keep a house. I need to be consistent and not stop having them help. Yes, I tend to get frustrated with the amount of time it takes them at the beginning. While its faster to get it done myself at the beginning, the investment of that time is better in the long run. This is important for them, and relieves the pressure off me. Plus if they are required to help more around the house, maybe they will be more careful about keeping it clean.


Consistently write the set amount of post I planned to get posted.


Consistently post the set amount of videos I planned to get posted.


I love to read and I’m VERY consistent reading to Zakari. However this year I have to make sure I am consistently feeding my thirst for knowledge too.

Do you have a word of 2019? If so please share it in the comments and let me know why it is so important to you!

Top 5 Most Popular Post of 2018

Every year I love to go back and see what the top 5 post viewed on Early Learning Mom. Its a great way to reflect on the year. On thing this year I noticed was my top post were mostly older post. Now normally that would be discouraging to me. But this year I was thrilled to see that. Why? Because I had spent lots of time this year revamping old post. I’m glad to see that work paid off.

So without further ado here are Early Learning Mom’s Top 5 Most Popular Post of 2018:

Post #5 Top 8 Tips Before Attending the “What to do About Your Brain Injured Child” Course

In September of 2016 I attended the What to do About Your Brain Injured Child Course. In 2017 I went back with my son. We had a full evaluation and I took Lecture Series II. I have to say I was way more prepared during my last trip because of these 8 tips.

Post #4 TouchMath for Homeschoolers!! A Review

Well I have wonderful news! For homeschooling and afterschooling parents out there that LOVE TouchMath, but could not afford the classroom size prices, guess what! TouchMath listened!! They have recently released a special AFFORDABLE homeschooling program!!

Post #3 Top 7 Math Websites For Kids

I often get asked by friends in real life what different education sites I would recommend to help their child with math, reading, etc. So I thought that I would compile a list of my Top 7 Math Websites for Kids.

Post #2 IAHP VS NACD – Autism Treatment Options

Debating between programs to help your child with autism? Family led autism treatment are a great option. But which program is better? Two that come to mind are Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential aka IAHP and National Association for Child Development(NACD).

Post #1 Teach your Baby Math, Reading & Music

Teaching Your Young Child Reading, Math & Music:
If you are interested in teaching your baby, toddler or preschooler to read, do math or learn how to read music, but you don’t have tons of time to plan, create materials, and figure out how to get your child to participate, BrillKids products are something to definitely look into.

Thank-you to all my readers! You have helped make my little piece of the internet more special. Happy New Year! May 2019 be everything you would like it to be!

The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew

The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew

I’m so excited to announce that I have been selected to be part of the 2019
The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew!

What is the Schoolhouse Review Crew?

We are a group of 200+ homeschool bloggers that love to blog about homeschooling. We get the amazing chance to review homeschool products, and share how they work with our family.

If you have been around my blog for a while, you might remember that I was also a member of the crew back in 2011/12. However I stepped down because Wesley who I was homeschooling at the time transitioned to public school. Also to be honest I believe back then I was too green of a blogger and homeschooling mom to manage this responsibility to the level I needed to.

So now that I am homeschooling Zakari, and we are comfortable with the fact that we are going to be homeschooling for the long run, I decided to apply to be a member again. I feel now I am more experienced as a blogger to offer my readers a better review experience. However I still have lots to learn, but I’m walking into this endeavor with the heart of a student, ready to learn.

Homeschool Review Crew

What can you expect from the reviews I share?

I hope to be able to give the point of view of a special needs mom. Using my position as a mom homeschooling a child with autism I can share how we have used these products, and what adaptations we may or may not have needed to make. With the numbers of autism families turning to homeschooling, I hope this will be a helpful point of view.

What Do I Hope To Gain From The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew?

As a blogger there are so many reasons why this is an amazing opportunity. And no its not about the free product. (But I would be lying if I said that wasn’t a nice perk.) But my two main reasons are:

  • I love the thought of working with experienced homeschool moms. My real life community of fellow homeschool mom’s is small, so this is a great way to get adult interaction and meet people who have been where I am. Even better to get the wisdom of mom’s who have been where I currently am.
  • Being a Crew Member is great way for my to start taking my blog more seriously. I have been wanting to take my blog to the next level for many years but just never have had the tools to do so. The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew requires me to take my blog as a career(I was going to say job, but that didn’t seem like the right wording). I’m not only required to write reviews, I’m also required to stay active and post at least once a week. With this new position, blogging has gone from a hobby to commitment. The only way to experience growth in any area is to be consistent.

I want to take the chance to thank the The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew Leaders for selecting my application. Its an honor and a blessing to get the chance to work with their team.

Monique from Early Learning Mom

Click to read Crew Reviews

Book Review: Benjamin Birdie’s First Flight

Benjamin Birdie

Benjamin Birdie’s First Flight is a beautiful book about a little bird name Benjamin who disregards his mother advise and gets himself into trouble. Does that sound familiar? I know it does in our home.

Benjamin dreams of soaring in the sky, but his mother tells him he’s not ready yet. Problem is Benjamin does not believe her. He thinks he can do it. So he waits until Mother Bird goes off to get lunch, and he takes matters into his own hands.

At first Benjamin feels confident as he is able to fly for a few moments. But soon he learns that his mother was right, and his wings are not strong enough. He tumbles down the tall tree and lands up on the ground shaken up. Now Benjamin has a new problem, since he can’t fly yet, how will he get back to his nest?

Benjamin enlists the help of other animals that live near the tree or even call the tree home. Can he make it back to his nest before his mother gets home?

Author’s Inspiration

As many of my current readers know I love to read with my children. So when I was given the chance to receive some new books for honest option, I was more the excited! When these books arrived, my family and I immediately feel in love with them before even reading a single word. The Illustrations by Morgan Spicer are stunning.

While reading a Q&A with the author, Michael Dotsikas, my heart melted when I read where he got the inspiration for this story. He says:

“When my children were very young, we found a small robin’s nest in one of the trees in our backyard and noticed that one of the hatchlings had fallen out of its nest and was laying on the ground helpless. As I placed the hatchling back in its nest, my children asked what would have happened to the little bird if we weren’t around and how would it have gotten back to its nest. From that came the inspiration for Benjamin Birdie’s story.”

Homeschool Lessons

From a homeschooling mom perspective, I especially loved this book for a few reasons.

  1. The vocabulary used in this book was amazing. Many children’s books use oversimplification or “dumbed down” language. Your not going to find that in “Benjamin Birdie’s First Flight.”
  2. This book can branch off into a science lesson. First talked about the life cycle of a bird, and when they are really ready to leave the nest. Then we dug a little deeper and learned more about all the protected, threatened and endangered species mentioned in the book.
  3. One other thing I really loved was the way they talked about feelings. Benjamin experienced so many emotions in this book. He was anxious, dismayed, and courageous.  He experiences glee, desperation, and despair. This is a great tool to talk to your children about different emotions. Giving an emotion a name and an example is a perfect way to help your child work through emotions later on.

Overall though the main take away from this story, that applies to all children, not just homeschooled ones is kindness and asking for help when you need it. Sometimes our children make mistakes, and that is part of growing up. But how we handle these mistakes after they are made is the important part.

Benjamin Birdie’s First Flight has earned a permanent place on our bookshelf. I can see out family reaching for this book to help hammer home character lessons. Kindness, determination, perseverance, being a good friend, and being honest with ourselves and others.


Benjamin Birdie’s First Flight has received several awards, including the:

What Does the Author Want Children to Get From Benjamin Birdie’s First Flight

In a Q&A when asked what he would like children to remember from Benjamin Birdie’s First Flight, Michael said:

I want children (and adults) to remember that when we’re kind to one another we can accomplish great things that will fulfill and enrich our lives. Being humble and kind is the best way to live our lives and have the greatest impact on humanity.

What I can honestly say is this is exactly what we got from this beautiful story. I’m so excited to dive into the second book in this series with my son.

Thank you Michael for sharing your story with us!

Stay tuned for our upcoming review on he second book in the series, “Benjamin Birdie and the Tree Dwellers”.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this product for review, all opinions are 100% my own. This post may contain affiliate links.

Early Learning Revolution

Early Learning Revolution

Early Learning Revolution

Did you know there are programs on the market that help parents of babies, toddlers and preschoolers learn to read, do math? You know what else? If you do the programs right they work too! Some programs worth mentioning are How to Teach Your Baby to Read, BrillKids Little Reader, Your Baby Can Learn(formally known as Your Baby Can Read, MonkiSee, Tweedlewinks, etc.


What does this have to do with children with autism?


Glenn Doman

The man who helped create the original “How To Teach Your Baby to Read Program”, Glenn Doman, who inspired the more recent programs, did not come to his discovery teaching typical children. No, he learned it by working with brain injured children. Brain injured children was a term coined by Doman. It described children with conditions that prevent a child to develop both mentally and physically. For example, autism, cerebral palsy, ADHD and Down’s Syndrome just to name a few.

He discovered that the brain injured children they had in their therapy program could learn to read, do math, and learn encyclopedic knowledge. Not only was this baffling to him and the staff at the Institute for the Achievement of Human Potential, the thing that really got him was the fact when taught using their flashcard method, they were learning more than the typical child using the typical education system. So they started to offer programs for typical children as well.

Early Founders of Early Childhood Literacy

The early founders of early childhood literacy, found that children can learn to read the same way they learn to speak another language. If you present written language in a font large enough for a child to see, they can and will learn to read it. This is because their right brain is open and ready to absorb information.

Commercial Marketing is Doing The Same Thing. And NOT With Your Child’s Best Interest in Mind

Just think, when a child is exposed to a sign like McDonalds, they will learn to read it at an early age. Why? Because the people who market these brands make sure their ads are written with large bold print that is easy for people to see.

They do everything in their power to expose people to these ads, for example on TV, billboards and in magazines. Its not unusual for a young child to be able to read the words McDonalds, Toys R Us, Walmart, etc. So why not teach them other words that can give them a head start in their education?

How Does It Work?

Basically to teach reading to a child as young as 3-6 months, mom and dad would create large flashcards. They could also purchase a kit like above, but eventually they would need to start making them too. These flash cards have words written in bold red marker. Then then they would sit the child down, eliminated all distractions and in a fun way say. “I’m going to show you some fun words!” You would then show baby the first word(perhaps it says baby) “This says baby.” This you would quickly flash and say the pile of words you have prepared, spending no more then 1 second per flashcard.

Now this process can also be done with toddlers and preschoolers. And if your child is special needs, their right brains tend to be open longer.


The important things to remember are:

  • Never force your child to sit through a reading lesson
  • Stop before your before your child wants to stop
  • Never run a reading session when either you or your baby are not in a great mood or feeling well.
  • Never test your child. Think of teaching your child to read as a gift, don’t ask for anything in return. (There are ways to make games though. Which allow you to see what your child is learning without the pressures of testing.)

Using Technology to Make It Easier

The creators of MonkiSee and Little Reader are both parents who have taught their children to read using the ideas founded by Glenn Doman, but presented it using media. Glenn Doman recommends a parent create 200 word cards before even starting the program, and they must keep creating new materials to keep up with their child. Sometimes a child will gobble up MANY words in one sitting, and if you are going to keep things fresh and interesting you must be ready with NEW materials. This can be time consuming for the average parent, especially if you work outside the home.

When I Found Glenn Doman’s Method

Personally I found out about Glenn Doman’s book, “How to Teach Your Baby to Read” when my son was 20 months. But besides the Your Baby Can Read DVD’s there was little support for me available. I tried to make the card to spec, and gave up because a) it was costly, b) I was a single mom who worked full time, c) In my mind I thought I had to run the program exactly how the book says and due to time constraints could not. It wasn’t until my son had just turned 4 that I got introduced to the forum Brillkids. Here was a group of 20,000 like minded parents trying to teach their typical and special needs children to read, do math, learn encyclopedic knowledge, play an instrument, etc.

Why BrillKids Helped Us

The creator of BrillKids, KL Wong, has also created a software system for both math(Little Math) and reading(Little Reader), complete with a 12 month curriculum. This is a life saver for busy parents because it allows them to spend the time they have with their child learning. Not worry about when they will be able to create the next 200 word or phrase cards. Some parents like me, never started because they could not get the initial 200 word cards together, plus the schedule in order to present them was so complicated and really for a working, single mom was flat out impossible. Little Reader and Little Math suggest you run 2 sessions each a day.


Now since my son was four I decided to only do Little Reader. Looking back I should have run both. I thought that once children pass the age of 3, they could no longer learn math using Doman’s method. I later found out that this method can still be effective for children with a disability like autism passed this age.


So our daily reading lesson plan while I was still working full time was as followed:

  • Watch “Your Baby Can Read” while eating breakfast
  • Index card flashcards in my purse that I would pull out and flash for him while stuck in traffic, or just before I got him out of the car to go into daycare. (I could use smaller cards then specified by Doman because my son was older and his eyes were developed enough to read them)
  • Little Reader session and flashcards before dinner
  • Bedtime stories and Little Reader session before bed.


If life was crazy and I couldn’t get the Little Reader session in before supper, like if we went out for supper or my son was with his dad, I would just run two sessions before bed.


The great thing about this program is the fact that it is also customizable. You can create your own presentations, personalize the presentations to use your voice or other family members to make it special for your child. There is also a place on the BrillKids website where you can upload your presentations to share and download presentations others have made.


Is teaching your child with special needs to read important?

Teaching your child with special need is important because according to Glenn Doman, the brain grows with use. It is like any other muscle in the body. If you don’t use your legs, the muscles become weak and feeble. If your run a mile a day, your legs will becomes strong and muscular.

With my son, the more he learned the read, the more is vocal language started coming out. And when he got older and learned the concept of phonics, he was able to learn how to pronounce words properly by seeing them written out and sounding them out.

Never Underestimate Children With Special Needs

When people look at a child with a disability like autism, society tends to underestimate them. I found by setting the bar high and believing in my son, he has been able to achieve things no one ever imagined possible. I did not wait for his speech to catch up before teaching him to read. By doing this I discovered that teaching him to read was actually an effective way to teach him to speak.

The bonus to this was he is actually ahead of his peers when it comes to reading. And while he still is slightly behind his peers in speech. Can you image where he would be if I had not introduced reading so young? Likely further behind in speech and unable to read. His confidence would be completely lacking.


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