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Monday, March 1, 2021

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Preschool Math Games {Free to download!}

Did you know that over the last few years, I have shared more than 30 math games for preschoolers...for FREE?!!


Most of these games require printing, some need a little cutting, and then you are ready to go!! I decided it would be handy to have a list of all these math games in one spot, so if your preschooler wants a game (or you want to teach something with a game), you can just pick the one you want, print, and go!

I've divided them up into three groups: board games, matching games, and "other" games. Don't discount the "other" games--they are AWESOME too! They just don't fit into the other categories!

Preschool Math Games


Board Games:

Decorate a Heart Cookie (Valentine Game)
Shark Diet Game (younger preschoolers can play without coins)
Unicorn Magic STEM Board Game (screen-free coding skills)
Getting to Know You (requires an adult to read)


Matching Games:

Butterfly Puzzles (play matching games with the 2-piece puzzles)


Other Types of Games: 



Is there a type of game, or a subject or skill, that you'd like? I love requests! Feel free to email me at preschoolpackets@gmail.com!

Happy Educating,
Carla


Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!



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Friday, February 26, 2021

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Learn Letters with Volcanoes -- Hands-on Letter-Recognition Preschool Activity

The other day I was in a group, and we were talking about using things our preschoolers are excited about to teach them. I came up with this activity as an example of something you could do with a kid who gets excited about volcanoes to help him learn letters.


I am a strong advocate for learning by play and learning with hands-on activities. You will recognize this popular preschool science activity, but I added a small change: mystery letter cups! Three cups are labeled with "B," "S," and "F" (or whatever letters you want to work on).  Inside the cups are a few tablespoons of baking soda (my "B"), salt (my "S), and flour (my "F"). I used the first letters of each word in this example, but it's really not necessary if you want to work on other letters.


Inside the vase, let your preschooler pour about a cup of vinegar. He can add red or orange food coloring, too! (My kids are a little obsessed with food coloring! I should do another post on our "alternative" food coloring, lol!)

Anyway, explain to your preschooler that you have three cups with different powders, and you've labeled them B, S, and F.  Only one of the cups has a powder that will make the volcano erupt! Which does he want to try? B? S? F? All of them? ;)  Just shift the conversation so that you're talking about B, S, and F (or whatever letters you're learning). 


Let your kids experiment, talk, and play with this setup as usual--with the addition of the three labeled cups! 

The fun thing about this little twist is that you're now combining science, STEM, language arts/english/reading, AND a favorite preschool activity! It's hands-on, multi-sensory, subject-integrated, and child-led, which means they are going to remember every aspect of it better than if you introduced any of those components by themselves!

AND, I couldn't end a volcano post without mentioning that my very awesome book, A Dinosaur Made Me Sneeze: A Rock Cycle Adventure includes a volcano page! And (since I can!) I'll go ahead and share that volcano spread with you:
Anyway, you can learn more about A Dinosaur Made Me Sneeze HERE, and you can purchase it HERE or on Amazon!

Do you have a favorite volcano activity? I'm brainstorming some more ideas, so be sure to let me know!




Happy Educating,
Carla


Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!



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Saturday, January 30, 2021

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Preschool Penguin Craft: Toilet Paper Roll Penguins

Are you looking for a fun preschool penguin craft? I have a couple preschoolers who would like to make something every day, and these little penguins were perfect!


Honestly, the prep for this was so easy that I did it while the kids watched!

Preschool Penguin Craft:


Supplies: 

1- Toilet paper tubes (or paper towel cardboard tubes cut in half)

2- White paper

3- Black paint

4- White paper

5- Glue (I used hot glue, but if you're more patient, you can use school or craft glue)

6- Markers (optional)

How to Make the Preschool Penguins:

1- Let the kids paint the toilet paper tubes black.


2- Cut out belly, wing/arms, feet, and eyes from the white paper. I actually was going to use wiggly eyes, but I couldn't find them when we sat down. So, I just kept cutting pieces!


3- Let your preschoolers paint or color with markers the wings/arms, feet, eyes, and/or belly! My kids used different colors, decorated the bellies, and designed the expressions! When they're done, glue the penguins together, and play!





That's it! Super easy, adorable, and customizable penguins!

If your kids like penguins, you should check out some of our other preschool penguin crafts and our collection of preschool penguin theme activities! There are science, math, reading, and more!



Happy Educating,
Carla


Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!



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Thursday, December 31, 2020

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Preschool Penguin Crafts for Kids

I was putting some preschool penguin crafts on our calendar for next month, and I realized we've already done a few through the years--it would be good to put them all in one spot!



We've had preschoolers at our house for more than a decade now, so I'm always cooking up new crafts and art projects for them. Some of our kids have really loved crafts while others will blow through them super fast and want to go run in circles!

My preschoolers right now are crafters. They will do an art project for more than an hour straight, so we have a lot of options with them. Obviously some of the projects we've done in the past were for kids with slightly shorter attention spans!

Another fun thing that I've noticed is that since we homeschool, my older kids often enjoy doing the same project as the younger kids, but the older kids refine it, add their own touches, and create a very different project inspired by the one the younger kids were doing!

Anyway, here's the collection! It's growing, and I'll link our new penguin crafts to it as I write about them!

Preschool Penguin Crafts for Kids



These adorable little penguin "pockets" were the brainchild of my daughter years ago! Pictures of them still make me smile! All you need are a few egg cartons, glue, wiggly eyes, paint, and orange foam!


This penguin art project was a combination of art and science! It was a two-day project where we made the backgrounds on one day and the penguins on the second day! I actually saved these because they came out so adorable!


We made these in December when ornament balls were everywhere, but you can grab ornament balls in January pretty easily or use foam balls any time of the year! These are super easy to make and personalize, and my kids all adored their own little penguins!


These craft stick penguins were SO easy to make, and made a great little manipulative to play with too!


We absolutely loved making and playing with these little penguins...and it all starts with toilet paper tubes!

These are the ones I have already written about--do you have a favorite preschool penguin craft your kids have done already? Or do you have plans for a new one? I'll be adding our new crafts into this page, so be sure and pop back if you're looking for more!

I also have a super fun penguin science project here, a penguin feather STEM activity here, and a whole penguin theme (or unit study) with math, science, and more HERE!

Happy Educating,
Carla


Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!



Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!! 



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Wednesday, December 30, 2020

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Winter Preschool MEGA Packet!! Preschool Printable Activities!!

Are you looking for winter-themed preschool activities for January and February? Then you will LOVE this Winter Preschool MEGA Packet!!


I have combined all of my preschool winter printable activities to make this the ultimate preschool download for you this year! There are puzzles, patterns, letter activities, mazes, shadow matching, games, easy readers, and SO MUCH MORE!! It is the ultimate preschool bundle--all in one super convenient PDF!!

It has over 180 pages of printable activities!!

There are math, literacy, science, and more subjects covered!!

Classic January and February preschool themes include arctic and Antarctic animals, penguins, polar bears, winter, snow, mittens, Valentines, and more!!

What is in the

Winter Preschool MEGA Activity Packet?

Here is the Table of Contents:

1- Polar Bear Preschool Packet (over a dozen activities)

2- N is for Narwhal dot page

3- Who Likes the Cold?  (easy reader)

4- Awesome Arctic Animals Preschool Packet (over a dozen activities)

5- Antarctic BINGO

6- Penguin Preschool Packet (over a dozen activities)

7- P is for Penguin

8- Penguin Ice Cube Counting Game

9- Penguin Number Line

10-                Penguin Party (easy reader)

11-                Mitten Matching Activity

12-                Snowman Number Line Puzzles

13-                Snowflake Letters

14-                Winter Hat Maze

15-                Groundhog Matching

16-                Valentine Preschool Packet (Math & Literacy Activities)


You could literally print this out and have everything you need for the next two months!

And, to celebrate the New Year, I have a 25% off coupon for you!!  Just click on ADD TO CART and type NEWYEAR into the discount box!! I hope you love it!!

 


You can also get it on TpT here!


Happy Educating,
Carla


Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!



Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!! 



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Thursday, December 17, 2020

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Preschool Christmas Printables

The activities in this Preschool Christmas Printables packet are hands-on, fun, and festive!



Preschool Christmas Printables

You can play matching games with your kids, spell names or sight words, color pictures, and more!

The 29 pages of activities include the following:

** Shadow Matching
** Candy Cane Matching
** Christmas Tree Spy
** B is for Bells dot pages
** Dot to Dot
** Which One is Different?
** 4-piece puzzles
** Paper Tree Decoration Activity
** Christmas Tree Letters
** Coloring Pages

And the best part?! It's FREE for 2 days!!


And if you're looking for more awesome FREE preschool Christmas activity ideas, check out my collection HERE!





Happy Educating,
Carla


Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!



Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!! 




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Tuesday, December 8, 2020

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FREE Preschool Christmas Animals Matching Cards

This adorable Christmas printable activity is perfect for preschoolers and toddlers who love matching games!


This set includes 6 Christmas images and their matching "shadows!" There is a Christmas tree card, a Christmas penguin, a Christmas pig, a snowman, a reindeer, and a Christmas polar bear! They are all adorable!!

They're perfect for homeschool, classroom stations, or just to pull out when you're getting dinner ready or want a calm-down activity before bed!

My older preschooler loves matching games and challenges! She especially likes to try finding more matches than me, lol! Here are a few activities to try:

** Place them all face-up on a table and match them.

** Place them all face-down on a table and take turns finding matches (like a memory game).

** Time how long it takes to match them.

** Print two sets and make identical matches (instead of shadow matches). This is especially helpful for younger preschoolers and toddlers. I actually did this for my 2-year old because he loves matching, but doesn't quite understand the goal behind matching the "shadows" to their colored version!

I recommend printing on cardstock for longer use. I used to laminate cards too, but my preschoolers right now are actually more careful with cards than some I've had in the past. ;) 

Please remember to share this printable by linking to THIS BLOG POST, and not the actual file itself. This allows me to continue to make more free activities! ๐Ÿ’–

FREE Preschool Christmas Matching Cards:


And Merry Christmas!!  ๐Ÿ’–


Happy Educating,
Carla


Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!



Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!



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Tuesday, November 3, 2020

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Free Christmas Tree Counting Preschool Printable Counting Activity

A couple years ago I started a tradition of sharing free printable activities you can do with your preschooler! They are always popular, so I imagine a lot of you like them. ๐Ÿ˜‰ So, of course, I am happy to share some more with you this year! This one is sort of like a hidden picture, but you are counting Christmas trees!


This game-like activity lets your preschooler practice the following skills:

* sorting
 * visual discrimination
* counting
* number writing (this is definitely optional if your preschooler isn't ready for it!)
* one-to-one relationship
* comparing

And it all has a fun Christmas tree theme! (Confession, I started debating with myself about how early I can set up our Christmas tree on November 1st. It hasn't happened yet, but I cannot guarantee that i will wait until after Thanksgiving!)

Anyway, I like to print things like this and keep them handy for when my preschoolers want to "do school," and I don't have anything planned. My youngest two enjoy writing and doing worksheet-style activities more than their siblings did when they were younger, so it's actually really helpful for me to have activities like this ready to go!


And if you'd like to check out some of my other free CHRISTMAS PRESCHOOL PRINTABLES, click HERE!

I always love to hear from you, so feel free to email me or say "Hi!" on Facebook!


Happy Educating,
Carla


Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!



Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!



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Saturday, October 10, 2020

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Homeschool Preschool: 9 Awesome Pre-K "Learning" Activities

This is our second How to Homeschool Preschool class! The topic for today is: 9 Awesome Pre-K "Learning" Activities! And, as you read through the "lesson," you will find a link to get this fantastic little printable reminder for free!


Homeschool Preschool


9 Awesome Preschool "Learning" Activities


A lot of people I know get stressed out about making sure their preschooler is "doing" enough "school." It turns out that there are TONS of educational "learning" activities that you should give you and your preschooler credit for!

As you consider the activities you plan into your preschoolers day, please remember the three "Big Picture" goals we talked about last time:

1- Help develop a love of learning.
2- Encourage a broad range of experiences.
3- Develop skills to learn more.

Amazingly, your child comes pre-programmed to explore, learn, and develop on their own! Preschoolers will naturally gravitate toward activities that they are ready to learn from and avoid activities that are too hard or too easy!

This is incredibly important to remember! I have met A LOT of parents who are stressed out that their 5-year old does not recognize all the letters of the alphabet or does not add and subtract. The simple fact is that just like walking and using the toilet, these are skills that our brains need to be ready to develop. There is a lot of development that needs to happen before we're ready, and our children will be drawn to the activities that they are ready for. If we try teaching them things that are truly too difficult or that they are truly not ready for, the stress from the experience produces hormones that block memory pathways in their brains, making it even more difficult to learn.

You should also know that I am a HUGE fan of learning through play and delight-directed activities. I consider preschoolers children 2-6 years old, or anybody who is not ready for "formal" education experiences. All of the things that preschoolers need to learn can be taught through play, fun adventures, and every-day activities. Tomorrow, we'll look more at formal lessons, but today, I want to go over some of the types of activities that you can provide for your children that are educational and meet the three Big Picture Goals

There are 9 activities that are common when you homeschool preschool, so I want to briefly go over each of them. They are listed in the image above, and you can download a printable copy of that HERE. It's not an exclusive list, but they are 9 wonderful activities!

It's also not in any particular order, but since you've hopefully printed a copy of it, I'll go over the activities starting in the top left:

#1: Arts and Crafts:  I have had some preschoolers who will do 3-5 art or craft projects every day, and others who will not do any! Like I mentioned before, children will gravitate toward the activities that are most helpful for them, so if your preschooler wants to do art all day, that's wonderful! If they don't want to do any art, that's okay too! I would still provide an opportunity to do some kind of art or craft that they might like at least once or twice a week, but I wouldn't force them to work on it any longer than they want to. I have two children relatively close in age, and when we did art projects together one of them would spend more than an hour on the project every time while the other would spend about six minutes. Literally! And that's okay! They were both getting different things out of the project.

Arts and crafts can help strengthen fine motor skills, develop math, reading, and science skills, and provide a visual outlet for children's creativity, emotions, feelings, and ideas. People have told me they have children who "just want to paint all day," and that's totally okay!

#2: Outside Play: Outside play strengthens large muscles, builds endurance, trains neurons in the brain to communicate across both halves of the brain, helps develop math, reading, and science skills, helps with emotional regulation, and strengthens immune systems. I actually feel like outside play is so beneficial that children need to be outdoors every day, even if it's not their favorite thing! It doesn't need to be long, and they can always find something to do outdoors that they like...even if it is coloring, playing with stickers, or another activity that actually could be done indoors too. ;) 

#3: Hands-on Experiments & Exploration: These activities can be done at a desk, a standing "station," outside, in the sink, in the tub, or dozens of other locations! 

Some examples of these activities include...
** A walk where you take the time to investigate cool pinecones, sticks, bugs, or other interesting things you child sees
** Playing in a sandbox or at the beach
** Experimenting with baking soda and vinegar
** Mixing, pouring, and squeezing water in different bowls, cups, or sponges
** Sensory bins
** Building a tower, castle, car garage, maze, or something else with magnetic blocks (or any other kind of stacking toy)
** MANY other experiments or explorations!

You can see there is a huge variety of things to explore and experiment with! Ironically, most of the messes preschoolers make deliberately come from a desire to experiment. ;)  Follow your children's interests in this category, but feel free to introduce new experiences. Seasonal sensory bins and experiments are some of my favorites! I also have a collection of things that pop, fizz, erupt, and explode here -- they're some of our personal favorite experiments!

Children can learn a TON from exploring and experimenting! You can tie in loads of different science and history lessons. They are also developing skills that will help them in math, reading, writing, science, and more. They are developing longer attention spans, solving problems, learning cause and effect, strengthening fine motor and writing muscles, developing observation and analysis skills, and much more.

#4: PE / Physical Movement: There are a lot of benefits to exercise, but that's not really the point of this article. I will briefly mention that high-energy movement for 20+ straight minutes a day will help regulate your children's energy, emotions, and more (even diet and cravings)! Aside from the physical benefits of high-energy movement, it also helps develop "academic" skills! 

For example, doing sommersaults (forward rolls), spinning on a tire swing, and flipping off your couch develop inner ear balance and the capacity to focus on many small objects quickly in a row -- these are necessary skills for reading! Large muscle exercise also strengthens children's core, which allows them to sit and focus on activities longer as they grow older. Preschoolers also experiment, learn cause and effect principles, and problem solve as they choose what parts of the couch are best to flip off of, predict where they will land, and feel the impact of using different amounts of force as they move.

There are TONS of different physical activities you can use! Here are a few:
** Dance parties
** Floor is Lava
** Couch flips
** Playing at the playground
** Tag
** Races
** Organized classes (like gymnastics, dance, karate, etc)
** Many more! (again, go with what your kids love!)

#5: Reading: There are only two activities in this list that I think you really need to include in every single day. The first one was outdoor play. Reading is the second. Read to your preschooler! Find the most fun, outrageous, serious, and engaging books! Look at fiction and non-fiction! Read picture books! If your child has the attention span, read novels! Look at the pictures. Talk about the pictures, the story line, the characters, and the ending. What might happen after the story? Who wrote the book? Who drew the pictures.

Engaging with books has so many benefits that thousands of books have been written about it. I will try to summarize by saying that when you read with your child you are helping them develop language skills, reading skills, writing skills, math skills, logic skills, science skills, and more. At the same time they are building relationships, learning stories, and discovering people and places around the world...and in other worlds!

Some preschoolers love books. They enjoy finding letters and analyzing pictures. They bring you books and ask you to stay up late looking at more. Reading with them is easy! 

Some preschoolers struggle to hold still long enough to listen to a whole book. This is okay! I have worked with several children like this, and I personally have one child who literally could not hold still for two minutes as a preschooler. This child was a "late" reader, but was reading on a typical grade level by the end of 3rd grade. Here are a few ways to read with children who don't hold still:

** Read to them while they play.
** Read to them while they eat.
** Read to them in a funny position (they find it a little irresistible)! For example, lay on the couch, but put the book on the floor. Lean your head and elbows down by the book, and just start reading. Your preschooler might lay down next to you, almost upside down, and look at a few pictures.
** Tell them stories while you play with them. Use cars, action figures, or other toys to act out the story you're making up. Or use the toys to act out a story you've already heard. ;) 

However you do it, reading to your preschoolers will benefit them!

#6: Music: Music helps children develop language, math, reading, science, and other skills. There are SO many ways to introduce music, especially with modern technology! Here are a few of my favorites:

** Dance parties (5-30 minutes long, depending on your kids!)
** Freeze Dance
** Watching music videos
** Singing songs or nursery rhymes
** Playing music while you clean or sort laundry
** Singing at bedtime
** Age appropriate music classes 

#7: Creative/Imaginative Play: This may just seem like your preschooler is playing with toys or dressing up, but it actually helps develop language and reasoning skills, communication skills, and processing skills that help with math and reading! Plus, it's loads of fun!

#8: Every-Day Activities & Field Trips: The daily activities and trips you go on lead to SO much brain development and skill strengthening that it would also be impossible to list them all! The shortened version of benefits includes math, reading, science, social studies, language, communication, problem solving, and more skills! And if you talk about what you are doing, the processes you are using, and what will happen next, you speed that development even more!

What falls in this category? Here are a few examples:

** Sorting laundry 
** Doing dishes
** Grocery shopping
** Visiting museums
** Playing at a park
** Picking up toys
** Visiting the library
** Cooking
** Visiting fire or police stations
** Bird watching
** Getting dressed
** And so much more!

Yes, even getting dressed counts as part of a preschooler's education! During this simple, short process they are learning about sequence, larger/smaller size concepts, prediction, cause and effect, and communication. If you talk during the process you can tie in colors, numbers, left/right, time, and rhyming/phonics skills.

What might seem like a simple grocery store trip actually includes math, reading, communication, prediction, problem solving, social studies, science, and more!

I have met many people who feel like they "get nothing done" on grocery or doctor days, but the fact is your preschoolers learn just as much (and likely much more) during a trip to the doctor or grocery store as they do during a desk activity. Which actually brings me to...

#9: Desk Games & Activities: These are activities that can be done sitting down at a desk. I actually did put them last because they are my least favorite, partly because they are less effective than some of the others and partly because I have a short attention span (so it is hard for me to sit at a desk very long)!

There was a time when every single child I had worked with preferred any activity over a desk activity, but... that has changed. As I've worked with more children, I've discovered something: some children really love desk activities!

The first few kids I worked with who really liked worksheet-style activities made me think their parents had just taught them to like writing. Life has a way of humbling you, though, and I realized I was completely mistaken when one of my own children LOVED worksheet-style activities! To be honest, I was a little shocked! I had always given my kids room to pursue what interested them the most, so when I had a 2-year old who suddenly wanted to write (on paper!), I was definitely surprised! As the years went by, I actually had more than one child of my own who truly enjoys worksheets. If this is your child, let them do those worksheet activities!

If this is not your child, do NOT worry about it! Some preschoolers are not ready or interested in worksheet-style activities. Some are. Both are fine. Both end up reading and writing, and both are wonderful people! 

Just remember our original 3 Big Picture Goals:

1- Help develop a love of learning.
2- Encourage a broad range of experiences.
3- Develop skills to learn more.

 The best way to know what your preschoolers are ready for is by following their lead--what are they interested in? Remember we want to introduce a variety of experiences, but we need to pay attention to how our preschoolers respond to those activities.  If an experience is creating a lot of stress in our young children, we need to "shelve" it for a little while and try coming back to it after our preschoolers have had a chance to grow and develop a little more.  Interestingly, when we are stressed, we actually create hormones that literally make learning difficult! It is better to let our preschoolers learn and experience something different than to create a sense of dread and stress associated with school time.

I hope this list of activities and discussion about the different ways to teach our preschoolers has been helpful! Next week we will look at schedules, routines, and planning in this  How to Homeschool Preschool series!  Bookmark THIS PAGE to get links to all the lessons, and "join" THIS EVENT on Facebook to see me deliver everything "live" as it is ready!

As always, thank you for being here!

Let me know if you have any specific questions you'd like me to cover, and...

Happy Educating,
Carla


Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!



Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!! 



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