Summer Sewing

Technically, it is not summer yet. However, living in the south means that we usually have a day of spring and move on.  One of the easiest ways to build up the girls’ wardrobes is by a bit of sewing.  A few months ago we were blessed with some fabric from a friend who was moving.  In that box of fabric was a green fabric with flowers. Sarah oohed and aahed over it every time she saw it.  She needed a few outfits for summer; I needed an afternoon of sewing to relax.

I decided to dig out a pattern that I have had for years. Simple and easy to whip up but so very cute. It was Simplicity 4927. I have made it with sleeves and without; it is always a favorite to wear.

I didn’t quite get the dress finished before bed. The next morning I went straight to the sewing machine to finish the hem and button closure. Sarah, very patiently, sat beside me in her pajamas. She did not want to get dressed in anything but her new dress made in her favorite fabric.

Adorable, yes? What are you sewing?

Paper, Glue and a Big Sister

I love preschoolers.  They enjoy the simplest of activities and have such enthusiasm. A couple of months ago, my preschoolers enjoyed making simple snowmen. Life doesn’t get much better than paper and glue!  Knowing how much they love getting in the glue and our endless supply of construction paper, I took a simple children’s book and let the fun begin!

Mouse Shapes by Ellen Stoll Walsh is a book we have read numerous times over the years.  The children always enjoy the smart mice and how they use shapes to scare away the cat.  What a perfect opportunity for hands on fun and learning.  We used this book as a springboard throughout the week.  It was quick and easy for me to cut out a few basic shapes, grab the glue and cute kiddos and let them run with it.

We read through the book before we began. There are three mice in the book and Sarah made sure that she could properly match the mouse to the name given in the book.  This combines listening/comprehension skills with observation. Paying attention to which mouse was talking and then looking at which mouse was the focal point helped her to identify the mice. Each one is just a bit different and she was happy to help Sam.

Hannah’s preschool days are far behind her but she was an excellent assistant.  Being number five in the family doesn’t mean you can’t take on leadership and responsibility.  Letting Hannah be my preschool assistant is great for her. She loves being the big sister and sharing her knowledge to help out!

For our first creation session, we used shapes to make houses and trees like the mice did in Mouse Shapes.  I showed them how to take a long green rectangle and fringe it for grass. I helped Sam with his but Sarah did an excellent job. She was very focused as you can see above.  At the last moment they wanted to add a wagon; the mice had made one as well.  They selected their colors and we quickly cut out a rectangle and two circles.

In a perfect world, the next day would have begun with me having shapes precut for another day of Mouse Shapes. However, our days rarely run perfect. Remember Hannah, my assistant? She happily offered to cut out shapes for Sarah and Sam to make a big, scary cat.  Sure, why not? And Hannah quickly went to work.

Hannah did an excellent job. Using the book as her guide, she quickly figured up which shapes she needed and how many.  Then she decided to go ahead and cut out shapes to make fish as well.  Go, Hannah!

Sarah used the book to help her assemble her fish and cat.  She didn’t need any help from me until her glue was clogged. Once the fish and cat were completed, Sarah spent almost an hour continuing to cut and create with the paper and glue. Does it make a mess? Sure. A mess is worth feeding the imagination and creativity!

I think that we might request Mouse Paint  soon and have a bit more fun and mess!  How are your preschoolers learning this week?

Song School Spanish

“a, be, ce, che, de, e, efe, ge…..” or perhaps, “If you are feliz and you know it, clap your hands”….these are just two songs that are being sung by my little ones (and an older one or two). Classical Academic Press sent us a wonderful product, Song School Spanish designed for grades K-3.  We have used a few products by Classical Academic Press in the past and I couldn’t wait to introduce my young learners to Song School Spanish!

elementary spanish

Song School Spanish is a fun, energetic and interactive curriculum that will introduce your young student to Spanish and give them a vocabulary of over 100 Spanish words. We have been using three Song School Spanish items: Song School Spanish Teacher Guide, the Song School Spanish Student book and the Song CD that comes with the student text.  These books cover 30 weeks of lessons (plus review lessons).  Lessons cover topics such as Greeting Words, Family, The Body, Time to Eat, Manners and more! Also included at the beginning of the book is a pronunciation guide, scheduling tips and more.


Song School Spanish Student text provides opportunities for the child to see the Spanish words as they are singing and saying them.  While this is designed to be an introductory course, it is very thorough in its simple instruction. Small bits of grammar are included such as how Spanish is written with upside-down exclamation points or question marks. When to use “el” or “la”, stories like The Three Little Pigs with Spanish vocabulary and matching pictures to the Spanish word are examples of more learning.  The writing required is not too strenuous. It provides just enough practice for copying or writing the language without being overwhelming.

young writers

Review lessons are included in the Song School Spanish student book. The student reviews the vocabulary learned, reviews the songs and are encouraged to put on a play showing what they know.

The text and pictures are in black and white and not “busy” at all. For the child who can easily be distracted, this simple layout is great. At the back of the book are cut outs to be used in various lessons. Hands on activities like making puppets really help to reinforce what they are hearing, saying, singing and writing.

learnign spanish

Included with the student book is a Song CD containing 42 songs that help build vocabulary. Songs use both English and Spanish to help build a connection between the words.  Some of the music utilizes songs your children already know well like If You are Happy and You Know It, and incorporate Spanish into it (If You are Feliz and You Know It). The CD can quickly build that vocabulary! I find myself singing the songs!

Finally we have the Song School Spanish Teacher’s Guide. The teacher guide includes, at a smaller scale, the student pages with answers. This allows you to easily guide your student through his activities and songs. At the back of the book, there are extra review pages for each lesson. While they are great for extra practice, my daughter just enjoyed the pages for  the extra fun.


How Did Song School Spanish Work for Us?

Once I have my older students busy at independent work, I grab Hannah, 7, and Sarah, 5, and we find a spot on the floor and dive into Spanish.  Sometimes Sam, 3, will join in for a bit but I let his interest lead his participation. It is recommended to do 3 to 4 short lessons a week and that works out well for us.  We start our time by listening to the song CD. The songs are fun and we love clapping and singing along. The Alphabet Chant gets practiced often; it is quite interesting with our southern drawls.


Once we sing the songs and go over the chapter lesson, Hannah does a bit of the workbook. I don’t require Sarah to do any workbook writing but she does enjoy coloring while listening to the lesson. We generally spend about 15-20 min singing, talking, writing and coloring. I really like that, because of the workbook, Hannah is learning to read the Spanish. We are enjoying our Song School Spanish time very much! Both Hannah and Sarah ask me when we are going to do Spanish during the week. This fact speaks volumes about Song School Spanish.


Song School Spanish Student Book w/ audio CD: $24.95

Song School Spanish Teacher Book: $24.95

Samples are available! It is so helpful to be able to “see” a product. Make sure to take a few moments and take a peek: Song School Spanish Student Text, Song School Spanish Teacher’s Guide, and samples of the songs are in a zip file you can download.

Other Resources and Helps:

Classical Academic Press has other items to help or enhance your young student’s time with Spanish. You can purchase Spanish Amigo Match ($26.95) which are vocabulary cards that can be used to play games for retention and review. (Amigo Match was not a reviewed item.)

Free resources:

Helpful for me is the Spanish Pronunciation Files that can be downloaded from Classical Academic Press. It can be challenging at times to say a word just right so to be able to hear it over and over is lovely.

Coloring pages for each chapter of Song School Spanish are available for free. You just download and print as many copies as you need. (A favorite of Sarah’s.)  At, students can play an online game called FlashDash that reviews vocabulary.

There are extras songs available for download as well. For those parents who may need clarification or help, they can “Ask the Magister” at and get help from Spanish teachers.

So many great things from Classical Academic Press!

Other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew had Song School Spanish or Bible curricula on the Old Testament. Take a peek at how others used these products in their homes!

**Disclaimer: As a member of TOS Review Crew, I received a complimentary copy of these products. No compensation was made. The thoughts/opinions expressed in this post are my own.