FREE First Day of School Signs

Most parents adore these first day of school signs and I am one of those parents! Since I couldn’t ever find signs that are special to my children, I just custom made some myself. And because you are reading this post, you are lucky enough to get these editable signs for FREE!

If you love the signs and decide to use them publicly, all I ask of you is that you mention my blog (Raising Children and Chickens) wherever you post it online and leave my website link on the bottom of the sign! Also, please do not sell this sign anywhere.

You must be able to access Microsoft PowerPoint in order to download these files. Also, you may not have the same fonts that are used in these documents so feel free to change them as you like.

Our daughters first day of first grade!
Our son’s first day of (pre)Pre-School!

If you have trouble using these documents, I won’t mind a bit to edit the file for you and email it to you! Just leave a comment if you need help.

Please consider following my blog and pinning this post to your Pinterest board for future use!

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How I Use Amazon’s Alexa To Help Me Home School

(This post contains affiliate links. By signing up under my link, I get a small commission.)

If you’ve been around the internet long enough, you’ve certainly heard of the gadget Amazon has created called Alexa. We never heard of it until a couple Christmas’s ago when our parents gifted us one.

If you haven’t been lucky enough to hear of it, let me fill you in. Alexa is a speaker and/or video device that you can ask questions, play music, make video calls, play shows, etc. The options it can provide are endless. To relate, Alexa is much like iPhones Siri. Learn more about Alexa here.

We have the first one they created that is basically just the speaker tower like this one. This Christmas, we were gifted by our parents the newest one like this one called Amazon Echo which is a speaker and video screen. I’ve also ordered this cheaper and smaller Echo Dot to put in our daughters bedroom. I’m really looking forward to it coming in.

Here’s how I use Alexa to help me homeschool:

(Even if you don’t homeschool, these are ways Alexa can help you in your home or with your children!)

  1. Timer– You can say “Alexa, set a timer for 5 minutes.” My daughter uses that when she is doing her math facts everyday. She gets 5 minutes to complete 100 problems. I bought two different cheap timers you can get at the store and neither worked properly.
  2. Alarm Clock– You can say “Alexa, set an alarm for me.” I plan to use this on my new device for my daughters bedroom to wake her up on school days. And they have some cute alarm sounds!
  3. Intercom– You can have Alexa send a voice message from one device to another in your house. So, for example, if my daughter is upstairs in the classroom finishing some work and lunch is ready downstairs, I can tell Alexa to announce on all the devices that “lunch is ready, come eat”! (You have to own more than one Alexa for this to be an option.)
  4. Amazon Storytime– Alexa also has skills you can enable through the Alexa app. If you enable the skill “Amazon Storytime”, she will read your children a story. It’s actually really cute!
  5. 1-2-3 Math– This is also another skill you can enable through the app. If you tell Alexa to open 1-2-3 Math, you can pick a difficulty level and she will ask your child math questions. I use this during our down time like when we are waiting on lunch to finish cooking. There are more math apps she can play as well, but I like this one the best.
  6. General Questions– Alexa can answer any general questions we might have while learning. If we aren’t certain what season it is, or the date when doing our calendar, or the capital of a state, we just ask Alexa. With our Amazon Echo Show, she can play educational videos for us or show images.

Other benefits of Alexa:

  1. Playing music– This is my favorite ability of Alexa. I like it even better on the Amazon Echo Show because it shows the lyrics on the screen. You know what makes cooking meals everyday not so boring? Dancing to music with Alexa!
  2. Video & Voice Calling– My children especially love this feature. They are able to see their grandparents from a different state while they talk to them. My daughter also gets the opportunity to see and talk to her pen pal!
  3. News & Weather– Want to know the headlines in the news or what the weather is like today? All you have to do is ask her! How convenient!

This is only a small list of how we use Alexa during school and personal time. She has so many capabilities and some I haven’t even learned yet!

Do you use Alexa while you homeschool? If so, tell me how you use Alexa! I’m always looking for new ways to have her help me!

*It would mean a great deal to me if you followed me on Pinterest! Search for Raising Children and Chickens and click follow. *

How I Home School During Bath Time

(This post contains affiliate links. By signing up under my link, I get a small commission.)

Bath time is the perfect time for lessons! It is a great way to teach them while they are contained to one area and can’t easily run away. AND there are so many educational toys for bath time. We have bought a few and here are my favorites!

Our son had a strong desire to learn things early on. I realized this and took full advantage of it.

Super Why was his favorite show to watch. And I credit a lot of his knowledge on the alphabet to that show. We bought him the DVDs and he watched it on PBS kids a lot. Once I seen him repeating the letters at just one year old from that show, I bought him these foam letters from Amazon to play with in the bath. Those foam letters are still part of our home school curriculum and they only cost $5! 

Every night while bathing him, we would practice those letters. Mainly it involved me holding up a letter and saying what it was. Eventually, he started doing the same thing. He would hold up a letter to show me and then say the letter.


Pretty soon, he could recognize them all but not yet say all of them. I could ask him where a letter was and he could easily find it for me. For example, I would ask him “Where is the letter K?” and he would hold it up or point to it. He really loved doing this every night.

I also printed off and laminated some Alphabet cards. The free Alphabet cards came from one of my favorite blogs- 123Homeschool4Me.com. She has tons of neat printable’s and ideas for your little ones. And if you don’t have a laminator, I would recommend this one to anyone I know. It has been the best and I use it all the time!

I put those cards on the wall for him to look at so he could learn both uppercase and lowercase letters. He loved it! I left those cards up for several months until I painted that room.

Now that he knows them all, he’s gotten bored with it and we’ve moved on to doing a foam United States puzzle in the bath. He really enjoys it and can identify about five states so far!

Other bath items we have used are:

  • The bath spout cover– This thing has saved our kids from scratched up backs many times. 
  • Sensory Development Toy– Both of my kids have enjoyed this toy! We’ve talked about the different colors, the wheels, the eyes, and practicing how to pour water.

Doubting if your toddler could learn the alphabet and states this early? Don’t! It’s possible. Young minds are literally like sponges. They soak up everything! And with a continuous lesson such as bath time, your little one could learn this in no time!

AOP LIFEPAC

(This post contains affiliate links. By signing up under my link, I get a small commission.)

When we first decided to home school, the first thing I did was research curriculum. Did you know there are SO many different types of curriculum you can buy for homeschooling? It was rather overwhelming. I spent days researching the different sets. But I kept finding myself going back to the same website because I felt like they had a set that would suit our daughter for Kindergarten.

If you haven’t heard of Alpha Omega Publishers, then you may not know about this curriculum. They have a few different sets but I seemed to like their LifePac set better than the others.

Here’s what I liked about LifePac and why I continue to use that set:

  1. They are affordable.
    1. Almost every set I researched was pricey. I had my budget set to spend no more than a few hundred on a curriculum. Their Kindergarten set only included Math and Language Arts but it was only priced at $99. I know that there are some free curriculum’s out there, but I felt better prepared if I had something laid out for me. I believe this set did a great job in helping my daughter for Kindergarten and I plan to use it again for our son in a couple years.
  2. They are Bible-based.
    1. When we officially decided to home school, we agreed that one of the main benefits of homeschooling was the fact that we could teach our children about God. So when I was researching curriculum, it had to be Bible-based. LifePac does a great job at discussing God throughout all their subjects, not just their Bible subject.
  3. They are student-led.
    1. The curriculum is designed to allow students to work independently. We are currently in their first grade set and my daughter can work independently most of the time. That’s a huge benefit to me since we have more that one child and I can’t be by her side constantly.
  4. They have great support.
    1. There was a time I had a question about the science materials and when to use them throughout the year. I was surprisingly amazed at how quick and friendly they were in helping me.
  5. They have kid-friendly content.
    1. The stories and graphics in this curriculum seems to be very up-to-date and interesting for my six year old. She seems to enjoy the books and pictures which is helpful in keeping her interested.

We plan to use LifePac again for second grade. I have no desire to switch curriculum’s anytime soon. As long as it keeps working for my daughter and me, then we will stick with their curriculum.

If you are looking into homeschooling your kids and you have been looking for a curriculum, try researching Alpha Omega Publishers LifePac set. I don’t think you will be disappointed. And if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask me!

Our daughter showing off her Math quiz.

How I Decorated Our Home School Classroom

When we moved into our current house, I was desperate to have a room dedicated to homeschooling. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a paint roller and make the room above our garage a classroom! Eventually, I was able to find time to start on it and even though it’s not completely finished, I cant wait to start using it!

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It may not look like a traditional classroom but when you only have two students, it doesn’t have to. It’s worth mentioning that one student is a toddler, hence the toys.

We plan to begin school in our updated classroom on January 7th following our holiday break. What makes it even more special is that the toddler will be doing some lessons too!

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I’ve created a weekly focus board for both children but mainly for the toddler. They will be learning the presidents and states each week on top of their normal curriculum.

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I’m certain we will all enjoy the new space!