Friday, March 30, 2018

Reader Questions?

Ehhhhh I kinda sorta failed on this one.  I answered some LWTH reader questions back in 2012, and said that I would do it again soon....well 6 years later I'm getting back to that.  I would like to blame infertility, 2 dogs, & 2 kids on this one ;-)  Well I'm doing it now, so maybe I didn't fail, so much as I'm just not very prompt? Oh well lolReader Questions- Life with the Hawleys
Okay, So I'm opening the floor up, you can ask me a question, as many as you would like, via the comments or the question form below.  Anything you want to ask, from parenting, to faith, marriage, time management (or lack there of considering this post is 6 years late ha!).  I will answer them before the next 6 years....that's a promise!
xoxo Darby

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Months of the Year +FREE Download

In early February we were learning the letter M, which led to the perfect opportunity to talk about and learn the months of the year and seasons.  I made these flashcards to use and I want to share them with you today!Months of the Year Flashcards- Life with the HawleysHawley Homeschool
You can find the flashcards here.  I printed, laminated, & cut them out and I was ready to sing about the months of the year with my littles.  When teaching the months, we first learned them in order (here is the song I sing to my kids on the months).  After we learned the months in order we were able to sort them into seasons.  Have fun with your little one with these flashcards!
xoxo Darby

Monday, March 26, 2018

Fine Motor Tools

I am always on the lookout for a unique tool that will help with fine motor skills.  Today I just want to share my favorites, where I got them, & how we use them.Fine Motor Tools- Life with the HawleysHawley Homeschool
If you have ever met me in person, within 5 minutes you’ll know that I’m obsessed with Amazon Prime.  Almost everything is Amazon....with the occasional Hobby Lobby thrown in there ;-)DSC_0065

Here are some ways we use these utensils to practice.

Obligatory Blogger Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this review; we just really like these products.
xoxo Darby

Friday, March 23, 2018

Easter Egg Tubes

The kids and I did this yesterday, and it was the easiest thing that led to hours of entertainment. I have to share this with you!  I strategically selected to work on the letter 'E' for the next two weeks because I knew that with Easter and all of the eggs, I would have plenty of opportunities to use "real life" to reinforce what we are learning.Easter Egg Tubes- Life with the HawleysHawley Homeschool

I know this might be a tad bit weird, but I am always collecting paper towel & toilet paper rolls.  We use them all the time, and why not?!  So easy and versatile!  I was initially going to just use these eggs for matching and colors yesterday, but then my collection of rolls caught my eye & I changed my mind. DSC_0401

This is so simple & fun.  You could use these eggs, or left over Easter eggs from last year.  I put the eggs in one tray & the tubes in another, and placed the trays at opposite ends of the hallway.  The kids had to set up the tubes at one end of the hall, and using the tongs (Ellis actually used a ladle), they had to carry the egg without dropping it, to the paper roll and place it on top.  So that Dutch wouldn't cheat and use his non-dominant hand to steady the tongs while he was walking, I got him to carry a cup in his left hand so that he was forced to build those muscles in his right hand & wrist.  So this ended up being a really fun way to talk about the letter 'E", what sounds it makes, an egg race, & all while building motor skills and working on coordination.  Fun stuff!  DSC_0405DSC_0406DSC_0407

Let me know if you try this with your little one, and what they think!

Have a great weekend y'all!

xoxo Darby

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

I See You Mama

At the end of the summer we took the kids fishing to a park we go to all the time.  Us, silly us (the not parents of the year), forgot water and food in 1000 degree heat.  So about 5 minutes after getting there, the boys set up camp and Ellis and I made the trek back to the truck to go get food and water to bring back.  But as I walked back around the pond to the car, I walked by family after family with young children.  This day has been replaying in my mind for months now.  I see you mama- Life with the Hawleys
Each family had a child that was screaming, whining, being disobedient, disrespectful, and quite honestly, really unpleasant.  Each parent looked exhausted but hopeful.  I saw the eyes of each parent.  They were trying their best.  They were trying to make memories and provide the best for their child.  They were praying for patience.  They were diving deep into their souls for the most compassion & understanding that they could muster.

I was so happy to see each family like that.  Not that I was happy to see that they were struggling, no way (I honestly wish at least one of us was having a pleasant trip to the pond lol).  Instead I was encouraged because I felt like I was part of a group.  I was not, and am not, alone in my own struggles as a parent.  I saw how tired each mother was, and in my mind I threw her an epic high-five.  I have thought of that day so often since last summer because I know that all parents, at every stage, is struggling in some way; we’re struggling together in this thing called parenthood. Yet, we can continue on, and we can encourage one another.  James 1-2-4
For a few months last spring, it seemed like we entered the phase of development where Dutch would get frustrated when he couldn't communicate what he was trying to say or a feeling he was experiencing.  Considering how much the boy talks, it was not normal that he couldn't find the words to say, but occasionally it happened.  Instead of saying what he couldn't say, he just whined, “Nooooooooooo”.  I applied my best detective skills to uncover what was bothering him, but many times I failed.  And sometimes I lost my patience or I forgot to have compassion, but then…..

But then.

I think about my relationship with God.  How many times have I screamed “Noooooooo” at God? How many times have I turned my back for selfish reasons?  How many times have I been frustrated with His will? Yet, He is still there.  He is still there filled with compassion for me despite my disobedience.  This gives me patience and strength (Psalm 18:1) and reminds me of the a privilege I have to be in that phase with Dutch, and the other parents at the pond.  We are not alone on this earth or separated from God.  And each stage, as difficult as it might seem, will be over soon and something else will be challenging.  That is how parenting is, that is how LIFE is; we move from one guaranteed season of trial to the next (John 16:33).  And it is through the presence of Christ, that we can find hope (Isaiah 40:30-31).  And that we can come along side each other and do life together, to be encouraged, and feel accompanied instead of alone in seasons of struggle. To walk around a pond with compassion instead of judgment.John 16-33
So mama, I just want to remind you, that I SEE you.  I see your weariness, emptiness in struggle, disappointing & unpleasant trip to the pond, your desire to be your best for someone else, and I see how empty your coffee cup is.  BUT, you are not alone.  I am sitting next to you in those struggles, but more importantly, Christ is with you.  And you are simply radiant in that phase of your life.  Here is my epic high-five to you.  If I could pour you another cup of coffee, I would, but instead I'm just praying that today is a good day, that you have patience when you need them, that you are offered grace when you lose your cool, and that you are filled with the peace that passes all understanding. Love you mama!
xoxo Darby

Monday, March 19, 2018

Books & Building Letters

Anytime I can teach something through an experience, I do!  It's always worth the effort because the content sticks better & my kids enjoy it so much more.  With this activity, you could honestly build letters with anything, but I particularly like this book & these blocks to stimulate creative critical thinking .... you know, 'cause I'm always about that brain ;-)  I initially made this activity to practice our letters and phonics, which it does very well, but it also has been a really fantastic task to encourage the engineering & creative outlets in their brains; to think outside of the box and have innovative ways to create their letters using the blocks.  To encourage that type of thinking just makes the neuroscientist in me completely geek out!Books and Building Letters- Life with the HawleysHawley Homeschool
Albert's Alphabet is a book about a duck who is a school's carpenter.  It was requested of him to build an alphabet by the walking path on the playground.  Unfortunately, he does not have enough time or materials so he has to get creative in building the alphabet.DSC_0352
For this activity, I actually bought two copies of this book: a copy to read & a copy to cut up (Yes, cut.... like with scissors, GASP!).  I cut up the pages of each letter & laminated them so that they were like flashcards.  I also purchased these blocks (great natural & safe blocks with a carrying bag) for the activities we would do after reading the book.
Once we read the book, I showed my kids the flashcards I made & asked them to create their own versions of the letters using the blocksDSC_0359
So if you get a chance, order this book (twice) AND practice your letters with some building blocks.  Friends, have fun growing those brains!
Obligatory Blogger Disclaimer: I was not compensated in anyway for these products; I just really like them :-)
xoxo Darby

Friday, March 16, 2018

Leprechaun Paint

I had not planned on writing this post but I got a lot of comments about it on my Instagram stories so I thought I would share how I combined art with science for St. Patrick's Day fun :-) I told the kids that we were going to paint with "Leprechaun Paint" and they were hooked! And honestly, you really could do this for any holiday, just change up the colors, right?!Leprechaun Paint- Life with the HawleysHawley Homeschool
To make your Leprechaun Paint, you need:
-paper cut into a shamrock (I used cardstock so that it would fall apart so quickly)
-a disposable pan
-green paint & paint brush
-baking soda
-pipette (I used this one)
-white vinegarDSC_0266
I mixed up the green paint & baking soda.  I didn't really measure, but I'm going to guess about 3 tbs of each, in a plastic cup.  With the shamrock in the disposable pain, I got the kids to paint it with the green paint I mixed up.  DSC_0269
When their paper was covered, I asked them what they thought would happen once we added the vinegar to the Leprechaun paint.  We talked about predictions (or hypotheses if I'm going to be technically correct here- can't take the neuroscientist out of the mama ha!), and then I let them pipette (great for fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination) the vinegar onto their shamrocks and let them watch it fizz.  It fizzes up a lot like the volcanos you make in elementary school when you're little.DSC_0272DSC_0273DSC_0274
Super fun and easy activity to talk about the holiday, create an art project, talk about the science of chemical reactions, & fine motor & hand-eye coordination.  All of that in one task!
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Don't forget to wear your green!
xoxo Darby

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

What You Might Not Know

Okay it's time to peel back some more layers, and let you know just a few more things you might not know about yours truly.Five Facts
Previous lists of weird Hawley-isms for more distractions hehehe
1. PRISON- With a starter like that, I imagine I know what you're thinking.  Ha! But you're wrong!  Right before I moved to Houston I worked for the Department of Corrections writing the science curriculum (earth science, biology, chemistry, & physics) for high school students who were incarcerated.  Did you know that youth who are in prison still have to go to school? Well they do; it's just a bit challenging to teach the same lesson using a bunsen burner that a non-incarcerated student would learn.  I helped create unique ways to teach the same lessons & went into the facilities to train teachers to use technology to teach incarcerated youth the same concepts that were being taught in the public school system.  Truly a wonderful experience!  So I have been to prison, many times, but not court mandated.

2. ALONE IN EUROPE- Between my sophomore & junior year in high school, I spent a summer touring Europe, 8 countries, as an ambassador of music for the state.  I qualified in a state competition as the 3rd alto, and so I sang my way across Europe by myself.  It was one of the single most terrifying, thrilling, and life changing events in my life.  From the things I saw (from landscape to concentration camps), people I met, how I matured, truly changed who I am, and I am forever grateful for those 2.5 months alone in Europe singing blues and jazz.

3. DANCE- I danced for 24 years in some form of organized group.   I have danced everything from ballet and swing, to tap and hip hop.  I love it all.....though hip hop is by far my favorite.  I have danced for private dance schools, UDA (even invited to dance in the Macy's Day parade!), and even in high school and college (I was the captain for 3 years in HS & 3 years in college). I dropped out of dance team my 4th year of college so that I could prep for graduate school.  But dance team is actually how I met the Mr.  He played basketball, number 33, and I used to dance at his games.  I used to thing he was the hottest man on the I just had to marry that man! I sure did love watching that hunk shoot hoops, and while everyone around me knew how much I liked him, it took a while to finally hit me lol

4. ELEVEN PIERCINGS- There was this Facebook status going around for a while, you know one of those where you copy, paste it into your status, & fill in the blanks.  I never participate in those, but for some reason I did a few months ago.  One of the questions was how many piercings do I have.  I wrote 11, and I got SO many comments on that.  Apparently that was really shocking for everyone.  But it's true!  My first piercing I got was my ears when I was 6 years old (the doctor did it, and clearly not the most trained because it was too far back, so my 2nd ear piercing is actually in front of my second).  When I was younger, my mom would always do this thing where when I was stressed about something or getting ready to try out for something, she would surprise me with a trip to get my ears pierced.  Sooooo maybe I was an anxious kid? Maybe I tried out for too many things? Maybe I liked getting stuff pierced? I don't know! lol So I have 4 paired piercings in each ear- that's 8 if you're not a math person ;-), plus a cartilage piercing.  When I was 15 I got my belly button pierced and then when I was in college I got my nose pierced.  I still have all of my piercings even if I don't wear metal with them all the time.

Okay, I know that I said I was going to share 5, but 4 is all my brain can handle tonight ha!  
There is a dip into my past for you.  
Learn anything new? 
Did I shock you??
xoxo Darby

Monday, March 12, 2018

Egg Double Dice + FREE Printable

When you bring chocolate into the classroom you can REALLY capture your audience! Ha! We've used the "Roll. Write. Dice" (FREE download from last spring here) for a while, but we're starting to progress & need something a little more advanced now, so I thought of DOUBLE DICE!!! So I've made a more advanced, and of course seasonal, version for you for FREE today :-)Easter Double Dice- Life with the HawleysHawley Homeschool
With my previous version of Roll. Write. Dice. only ONE dice was involved so the numbers only went up to six. We are way passed that number now so we need to push for more challenge. (Sidebar, I actually just now looked up the singular vs. the plural form for dice).  With this updated version, you will use two dice, which not only will give you numbers up to 12, but also allows instruction time for addition.  So first, go HERE to download the latest version to print off (I also laminated mine but you could also use page protectors).  Using these foam dice, your child will roll to identify the two numbers and then add them.  Using a dry erase marker they can write the sum as a word or a digit, and then count out the corresponding number of Easter eggs (I like Cadbury Eggs, YUM!) to put in the Easter basket. So much fun (and yummy too!).
xoxo Darby

Friday, March 9, 2018

Composition Book Ideas

Do you remember marble notebooks from grade school? I added these to our homeschool activities back in September & love how this affordable notebook is so versatile!  I want to share several ways that you could use this notebook with your preschooler without downloading a thing & minimal planning & purchases!Composition Activities- Life with the HawleysHawley Homeschool
You can purchase several versions of these notebooks at any office supply store.  To be honest, I got mine at HEB.  I like the primary grade version because it has the multicolored lines for handwriting practice, but it also has space at the top of each page for drawing, etc. (similar to mine here).  Besides markers, I also use dot markers, stickers, & wooden letter stamps with our composition books.  With all of those supplies, here are some of the activities that we do in our workbooks:
Using a marker, I will draw a letter or a number and ask my kids to trace it with dot markers or with stamps.DSC_0140DSC_0166DSC_0162DSC_0169

To practice basic handwriting, I will make letters and numbers out of dots and get my kids to trace them.  Here we can talk about how to write letters and often I will draw something at the top of the page with them that starts with the corresponding letter.  Occasionally, I will cut out items that start with that letter and we put the items in the shape of that letter, or give them stickers to put in the shape of a letter.DSC_0161DSC_0156DSC_0167
I do the exact same thing with numbers!  I will model the numbers & provide the dots for tracing.  With dots, I put a lot when they are first starting but slowly put fewer so they have to do more and more on their own.DSC_0155
Another activity to practice letters is to put a bunch of letters in rows and columns and ask them to put a dot on, sticker on, or simply circle a particular letter.DSC_0157
Another fun way to practice finding letters, but also learning the difference between uppercase & lowercase letters, I will put a bunch of numbers & letters in rows and columns.  I will assign one color to the uppercase letter and another color to the corresponding lowercase letter and ask Dutch to find them & apply the correct color dots.

Another fun way to practice fine motor skills is to cut out pieces of paper & glue them in the notebook in the shape of a letter/number/shape that you're working on your kiddo with.

To practice numbers, counting, and matching, I will put numbers on one side and dots for the different numbers on the opposite side of the page.  The child has to identify the number, count the number of dots and then match them.DSC_0158
To practice shapes, colors, number recognition, & counting, I will draw different color shapes with numbers inside them.  The kids have to identify the color & number for each shape and put the corresponding number of dots in the same color in each shape.DSC_0159
Occasionally if I have a download or a printable, I will glue the activity in the notebook.  I really like to put the ones that involved cutting and gluing in their notebooks.DSC_0163
To practice motions for handwriting, holding a writing utensil, and size comparison, I will get them to trace different sized shapes, and them ask them, "Can you put a blue dot in the biggest square? Can you put a yellow dot in the smallest rectangle?"DSC_0164
With counting and shapes, I will draw some shapes and ask "Can you put three stickers in the circle? Can you put one sticker in the heart?"DSC_0168
Another really easy task that is great for helping to form great writing habits is to draw dotted lines and get your child to trace them staying on the line.DSC_0165
We also use our books for seasonal celebrations! "Can you decorate the Christmas tree?", "Can you decorate the Valentine's heart?", & "Can you put fall colored leaves on the tree?".
See, for the most part you don't need to print off anything for preparation!  You can draw all of this in their notebooks while they're sitting right next to you.  Really easy and fun! As a selfish desire, I love looking back through these books as a record of how they have improved, & I know that both of my kids love their notebooks and are so proud of their work! Do you use composition notebooks with your preschooler already?
Obligatory Blogger Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review, I just really like these products.
xoxo Darby
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