Friday, November 24, 2017

Book Club: Alberto The Dancing Alligator

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Alberto the Dancing Alligator written by Richard Waring and illustrated by Holly Swain is the tale of Alberto and his owner, Tina. A little girl is a given a "peculiar-looking egg by her Uncle Ezra" that hatches into her pet and dancing partner, Alberto. The title is a bit misleading because the majority of the book details Alberto’s journey through the sewers and in and out of various bathrooms to find Tina.  


You can introduce or review the following words with you little one(s):



In the storybook, count the bathrooms, people calling the police, and the police with your children.  There are a total of 12.

Practice counting to 1000 by hundreds with your children. 

Explore the tango with your children. Listen to different examples of the music. 

Discuss pet ownership and why alligators don’t make good pets. For older children, you can actually research the laws regarding ownership of reptiles. Many locations (from state to city) vary upon the regulations regarding reptiles (snakes, lizards, crocodilians, etc).

Visit your local zoo to see alligators in person.

Read more books about alligators!

Watch videos about alligators on YouTube.

Create your own Alligator! 

A is for Alligator Craft – A simple craft to review the letter A and practice scissor skills!

Paint your own alligator craft. – The chance to break out paints, glue, and more to create a fun alligator puppet.

Fans of alligators and want to learn more? What about the difference between an alligator and a crocodile? Or do you want to a lesson on the letter A? A Mom's Quest to Teach has lots of posts to help you in your homeschooling quest! 

Part of the Homeschool Collection Posts 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Crafts: Alligator

As a former zoo educator, I love being able to share my knowledge of animals with my children.  As we were studying the letter A, it was the perfect time to discuss alligators (and crocodiles).

In this craft, we created our own alligator.



1. Gather materials. (Don't forget glue and tape and any last minute things like sequins.)

2. Paint the toilet paper and paper towel rolls.  Paint or color the tail.

3. After the paint has dried, attach your pieces. I used a hole punch and paper fasteners to attach the rolls together.  If you have a long, thing stapler, you could attack them that way.

4. Glue or tape on the legs to the Popsicle sticks.

5. Glue the eyes and the teeth to the head.

6. Add last minute color touches with the markers to create scales. Color and attach the tale. If you have sequins, you can add those for scales, too.

7.  Attach the legs.  I taped them to the inside and the outside of the alligator.  If you have more time, you can glue them.

8. Play with your alligators.

For a more realistic look, keep the top of the alligator a greenish-black color and the bottom a cream-white color.  This coloration helps the alligators camouflage themselves from birds above them in the sky, because they blend in with the water, and from fish below by blending in with the sky.

Here you can see how the dark coloration of the top of the alligator lets them blend in with the swampy water.

Other Alligator Resources and Activities


Zack's Alligator by Shirley Mozelle with pictures by James Watt
Zack's Alligator Goes to School by Shirley Mozelle with pictures by James Watt
What's the Difference Between an Alligator and a Crocodile? by Lisa Bullard with illustrations by Bandelin-Dacey
Alberto the Dancing Alligator by Richard Waring with illustrations by Holly Swain


A is for Alligator 

Clay Play 
Materials for clay play like toy alligators, pipe cleaners, rocks, etc. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Fall Crafts: Scarecrow

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With the autumn weather, comes pumpkin picking, Halloween projects, and fall crafts. There are so many cute ideas on Pinterest and Facebook, it is sometimes easy to be overwhelmed by all the choices.  This year we made a simple paper plate scarecrow to decorate our front door.



1. Gather materials. (If your children are handy with scissors, have them help out.)

Materials needed for scarecrow paper plate craft

2. Color the paper plate.

3. Glue on the eyes, nose, and mouth.

4. Glue on the hair.

5. Glue on the hat.

6. Glue on the bow-tie.

Both my children enjoyed decorating and creating their own unique scarecrows. If you and your children make any, I would love to see them.  You can share them with me on Instagram or Facebook. Tag my page or use #momquesttoteach on Instagram. 

My son's scarecrow 


Crafts for Preschooler's Scarecrow 

Original Scarecrow inspiration 

Crafty Morning's Popsicle Stick Scarecrow

No Time For Flash Card's Scarecrow 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Crafts: B is for Baker

Letter B craft with photo of bread racks

This post contains affiliate links. For more information please see my Terms of Use and Disclosure Policy page. Thank you.

We first started talking about the concept: B is for Baker using's Preschool Class ABC: What Will I Be?.   In the lesson on the Letter B, parents can introduce apple pie scented play dough to the children, share coloring pages, bake shortbread cookies, read books about baking, and practice math and writing skills.   In my Language Arts blog, I go into more detail about the ABC: What Will I Be? course.  To continue along with the baking idea, I created a Letter B craft for my children.



1. Gather all materials.  If your children are using scissors, they can help cut out the shapes. 

Materials needed for craft - construction paper
Pieces needed to go with the letter B.

2. Color the letter B. (My son drew on his own face along with arms and legs when he was looking at my sample that I created.) 

A Baker on the letter Bcoloring the letter B 

3. Attach the hair with glue or glue sticks. 

Construction paper hair glued onto letter B

4. Attach the chef's hat with glue or glue sticks.

5. Attach the eyes with glue or glue sticks. 

Letter B getting eyes glued on for Baker craft

6. Attach the mustache with glue or glue sticks. 

Letter B Baker craft completed

7. Display your child's artwork. 


Looking for more Letter Crafts? 

Our family has created some cute letter crafts using alligators, sheep, and construction as inspiration.

alligator craft Grass craft Tree craft

Friday, November 3, 2017

How do you spell a great lesson plan? Schoolhouse Spelling!

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Struggling with finding a way to meet the spelling needs of your child?  Are there too many lists and words and you don't know where to start? offers Schoolhouse Spelling to its members with options from Preschool to High School.  

Schoolhouse Spelling offers Preschool Spelling (40 weeks of age-appropriate words), Lower Elementary Spelling (two years of material), Upper Elementary Spelling (four years of material), Middle School Spelling (four years of material), and High School Spelling (four years of material).

My four year old and I have started working through the Preschool Spelling which includes video flash cards of the weekly words and worksheets to practice the words of the week.  It is designed to help students learn letter sounds and form words.

The first week reviews 'at' words such as cat, hat and rat.  We also made other 'at' words including bat, sat, and mat. In week two, words: bat, mat, sat, and fat will be discussed and practiced. 

words spelled on white board including: at, cat, hat, rat

As my son likes to practice writing, we wrote the words on the white board and on scrap paper for him to practice. During the activity, my daughter also wanted her own list of words and drew her own pictures to go along with her brother.  

The week's activities continue with the student drawing a picture of a cat, a hat, and a rat each day while tracing the word.  

My son's cat.

I found these lessons to be a great introduction to spelling.  Both my four year old son and my two year old daughter can review the words together and practice sounds.  

The other levels will be just as valuable as they meet the needs of more advanced learners.  In the Lower Elementary Grades, students can practice correcting misspelled words and rhyming among other activities. There are also options at the different levels to approach the spelling via a phonics based style or a Charlotte Mason style.  They can be used independently or together (one following the other).  The lessons also approach the course from a Biblical Worldview offering Bible quotations to learn new spelling words. 

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