These days, homeschooling on a budget means you look for every deal or discount you can. If something is free – you grab it. If something is a great deal – you stock up. So what about those dollar bin homeschool deals? You know – the little school supplies, notepads, and other trinkets you often find at the front of large megastores? Are they really worth it? [Read more…]
If you have little ones learning to read, you don’t want to miss this opportunity! Last year, we released our 36-week, R.E.A.D. Curriculum Notebook and it’s been an amazing success. Parents and teachers all over the world have told us how easy, engaging and most of all…FUN our curriculum is for their students. We’ve been inundated with requests to follow up the series (an idea we are excited to explore) and today we are releasing the very first extension titled, “R.E.A.D. Review Pack.”
I have such an amazing giveaway to share with you today! I know you’ve probably been stocking up on eBooks and printable resources for the upcoming year, so I really want to bless another homeschool family with one of my favorite homeschool tools.
If you’ve never heard of a binding machine, or if you wonder how they work, come check out our step-by-step tutorial for how to bind your eBooks here. One benefit of eBooks is that you can print out what you need for multiple children and a binding machine makes it super simple to build your own workbooks.
Where to buy eBooks?The Crafty Classroom eStore
Ready to Win? I’m giving away a Fellows Star+ 150 Comb Binding Machine to one lucky winner. This is a $99 retail value, and you can enter to win below:
Please note that due to shipping costs this giveaway is open to USA and Canada addresses only.
Homeschool writing curriculum doesn’t have to be expensive. We offer many affordable writing guides for children in our eStore, most of them under $5.00, but you can also put together a custom writing journal without breaking your homeschool budget. Using three different notebooks, you can provide children with simple writing opportunities they can use to build important independent writing skills. Purchase an inexpensive set of lined notebooks with the appropriate spacing for your child. Use the printable schedules and title pages below to build and customize your writing journals. (Alternatively, you can use these to create one single writing binder by using our printables as dividers in each section.)
Print these four daily journal printables then read below for complete assembly and tips.
- Daily Spelling Journal Printables
- Daily Vocabulary Journal Printables
- Daily Writing Journal Printables
- Daily Helper Journal Printables
How to Set up a Daily Vocabulary Journal
Paste the title of the journal on the outside of the notebook. On the inside cover paste the instructions. Additionally you can customize these with your own instructions by writing them in.
Make two pockets to hold your spelling words. Glue the first pocket to the front and write NEW on it. Glue the second pocket to the back and write OLD on it. Then cut index cards in half and write the words you want your child to work on. Do an online search of grade specific vocabulary words (or choose from the list you’ll be making with your Daily Helper Journal.)
Place a paper clip at the top of the first page and your ready to go! At the end of the week have your child place the word into the OLD pocket in the back. Every so often you can use these index cards as flashcards, for review purposes or to create additional learning opportunities. (i.e. play an alphabetical order game, or match cards by number of syllables….etc.)
How to set up you Daily Spelling Notebook:
Paste the title of the journal on the outside of the notebook. On the inside cover paste the instructions, filling in the blanks according to your child’s ability level. Alternatively you can write in your own custom weekly instructions as well. You might also consider adding in some fun spelling websites or games on Friday for children to practice typing their words.
Make two pockets to hold your words. Glue the first pocket to the front and write NEW on it. Glue the second pocket to the back and write OLD on it. Then cut index cards in half and write the words you want your child to work on.
Place a paper clip at the top of the first page for your child to store the current word list. At the end of the week have your child place the word into the OLD pocket in the back of the book to keep for later review. You might consider providing children with additional hands on spelling ideas such as our alphabetical order train or letter tiles, making one day a week for games or review.
Paste the title of the journal on the outside of the notebook. On the inside cover paste the instructions, filling in the blanks accordingly. For my young daughter I decided to have her write five sentences or for at least 10 minutes. This seemed to encourage her to write a bit faster :) Older children can easily write more so you can choose what is best for your child.
Setting up a daily journal is very simple! Print a list of Story Starters, ( a quick internet search will pull up a ton, you can find age/theme appropriate for your child) and cut them into strips. Store them in a pocket in the front of your notebook. Provide a paper clip for your child to place the story strip at the top of their sheet of paper.
How to set up your Daily Helper Journal
Paste the title of the journal on the outside of the notebook. On the inside cover paste the instructions.
Provide children with tabs, paperclips or bookmarks to organize this journal into different sections. Label the sections with the suggested titles above or with your own as you see fit. This journal can be used as a reference for newly learned words, grammar rules, and for keeping track of future words to add to spelling and vocabulary lists.
Step-by-Step Writing Guides are now available in our eStore
This game is great for children who are learning basic phonics and early reading skills. Children match up letter blocks to word-ending blocks to create new words. Keeping score for each assembled word makes this a fun and engaging activity for multiple children. Find free Word Family Printables on our sister site KindergartenMom.com
1.5″Wooden Craft Blocks
Sharpie Marker or Paint Pen
- Perfect for crafts, artistic purposes, and other uses
- 1.5″ wooden cubes are made of natural, kiln-dried hardwoods
- Set of 10 packaged in a convenient zip-top bag
TIP:Shop around for your wooden blocks, there are discount craft stores that might have them much cheaper! Or consider purchasing the 1″ size blocks. They are smaller but you get 32 of them for a better price and children can still read the words without difficulty.
We are using 1.5inch wooden blocks but you can easily use smaller (see the link above). Each block has six sides so plan accordingly for how many word endings and first letters you want for your game.
Choose how many blocks you want for your game. We are using 6 word ending blocks, and 3 letter blocks.
Choose colored paints which are complementary to black marker showing through. (We also used a paint pen)
Since we have three different colors we're going to paint each color on the two sides opposite each other.
You can use a hairdryer to speed the drying process. Here is a photo of how were are painting the sides.
Using a black sharpie marker or a paint pen, write a different word ending on each face of the cube.
Write different consonants on each of the blocks. It took three blocks to get most (18) of the letters but you could do 4 blocks to get 24 of the letters.
Ready, Set, Roll a Word!
How to Play:
Have children shake the cubes and roll for their turn. Then have them arrange the blocks to make as many words as they can. As children form the words, let them add up their score. If they miss a word you can help them too!
Children can write their word on a piece of paper, this is a great way to sneak in a little extra copywork and handwriting practice.
We found these great boards at the Dollar Tree that work perfectly for a storage container.
Word Family Printables
Word Families are a group of words with the same ending. For example cat, rat, mat, hat, bat are all part of the “at” word family. Learning about word families is a key part of learning to read. Children can pick up on patterns and rhyming sounds very quickly which in turn lends to reading confidence and success.
Making words is a great way to teach phonics and spelling. In these lessons, students incorporate cutting skills, writing skills and manipulation of letters, a total work-out if you will.
Today I have a fantastic expansion set to add to our Mini Office Printables!
Our Mini office has been an amazing resource for my son’s Preschool and Kindergarten years, and I wanted to make sure I added in a few First Grade items for his upcoming year.
I decided to offer this as a First Grade Expansion Pack and it’s full of helpful resources you can use with your students
So What is a Mini Office?
A Mini Office is basically a custom built learning resource for your student. The goal of a mini-office is to serve as a self led reference chart for children, freeing up time for teacher to work with other students and encouraging children to find answers to their own questions. The benefit of making a mini office is also in the size and the minimal supply list. All you’ll need is a couple of file folders, scissors, glue, and your printable pages.
(It’s near the bottom as I’ve got assembly instructions and other expansions available there as well)
What’s Included in this Expansion Pack:
- Telling Time (clock with moveable hour and minute hands, 5 minute intervals around)
- Place Value Blocks (written word, number form and place value up to 1000)
- Shape Symmetry (visual depiction of a line of symmetry)
- Skip Counting (numbers 2-12, up to 12 numbers. First Grade Use: 2, 5, 10, and maybe 3)
- Rounding Numbers (Visual Rounding Clown to help children round and estimate)
- Writer’s Glove (The 5 W’s: Who, What, Where, When, and Why for writing sentences)
- USA State Map & Compass (State Names as well as Directional Compass for daily practice)
- My Address/My Phone (Use as Reference and Practice)
My son won’t be starting his First Grade year until this September, so I might add a few more updates to this pack by then. Be sure you are subscribed to our newsletter if you’d like updates on available resources!
If you are looking for encouragment during your homeschool journey, my friend Jamerill Stewart has an amazing resource to share with you today.
Hope for the Heart of the Homeschoom Mom (Kindle Edition) is Free Today and Tomorrow (2/24/15-2/25/15)
“The pages of Hope for the Heart of the Homeschool Mom is a collection of encouragement to prayerfully strengthen your soul for this God-given journey. A journey that’s beyond stretching and beyond worth it.”
“Hope. Encouragement. Sanity. On any number of homeschooling days, I’ve needed all three. It’s not that homeschooling is an unwanted chore. Homeschooling my children is one of my greatest joys. It’s a privilege. I’m so incredibly blessed by this undertaking.
And I’m challenged. I’m pulled. I’m stretched. I’m growing. I’m finding my reheated coffee in the microwave at 2 p.m. wondering where the morning went. Trying hard to soak up the sweet and sacred moments with these souls and miss stepping on the Lego pile in the process.
Friend, I’m sure you’ve felt the same.”
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|“Build Your Own” BundlesOur “Build Your Own” bundles offer you the opportunity to select a certain number of products with a retail price of $19.99 or less for up to 80% off! We have MANY items to choose from, including Cathy Duffy Top 100 Picks!
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With all the back to school mayhem going on at our house,
I haven’t had much time to tackle my “to-do” list.
One thing I really wanted to work on was posting more of our Writing Guides.
(I get emails about these all the time)
So I did scramble an extra evening to add in some more resources for writing a biography:
Here is what this set includes:
Purpose and Description of a Written Biography
5 Step Instructions for Writing a Biography
Brainstorming Subject Sheet
Three Fact Finding Worksheets
Writing Tools Guide for a Biography
Fact Organization Sheet (First Draft Guide)
Self Editing Sheet
Final Draft Decorative Paper
I’ve also posted some more helpful printables for your aspiring writers:
A simple guide for children that you can print and keep inside your writing binder.
This is a list of helpful words children can refer to when the right words just won’t come.
Both of these would be great to use alongside any research report, not just a biography.
Just as a side note here, I was up extra late last night finishing these,
so if you notice a typo please do let me know and I’ll fix it ASAP!
I am NEVER offended by the extra help!
If you don’t already, be sure to subscribe for updates!
Do you know what’s going out and what’s coming in?
And between all the Back-to-school supplies, Used-Curriculum sales and crazed Online ordering,
I am at a loss for what I actually spent on our Homeschool this year.
So in an effort to regain my sanity,
and in classic, “I should have done this FIRST” mode,
I have created a simple (and pretty) homeschool budget tracker.
Just a few places to keep track of what I spent for the year,
to help me plan for the following years.
It may look extra simple,
but over the past few years I’ve found that simple is good.
I even gave myself some simple rules for using this budget sheet.
Rule #1: Don’t write down each and every individual item. Seriously, you have other things to do. You don’t want to give yourself a case of Budget Burnout
like last year.
Rule #2: Don’t even separate things by subject, or child. Just keep your receipt and write down the dollar amount. Go for a general budget idea. Trust me, I know you.
Rule #3: Be proactive, write out a best guess at what you’ll spend beforehand. Come back and see how close to target you were. Give yourself a little incentive……Extra Homeschool dollars can be spent on coffee.
Rule #4 Tell the Truth. You know the difference between homeschool NEEDS and WANTS. You’ve got ZILLIONS of half used pencils. Reuse last years notebooks. Seriously. Get real girl and remember….coffee.
Rule #5: When you’re all done, look up the price of Private Education and pat yourself on the back. Job well done Momma!
What about you?
What Budget methods work for you?
There has been something on my homeschool “wishlist” for quite some time.
I’ve spent the last year rationalizing away the cost.
Quietly planning all the different projects that I would use it for.
Promising myself that I would get my monies worth.
Do you know what it is yet?
It’s a binding machine!
It does things to my e-books that a stapler NEVER could.
(Oh sweet notebooking heaven)
I can’t believe it has taken me this long to get one!
So wondering how it works?
Here’s the deal:
Step 1: Print up your e-book.
Make sure to use cardstock for a cover page, and a back page.
(note: you can get special coverpages at the store if you want)
Step 2: Load your weapon:
This means you put your curly binding comb between the prongs,
pull the special lever to open it
Step 3: Poke all your holes:
For my machine that means entering the paper like so
And pulling down the big handle.
All the papers are stored in a drawer inside the machine. No mess.
(note: my particular machine can handle up to 10 sheets at a time)
Step 4: Start assembling your book.
Slide your freshly punched papers onto the open prongs of your binding comb.
(the black curly thing you opened in step 2)
Step 5: Continue until you have all the pages you want included.
Step 6: Release side lever and the binding comb closes back up.
Step 7: Enjoy your fancy looking notebook!
If your interested here is the machine that I purchased.
It’s called Fellowes Star Manual Comb Binding Machine
I also picked up some different sized combs:
Fellowes Plastic Comb Bindings
Note: Combs come in different capacity…
Some do up to 55 pages, some up to 150 pages.
You want to get a variety, but I use the 55page and 90pages the most!
Pssst: Like my garden notebook?
Look closely for a moment.
See that little red book in the back of
my newly sewn purse?
Ha! Tricked Ya.
That’s not really a book at all.
Oh wait….actually it is a book!
It’s thousands of books….and so much more!
It’s the Kindle Fire,
And let me tell ya,
This thing is HOT!
Not “Hot” as in stolen,
I assure you that I paid for my kindle,
but the price was so good that I almost FEEL guilty.
You see, I’ve wanted a tablet FOREVER.
But I could never get over the crazy price tags,
or the monthly subscription prices for web service.
So, when I first learned about the kindle,
the first question that came to mind was:
How does it work?:
(read: how much more am I going to pay in monthly fees?)
Cynical I know, but every penny counts.
Now I’ve only had this baby for a week or so,
but I’ll tell ya what I know:
Kindle Fire uses a Wifi connection to access most content.
(i.e. No additional monthly charges)
However, that means that to connect to the internet
you will need you’re own Wifi, or to be at a Wifi hotspot.
Now wait. I know what you’re thinking.
Oh darn. I was hoping that I could take my content with me.
I mean come on, I need to be able to hand this thing to the kids
to keep them quiet to let them play around while we’re
in the car, or grocery shopping or doing anything else in which I need
a few peaceful seconds to collect my thoughts.
Well, let me tell ya, You can!
There are two ways to store your content with the Kindle Fire:
You can store your content on the CLOUD,
(which is free with your Kindle Fire purchase)
You can store your content on your actual Kindle device.
(it comes with 8GB of data storage btw)
Anything that you STORE on your Kindle is accessible without a Wifi connection,
Anything that you leave in the Cloud is only accessible with a Wifi connection.
You decide what content you want to actually STORE on your Kindle,
and what content you only want available in the CLOUD.
Make sense? Are you following here?
It was a little confusing for me at first too.
But Here’s What I DO:
Anything I want to access on the road, I put on the device
Anything I want to access when I have WiFi I keep in the Cloud.
Pretty Simple right?
Here’s the breakdown for some of the features:
Con: The kindle fire screen isn’t like the original screen. Since it is a color screen there is a little bit of glare.
You can change the brightness of the screen depending on the enviornment you’re in.
I haven’t had any problems reading it , just wanted to point that out.
Pro: Apps usually work without the wifi connection
Con: Not as many apps available in the Amazon Android market.
Check out some of the Top Apps here
Pro: I Love the interface for my music.
Nice and large, easy to connect to my car stereo.
I can FIND a song without crashing my car. Bonus!
(btw: I’m listening in my car with a simple tape deck–> mp3 adapter.)
Pro: The kindle comes with a Document reader, it’s very simple to use.
You email yourself any files that you want to access on the kindle.
Con: PDF links are not clickable. However, there is a APP that I downloaded
that makes the PDF links clickable! Score.
Pro: Hulu, and Netflix work on Kindle.
You can purchase or rent additional movies using Amazon Prime.
AND You can upload movies you already own to the CLOUD.
Con: If you want to take movies on the go, you have to make sure you download
them to your kindle first. You can download your own movies or ones that you rent or
purchase from the Kindle Video library.
You can’t download videos from hulu or netflix, they are streaming (wifi connected) only.
Pro: FAST, FAST, FAST. I have fast WiFi though so that may be part of the deal.
Our favorite websites are accessible!
Cons: No Web Browsing outside a Wifi connection.
(this is where you would pay the monthly service fee)
Sometimes certain platforms don’t work.
For example when viewing the 3-D panorama of King Khufu’s tomb the connection slowed a bit.
Pro: Fits in one hand, not to heavy…and did I mention it fits in my purse!
Con: Nothing, I love the smaller handheld size. It’s just right for what I need.
Overall: LOVE LOVE LOVE it!
I know that it’s not as amazing as a higher end tablet
but it does the job for what I’ll be using it for!
And in CASE you’re wondering,
This is the case I purchased, which I also love:
M-Edge Incline Jacket
It has a magnetic closure, and will prop up my kindle
legnth or width ways.
Additionally I’d recommend getting this amazing screen protector:
ZAGG Shield for Kindle Fire
I know they sell a similar version for cheaper,
but I’ve had some experience with protective screens,
and this baby is AMAZING. There are no bubbles or fingerprints or smug marks
and I actually prefer the texture to the touch screen.
The trick with installing the screen is to really get the sticky side wet with the solution they provide.
BEST protective screen experience EVER!
I hope that helps you decide about the Kindle Fire!
You can learn so much more by reading about it on Amazon.
All I can say is This Homeschool Mama is Super Happy with it:
And if you have a question feel free to ask,
I’m not an expert but I’ll do my best to see what I can tell ya!
Today I’m SUPER, SUPER excited to share this post with you.
(Not just because there is a giveaway at the end)
But because I know you’re going to LOVE what I have to show you.
But first. Let me tell you a story.
It’s a story about a little boy.
A little boy who is bigger then two other little boys.
(I’m not naming any names here)
Well this little boy is a genius.
He is such a smart little boy.
He is WAY ahead in every subject,
He wants to know everything about anything,
He will talk non-stop for hours on end,
and his sense of adventure is unmatched.
However, this little boy is emotional.
and aren’t we all?
And this little boy has daily struggles.
He struggles with fairness,
He struggles with jealousy,
He struggles with honesty.
He whimpers and whines
at the thought of doing his chores,
And this little boy got lost at Walmart last week.
You can be sure that he was TOLD to follow.
But the boy just wandered off to the toy aisle instead.
This little boy is Five.
And the battle for his spirit is waging hard.
It is a long, hard, road to travel.
But it’s a fight that can be won.
One that is surely worth fighting for.
“Preach the word. Be ready to serve God in good times and bad. Correct people’s mistakes. Warn them. Cheer them up with words of hope. Be very patient as you do these things. Teach them carefully.” (2 Timothy 4:2 NIrV) -We Choose Virtues Teacher Memory Verse.
From Caterpillar…….to Butterfly!
We Choose Virtues is a character based education program
designed to help you build up biblical virtues in your child.
Using I am statements, simple catchphrases, and countering antonyms
We Choose Virtues takes children through 12 different biblical character traits.
Each virtue has it’s own catchphrases, bible verse, and corresponding activities.
The Teacher Cards are the “meat” of this program.
The front of the card is shown to the children, while
the back of the card provides you with everything you need
to teach the virtue.
Here is the Teacher Card for the virtue of Diligence:
I am statement:
“I am Diligent”
“I start fast, work hard and finish strong.”
I am NOT Statement:
“I am NOT slow to get started or lazy, and I don’t quit early!”
All hard work pays off. But if all you do is talk, you will be poor.
Proverbs 14:23 NIrV
(Note: Be sure and get the “Faith” versions of
these cards for the scripture references)
On the back of the teacher cards:
Virtue Catchphrase ( I am….I am not….)
Bible Hero with Scripture Reference
Kids of VirtueVille Story
Virtue User Challenge
What to Say After I’m Sorry
These are large (8″x10″) and perfect for large classroom settings.
(There are smaller Homeschool versions of these too)
You can see how handy this is, These are ready to go right out of the box!
You really can just pick up a card and start teaching.
The Teacher Cards come on heavy cardstock with a slick surface.
I considered laminating them,
but they were so pretty I just decided to put them
into page protectors and that way I could store them
in a three-ring binder.
I’m totally loving that decision!
We Choose Virtues has a wide variety of products.
In fact, we were sent a Teacher Starter Kit
which not only came with the Teacher cards, but
also included Virtue Flashcards and a Virtue Poster as well.
The Virtue Flashcards are just as beautiful!
They are vibrant and engaging, and come with game play ideas.
The front of each card features the Virtue and Virtue Character,
and the back includes the catchphrase and bible verse.
The Virtue Poster contains each of the 12 virtues,
virtue characters, catchphrases, and bible verse.
It makes a fantastic reference chart that you can return to
through out the day….again and again as needed.
There are so many other products you can use alongside these Teaching Cards!
There are sticker charts, wall posters, checklists, self-review sheets,
and even a coloring book!
But before you go snag that, write down this coupon code: BTS2011
That will save you 25% off any product until September 9th.
Oh, and while your busy clicking things go LIKE We Choose Virtues on Facebook
because they are very likeable…..and because someday out of the blue, you just might get facebook only coupons and freebies! This is also a great place to ask questions about the
different products to make sure you get the exact program you’re looking for!
And here are all my thoughts wrapped up in PRO’s and CON’s:
In Sum, I adore this program. We Choose Virtues is a quality based company with products you’re sure to use in your classroom or homeschool for a long time.
And if you’re on a budget remember your coupon code: BTS2011 takes 25% off this week only. If you only bought one thing I’d recommend the Homeschool Teacher Cards, you can snag them for $26.25 with your discount.
The Teacher Starter Kit is what we were sent to review,
so if you’re the winner you’ll be getting:
The Virtue Poster
13 Teacher Cards
12 Flash Cards and game ideas
Disclaimer: I was provided this product free of charge, one to review and one to give away to my readers. Opinions expressed in this post are my own honest thoughts about the product.
This is one of those posts that has been sitting in my “draft” box,
patiently waiting to be published.
It was meant for May.
(of 2011….so not too bad, but still)
Do you ever do that?
Get a post half finished then forget about it.
However this time I think I lucked out,
because there is nothing Seasonal (i.e. Christmas in July)
about this post.
And it happens to be perfect timing for “Back to School”
so perhaps it was just meant to be.
I suppose I COULD delete this introduction and PRETEND that I planned it this way…..
But I guess what’s done is done, so without any further ado,
I present to you May’s post: TODAY~
I’ve been working (behind the scenes) on a writing notebook for Sissy.
Sissy is going into the 3rd grade this year, and writing is NOT her favorite subject.
(I’m sure she would say it a bit more eloquently, but you get the picture)
trick inspire my dear daughter into working on those NECESSARY
(and not something you’d want to cut from your school curriculum) skills, I came up with this Writing Notebook idea.
And I know, I’m re-inventing the wheel here,
but sometimes having just the right method for just the right child
can work AMAZING miracles.
Please know that these might not be PERFECT printables.
There might be a spelling error.
The font is kinda funny and
my grammar might be incorrect.
(I’m sure the police will point that out to me shortly)
But they are what they are and I’ll be using them to inspire my little girl this year,
(I’ve got high hopes!)
So far I’ve uploaded a printable writing guide that will take children through the
steps needed to write an Instructional Paper.
And if you jump over to the main website, you might notice
quite a few more titles that I’ve got in the works.
(please read that to mean: Whenever I get a spare second)
(and please read Spare Second to mean: When pigs fly)
Oh the plans of a homeschooler…….
Over the years we’ve had many different methods to our madness,
we’ve actually moved three times in the past 5 years so with each
move, came an entirely different setup.
But we’ve NEVER had an actual ClassROOM.
It’s always been school in our Kitchen and Living Room
which isn’t exactly ideal,
but with a few tips and tricks it’s definitely doable!
First let me say that while I’m thoroughly
impressed with all the amazing photographs of homeschool classrooms I see online,
I simply cannot do that to our Living Room.
(I want to. I DO. but I think in the long run I’d go insane)
So, since our living room cannot LOOK like a classroom 24 hours a day,
I try to keep things tucked away, or disguised, or even integrated
into our living space.
And it took me a while to find a method that I liked,
with things hidden but not so tucked away that it takes a ridiculous
amount of time to get through the day.
So our setup is a bit different then what you might expect,
but it works for us!
Oh! And as I take you through our classroom,
I also thought I’d include a few TIPS to share with you.
Small, Handy little things to keep in mind as you’re planning
out your own school space. Nothing magical….take em’ or leave em’.
(Feel free to leave me your Living Room School tips too, I love new ideas!)
So anyway, without any further ado,
Here is where it all goes down:
The kitchen table.
I put One big kid on each side.
with Mom and Monkey in the middle :)
Baby is on my lap, in a walker, or just maybe even napping!
TIP: Keep kid who needs the most help to the right side. Left if you’re left handed
And here is how I
hide organize all of our different resources
Current workbooks and projects are stored in this amazing “Apprentice” desk organizer. I first saw this over on Educating Layton and Delightful Learning and I rushed right out to buy one. (Note: Staples as since discontinued this product).
It was well worth the money. This thing holds everything Sissy and Bubba are doing for the day, as well as basic supplies and tools. It Spins, and has handles on the sides so you can pick it up and throw it in your closet when you’re having people over.
Which is exactly where I put it:
TIP: Spend a few moments during the first week of school teaching children where to put their new things back. Do NOT clean up for them…..teach a man to fish is a much better concept. Break time doesn’t start, Lunch isn’t served, and the school day isn’t over until every last paper and pen is put in it’s PROPER place. Eventually it becomes second nature.
(Okay, that’s a TIP for me….wonder how long my house will stay this clean…hmmmm)
Okay on to the school closet:
This is the closet that I recently cleaned out, remember the before pictures? Yup, still clean….Yea me!! And Yea children!!
Our school closet has quite a bit to it:
The bottom levels are dedicated to Monkey (2) who has lots of themed “Big Boy Boxes” I suppose these are like Workbokes, except they have LIDS. Do workboxes have LIDS? I dunno. But these are not really workboxes. They are FUN boxes! These are boxes he can pull out (one at a time of course) and work on while the kids are busy with their school work. Monkey LOVES his Big Boy Boxes, and he is being taught to clean up before he “trades” for another. Yes. A Two-year old boy can be taught to clean up after himself. I didn’t believe it at first, but it’s true.
Some of the different themes I have for him are:
Puff balls w/Ice Cube Tray
File Folder Games
See & Spell
Counting Bears & Cups
Alphabet Matching Game
Wooden Puzzle Pieces
TIP: One trick I only recently learned was to keep his wooden puzzle pieces all together in one box. Then I can easily just slide the boards into the side spaces and not have to worry about the pieces falling out or getting lost or causing mass confusing in the closet area.
Above all of Monkey’s Big Boy Boxes are Sissy and Bubba’s boxes. Some of the different resources I have in those are:
Leveled File Folder Games
Base 10 blocks
Rocks and Minerals
Dry Erase Cards
Table Top Pocket Chart
TIP: When organizing buy enough containers that you can all of the same color/size. They fit together better, the look nicer, it will give you peace. Got mine from Walmart, $1 each, big ones were $3. $30 makeover.
And let me just say that I love having things organized this way.
It makes it SO simple to grab the necessary tools as we need them.
I labeled each container with laminated flashcards
(Using my awesome new laminator)
and it takes me all of two seconds to find just what I’m looking for.
Okay, that’s all nice and pretty, but now
I’m sure you’re wondering a few things:
Where does she keep all her Teacher Supply books?
Isn’t this THE CRAFTY CLASSROOM….Where are all the craft supplies?
What about all the resources that will be used later in the year?
Where do the children do their online activities?
Where are all the children’s BIG projects, ones that don’t fit into anything.
And for the Love of Peanut Butter what about blogging?
And Here’s the short answer to all of the above: In the Living Room
Okay, that’s sort of a cop out eh?
So Here’s the long answer:
This is my desk. MINE.
Don’t sit in my chair, Don’t mess with my papers,
Don’t put your toys, your books, your trash or your sippy cups
anywhere near my computer and NEVER EVER NEVER play hide and seek
anywhere near this entire corner of the living room.
My desk is not only where I work, but it’s also where I keep upcoming
projects and resources for our homeschool.
It’s also where I blog.
Picture me ignoring that my desk is a mess,
Picture me paying no attention to the gigantic pile of books
that have accumulated across the top
Picture me sipping a homemade Iced Vanilla Latte,
and conjuring up all sorts of funny, inspirational things to tell you about.
Picture me Rollin’
(Sorry, that was a Shout Out to my Bomb-Diggity friend Erica ;)
Sometimes I just can’t help myself.
My children also have their own desk. To share.
(that makes two desks in our living room are you keeping track here?
I swear we have regular furniture too)
This is a smaller desk where the kiddos can do all things on the computer.
Their own computer. (i.e. Not Mine)
They’re happy, I’m happy, Happy computer using family.
TIP: Having a second workstation can do wonders for quieting down your classroom and keeping people happy.
Next to the desk is a
junk drawer file cabnient which has become my “catch all” for things
that don’t exactly have a place yet. I repeat this is a “Catch all”, and NOT a Junk Drawer.
Catch – ALL
Come along now…
Most of the current Teacher books that I have are piled on my desk or hidden in this handy little cupboard next the the kitchen table.
TIP: When shopping for furniture, look for things that can double as hidden school storage!
Next to the cupboard is our Kitchen hutch. When my kids do good work on a lesson, I display it on a shelf inside, which has plenty of room for all their craft projects.
They LOVE having their projects displayed this way, like cherished keepsakes….and whenever Grandma comes she knows where to look to see what her little stinkers have been up too.
I love that my fridge looks like a fridge.
I cannot stand watching art projects slowly slide down the fridge door with each successive slam.
Like nails on a chalkboard.
Is that OCD?
Do you think I’m crazy?
Hmmm….Maybe I should delete that last paragraph before I publish.
(TIP: Keep past projects in a rubbermaid, great to revisit for upcoming lessons…but only keep a few choice items. YOU Seriously don’t need to keep every little dried up corn kernel your kid glued to a empty yogurt container. You’ve got to chuck some of that stuff….lest your neighbor submit your homeschool classroom to A&E’s Hoarders or something.
(I do not speak from experience.)
And finally on to the Crafts. Craft Resources are strategically kept out of the house. I’m so over trusting my children NOT to get into the finger paint, glitter, glue, colored sand, fill-in-the blank with any other craft material you don’t want logged in your carpet, toilet, pillowcase fill-in-the blank with anything that belongs to you and was expensive.
This method ensures harmony and an overall feeling that Life is good.
Okay so that is our entire classroom this year folks!
Hope you found these tips helpful,
or easy to ignore if you didn’t.
Today I’m joining up with the Not-Back-to-School Blog Hop
in order to share what we’ll be using in our classroom for the upcoming
2011-2012 school year.
I will be homeschooling a 3rd Grader, and a First Grader next year,
and I’m going to do my best to OVERLAP learning where ever possible.
In order to prepare for our school year I’ve come up with a basic
outline of the different tasks I want my children to complete.
This here outline will pretty much serve as our
entire schedule for the WHOLE year.
Once it’s finished I’m just going to make myself
a weekly calendar and then I plan to
simply fly by the seat of my pants.
(I think that’s a type of homeschooling…right?)
Also….as a disclaimer:
This isn’t complete
So if there are blanks or spaces in my outline it’s not a mistake
I just haven’t gotten there yet,
but I really, really wanted to join up in the blog hop,
so I’m posting now even though
there is still work to be done.
And really is a homeschool Mom’s work ever finished…?
Okay, disclaimer over
On to the fun stuff:
â€¢ Identify biblical character qualities
â€¢ Memorize Scripture: 36 verses
â€¢ Memorize Entire Awana book
â€¢ Seeds Family Worship Music w/Bible Printables
â€¢ We Choose Virtues (Review Coming Soon!)
â€¢ Awana Program
â€¢ Homeschool Creations Printables
â€¢ Printable Memory Chart
â€¢ Lessons in Righteousness
In Action: (Listen to Song each day, Virtue Stickers each day)
Day 1: Seeds Full Verse, Awana Verse, New Virtue
Day 2: Seeds Minibooks, Discuss trait/promise, Awana Verse, Virtue Game
Day 3: Seeds Copywork, Children say Awana Verse to Leader, Virtue
Day 4: New Awana Verse, Look up in Bible, Virtue
Day 5: Memory Chart Day, Sticker, bonus for last week
â€¢ Expand Vocabulary
â€¢ Expand Comprehension
â€¢ Expand Spelling List
â€¢ Christian Light Reader Grade 1 & Workbook
â€¢ Christian Light Reader Grade 3 & Workbook
â€¢ Dynamic Literacy
In Action: Children will have 1 week to complete each CL lesson. They can work at their own pace and will be responsible for making sure their work is completed by Friday.
Day 1: DL
Day 2: DL
Day 3: DL
Day 4: DL
Day 5: DL
â€¢ Write at Third Grade Level
â€¢ Expand Vocabulary
â€¢ Learn Self-Check Methods
â€¢ Produce variety of papers
â€¢ Keep a basic daily writing journal
Each week Sissy will complete one paper, Each week Bubba will complete a writing project.
Day 1: Topic Choice, Brainstorming
Day 2: Details, Outline
Day 3: Rough Draft
Day 4: Revision
Day 5: Final Draft, Written or Typed.
â€¢ Proficiency with Multiplication & Skip Counting Facts 1-12.
â€¢ Prepare for 3rd Grade State Math Test, Meet all marks.
In Action: Hmmm….better get to planning!
â€¢ Successfully complete 1 year in Spanish
Day 1: Speekee, Workbook
Day 2: Workbook
Day 3: Speekee, Workbook
Day 4: Workbook
Day 5: Co-op
â€¢ 50 States w/Capitals and Locations
â€¢ Oregon State History, Industry, General Statistics
â€¢ States Song (Both my children have almost got this song down!!)
â€¢ Sequence States & Capitols
â€¢ Scrambled States Game (LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this game!)
â€¢ Road Trip USA from Confessions of a Homeschooler
â€¢ USA File Folder Game
â€¢ USA Atlas
â€¢ USA Map
â€¢ Stack the States iPhone Ap
â€¢ Oregon State Mini-Lapbook
In Action: (New State every week)
Day 1: Song, Map State, Nickname
Day 2: Song, State Flashcard, State Facts
Day 3: Song, Coloring Page, State Abbreviation
Day 4: Song, Map State on own, w/Capitol
Day 5: Song, State Flag added to â€œPassportâ€
â€¢ Increase WPM typing skills
â€¢ Learn basics of MS Word, Type up Writing Project
â€¢ Learn basics of Power Point, Create Presentation
â€¢ Learn basics of Photoshop, Create Custom Graphic
â€¢ Demonstrate Online Skills in Researching Topics
â€¢ Navigate Online Library
â€¢ Use CPU for Reference tools (dictionary, calculator)
â€¢ Understand Online safety rules.
Day 1: Typing
Day 2: Software (PP, Word, PS, or….)
Day 3: Typing
Day 4: Software (PP, Word, PS, or….)
Day 5: Typing
â€¢ Begin to Learn Biblical History
â€¢ Create Visual Timeline book
â€¢ Expand American History (Unit Study Native Americans)
â€¢ Learn State History
â€¢ Mystery of History (36 weeks)
â€¢ Blank Timeline Printables
â€¢ Library System
Day 1: Lesson & Activity
Day 2: Lesson & Activity
Day 3: Lesson & Activity
Day 4: Review & Timeline
Day 5: Review & Quiz
â€¢ Learn the scientific method
â€¢ Complete Science Projects (Hands on)
â€¢ End Year with Science Presentation w/Oral Report
â€¢ Hmmmm….You’re thoughts? I’m trying to decide between Truth in Science & Apologia!
Physical Education / Health
â€¢ Play one team sport per season.
â€¢ Show and understand sportsmanship
â€¢ P.E. Co-Op
â€¢ Community Sports
â€¢ P.E. Co-Op
Day 1: Nutrition Lesson, Team Sport Activity
Day 2: P.E. Co-op
Day 3: Nutrition Lesson, Team Sport Activity
Day 4: P.E Co-op
Day 5: Free Play
Homemaking for Sissy
â€¢ Learn to cook 3 different meals
â€¢ Learn 5 different embroidery stitches
â€¢ Expand knitting, sewing, skills (Sissy)
â€¢ Earn 5 badges in Club
â€¢ Sewing for Kids
â€¢ Recipes for Kids
Day 5: Project Free Time
Leadership for Bubba
â€¢ Learn to cook 3 different meals
â€¢ Identify 10 different tools and their use
â€¢ Learn to hammer, screw, sand, and bond wood.
â€¢ Complete Little Contenders of the Faith Workbook
â€¢ Little Contenders of Faith
Day 3: Contender Project
Day 5: Skills Project followed by Free Time
Okay, so there it all is!
Now I’m off to explore all the other great Week One entries at the blog hop,
I’m sure I’ll have my blanks filled in in no time!
As part of Timberdoodles blogger review team
I have an awesome product review to share with you today!
When Timberdoodle asked our family to participate in a review of their
Toddler Curriculum Package, I jumped at the opportunity!
(If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time,
you know that I LOVE educational toys and games)
addiction passion of mine.
And Wedgits have been on my wishlist for a long time!
When the tote arrived on our doorstep,
I could hardly keep my children away from it long enough to snap this photo:
If you look close enough you might be able to see the reflections
of their little vulture faces hovering in the plastic.
(Imagine them pacing semi-circles behind me as I struggle to take a decent picture)
Leveled game cards are included, which show a picture of object to be created.
On the back of each card there are the specific building materials needed (i.e. 2 red, 1 green)
Once you gather your shapes, you start to build your creation on top of the green board:
Making sure as you go that your model represents the same shape in the picture:
The shapes can get pretty hard…and when you finish all the cards
(which we haven’t even come close yet)
you can check out even more difficult shapes in the provided booklets:
So do you have these?
I’ve seen them everywhere, and I must say
I thought they were for much older children…like say 10.
But each of my children 8, 5, & 2 were able to use them!
Sissy (8) and Bubba (5) made the more complicated structures:
Monkey (2) spent over an hour arranging and rearranging
these different pieces together.
And while he is still a bit young to be building the exact models on the cards,
he had a great experience just learning how to build with these unique shapes.
I took lots of photos of his adorable Tot hands so you could see
the progression of how he learned to manipulate the pieces:
Success! Yea for Monkey…High Five!
Wedgits were a bit hit at our house, they would be perfect for family game night,
and I love that my Toddler is gaining important motor skills…and confidence!
So what else is included in Timberdoodle’s Toddler Curriculum Package?
Upper Case Lauri A-Z Puzzles
Lower Case Lauri A-Z Puzzles
Rubbabu 3D Shape Sorter Animal Puzzle
Buddy Blocks Puzzle
Wedgits 20-Piece Tote
Bambino Starter Set
Earlyears Lace A Shape
3D Feel and Find
Colorback Sea Turtle Maze
I Can Cut Toddler
I Can Paste Toddler
I Can Trace Toddler
I Can Color Toddler
McDonald’s Farm Counting Book
Primary Science Set by Learning Resources
First Hundred Words in English
My First Animal Signs book
Big Book of Things to Spot
The Music Box
Primary Science Set by Learning Resources
Peek-A-Boo Animal Puzzles
Entertaining and Educating Babies and Toddlers
Active Baby, Healthy Brain
Check out Timberdoodle’s Planning Folder for product details
You can also check out all the other “Because Mom Said”
reviews to learn more details about each product!
Disclosure: As a member of Timberdoodle’s Blogger Review Team I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a frank and unbiased review.
It’s like unveiling hidden sin. I don’t want anyone to see it.
I keep piling it in, storing it away, covering it up,
shutting the door tight and hanging a do not disturb sign on it.
But it’s time to let go.
Of the sin.
And of course the actual clutter.
If you’re squeamish, don’t look.
This is RAW footage people:
I know right?
Please don’t ask me how this could have happened (again)
I’m sure it boils down to a simple mathmatical equation:
Children + Toys – Patience x Baby – Time + Toddler – Sleep = Mess.
But I’ve seen plenty of HGTV decluttering shows (and Hoarding shows too)
and I know just how to deal with this:
And you might notice that this process is very similar to God’s process for detangling the sin from our lives.
So, we pulled it all out and put it on display,
For everyone to see:
Oh no! Don’t Look!
Okay Look. But scroll FAST
Once you drag everything out, you can see the problem clear as day.
There is no hiding it anymore.
It’s time to get to work.
Slowly removing the unnecessary items
Gathering up what is still useful and good,
and storing it usable and accessible ways.
Phew. That was exhausting.
Like a good cry.
I feel much better now.
How about you? Have you decluttered yet?