Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Schoolroom Organization

Well, I am finally about done with organizing my schoolroom...with about 6 days to spare! 

This was quite a feat for me this year as I wanted to go through ALL my teaching supplies!  I had been a classroom teacher for a couple of years before I had children.  And in that short time I had accumulated quite a bit. Of which, were stored in boxes in the basement.  I slowly pulled stuff out when I thought of it, but truly, out of sight - out of mind was the problem here.  And it was so disappointing to come across something that I could have been using.  There is really no point in keeping it, if I'm not going to use it.  This was an overwhelming, time consuming task, to say the least.  But it feels so good to have cleared out some of that clutter!  Homeschoolers tend to be collectors, but even too much of a good thing is still too much!  So I am continuing to work toward simplifying...

But on to our schoolroom!  As I started moving things around, I realized how beneficial this is each year.  With homeschooling, you're not repeating the same subjects at the same grade level each year, like a classroom teacher.  You're constantly moving up!  You're bringing in new things and having to weed out the things you're done with - or at least store for when your next child is ready for them.  Each year means major changes.  And with those changes sometimes your space needs to be adjusted, as well.  Not to mention, how great it feels to change things around a bit to make your space feel "new" and fresh! 

So without further chit chat, here's my before and after pics:


Rearranged shelves, cleared out piles, (put away toys), removed timeline, put up world map.  Sounds simple...and what a change!



Removed the old computer and cumbersome desk, added a student desk, moved shelves in.  But we had to save the kids' art work display!


Cleaned up clutter that accumulated over summer and rearranged contents of shelf.  Lookin' good!

Monday, August 29, 2011

My Little Squirt's School Bin

Each of my children have school bins where their books and planners are kept. Makes it real handy to grab the bin and go find a place to work: desk, table, floor, etc. I usually let them choose, although I like to keep them in view so I can help them stay on task! :) 
Now My Little Squirt is no different just because he doesn't have schoolbooks yet...he has to have a school bin too! Instead of being filled with books, his bin is full of activity bags and other projects or manipulatives.

I was so excited to see how this would work that I got his bin ready a week early - go Mom!

I am doing Letter of the Week (LOTW) with him from Confessions of a Homeschooler. So, I marked some gallon zipper bags with the days of the week and filled them with about 4 activities each from LOTW.

Then I looked for other activities that would go with the Letter A. I grabbed some books with A in the title to add to his bin. I added some other activity bags, like

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lunchtime Fun!

Went to the pond today...found some ants on a log, did a little fishing...had great lunch!

I cut a banana in half length-wise and covered with peanut butter and let the kids dot with raisins.  Added another scoop of peanut butter, a handful of goldfish and pretzels.  The kids just love to dip their pretzels in the pb and then see how many fish they can "catch"  on their "pole".  Have fun visiting "the pond" at your next lunchtime!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Yearly Fact Sheets

I have been busily working in the schoolroom...organizing and preparing for a new school year.  I am hoping to post pictures soon!  But I need to address a few piles first.  Projects just have a way of piling-up in here!  I shy away from some either for the amount of time it will take or because I'm just not sure how I want to go about it.  I avoided this particular project for both reasons!  I have been saving all the kids' work for the past several years, along with notes about special activities or accomplishments.  And I needed to convert this large pile into some portfolios.  Well, I did it!  And I'm pretty please with how it turned out. 
The kids picked out their cover picture.  (I haven't started Little Squirt's yet.)  I found these Avery Classic Presentation Books on sale at the store one day a couple of years ago, and I

Friday, August 19, 2011

PreSchool Activity Bags

My homeschool support group did a PreSchool Activity Bag Swap last year.  We followed the plan in the book, and everyone was assigned 2 projects to make 13 bags of each.  In return, we each ended up with 26 different activity bags.  These are just gallon-size bags filled with materials needed for that activity and labeled with directions.  (Be sure to check out the website…they have more than just PreSchool Bags – there’s Reading Games, Science Bags, etc.)

I was thrilled with how they turned out!  And so were my kiddos!  They were mainly for my youngest, but my other 2 children had fun “helping” him with them.  :)  And it worked out so nicely for me to hand him a bag and let him do the activity while I worked with his brother or sis.  Some of the bags were not activities that he could do on his own, so I had to pick and choose and save others to do with mommy!

So this gave me the idea to put together a few more simple activities to put into bags for him, like strips of paper and scissors because he just loves to cut, and cut and cut…till there are tiny pieces all over!  But if I add another piece of paper and a glue stick to that bag, he’ll glue those cut pieces down like a collage – and he needs little assistance from me (other than keeping one eye on him…he is a 3 year old with scissors in hand…).  Other simple ideas

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fun with Multiplying!

Multiplication Games

I told a homeschooling friend that I was working on multiplication facts with my Little Buddy.  And she suggested I download Timez Attack.  I can't tell you how much we love it! 

I really didn't expect much from a free download, but this game is fantastic!  My Little Buddy took to it right away!  And my husband and I have even given it a go, too.  And the littler ones just love to watch.  As far as educational games go, this one is tops!  He is really starting to retain his multiplication facts.  And believe me, I have tried several approaches to help him on this. 

The player's character is a little green boy or girl whose goal is to wind through the dungeon or palace and defeat the giant ogre. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Great Organizing Idea

I happened across this great organizing idea from A Bowl Full of Lemons.  It's called a Mobile Command Station.  Now, doesn't that title carry some power! 

I ran to Target the very day I found this idea and put one together for myself.  It only cost me $8 - I had some nice hanging files, so I only needed the basket.  And it really did clear the clutter from my counter tops!  And it was super easy to do!

I don't have the calendar on the front of mine, because I do a photo calendar of my cutie

Friday, August 12, 2011

Ready to Play a Game!

As soon as the word "game" left my lips, they were lined up with smiles and ready to play!
We played Erase It today.  I love this game, because you play it at each players level on any subject!  Today we did it with our math facts.  For my Curly Girlie we used her doubles addition cards and her minus 1 cards.  For my Little Buddy we used his multiplication cards.  And for my Little Squirt we practiced his name, age, siblings names, etc.  

Didn't my Curly Girlie model this well!
Here's how it works:  I flash one child a card or ask them a question.  If they get it right, they get to draw an Erase It card from the box.  The cards have either a number on them or an eraser on them.  If they get a number they can keep drawing as many times as they choose.  But if they get and eraser, then they lose all the points for that turn.  They can stop anytime, as long as they didn't draw and eraser and keep the points they drew so far.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Our Favorite Books

I have started a list of our families favorite books (located on the right side of my blog).  This was a collaberative project.  And everybody had some input.  However, this is not a final list.  How can it be with books?  We always seem to find a new one that touches our hearts in a special way.  Not to mention, running accross an old favorite!  We truly love books at our house and never seem to have enough of them.  We fill our bags with every trip to the library. Our books shelf is full, yet we want more, more, more!  
I can't thank my wonderful husband enough for building me this great bookshelf.  It was part of a closet, but was kind of useless space since you couldn't have a double door due

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Kool-Aid Play Dough

As an incentive for my toddler to get dressed (we're trying to teach him to do it on his own) I promised play dough, but of course we have none.   I pulled down our play dough box and all we found were crumbles and hard pieces.  So I pulled out our favorite play dough recipe and the fun started!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Curriculum Choices

Well, here it is: my curriculum choices for 2011-2012.  It feels so official to be posting it!  Although I had made most of my choices a while ago, it's still difficult to list them out - so permanent feeling.  But that's one of the wonderful things about homeschooling...if it's not working, you can always try something new!  I think part of the difficulty I have is that there are so many good choices out there.  Every time I chat with my homeschool friends I seem to come away with another great resource, curriculum, game, etc.  We are so blessed to be homeschooling at time when we have so much available to us.  Okay, here we go...

Saturday, August 6, 2011

I Love to Organize!

'Tis the season of Homeschool organizing!  And I am loving it!  My curriculum is arriving.  I am slowly re-shaping our classroom.  I am putting together activites for our preschooler.  Filling out my planner.  It feels so good to look forward to a fresh season of homeschooling.  To take what has worked, and what hasn't, to create a new plan.  More to come on my organizing joy, including pictures!

Update:  Check out some of my newer posts on organizing - Great Organizing Idea, PreSchool Activity Bags, Yearly Fact Sheets, My Little Squirt's School Bin, and Schoolroom Organization.  Or you can just click on Organize at the top of my blog for further updates.

Happy Organizing!

Friday, August 5, 2011

About Me

I believe in the One True God and trust Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. 

And I thank Him for the many blessings He has brought into my life starting with my wonderful husband!  He is more loving and encouraging than I deserve! 

I also thank God for the opportunity to be Mama to three amazing kiddos!  They have taught me so much, sometimes I think they are homeschooling me!

We have been homeschooling from the start, and it has been an amazing adventure!   My Little Buddy is entering 3rd grade, my Curly Girlie is entering 1st grade and my Little Squirt is doing PreSchool this year.  To keep their anonymity, these will be their names throughout this blog.  I hope you will join us as I attempt to chronicle our adventure!