Sunday, October 31, 2010

New (to me!) Stuff

Thanks to my mother-in-law, who retired from the school district this spring, I am now the proud owner of my very own laminator!!! SO exciting. :) Isn't it glorious?? I am a laminating fool this weekend. I think I have a new addiction.

And our other new item is a globe I picked up at a yard sale yesterday for $8. (I love bargains!) I realized on Columbus Day that we really, really need a globe. I printed out a map for that holiday and showed Bug where Columbus sailed... but a globe would have been way cooler. This one is from a retired teacher who had a welder friend that put this together for her. Of course, I did forget to check one tiny thing... if the globe was current. My husband (ever the down-to-earth one to balance out my rose-colored glasses approach to life :) ) asked me when I got home if it had the USSR on it... and um. Yes. Yes it does. So I figure we can use this one to show what the world USED to be like. Right? :) Hey at least it will give Bug an idea of where we are in comparison to other countries. As soon as I put it down, she promptly pointed out where Texas is. Gotta love our Melissa & Doug USA floor puzzle!

I also picked up Monopoly Jr., a bag of science-y items like magnifiers and such, and a cardboard train-making kit. The lady was wonderful - she also threw in a bag of miscellaneous worksheets and bulletin board display materials for free. Retired teacher yard sales are the BEST.

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Month #1

Wow that month flew by! :)

The "workbox" method is really working for us. I am going to continue doing it in our modified way for now, and at some point get a more official set up going on. This past week was fantastic -- when we were home and were ready to do some school, we perused the box for the day and picked out something to do. We actually finished up everything on Thursday, though, because the Bug really wanted to spend ALL afternoon doing school. So I found some other things to do Friday.

I joined a local homeschool group through Yahoo a little while ago, and we finally went out for the weekly park day on Tuesday. (It's out of the triple digits now, so I'll venture outside. :) ) Everyone was SO nice and Bug had a great time. They have a weekly PE day that we will try out on Tuesday. It was a big relief to meet some of the moms in person and feel that "click" when you find people you get along with and with whom you feel comfortable. It's not a huge group, which is nice too.

At this point in our journey, I am feeling very excited about homeschooling. It's exhausting at times, but so rewarding and FUN!

A couple cool resources I learned about this week from other homeschooling mamas:

Destination Math - Bug has been zipping through the Units on this -- it's a great online teaching tool for math. This goes along with the Saxon curriculum. We don't use that, but the website works fine on its own. They offer a free one-month trial.

Critical Thinking Co.
- SO COOL!!! I'm really excited about this one right now. I printed out a kazillion and two worksheets for this week. (Seriously, a LOT!!)

And I have to share my favorite resource. I first discovered The Mailbox at our local library last year. It had such neat ideas in it, and really got me thinking about what all we could do at home. We got the Preschool issues last year, and now we are at Kindergarten level. Online, I am able to access information for both Pre-K AND Kindergarten, though, which is really nice. Also, my mother-in-law was kind enough to buy us a subscription to the Mailbox Teacher's Helper, which is chock full of worksheets. I could probably plan an entire curriculum just around the Mailbox.

That's all for now. I have a 6 month old who is teething/growing, and is waking up several times a night. So I'm one sleepy mama. :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Lessons for Week of 10/11

I actually got everything pulled together in a couple hours on Sunday. Hurrah!

Here is everything laid out for the week:

And a breakdown of what we are doing:

Crafts - Columbus Day activities, a book she'll put together called "All About Me", and a mobile that will show the life of a pumpkin from seed to fruit

Worksheets for each day (sure hope I have enough! This child is voracious with the worksheets!) - rhyming words, days of the week, reading readiness, counting, matching, "Listen and Do", etc.

Handwriting Without Tears - reviewing U, C, O, Q, and G with some corresponding activities; working on writing 1 and 2 (1 she has down pat, 2 could use some work - I haven't officially taught her how to write numbers yet)

Activities - rhyming, counting, classifying living/non-living things, science activity re: sun & earth rotation, and sight words activity:

Learning Games

And a couple books with corresponding activities

Should be fun!! We are off to do our Columbus Day lesson and activities now. :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


This is such an experiment!!! I am learning so much about both my daughter and myself through this experience.

As I mentioned before, we are now doing our own thing, and we are loving it. (Side note: Unfortunately, upon scanning the Calvert Pre-K materials, I don't see a ton of stuff that we can use. A lesson to all of you out there -- do not write on your curriculum or start cutting things out until you look through everything to make sure if you want it!!!) I am trying out the idea of workboxes. I like the flexibility and the way it can be tailored to each child. It can be set up in such a way that Bug could independently go over, select something, and do some work on her own. In an organized fashion! (Which you all know I *love*.) If you are interested, Google workboxes - you will get a ton of hits and lots of fun pictures to peruse. I love to see how everyone else organizes their home/learning area, so I could spend hours just looking at that stuff. :)

Instead of rushing out and buying shelves and boxes and setting it up (of course, that's what I'm *dying* to do!! an organizational project yaay!), I am trying it out for a couple weeks to see if it suits us. Here is what I have done so far - a box for each day with that day's activities inside:

As an example -- here is what I have inside Thursday's box:

Hopefully, this weekend I will get the entire week pulled together ahead of time, and I will post pictures and information about what I am planning for each day. The boxes for this week don't include everything I want to do each day. I need to add in Handwriting Without Tears and more activity sheets ahead of time. This week, I have been copying/printing the worksheets as we go.


Other than playing around with the structure, everything has been going very well. We are in week 4, and while it has been a little overwhelming to juggle everything at times (housework, my job, Children's ministries at church, and the schooling -- and oh yeah a baby!!), I still feel that this is worthwhile and rewarding. I sat down and went through everything, to see where I could create more hours in the day, and we have decided to have a cleaning lady come every other week.


In the "researching schools" area: I have been looking into BASIS school -- it starts at 5th grade, it's a charter school (FREE!), and it's highly ranked by Newsweek in a national ranking of high schools. I called them this week to see how they feel about homeschooled kids, and they said they actually get a lot of kids who have been schooled at home. That was excellent news to me. We are also going to visit a charter Montessori school and a private Episcopal school (pricey!) sometime in the next month.

I want to see what else is out there, so we can make the most informed decision next spring when we sit down and discuss what we want to do for Kindergarten.