Monday, January 18, 2010

Index cards in your homeschool?

Heart of Wisdom posted a wonderful article about using Index cards in her Homeschool. Reading the article got me thinking.

I love the fancy workbox cards we use but I can make others using Index cards and scrapbook supplies. Then I noticed her wonderful timeline box and thought wait a minute... I've been trying to come up with some way of sorting our workbox cards and all this time it was staring me in the face, I have inherited several old recipe boxes (various mediums and sizes), like this one: I can use the  various tabs (re purposed to create dividers for school) and then store the extra workbox cards behind each divider... Better yet, this thought just came to me... When I was young my mom used the Side Track Home Executives books and system with index cards and pictures... What a great tool for planning and organizing our workboxes. I think I can create a pocket on the divider cards to hold smaller cards and such...

I also have a stash of cigar boxes (I had planned on using for crafts) that I could use and have one box for each boy. I found a picture online that is very similar in size to the boxes I have...

Blog Energizer: MomAdvice

I received this article from Blog Energizer this morning and found some fun printables and interesting articles at MomAdvice, hope you find something usefull as well.

Moms are the ultimate managers. They often manage everyone and everything in their homes, from planning the kids’ lunches to keeping track of the family’s money. It’s not always easy to keep things running smoothly. That’s why many moms need a little help now and then. If you find that you need something to help you organize, you may want to download these printables.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Word Tile Activities

Cameron got a small package of word tiles similar to this bucket.

I am trying to figure out some fun game activities to use the tiles for besides basic sentence building.

The tiles are color coded: Blue = nouns

Red= verbs

Green= adjectives

Yellow= miscellaneous and punctuation.

So any blog readers have suggestions for activities or know of any downloadables that we could use with these?

I would love to include a sheet and the tiles in one of his workboxes for grammar and sentence structure.

Monday, January 11, 2010

New Week UGH!!!

I loaded 6 workboxes this morning for Cameron..

Box 1: Hands of a Child Circus of Addition 6's activity

Box 2: The Phonic Box (I think that is the title), tape and activity Book

Box 3: Liberty Kids :The First Fourth of July DVD and 1 coloring page

Box 4: Hands of a Child: Research Guide Reading together with activities on 13 colonies

Box 5: Its America Charlie Brown DVD 1: Episode 2

Box 6: Various Colonial Times Coloring Pages

1 tag for Lego Time Choice: either brick building or game on the computer.

Well we got through 3 1/2 of the boxes with 2 melt downs... UGH!!! Mommy needs a nap... I bundled the kids up and sent them outside so I can load the washer and unload the dishes... some days...

Blog Engergizer Shared Article

***I received this article from Blog Energizer this morning and found it very interesting, I think homeschool moms especially have a hard time saying no. I hope you can glean some useful information from the article.***

Subject: Learning to say no – Moms Secret Weapon

Are you suffering from mom burn out? Do you struggle just to make it through each day? Moms everywhere are breaking down because they are too chicken to say, "No".

"No" may be a tiny, two-letter word, but it can be your secret weapon. And you can say it. Here are some ways you can say "no" without feeling guilty about it:

Sorry, I’m taking a break.
The number one reason why you should say, "no" occasionally is simply that you deserve a break. You are chef, chauffeur, dish washer, and more. You job never ends on any given day of the week. You deserve a break. If you feel bad for saying "no", say, "Sorry, I’m taking a break".

My schedule is full.
We tend to jam-pack our schedule full of activities, leaving time for nothing. Cut back on your kids activities. Start a car pool and share driving responsibilities. Do whatever you can to free up some time in your schedule.

I don’t have time.
You’re headed out the door, rushing to the next appointment when the telephone rings. What do you do? Do you come to a screeching halt and answer the phone? Let’s say you do, and it’s a family member, calling to dump their latest woes on you. Do you stand, tapping your foot impatiently while you roll your eyes and listen to the sob story? This is a typical scene for many moms.

I have another commitment that day.
Say it and mean it. Regularly schedule in time with your family or time alone and if someone ask for your help during that time look in your planner and tell them you have another commitment.

Instead of rushing to be everything to everyone, stop. Ask yourself if you truly have time for whatever comes up. If not, say no by walking away, turning off the ringer on the phone, or not answering the knock at your door.

Always remember that you are a mom—not a super hero. When you have to say no, people will understand; if they don’t at first, they will get used to it eventually.

Editor's note: Still having trouble putting your foot down? Sometimes, we just need some extra guidance, a listening ear or a gentle and loving kick in the butt. You might want to give Aurelia Williams's free coaching session (affiliate) a go. She's a life coach and mom of 3 who has adult, teen and school age children so she definitely knows what she's talking about.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Thinking about desks

So we got Nathan a small school desk for free not to long ago. It is an old flip top desk with the chair attached. It was a Craigslist find for free and I'm glad we got it.. Now that we have it set up in his space, I keep thinking a smaller desk would be better for Cameron, so I'm searching for a free or VERY inexpensive matching flip top style desk.. I figure if I can get 2 to 3 years use out of them they will be worth it, we can also clean them up and paint/ refinish them and hopefully sell them once they are looking better. What do you use for a desk area for your homeschoolers?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Blogging Goals for 2010

I thought I would set some goals for the blog and blogging in general for the year..

1. Blog Daily; seems easy enough... even something simple.

2. Add more pictures! So often I sit down to blog and think I don't have a photo to go along with it, so then I just don't blog.

3. Find some fun giveaways to host on the blog, I hope to host a giveaway a month..

4. Share more resources... I find all kinds of resources for homeschool and crafting that I should share... I suppose I could just pick a day during the week.

5. Join more Blog conversations. (Linking between blogs and commenting create a better sense of community.)

ok I'll add one more to the mix. I need to comment and trackback to blogs I visit and use more often. Sometimes I find myself gleaning wonderful information from blogs but forgetting to leave a note... Where are my manners.

There you have it 5 Blog goals for the new year... I will work on some other goals and share those another blog.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Figures In Motion. review

Have you seen Figures in Motion? This fun book is filled with history, crafts, education, and general fun.

I recently received a copy of Figures in Motion's "Famous Figures of Ancient Times". To start off the book is full of both full color and black line master style characters. This is a great activity for ancient studies and can be worked into textbook or unit study style approaches.  Since my boys are young, I photo copied 1 character for each of them to color. Assembly was easy with craft brads (pulled from my scrapbook stash). The detail does mean there will be cutting involved and depending on the age of the child, Mom may need to help. That is what I did.  I plan on using more of the figures as we work our way through history and would love to get other editions to go along with our units.

I did have a thought as we were working with the brads, you can use craft sticks and just glue them together and make puppets... a great narration tool especially for youngers and a fun way to get the whole crew involved.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Old Fashion canning

I don't have a pressure cooker so have to water bath everything... I know you aren't suppose to water bath broth but since I don't have a pressure cooker or the funds for one, I am spending most of my day water bathing chicken stock. 15 pints to be more specific... It makes for easy steam cleaning in the kitchen, most of the counters and surfaces are wiping up a lot easier then usual.  I pulled out my old Kerr and Ball canning books (vintage 1950's and early 60's) to check on the timing and each batch gets 180 minutes of boiling water bath.  Hopefully this next year I will be able to find a used pressure cooker to do some of the canning with... I love canning especially when it means homemade and homegrown.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

re-purposing project, need ideas..

I have 2 old style medicine cabinets I received off Craigslist.

I have this vision of somehow using them to create an activity center or a message center or something...

Hoping some of my blog friends/ readers can help me come up with something... Here is a stock photo to give you an idea of what I am dealing with...

I have glass shelves that can go inside or since the inside is metal I can use it for magnets...

I stopped at ReStore the other day and found white tiles  up to 12 x12 and thought I could put a white tile on the front (mirror) along with some cork and create a message center... But not sure what to use the inside for ...

My other thought was a magnetic activity center but not sure how the mirror would work into it... I can mount it on a wall if I need to, but would prefer the "activity center" be mobile somehow...

Any ideas?  Don't worry if you can't think of something, I have a few other finds that I'm hoping someone will be able to inspire me on...

_at words games

Nathan has finished learning the alphabet... Well he can now say the whole alphabet, recognize all the letters, and write with help most of the letters. So this next week we are going to jump into word families... I found a fun simple e-book game from Sunflower Schoolhouse with a fun little penguin and fish theme... Honey has done it again, with a fun set and in blackline so we can color it before we cover it with contact paper.

If you are looking for a fun free activity, stop by Sunflower Schoolhouse... we love it

Reach for the Stars: Book Review

One of the things I am way behind on is sharing some wonderful books with our readers. So today I am going to share one and will continue with 1-2 a week for the rest of the month.

Tonight's book is "Reach for the Stars" by Susan K Marlow. While my boys are still a little young for the writing portion of the book I took the ideas and turned it into a story telling / narration activity which worked and continues to work very well for Cameron. I will return to the actual lessons of the book  when he gets a little older and can write the stories himself, but for now we love the graphics and the ideas within the book.

The graphics are fun and colorful with lots of room for the writing portion of the activity.  The copy I reviewed was an ebook with black line masters so I can print what I need when I need it. I can also print the "textbook" portion 1/2 size and store it in a small binder (watch for a later post about what I do with ebooks).

The book has an entire section on reviewing/ editing your work with great activities dealing with the ever plaguing tenses. As a hobbiest writer I enjoyed the reminder and actually worked through the activities myself; sometimes the teacher needs a refresher as well.

If you have a young writer in training or want to introduce your student to creative writing, this is a great book. Fun, engaging, and easy to use; three very important traits for any homeschooling book.

Revolutionary War and Colonial America

For the next couple weeks we are going to be studying the American Revoltion and Colonial America. I thought I would share some of the fun web links I have found for the unit as well as other resources...

We are using 2 lapbooks (both are for older grades but can be modified for youngers)

Life in Colonial America

American Revolution

We will be also using the following websites for resources:

The America Revolution for Kids

Social Studies for kids

America's Story

Liberty Kids

these are just a few...

We are also going to watch This is America, Charlie Brown as well as the Liberty Kids DVDs.

Lots of coloring and hopefully a few craft projects along the way.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Decluttering: home and school room

I found a blog today that really caught my attention, Mandi talks about decluttering and setting realistic goals for the year.. She set a goal to get rid of 721 things (that is an average of only 2 per day... realistic...), I got to thinking I can do that, especially since I had purged my own closet yesterday and today was working on the boys' bedroom getting ready to move their bunk bed out and put in two twin bed captain's beds (we will be moving the dressers out this week.)... Any way, I realized in just 2 days I had managed to get rid of (donating or selling) 50 items... and the boys' room isn't done yet... Now the next area to hit will be the classroom and the home-school closet as we have tons of things we just aren't using and most likely won't... So during the boys independent work time this coming week I will be purging books, workbooks, textbooks, and anything else home-school related to donate to our local co-op as well as Goodwill. Oh and I will be purging the mudroom as well (hoping to get rid of some of ceramic supplies and such... wonder if I can sell them on Craigslist...). If you are up for the challenge: 31 days of Organizing for a better 2010, check out the blog.. I think it is going to help me  a lot.

31 Days of Organizing for a Better 2010

Blog a Day for the month... might even try to keep it up all year.

Blog a Day for the month? I think I can do that... I should be doing it anyway to keep up with our school activities so if you want to join me hop on over to NaBlopomo's webpage.

The theme for the month is "Best" however I'm not sure where I will go with that...

Lets make 2010 the Best we can.