Thursday, February 15, 2007

Our School Area

You asked for it! Here are some pictures of our areas!

This is our school table. It is a great table that adjusts from toddler/preschool height, all the way up to tall enough that I'd be comfortable sitting there, so it will last us through all the kids!

This is our workbox system. Brief description: I fill the boxes each day (sometimes I get it done the night before, although that hasn't happened since the newest one arrived). They start at box 1 and move through the 12 boxes. Most of the work is done independently with this system, although, I'm still transitioning my 7 yr old to do more of her work independently as she is becoming a better and better reader. If it is the introduction of a new concept, or a concept that I can see they are having trouble with, I put in an index card that says "Work With Mom." When they see this card, they know to come to me with whatever the contents of that box are. If I am busy with another sibling (or some other household task) they let me know they are ready, and they go to the "wait center" (which is currently on our couch). The "wait center" has some sort of activity-usually special library books that I pick out for this purpose-to help them pass the time quietly until I am available.

This is my organization. This area is under our bar, which we never used for it's intended purpose anyway, so I finally convinced dh to shelve it! The books you see on the far left are the things that we use on an almost daily basis, so they are never put away (math books, Story of the World, and whatever book the girls are currently reading). Also our "circle time" materials are there-a big cardboard clock, today's weather and tomorrow's weather cards, and some ring games I made recently. The huge binder you see on top there is where I store all the work we want to handwriting samples from the beginning of the year (to compare) and special projects, and also lots of art (my kids are CONSTANTLY drawing). You also see a tray which has on it a bag of oatmeal and a box of rice. We use those for spelling in. :) Lastly, on top, you will see the GREAT Valentines day present my dh got me...a laminator!

Inside the cubes are various things, I'll list them for you!
--Paint and supplies are in one (the paint cups that hold the paint, and various brushes and sponges)
--Math manipulatives
--Paper Paper and more Paper (handwriting paper, construction paper, Story paper-the kind with blank at the top, lines at the bottom, sketch pads, stencils, and cardstock),
Foam (sheets and stickies)
--Tissue paper/Stickers
--Baby Bin (this has some rattles and board books for when he gets big enough to want to crawl over there and get his own stuff)
--Folder games
--Musical instruments
--Stampers and Ink pads
--Fine motor skill activities (beads w/pipe cleaners for stringing, lacing letters, nuts and bolts, play doh)
--Games (Mancala, a wooden tic-tac-toe, chinese checkers, and various other games that I made)
--Science-has 2 bins, one has a big thermometer, a microscope, Ladybug land, Butterfly Habitat, and big container of sea shells we collected, the other has smaller things like magnifying glasses, color mixing paddles and window clings, smaller thermometers, etc.
--Coloring devices (colored pencils, chalk, markers, crayons, mini-stampers)
--Fabric (I buy various fabrics/ribbons from the clearance section in the fabric dept at Walmart and just let the girls use it for any sort of craft they choose. Also, there are pipe cleaners, and pom poms in there)
--Books (I use 3 of the cubes for school book storage. 2 are for our personal books, and 1 is where we keep all the library books so we don't get them mixed into our book shelves)

I think that covers it! You see that some of the cubes have doors. The girls know that they have to ASK for anything that is behind a door. Meaning, they can't just get all the paint out without letting me know they are going to do it. But if it's not behind a door, it's free game! :-)

And, just for's what happens when you let the baby play with the Sharpies!

Now, before anyone BELIEVES I let my 5 week old play with the's Gentian Violet that we're using to treat Thrush that's all over his face! But when we first started using it, my dh made the comment that he looked like he'd been sucking on a marker! :-)

Monday, February 12, 2007

Week of February 12, 2007

Ok, so I don't know how much "real" school we'll get done this week, but I am sure there will be plenty of learning!

Today we are going to Pottery Club, which is one of those paint-your-own-piece places. The girls are very excited, they've done this one time before at a birthday party and had a great time. This time it is organized through our homeschool group, so many of their friends will be there painting with them as well. Then we have to go grocery shopping, MY FIRST TIME WITH ALL THREE KIDS! I'll make a list, and bring the calculator to keep the older kids busy. :-)

So, our morning consists of art, reading and math, without cracking a book.

Tuesday we have sign language class, and that eats up a good portion of the day, but I think I'll try to get in some reading and math, and handwriting practice as well. We'll see.

Wednesday we'll be celebrating Valentines day with our homeschool group. Good luck getting any "real" stuff done after that! But, it'll be important social time since my kids did without social interaction a lot during my pregnancy-I was very sick in the beginning, and then VERY tired in the end so they only got a good 2 months or so.

Thursday we don't have anything on the calendar (hallelujah! I think I overbooked our whole month of February to make up to them for not seeing their friends very much during the time I was carrying their brother). But, I think we're going to go have some family portraits taken. This might be our only opportunity for a sit down school day as well.

Friday we have to go pick up our Girl Scout cookies from the pick-up spot, and then we have a playdate with some of our bestest friends who we haven't seen in far too long. The girls are spending Thursday night with their dad, so we won't do any school on Friday since he'll be brining them home just in time to leave again. We might get some more sit down school done over the weekend though...who knows. We will be selling cookies at a cookie booth on Saturday morning (so that'll count as math!). We don't have any other weekend plans, so maybe we'll get to some of that learning stuff my ex-husband's family is so curious about (they are the only people we know who question our homeschooling).

Our youngest student...Oi Vey! We are battling thrush, let me just say, OI VEY! We are going on 4 weeks of it....and it's no fun. The yeast are dying though, this creates other issues-gas being the main one! So, the baby can't sleep because he has gas from the dying yeast.....which means I can't sleep. He doesn't cry all night or anything (finding the positive) but he wiggles and grunts most of the night, which means I don't sleep. He's such a good baby though, if this is the only obstacle we face, I'll take it!

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Week of February 5th

So, I'm a little late getting up our post for the week! It's been a busy week-bowling league, sign language class, lunch date with a friend, finishing up Valentines, preparing for our Girl Scout meeting, making some chocolate candies, and cupcakes! I just hadn't had enough time to sit down and type about it all.

We have moved on to Arizona for our mini-unit studies, we chose Arizona because my dd's best friend was going there for a few days earlier this week (she talked to her yesterday on the phone, they were back safe and sound). You can get the study at:

We started using Story of the World as well, and that has been really exciting. We've made a "History of My Family" book, and a timeline of each of the girls lives. They really enjoyed this first chapter. To finish up the first chapter, we will have an "archealogical dig" in the backyard!

We've been doing our regular school schedule this week! That's what else had made it CRAZY! Plus it's a Girl Scout week, I'm the Daisy leader for our troop. Our troop is entirely homeschoolers, and we have all age levels (Daisy's through Cadet's). It's pretty great, but there is always prep work, so I've been busy getting ready for that. I made some Valentine Bingo cards for the girls to play (and will use them with my own kiddo's next week) can find all sorts of printable bingo cards, just about any kind you want at:

We've also got 2 Valentines parties coming up, our Girl Scout troop one tomorrow, and our homeschool group one next week. The girls have been hard at work making their valentines from various card stock and foam stickies (I found some CUTE ones in the Dollar Spot at Target back at the beginning of Jan), some stampers (from Dollar $ Tree), some lace doilies I found for next to nothing at Wal-Mart, and a cupid punch out (also from the Dollar Spot). Then today, we made some chocolate candies. I bought the candy mold from Wal-Mart (it was pretty cheap too), and just melt down chocolate chips and fill the molds and let it harden. Sure, we could BUY candy (well, actually, we have to special order since my kids have crazy allergies) but what fun would that be??? I'm also making heart shaped cup-cakes for our party tomorrow. In order to make them heart shaped, I just use a small ball of aluminum foil placed inside the cupcake tin in the right spot, then bake and Voila! Heart shapes. I'll try to take a picture of that...although currently we can't find the memory card stick for our camera, so we may never get those pictures uploaded! Hehehe.

Our youngest student is doing great. Growing like a weed. He slept for 6 1/2 hours last night, straight! Painful for me (I'm nursing), but great for him! Unfortuneatly, he has a small cold right now. It doesn't seem to be bothering him much though, he's a pretty great baby!