Thursday, July 22, 2010

Our larvae came in the mail today! It looks as though they are already getting ready to go into the chrysalis stage as they are all going to the top of the container and hanging out. I'll post pics as they progress!

Editing to add the rest of the stages!


We have butterflies!

We kept them for 2 days so DS could see them eat and fly around then we took them outside and set them free :o)

Our school "room"

We moved our school stuff down into our greatroom some time ago to make room for the new baby. So I figured while I have camera card loaded and I'm on a roll I'll get pics up :op

The Sonlight shelf. It holds all of the Sonlight books for cores P 3/4 through core 1. I also have some other history stuff on the bottom shelf and my science kits up top for pre-k

Next up we have the early reader organizer. I got this from site to store for 20 bucks and it holds our early readers perfectly!

Next up is the workbox and desk area. Eventually there will be one more desk and one more drawer cart and then it will be complete unless we are graced by any more "surprises" LOL

Next up is the math and LA book shelf. Top of the case has my big old sing spell read and write kit box. Top shelf is Singapore math and Math-U-See as well my Rightstart math games kit. Bottom shelf is all phonics and grammar.

Nest up is my Science, languages, misc and early reader shelf. LOL Up top in the crates are all our school DVDs and software. Very top small shelf is more early readers like bob books and our magic treehouse collection. Second shelf is where some science and our misc books live. Bottom shelf is tall science books and languages (Latin and Japanese).

Onto to the misc drawers. On top the Math-U-See blocks live. Top black drawer is filled with the game pieces for all our file folder games each in it's own ziplock baggie and marked for easy finding. The yellow drawer keeps all our learning finances games and stuff. Red drawer is musical instruments. Blue drawer is our language arts manipulatives.


Around the side of the wall we have the math manipulatives drawers and more workboxes. I have an insane variety of math manipulatives that the kids like to pull out to play with and we use with our math work time. Ontop of all the workboxes we have our learning resources board games. You can have a look at the workbox post to check out what is in the boxes.

Next up is the writing center which has it's own post explaining it's parts

Then we have the mommy area off in a corner past the toddler play enclosure where kiddies dare not tread :op Top shelf has more shoeboxes with various school supplies and are labeled with sharpie marker. Next lives my science kits and a stack of fun time workbooks. Next is my microscope, slide set and talking globe. Then comes all of my teacher's manuals as well as double of consumable books for the not yet old enough kiddos to use. Bottom shelf is my binders that hold Sonlight, History Odyssey and REAL science odyssey.

then comes the little mommy shelf by the window. Top has my drawing paper roll holding I got from IKEA. Top shelf has construction paper, bin of art supplies and stuff for the wall calendar. Bottom shelf has extra magazine files, and various supplies as well as my box of DVDRs.

So that is our "school area" for now. At some point when the youngest kiddo outgrows the big playroom toys our school will move up there and have it's own space. For now though it works and fits nicely into our greatroom.

Another fabulous idea from the Well Trained Mind Forums!

This is two full set of blocks put away into one art bin. You could use a fishing tackle box too as they are pretty much the same thing but we had an art bin on hand :op

Our writing center

I finally got around to creating a writing center for our homeschool! I used the list and ideas given by our writeshop primary book to build off of.

The table is an adjustable height table from sams club that cost me about 29 dollars. (man I love SAMS!) The blue tower to the right is our craft cart which is filled with all of our arts and craft goods minus the construction paper. On the table I have stacking paper files which holds: 3 types of writing paper from big fat tripled lined to college ruled notebook paper, DS's HWOT book, DSD's HWOT book, DSD's happy scribe book, sentence strips, drawing papr and on the very top the index card box full of writing prompts. To the left is a magazine hilder that has in it: A children's dictionary, a websters dictionary, 2 grammar and punctuation guides. Then I have a purple box FULL of crayons and a revolving implement holder that has: Pens in several colors for the various stages of the writing process, glue, glue sticks, pencils, erasers, dry erase markers. Last on my wall above the center is two quotes from famous writers framed and surrounded by more quotes on the topic of writing by famous writers. Below the quotes is a 1 dollar hanging pocket chart for holing sentence strips.

The stackable file

The writing prompt box. I used some from the writes ource series and then found more in a google search. I am still not done writing them all on cards yet :op

A quote on our wall :op

So there you have it our writing center in it's full glory.

Like everything I have tweaked the workboxes to the point where I am finally confident and happy :) I have also added in a filing system to help me keep more on top of things ala the well trained mind forums. So here's the details on my new system!

First off I went out and bought 2 ten drawer carts from sams club which are PERFECT for workboxes and only cost 29.75! The best part is they look nice too since they are in our greatroom.

The two desks are vico desks and are AWESOME! They are adjustable size so they will grow with the kids. On top of each drawer cart I have an accordion file that matches each kid's color. I will explain the use of the accordion file further down when I get into filing. On the right side of each cart there is a hook that I hang the workbox tag schedules on. If you haven't read much about workboxes yet then the way it works is, as a drawer is completed the number tag is removed and then put onto the schedule tag. I should mention that I used velcro sticky back dots on the front of each drawer, on the schedule cards and on the number tags themselves. This way the tags can be moved around as needed. Each child gets their own color and I print them all out on construction paper and then laminate them. For the schedule cards I then hole punch the top corner and put a binder ring through them so they can hang off the cart.

Now I also have a set of orange tags that are activity tags and can be used by anyone. I keep these tags in a pocket chart on my wall. They have subject titles, activity names like reading or math game, work with mom, snack, play outside, library trip ect. I can put these up on the boxes to the right side of each drawer where I have another set of velcro dots, or I can lay them in a drawer.

Then there is the third and final workbox station which is used for everyone. It is a shoe rack from target (which was the original workbox idea described by sue patrick) On the top shelf of the cart I have two sets of sterilite drawers, on the other shelves I have shoebox size sterilite boxes. I keep games and other activities inside of these (scroll down for pics of examples of what I put in there) For those of you who are curious folk like me the colorful drawers to the left are filled with my insane collection of math manipulatives :op

Here you can see examples of what I keep inside my drawers:
Mighty mind
Matching pairs puzzles
think fun games

we have singapore math in my older DS's workbox

Tot tray idea drawers for the 16 month old:
home made going fishing set
beans transfer activity

Now we'll get into the filing that really makes this system work awesome for mom. I have two crates ( I may change this to one crate for child down the road), split between the two crates are 36 hanging files. In each hanging file there are 3 folders ( one for each child) on each folder is the number of the week written in the child's color. This 36 week system matches up perfectly with my Sonlight IG as well as many of our other curricula that runs on a 36 week schedule. NOTE we do school year round so at the end of the 36 week we will take a week off so I can get the new stuff prepared and filed. I have two un-numbered hanging files in the very front of my first crate. One is for mom stuff, the other is anything from the workbooks I needed to keep like instructions or whatnot.

Now to coordinate with the workboxes more and to just make things even easier I bought the previously mentioned accordion files in each child's color. On the weekend I will pull out the upcoming week's folder from the filing crate and file it by day into the accordion file. Now each night all I have to do is pull out the next day's stuff from the accordion file and put it into the workboxes!

Now what goes into the files you ask? Some have asked about separating and filing away the IG pages but I don't do that as it already matches up. I just use the numbered weekly tabs from Sonlight and that makes it easy peasy to match up to my file numbers anyway. What I file is workbook pages or consumable pages. I sit down and tear out all the workbook pages during my prep stage and file them by week using the TM or SL IG as my guide as to what is used when.

Another thing I have added but can't picture yet (they haven't arrived yet) is the addition of library pockets to the front of the files. I grabbed 4 packs of 50 library pockets off of Amazon for CHEAP! I will put these onto the front of my folders. What do I plan to do with said pockets? One pocket will be for a book list so we can track the books read that week. the other is for a schedule card that I can fill in with anything we did orally or that does not have a consumable. We do portfolios in my state and this will make it much easier to show what we have been doing. The book lists also make it easier to get those books ready for the boxes for the coming week!

Here are the daily schedule cards. I got them from they are 4up 3x5 index card size. I print them on cardstock then cut them to size. I print them front and back 2 I get 2 days per card.

Now as each day is over I put the work back into the file for that week to keep for portfolio review. NOTE I don't keep ALL the papers but only some which best illustrate our progress and what we have done. When the year comes to a close I will put the papers all together and bind them with my zutter bind it all into a neat little keepsake book. This will keep it all neatly together for the portfolio review as well as make a nice keepsake for my DC.

So there it is my system and plan in it's full glory :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

So more reading. More researching. More buying and more returning later. I think I finally can say I have a plan thay I am fully confident about. T starts Pre-K officially on the 30th of August and I have been organizing, filing my pants off for the last few weeks. So without further ado the plan

phonics/reading - Sing spell read and write + 100 EZ lessons + McGuffey readers
Math - Math-U-See Primer + Singapore Math Essential math B
LA - First language lessons 1
Science - a fun mix of kits from Thames and Kosmos little labs + fun science readers
History + - Sonlight core P 4/5 with readers 1
adding in lots of fun art projects and a bunch of new computer games for fun time
Handwriting - HWOT pre-k
Spelling - spelling workout A

Phonics/reading - will go into HOP master reader program
Math - Math-U-See Alpha + SM 1A + IP 1A + Rightstart math games and activities for the alabacus
LA - First language lessons 2
Science - Sonlight K
History + - Sonlight core K with readers 2 regular
Writing - Write source K
handwriting - hand writing without tears K
Spelling - spelling workout B
Lots more arts and crafty things and more trips to the museums

Starting in 1st we'll add in
Growing with grammar
Writeshop primary - (love this program to pieces!)
History Odyssey - supplementing with sonlight readers and read alouds
R.E.A.L science odyssey
History portfolio
singapore math's challenging word problems and intensive practice
Song School Latin
Rosetta Stone Japanese
Spelling power

I have thumbed through all the books and feel confident that this is the perfect mix for us! It feels so good to be ready to go and not constantly second guessing the choices and wondering if there will be gaps or problems!!!! I also tweaked the workboxes and adding in a filing system ala the well trained mind forums but those will be another post once I get my computer to recognize my SD card :op