Showing posts from August, 2015

Thematic Wall Decorations- America

With each weekly unit, I try to have pictures or posters on the wall which help to introduce our topics and remind the children of important things we learned during the week.  This set of pictures will be hung up during our "A is for America" week the spring.

Summer Theme: John Deere

We had a birthday this week.  Skimmer turned 3!
This was the cake my mom and sister made for him.  It was a train with 4 sections, which stretched out about four feet.  It was pretty amazing.

As part of Skimmer's birthday celebration, I asked him what theme he would like to do for Mommy School this week.  I suggested train, since that was his birthday party theme.  He insisted on John Deere.  Trains would have been easier- we have a lot of trains in the house.  Instead, I "followed the child" and did a tractor theme.

This is how Skimmer spent most of the week- outside in the dirt with his new John Deere tractor.  He's come in covered in dirt every day this week.

The problem with a "John Deere" theme is that we don't have any tractor toys (except for the big one in the other picture).  The kids were asking for a sensory bin so I gave them this one with green rice "grass" and a few bugs from the Safari toob.  They didn't care it didn't h…

Science Notebook Printable- Milk Tasting

One of the activities in Dragonfly's Science Notebook and Skimmer's Scribble Notebook this year will be a "milk taste test."  The simplest way to alter the milk is with different flavorings.  I plan to make chocolate, strawberry, and plain for our test.  After the kids have tasted all three of them, they will record their favorite in their notebooks.  I made a simple worksheet for them to fill out that outlines these steps.

You can download if for free here.

Science Notebook for Preschoolers

As I said in a previous blog post, I have a science girl in the family.  In order to encourage and direct her interests, I'm adding a "Science Notebook" to our plans for next year.  I'm listing the planned pages on this blog to help me organize them and to make them easily accessible throughout the year.  Of course, if you see something that you'd like to use for your kids, then go ahead and grab it.

The first page of the notebook (pictured) is an introduction.  I wrote for her, since she's not writing yet.  The text says, "My name is ___.  I am 4 years old.  I am a scientist."  I also had her draw a picture of herself.  She drew herself as a little baby and then as a "grown-up."  I had her glue the drawing into her notebook and explained that we're going to be doing a lot of coloring, cutting, and gluing this year in Mommy School.  This little project was a great introduction for our materials and how to use them. I also plan on read…

Our 2015-2016 Classroom (decorations)

I still get very excited about back-to-school sales every summer.  One of my favorite things to do with school supplies is to decorate with them!

The crayon art board is an 11x17 canvas from Walmart and two and a half 24 packs of crayons.  I took out all the non-rainbow colors, including pink, and lined the rest of the colors up according to the rainbow.  All the colors have two crayons each, except for the main colors, which have three.  I used a hair drier to melt the crayons, but a heat gun is better if you have one available.

The crayon box on the wall is empty- I just thought it was fun.

This wood tray came from Goodwill.  It holds our globe, microscope, and a vase of dollar store flowers.  The vase is a clean tin can with pencils hot glued to it.  It took just under 40 pencils to cover the can.  The tray sits at the very top of our shelves when not in use.

Another school supply that I've used for decorating is clipboards.  I hang them on our walls around the room and use th…

Build-a-Letter Pieces

I realized this morning that I never posted my build-a-letter packets on this blog.  I had uploaded them to the cloud drive, but hadn't done anything else with them.  For shame!

Available In
- plain black
- radical purple
- harvest orange
- dinosaur themed
- jungle green
- ocean blue
- night sky

Summer Theme: Construction

We're not schooling as much this month, since I've been focused on getting our schoolroom ready and finishing up all my unit planning.  I had planned a bunch of fun things for a construction week, but we didn't end up doing any of them.  Here's what we did instead:

Dragonfly (4) spent one afternoon playing with homemade play dough and carefully cutting it into bunches of tiny pieces.  The play dough was peppermint scented, so it made the house smell really nice.

This was Skimmer's first time using scissors.  He did very well.  He also enjoyed running his trucks through the dough and making tracks.

While the other two were cutting play dough, Skimmer (22 months) learned to poke sticks into holes.  The container is a Walmart brand crystal lite drink canister.  He put the sticks in and dumped them out.  Putting the lid on was challenging for him because of its shape.  He did the whole series of activities with the car in his mouth because he was afraid that his brothe…

Handwriting Help for the Do-It-Yourself Educator

As I have been preparing for a new school year, I've been doing many wild goose chases through Pinterst and Google in search of the things I need to make my school run smoothly.  Since I am a do-it-yourself educator, I've been searching primarily for "pieces" that I can use, rather than already assembled kits.  Here's what I've found that's free:

handwriting charts from 1+1+1=1 (many fonts and types)
Free Fonts - KG Primary Italics which looks the most like DNealian script - KG Primary Penmanship which is the regular "stick and ball" letter formation style - KG Primary Dots for tracing - Ulusa Okul cursive font - KG Traditional Fractions for writing math worksheets
Journal Topics - theme words from Zeek's Zoo - monthly prompts from Busy Teacher's Cafe
I feel strange because this post isn't very exciting.  Perhaps someone will find it useful anyways.

Our 2015-2016 Classroom (calendar)

Post #2 of our classroom.  Post #1 is *here.*

New this year is our calendar board.  The board itself is made from a black foam boards, lined with wood rulers.

The upper left corner has our months of the year circular calendar.  The Earth is anchored and the big wheel spins, but the whole thing can be taken down to show how the Earth goes around the sun.  The graphics for the rainbow months come from Mr. Printables (here).

Below the year calendar is a card for the seasons.  The cards are included in my calendar packet.

The ABC Bible verses came from Homeschool Creations (here).

I ran out of velcro dots, so I haven't been able to finish the calendar yet.  The numbers and headers are available in my calendar printable pack.

To the right of the calendar is the small months of the year list.  I think it will be helpful to have all the months in a list when we sing the "months of the year" song.  The graphics on the cards match the monthly headers that I made for the calendar.…

Our 2015-2016 Classroom (work boxes)

I've been reorganizing the homeschool room in preparation for our next school year.  I got rid of the K-cup machine, which we hadn't used it probably 6 months, and cleared a place in the kitchen for the microwave.  Those two changes freed up an entire shelf to use for homeschooling!

I bought another 5 paper drawers and stacked them on the shelf.  As you can see, each drawer has a label to help us all find what we need.  On the left side, I numbered the drawers 1-6, because these will be our "work boxes" for each week's theme.  Each drawer will contain an activity or two for our school time that the kids will do at the table.

The top middle drawer is where I'll put a mini sensory bin or the supplies I want to use for a big sensory bin.  For example, if we're doing pirates, I would put our wooden letter X, the "pirate treasure," and the gold coins.

The next drawer will hold our books for each theme- or at least the ones that will fit.

The bottom m…

Christian Doctrine for Preschoolers?

Several years ago, a lot of homeschooling bloggers were talking about the "Songs for Saplings" ABC project and how helpful it was for learning Scriptures.  Because of the ages of my kids at the time, I put the idea on hold and waited.

A week ago or so, I ran across a blog post that was again extolling the merits of "Songs for Saplings."  On a lark, I went onto the groups website, where I saw that they were having a major sale.  I immediately bought their entire collection, eight CDs, for about $8 (they normally would have cost me almost $100).  After I bought them, I wondered if I had been too impulsive.

I am so glad I bought them!  Firstly, they aren't annoying kids' albums with lots of strange sound effects- this is real music with a variety of instruments.  Secondly, they're not filled with fluffy songs- every song contains solid, Biblical teaching.  Thirdly, I can't think of a better way to teach doctrine to my kids than through music.

The main…

Preschool Year Two Planning

For our second year of homeschooling, we're keeping most of the themes and order the same, but there are some differences.  One of the factors in my scheduling is the holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter.  I like to have specific themes during the weeks before of during those holidays.  Everything else, I tried to keep in the same order; although some of the themes have been renamed.  And, just as a reminder, this article explains why I'm not teaching the letters in ABC order. The bold themes are new this year.  Under each theme, I've listed all the printables I've made for it.  Other printables can be found by clicking on the "printables" tab.

2015-2016 Lesson Plans

a is for apples (so classic)
          - wormy apples
         - thematic pictures: apples

m is for milk (farm)
          - milk taste test
          - cow poem beginning reader

t is for trees (life cycle, autumn)

s is for seeds (types, food)
          - seed matching game

Home-School Supplies for the Science Girl

Dragonfly (4) is a self-proclaimed "Science Girl," so most of my schooling this year with cater to that passion.  Most of our letter themes, math work, reading, and writing will be done through the lens of science.  I've been preparing our homeschool space for the next year and thought you might like to see what goes into a "Science Girl" classroom.

- chunky pencils
- pink handled safety scissors
- school glue (liquid)
- pink composition book
- 8 pack of regular sized crayons
- pink mini pencil box

Dragonfly has began learning to read recently, so this year we're going to try keeping a "Science Journal."  As we move through our themes, I'll have specific things that Dragonfly can add to her notebook.  Perhaps it will be graphing candy colors or coloring and pasting life cycle pictures or drawing diagrams of animals.  Dragonfly doesn't particularly enjoy coloring, so I think this activity may be a stretch for her.  I chose the pink c…

Our 2015-2016 Homeschool Year

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