Archive for September, 2014


It has been a little while since my last post. It seems that life gets in the way and time slips by faster than I realize sometimes.

The kids have embarked on a new project that will last for the entire school year. They are sending out flat travelers as a geography project. I went to the Making Friends website and printed out their free paper dolls and an assortment of outfits for the kids to use. After cutting out the dolls and clothes, they were assembled with a glue stick to hold things together. The kids’ names were written on the back of their dolls along with a return address label. Last step, we used the 4×6 inch size self-sealing laminating pouches to laminate the dolls. I trimmed the excess laminate from around the dolls, leaving at least a 1/4” border.

The kids are sending the dolls out with a letter. When the dolls are returned, they will have pictures and a letter talking about the adventures their dolls went on.

For each of the kids, I designed a flat traveler log sheet. On this form we are recording the date the doll is mailed, address it was sent to, what was included with the doll, date it was returned, and notes. For Little Miss, I also printed out the free printable State Notebook Pages from Harrington Harmonies website.

Little Miss will be making a scrapbook style notebook for her traveler. While the doll is on her adventure, Little Miss will be filling out the State Notebook Pages for the state her traveler is going to. When the traveler returns, she will add the letter, pictures, and anything else she receives into the notebook as well.

Pookie’s notebook will be a scrapbook of his traveler’s adventures. At this point, he is still too young developmentally to do the notebooking pages. He loves to look through pictures however, so a scrapbook of the traveler’s trips will be fun for him.

It will be exciting to see all the places that the kids’ travelers go to visit. We have a list of friends wanting to host a traveler as well as other places to send them to. Pookie’s traveler is making a trip down under to the Australia Zoo this week. Little Miss has one traveler going to a friend in Texas and another will be going to the historic Jamestown settlement. She is currently studying about Jamestown, so the traveler’s visit will work well into her lessons.

Think of places that your kids are studying about. Why not mail a flat traveler to those locations? While you may not be able to go there personally, your child can experience them through their flat traveler. Check online to see if the various attractions or historical places have an education department. If so, that department may be more than happy to host your child’s traveler. Why not send the traveler to a Renaissance festival? Or on a trip to see the Smithsonian museum? What about the NASA Space Center in Florida? There are so many ways that you can expand your child’s horizons through flat travelers. Where will your child’s traveler go?

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Every homeschool family has their own way of doing the children’s Homeschool Notebooks. They start out similar, but how the pages go together can vary from one child to another. Both of our kids have a 3-ring binder and that is where the similarity ends for them.

Little Miss’s binder is set up with index tabs for each of the subjects. Each week, she has at least one assignment that is a page to go into her notebook. Maps, drawings, reports, reading logs, these all go into their respective sections of the notebook. On field trips, we will be adding scrapbook pages of pictures taken along with some journaling.

Pookies’ binder is indexed by units. With the exception of the initial 2-week unit on Creation, all the units are 1 week in length. Having his index set up by units will make it more convenient. We can look at all of the work for each unit without flipping through sections.

I have 2 forms specifically for Pookie that I am including in his homeschool notebook. The first is a therapy log. This form is where I record each time he goes to his sessions with his Occupational, Physical, and Speech therapists each week. The second is a weekly planner page that I made to record the Montessori type activities and the progress he is making using his PODD communication book. That form was a blank page from the free lesson planner at New Bee Homeschooler page. Down the left side of the lesson plan page were spaces to record 3 different subjects. The bottom portion of the page (used for group subjects in their example) is where I am going to record the PODD communication progress each week.

One extra note about a portfolio for a special needs child or any child who is receiving OT, PT, or Speech therapies. If the therapist does not offer you a copy of their goals list that they are working on with your child, then ask for a copy of it. This can go into you child’s homeschool records as a part of their IEP. In our state, homeschoolers are not required to have an IEP, but I feel that it is important to show that our son is receiving the therapies needed. You never know when someone may question that. Especially if they are not supportive of the idea of a special needs child being homeschooled.

Little Miss’ theme of study for the entire term is early American history. Her curriculum has assignments for notebooking pages for her most of her subjects. With that in mind, it was a natural progression to just set her notebook up indexed by subject.

I love the notebooking pages available through Notebooking Pages. The pages are very easy to incorporate into the lessons. If you use Heart of Dakota curriculum, you can find facebook groups for each program level. On the groups’ files, you can often find printable notebooking pages specific to the lessons that other parents have designed and shared. These can make the notebooking pages easier to complete as well.

My goal is that at the end of the school term, I will be able to take the kids’ notebooks and have the pages spiral bound into a portfolio book for the entire year’s work. The math workbook pages that Little Miss is working on will have the binding cut off so that they can be inserted into the bound book as well. I want it to be as complete of a representation of their work as possible. Intermingled among the pages will be scrapbook pages with pictures of the kids going on field trips, doing special activities and projects throughout the year. These books will be a keepsake, a record of their work, and for Pookie it will also serve to be a record of his progress and IEP.

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