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Archive for March, 2015

Today, I started working on the storage totes of homeschool supplies.  What a task this will be!  A few years ago, I had purchased a heavy wire shelving unit to hold the 18 gallon totes as well as other homeschool materials.  This afternoon, I finally got a chance to start making space for the new curriculum.  My organizational method for homeschool supplies is pretty basic.  Here is a quick description of how I store everything.

On the bottom of the 3 shelves, I store the following:

Art Tote – this is a 10 gallon tote that holds any art/craft supplies that are not used on a regular basis.  This includes things like air-dry clay, chenille stems, beads, ribbon, feathers, construction paper, and much more.

File Folder Games tote – a large Sterilite “show-offs” file tote in which I place any file folders games that I have put together for Pookie.  I categorize them by subject to make them easier to find when needed.

The middle shelf contains:

Pookie’s Curriculum – For curriculum, I use a large plastic tote typically used for hanging file storage.  It is about the same size as an 18-gallon tote.  In this, I store lapbooks and unit studies that are printed and ready to use, extra practice workbooks, and a file for the activities in the Letter of the Week curriculum he will be using.

Little Miss’ Curriculum – Her materials are also kept in the same type of tote as Pookie’s curriculum.  For her, the tote holds not only the workbooks, but unit studies and teacher’s manuals.

The top shelf of the unit has smaller, flat locking totes to store general office supplies.  I have these sorted by category.  For example, one contains items that are only used occasionally such as brads, binding rings, and circle punches.  I also have a comb binding machine that is stored on the shelf as it is used at least once every couple of weeks.  A small 3-drawer container holds extra pens, pencils, and such that I use on a daily basis.

I have plans to add a couple of shelving units to the homeschool area as soon as we are able to.  One will be a 9-cubby unit to be used as Pookie’s workboxes.  I love the idea of how Montessori uses the cubbies with trays or baskets holding the individual activities.  This may make it easier on Pookie to transition from one to the next.  For him, if something is out of his sight, then he doesn’t look for it.  So, having his activities in the drawers/workboxes didn’t work too well overall.  This method should, in theory, work far better with him.

The second shelving unit will be one of those tall narrow ones that looks like a series of cubbies stacked into a column.  This will make a great place to store notebooking binders and readers that Little Miss will need regularly.  Pookie will have a shelf for storing a few extra supplies as well.  For him, there will be favorite books that he enjoys looking through or puzzles.  Additional shelves will be used for storing their pattern blocks, cuisenaire rods, and other manipulatives that are used throughout the term.

The 10-drawer unit that was set up this past term for Pookie’s workboxes will be turned into a supply cart for the most often used school and art supplies.  This will make it far more convenient for Little Miss as well.  As any homeschooling family can tell you, it takes time to find what works best for your family.  Whether it be curriculum, teaching methods, or organization techniques, it all is a process of evolving.  What works for a while, may need to be tweaked as the kids get older or circumstances change.  It is a fun journey of discovery on all levels.

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A short time ago, I posted that we were over-hauling the plans for next school term.  Well, I finally have all curriculum purchased and am awaiting delivery of the ordered supplies.  We made a couple of small changes to the plans.  One being that Little Miss is going to do a different program from My Father’s World instead of their ECC program.  Had we gone ahead with ECC, she would have repeated one year of it before going on to high school later on.  So, with that in mind, here is a rundown of what is planned for the kids.

Pookie is going to be doing Preschool/PreK next term.  As I mentioned in a previous post, his developmental age is that of a 2 year old.  With that in mind, I have chosen a curriculum that is based upon his developmental age, not his physical age.  I have to be certain that he is understanding and retaining the knowledge for this level before going forward.  Here is a listing of what he will be using.  Most of the materials that Pookie will be using are hands-on and will have a Montessori style adaptation to challenge his fine motor development.

Letter of the Week curriculum by Erica of Confessions of a Homeschooler.  This curriculum teaches through hands-on activities that focus on the letter recognition, sounds, number recognition, counting, basic math skills, pre-writing practice, as well as giving fine motor skill practice that will help prepare for Kindergarten.

K4 Curriculum, also by Erica.  This is a very well designed full Kindergarten curriculum that can easily be used along with the Letter of the Week phonics lessons for review.  The lessons in this program include all the basics that you would need including math, reading, writing, motor skills, sight words, art, music, and much more.   I love that I will be able to use materials from both of these curricula to give Pookie a great assortment of educational activities.  Both of these programs are available as a download or can be purchased on CD.

Knowledge Box Central has a large selection of lapbooks that can give deeper understanding to books read.  You can find lapbooks and activities for kids of all ages by searching according to age, subject, or other categories.  One of my favorite products that they offer are the sorting pockets.  They are very similar to a Montessori style activity and can be assembled in a file folder to make a game.

Homeschool Share has a huge assortment of lapbooks and unit studies available for free.  If you look at the “Index” tab, you can find listings of all the materials organized by age group.  Level one contains preschool (age 2-4) resources that include unit studies, file folder games, and lapbooks.  Level two is designed for PreK – Kindergarten (age 4-6) and contains Unit studies, Kindergarten units, and Lapbooks.  There are also levels for older children as well for the older siblings.

Little Miss will be using curriculum from My Father’s World and Christian Light Publications.

Adventures in U.S. History will be the backbone of her curriculum.  The program includes the following subjects:  Bible, US History and Geography, Science, Art, and Music.

Language Arts 300 series by Christian Light Publications teaches grammar, spelling, and penmanship.  It goes into the parts of speech, sentence diagramming, and other basics to help her gain a good foundation in creative writing and the English language.

Math, 300 series by Christian Light Publications teaches not only the basic math operations, but will also be teaching her the metric system along side of the US measurement system.

We also have a couple of workbooks that we found at Mardel’s Christian book store in their education department that will further give her lessons in spelling and cursive writing.

One subject that I have been looking at is foreign language.  For this, I am going to teach Little Miss to use sign language.  It is vital that she learns to be fluent in signing due to it being taught to Pookie to aid him in communication.  Not only will it help her to be able to communicate with him, but she can also serve as an interpreter if needed.

 

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Hard for me to believe that I haven’t posted on the blog for nearly a month.  We have been finishing up our homeschooling for the term and in the midst of it all, we have been dealing with a lot of illness.  First, Pookie was sick, then we all took turns with variations of illness.  Hubby had bronchitis, Little Miss and I had bad colds with a lot of congestion, then Pookie ended up going to the ER due to sinus infection and upper respiratory infection.  It was the only time this winter season when we were all hit with illness like that.  Thankfully, we have all recovered except the residual cough that is hanging on.

We ended up getting out tax returns filed and am thrilled that we don’t owe anything.  The refund we receive will be a welcome blessing.  In the middle of all this, we also found out that Pookie is once again eligible for full disability and that will be starting up soon.  I am SO happy about that.  We will now be able to get him some therapy equipment to use here at home in between his weekly sessions.  There are many things that they use in the sessions that we cannot get through the medical insurance.  This is where his disability check will be a blessing for him.  I can set up an area for a small gym to help build up his strength and aid him in developing his core muscles.  He also struggles with gravitational issues that the equipment that promotes balance will help to overcome.  One item is a rocking board that requires him to balance while doing simple activities on the board.  A small indoor trampoline will help build up muscles in his legs.  Not to mention, there are many occupational therapy related activities that I will be able to buy the supplies for.

I have been working on purging the house of excess a little each week.  The end goal being that we only have the most essential of items remaining.  Living in a small house, storage is a premium.  Especially when the house was built without any built-in storage of any kind.  The goal is to have the purge done before we begin our new school term in May.

I have been writing a little about the purge in my Simplicity by Choice blog.  It is taking longer than I would like, but going at a speed Pookie can handle.  Make too many changes, too soon, and he has trouble coping with it.

One change that he is doing very well with is communication.  Over the past couple of days, he has been using sign language spontaneously and without any prompting.  This happens mostly at meal times, but I am thrilled with what we are able to get.

Little Miss and I are working on new projects together.  She is wanting to learn to do an art journal, so that is now becoming a daily part of life.  We are practicing various art techniques as backgrounds for her to doodle and journal on.  She absolutely loves it!  I am just pleased that she finally found a way to enjoy writing.  LOL

 

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