Posts Tagged ‘printables’

I love to pre-plan my monthly menus. I find that this not only makes life easier for me on a daily basis, but it is a huge help in my food costs each month. One area that I always seem to forget is planning out our lunches. Each week, lunchtime is a meal that we just grab something from the pantry. Rarely have I planned ahead. I am making changes to that though.

On Pinterest, I have become hooked at searching the kids’ Bento lunch ideas. Have you seen these cute meals that some parents put together? They are absolutely adorable! Now, our 8 year old daughter is giving all the expected girlie responses to the pictures. Our son, not so much. The basic ideas though are great.

I went to Dollar Tree and found some 3-sectioned round plates with lids in their food storage container aisle. These are as large as a standard dinner plate and about 1 1/4” deep. I ended up buying 5 of them with plans to buy 5 more next time I am at the store. All I will need to make these a perfect option for packed lunches on our outings is to buy an insulated food bag like those found in grocery stores.

I designed a planner form to use for pre-planning the lunches. I based the design upon the layout of the sectioned plates I purchased. I added an extra space in the largest section where an optional 3rd side dish or other item can be placed. The plate chart looks like this:

The first form that I made is a simple one that is pretty generic for any Bento style container with 4 sections total. The form gives you ample room to record lunch ideas 5 days which include a main dish plus up to 3 sides. The second form is more of a chart with the plate graphic for each weekday. You can fill in the plates with the items you will be packing. The bottom portion of both forms includes a shopping list for recording what you will need for each week’s lunches.

I love the idea of having the written planner for the lunches. Each week, I will be able to have a set plan that I can work from throughout the week. Even though we homeschool, I can still prepare the lunches the night before and have them ready to go the next day. When we have an outing, these pack and go lunches will be a huge benefit. We can continue to eat vegetarian foods in spite of a lack of vegetarian choices at the venues we go to. The packed lunches will also be healthier and cost less than eating out at a fast food or other restaurant.

Just as with my weekly dinner menus, I will save the menus that I put together. This gives me a ready supply of ideas. Typically, when I use my weekly dinner plan sheets, I have a selection of 8 different weekly menus. When I plan m monthly grocery shopping, I choose 4 of the weekly menus and that will give me a month’s worth of meals. Each planner sheet contains a grocery list for that specific week’s menu. Having the lunch planner will make the shopping for lunches a lot easier. Just as with the dinner plans, I can see at a glance what groceries will be needed. When making out my shopping list, I combine the grocery lists from each planner form onto a single grocery list.

You can download a free copy of the Lunch Menu Planner for your own use. I ask that you do not repost the link to the download to your blog or try to pass off my forms as your own. Please refer people back to this blog post to access the download if you want to share it.

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I have been wanting to share a listing of my favorite “go to” websites for homeschooling. These sites offer everything from free curriculum to record keeping forms. Whether you need to put together a curriculum or simply want something to give your child extra practice, you will find what you need among these sites.

One use that I have for the printables on these sites is worksheets or activities that fill in the gap on days when I am sick. It is worth it to print up some of the worksheets and keep in a folder just for that purpose, Then, on days when you are not feeling well or your family is extra busy, you already have a grab and go file of materials ready.  I love the fact that I can simply print out the pages I want and tuck them into the kids’ workboxes and have them ready to go.

I like to take pages, such as math drill sheets, and place them in a sheet protector. This makes a nice dry erase activity page to review topics such as multiplication tables. By using the dry erase marker, your child can use the same drill sheet many times. I place a sheet of plain cardstock behind the printable to make the page more sturdy.

Lapbooks, like the ones found on Homeschool Share, are a good way to give your child plenty of activities to do while still learning the topic. You can either assemble the lapbooks in a file folder as directed in the instructions or do notebooking pages

Before the holiday season is upon us, I like to find holiday themed lapbooks and printables to file away. Once the holiday season arrives and life gets busier than normal, I can pull these out of the files for the kids to do. You can find holiday themed curriculum for almost any subject.

Each of these websites are ones that I have used with our children. This list is by no means everything that is available. I am only sharing the ones that we have used ourselves in homeschooling. I hope that among the pages listed, there will be some that you find helpful as well.

http://www.homeschool-curriculum-for-life.com/ free-homeschool-printables.html
http://www.moneysavingmom.com/ 2013/ 02/ a-huge-list-of-free-homeschool-curriculum-and-resources.html

For Bible studies, here are some really good resources.


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Homeschooling has already begun in our home. With each child doing very different curriculum, I had to come up with a record keeping system that works for us. I have tried various methods in the past. Free downloads of record keeping forms, purchased downloads, and even the lesson planners from the store. Nothing felt right for me. No matter what system you use, it has to fit into your routine and be easy to use. If it is labor intensive, then there is a good chance you won’t use the system for very long. Here is a list of what is in my binder.

Tab 1

This is where I keep the information that I need ready access to. Included in this section are the following.

Attendance – the calendar that I chose for this was found on FiveJs.com. The 2014-2015 calendar that I am using begins with August and ends with September 2015. On this form, I am able to color code the dates for holiday breaks, days we are doing school, and field trips. It gives me a neatly prepared attendance record that will be a cinch to keep up with.

Homeschool Law for our state, which I printed out from HSLDA’s website

Curriculum Resources form from 2Dynamic Moms website. This form has space for up to 4 children. On it, I have listed all of the materials each of the kids will be using. I loved this form over many others because it also includes space for lapbooks, games, websites, and magazines. Often as homeschoolers, we use non-traditional resources for educating the children. This form allows me to list them well. I also like the fact that if I chose to do so, I could use 1 copy of the form per child. This option would allow me to list the materials used during each quarter of the school term.

Passwords Sheet – If you are like me, you may forget a password from time to time. I typed up on the word processor a list of the educational websites. Included for each site is the log in information. This is especially helpful if your spouse or children need to access the website.

Tab 2 Pookie’s Lesson plans

Pookie’s Unit Studies – Pookie is doing a curriculum that is unit study based. Each week he has a different theme around which all of the assignments are based. I made life simpler for me by printing out a copy of the Unit Study Planner.  I designed this one-page form that will give me a quick overview for the year. I don’t need a weekly view of the activities since his curriculum came with the lesson plans. I am going to be photocopying the lesson plans each month to add to this section.

The next 4 tabs are for Little Miss. Her lesson plans are set up by the quarters.

1st Quarter (2nd, 3rd, 4th quarters) Little Miss’ Lesson plans

I use the Weekly Plans form from Mama Jenn’s website to record Little Miss’ daily assignments. I love this
form as it includes 2 check off boxes for each subject. I am using this to record each day’s assignment. When she completes an assignment, I check off one box. The second box, I am using to record her grade. I also have added a reading log to each quarter. At the end of each quarter I have a grade form. On this, I will be able to have a ready reference to her grades for each subject.

I use the same forms for each of the 4 quarters.

Homeschool Share Lists

Under this tab, I have printed out pages such as the listing of lapbooks available from Homeschool Share. By having the master list of what is available, I can easily locate what I may need for each child. One of the most often used sections of Homeschool Share is the Workboxables. This listing contains everything from file folder games to flash cards. The list is divided up by subject.

There are a few empty tabs behind the ones listed above. Those are for anything else that I may come across that I would like to print out for quick reference.

Lastly, in the back of the binder, I have a manila envelope. This is used to store the paper receipts that the library prints when you check out books. It is yet another way to record the materials used/read throughout the year.

Well, that is it. This is the system that I am finding to be the most helpful with tracking our homeschooling. Hopefully, it will give others some ideas.

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After checking online for websites to make Pookie his own communication book, I stumbled upon a resource worth looking closely at. Melissa Toth, of “The Autism Adventures of Classroom 83”, designed a PECS Communication book starter set. This book, designed for students in her classroom, contains 27 pages and over 500 PECS picture cards. The book pages are tabbed to make locating each topic easier. Ms. Toth sells the book through her store at Teachers Pay Teachers.

This book is a 94 page PDF download of just over 55 MB in size.  Quite a hefty sized file for the price!  The download includes 2 versions of the same communication book.  The first version is a book with pages containing the pictures.  This version is perfect for those who cannot use the PECS picture cards yet due to fine motor delays or maybe a child who easily loses picture cards.  The second version has blank pages with the picture placement areas designated with borders.  The pictures cards are printed separately to be laminated and placed into the book using self-adhesive hook and loop tape.

For Pookie, I am choosing to print out one of each versions.  He will mainly use the one with removable picture cards.  The second will be a “back-up” book to have on hand when away from home.  This will help to eliminate the chance of cards being lost along the way.  Having the book without removable cards with us on field trips, such as our frequent trips to the zoo, will make life easier for all of us.

One option that Ms. Toth gives is that of having her customize the front cover for your child.  Upon request through email, she will add your child’s name and picture to the front cover.  Once done. she will email the cover to you for printing.  I contacted her with the picture and information already.  Within a few hours, I had a reply.  She asks for a couple of days to customize the cover, which is just fine by me.

When I spoke with Pookie’s speech therapist, she was excited about this book. It is one that she will be able to recommend for her other client families. At a price of $7.50, the cost of the book is very low considering the quality of the product you are receiving. It is not uncommon to find communication books for sale at a price over $50. To be able to purchase the PDF of the book makes it much easier later on to replace cards or pages that become lost or damaged from use.

What really makes this book special is that it is a great launching point for those new to using a picture communication system.  Often, it is easy to know what items to have pictures for.  The problem and confusion for parents however come in knowing what conversational cards you need as well as those that are useful for school and outings.  This book takes care of that for you.   Being homeschoolers, there are a few picture cards in the book that are not applicable to our lifestyle and homeschooling.  This brings up another reason why the version with removable cards can be a benefit.  You can simply leave out of the book any cards that are not needed.  Once you know the size of the cards, you can easily draw a graph of squares in that size on a word processing document.  Next, add into each square a picture that you may need.  One such example is the “people” page.  Instead of using the PECS style picture symbols to represent people that Pookie comes in contact with on a regular basis, I can add actual pictures of them.

Once printed out, the book pages will be heat laminated and cut out.  The book is set up with the spiral binding along the top edge.  If I find that we need extra pages, such as a page for religious activities, I will simply print out an extra blank page and make a tab in the correct spot.  A small sticker, such as a cross for a religious page, will provide the reference needed on the tab.

For the version with pictures printed on the book pages, you need only print the pages, heat laminate, cut out the pages, and bind.  This is as close to instant gratification that you can get!  If using the version with removable cards, you print the book pages and picture cards out, heat laminate everything, cut out, bind the book, then use hook and loop tape to add the pages to the book.  The sheets of picture cards are organized by the book page.

Here is a list of the categories that you will find in the communication book.

• Title page
• Yes/No
• All About Me
• I want ___
• I feel ___
• I want to play ___
• Let’s Chat
• People
• Describe
• Recess
• Questions
• Verbs
• Days
• Months
• Weather
• Art Time
• Lowercase Alphabet
• Uppercase Alphabet
• Numbers
• Hygiene
• Home things
• School things
• Food
• Breakfast
• Lunch
• Dinner
• Snacks

I highly recommend checking into this resource for a communication book.  Of all the options available online, this one is by far the most economical.  I have found online the binder style PECS books with about 150 picture cards and 6 pages to place into the binder priced at $ 103.00.  On websites such as Etsy, you can find books ranging from $45 and up.  The $45 books contain 80 PECS symbols.  These are a far cry from the over 500 PECS cards you get with the book download that I ordered.

I am so grateful to have found this resource.  I love the fact that with it being a download, I can print out extra sheets as needed to replace any that become worn or cards that may be lost.  This was a big selling point for me.  Unlike custom made books, like those sold online, I won’t have to buy anything extra to replace the cards, pages, or even the entire book should it become worn, lost, or damaged.

Check out the links above and see for yourself.  It is definitely worth a look for anyone needing a communication book.

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I am always on the look-out for free resources to extend activities.  One such resource are the fun pattern blocks.  Yes, there are books available but what about once your kids have tired of them?  Well, after doing some searching I have found some sites with free printable pattern block pages.  These activities are good for Pookie to teach him to match shapes, fine motor, and visual discrimination.  A worksheet/mat and the pattern blocks needed to complete it can be placed into a TEACCH task tray or a workbox.

Prekinders has a nice selection of printables in both outline and in full color.  Scroll to the bottom of the page and you find another link on their page for Christmas pattern block mats.

Confessions of a Homeschooler has pattern block printable mats for the numerals 1-20 and the letters of the alphabet.

This is a link to a Pinterest Board for patterns.  Lots of great ideas and printables here.

Making Learning Fun has not only the patterns but some printable pattern blocks for those who have not purchased the sets from a store.  Print onto colored cardstocks and laminate before cutting apart.   Optional idea is to place adhesive backed magnets onto the back of each pattern block.  Lay the pattern mat onto a cookie sheet and the magnetic paper “blocks” will stay in place once you place them.

This is another site with printable pattern blocks.  This set has a color suggestion at the bottom of each page.  It is recommended to print onto cardstock and laminate for durability.

Guided Math website has a long list of links to pattern block resources.

Learning Resources has a free 32-page pattern block workbook that you can download and print.


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After watching the kids thoroughly enjoy themselves at the zoo last autumn, we decided to get a family pass for this year.  We plan on going to the zoo as often as possible so that the kids are able to experience the animals and continue to learn about them.

After going to the zoo last week, I designed 2 printables that I will be taking for the kids next trip.  The first is a Zoo Scavenger Hunt page with pictures of many of the zoo’s aniumals.  I am printing it our on cardstock then laminating the page so that the kids can use dry erase markers to mark off each animal that they find.

The second sheet is a Zoo Wildlife Match worksheet for Little Miss.  In one column are the animal pictures.  The second column has the animal names.  She will draw a line from the animal picture to it’s name.  I chose to design this one so that it will help her practice her reading.

I have tried something new this time and uploaded the worksheets in PDF format.  If you click on the links above, you should be able to download them.  It is the first time I have made homeschool worksheets to share.   I hope that they will benefit someone.  I made the worksheets using pictures that I found on the Internet of the wildlife that I remembered seeing at the zoo last week.  To my knowledge the pictures are not copyrighted, but please use the worksheets for your own use and not to distribute or post on your own blogs.  If you would like to share them, please refer people to this blog so that they can download them from here.


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