Friday, January 29, 2010

Day One of our new workbox re-design

This went very well. I was surprised we even got to school today as I had a dentist appointment this morning and didn't get home until well after noon. Bryon was home with the kids and was so sweet to clean the kitchen and our game and family rooms so I could come home and just relax. That was such a joy to come home to.

I had set up the kids boxes the night before so we just had to walk in the school room and get started. So after lunch we went and did just that.
Decklin watched a dvd (educational of course as it was school time LOL). So he didn't use any of his new box set up today.

The girls seemed to like the more visual aspect of the new system. Before they would work through a drawer/box and when they were all done, the boxes would be empty and there would be two sets of numbers attached to the front of each drawer. But the boxes were still there. With this change up they actually take the completed folder out of the box which sits on the floor right next to their school desk. They end the day with a totally empty box.

I had purchased file crates (like milk crates) today to give a try (to see if they might work better for us)  but I didn't like those as much as the file boxes.

I'm going to give it a bit before making a judgement on whether I can still with this set up or not. But I do like how compact it all is, that's for sure.

Two Plus Two is Not five author Susan Greenwald, contacted me

I was just tickled to hear from her. She mentioned possibly coming out with another in her series and I truly hope she does that. She came across as a really nice lady who above all wants to help a parent succeed in teaching our child to master math. You can tell by the tone of her book that the whole goal is to make numbers something not to be feared but enjoyed, not an easy feat, but in just this short time I can see the joy my kids have when we work on her book. Math is no longer a subject they'd prefer to skip over, but a subject they can't wait to get to.
If you have not done so, please read my post  which also has links to samples.
I would love to see her come out with a complete curriculum for homeschool use. Maybe if she were to be flooded with requests, that'd be something she'd consider (wink).

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Something you would not see in traditional school

I'm sure every homeschooling family out there can agree, that these moments come so often in our homes. Those heartwarming things you see that make you say,  "homeschooling is so great for our family". When I left to get a drink my little one was on the floor playing with toys. When I came back, Skylar (8) was doing her math while holding her in her lap.

Skylar is working on a Two Plus Two Is Not Five, math page. 

Revamping workboxes

 Our newly done number strips. 
Summer wanted roses as her number theme, Skylar wanted Diamonds LOL, and Decklin didn't care but he now loves the movie cars so I made him a Cars theme. 

I am not sure how this will work but I felt drawn to try a more compact system. We had been using 2, 20 drawer systems (so that was 40 drawers all together) in our formal dining room (converted to school room).
So I felt like maybe I wanted to try something a bit different:

I took file boxes we hand on hand already and purchased letter size file pockets. They are enclosed on all sides except the top.
This small clear pocket on the front holds the extra numbers (I made 10 but do usually at most 8 boxes). There are two clear pockets and the girls will put the numbers they have taken off the work folder and off the number strip and put them in there.

this is folder number 3, copywork from happy scribe.

Though you can't see this well, this is my little cheat sheet 
that tells me what goes in each box, or each file in this case. 

 This is just the box for the files where my girls will put the files when they are done with them. 

Decklin has a new system too. I am doing bags (with air holes punched in - just in case). I'm using large 2.5 hefty bags with a zipper closure. You can fit two full sized loaves of bread in those. So I thought they would work well for some of his bulkier items. For him I think being 3, seeing what's inside is essential. As he does not work through the system the way the girls do. He does more of a pick and choose type of workboxing. 

On the brown velcro dot is where the number will
go for the bag. He'll take the number off and stick it on the wall chart in the pocket (you can see that in the first picture in this post)

 Now we have more space and I was able to hang some copies of my Grandmother's art above our Piano in our school room (the piano used to be under the window).

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Leaving directions for our spouse or family should something happen to us

Both my grandparents passed this year. It seemed that some of my family was scrambling to find things, like life insurance policies that were not located on my Grandmother until after the funeral had been paid for.

I knew I had seen online somewhere a binder that helps you get all the important info together for your loved ones. So I asked some fellow homeschool Moms to help me out and of course they came through with something perfect: It's called Get It Together
It has all the forms you need, but also has directions to your loved ones, like this is what needs to be done this first week after I've passed, a recommendation for links to find a grief counselor and so on. It guides you through all of it.
I did the instant download with a coupon code I found here  and it cost me only $1.16 total for this great resource.
I won't kid you and say this is something I want to do or find enjoyable. (I started last night) and when I was at the funeral page, I was crying hysterically. It's so sad to think of not being here with my family. Of course I hope this is not needed until I die at a very ripe old age of course. But to give my loved ones peace of mind and to have peace of mind now knowing they'd be able to find everything and know what needs to be done, that will make it easier for me to deal with the sad feelings as I work through it.

Just wanted to share this for anyone who might be interested.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Math tricks - Two Plus Two is not five by Susan Greenwald

This book is a gem among gems, here are a few of the tricks I found online.
Easy, open and go format. I purchased it at Amazon. And I definitely think this is something that will change math around here. Wow! We were sitting here, doing math together at 9:45 P.M. for fun : )

Here are a few samples of the workbook pages from the link above:
Sample 1
Sample 2
Sample 3
Sample 4
Sample 5

Here is a custom flash card maker to use with this or for a fun self checking type flash card, hot dots are great (I tried a direct link but it would not work so just search for "hot dots" in their search box feature).

She has another book called Five Times Five Is Not Ten.  Here  is a sample of that one.

I just found some photos when I plugged in my camera (1/28/10) that I had taken of my little one playing with this book on my bed LOL:

So 4-h....

The small animal club is not going on right now, but we made it to the goat club.
Not to sure about if she is going to do this or not. She would be lent a goat (would not have to live with us) to prep for show. The group is all teens and with Skylar being only 8, I don't think it's quite what we hoped it would be. They were all very polite to her and welcoming. But I know she was hoping for at least one other child closer to her age group. But we're going to talk it over and decide with her on this one. If she does it, at the very least Summer (6) will join her so she has someone more on her age level to work with her on her goat and it might be a nice sister project they can share.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Beginning 4-h today

Today Skylar is set to do two animal clubs, a goat club and a small animal club.
They are each only a half hour twice per month. She is really excited.
Both she and her sister will be doing the rock club as well when that has an activity.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Our learn to read program

-Leapfrog Letter Factory
-Explode the Code Primers A through C
-Bob books set 1

At about age 2 or 3 we begin watching the Leapfrog Dvd for fun. In the past with my older girls about about 2.5 for Skylar and 3 for Summer we add in the ETC primers. We did them orally as a fun game. If they wanted to do the writing they were welcome too but I never required it. I didn't require it once we reached upper ETC levels either. Once they get blending, putting those two sounds together to form a word we would add in the Bob books.
Every so often I'd do a "test run" to see if they were able to put those sounds together. If not, we'd just put it aside. When they did get it, we still kept on working on the primers but would also read a Bob book to practice that blending skill.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

healthy non toxic products

Updates as of 7/23/10
Other Moms and I are always talking non toxic personal care products. Everything I use I have checked with cosmetic database for safety. I try to stay at a 0 - 2 rating for all I use, but some things might be a 3. Some things it's hard to find safe so I do the very best I can and try to make the best choice I can. For example the mascara I use is a 3 on the hazard scale but I love it and I can't find anything else comparable. My lipstick (I like the stay on kind is a 4). But as I said, I do the best I can overall with all my items.

I thought it'd be nice to list the ones I use and love for any who might be interested:

These I order from Vita Cost:

Burts Bees orange essence facial cleanser (I use this as my cleanser AM and PM)
Nature's baby face and body moisturizer (I use this as my face moisturizer).

Jason hi-shine styling gel 
Shikai hair spray ( I no longer need to use hairspray so am not longer purchasing this). I'm using this instead after I get out of the shower on my hair. 
Aubrey Organics Shampoo (I am now using this shampoo on myself and the older girls). 
Aubrey organics conditioner (I have highlighted hair. This smells like coppertone suntan lotion and I love the smell.) I'm not using this any longer and myself and the girls are using this one. For anyone who has used Pantene and liked it, this one is a natural healthy choice for you. 
Weleda toothpaste 
Weleda tooth gel for babies/toddlers who need safe swallow toothpaste
Weleda plant gel toothpaste (two of my kids like this one)
Nature's Answer toothpaste (I go back and fourth with this and the Weleda just depending on what flavor I want to use when I order LOL). My little guy is using Toms natural strawberry. Myself and the older girls are now using Jason Powersmile). 
Jason Mouthwash
Lafes Deodorant (this really works and smells good)
Almond Glow Lotion (smells great use this on the adults and my kids, has taken away my son's dry skin completely).
Body oil (just smells devine and used in place of body lotion)

I use these on my kids hair:
Kiss My Face Obsessively Organic Wherever Shampoo 
Kiss My Face Obsessively Organics Wherever Conditioner
I'm no longer using the shampoo or Conditioner but using the ones above for the older girls.
Spray on detangler (only for times we need one which is not often, but I keep it on hand)
I'm using this one on the younger kids.

Household products I have used from Vita Cost that are eco friendly:
Ecover fabric softener (smells great and I cut it with water to make it stretch longer, you can get a lot of this). 
Ecover Toilet bowl cleaner 
Seventh Generation Kitchen Spray 
Dusting Spray
(I now make my own of all of this but these are nice options as well).

From Amazon I love these in place of toxic swiffer type wet pad floor wipes, and use them on my swiffer  mop (the kind that you wrap the pad around)
Wipex Vinegar floor wipes or you can make your own by using old cloth diapers, old cotton T-shirts or those microfiber cloths you can buy. I'm no longer buying the Wipex pads as I now make my own. 

Organic mineral make up:
Alima Pure

From the local grocery or walmart:
Bar bath and body Soap 
Sure invisible solid (My husband uses this one) 
Well I've gotten my husband to use one from Vita cost, it's Almond scented and works great and lasts through him working out, or being out in the heat on duty. I'm using this one now as well. 
Happy Health to All!