Category Archives: Homeschooling

Homeschooling by the Sea

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We were lucky enough to take a family vacation to Florida this past week. It was the kids first time to the beach, it was an amazing experience for them and a great homeschooling opportunity.

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We drove, and it was quite a drive for us. This gave the kids a chance to write in their travel journals, look for different number plates, learn about new states and how they differ. They got to see new land formations, trees and animals along the road side.

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While in Florida they were exposed to so many new things. They explored the beaches, learned about shells and the creatures whom once dwelled in them. They learned about the ocean, waves and currents. They learned about different types of fish, jelly fish, dolphins and sharks exploring their habitats and researching their diets. They learned how belly board, and spent hours in the sea practicing. They ran and swam until they collapsed into bed at night.
The whole trip was a wonderfully fun and educational experience for the whole family. My kids can’t wait to go back! 🙂

~Rachel

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Homeschool Botany Class

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We started school back up today, after taking a month long summer break. We will keep within the summer theme and make the most of outside activities while we still have the chance! We began our botany unit today, my kids have really enjoyed helping me in the garden this year, so they were excited to start.

We started by reading Eric Carl’s Tiny Seed, such a cute story that all ages love. We then looked at some basil we had brought home from the farmers market, it had rooted and had just finished flowering. My kits took apart the seed pods, and collected the seeds, to plant next year. Then we took a field trip out into our back garden, we looked at plants and how they reproduce. They looked at the seedlings that were just starting to spout in our vegetable garden.

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We then went back into the house and they started their nature journals for the year. The younger three drew the plant cycle and labeled it. My oldest wrote about what she had learned about the plant cycle and what she had noticed outside, also drawing picture’s to depict it. Then they chatted about different types of fruit and what kinds of seeds they have. They drew pictures of those too.

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It took us about an hour to complete today, they are excited to learn more tomorrow and expand on their nature journal entries.

fantastic new workboxes

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A couple of months ago I started reading about Sue Patricks workbox system, it seemed like a good system for me to tweak and use in our classroom. I wanted it to be an economically friendly idea, so buying $60 draws for each child wasn’t going to work.

I decided on milk crates and file folders. Target has milk crates for under $4 a piece. I also found some fun, coloured file folders there too.

I then searched online for a cute numbering system. I had decided on velcroing a chart at the end of each crate, then the kids could Velcro a file folder number to it, as they finished an item. I found some adorable images on ironic adventures . So I printed those out and laminated them. I also found a “mom’s help” image, in case one of my kids gets stuck and wants to skip to the next folder in their box.

This is what the turned out like. Pretty awesome right? : )

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When I fill them the night before school, I will stagger subjects, so that the items that require the most help won’t all be done at the same time. For example child A will have math in folder 3, while child B will have math in folder 6. Hopefully that makes sense.

Have you tried workboxes? How did they work for your family?

~Rachel

 

why we love ebooks as curriculum

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We opted to use a whole bunch of ebooks this year, in place of buying the physical workbooks. They are very economical, and can used for more than one child. Whether you have multiples in the same grade, younger children who will need them in the future or a buddy to split the cost of the curriculum they are a great buy!

Some of our favorite ebooks come from the critical thinking company, they have an amazing selection of fun, creative curriculums. They aren’t like traditional curriculum, in the sense that they really have your child think outside the box.

The critical thinking ebooks my 5th grader is using this year are:
-punctuation puzzlers
-the language mechanic
-vocabulary smarts 2
-think and write 2
-social studies daily mind benders
-think about time 1
-thinking directionally
-novel thinking: Shiloh
-jumbles

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We store our ebooks in plastic 3 pronged folders. The plastic is a bit more sturdy than it’s cardboard option, and much easier to store than a binder. They also fit great into our work boxes. Plus they come in gun, bright colours!

~Rachel

homeschool supply list

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I have been waiting for July since we started homeschooling, it’s back to school season! The perfect time of year, to stock up on the necessary supply’s to provide a fun, creative atmosphere for my children’s learning. Maybe I’m a little too excited, but I really love a bargain, and there’s plenty to be had during this time. 

It can be overwhelming trying to think about all the supplies you may need for the up coming year; so hopefully this post will help narrow things down for some of you.

 

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First off, glue! There are never enough glue sticks in my home, especially with the kids working on daily projects. We prefer Elmer’s, it’s just a better quality glue, that actually sticks.

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Composition books are so handy to have extra of, we use them as daily journals and travel logs. When ever we go on a field trip the then write about it and glue in some items, kind of like a scrap book.

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Next up spiral notebooks, we have one for each of our main subjects. The kids take notes, practice math problems, or draw out their ideas in them. I really like to keep a record of what they have worked on, having it in a spiral form is easier to organize than mounds of papers.

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We use a large number of these plastic, 3 pronged folders. We use them to put our ebooks in (which are an amazing buy- but that’s for a later post:)

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These cardboard pocket folders will be used for projects through out the year and for my older two to keep their research together in one place. Also for those loose worksheets.

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Crayons, school just couldn’t be without them. All my kids love to colour, so I always buy plenty. We prefer crayola crayons, they just colour better!

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Oil pastels were always one of my favorite mediums growing up, so I love for my kids to get their little hands on some. They make for great, creative art work.

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WASHABLE markers are also a must have. We have a little girl who enjoys drawing on the walls when no one is watching, so washability is important to us, plus the ink is easier to wash out of clothes. We use markers for everyday drawing and colouring.

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Coloured pencils are probably our favorite art supply, my girls love to use them for more detailed colouring books. Again crayola being our brand of choice.

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The erasers on our pencils never seem to make it very long, my son really likes to put some power behind his erasing. So new pencil toppers and larger erasers are always needed.

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Tempra paints are awesome for kids. We stick to the prime colours, then black and white. We mix all the other colours in between, it helps instill the colour wheel, and it’s fun!

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A selection of paper is a must, you can really get somes deals in the few weeks before publics school starts.

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Another great tool to have around for practicing writing or math is whiteboards and dry erase pencils or pencils. They get a lot of use through out the year.

There are of course many other items we throw in the cart, scissors, rulers, highlighters, pencils, but hopefully I provided a few ideas 🙂 enjoy shopping!

~Rachel

why we homeschool

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Our homeschooling journey started when my son began having issues at school. He wasn’t having great luck with teachers; there were bullies, bad influences, he wasn’t learning as quickly as he should and he was stressed. We muddled through preschool and kindergarten, but when first grade came along and the problems grew I was done. It was an easy decision to know I needed to pull him from public school, but it was much harder to follow through and make the leap. I researched for weeks, spoke to homeschooling friends and then went for it. The absolute, best decision, ever!

He started to thrive; still a little behind on reading, but working hard, he began to grow fast and furiously in all other areas. His personality grew; he became more confident, and so much happier. I’m thrilled with how well he is doing, now 6 months later he is testing at 3rd grade level for math! Reading is still a work in progress, but he is plodding ahead. We have come to realize science is his joy, the child is a walking science encyclopedia.

My oldest daughter had ridden out the last half of the year in public school; she was doing well and enjoyed it, so there was no need to pull her out right away. It also gave me a chance to learn the process with just one child. This summer I have left it up to her to decide whether she wanted to try homeschooling or not, her brother has shared how much fun it is, so this Fall I will have a Kindergartener, 2nd grader and 5th grader all homeschooling. So excited!

For the past few months I have been planning and researching our curriculum for the coming year. I’ve been able to brainstorm with my homeschooling buddies and have came up with what I think is a good mixture of curriculums that will compliment my children’s learning styles. I’ve also built workboxes to help keep us organized; this will be a new system for us and I’m eager to try it.

Another fun project I’ve worked on is folder games. Here are a couple of my favorites:

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The number games are where my child counts the dots, and matches it to the correct number; two different levels for my younger two daughters. The other is simply matching the lowercase letter, with the uppercase letter. Both my girls love to play these games, so I will definitely be coming up with some more.

In the future I’ll post details on our curriculum, workboxes, games and field trips.

~Rachel