Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Teaching a TWO

Ellison's 1st Day of TOT SCHOOL

Ellie began Tot School today. I found a great program on the 1+1+1=1 website that I really like and was SO excited to start it with her. She always wants to be included in the big kids stuff. In fact, last year, I had to make her little velcro tabs for her workbox bins and put her toys in them as she was so jealous of the kids getting school books out of theirs. I knew at newly 2 that she would most definitely want to do school with the big kids. 

What I hadn't planned for was her liking it TOO MUCH! LOL!
Every single thing I have read about tot schooling talks about the short attention spans and not to be discouraged if you print all these awesome sheets for them to do and they want to do them for about 5 minutes if at all. I wasn't nervous about that and since I have 3 other to homeschool, I was totally fine with her doing school for 5-10 minutes then going back to playing or follow me around.

She decided that she wanted to do more, more, and more. Here is how we spent over an HOUR this morning. The kids kept needing odds and ends of help, so I tried to switch her to crayons and markers instead of paint daubers! She likes sitting in her high chair because she can do her own buckles, so I pulled her desk over to it and that is her favorite place to do school.
 Dotting the "A"s with do-a-dot paint daubers. Her FAV!

Doing a worksheet from a do-a-dot art book:

I convinced her to color it with crayons after she dotted all the circles. That lasted about 5 minutes before she wanted the do-a-dot paint daubers back:

Here she is coloring with markers. Blessings on whomever it was that invented the washable ones!

When I finally got her to get down, she climbed up at her desk and wanted MORE!

Here she is coloring again:

A huge part of Ellie's TOT School is reading! She LOVES books! Nanny stopped by with a few items and of course read Ellie some more books while she was here:

P.E.- A girl and her bike:
 (She thinks she needs a bike helmet, because, yep, you guessed it, the big kids all wear one!)

So that is a day in the life of a toddler in Tot School.

Monday, August 19, 2013

First Day Photos 2013-2014

Today was our first day of homeschooling for the 2013-2014 school year. Here are our "not-back-to-school" back-to-school photos!

Ellison - Tot School

 Most of her photos looked like this, but I did get one of her face showing:

 Zoe - K4

Cian - 2nd Grade

 Grace - 4th Grade

All the kiddos:


Monday, August 12, 2013

Where Do We School?

Thanks to a fellow homeschool mom I have found the iHomeschool Network's blog hop. I have added my Curriculum for 2013-2014 to last week's. On last week's, I'm blog number 289, lol! The next topic is School Room Week and I loved the topic and decided to post on where we school!

Here is a link if you want to check them all out! Lots of great blogs and ideas!

iHomeschool Network Curriculum Week
Curriculum Week in the 2013 Not Back to School Blog Hop

Where we school:

We do lots of field trips and adventures so my 1st answer is to say the world is our classroom! :-)

However, we use a lot of our home to school as well so I thought I'd show some of what we do in pictures.



We spend quite a bit of our time working at the dining room table. The kids have a great routine of clearing their spots for breakfast, snack and lunch then using it in between for school. Also in our dining room are our charts for morning calendar:
This pic is from last year so it has lots of COAH's Letter of the Week on it!
Also, the state we did each week, the Saint of the week, etc..
 In our dining room is also our workboxes:
My now newly 2 year old wanted to be included last year, so I made her Dora ones for hers ;-)
 We also begin our day with the Bible and/or a story of a Saint. I keep these books on top of my china cabinet so they are near my charts. 


Also upstairs is our family computer. It's so messy right now getting ready for back-to-school, but here's a pic from last year of that work area: 



The kids have desks in their rooms in case they want to have a quieter work area. This is my 6 year old's, I found this at a re-sale shop- it is an old school classroom desk. 


I have a couple book cases downstairs that are full of my homeschooling stuff. One is all books in alphabetical order. Another is curriculum and books by subjects (such as math books like counting M&Ms etc..).
 Next to that, I have a new addition this year! Trofast shelves and bins from IKEA! These are so great! I organized them this summer. I have one for each school month and the extras are odds and ends of subjects such as science, music, etc..

 I bought a second Trofast system this summer. The other design I chose was this one:
I plan to use this like I would use busy bags. I have puzzles, games, puppets, magnetic letters, legos, etc... These can be used by my 4, 6 or 9 year old if they need a break or I need one-on-one with one and the others are done. I call this my Busy Time Center.


Okay, we don't actually school in the garage! :-)
But, we have balls and games and items for PE time, so that counts!
Also, I have to mention the van!


The final area that we do school is in the VAN! We have become pretty great at carschooling! When driving to tumbling or YMCA PE or whatever fieldtrip we have that week, the kids bring along some independent work in their backpacks. They love that they can "knock out" some work before we get home. My now 2 year old was so used to seeing the kids with their backpacks that she INSISTED that she "needed" to have a Dora backpack. I let her use some of her birthday money and buy one we found at Walmart. It is about as big as she is:

So, that's where we school at Teach Academy!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Busy Bag Exchange

Yesterday, I attended a busy bag exchange with my local homeschool group. I have loved the ideas of busy bags and have randomly pinned them on Pinterest to my Homeschool board, Tot School Board, and K4 board, until realizing I should try and combine them into their own board!

Here is what I have moved together so far, and of course while doing that I got sidetracked and searched for new ones, until I remembered I was trying to write this post during naptime! Lol! It's a small board so far, but after yesterday, I am super excited for busy bags and I am sure it will continue to grow ;-)

-Click here for a link to my Pinterest Busy Bag Board-

For the exchange, each mom attending makes the total number attending of the same bag. For example, this one yesterday there was 9 moms, so each mom made 9 of a busy bag they either found an idea online, on Pinterest, or created themselves. Then, at the exchange we basically trade with every other mom one of the ones we made, so that we come with only one of ours and 8 different ones! It's such a great idea!

I am super excited about all these great bags! Both my tot and my K4 kiddo will enjoy these. Here is a look at what we each left with yesterday. (One awesome mom made 2 so we would have 10 bags!)

1. Animal Sorting - this is SOOO cute! This mom used velcro sticky back dots to have a sorting busy bag. I adore this! 

I could NOT get over all the work these moms put into their bags! I love them all and am so excited to use them!!

2. Funny Faces-  this one is too cute! You can arrange them to make funny faces or sort by like items! Great ideas! PLUS- she put magnets on them and gave us the magnetic tray! SO awesome!

 3. Pizza Place- This one is going to be a huge hit with all the little pizza fans! What a great idea! This mom used felt to make pizza ingredients! What is even cooler than just playing pizza maker, (which is already pretty awesome!) is the booklet has menu requests for the kids to practice numbers!

4. This was a Dollar Store score that the awesome mom who organized this exchange found these and decided to make us all a 10th bag to even out our school weeks with the busy bags! Above and beyond! She is such a sweet, amazing person!

5. Color Sort Busy Bag - This is SO fun! I love all the little pieces for the color sort! Mine will probably sit and just play with all the little fun pieces too! This mom used 1/2 an egg carton, colored it the 6 colors, then added TONS of little pieces to sort! I love how they are all different kinds of items too!

6. Marble Maze- seriously! I am so impressed! This mom MADE this herself! She sewed the maze and a marble is inside! The kids move the marble through the maze. This is SO cool! I am in awe of anyone who can sew successfully, lol. I can fix a button, the end.

7. Pool Noodle Threading and Patterning - These are so bright, colorful, and fun! My kids all wanted to know what these were as soon as they saw them! I am so excited for these for Ellison, as she will actually be able to grasp these well! Awesome idea!

8. Rainbow Fish Number Game -  this game has pretty little sequins and little kids can put them on the fish and bigger kids can use the addition and subtraction cards to the fish. For example, your fish has 3 then you get the -1 card, they remove one and count how many they have! We love the Rainbow Fish book, so I am sure we will incorporate this game with that too!

9. Shades of Color - the kids put the colors in the correct column for the correct hue of the color. This will be great for my K4 also as she can do them in darkest to lightest too!

10. Clothesline Busy Bag -  This is the one I brought! I mentioned that the ones above were either ones the moms invented or found online or Pinterest etc. so I couldn't say where they were from, but this one I can! I found this on Pinterest and you can see it on my Busy Bag Pinterest board. (The link is at the top of the post.) The link I used had the print out, clothing outline and instructions. It was just SO adorable!

This was so fun! I can't wait for hours of fun for the kids with these bags! I can't wait until the next exchange!