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Homeschooling: A Few of My Favorite Things

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I really couldn’t make it through the moments/days/years without a few key things. Some people can fly by the seat of their pants and excel at that. I do not. I have to have a schedule and a plan of attack. I have to have boxes to check off and lists to cross through. I can’t run a household and teach my children without a mission and a plan. Well, I could, but I wouldn’t be doing it well. Big difference.

So, a few of my favorite things if you are diving into this world of teaching your children on your own, whether it be just preschool or the full schabang.

1. My Sonlight binder. Nothing gets me more twitterpated than pulling out my huge binder with all 36 weeks of school organized and planned in advanced. If I’m having a super lazy week, I can just pull out the week, do everything it tells me to do, and I’m covered. On a week where I’m really rocking it, I add more to it. I have a smaller binder that I work from, and I keep 2 weeks worth of school in the small binder as we are working through it. I’ve added and subtracted programs in the main curriculum (we don’t use Horizon Math and have added Language Lessons because I find Sonlight’s language arts material to be a bit…lacking) as we’ve gone along, and I think I can finally say that I’ve found the path that we will use for the long journey ahead.

See? Isn't it beautiful? It sings to me, "please check my boxes off!". I know it.

2. First Language Lessons/Writing With Ease. Literally the best grammar/writing/ language arts instruction out there. I supplement Sonlight’s curriculum with this, and I’m really impressed with how it is improving Jackson’s writing and word usage.I also love The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading. If you have a child who knows their letters and the sounds each letter makes, start this book! It is amazing!

3. Math U See. If there is anything that I lack in, its my confidence in teaching Math. Math U See is perfect for parents like me; you and the child watch a DVD of the instructor teaching the lesson, and then you spend the week practicing it, using the tips and tricks you’ve been instructed on how to do. Phenomenal. Stress free. Jackson has yet to not get an A on a math test.

4. Starbucks. I don’t think I need to explain this one.

5. The read-alouds included in our Sonlight package. Amazing books that have made our evenings together extra special. I’m reading Jackson books at night that I would have never thought to pick up, and it is actually fun! It takes a time that would normally just be “okay, lets read a story and go to bed” into a time filled with purpose and depth. Learning never stops, people. Never, ever.

6. The library. Oh, how I love the library. I love bringing my children in with their empty bags and burning 1,000 calories lugging the full bags out for them, as they skip to the car, begging for their new books. I love replacing them every 3 weeks for free. I love storytime for London and Brooklyn.

7. One of my most favorite things? The Women’s Ministries at my church. Every Wednesday I get to drop off my precious munchkins for 3 WHOLE HOURS while I take a bible study or just sit in the commons and have a coffee with friends. My children spend that time learning new things and playing with their friends while I take a much deserved break and breather. I couldn’t make it without that time, lol!

8. Confession of a Homeschooler’s Letter of the Week program. Amazing, thorough, and CHEAP! If you have a preschooler, check this out. You won’t regret it.

9. A laminator. For the reals. If you have any hopes of keeping your sanity (especially if crumpled calendar pieces make you want to crawl in a hole), you have to get one of these. They aren’t that expensive and keep your investment protected!

So, there you have it. Or, you have the ones I could think of right now. 🙂 My favorite things change all the time, depending on what we need! If you have any questions, leave a comment and I’ll try and answer them!

Seven Lies About Homeschoolers

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I really couldn’t say it any better!

Chalkboard Paint: Nothing is Safe!

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I’m about to tell you a secret that may shock you.

I am absolutely, over the top, anal, OCDish about my toy bins.

That feels so good to get off my chest.

When I revamped my playroom/schoolroom last August, we purchased this shelf/bin system from IKEA. I loved it from the beginning, as before all the toys were shoved into two huge buckets that made me twitch every time I walked in the room.

The only problem was that I was the only one in the world who knew what toy went into what bucket. My children and my husband, bless their souls, would just throw toys in the buckets. When we’d have friends over to play, their well intentioned little hands and mothers would try so hard to clean up the category 4 hurricane that had hit the playroom as I tried to manage the ticks and twitches of a maniacal, organizational beast who just needed.to.calm.down.

Enter into my life: chalkboard paint.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I tried going  a different route with a labeling system before I busted out the permanent fixture of paint. I saw this adorably clever system on Pinterest using paint chips as labels. Cute as it was, Brooklyn could not keep her paws off the shiny, colorful labels and made it her

ABSOLUTE GOAL

to peel every single label off. Every single day. *twitch

Dear Brooklyn,
I love you. But you will never, ever beat Mama. Like, ever.
Love, Me.

Here is a toot on my horn: This was brilliant! I was a little afraid that the kids would get all eraser happy and continually rub off the chalk, but nope. It has stayed this way all day! Plus, this beats out the label idea I was using because I can easily change what is in a bucket, which I have a tendency to do after an influx of new toys come in for birthdays or Christmas.

But I couldn’t stop there. Oh no. Chalkboard paint+brush+me=nothing is safe.

Next came the kids table.

Formerly just a white laminate tabletop from IKEA, this table has been transformed to a chalkboard surface for my children to scrawl to their hearts content on. I love that there is now a piece of furniture in my house that I’m begging the children to draw on!

If I didn’t have textured walls, I’d do a whole wall in the stuff! I’m going to head out to Goodwill and find a huge, hideous glass frame that I can transform into an amazingly awesome chalkboard for my kitchen.

Seriously, I may need an intervention soon.