Week 20. Hearts, Binders, and Gelato.

We started off this school week with our class store. I started this when I began homeschooling and we have done it ever since. I have tweaked it a bit, but the concept is the same. Throughout our school days the kids have chances to earn sticks. I give 3 sticks for a 100% paper, 2 sticks for an A, and 1 stick for a B. I will also give sticks for good behavior, random games, etc. For Emma, my 1st grader, she earns sticks for neatness, books read, etc. Once a month the kids go shopping in the class store. They can spend their sticks or keep them. There are categories to purchase from for 1, 3, 5 ,10, 15 or like this past month we had a surprise 50 point item, and a couple of 30 point items. It’s like a mini Chuck E Cheese redemption counter.

I stock the class store with clearance deals. Grandma helps a ton. I am always on the look out for things throughout the year. It is amazing what you find when you start looking. Even the $1 spot at Target goes 75% off.  It’s a magnificent system that has worked really well for us.

Another system that I began just last year, but has worked incredibly well, is how I organize our work.

I have 2 planners from Lakeshore that cost $5.99 a piece. It is still not the perfect planner because I don’t think that illusive thing actually exists. This one is pretty good and the price is right. I have to have the subjects down the side and the days of the week across the top. This limits my choices. However, it is a must for me.

Everything in my planning world is broken down into weeks for our school year….36 of them.

(I use pencil for everything, because things DO change…and its o.k.)

I sit down at the beginning of the year and pencil in the vacations, holidays, field trips, etc. Then I take each subject and break it down and pencil in the lessons for each week. The older two are in one planner and my younger daughter is in another.

Then I take everything that can be ripped out, copied ahead of time, etc and hole punch it and put it behind the appropriate week number in my binders. I have 2 giant binders. One for week 1-18 and one for week 19-36.

Obviously, this is a lot of time upfront. However on Sunday nights, it is super simple to just pull out the papers for that week and place them on a clipboard, ready to use.

At that time, I review in detail and prepare for the upcoming week.

The most important thing about this system is that we do not progress on from the week until the previous week is done. Despite my best efforts to keep our studies priority through out the week, we have four children and things come up. Doctors, dentists, errands, sickness, and other random things. This system allows me to manage my overall workload for the year and not get off track. If its Sat morning and for some reason the work is not done for that week, we will finish it. Every Monday is a brand new week and the week before WILL be completed.

Having this system has helped me relax a LOT. I feel like I can chill with the ebb and flow of our days and know that things are on track to finish by June. I am sure there are countless ways to achieve this, but this has worked for my head…

We have been busy, as usual, around here. With Love day fast approaching we have added hearts…


and more hearts.

The kids tracked their food intake all week and plotted it into blank grids of the food pyramid. It’s been great to see them really begin to understand their health and nutrition. I’ve loved it. We’ve completed the Pyramid Cafe unit and next week will begin a unit on The Giver with the older two. My youngest will continue on with Health.

My older two have both been doing Apologia Science and there is a TON of hands on projects which they adore.

These little feet are everywhere during my day. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Speaking of little….little mister had his first official tantrum today. I was sharing my cheerios with him, giving him bites out of the bowl. He wanted the bowl and the spoon. I did not agree. The result was big tears and MAD BABY! So of course, I grabbed my camera.

Today we ended the week with Expedition Earth. We are still in Italy. I refuse to leave. I am enjoying our study more than the kids. The Trevi Fountain, Sistine Chapel, amazing art, museums, music, and pizza? Oh gosh. Smitten. Today we made Gelato from scratch. It was De-Lish.

Boil 4 cups of water and 2.5 cups of sugar for 5 minutes. Let cool and add 2 cups of orange juice. Then freeze for 5 hours. Voila.

(Ignore the sugar content. Seriously, just pretend I said 2 teaspoons.)

It was, again ridiculously warm for Feburary, so we decided to take our Italy studies to the park.

Even though I desperately am missing some California rain…

…spending the afternoon drenched in sunshine with toes in the sand, ain’t so bad either.

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4 Responses to Week 20. Hearts, Binders, and Gelato.
  1. Amy G
    February 10, 2012 | 7:44 am

    I am SO in aw and envious of your organization!
    The binder system is incredible! Can you please come organize me?

    Loved all your hearts- especially the caterpillar.

    Can’t wait to do Expedition Earth next year.

    You make me want to strive to be a better teacher.

    So thankful for YOU!

    Have a wonderful weekend!!

  2. Cara Yeh
    February 10, 2012 | 8:52 pm

    Ooh… more fun ideas! Gracias! Now if only I could be so organized… Perhaps I would have more time if I was a “Night owl.” 🙂 We’re loving the sun, yet missing the rain down here, too!

    You’re wonderful!

  3. Jessy at Our Side of the Mountain
    February 14, 2012 | 10:33 am

    Wow! Look how organized and on top of things you are! I used to be organized. 😉 And then I relaxed TOO much! Time for planning! LOL

    The heart caterpillar is very cute!

  4. […] amazing how even one dr. appointment can wreak so much havoc on completing a school day. I talked last week about our system of breaking down our studies, one week at a time. This week is a perfect example […]

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