Category Archives: 170 School Days. 2012

Trains

We had our first field trip of the year last week. We visited the California State Railroad Museum. It was also Emma’s 8th birthday, so the timing was rather fantastic. We spent a couple of hours there and had a great morning. The principal even got to join us. Greyson ran. Greyson said “ohhhhh” about 4,567,873 times. Greyson sorta stole the show, as he often does.

In other exciting news, I managed to get myself in a picture. See if you can find our family shot. It’s a little Where’s Waldo-esque.

Last year I preplanned all of our field trips and I think we did one of them. Field trips can not be planned in advance, I decided. Too many things come up. Free opportunities and new opportunities. One of the greatest things about homeschooling is the flexibility and I want to be able to take advantage of that.

Have you ever wondered how many people’s photos you are in as a background person? Just think, it is possible you could be in hundreds of people’s photo album’s all across America. Something to consider.

I think if finances allowed I would road trip USA it, straight across our nation and hands on learning our way to the completion of the school year. It is simply the best.

There is some pretty cool stuff here in Sacramento and surrounding areas. Touring the USS Hornet is next on my agenda. Now that I am not pregnant and can fit on the “small winding staircases” that they warn you about. Nobody wants a pregnant chick stuck on an aircraft carrier. Nobody at all.

Happy Tuesday, friends!

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I’m Kinda Tired.

 I am coming down off of a gear up for the beginning of the school year high and anxiously awaiting the comfy cozy days of fall and all of the yummy goodness that accompanies it. We are still in the high eighties around here, but the mornings and evenings have almost been cold. I am tired today. Tired because….

I am forgetting to live, to breathe, to create, and have fun. I have a dangerous mix of a brain that never quits, a heart that wants to experience everything, and a hand that cant seem to stop writing a to do list. It’s a gift and a sickness. Notes are scribbled in a Martha Stewart notebook, my iPhone, random emails to myself, my planner, and various other sheets of paper strewn around my space. Not because I am disorganized, but rather impulsive. No, they are not the same thing. Yes, sometimes I exhaust myself.

I am fueled by freedom, by possibilities, by options, and experiences. I bubbleth over. AND THEN- I want to do it all. I push myself and then I start to get sleepy. It’s an art form to balance it. Today? I took it down about 9 million notches, give or take.

I laid on the grass and took pictures of my handsome boy.

We made cookies.

We went to the store just to buy binder paper. No other reason. How impractical.

We gawked at the Christmas decorations like we had never seen an inflatable snowman before.

We drove home with the windows down…

listening to the music LOUDLY.

I told the kids to make the best circle they could with chalk and a piece of string. We are studying Stonehenge.

I awarded twenty million points in a round of our Bible games. It was split evenly because the question resulted in a tie. I also awarded 26 points a piece because that question had a value of 52 and was also a tie. I have no method to this madness other then the ten commandments are pretty important. I say a 20 million point value is justified.

We played leap frog in honor of the Minoan’s who created the sport of bull leaping. When was the last time you lept over a human in semi-fetal position? It’s kinda fun. Do it. Just because.

I took all of my cds for our curriculum this year and made little cd cases with some stamps and tape. They were all over the place in various types of cases and sleeves and on my last achin’ nerve. Again-impulsive, yet calming. It took just 5 minutes and was unplanned, so despite the fact I am on project restriction, this one doesn’t qualify as an actual project.

My girl is memorizing her math facts. Like seriously memorizing them. No hesitating allowed. I made her up this little flip book to help her out. She is doing awesome. We are loving second grade.

My older two kids spent the first several years of their education in awesome schools, both public and private. My second grader is the first one of my kids who has never attended a school outside of our home. It has been an absolute amazing gift to watch her progress. It makes me a little sad to think that I missed out on this part of my other two. I wonder sometimes how they were in the classroom. Watching Emma “get it”…wether it be a math lesson or a Bible lesson, has been an absolute joy to be a part of. It is rewarding on a new level that I didn’t quite realize existed. She’s my little sidekick, that one, and tomorrow….she will be eight.

Eight.

EIGHT?

ugh. I’m going to find the clock and have my unicorn smash it.

Bring on the celebrating.

Happy Birthday, Dear Sweet Emma Rose.

Happy Thursday my friends.

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Progress, Pain, and Smash Books

It’s Wednesday.

There was a handful of debacles by 9 am. The most important of which, I awoke to finding out we were completely out of toilet paper. Stellar domestic skills.

I was armed and prepared, yoga pants and hat. Lip gloss and earrings brought me to life and a quick game of tag, peek a boo, blocks, and a calm spirit persuaded my lovelies to join my happy mood and…

a trip to Target at recess remedied the lack of bathroom necessities. However, it found me drooling over Pumpkin Ice Cream. I am sure that a scoop with a Bourdeuax cookie dipped into it, woulda been magical.

I opted for my salad instead. Yummy?

Lately, I have been inundated with:

“How many pages do we have in history today?”

“When is my next spelling test?”

“Are we going anywhere today?”

“When is daddy going to be home?”

“What color shoes are you going to wear?”

O.k. I added the last one, but geez.

It is said, we likely won’t change behaviors until pain prompts us too. I decided to test it. Every time a child asks me a question, I break into about a 3-4 minute response, giving them every un necessary detail that I can think of. It’s a rabbit trail of all rabbit trails type of party. They thought it was funny – the first time. Now they start to question and quite literally throw a hand over the mouth for fear, “she’s gonna start again.” Blessed blessed silence is mine.

I have started focusing on character development this year. My 2nd grader is studying a character trait a week in her existing Bible curriculum. The older two kids are doing a program through Doorposts that my sweet friend Amy introduced me to. Well, really I saw it on her blog and swiped it. It just sounds so much kinder to say it the other way.

My daughter and I began this week. Polished Cornerstones. A giant book with the cruise ship mentality of, we have provided you more options than you can possibly accomplish- ever. It is a book focused on discipling your daughter and I fell in love with it instantly. It has different qualities and traits of a Godly woman and then endless activities (broken into target ages for your girls) that you can choose from to help teach these qualities. The book suggests making a journal of all of your progress and projects over the year. It also suggests going on dates to discuss your progress. We will be doing both.

The Journal~

Have you seen Smash Books? I am kinda in love with them and drool over them most times I am in Target, or Joanns, or anywhere that they exist. They just make me happy. A book full of endless options for creativity with no rules. A little cage I can go fly around in and make things pretty. They are truly fabulous. I mean just look at the cute little instructions. Seriously.

I had always thought that I should get one. Then one day, fate delivered. Carissa created a recipe book out of a smash book, that little evil genius. Go check hers out! It had been on my floating to do list to somehow get my recipes from our new style of eating into a place that was a spot of its own.

I was at a stoplight when the email notification dinged and I saw the post. I was literally in front of Michaels and in about 15 minutes my birthday money envelope was empty and there was a smash book on my front seat.

*That Pumpkin Hot Chocolate recipe is from 100 Days of Real Food.

I have begun transferring my recipes over, just my healthiest ones. It’s perfect and pretty ~ and fun.

When I read that Taylor should make a journal of her progress this year, it seemed only fitting that another Smash Book should be purchased for just such an occasion.

She has begun filling it up, after our first lesson on being a Godly woman. I can’t wait to see all the fabulousness she creates with what she is learning. What. A. Keepsake.

The dates~

We have tried to be big in our house about reinforcing the fact that we all have strengths and weaknesses. It’s o.k. We can discuss them in the environment of our home. Nobody will judge or make fun of our struggles. I am so excited about Polished Cornerstones, because it provides a framework for conversations with my daughter about this very issue. I want to develop a relationship where struggles and strengths are regular topics. I want to intentionally create this environment where she feels safe to talk through her shortcomings with me, rather than hiding or trying to figure them out on her own. It’s important. This type of relationship will not magically appear when she reaches young adulthood. I believe that it needs to be established as early as possible, with all of my kids.

We will be going on monthly dates. Walks or even trip to the grocery store. Just devoted times for her and I and we can discuss how she is doing in life. Where she is rockin’ it like no other and where she should pray about making some changes.

AND…

there is a boy’s version of this resource. Just in case you have some fabulous young men in your life.

AND AND…

it is NOT just for homeschoolers.

It is completely fabulous.

Make sure and check it out… and run to buy a Smash Book. All the cool kids are.

I have noticed that so often in my parenting I take the opportunity to deliver an epic lecture, of which I am queen. I am almost embarrassed to admit that I pulled the whole I used to walk uphill to school in the snow both ways card yesterday with my teen. I had a slight out of body experience when I heard myself actually say (in the context of trying to inform him that he should be more grateful) you could be homeless….so yeah, I went there you could be broke immediately followed. Then I did it, I broke out into song, thank you Justin Bieber. I sang as long as you love me…he tried hard not to crack up and remain cool. Lecture over.

These life changing and mostly useless lectures are given at the time of sin by my kids. They are in trouble and they are cold busted and I sit them down and talk…and talk. The Lord has really been teaching me lately that teachable moments come in the everyday and the ordinary, NOT the crisis. I want the teaching to be done in the calm before the storm. SO THAT, when the storm hits and the boat is rockin’ every which way, there is already a foundation that has been laid. It really works SO much better this way, for myself included.

If I am two seconds away from drowning, this is not the time to figure out how to swim, right?

Speaking of drowning, the laundry is still screaming.

Happy Wednesday, my friends.

 

 

 

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Week Three

Three Weeks have passed already. Three weeks into the new year. Amazing.

With each passing year things are getting more grown up and it kind of breaks my heart. I think I could teach Kindergarten for-EVER!. However, I begrudgingly have moved away from calendar circle time type stuff and into the grown up big girl planner now that we are in 2nd grade. This helps practice calendar skills and helps a long way in the being like her older siblings gig. I had her write down the weeks of school. She used the whole box :). We will work on that! My older two kids use the student planners from Apologia. They are amazing. We heart them. The spiral binding even glows in the dark. To a 12 year old girl and her mother who mostly acts like she is 12, this is a very important feature.

*Walmart planner for $6.99. Perfect thin planner without a lot of extras that would just confuse my girl.

We are still doing Victory Drills. All we do is use the lists and practice speed. I have made a goal to not skip any days of this, this year. It’s a good goal. Victory drills rock. They are so simple and have helped my girl in her reading skills like CRAZY. When she passes a page, she gets a handful of raspberries or blueberries, or whatever expensive fruit we have on hand that she can’t normally just dig into. She loves loves loves doing Victory Drill. I surprise her with different songs for the signal that her minute is up. Right now we currently have Agnes yelling “HE’S SO FLUFFY I’M GONNA DIE“. Love my iPhone. So handy.

Here’s another fun way to practice spelling. Target’s dollar spot is 70% off right now. You can grab several options of letter stickers for just .30 cents each. There is quite a few letters in each pack. One day a week we practice spelling in a fun way. Not a lame but totally necessary and I see the point so I comply, write the words 3 times each kind of way. Something way more sparkly than that.

I have two incentive type of things for school for the kids. The first is the class store. Our first one will be coming up soon and I will tell ya all about it. The second thing I am doing for the first time this year. Honor Roll. One thing I get asked so often when people find out I homeschool is, “Do the kids like get grades?” Yes their head is slightly tilted to the left as they say it. Yes, I do grades. Tests, semester tests, grades, red pen, stickers for the 2nd grader on her test and the whole bit. Grades are an important measure of learning. Not the only measure of learning and I sure don’t think that they always truly convey how much is learned verses how much is simply memorized. HOWEVER, I only go against the flow so much and we do grades, just like “regular school”. My kids have progress reports, report cards, and now the option for Honor Roll.

I had them take out a 3×5 card and write down their top three places to go for a fun outing with a parent. I picked their top choice for the Honor Roll which is earned for straight A’s. I also took another choice for the Principal’s list which is earned for half of their report card being A’s. Those are all dates that will be had with the principal. 🙂 Oh and the C T E stands for Cameron, Taylor, Emma. 🙂 We talked about trying our best and all that fun stuff. I hope this turns out to be an awesome thing for them to work hard towards earning.

Next week we add in our character development curriculum which is this and this. I am looking forward to it and am working hard this weekend to get everything ready!

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I Can’t Think Of A Title For This Post

We started off the school year with the main subjects: Language Arts, Bible, and Math. We have now added science, art, and one elective each. Next week, we will be adding the rest of the subjects and will be in the full swing of things. I have to say that I am 100% pleased so far with our curriculum choices. We have a nice eclectic mix of style and intensity and I think it’s going to be a grand year.

My ideas always upstage my funds or the stock in stores to pull off. It’s a sickness. I just wanted to put that out there.

We have added P E. to our subject list this year. After doing a review for Family Time Fitness over at Hip Homeschool Moms, I was initially intrigued by the whole concept. I have always thought that if the kids were active that, that would be fine. However, after reading the information about the curriculum, I have changed my line of thinking. There is a lot more to Physical Education than just staying active. The Wii isn’t going to cut it after all. Totally sort of kidding.

We are not a terribly big sports family and really my kids don’t own many clothes that are suitable for that type of behavior including tennis shoes. We are a Converse, Toms, flip flops, and bare feet type of family. I was a little apprehensive about getting set up to implement PE because of the cost in purchasing curriculum, clothing, shoes, and supplies. However, it has all worked out and we will be off and running in a week or two. We will be doing our PE curriculum two times a week and the Couch to 5k for my older two, three times a week. In addition, my youngest daughter is on a soccer team.

So back to the clothes – my daughter has two dreams for middle school. Lockers and changing for PE. I delivered the lockers and this year I am delivering PE clothes. Yep Yep.

I had grand plans that failed, largely. Thankfully there are 26 letters in the alphabet and somewhere along plan D or E, I have finalized the situation. My kids will be issued PE clothes in about 1-2 weeks. 2 tshirts, 1 sweatshirt, 1 pair of shorts, 1 pair of sweatpants, and 1 pair of socks. They will be adorned with our fabulous new logo for our school that my husband created. It cost me $30 a student for the above ensemble.

While 50% of the time I think this is perhaps over the top to make my kids change for PE, especially into a uniform. Let me tell you what the other 50% says. First, little things are fun to kids. Lockers, honor roll, school parties, yearbooks, awards, trophies, and about a billion other things including PE clothes, despite their general hideousness.

What is it going to hurt?

Second, there is something to be said about learning to keep track of their things, making sure that the right clothes are clean on the right day, making sure they can get changed and get outside on time, etc. Yeah we are at home, but in my class, if they fail to do so, they are going to drop and give me twenty.

Third, it’s fun.

The end.

My youngest is beginning the Draw Write Now series. She LOVES it.

We are doing it once a week on Thursdays. I did not care for the journal that came along with the book, so I cut up some ruled paper and some plain white paper to glue onto a pretty colored sheet. This way my girl can mess up a jillion times and get it just the way she wants it before she commits. I am saving them all year and will make them into an art book when she completes volume 1.

 

It has been interesting having a toddler while school is in session. People asked me ALL the time how I was going to “do school” with a newborn in the house. That was a piece of cake compared to this. A piece of double decker chocolate cake with rainbow sprinkles and strawberry filling compared to this.

However, we are falling into a schedule. He knows nothing different and really has no choice but to comply with us!

He plays, struts his fashion sense, and eats. Between those three things, he’s pretty much good. He likes to be right in on the action.

The other day we were running an errand in the morning and my little boy began to shimmy. Serious shoulder shimmying in the stroller going on to some fabulous in store tunes. My oldest says, ” I am so glad we don’t have to leave all day to go to school. I can’t imagine not being able to see him do all these things and be with him. That would be so sad to have to be separated.”

Yeah I melted. No question.

When I began homeschooling I heard one word repeatedly. Apologia. I drank the kool aid last year and I’m a fan. My kids adore science now. Like super adore it. It’s homeschool friendly and it’s tough too. It pushes my kids and they learn. One of my favorite parts? You can order the experiment kits already labeled and ready to go for each lesson. Makes experiments actually doable in my kitchen.

Boy, have I had a fun last week or so on the internet.

First, our classroom was featured at 36th Ave during a weekly link party. Um, fun.

Next, both this year’s classroom and last year’s classroom were featured on a post about inspiring homework and learning spaces at the TLC website, Parentables. Pinch me, please.

Then, I wake up Sunday morning to find that Centsational Girl featured my classroom in her monthly best of the blogoshpere post. Um wow. My unicorn just flew right in on a rainbow and fed me gumdrops. SO FUN!

It’s like I won employee of the month really. Only without my own parking space or feature on the bulletin board in the lunch room. It’s a whole lotta fun, I tell ya. I feel very grateful.

Back to real life, the laundry is screaming at me!

Happy Wednesday to you all!

and p.s. I lit my pumpkin candle this morning. It’s officially the most wonderful time of the year.

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AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH

Precisely the response that I get when my seven year old sees an entire page of math problems. She knows them, but she gets tripped up when there are too many on one page. It is definitely not her favorite thing.

Today we experienced the new font size and quantity of 2nd grade math worksheets. I knew I was in for a parenting moment. Before the full scale meltdown occurred, I said, “O.k. we are doing the first thee rows orally”. Off I went asking for answers that I know she knows the answer to. She stepped up her game and got through it o.k.

With the superpower given to all women as they become mother’s for the first time, I multitasked my way through the first three lines of math facts while plotting a way to make this a bit more fun today.

Last problem, line three, an idea arrived. It was just in the nick of time, as they often are.

“O.K. now get ready Emma because we are doing the rest as a race. Each row will be done in a new location in the house. We are racing the clock so you gotta be quick. We gotta go to the place that I yell out, do a row, and move on. Got it?”

Eyes beaming she jumped to the start line.

Ready.

Go.

We visited my closet, my bed, Greyson’s room, her bed, my husband’s office, our learning closet, and finished in record time. Being that this was the first time we had done this, it was in fact the record.

All smiles.

No tears.

Math done.

I started thinking about this. I often find that homeschooling is an intricate dance between presenting material in a way that is engaging for my children, but also not wanting them to become accustomed to everything being explained to them and presented to them on a big fat silver platter. The platter that is called in your exact learning style, on your terms.

This is one of the biggest advantages and potential detriments that homeschool offers, in my opinion. If my children are never gently nudged, (or some days shoved off a small cliff), then how will they be equipped to handle real life after school, or say a job? What happens the first time their boss asks them to do something they don’t like or don’t understand? Are they going to look him and the eye, ” I am sorry you didn’t teach me that in my preferred learning style?”

I dance this dance daily. Minute by minute, in fact. It is the same dance of a parent in general that is specifically heightened in the life of a homeschooling family.

But today.

Today my girl needed someone to show her life could be fun. Hard things can be accomplished in record time with a new perspective and a new tactic. Impossible things become opportunities every single day and the opportunities are the lessons that are waiting to be learned.

I know we will reference this morning the next time math brings us so many addition problems crammed onto one page that my seven year old feels like she wants to pull her own hair out strand by strand. I will remind her as many times as it takes that it is mostly all about perspective. I will remind her that she holds the record in the first ever math facts around the house race. Anything is possible.

She rocked it.

and

I needed to be reminded myself of those lessons today. All of them. Sometimes we just need someone to hold our hand, run, and laugh with us. Sometimes that is all it takes. Who can I be that for today?

I can hardly believe we are already wrapping up week two of school. We have been to the library to secure books for our first book reports. My girl was over the moon to get a book list and some guidelines and have to find a book that fit those requirements. I love her.

I discovered my baby says QUACK about as cute as can be.

Practicing spelling words is more fun when stamped.

The night night game is fun even in libraries.

Our history curriculum is awesome. Have you ever wondered how Bible history intersects with actual history and why we keep them separate? I had not. This year I started a four year long series titled Mystery of History. It teaches Bible and history together. For example, did you know that Jonah was swallowed by the whale at approximately the same time that the first Olympic games took place in Greece? Yeah, me neither. Am I a total nerd that I find that fascinating? I read it in the introduction of our curriculum and I have to admit I am pretty excited about learning this along with my kids.

Today we are studying the Ice Age. There are suggested activities to enhance the lesson. I chose the one where I have the kids place an ice cube on their bare stomach and see who could leave it there the longest. It sounded fun. It was. Red tummies later they both survived and tied. Neither gave up.

Tomorrow I will be back to show you my shiny new business logo. I Love it.

Happy Wednesday!

 

 

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Where Our Stuff Is

If you noticed in our school room there is no “stuff” out. No centers, no fish tanks, no nature shelves, no books, no stuff. We do have it all, but I just moved it out this year. It seems natural to surround ourselves with all of these things in plain sight. However, while we are blessed to have space in our home dedicated just to our school days, it isn’t super big and I needed to tone down the overstimulation that I had going on in there. Over the last three years, there has been a mass exodus of extra things moving out of the classroom and this year, it is official, anything potentially cluttery has moved to other places. I have tried to have everything in one room and it just doesn’t work.

Now we just go get what we need to bring in the classroom. OR go in the closet to review the seven continents. It works.

Just around the corner from our school room, we have a pretty good size under the stairs closet. It became mini romper room. It’s fantastic. I frequently take my 2nd grader in there for hands on things and a little quiet learning time with just here and I. It’s just fun. Who doesn’t like a fort? At 4 or 40, it still rocks to be in a fort and it is also very difficult to get decent pictures in tight spaces, just so you know.

We have learning posters, magnet boards, magnet maps of the US, and more detailed map posters as we are focusing on states and geography this year.

We also have sciencey boards and the continuation of our animal study with our Expedition Earth curriculum as shown in these pathetically horrible pictures.

The closet makes a turn and in the very back and we have our Hoo Are You Board? The title is courtesy of my 7th grader. So cute. This year as part of our 2nd grade Bible curriculum, we are focusing on a different character trait every week. Each week we will put our character trait on an owl and add it to the board. We kinda heart owls around here.

My daughter loves it.

Changes of pace, getting moving, big bright colors, big visuals, and secret spaces. They help bring learning to life for my girl.

 

Right on top of the closet, just half way up the stairs on our landing, I put a bookshelf. All of our kids books in the house are on this shelf, all in one place. The kids just run up there to grab their books and my toddler hangs out on the step to read.

Back downstairs and next to my romper room cave, there are some built in cupboards right outside of the bathroom. They really were kind of  useless to me and being in a rental, I can’t rip them out. However, last year homeschool teaching helps and art supplies took up residence here.

It’s all in one place now and I can just hang out to find what I need, but I don’t have to look at it all the live long day. Perfect! On the shelf lives our tadpole, or whatever other creature we are observing, resourcey type books, and pencils. I also found a way to sneak a bit more chicken wire back onto a wall. I’m obsessed.

I absolutely love the way things are laid out this year. It’s more spacious for everybody. It is definitely worth the effort it took. The kids actually have commented on liking it as well.

Win-Win!

I bought and planted some flowers in the boxes right outside our school room windows. They are too pretty and probably will die by the week’s end as my thumbs are any shade but green. However, for the week, I will enjoy.

Gearing up for the second week of school. The weekend came and went all too quickly as usual!

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Our Classroom 2012-2013

Welcome to our class.

We have turned the area that was designed to be a formal sitting room and a formal dining room in our home into our classroom and my office. We have school here about 90% of the time. Occasionally we take our studies elsewhere {to the park, etc} BUT we honestly prefer our classroom. Its calm and relaxing in here, our stuff is here, and this space is designated learning space. We use it and we love it. I feel very blessed to have the extra space in our home to have it.

I have changed the layout a bit this year, expanded the table, and separated some of the areas away from each other. Last year, we had everything for the kids crammed into this one room and it was just too much. It was fine when there were no humans in here, but once they came in, it was too crowded. Slamming lockers, typing keyboards, and opening drawers and such while students were in their seats created chaos. You get the idea.

So this year our $40 Craigs list table expanded, received a fresh coat of paint, and we purchased some new sturdy chairs. It sits in here all by its lonesome. When you add myself and my four kids this space is maxed out.

I found some condiment caddy’s on clearance at Target that make getting supplies easy. I filled them with some Trader Joes salsa jars and all of our stuff is easy to see and grab. Do the kids constantly spin them during school? Why, yes they do.

I used some old wood from the garage for a simple reminder that hangs in plain sight. All. The. Time. It’s so One Thousand Gifts-ish. There are so many blessings overflowing. I never wanna forget.

I finally did it. After three years of drooling, I dropped the cold hard cash at Ikea and bought the map. I haven’t looked back. Oh, we love it and not just for school. It’s just awesome and H U G E and pretty and lovely. I have a thing for maps.

We have no overhead lighting, so we have to do the plug in. This post inspired this lamp. The basket is a trash can from the dollar tree and I had the cord already from Ikea. I simply cut a hole in the bottom of the basket with scissors and threaded the cord through. Voila. Light for a dollar.

Multiple fabrics become a giant cord cover. Maybe, the longest in history.

A wall of  fun and useful things is behind the table. Garage sale finds, things repurposed, and birthday presents make up this collage. Hobby Lobby sells white board inserts. This 18×24 size was just $7.99. It’s pretty fabulous inside this frame that I already owned. The chicken wire extravaganza was a $2 garage sale frame with some wire stapled in. The frames and mirror up top were .50 cent garage sale finds and some scrapbook paper and a pictures of my lovelies. While I was at Hobby Lobby purchasing my white board that scrolly oval frame and the S just jumped in my cart. I was forced. I had no options.

I used an old picture to coat with chalkboard paint and drew my own calendar. Let’s be honest, my handwriting is just awful, but there is something so fabulous about the chalkboard situation. I love them almost as much as I love maps. I am going to have Emma create September.

One of my favorite quotes ever, or questions rather is What is it you plan to do with your ONE WILD and precious life? Thank you to this adorable little shop on Etsy and happy birthday to me.

My office became combined with the computer area for the kids, their lockers, and our inboxes. It’s working beautifully. I tried and tried on furniture lay out to get this all in here and was stumped. My sister had the genius idea to put this computer table up against my desk. It’s just awesome. Thanks sis! It is main priority to keep the computer right out in the open. Mission accomplished.

Kid’s lockers tuck right in the corner.

Each child has an inbox and a whole bunch of papers wait for me there.

The Ikea Expedit collection is my best friend. All of my teacher books, science kits, extra school supplies, scrapbooking stuff, camera gear, and the kitchen sink is safely stored outta sight in this bookshelf. It’s mine. All mine. No Students allowed.

I also don’t share this. It sits on my desk. Its fantastic. It spins too. Yes, I spin it during class.

Both of these spaces are right inside our front door. I love the romper room kid stuff, but I don’t want to look at it all the time. So, we try to maintain a little bit of pretty in here. I will show you soon where I have my secret romper room for school learning stuff. It’s fun if you like that kind of thing.

Thanks for stopping by! Happy Schooling!

Not Back to School Blog Hop

The 36th AVENUE

Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special

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Lockers

There are certain things that you can not make just like school when you are homeschooling. However, there are certain things that are a right of passage and  I whole heartedly believe in my kids getting to experience them. They may be little things, but when you are twelve…they are pretty big.

Lockers.

We have some. They got a make over this year. The kids each get to decorate their own. We spent very little on this project. Two cans of spray paint and a few sheets of scrapbook paper. Duct tape and scrapbook embellishments were already on hand. You are also going to need some magnets. Lakeshore carries a pack of about a gajillion little circle magnets with adhesive on one side. These are the perfect solution for your locker sticking on fun paper needs. $7.99 is all.

Taylor

Emma

Cameron

Greyson

Oh yeah, he has one too. Inside are buckets of toys that I will rotate for play during school hours.

This year we also added locks. I mean the experience needs to be complete right?

Locker decorating is serious business people. You wouldn’t believe the products out there. Locker chandelier anyone? There is rugs, wallpaper, flowers, drapes and more.

The kids are loving their own spaces and I think I have finally taught them how to close the doors without slamming them.

Which brings me to the first of our major changes in our classroom this year. Last year I had a student side and a teacher side. Our rooms face each other and make one giant room. I had the computer, the lockers, the big worktable, etc. all on one side. No bueno. Everything got separated out this year. It was too distracting all in one space.

More soon…

 

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First Things First.

Gotta give presents.

 Gotta take pictures.

Gotta celebrate grandpa.

Gotta have some laughter.

SO, when it was 8:30 and time to begin our first day of school, instead of some lame ringing a bell joke, I yelled, “alright who is ready to get educated and become less stupid?”.  My 13 year old belly laughed. Mission accomplished.

The first couple of weeks is a bit tricky. People need to remember routine and how to sit still and how to stop talking. The baby…oh the baby needs to learn to stop screaming. Not a cry kind of screaming, just a “Hey, I am here” or a “Hey, I want that thing over there NOW” kind of scream. While I start with main subjects (math, language arts, and Bible), I will slowly introduce the remainder of the subjects beginning next week. This gives everyone a chance to acclimate a bit.

While said toddler was screeching like a wild banchee, sporting the remainder of his breakfast on his face and a dirty diaper on his bum (ten minutes after school started), and my oldest and third child were fighting…I had a moment of ugh. A moment of question and doubt, when I envisioned what the kids would be experiencing if they were at a school-school. These moments come from time to time and it’s o.k. I’ve learned that it is part of the drill. They would be happy there and they would flourish. There would be things that they would love and things that they would not. As in every situation, there is good and bad. You’ve gotta roll…

If they were there and not here. We would miss here, very much, because here rocks too.

Sometimes, the thing is, I think I just love everything too much. I promise you that I have spent time longing to live in some upscale modern loft with exposed brick walls, great big pipes, cement floors all highlighting some awesome chandelier that’s hanging in front of a floor to ceiling window that is framing the hustle and bustle of the city beneath it. I would wear pencil skirts and stilettos with a baby in a high end stroller, while I strolled to the market for dinner. The very next day I am longing to sit on a wrap around porch looking out at a sparkling creek rushing in front of my red barn. Big giant gorgeous trees are everywhere, my dozen babies are playing, and I? I am rocking in my chair taking it all in while my fresh apple pie is baking in the oven. There is a slight breeze, the chickens are clucking…. I could go on and on. I’m a bit of a dreamer.

* It is important to note that God is resting on His holy couch on day seven of creation week. Hence the gold color.

So, in reality. My day wraps up. My husband arrives home at lunch to bring me a caffeine free Diet Coke from Panera, as is ritual on the first day of school. I watch as my kids all smother him at the door with hugs, towel snaps, and kisses. I love this life the most. It’s my real and my present and I am sure blessed.

 

 

 

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