Monday, May 5, 2014

Almost done!

We are more than half way through this school year and getting ready to start shopping for next year's curriculum.  It has definitely been a long year. We've had some successes, failures and discoveries but have come out victorious thus far. My 13 year old will be taking 8th and 9th grade classes so this will definitely be interesting. I will be keeping official records for her in order to build her transcript. I am so glad I picked up Setting the Records Straight How to Craft Homeschool Transcripts and Course Descriptions for College Admission and Scholarships  by Lee Binz. She really gets into the meat and potatoes of the whole process.   My 9 and 10 year old will both be in 5th grade next year with the exception of a few subjects. My 7 year old is already working at a 2nd grade level so by the time I begin purchasing curriculum , I will have to assess her to see what level she is working in. My 5 year old is still working at a kindergarten level. and will probably still be doing so for the first half of next year. We are still focusing on language development which I will go into in another post. My 1 1/2 year is absorbing everything like a little sponge and is already counting to 10, and can identify primary and some secondary colors.
                               My major focus for the following year will be writing and the sciences. I am still debating on what science curriculum to use. I have been using the Janice VanCleave science series but I think we are ready for something different. I am also looking for something that is already put together. I am finding that I have less time to piece things together. I'd much rather invest in a well made curriculum. I  have been eyeing Real Science 4 Kids for a few years. I like how they introduce scientific concepts that would generally be designated for the higher grades in the elementary level.  It spans from grades k-12 with textual and online support.  I will be searching extensively and look forward to sharing our final decisions.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Mandala Matching Activity

Visual discrimination is an important skill for reading and math skills. Children use visual discrimination to distinguish letters and numbers apart from each other. I created this activity for my younger children to help sharpen their ability to pay attention to detail. I created a set in color and in black and white for more of a challenge. You can download the sets below.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Apples Matching Activity


This set can be use to teach the following:
  • color recognition
  • color words
  • number recognition
  • number words
  • quantity
  • number order
  • visual discrimination
  • matching

I created these to introduce numbers 1-10 and basic primary & secondary colors. I may create a set for numbers 11-20 in the future. You can print out this set by clicking on the link below. I recommend laminating or printing on cardstock for durability.  Feel free to print for your personal or class room use. All content is copyright protected. Do not sell or redistribute. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Busy Bag Counting Activity


My soon to be 5 year old was struggling with number recognition and counting but as of lately he has improved a great deal. I find that he responds well to tactile activity and I'm always looking for fun ways to connect him to the lessons. During my last trip to the Dollar Tree, I found these paper pockets. You usually find these in the backs of library books or in scrapbooking projects. So I whipped up a quick counting activity by writing numbers on the fronts of the pockets and drawing dots on large craft sticks. He can match the sticks with the pockets and he can also line up the sticks from 1-10.  He'll be able to visually see the quantity of dots  increase on the sticks as he lines them up. 
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Friday, February 28, 2014

Fruit and Veggie Sorting Activity


I purchased this set  Learning Resources Fruit and Veggies sorting set on Amazon for Baby G. The children have play food but I wanted a set that was designated during our school time. The set comes with 5 little buckets, 5 fruits/ veggies per color and color labels to stick to the buckets. Baby G loves playing with them. We go over the colors and names on a regular basis. 




To extend the use of the fruits and veggies, I created matching cards for each fruit and vegetable. I plan on using these in a variety of ways. The easiest task will be to match 5 fruit of different colors. I will place the mix in a basket and she will place each corresponding fruit/veggie on their card. Once she has mastered this activity, I will make it a bit harder by displaying cards of the same color. She will have to use her critical thinking skills to differentiate the fruit and veggies by shape and characteristics. She will learn one to one correspondence, visual discrimination and use critical thinking skills while having fun at the same time. 
You can download the printables free here 


DIY Color Sorting Box

My 20 month old is a very inquisitive young lady. She's absorbing everything around her and learning very quickly. I attribute this to all of the siblings she has surrounding her teaching her all of the time. I often hear them singing the alphabet song or counting to her during casual play and she absorbing it all like a sponge. We've started teaching her colors and so far she has red , yellow and purple down. To make color recognition a fun hands on experience, I made her a color sorting box made out of 1 piece of foam board, packing tape, hot glue and paint samples.


The first thing I did was take a glue stick and glue the paint samples onto the foam board. After that I laid 2 strips of packing tape across the paint samples to preserve them. Once that was done, I started cutting pieces for the back and the diving walls. I didn't take any exact measurements. I made my cuts from sight. To make cutting the foam board easier, I laid it on top of a cutting board and made long deep cuts until the blade went through. After I made my cuts, I started gluing all of the parts with the hot glue gun and that wat it. It took me about 15 minutes from start to finish. 

I couldn't wait to trest it out and it was a  hit. She had fun dropping the buttons in the colored boxes. I plan on getting a lot of use out of this and it only cost me $1.00 to make! Teaching our children doesn't have to break the bank. All it takes is a little love and ingenuity :-) ~Bless~


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

DIY Color Recognition Activity

I created a color sorting activity about a year ago similar to this except the children used clothespins with the color glued on the back. It  is a great activity which improves color recognition and discrimination and fine motor skills (pincer grasp movement.) My 4 old enjoyed this method, however, my 20 month old wanted to pick the glued colors off of the clothespins so I wanted to created the same type of activity but would stand the test of time and toddlers lol. Instead of using clothepins, I resorted to self adhesive velcro dots which are my go to for  PreK diy projects. You can them at any craft store like Joanns, Michaels or A.C. Moore.

I found a seller on ebay that sells them in bulk so you know i was excited about that. 
I created  a simple table using Open Office. It is software similar to Word and has most if not all of the same functions and it's free. I used the table function and created to columns. I split one side into 4 vertical cells and increased the font. You will have to adjust the size to the kind of samples you will be using. After printing them out, I played around  and managed to created 2 cards on sheet. After printing I cropped the cards removing the excess paper. 
After cutting and cropping all of the cards, I started adding the paint samples. I added a little glue to the backs of the sample just to prevent them from sliding under the laminate sleeves.

I proceeded to cut the matching paint samples and prep them for laminating. 

After laminating, I cut out the matching pieces and and squared off the corners because they tend to be sharp if not clipped.
After prepping all of the pieces, I added the velcro dots to the cards and matching pieces. 
This is the finished product!
I had my 4 1/2 yr old test them out and it proved to be a bit of a challenge for him. He had to pay attention to the variation in color especially when it came to the lighter colors. This is a great low cost activity that promotes critical thinking, color discrimination and fine motor skills.






Friday, February 7, 2014

DIY Tabletop Anchor Chart Stand

I really like to incorporate anchor charts in our home instruction, however, i never got around to purchasing a stand to hang the charts. I usually make them and store them away. As my children have grown, especially my oldest three, I have been able to introduce many concepts to them together especially with our unit studies. I decided to downsize my anchor charts from a standard poster size to about 1/3 of that. I'm able to display any vocabulary words or copywork at the table and they are all able to see and copy together. No more copying multiple sheets or running back and forth to the white board. It was very easy to make and very inexpensive. I went to Home Depot and purchased 1 - 1/2" diameter pvc pipe and 6 - 1/2" attachments. it cost me under $4.00 tax included! The pipe was $3.00 and the attachments were around $0.35 each. I cut the top and side frame pieces at 18 inches. I cut 4 8" pieces for the bottom. I initially cut 2 16" pieces thinking that  the parts would slide through the T attachments but they didn't so I cut them in half. They don't have to be that long.  It was very easy cut. i didn't use any special tools. I used a steak knife and cut around the pipe deep enough to weaken the plastic. I was able to make a clean snap after bending the pipe. I want to make a larger one in the future ut tis one will work perfectly for now. 



Thursday, January 23, 2014

Storage For The Interactive Notebooking Foldables

We have been incorporating interactive notebooking in our homeschool for a few years now and we absolutely love it. The children have retained so much information through this method and it's a lot of fun. With 5 children cutting out foldables often, I needed to find a way to keep their cut outs contained without getting mixed up , lost or destroyed so I purchased some folders and protective sleeves. I wish I would have thought of this a lot sooner but better now than never. Each child has a folder with at least 4 sleeves. Each sleeve will hold the foldables that are being used for that subject/ unit. They can pull them out and add them to their notebooks as we move through the lessons. Now I don't have to worry about paper falling out of notebooks and reprinting lost sheets. 


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Balance

                I had to take a break from facebook and all social media for a while. As a black homeschooling mother, I understand the struggle of finding one's place and building a strong foundation while homeschooling. We are taking a step, that in our own communities, is an extreme one. Homeschooling is an endeavor that most associate with middle to upper class white parents so when I meet others like me who are new to or entertaining the thought of homeschooling, I want to do all that I can to help. I've been assisting parents on and offline for years but the most taxing and challenging has been through social media via Facebook, YouTube etc.
                      There hasn't been a day that has gone by where I haven't received an inbox from a parent regarding homeschooling or parenting. It is humbling and indeed an honor that there are others who seek your wisdom but it has been taxing. There are moments where I may not respond to questions or comments right away and people get upset. I don't live on Facebook or YouTube. There are times where I am looking for resources for others when I can be spending that time with my children.  It can be very overwhelming and I had to pull back and reflect on what was going on. There are a select few that I hold dear to my heart but the majority are nothing more than cyber personalities posing, posting and ranting. I have 6 beautiful children and my time belongs to them. If I tell one my children I will read to them as soon as I respond to this inbox than there is a problem.There should never be a time where the superficial supersede the natural. I've come to realize that I can't answer all of the inquiries. Some will have to go through the same trial and error I went through during this journey. There are a select few on Fb that I hold near and dear to my heart. They are  a continuous source of motivations, inspiration and encouragement and I love them like my own brothers and sisters. I truly think that if it weren't for them I would have left fb a long time ago.
                          I've been talking about blogging more for a long time and the time I spend scrolling through my FB newsfeed can and will be converted into blogging time. It's all about balance and making sure that your priorities are in order. Less time with the superficial and more time with the tangible.  ~Bless~
                       

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Binder Storage

Over the years we have accumulated a lot of materials and they can take up a lot of space. I've gone through several changes in an effort to minimize the space our resources take up and this by far is one of the best ways to do that. I saw an idea on Pinterest (which is one of my favorite go to laces for ideas) where a mom added duct tape to lapbooks for easy storage. I took that idea a step further and added duct tape to gallon ziploc bags. I found a 2 pk of decorative duct tape at Big Lots for $3 and a box of 15 bags f or $1.50

. I used a 3 ring zip binder for the storage. I was able to fit all of the preschool  manipulatives that I use for my preschooler and it fits neatly in a crate next to my desk. I was able to eliminate 4 plastic containers thus freeing up more space. I plan on making themed based binders and place all materials in bags that will fit.