Thursday, June 23, 2011

Homeschool Workbox System

If you are new to my blog (or not) you need to know that we are still a work in progress. I have once again implemented something new that I hope will help with my chronic lack of organization. I had read about the workbox system a while back but it looked way to structured and involved for us. Now that I have a better understanding how customizable homeschooling is, I am giving it a try!

I rearranged the school room last night and moved all of our bookshelves onto one wall and the desk over to in front of the window. Yes, I know I have one weird little one, but until I can get another big one it will have to do.

The little one is actually perfect for the girls to have 6 boxes each. I used $1 shoe boxes I got at Walmart. They aren't quite big enough to put the larger books and papers in without having to fold them a bit, but I already had them and they work well enough.

I plan on using these labels as soon as our printer ink arrives. Wouldn't you know that I ran out today when I was all excited about printing and getting this done. We follow a block schedule of sorts with some days having certain subjects and others having different ones:

Social Studies

Lapbook on current science subject



Cursive Practice

We would also do daily reviews for Latin and daily read alouds. Because our daily schedule varies so much, I plan on using velcro dots on the back of the labels. This will allow me to change them up each day and I think add an element of excitement with not having the same subject order each day. When you look at the schedule it doesn't seem like I have done many fun things, but Weaver actually incorporates many hands on activities, as do the lapbooks. I also plan on randomly letting them skip worksheets in favor of a themed activity.

Here are some pros and cons that I have come up with. I hope they help you decide if this might work for you and your child.


Allows child to work more independently.

May reduce stress as the child knows exactly what is expected of them.

Helps keep parent organized and eliminates the last minute scramble of finding supplies.

I have been scouring the internet for ideas and am overwhelmed by the number of ways this system can be organized.


Finding the supplies can be expensive depending on what is used.

Requires planning and restocking of the boxes nightly.

Takes space, though this can be minimized through some creative thinking (see below).

There are as many ways to customize workboxes as there are homeschooling families. From using files to the shoeboxes that we used, you can do what works best for your family!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Versitile Blogger Award

I don't usually participate in these but thought that it would be a fun way to get to know some new bloggers. Thank you Jenny!

The rules of the award are:
Thank the giver.
Tell seven things about yourself.
Award fifteen bloggers with the award.

Seven things about myself (in no particular order):

1. I am chronically unorganized. I want to be organized, but just can't seem to get there.
2. I'm not good with activities that require long term commitments. Something always seems to get in the way. We do our activities in short bursts. It just works better for us.
3. I absolutely can not stand the look and feel of wet bread to the point where I won't even run the disposal with bread in it.
4. My mom met my husband on the internet and then introduced us.
5. I love watching Discovery Channel type documentaries.
6. I don't like cake. I never have. My mom tells me I licked all the icing off my cupcakes from as young as 2 and wouldn't eat the cake.
7. My brother and I have "song offs" where we start with one song and then take turns doing others using words or themes from the previous ones. These can sometimes last for hours.

And now for the awards...

1 Sunflower Faith
2 Under the Golden Apple Tree
3 Treasures from a Shoe Box
4 Chris Growing Together
5 Gabes Babes
6 Teaching Tikes
7 Roscommon Acres
8 Homemade School
9 The Attached Mama
10 Education Jump Off
11 The Writing Garden
12 Ben and Me
13 Walnut Acres
14 Cows Don't Moo
15 Somewhat Muddled Musings

TOS Review Crew


I am excited to announce that I have been chosen to write for the TOS Review Crew this year!
I can not wait to take the voyage and share what we get to try out. Visit the TOS Crew Blog and take a look at the vendors already signed up for this year!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Currclick Back at the Beach Sale!


It's time for another Currclick Sale! Hundreds of curriculum and lapbooks at 40% off or more, plus freebies! Here are a few of my favorite finds.

Hands of a Child Alaska Lapbook

Simple Schooling Let's Learn About Bugs Lapbook

Amphibians Copy Work

Dolphin Animal Unit Study

This sale lasts through June 30th. If you are having trouble finding the freebies through the scavenger hunt you can Like Currclick on Facebook for helpful hints from other Currclick lovers.

Friday, June 17, 2011

There is Something About Children...

There is something about your first born. Holding your baby, your first baby girl, for the first time. Knowing that from then on out things would never be the same. Knowing that this moment, would never happen again. You would never be a parent, for the first time, ever again. Terrified, excited, humbled, not really understanding all the hard work that was about to start. Wondering what kind of parent you would be. Wondering how you would ever find space in your heart for another.

But there is something about your second born. She squeezes her way into your heart and finds that space you thought wasn't there. You realize that you can experience the same amazing joy, though different, a second time. You watch as she is doted on by an older sibling and you pray and hope that they will always be this close. You begin to wonder how you will find time for both, but you do. And even though you never really got that "alone" time with the second one, you know that she is perfectly content being number two. She gets a special place because she not only gets to be a little sister, but a big one as well.

And there is something about your last born. He got the honor of being both the baby and the brother. Holding your prince in your arms, looking at his tenderness and knowing that you are responsible for teaching him how to be a man. There is something about knowing that he will be your last. The last first cry, the last first word, the last first step...

Sometimes I have moments like these, when I am overwhelmed with the joy and responsibility placed on me by God. To raise children is all at once amazing and daunting. I can imagine few jobs that I feel more blessed to have. I am honored and humbled that God has graced me with children. Every spilled glass, every scraped knee, and every broken heart, I hope I never take for granted. There is something about children that reminds you how blessed you really are.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Mom I'm Bored Jar

If there are any two words that I dislike hearing they are "I'm Bored". Despite the overwhelming number of toys that my children have, the big back yard complete with trampoline and playground, the numerous art supplies and their siblings, my children never seem to have anything to do.

This could be the most amazing idea I have ever seen. The I'm Bored Jar. There are so many variations of things you can do with this that it makes it the perfect customizable summer idea! I sat the girls down and we came up with a list of about 50 different "I'm bored activities". I will have them pull a card and do each activity for 30 minutes. Once the card is drawn I will move it out of the box until all of the other cards are drawn.

Here is our list of I'm Bored Activities. Feel free to use it :)

Make a Puppet
Have a Puppet Show
Blow Bubbles
Write a Book
Write a Letter
Read a Book
Play Outside
Play Stuffed Animals
Dress Up
Finger Paint
Draw a Picture
Play Store
Chore (x's 5)
Snack Time
Go to Neighborhood Park
Paint Toenails
Computer Time
Play Doh
Tea Party
Simon Says
Play Animals
Science Experiments
Window Markers
Scavenger HuntSoccer
Mud Pies
Bake with Mama
Music Band
Tinker Toys
LegosPattern Blocks
Write in Journal
Collect Bugs
Build a Pillow Fort
Make a Bracelet
Ride Bike
Sidewalk Chalk
Water Guns
Make a Movie
Board Game
American Girl Dolls
Water Slide
Nature Walk
Hide and Seek
Leap Frog
Follow the Leader
Take a Bubble Bath
Work a Puzzle
Dot to Dot
Word Search

You will notice some of these are outside but I thought that limiting them to 30 minutes at a time would help with avoiding sunburns and heat exhaustion. You will also notice that I have snuck in 5 chore cards, hehe. We will probably add to these as we think of other fun activities. If you have any ideas for us please feel free to let me know!

I'm Bored Box: Scavenger Hunt

Picture Credit

It is 100F today. Needless to say we are stuck indoors most of the day due to high UV ratings. That is pretty much the norm for Texas summers and this year, it seems for spring too. With our outdoor time limited to early morning and evening time, that gives us a lot of time cooped up in the house. That, as you are probably aware, can lead to some cranky kids. So today, to break up the monotony of the day I made this I'm Bored Box. One of our activities is a Scavenger Hunt. The girls LOVED this activity and it kept us occupied for about 45 minutes as they read and solved each clue!

Here are the clues I made. They may not work in your house but there are sites like this one (thanks Monica!) that have more clues and even some picture clues for younger ones.

My legs are made of wood and top is of the same, your second clue is here if you want to finish this game. (Table, Chairs or Desk)

Sometimes when I am sleepy I go lay down my head. Your next clue can be found under a ___________on the bed. (Pillow)

To find your next clue add the numbers and walk up that many stairs.
4+3= (7)

You will have a SWINGing good time finding the next clue! (Swing)

That took you long enough, but this time I will let it SLIDE. (Slide)

You are doing really well and you have almost reached the end. To find the final clue look where we put the mail that we want to send. (Mail Box)

Yay You have done it, just one more clue to solve! Use these letters to find out what your surprise is!


__ __ __ __ __ __ __

Change it around to fit your home or re-do it completely with your own clues. Teach reading, math, logic, reasoning, critical thinking, sequencing, and team work all in one fun simple activity!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Willow Bend Mall Summer Fun Thursdays

The Shops at Willow Bend Presents Summer Fun Thursdays in June & July
The Shops at Willow Bend

Children and parents / caregivers are invited inside the cool, out-of-the-sun environment at the center to participate in free activities. The Shops at Willow Bend has filled eight afternoons with fun performances; each one is unique, inventive and sure to capture a child's imagination. The schedule includes:

All Summer Fun Thursdays begin at 1:00 PM and will be held in Grand Court (lower level near Neiman Marcus).

•Thursday, June 9: Vocal Trash. A Stomping Sensation. Back by popular demand, this high-octane stage group provides an afternoon of music, dance, comedy and audience participation just for kids. Like a variety show with Broadway flair, Vocal Trash will present Street Show, an electrifying show for children and adults that features acapella harmonies and industrial ‘Stomp-style’ drumming.
•Thursday, June 16: Wacky World of Professor Brainius. Two parts brainy and one part zany, Professor Brainius fills an hour with laughs and learning. The afternoon with Professor Brainius includes: Experiments, sing-a-longs and activities that require audience participation and hands-on fun.
•Thursday, June 23: Interactive Kids Exstravaganza. The fun begins right from the start with a live show starring a party host who from the opening of the show will lead the audience in exciting and interactive songs and activities from their favorite television shows. Followed by an appearance by one of your child’s favorite costume characters.
•Thursday, June 30: James Wand Secret Agent Magic Show. James will tell kids all about his exciting adventures as a secret agent magician. Along the way, they hear about his evil enemy, Dr. No-No and join James on an adventure around the world! With wonderful magic tricks, hilarious comedy and interactive entertainment, James Wand keeps the kids laughing and cheering throughout this high energy show.
•Thursday, July 7: David Chicken Live Show Spectacular. A heart-pounding, floor-stomping, jump-out-of-your-seat event that’s fun and healthy. David Chicken, a talented singer-songwriter will lead the audience through a high-energy, interactive performance filled with creative movement, motivational messages and general hilarity. Named ‘Best of Big D’ by D Magazine, the singer invites members of the audience on stage to sing, play musical instruments and be a star. Everyone’s invited to join the fun and learn to scackle!
•Thursday, July 14: Comedy Magic Show by Todd McKinney. Todd McKinney is one of the best magicians for kids in the Central Texas area. His high energy magic shows offer original and amazing magic, join-in-fun and audience participation for children of all ages.
•Thursday, July 21: Barnum 200 Birthday Bash, presented by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® is hosting a birthday party and the guest list includes you! Join Ambassadors of Laughter, Slappy and Monday, as they celebrate the birthday of P.T. Barnum, the founder of the Greatest Show On Earth®, at the Barnum 200 Birthday Bash. Step right up, test your circus skills, and laugh at the hilarious antics of the clowns prior to the circus coming to American Airlines Center at the end of July.
•Thursday, July 28: Safari Sam is Calling All Planet Protectors. Join Safari Sam for a day of singing and dancing as we learn how to be “GREEN”. This show will teach all of us how we can help to save our environment. Children of all ages will find themselves dancing to funky music, and singing songs. This is a HIGH ENERGY family fun event. Followed by an appearance from the Berenstain Bear characters, Brother Bear & Sister Bear.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Lego Lesson Plans

My kids have buckets of them and we can never seem to have enough, I vaccuum them up by the dozens and my son likes to collect the little yellow heads and leave them in piles on the floor. What am I talking about? Lego of course! Legos are a wonderfully diverse manipulative that kids think are toys(wink wink). Besides the hours of fun provided by these simple plastic bricks, there are also hours of learning to be had! Here are some fun Lego lesson plans and educational activities I found.

Build a windmill and learn all about windmill architecture and renewable energy.

Center of mass-This activity explores the concept of 'center of mass.' It gives students a hands-on, discovery-based way to understand one of the most fundamental concepts in physics.

Use Legos to study geography.

Build a Lego boat and study bouyancy with this fun activity.

This can you build it? Lego lesson plan teaches cooperation and problem solving as one student describes the pieces needed to build an object as the other builds it.

Lego Math

Finally, my favorite Lego find so far is this Lego Lapbook!

For more ideas for Lego lesson plans visit Lego Eduction.