Monday, July 7, 2014

Homeschool with littles in a shoebox.... AND Currclick Giveaway

   Many people ask "how do you do it?" Honestly , everyday is a new set of challenges and I adapt weekly as needs and skills change. By skills I do not mean spelling or reading , I mean stacking, climbing, getting lids unscrewed and zippers unzipped. While it is wonderful to see your little one learning new tricks it is exhausting.
  There have been some great posts and pictures over the past few months of inspirational learning spaces that are straight from a magazine. Then I wipe the drool  snap back to my reality , put on my big girl panties and do what I do best. Make it work.
  Our make it work space is a cottage under 700 sqft. I have three growing boys, Lovie is 9 the Lion is 5 and NoNo is almost two. We are stacked to the ceiling and every room is multi purpose. I have done a slide show My Cottage in earlier blog. (side note here,...the bathroom has a ceiling again!) We are usually under construction some where in our home as it is OLD.
                                                                       STORAGE
   I love to use show off or clear bins with lids for EV-ER-Y THING. It is so much easier to find things when in neatly labeled containers. You can see what in it, yes but labels look great and help the kids learn to recognize words. Having a lid keeps dust and the other unwanted, crumbs, spills and yes....bugs. We do live in the woods so ants,..beetles,...lizards, treefrogs, and most recently a RACOON found it 's way in. Crazy I know but it is MY crazy life and I own it to the fullest. I am in the process of moving less desirable items paint, glitter glue, little buttons and all the good stuff, to higher shelves and keeping the stuff under three foot more friendly for NoNo.  My paint drawers will become Montessori type one for each continent, then switch out to match themes brothers are studying.
                                  These are bulletin board stars we laminated and sharpied
                                                             Kids Room Toy Storage
                                             School Room Craft Goodies and Manipulatives
                                             Small post-it Labels with some scotch tape
     I also use this on my three ring binders to mark spines, it can be changed easy as needed
                                                                   WORKSPACE
   Pub height tables are the way to go. Reason one little hands can just grab everything, (until they learn to climb the stools) I do not have to bend over low tables and can easily stand and move between kids. We have one in the school room closet area of which the dreaded sock basket hides. One in the living room that I use a lot for my laptop to hook to TV.  This is a great way to do group lessons online. We love brain pop, and just got a free trial to discovery streaming (very useful) and enjoy an occasional live class with Mrs P over at currclick. The front porch is also home to a four top pub table this is where they enjoy to eat outside and do real messy stuff.  A tall workstation is in the plans for the bedrooms legos do not have to be guarded so carefully.


                                                     Books, Books, Books, and BOOKS
We have four large floor to ceiling cases that look like hammock's in the living room/master suite. For now they keep them organized and off the floor. Why do they sell bookcases that are not intended to hold books??  I keep teaching resource's like reproducible and manuals in the school room and have come up with a master filing system that I use. For our books,my teachers books,..the boys folders my black box of PDF's and soon my pinterest boards will use this as well. Main folders Science, History, Geography, Language arts, (I include music and art here for now.) and math. Then in to subfolders so science has zoology, botany, anatomy, earth space, physical science and in our home marine science gets it's own nook. It has been and will always be a work in progress, but working well. I have made folders for myself that are masters  with tittle lists and photo copied table of contents when needed. Then I can easily find and USE the resource's I have been squirreling away. Ever bought the same book twice or done a unit and realized you forgot something cool.
                       No I did not clean for this pic. This s real life I almost always have laundry piled on the couch/bed to fold. As long as the clean stack is bigger than the dirty we are good. How to keep up house hold chores,..you don't. BUT I will share my best laid plans for that in another post......after I fold the clothes LOL

I hope you have found some inspiration in my ramblings and are empowered to make it work with what you have. I still dream of the huge 20x18 wreck room with room to display and play. Until then  will continue to strive in my role as "director of creative resource's" with what I have and be thankful that my children do get to grow up together.
  I would love to see your space, and hear ideas you may have. Share a comment below and link up to follow. I will be giving away a 20.00 Giftcard to Currclick.  (we do a random hat draw so be sure to follow) Currclick is  having a pay what you want sale for just two more days,.so stock up what you can and wishlist a few goodies incase you win! We will do hat pull at end of the month.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Used Curriculum Sale. Have fun saving!

All of my items will be shipping included anywhere in the continental US. Pay pal only. Payment with in 24hrs. You can contact me for questions below or by email to arrange payments. Starinamason@aol.com



Winter Promise http://winterpromise.com/catalog-2/  you can get full info on curriculum and view book lists that go with each. The kids loved the readers so much we are keeping them. I am selling the guides from one program. Animals is sold Thank you.

This set above Retails 130.00 I am asking just 55.00 and will pay media rate shipping with in continental US. paypal only.   
SOLD
 
I also have the Winter Promise  Hideaways In History this guide book also has some of the L.A. materials, handwriting masters (missing a few letters) that include basic alphabet,full sentences, and a spelling list. These are scheduled in. I will include a set of phonics cards which can be found in catalog and a copy of the phonics book Jump right in to reading. The phonics book does have many pages in pencil and one or two with crayon. I am just throwing this in as maybe you would want to erase or use some of the many pages for extra practice. This set will include as well History on the spot. This is a book of hands on activities that go with. Again the literature selection that they have chosen along with the history spine Lets hideaway in history are so great we will be keeping.





I will ship this media rate any where in the continental US for a total of  50.00 dollars it retails new for 80.00 and that does not include any of the L.A. materials.
 Brand new Brain Quest grade 1 workbook. It covers many subjects with nice large full color pages that are non glossy ....so easy to erase! 10.00 and that will include shipping in cont. US.
 Will include this disc for FREE with first order of ANY item I have listed!!! It has 10 activities that cover things like volcanos and plate tectonics'.
 Brain quest 2 card sets total 1500 questions, great for a road trip. See picture for corner damage at edges. 10.00 gets it to you. Same as above cont. US and pay pal only I have the 1st grade,...K,..and PK sets any set the 10 dollar deal!

 Jonathan Park, this is from a creation based radio show. Website has activities and guides http://www.jonathanpark.com/  We love this series and bought a lot of the entire collection. So this one was extra, the case does have damage. It is cracked at the binding edge. Discs inside are great condition.  SOLD

I will be adding Abeka flash cards from the phonics k -3 many sets , blends, clue words, and the K-4 set letter picture cards. Letters and sounds test book Abeka 2. Usborne childrens encyclopedia Usborne Atlas of world history and a ton of CD roms that work with window XP AND more!! We have been busy on the shelves and then took a break to bird watch,..killed the camera battery. Will load some more pics tonight.
OK starting round 2 with request SOLD ALL ABEKA CARDS



The b set has some curve, and a few cards have a little rubber band stuck to them, we had a hot summer. LOL They are all smoke free, outdoor pets only clean cards. 10.00 a set.  
 Math 1-2 from school zone 128 pages including answer key, includes CD rom we use same disc w/win7. Screen shots in second picture 8.00
 Abeka letters and sounds test book grade 2    5.00   OBO  not sure what they sell for this would include shipping.
 Teachers guide only again 5.00 OBO
 this is a book that went with Winter promise ancients but could be used in bible unit MOH or story of the world.  One pencil mark on front page a little shelf wear. 8.00

 This is the table from above book. Below DISC NOT INCLUDED I have no clue where it went, it was an online version of book. 5.00

 ONE HUNDRED hot dots addition cards only one has a some marks,..shoe?? baby has been pulling stuff out quicker than I can keep up. This is the addition and more addition 2 sets total 15.00
 Math 2nd grade texas issue, two workbooks larger is full color glossy print will come with paper clips I had marked section then used something else. Paid 30.00 for set will sell for 15.00
 K-12 grade 2 text, if you have an account (or free trial ;0 ) you can print the worksheet pages from site.  8.00
 Below is language two text books one unused workbook (2) would need book one again can be printed from site. You would need readers most stories could be found at library. 15.00 This is a heavy set.
Later I will be adding in a bulk lot of CD roms for win XP that span from PK to 1st grade for reading and math.
 
 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Our Cottage


This is a slide show I made for the Ellen show. I have entered a contest in hopes of winning a home improvement contest. Yes my home is in need of many repairs and we would love to add on. Our deepest desire is to build a new home on the back portion of our property. I have drawn dozens of plans over the years as our family ahs grown and needs have changed. I know that will happen in God's time not mine and continue to move forward in gratefulness with what I have.
  I wanted to share here to show you that YOU CAN homeschool in any amount of space. In this video you will catch a glimpse of how we convert rooms daily to meet needs. Our living room is a library, master suite and dining room. The boys have collapsible cots to make room for play space as our rooms are about 10 x 12 at greatest. The second bedroom is a large closet/schoolroom. I do love the one closet idea, makes putting clothes away easy. Our home is cozy, colorful and sometimes INSANE! At this very moment the boys have cots in the living room with us,....we have an evening visitor in the form of a raccoon. So for the third night I have closed off the back of the house and set out a trap. Butterscotch seems to lure him in. I had to glue it down with gorilla glue tonight. Just another fun day in the woods.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Bible Fun and Freebies


Here are some great recourse's I have found in my search for a fun inexpensive way to turn on my kids Jesus light.
  We use to watch a veggie tales with lunch everyday and on those days I noticed such a difference in my kids. Veggie tales is catchy cute and fun for younger ages and my kids did make the connections between these and stories we had read from their children's bible.

I had looked at other videos. Nest entertainment makes a great set, but way out of our budget. I finally found What's in the Bible. SURPRISE made by the same people that makes veggie tales. This must be great. At first while the kids loved it, I thought it was very cheesy and not sure how much this was teaching. I decided to do a download of the first episode (the cheapest way to TRY) again I thought what is this! The kids were actually learning real bible history and enjoying it. It did not go deeply into each book as I had hoped. Once I put aside my expectations I realized it was so much more,..and this only inspired my little guys to open back up there favorite bible and re read. My son was reading genesis to his brothers last night. I just love these moment's. What was even better?


    FREE stuff!!!! I received an email after download that was good for a FREE month of Jelly Telly TV.  I am so glad I decided to take a look. I found more FREE episodes (13 in all) of What's in the bible. They have a lot of  creation science stuff on here to.  A FREE weekly letter with downloads called the bloom that studies a new verse each week and ...yes more lots of downloadable/printable goodies to go with the What's in the bible series. I knew I had to share! The folks at Jelly TV have given me a code so you can get a FREE month also. JELLYTELLY1 is the code to get your free month. Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

Here are some samplings from our shelfs we plan to use over the summer. I will come back and update from time to time.
 
A nice blog to get even more FREE bible themed pintable's. This gal has put in a lot of work and is very generous to share.  http://thecraftyclassroom.com/CraftHistoryOverview.html
   

Monday, April 21, 2014

Mapping out your Homeschool needs

No one starts the homeschool journey in the same place,so its hard to give specific directions. The amount of variables per family are as numerous as the choices available. So while it is good to get advice from others to narrow it down, the only way to find what works is trial and error. This may seem daunting but it can be enjoyable. Homeschooling to me has become a journey not a destination. You don't need to have it all perfectly laid out planned to get started,...chances are a week in you will change it up anyway.
             Learning Style
  A great blog I found to help understand learning styles is   http://dirtbetweenyourtoes.blogspot.com/ look under getting started. Once you understand different learning styles you can start to classify your child or families needs. It may even be a mix. Ours is a mix of Charlotte Mason, Montessori, and we even use computer, and Tv a lot too. I DVR PBS shows and them plug them in when the theme fits. We like unit studies, and my kids enjoy crafting so lapbooking has been fun. Just about any curriculum can be tweaked to fit different styles of learning as needed per child or subject.
           Curriculum
  I suggest getting catalogs from a few places. Sonlight, (love this for science)My Fathers World, Heart of Dakota, Winter promise, GeoMatters, Timberdoodle(currently using gallop the globe for world geo) Tapestry of grace, These are unit study or themed type programs that blend history, science, literature, sometimes geography and art. These can be used with multiple age groups. One of the reasons they make my tops list. The other reason these stood out is they cycle through history themes chronologically. Meaning your children will go back through each usually three times if you start using from early1st or K. Each time at a different level. I have heard this called bus stop approach when teaching multiple ages. As a child goes through for the second and third time the material that is duplicated for them would be a review while intro or intermediate for younger siblings. The older child would then continue with assignments that dig a little deeper. Usually the upper grades are working much more on their own and a lot more reading and writing involved.  I  also use these catalogs often for book lists and then just get books at the library. While you cruise through these catalogs keep in mind one box does not fit all, a little here a bit from there is just fine. Ebay, Abe books, Amazon and homeschool share can save you a lot if buying used. I have found rainbow resources to be the most competitive and well rounded when purchasing new.
           The Basics
  You usually will need to add in math and phonics when doing unit studies and really these are the basic required skills. I have found Abeka, and Horizons to be popular choices and they come with teachers manuals if you need support. We did use Abeka in early K but found as a box (meaning 6 subjects) just to much seat work. Very thorough and not a bad place to start if you need to be coached through in the beginning.       
  What has worked best so for my family was workbooks from schoolzone, no teachers manuals and no real instruction. Just basic worksheets for basic skills. Full color matte paper, easy to erase but engaging. The "big" books they carry cover multiple levels and come with a Cd rom for computer games. I found this a great reward tool. 
  For math we use place value blocks and other manipulatives like they you in "math you see". You can always use beans, cars, coins, skittles, or cereal. I have found edible props in math get some attention.
 When it come to phonics/reading and getting hands on I have found a few games at Oriental t
Trading C.O. that have worked well. they are a great source of classroom type goodies. A lot of things are sold in bulk so if you cab find a buying buddy even greater savings. Scholastic has a huge selection of word family books. You can make word wheels, or slides on your own as well.
   I have found with my children the more senses you can involve the better they retain info. Anytime you can get bodies moving, food involved, crafts, or little outings really brings lessons alive. This is one of the great freedoms in home school. You don't have to be at home. Even a blanket in the yard or tent in a room can add excitement for a child.

                  No Commitment
    I love print as you go. Lapbooks, worksheets, cut and paste, Montessori cards, and color pages. I tend to find freebies on various websites just by searching topic + free printable. (I will have a website/blog list of favorites soon and will update here then) I also value T.P.T. (teachers pay teachers) and Curr-click both sites offer downloadable PDF's to cover almost anything, some freebies and great sales if you sign up for newsletters and follow sellers. It is useful to have an external memory box, (about 30 bucks) A good printer and a laminator. These tools come in just behind a library card on my must have list.

                               Little Hands
   For children that are not ready for a "curriculum" per say. Child who may not read or write or just not show interested in sitting still with a pencil. It is never to early to start. Learning is often found in the most simple daily tasks. While involving children may make this task less simple LOL. Ask anyone who has baked with a three year old! Involving children in things helps not only prepare them for the real world, but establishes an early foundation in the parent as teacher role. If you are short on ideas here or need some spark Williamson publishing has a great books. LittleHands  ( This is an Amazon affiliate link to a book list. If you order anything from Amazon by using this link I will earn credits. Please consider changing your current Amazon bookmark to this page above. It is a simple way to help a Mom out. I have another Mom's affiliate bookmarked for my shopping as well. :)

                 Legal
    Legal requirements can be found per state at http://www.hslda.org/ There are many support groups online and you may be lucky to find a good local group.

             Attitude is Everything
    Support is a great start. Patience and forgiveness for yourself, friends and family, not just your kids but other family members who might just not get it. Everyone has different reasons for this adventure. You can, but do not need to explain yourself to everyone. Wear your badge with pride even if you are still in sweats and have not seen makeup in a week,..or month.
  We will all hit hard times and go seeking the nearest bus stop to send them away. Things are not going to be perfect, what did your last pintrest project REALLY look like? No amount of space, books, technology, degrees or even desire will do it alone if your attitude is not there. You and your child are both entering a new world. Together you will have ups and downs. Its called learning not knowing. Enjoy the journey!! 
   I would love to hear about your successes, failures (they can be quite funny in retrospect) and help you find answers to questions you may have. Thanks for stopping in and be sure to sign up for email alerts. I will be doing several giveaways this summer, just another way to pay it forward. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Brain Pop Giveaway!

We have been using Brain Pop and Brain Pop JR. in this house for a few years. If you do not know about Moby you are missing out! They have great videos,games and educator links for help in lesson planning. Topics cover all subjects, science,history,math and language arts. This giveaway is for a free month to both Brain pop and Brain pop Jr. Even if you are not a homeschool Mom this would be a great summer tool to keep the wheels turning.
  The boys love the silly jokes and animated movies. I love being able to trust what the kids are watching with out hovering. No adds or links to outside sites. Great for all ages.
  I have not figured out how to launch that fancy copter yet LOL so we will do a name pull from all who link up to follow my blog. 

Big Questions

I am a homeschool Mom with boys ages 9 and under. When my son came to me last year with very big questions, big bang vs 7 days and Darwinism vs creation I was very taken back. He was listening to what I was teaching, and it was coming from two worlds and I did not know how to connect them. While we were reading the bible and matching stories geographically and even historically things seemed to lone up well, (at first look) but when it came to science??? So many gaps. I quickly answered well god was a scientist like you and perhaps God and his lab made a big bang? However when on an egg hunt at at church he mentioned to another mom that Adam and Eve could have been apes. I giggled inside at how he had formed this idea, the fact he was so willing to open the conversation and that in his brilliant Asperger's world he had no idea how offensive this was. She did not hear him clearly and shrugged him off with the typical oh uh huh ok.....OR atleast that hat I had hoped. However this took me to the drawing board looking at what curriculum we had been using, what did I want to teach him and more importantly what did I believe?
   While I did attend various churches growing up, I am not nor have I ever been strongly connected to any religion. I am believer in one simple idea there is good and bad, life is a balance and I will always walk in the light. There is life after this world and we were put her to prosper. I teach my children they have a light in their heart, we call it our Jesus light. When ever you are in need all you have to do is invite Jesus in your heart,and let your light shine bright. We say blessings at dinner and pray for friends in need. I was baptized by a hairdresser, (true story) and my children were christened by my grandfather. This was however not enough anymore. The questions my children have deserved to be answered and we were going to find the answers together.
    In many months of digging and reading we came to adopt a young earth theory and focus on creation. We came across many great products, answers in genesis,the zoo and aquarium guides http://www.answersingenesis.org/store/product/zoo-guide/  Exploring creation series from fullbright and apologia, these were a great addition to the shelfs. http://www.apologia.com/index.asp?proc=pg&pg=4
My older son who loves exploring classification of creatures enjoys the format for research.
     We also pulled a few DVDs Incredible Creatures that defy Evolution, and while studying dinosaurs last summer with sonlight science we added in Dragons or Dinosaurs. This movie sent us digging on into the world archeology and the digging for the truth series. Another wonderful tool was the Johnathan Park series. http://www.jonathanpark.com/It is audio and was unsure how the kids would take it,....what a great way to get some quiet! They actualy have to sit in listen. Great for lunch time
     I am know researching animated bible stories and have a few up my sleeve, so keep your eye out for that!
     Kids are always going to have questions. It does not make us any less qualified when we do not have the answers. I have learned the homeschool is not just something you do,...its is something you grow into as a family. It is the most fabulous journey I could have ever imagined having. Something you hear at my house a lot is "good question!" we write it down in a journal tittled just that and dig in right away,when time allows or save for when the dull drums hit.