Post-it Notes Homeschool Board

Post-it Notes Board

So, have you noticed I’ve been writing about homeschool A LOT lately?

I’m all in, shu-gah! 🙂

I feel like I live and breathe homeschool.

I feel like I’ve got menu planning and cooking under control. Cleaning, too.

Homeschool is our newest adventure and I’m always searching for the best I can buy/give to my daughter.

This is my latest homeschool creation.

I have lots (aka too many) decorative paper pads from Michael’s stores. And I have a laminator and lots of Post-it notes.

Last Friday, I decided to put up 1 Post-it note per subject with a specific activity written on it. I grouped them all together on a wall. SG was in charge of choosing which subject we did until she pulled all of the Post-it’s off of the wall.

It was a hit!

SG loved it because she was “in charge.” I want her to feel some control over her schooling.

It also gives me a glimpse into which subjects she likes best because she chooses those first.

The verdict?

DEAR time and writing are always chosen last because they are her “least favorite.”

DEAR is Drop Everything And Read. She chooses her books, her location, her stuffed animals and I set the timer for 15 minutes. Sometimes 20. She never wants to do it, but here’s the kicker- once she’s set up she loves it! She reads happily in a cozy little spot of her choosing.

DEAR Time

This board was so easy to make. I cut down a 12×12 sturdy decorative piece of paper from one of my paper pads. I used my Scotch laminator to laminate it. I use a magnet to hold it on the fridge. I put my Post-it notes on the board. As we do each Post-it note lesson, I put the note on my lesson planner.

At the end of each lesson, every few lessons and sometimes at the end of the school day, I stop and review the Post-it notes and write in my lesson planner what SG learned that day. (another state requirement)

So there ya have it. My Post-it Notes Homeschool Board. Made from materials on hand. Yay!

Random thought:  This could easily be made into a menu planning board.  Write out meal ideas for the week and pull them off as you make them.  Or a goals and inspiration board.  Or… a honey do list!  I may have to find some manly decorative paper and make the Huzz one!!!  Wouldn’t he just LOVE that… haha!  If I used my smaller Post-it Notes, I could squeeze in more notes for that honey do list.  🙂

Post-it Notes Board 2

The smaller Post-it Notes are perfect if you have more tasks to fit on the board.

Can you think of any other uses for a board like this?  I feel like the possibilities are endless.

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Week 2 of Homeschool and Puppy Chow

 

We have completed our second week of homeschool and already I’ve made big changes.

I’m becoming a student of my daughter.

I’m watching her learn, noting what works well and what doesn’t, and adjusting from there.

We purchased the complete curriculum LIFEPACS from Alpha Omega. It totally spoke to my teacher soul! Small workbooks (called worktexts.) Self tests. Tests. Perfect for me and the work samples I need to keep in her portfolio (another state requirement.)

Not so perfect for my daughter.

She’s okay with it. But after a great first week, the shininess and newness of homeschool wore off and she started to complain. A lot. She was doing worktexts for every subject.

To mix it up, I introduced Five In A Row. It’s a completely different approach to learning. We read a book Five Days In A Row (get it?) and learn and explore through the context of that book. Social studies, science, literature, math, health and art. All through one great read aloud!

I tried FIAR (Five In A Row) this past week and it was a hit! SG didn’t even realize we were working on geography (finding China on a map, locating the Yangtze River, discussing the size of the river, looking at online photos of the actual Yangtze, and discussing the number of people who live by the Yangtze.) We also discussed the fact that her maternal Great Grandmother was just 2 years old when ‘The Story About Ping’ was published and her little eyes shot wide open. We discussed what makes a book a ‘classic.” All on day one of our “row” of the book ‘The Story About Ping.’ She was totally engaged the entire time!

It. Was. Amazing!

We are still using our LIFEPACS. We spent a pretty penny on that set. But instead of their social studies and science being the spine of our learning, I’m going to let FIAR become our spine for those subjects and sprinkle in some LIFEPACS here and there.

I do love our LIFEPACS. We will continue to use the language arts, math and Bible LIFEPACS as the spine for those subjects.

However, I have purchased the first two books in the math curriculum Life of Fred, which I’ve heard so much about! All good, of course!

I plan to introduce Life of Fred next week. I’ll let y’all know how that goes. It looks like a wonderful and fun way to learn math.

Here’s how we ended week two- with a delicious and no bake treat- Puppy Chow!

Puppy Chow

This is my childhood friend’s recipe. I substitute vegan butter and Enjoy Life chocolate chips to make it safe for SG.

This was a fun end to our great week of learning.

Safe Puppy Chow

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick vegan butter
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 bag safe chocolate chips
  • 1 box Crispix cereal
  • 1 box powdered sugar

Directions:

  1. Place vegan butter, peanut butter and chocolate chips in a bowl and microwave in 20 second increments until melted. Stir well.
  2. Put cereal in a large bowl. Pour mixture over Crispix cereal.
  3. Stir until cereal is coated.
  4. Pour in a large grocery bag with a box of powdered sugar.
  5. Shake. Let stand. Shake several times until coated.

Note:  This can easily be made peanut free by substituting with almond butter, Sunbutter or any other peanut butter substitute.  I made it once with Sunbutter and it turned out just fine.

1st Week of Homeschool: A+!!!

Our first week of homeschool is over and done with.

If I were the grading type, and I am… I’d give our week an A+!!! Yes, with three exclamation marks!

When I started with my long range plans, I mapped out a general “we should be in this chapter by midyear….” And then I got really crazy and wrote down exactly how many pages SG should complete per day per subject to reach the goal of finishing the curriculum. Then I read the chill out blogs and erased the page number requirements.  Er, guidelines.

And I did some soul searching and decided it was time to relax. I want our learning time to be enjoyable, fun and full of excitement! Ok, I know not every subject will be super exciting, but I want SG to grow to love learning! I have to take the public school mentality out of my brain, and imagine a cozy, home learning environment.

I am so thankful for all the blogs I’ve read that said to relax, don’t stress and enjoy our learning time together.

People keep writing, “Learning happens all day, throughout the day, in natural environments and through play.” It’s so true. Now that I’m paying attention, I see SG thinking through things and asking questions all day long.

Today at breakfast, SG was talking about the difference in age between the Huzz and me. (Almost 2 years)

“Mom, when you’re 40, will Daddy be 42?”

Yes.

“And when you’re 42, Daddy will be 44?”

Yes.

She would’ve kept going but I was actually writing this post and told her to eat her breakfast. Why did I stop her? I’ve still got so much to learn!!!

There she is, eating breakfast and working on counting by 2’s. Just because she wanted to and has a curious mind. 🙂

(We just finished week 2. I have written about that and it’s coming soon. I’m just behind in posting. I’m so excited to actually find time to blog this school year!)

A Fresh Start

Yesterday my daughter started first grade. We are officially homeschooling.

Last year for kindergarten we did an online public school and it wasn’t a good fit for us. I called it homeschooling, but really, it was public school at home.

We have only schooled for two days and already the change is amazing! Both of us enjoyed our laid back and relaxed learning time. My daughter learned plenty in the past two days and actually enjoyed doing it.

The highlight of her first day? Studying the bible! Be still my heart.

She also enjoyed our read aloud, which was done on our sofa, complete with soft pillows and a cozy blanket.

Last year sucked the joy out of both of us. I never had the energy to write a blog post because I was just plain worn out. We just don’t trust restaurants and I cook every meal my daughter eats. So, between cooking all the time, cleaning, the online school and life in general, I was super frazzled.

And my daughter didn’t like learning last year either.

This morning, day two of our new journey, my daughter walked into the kitchen and exclaimed, “When are we going to start homeschool?!?!”  What a huge change!!!

This year is a fresh start. I have plunged deep into homeschool blogs, Pinterest boards, and curriculum reviews. I have printed and downloaded like a mad woman. I even purchased a laminator! It’s been so much fun preparing for teaching first grade (Again! I’m a former public school teacher. Once upon a time I taught first grade.)

Day one and day two are officially in the books. I can’t wait to see what the next 178 days of first grade holds for us! (My state’s requirements is 180 days of school under our homeschooling option.)

Maybe I’ll have the time to even blog more this year! 🙂

Until later, my friend.

Today is a New Beginning

Kindergarten Stickers

We started homeschool today.

The realization that everything has changed hit me tonight.

And I cried.

And the Huzz stared at me.

And I cried some more.

Because everything has changed.

We chose not to send SG to pre-school for many reasons. I used to be a first grade teacher, so I knew I could equip her for kindergarten. Also, we were not comfortable sending our super contact reactive daughter to preschool.

So, I stayed home with her, which was always our plan.

For five and a half long and beautiful years, we did whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted.

We:

Played

Sang

Danced

Snuggled

Laughed

Shopped

Learned

Cooked

Cleaned

And did I say Shopped… a lot!

And we did so much more, together.

Yes, we can still do those things. Just not whenever we want. I feel a heaviness that that chapter is behind us.

Yes, exciting things are about to happen.

I get to watch our child learn and grow.

But it still didn’t stop the sadness and the tears from falling.

I am NOT the sentimental type so these emotions have taken me by surprise.

I find myself thinking:

“What if I mess this up somehow?”

“How am I going to get everything done that used to take me all week to do?”

“What will our days really be like?”

“Will SG adjust and thrive?”

“How am I going to do this???”

I keep thinking of a sticker I have that says “Choose Joy.”

Choose JOY

I will choose joy.

We will adjust and thrive.

SG will bloom and grow.

We can do this.

Heavenly Father, please fill me with joy, for Your Mercies are new every morning!

*************************************************************************************************************

I’d love to know:
Do you homeschool? Do you send your child(ren) to public school or private school? Please share your back to school stories (especially kindergarten stories) with me below.

Note: I wrote this last night and am posting this a day late. Today was officially our second day of homeschool and SG tested on a first grade reading level! That was such a great ending to day two.

Homeschooling my Preschooler: Easy Paint Chip Sample Games

I have chosen to homeschool SG for preschool this year. I am actually a former public school teacher. Once upon a time in a land far far away from Iowa, I taught first grade. For four years!

Today I’m going to focus on easy games that use paint chip samples. I saw a few pins on Pinterest that used paint chip samples (here on out referred to as PCS). The best thing about PCS are they are FREE! SG randomly collects them when we shop at Lowe’s. It keeps her busy while I browse the actual colors I like.

I had a pile of PCS and started there. A quick trip to the Dollar Tree for a pack of paper clips and clothespins and I was ready to go. I also had Sharpies at home and some stickers. That’s all I needed to make a few easy and cute preschool games.

These games don’t have names. I’ll just make some up right now. 🙂

Game 1: Clip and Count
To Make:
Using a Sharpie, write the numbers 1-10 on ten clothespins. Use 10 PCS and color dots using the Sharpie for each number. One dot for one, two dots for two, etc. We currently focus on 1-10, but you could do 1-20 or counting by 2’s to 10 or 20. Store in a plastic baggie.

Clip & Count

I colored circles with a Sharpie.  Round stickers would also work.

I colored circles with a Sharpie. Round stickers would also work.

To Play:
Mix up the cards and clothespins. Count the dots with child and find the matching numbered clothespin. Let child clip it on the correct PCS. You may have to assist several times before child can play alone. For an added challenge, ask child to put the numbers in the correct order after the clips have been added.

Clip & Count

Game 2: Spell My Name
To Make:
Use a Sharpie to write child’s first, middle, and last name on PCS. One name per PCS. Then write one letter per PCS for their full name. Keep the letters for each name in a separate plastic baggie. Put the whole name in front of the individual letters and store on top of the baggie.

We do this for SG's first, middle, & last name.

We do this for SG’s first, middle, & last name.

I store this with the name card on the front so I can easily grab this game & stay organized.

I store this with the name card on the front so I can easily grab this game & stay organized.

To Play:
Place the name card on a surface. (We play this on the floor.) Mix up the letters that spell that name. Show child how to spell her name using the name card as the guide. Eventually, the child can do this by herself. SG now doesn’t need the name card. She uses it to check herself. This game taught her how to spell her name in just a few weeks! And we only played it 2-3 times a week!

Game 3: Paperclip Counting
To Make:
Choose 5 PCS and write the numbers 1-5 and spell it out under each number. One number per PCS. Count out 15 paperclips. Store both in a plastic baggie.

Paperclip Counting

To Play:
Show child the number 1 and point to the word “one.” Explain she needs to put 1 paperclip on the PCS for the number 1. Repeat with 2, 3, 4, & 5. For a challenge, mix up the cards, have her clip the paperclips herself and then put them in order from 1-5 or descending from 5-1.

Game 4: Sticker Counting
To Make:
Choose 5 PCS and write the numbers 1-5 on the PCS. One number per PCS. Choose 5 more PCS and put one sticker on the PCS for the number 1, two stickers for 2, etc. (I chose to use the same stickers for each PCS because I didn’t want SG memorizing a butterfly sticker for number 1, two balloons for number 2, etc.) Store in a plastic baggie.

Sticker Counting

To Play:
Mix up the sticker PCS and mix up the numbered PCS. Assist child in matching the number 1 PCS to the PCS that has one sticker. Repeat. For a challenge, mix them all together, the stickered and numbered PCS. Have child match them alone and order them from 1-5 or from 5-1.

Game 5: Sticker Spelling
To Make:
You will need one PCS per letter of child’s name. I put one letter per PCS. I did it for SG’s first and middle name. I stored both names together in one bag. If child isn’t ready for this, store one name per baggie.

Sticker Spelling

To Play:
Have child spell her name, assisted or unassisted.

Game 6: Paperclip Addition
To Make:
Choose 3 PCS. Write these math problems on them using a Sharpie: 1+1= 1+2= 1+3= On the other side of the PCS, write the answers. 2 3 4 Store in a plastic baggie along with 9 paperclips.

Paperclip Addition

This is how SG checks her answers.

This is how SG checks her answers.

To Play:
Tell child you are going to teach them how to add numbers. Show her the first PCS of 1+1=. Have her put 1 paperclip above the first number 1 and another paperclip above the second 1. Tell her you are both going to add the paperclips. Count them together. Then tell her it’s just like that for the math problem. Point to the math problem and say, “1+1=…” Then count the paperclips again. Ask her what 1+1=. If she doesn’t say two then you can tell her. Show her how to check her answer by turning the PCS over for the correct answer. (Note: My exact wording isn’t needed. I typed it out as an example of how this can be worded. Feel free to say what works for you and your child.) Repeat per PCS and add more addition problems when child is ready.

I keep all of these games in an inexpensive photo box. The box also matches my living room decor, so the games are nicely camouflaged in our living space.

These are some of the skills SG learns when playing these simple games:
1. Following directions
2. Counting
3. Fine Motor Skills
4. Simple Addition
5. Learning to recognize math symbols (+ and =)
6. Able to put numbers in order from 1-10
7. Able to put numbers in order from 10-1
8. Learning to spell name (first, middle & last)
9. Matching number sets to numbers
10. Sitting still to work on and finish a task

(As a side note, SG is 3. She turns 4 in late November. We started these games in August and they are age appropriate for her.)

SG enjoys these games (especially the paperclip ones!). I love that these games were simple to make and have taught SG a great deal already!

I hope this post has brought encouragement to someone out there.

I have more ideas to share for another day.

What about you, friend? Do you have any easy and frugal preschool ideas?

(I was inspired by this blog post & this one.)