Monthly Archives: November 2010

Scrapbook Layout – Pumpkin Patch

I just finished a two-page layout of our trip to the pumpkin patch this year.

Pumpkin Patch - 2 Page Scrapbook Layout
Credits: Kit is Falling Softly by Kristin Cronin-Barrow, Scraplift of a layout by AmyInKy which was based off a sketch by Allison Davis

Pumpkin Patch - 2 Page Scrapbook Layout

Pumpkin Patch - 2 Page Scrapbook Layout

What’s in the WorkBox: Kindergarten edition

I really enjoy seeing samples of what others are using in their workbox system. It was blog posts by other homeschool moms showing how they used their workbox system in their school day that inspired me to want to give it a try. I also am hooked on seeing what curriculum and creative ideas others use with their kids.

So, here is my first “What’s in the box Wednesday” post. Except the day I took the photos was Thursday and I am posting it on a Saturday. Oh well, it still will provide a glimpse of our school days this past week.

The Usborne Book of Living Long Ago: I love this history book and its illustrations. Even I feel like I am learning as I read it out loud to Adrianna. This week, we read about “Chinese Ways” from 500 years ago.

What's in the Box Wednesday: Kindergarten Workbox Example

The Usborne Children’s Encyclopedia: Like the book above, this is another amazing book from Usborne. It contains science and history. This week we read about Ming China around 500ish years ago. This book also has a website with many linked resources to supplement and enhance whatever subject you are studying. Adrianna and I used google to search for images of the Great Wall of China.

What's in the Box Wednesday: Kindergarten Workbox Example

I Can Read It! Book 1: This particular subject (reading) tends to be one of our most difficult to complete each day in terms of motivation on Adrianna’s part, so I always try to put it towards the beginning of our day, basically so we can get it over with. I also try to sandwich it between two books that I read out loud to her so that the subjects before and after are easier for her.

She is doing well with her reading and can read or sound out consonant-vowel-consonant words pretty easily when she wants to.

What's in the Box Wednesday: Kindergarten Workbox Example

The Light at Tern Rock: A fiction read-aloud book that we read through this week. She wasn’t as into it as some of the other read-alouds we’ve done in the past with the Sonlight curriculum.

What's in the Box Wednesday: Kindergarten Workbox Example

Explode the Code 1: Our writing curriculum which basically is a workbook of activities to get her thinking, reading and writing vowel-consonant-vowel words. She usually does very well with these.

What's in the Box Wednesday: Kindergarten Workbox Example

What's in the Box Wednesday: Kindergarten Workbox Example

For math, one thing we are currently working on is learning how to tell time on both regular and digital clocks. So far we have worked on the full and half hours. These worksheets I found for free online and are not part of our normal curriculum. We also practice identifying the time using a whiteboard, on which I write a digital clock time, and by moving the big and little hands on some clock faces that came with our Saxon Math curriculum as a manipulative.

What's in the Box Wednesday: Kindergarten Workbox Example

Weather: For science right now we are learning more about the weather. This week we discussed how animals adapt and survive different weather by their fur coats changing color or by migrating.

What's in the Box Wednesday: Kindergarten Workbox Example

National Geographic Kids Magazine and Great Migrations Map from the National Geographic Magazine: We recently subscribed to National Geographic and also National Geographic Kids. I was so excited to see the first kids magazine that we received talked about animal migrations since that lined up with what we talked about in our Science class. And even better was the fact that one of our recent National Geographic magazines included a map of animal migrations as well. Love it! So these made it into a workbox to expand upon animal migrations this week.

What's in the Box Wednesday: Kindergarten Workbox Example

Arts/Crafts: I try to include some fun projects or even small dollar store toy incentives in our workboxes from time to time. Adrianna loves to paint, so these new paints and brushes were a big hit.

What's in the Box Wednesday: Kindergarten Workbox Example

With our new paint, we painted Adrianna’s hand and made a turkey out of it. I found the idea on Itsy Bitsy Learning. My little girly-girl decided to add a crown, a bib, and jewels at the ends of the turkeys feathers.

For more workbox ideas, you can visit Confessions of a Homeschooler every Wednesday.

Our Homeschool Workbox System

As a new homeschool mom, I have been frequenting many homeschool blogs for ideas, tips and any other helpful information I can find. One thing I have noticed is a lot of buzz surrounding the “workbox system”.

Our first six weeks of homeschooling went well overall. But although our Sonlight curriculum breaks everything down daily/weekly for me, I was still feeling a bit disorganized. It doesn’t help that we are currently on Week 8 for History and English, Week 5 for Reading (our most difficult subject), Week 3 for Science (which we added after we’d already started our school year), our Math isn’t broken up in the same way by weeks and I enjoy adding a lot of supplemental worksheets and tasks I find online.

After reading this great post on workboxes by Confessions of a Homeschooler, I decided I wanted to give the workbox system a try. So a couple of weekends ago, Greg and I visited one of my favorite stores, The Container Store, to see what they had that could be used for a workbox system. I ended up deciding to get some elfa metal drawers similar to the ones that we had bought earlier this year to organize our large Lego collection.

elfa Drawers for Legos

We ended up buying two more of the elfa metal drawer systems. The one on the left with the 10 shallow drawers will be used for our homeschooling. Since our school room also doubles as my office and the playroom, the drawer set on the right is going to house popular toys, such as dress-up clothes, Duplos (yes, we have a lot of Legos AND Duplos), kitchen set supplies and toy animals.

Our Workbox System

We decided not to buy the particle board tops to the drawer systems that The Container Store sells. Instead, Greg made me one out of some leftover wood, stain and varnish he had in the garage from when he made me my kitchen island. I love that the top he made me is one solid table top instead of two separate ones like the store had because I can easily put some school supplies and my printer on top.

Using our new drawers, we started our own version of the workbox system last week. What a difference it has made in our school day already! I am able to easily plan out our school day the night before (using a spreadsheet) and put each subject or task into its own drawer. When we start school, my daughter and I can both see how much schoolwork we have left before we are done for the day. Another bonus: we are actually getting more done in the same amount of time we had spent previously on our school day. I love this system.

Right now I am only planning one day at a time and that seems to work fine for us.

An additional benefit I hope to glean from this system is for my daughter to become more independent with some of her schoolwork. The Sonlight curriculum is literature based and since she is only now learning to read (she is in Kindergarten), that means that much of my time is spent reading to her. When we do have worksheets or other work that she could do on her own, she often wants me to sit with her and basically look over her shoulder as she completes the assignment and asks me lots of questions instead of trying to figure things out on her own. What I am working toward is have her work on her own, when it makes sense to do so, and turn in the assignment for me to grade later. I will be available for questions but I don’t want to be her crutch; I want her to try to figure things out on her own.

Here is a picture from our workboxes today. You can see that we have already finished our first two assignments, as the drawers have already been emptied.

Our Workbox System

I do not do the subjects in the same order each day. My only loose guidelines (so far) are that I put reading near the top since it is our most difficult subject and I try to intersperse independent or fun activities so we don’t feel too bogged down by too many read-alouds in a row, etc.

The beauty of the workbox system is that it is so customizable. Do a search for the workbox system and a lot of homeschool blogs will come up, each with their own version of the system. I have also joined some Yahoo groups that are just for workboxes and sharing ideas and free printables. How in the world did people homeschool before the internet? 😉

Do you use the workbox system or another organization system in your school day? Link me up in the comments; I would love to come check out how YOU do school.

Scrapbook Layout – Science Experiment

This is a scrapbook layout of our first science experiment as a part of our homeschooling.

Scrapbook Layout - Homeschooling Science Experiment
Credits: Layout created from a sketch by Allison Davis, Kit is “Sweet & Simple #10” by Gina Marie Huff

Journaling reads:

In science this week, we have been discussing the atmosphere and air. We found an easy little science
experiment where we could create carbon dioxide using baking soda and vinegar and have the gas that is created blow up a balloon.

First, we filled up a bottle with vinegar. Next, we made a funnel so that we could pour baking soda into the balloon. Then we fitted the balloon on the bottle and let the baking soda fall in to meet with the vinegar and create the gas, carbon dioxide, which blew into and inflated the balloon.

After we finished with our experiment, Adrianna named the blue balloon “Bluey” and the pink balloon “Pinky” and drew faces on them and enjoyed playing with them for a few days.

Fun Thanksgiving Kindergarten Math Project

This is my first year of homeschooling, and I am really enjoying it. My daughter is in Kindergarten. Our current curriculum (Sonlight) is very literature based, with lots of reading aloud by me. Many of the books are Usborne books, which I have fallen in love with. Usborne also has a website that offers many links to fun activities to go along with what we are learning in history or science.

I have decided that the internet, Google and a printer are a homeschooling mom’s best friend. There are so many resources available, many of them free. I also have a few blogs that I follow, written by other homeschool moms, that have been a source of valuable information and fun ideas. Almost every day we have incorporated a worksheet, color sheet or something else I find online to supplement, review or expand upon what we are learning in our actual school books.

Today, my daughter did this fun turkey math project. (At least I thought it was fun!) I found the turkey and the feathers online at File Folder Fun (free), printed them out and cut out all the feathers last night. Each turkey had a number on it. Each feather had a math problem. She had to glue each feather to the appropriate turkey which contained the correct number/answer to the math problem on the feather. And isn’t it fun that it is a turkey since Thanksgiving is coming up? Thank you, internet!

Turkey Math

Turkey Math

Okay, so this picture doesn’t have anything to do with the fun turkey math project, I just liked her cool hat that she made at her homeschool enrichment class on Tuesday.
Great Hat