Homeschooling 101 – Getting Started


So you’ve finally decided to homeschool…but have no clue where to get started? Just the mere thought of homeschooling can be a very daunting task. Delving into the unknown can also create an element of self-doubt that fills your mind right off the bat. That coupled with an overwhelming task of choosing and gathering curriculum, creating lesson plans, organizing supplies, and teaching multiple grade levels can be quite disheartening.     As we all prepare for our upcoming school year, I thought it would be timely to walk you through some of the steps to getting started, choosing and gathering curriculum, creating effective lesson plans, scheduling your day, organizing your home, staying the course, and more! Whew! Sounds like a lot right? Don’t worry, you can do it! I’m here to help by covering all of the things necessary in detail in my Homeschooling 101 eBook, but I also wanted to share them in an abbreviated form on my blog as well to help out all … [Read more...]


Homeschool Supplies & Organization


Hello fellow teachers! I have a much requested post for you today. I’m going to share some of my “must-have” items that have been favorites in our homeschool! Of course all of these things are totally optional, but they all have been well loved and used in our homeschool and I have absolutely gotten good use out of them, so I thought I would share.   Desktop Carousel: I know you’ve all seen my supply caddy that literally holds our Ikea school desks in place. I honestly do LOVE this thing! It’s called the Making Memories Desktop Carousel. I found ours at Michael’s craft store and bought it using a 40% off coupon. They range $40 or so. Here’s one at I’ve also seen a new one called Recollections Desktop Carousel if that helps any of you out there! I keep the majority of our supplies in this caddy so everyone can share.   What’s in my desk: I keep all of our supplies in my drawer. The kids know to ask me before taking them…usually…sometimes…okay, … [Read more...]


Homeschooling: Teaching Multiple Grade Levels


I’ve received countless emails asking me how I organize our day, and how I manage to homeschool while teaching multiple students all at different grade levels. So today, I thought I’d share a little bit of how we do things over here…for what it’s worth anyway!   Being flexible is key, but not too much…or it just gets crazy: First off, I’d like to note that so far each year has been a little different schedule wise due to the ages of our children, and what extra curricular things we are involved in. In previous years, we’ve done school primarily in the afternoons during the Teeny Tot’s naptime, we’ve done it in-between nursing when we’ve had new babies, it’s been done in the kitchen, in the living room, and at the library. I’ve learned to kind of “go with the flow” so to speak which hasn’t exactly been easy for me. I like to be super organized, scheduled, and I don’t like change. Apparently no one ever warned me that maybe homeschooling wasn’t a good fit for me! And … [Read more...]


Homeschool Room Tour Video!


Hi everyone! I wanted to do something fun and unusual today, so I made a homeschool room tour video to share with you all! I’m so sorry, it turned out kind of long, so I had to break it up into two parts. But for those of you interested in seeing our room “live” so to speak, grab a cup of coffee (you’ll need it to stay awake) and join me on a tour of our homeschool room! Also, keep in mind this is my first real video…um. yeah…just keep that in mind ;o) and it ended up being really long! Sorry I'll try to talk less in future videos LOL! Our Homeschool Room Tour Pt. 1   Our Homeschool Room Tour Pt. 2 (Yes…there’s actually more!) So that’s our current homeschool room for 2012-2013, I hope you enjoyed the video! Here are links to all of the items mentioned above! Cropper Hopper 10 Drawer Rolling Carts or 10 Drawer Workbox Carts Calendar Poster (This is held onto a cork board with small thumb tacks. Click here to see a closeup of our Calendar … [Read more...]


Homemade Pom-Pom Magnets


We use magnets for a  lot of our Letter of the Week activities, and counting etc.  My original set lasted for about two years before the pom-poms started falling off, so it was time to make more for the Teeny Tot since she’s starting to do preschool now.   Making your own manipulatives is easy and fun! To make the homemade pom-pom magnets you’ll need the following items: Hot glue gun and glue sticks 1 package of medium sized pom-poms (I found these in the craft isle at Wal-mart) 1 package of magnetic buttons     Directions: Cover your working surface with a paper towel, or another disposable cloth to protect your counters. Place a dab of hot glue on each magnet button, then immediately press a pom-pom onto the hot glue.   Repeat this process until all of your magnets or pom-poms are used up!   And that is, easy-peasy homemade pom-pom magnets that you can use to aid in color sorting, counting, LOTW magnet … [Read more...]


Alphabet Desk Mate


Looking for a handy visual alphabet reference for your students? I’ve created this for Tinker Bell so she has something on her desk that she can look at when working on her handwriting. I’ve found that keeping something close by really helps in proper letter formation. If they can’t quite remember how a letter is formed, they can quickly glance at their desk mate alphabet strip and in the words of Tinker Bell….Voila’! Soooo….I present the Manuscript Desk Mate:   And just because I know there are a bunch of you working on Cursive…the Cursive Desk Mate:   And don’t worry, I didn’t forget all you D’Nealian fans out there either!   The download includes all 3 fonts, and 2 sizes of each Alphabet Desk Mate, one 8x11 and one 18x4 so hopefully one of the sizes and fonts will work for your student! Click here to download the Alphabet Desk Mate! I hope this helps out your kiddos with their handwriting! … [Read more...]


Letter of the Week Storage


I’ve had a few questions on how I organized all of my Letter of the Week and K4 Kindergarten Curriculum, so I thought I’d show you all some pictures! Since I’ve printed ALL of my printables, I had to come up with some way to store them all! I decided binders full of page protectors was my best bet. Along the top of my Ikea Expedit Shelving unit, you will find binders…lots of binders! (They are cheap 1” binders from Wal-m*rt)   Each binder has a spine label on it indicating the letter, then inside are page protectors housing all of the games for that letter. (The spine labels are part of my Letter of the Week Curriculum  in the “extras” folder and K4 Curriculum as well.)   I store small game pieces in snack size Zip-loc baggies, then put them inside the page protectors for safe keeping.   I also put several pages into one page protector, for example all of the Large Floor Numbers for Letter A are in one page protector.   If … [Read more...]


Gingham Calendar Day & Month Printables


Hi everyone! I’ve had several requests to make a Calendar Printables Set, so here it is! I’m excited to present my Gingham Calendar Days! Click below to download: Gingham Calendar Days Part 1 Gingham Calendar Days Part 2 (NOTE: If you are having troubles getting the file to download, please RIGHT click on teh above link then select "SAVE LINK AS". You will then be prompted to SAVE it to your hard drive. I also divided it into 2 downloads to make the file a little smaller. Hope that helps! )   What’s included in the download? The Gingham Calendar Days set comes with 12 Month Banners, and different themed Calendar Day cards for each month. There is also a page with Mon-Fri day titles so you can use these cards with a Pocket Chart instead of a Calendar Poster. The calendar Month Banners are 2.5” x 10.5” and the Day Cards are 2.75” x 2.75” each. The cards will fit on most standard Calendar Posters (Approx 18” x 24” in size.) Tips: I recommend printing on … [Read more...]


iPad Educational Apps


It’s here! It’s finally here! Today we received an iPad2 and everyone is excited! So just to show how necessary this purchase was, I wanted to share some great educational iPad Apps with you today! Although I think it’s a fun thing to have around in general, the truth is I am really excited to use it as a tool in our homeschool!   There are so many iPad and iPhone apps out there, it’s hard to tell which one’s are worth the money! I’m excited to share a new site with you today as well called Apps For Homeschooling. The site allows you to search by grade/age, subject, cost, and device. It also gives you a thorough review of the app along with costs and devices it is available on. I also wrote a post with my favorite iPhone apps awhile back that you also check out. Math Blaster – HyperBlast  by Knowledge Adventure Since then, here are some of our favorites! We, and by we, I mean both the kids and me, love the Knowledge Adventure Math Blaster –HyperBlast . It’s a fun … [Read more...]


Educational Insights: Smens Review & Giveaway


So today, I have another fun little giveaway from Educational Insights for you! Smens Scented Pens! The Smens from Educational Insights have become our latest summer school motivating tool! We’ve been using them to complete our Summer Bridge Activities from Carson Dellosa. We do a lesson each day and the Smens are our “special” pens for these activities. Somehow having something special makes the work more fun ;o) What are Smens? Smens are gourmet scented pens made from recycled newspapers. Available scents include Red Licorice, Creamsicle, Aloha, Mystery Scent, Banana Fo Fana, Mocha, Passion Fruit, Ninja Berry, Pink Lemonade, and Black Licorice. Each Smen is individually wrapped in a stay-fresh biodegradable plastic tube and is guaranteed to keep its scent for two years. What’s the Cost? $24.95 for a set of 10 scented pens The only complaint we had were that the pens are all black ink, my kids were hoping that they were colored according to their scent. We also … [Read more...]