I seem to be getting a lot of similar questions, so I thought I’d address some of them in one spot, so here goes…
1. What age did you start doing your prek activities with your children?
- I started doing our prek stuff with my daughter at 3.5. Really I think this is sort of on the young side, the main reason for it was that she has 2 older siblings doing school already and wanted to have her own boxes! We started with motor skill stuff from 1+1+1 Tot Tray ideas, and it evolved into my letter of the week program!
2. How many boxes do you do with your 3 year old?
- Typically she gets 5-6 boxes on M,W & F. On T and Th, she gets 3-4 boxes of fun games, or motorskills stuff (see tot tray link above). I also found a bunch of fun prek activities on My Montessori Journey, Shannon’s Tot School, Totally Tots, and more!
3. What is the “Workbox System”, and where do you get your boxes?
- Click here to read how our system is setup! I got my boxes at JoAnn’s – 10 drawer rolling cart. I used a 50% off coupon and bought them a few at a time!
4. Where do you get all of your clipart/images for your prek activities?
- Most of them I make them myself in Photoshop Elements 7.0. Some are public domain clipart that I find online. I do try to be VERY careful about making sure an image I use is indeed public domain before using it though. I’d rather not worry about copywrite laws!
5. What software program do you use to make your downloads?
- I use Photoshop Elements 7.0, though at the time of this post, they have released 8.0. I find PSE very user friendly and there are TONS of free tutorials to get you started. I also use it for my digital scrapbooking. One of my favorite tutorial sites is Jessica Sprague, she offers some free ones that include graphic image downloads, as well as online classes. She is a very good instructor and her videos are great quality. Plus most of her classes come with great digital downloads to help complete your projects!
- After creating the images, I save my photoshop files as JPGs then use a Word program and just insert the JPGinto the document. Finally I save that document as a PDF file (I use PDF Creator) and upload them to 4shared. When I post them, I simply make a link to the 4shared file for you all to download.
- I use ACDSee 2009 to manage all of my digital scrapbook elements as well as my images for homeschool. Although Photoshop Elements 7.0 comes with an organizer, I found that once I got a certain quantity of images in it, that it was very slow and had a tendency to crash. ACDSee seems to do a better job of managing my images. Although it was fairly easy to understand, there is a “How To” class offered at Jessica Sprague for ACDSee.
6. What laminator do you use?
- I use a Xyron 900 9″ Creative Station. I also go to my local teacher supply store when I have to do large projects. Office Max also offers lamination services. You can get refills for the Xyron at Michael’s or JoAnn’s as always I use coupons! Click here to see my lamination/money saving tips.
- The Xyron has cartridges that you put in, so instead of “heat” laminate its “sticky” laminate, kind of like contact paper. I like it better for cutting objects out as it doesn’t peel off. They also sell adhesive cartridges so you can make stickers, as well as the magnetic laminate that is magnet on one side and laminate on the other, so you can make magnets!
- Scotch Laminator: This is a heat laminator, and though I don’t own one of these, several people have said they love it! You can get it at Wal-mart for around $28 and the refills can be found at Sam’s club, I believe it was about $20/200 sheets.
7. Where did you buy…
- Desks/whiteboard: I got mine from a church school that was closing for $5 each! Check craig’s list in your area for student desks.
- Plastic Tot Trays: Lakeshore Learning $14.95 for 4 trays
- Tiered Bookshelf: Lakeshore Learning on sale!
- Games/Toys/Etc: I get my stuff from all over the place! One fun place to look is TJMaxx in the back they have a toy section and usually pretty good prices for Melissa and Doug toys, puzzles, books etc. I also go to www.lakeshorelearning.com. They have TONS of fun educational games, manipulatives etc. Also, places like Wal-mart, Target $1 section etc, you can find great cheap stuff that can be used for school, for example I just got some fun valentine stuff, foam hearts that I’ll put numbers on for my dd to count and sort by color/size etc. And of course Michael’s and JoAnn’s as well for craft supplies. Remember “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have” Hebrews 13:5a. That said, if you can’t afford to buy something, try to think of a way to make it yourself! Popsicle sticks, paper plates, cups, beans, pom-poms etc, can all be used for sorting, counting etc. You just have to be creative!
9. How do I get started homeschooling? Click here to see my post on Getting Started!
I hope this helps answers some of your questions, if you have any other questions not addressed here, please feel free to leave a comment, or email me by clicking on the link found in the “about me” section of this blog.
Hi Erica, I visit your site regularly, and thank you for your standard of organisation. My son is in (what we call in Australia for 5 year olds) Prep Year next year. So have been doing schooling using many of your resources. I am a teacher, with 20 years experience, and finding I’m relearning ‘how to start’ teaching. Great website. God continue to bless you. Keep up the good work.