Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Learning Room Open House - Part 4

Welcome to our Learning's a happy place, full of laughter, learning and lots of love.  

Thanks for stopping by for my final Part 4  Learning Room Open House series.  

If you missed them, check out:
Part One - Pocket Chart calendar and storage
Part Two - J's desk, window word wall and workbox station
Part Three - My mommy message board, inside N's desk and our Art wall

Here is our last corner of our kitchen nook.  We use it as our Math Wall and N's calendar work.  It also holds a very! adjustable schedule in a pocket chart and a magna-doodle for writing.

You can probably tell that I am a HUGE fan of pocket charts!  They are great and can be used in so many different ways.  Here is a pocket chart on our door...  Right now, it holds a sorting activity for our Rock and Mineral study.

Below is our very! adjustable schedule.  Posting this allows the boys to see where we are and what comes next.  Something I did away with (it is was HARD to do) was time cards.  In the past, I would post what time we'd do every activity.  Not this year! because that's a perk of schooling at home.  Flexible schedule on our own time!
And keep in mind that Math happens within afternoon play and during the evening with Daddy.  This schedule ends after Read and Rest.

The 100's chart posted on the wall helps J with his Math work.  I use it as a reference throughout the day if we are talking about numbers.  N and I use it during his calendar time to track our "Days of School".  When these pictures were taken, it looks like we were on Day #72.  Once we reach 100, we are celebrating BIG time!  It will be a fun day with hundreds of cool activities.

We use WikkiSticks ALOT!  kind of like a pipe cleaner dipped in wax.
They bend and shape, stick and remove easily.
Amazon link to Wikki Sticks
This is N's magnetic board that we use to track our 100 Days of school.  We add a magnetic "unit" each day to show place value change day by day.  Once he has 10 units, he trades them in for 1 "rod" for the tens place.  I hope that makes sense...
I am so proud of the smart person that made whiteboard markers with magnets attached so they can hand on the surface that you write on.  High five for being so handy and helpful!  BTW: bought a set of these at the Dollar Tree.
Another way we track and record out 100 Days of School is this chart.  This is one of the ways I taught patterns to J and N.  I write the number, we "read" the pattern, then N colors the square for the day to complete the pattern.
If you notice at #61, our pattern changes.  Orange, Green, Brown was to we changed the pattern to blue, stripes, yellow, orange, sticker!  And of course, sticker day is a fav!

After N completes his calendar (mentioned in Part One of this series), He comes to this magnetic board to create his sentence.  He changes the day of the week and the number in the date.

At the base of this AWESOME magnetic board (which Ikea doesn't make or sell anymore!), you'll find magnetic numbers housed in an old wet-wipe container, crayons for pattern coloring and
 N's magnetic "units".

Does MiniM dump those numbers out and mess up this board!?!  YES HE DOES!!! And I fix it back up every time he does it.  He's only 1 and that's his way of learning...just wants to be learning the way his BIG brothers learn, right?

Here's a quick peek at my fridge...Just tall enough for MiniM NOT to reach, you'll find this.
The box created with laminated boarder is N's word bank.  That gray "thing" is a magnetic wand for pointing to the words when he reads them.  It stays put!
That lil car is magnetic and actually drives down and around on magnetic surfaces.  We were learning the sight word "look" and this was N's word activity.

And last but not's my area.  This poor bakers rack!!!  It's holds many purposes, literally!

I keep my supplies here.
My planning book, materials for the week and pots and pans if I decide to cook while teaching! LOL - It's been known to happen!

Below, MiniM has his own 2 learning shelves.  I rotate these learning toys once he looses interest.(except his velco name stars - still LOVES those!)

And there you have it!  So many memories are made in the kitchen nook, we call our Learning Room.

Feel free to share pictures of your lil learners learning space - Love borrowing ideas from
other Mommys.

Happy Learning with your Lil ones!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Our week for YOUR glance...

Some people have the idea that when we say "we're Homeschoolers", our kids are sitting at home, learning all day, sleeping in till 10am, NOT SOCIALIZED (yes, I was one of them about 6 years ago!)

And some are just does your day look?, how long to you teach?, when do you do laundry, cook, sleep?.

So this blog is for both types!

Here's Our week for YOUR glance;

Monday: Learn at home Day

Calendar/Daily Learning Notebooks, Breakfast, Mommy Run/Boy bike, 

Circle Time (Read-a-loud: The Meanies books) with Snack,

Reading (J&N) 
Make a Good Manners VS Bad Manners Chart
using personal pics


Naps/Writing w/ J

All Resting!  No, wait they ALL slept that day and at the same time!!!!  
(Mommy replied to emails, Mommy chores and dinner prep)

J&N Learn Through Play Activity
Sedimentary and Igneous Rock sort and measure

Play outside 
Swim with Daddy
Math with Daddy
Family Walk
Play & Goodnight

Tuesday: Morning Learning/Afternoon Fun

Calendar/Daily Learning Notebooks, Breakfast, Mommy Run/Boy bike, 

Reading with Mommy and N...while J did a quick, independent workbox.

Lesson 5 Reading Through the Alphabet Curriculum
Measuring from Mommy&Daddy's room to Mason's room using shoes

Rest and Read/Naps for lil guys
Wake up to find our Day and Nana came to visit!!!!

Wednesday - Thursday: Fun with grandparents

My inlaws are pretty awesome!  Actually, if it wasn't for them, I would have never thought of homeschooling.  They are my biggest cheerleaders (besides my own hubby)!  
Nana even stepped in and "substituted" for me while I ran some Kid-Free errands.
J and Nana wrote an entry in our Field Trip Journal about The Thinkery field trip that past Friday. And the boys practiced and performed a play we'd been reading.
But J&N did what kids do best with their g-parents...PLAYED and HAD FUN!

Friday: Field Trip! 

I usually keep Friday's open for Field Trips with other Homeschoolers!  

Morning:  We met our Grow Homeschooling Group at an indoor play gym.  While the kiddos played, the moms swapped curriculum and learning supplies.  So much fun!

Back at home: On Fridays, we have Movie Rest time.  My kids LOVE this!  MiniM still naps, but the big boys lay out sleeping bags, snack on popcorn and rest!  

Daddy's home!  
Family Walk, Dinner and Books and Bedtime


Because of family being in town for a visit, we needed to make up a few things.  And what better day to do it then on a Saturday when Daddy is home!

So we had Science Saturday!

Learned about mountain formations using clay.
Search for Pyrite using this cool clearance find from Hobby Lobby!

And of course, we went swimming and had family fun!

Sunday oh sweet Sunday:

Sunday was full of planning and prep for our upcoming vacation.
And we threw in some fun ways to learn.  Daddy pulled down some fishing poles and taught the boys about the different parts and how to use them.  Then they spent hours in the backyard catching sticks (no hooks needed!)
Kids helped us pack for our trip using simple lists I had written them.  (didn't get a picture of that!)
And Daddy created this cool station for them to use this week. 
Learning to tie a knot using fishing line.
Sweet picture!  Makes my heart smile...

If J was to attend school outside of our home, he'd be going tomorrow!!!! 
Nah...I think we'll keep him here, at home, where we are learning and doing what works best for our family...homeschooling!

And there you have it...Our week at Your glance.  
Learning happened at home, life happened along the way and lots of love was created between these little learners.

Happy Learning with your lil ones!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Learning Room Open House - Part 3

Welcome to our Learning's a happy place, full of laughter, learning and lots of love.  

Thanks for stopping by for my Part 3 of 4 Learning Room Open House series.  

If you missed the last two, check them out:
Part One - Pocket Chart calendar and storage
Part Two - J's desk, window word wall and workbox station

I created this new wall space just last month.  It's pretty simple.
Just some bulletin board paper,
 hot glue glued to the corners and sides of paper
(because the paper stays up, but the glue is easy to peel off and
doesn't mess up paint on walls...ole teacher trick)
then I just added some cute bulletin border to frame it.

The white board in the middle is my "Mommy Message" board and also
used for letter writing (blue painters tape)
I post a message just about every morning.  Anything from "How many times can you hug mommy today?" to "What do you want to have for dinner?"'s been a big hit and adds lots of humor.  The index card to the right is our Bible verse that we've been learning.

I've used the space above as an Art Gallery for the kids work which adds lots of color to the room.

Below, I have these alphabet letter formation sheets in a grab and go folder.  If someone needs help on a letter formation, I grab this, thumb through it to find the letter we need 
(yes, they are in alphabetical order) and hand it over.
This GREAT resource was printed from Confessions of a Homeschoolers Blog.

Now on to N's desk...well, he isn't a sitter, he's a stander/wiggler when he learns, so we've turned his desk into the piano table.  He mainly uses the Ikea storage shelf by his calendar mentioned in Part 1
This is a fun canister - "Gum-ball for Good Work!"  Self explanatory, right?
I actually HAD a antique gum-ball machine for earning "gum-balls for good work" but that needed to be removed due to our Littlest Learners multiple attempts to climb it!

 If you peek inside this desk, you'll find our KIDS KEYBOARD.  It's made by Crayola and is a Mommy Must Buy!  Just plugs into the USB port on any LOVE it!
Here's the Amazon link:

Since we are learning on the floor 90% of the time, I like to have learning tools there ready to go!  I have this orange Reading Strategy chart to refer to when we are reading on the floor, the abacus for all little learners to use or explore with AND...
These fun pointers!!!
You can find these cute wooden characters at Micheals craft stores, add a FREE paint stick from Home Depot, a round magnet and you got yourself a pointer!

I hope you enjoyed this quick run through our Learning Room...
Stop in next week for our final post in this series.  I'll show you are Math Wall, my planning area/bakers rack and my Homeschooling closet.

Happy Learning with your Little ones!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Learning Room Open House - Part 2

Welcome back to our Part 2 of our Open House.  I really do hope that this "sneak peek" is helping you create learning spaces within your home for your little learners, homeschoolers or not.  

My Part One explained our pocket chart calendar and storage shelf from Ikea.  Here's that link, if you miss it.  Learning Room Open House - Part 1

Since then, I've added a Listening Station with CD+books for the boys to enjoy!  

In this picture, you see J's desk area and workbox bins.  I love that it faces a window!  Who doesn't LOVE working while looking outside.  Just something about a little sunshine that makes you happier!

These desks were a gift from my fabulous in-laws.  They grabbed them at their local school garage sale.  Pretty sure if you are looking for something similar you can find them on Craigslist.

Next to his desk, I have a box that contains books we've written.  
We also have our Field Trip Journal in this bin.  They love looking at their work! 

On the wall hangs this amazing organizer from Ikea!  It actually has 2 more pockets, but I tucked those behind to make this fit on this specific wall.  This holds the boys "Just Right" books that they have been reading with me.  N's are on the right and J's are on the left...surprised I haven't labeled them!!  We refer back to these books every day, so it's great that they are visible and accessible to my lil learners.

Back at J's desk, actually inside his desk, you'll find this awesome plastic organizer that holds everything a lil writer might need.  And yes, it's from Ikea!  

And here's those flip-close lid storage bins, that I mentioned in Part 1.  They are clearly labeled and ready to go!  I can't remember where I got this cute labels...probably Pinterest.  But they fit perfectly inside each bin and I just used clear packaging tape to keep them in place.

Above our window sill full of supply boxes, you'll find J's Word Wall.  This is a great way to alphabetically organize all the words your little learners can fluently read.  He refers to this list ALL the time during writing and reading.

Working our way up, you'll find our Breakfast Menu!  
(another Blog topic that I can't wait to tell you about.)

Finally, we end up at J's Workbox cart...which is yet another blog coming soon!  If the idea of workboxes interests you, GOOGLE it, Pinterest it!  You'll find so much info on this homeschooling system.  After my Open House series, I want to share with you how we make this system work for us.
These carts are THE CHEAPEST at Sam's.  For some reason, they are almost double the price at crafting store such as JoAnns.   

On top of his cart, we have our writing station.  This holds paper, sentence strips, post-it notes for writing.  

And my favorite wall in our Learning room... 
My first "teacher frame" from my mother when I graduate college and a special Valentine from J that says..."Mommy, I love you when you do learning with me!"
Below are a few pieces of special art that I just love, for some reason...probably because of who they are from!  

Part 3 = Showing you my Mommy Message board, along with a few other spots in 
our Learning Room.  

Feel free to email or leave a comment.  Would also LOVE to see any pictures of your ideas...such inspiration!

Happy Learning with your Little Ones.  

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Not-so-happy homeschooling day

Life is real!  Today was real!  Rather than blogging tonight about our Learning Room Open House part 2 - I felt led to open up alittle bit about a crabby day, a real day!

This morning, kids were up, happy and ready to go at every morning - even on the weekends.  God Bless them!

Happy breakfast - check!
Happy Chores - check!
Happy MiniM - ummmm, BIG X!

I couldn't put my mommy finger on it!  Was it teething? ear ache? low fever from booster shots? Whatever it was, it wasn't normal.  And that makes it HARD on any mommy, especially a SAH mommy, and super-especially for a Homeschooing mommy!

I had all these wonderful things planned today - how could this be happening!

I laid MiniM down for his morning nap...ahhhhh asleep....for about 5 minutes!  Then woke up SCREAMING!!!  But in that 5 minutes, I was able to read a book about sedimentary rocks and get J&N started on a Science Experiment.

With a fussy baby on my hip, we finished that experiment.
With a fussy baby on my hip, we made lunch, ate lunch and even got an episode of Sign Time in.

About mid-day...things are looking better!  N and MiniM are down for naps. And it's Mommy and Me time for J.  We did get through a reading lesson, 2 workboxes and a writing lesson.
(And after typing this and reflecting...that's something to celebrate!)

So many times, we dwell on what went wrong rather than the small moments and quick blessings that happen during that "not so happy" day.
I'm gonna stop there!  Stop with what went wrong and tell you....

*I got to snuggle with N for 5 minutes and watch him drift into a happy sleep!

*I got to teach my 5yr old about "how REAL authors think and write" and sit beside him as he created a fabulous piece of writing!

*I got to listen to my 5 yr old talk about how Joy Cowley is the best author EVER and how he loves long vowel sounds better than short vowels.

*I got to rock a crabby baby for a solid 30 minutes, just me and him!

*I got to eat a snack (while responding to email) with my crabby baby, just me and him!

*I got to drive to a nearby park and search for our Rock Family and push 3 boys in 3 different swings in the Austin summer heat!

I got to experience 1 more day, at home, with my children.
I got to watch them grow, cry, love, play and learn!

Tomorrow is a new day!  
Tomorrow, I want to look for those small moments, those small blessings and enjoy each of them to pieces!
We have this hanging in our Living Room - maybe I should read it more often!

Happy Learning with your little learners!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Learning Room Open House - Part 1

My new friend and homeschooling Mommy, Jenny at Vintage Burlap Barn, blogged about her homeschooling room.  And her posts inspired me to do the same.  

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about the transformations that our Learning Room has gone through since we began schooling at home.  Check it out, if you missed it: Our Learning Room - est 2011

Like Jenny, I want to give you a tour of our Learning Room in small doses.  Sometimes seeing it all as a whole can be overwhelming...that's how I feel when I "pin" ideas off of Pinterest for Homeschooling rooms!  EEKS!  I hope you will take a piece from each of these posts and apply them to best fit you and your little learners.

So here we go....
Our Learning Room now is in the "eat-in" area that connects to the kitchen.  It's the perfect size for my little learners.
The first thing to catch your eye would be this area... 

I LOVE this pocket chart calendar.  And love it even more when I think of ALL the skills it's taught my lil guys.  Patterns, counting in English and Spanish, Days of the Week in English and Spanish, Months of the Year...possibilities are fun and endless!  Right now, we are counting down our vacation with airplane icons.  We "subtract one" each day for our countdown.

The shelf was purchased at IKEA.  Every bin is labeled!  Below the "Puzzle" bin are some great manipulative boxes.
I found these snaplid bins at Dollar General and bought everyone of them in all different sizes!  They are perfect if you have little ones like our MiniM.  He can't open them!!!  So I can still have my manipulatives accessible for the big guys but keep him safe. 
Here's a peek inside the "Letter Tool" bin:
"Letter Tools" bin - ANYTHING that has to do with ABC and letter learning goes in here.  Playdough letter stampers, Letter tiles, Magnetic Letters (stored in baby wipe container) and so on!
 J's Bin:
This is where the boys store their D.L.Notebook and work folders.

Moving on...Here's a great Leap Frog globe that I purchased off of Craigslist.  The boys love it and it's a GREAT reference!
And yes, that is the Texas Pledge!  Proud to be a Texan, yall!

The globe sits on this 3 drawer bin.  The top drawer is FULL of Math counters and manipulatives.  That's a dangerous drawer for MiniM.  He's not strong enough to pull it out and start digging...YET!

But he does have ownership of the middle and bottom drawers.
The middle drawer is all Magnets, big Magnets!  I have a great set of magnetic gears from Lakeshore Learning, Large number and letter magnets, shape magnets, LeapFrog Fridge Letter set and so on.  It's my favorite "go to" drawer when I am cooking.  I pull the drawer completely out, lay it in front of the fridge and away he plays!   
And the last drawer labeled just for him.  
 Here's a peek inside his drawer:
Inside MiniM's Toy drawer - Stackable pegs from Lakeshore Learning, Marbles in a tupperware to shake, mini book from Chick-fil-a, and yes...a Barrel of Monkeys!
I hope enjoyed this little slice of our Learning Room.  I love getting emails and comments about your ideas for lil ones!  Keep sharing!
Our tour will continue next week with: Workbox bins, supply boxes and Mommy's Message board!  

Happy Learning with your Lil Ones

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