Monday

Have you heard of Currclick?

Hey, fellow homeschooling peeps!

Have you guys heard of Currclick yet?


  CurrClick

It's kinda awesome, go take a look around. You'll find tons! Hundreds, thousands of fabulous resources that are great for home learning! There's books, lapbooks, games, unit studies, planning helps, and even CLASSES! Even LIVE classes!
CurrClick
On every kind of topic imaginable!
Woo hoo how exciting!

ok confession time.... There was this one time.... or maybe two... but well sshhh don't tell anyone cause it's a little bit embarrassing to admit... but ... so I was .... well... in a word.... slacking. I was overwhelmed and my plans kept falling apart and my darling angel children were just NOT cooperating with my plans. So I threw them allllll away (the plans not the children!) and we didn't do much of anything. Weeellll...  that's not entirely true ... we were doing LOTS... lots of overwhelming life... but not so much specifically academic educational school type work that would qualify for transcripts for graduating.  So after a couple of days of that... maybe it was weeks? months?... ol details smetails.... who was counting?!?

(Come on mommas you know what I'm talking about, right? if not.... well, then, move along now nothing to see here nothing to see here folks!) 

So anyway back to this one time.... I found myself with no plan. I would wake up in the morning, start dreading the day ahead and ugly voices  would start screaming at me these kids have got to do some school!!! but I had no plan... I had no prep... I had no "school" to fight with my children to not get accomplished. Then I found CurrClick and it was a overwhelmed homeschool mommas life line to feeling a millimeter of productive and maybe ....just maaaaaybe not totally dooming her children to life of illiteracy and lack of education. I'd ask the kids to pick a topic any topic then I'd use the nifty search bar on Currclick to find and print of f lapbooks for each kid's chosen topic to do that day.

Sometimes we'd even  read books if I could find them and I'd search Netflix for a documentary. It may have not been "THE BEST" long term education plan but it was really the best we could accomplish during that time in  our lives. and the kids mostly enjoyed, cooperated, and learned something. Yay!!!

Even better I was unpacking boxes just a couple of days ago (we moved months ago yes there's still boxes) and I came across several of those lapbooks ... from 2-3 years ago! I thought that was pretty cool. The kids and I both enjoyed flipping back through them, remembering, discussing, the things they learned while putting them together. It was really nice to see (and nice to realize we're not currently in that hard hard season! We survived! Woo hoo! and the kids did learn! even during all that time I felt like such a failure and that yellow school bus was driving by each morning  taunting me..;) )

Now I have a yearly plan (of sorts) and I'm a tiny bit ahead of the game and I'm prepping and we have goals we're aiming at and STILL Currclick is one of my go to resources.

So alllll that to say.... Hey go check out Currclick! They have LOTS of really cool stuff and great prices! Fair warning.... be careful with their yearly pay what you want weekend... you will loose hours of your day...hours! and you'll need an extra memory stick... or two .... for all the downloading awesomeness.

One more thing.... another reason Currclick is fan-tab-U-lous.... I just opened my own little store / publishers page!! You should totally check that out too :D


I've created and posted mini little themed fun learning printable packs. These are always call "games" in my house and my kiddos enjoy them. Currently most are PreK-K-1st ish math stuffs (because I purchased a complete phonics / word families / learning to read curriculum we're working through and I  need to add in math stuffs to our plan) but I'm trying to add a couple things each week. So my inventory and variety will grow. Feel free to send me an email to suggest a specific theme, I'll see what I can come up with.

What are some of you go to homeschooling resources? Share with us in the comment below! 





Wednesday

How I Create Felt Board Sets



We really enjoy "Playing" in our "Stories" around here. We have a crate full of Storybook props and a binder full of felt board sets. Most often I create these things for my kids to enjoy, occasionally granny will purchase pre-made sets.

There are two ways that I create fun felt sets for my kiddos. The first, and the one I use most often, I beg my hubby (who is better at drawing than I am) to create me some templates. He draws the images on cardstock, then I cut them out and trace them onto felt to cut out again. I highly recommend a disappearing ink fabric marker for this step! I very often embellish the designs with additional layers of felt, puffy paint, google eyes and various other crafting what-nots.



The second way I create felt board sets, is I purchase commercial use clip art sets. I resize the images in a program I have on my computer, then print them out on milk filter sheets. At this point you can cut them out and use them as is on your felt board but I like to 'beef' ours up a bit more. After printing them on the milk filters I use spray adhesive to glue the printed page onto felt, let it dry overnight then cut my pieces out for the kiddos to play with. They feel more sturdy to me this way and the images pop a bit more glued onto a white backing.



Either way I have made them my kiddos always enjoy getting a new set to play with. I love that the moveable play pieces help encourage the love of reading for my children. I often hear them retelling the story, remembering the sequence of events, changing up their voices to play out the different parts, as well as my kiddos often create their very own adventures for some of their favorite book characters.

Do your kids enjoy felt board sets? What is one of your current favorites? Do you purchase pre-made sets or create your own? Feel free to comment below!


**links have been added for your convenience. A few of them (amazon) are affiliate links. if you purchase after clicking these links I receive a few pennies at no additional cost to you. Thank you so VERY much for your support!** 


Monday

Our Homeschool Plan 2016/17

It's that time again... BACK TO SCHOOL!




But, of course, we're a homeschooling family and we homeschool year round, so "Back to school" is  not nearly as earth shaking for us. ;) However, I have been a pondering on getting just a tad (itsy bitsy) more formal this year. I have a girl who is very soon to be 5 years old and a boy that will turn 7 in a few short months. The official paperwork says I have a kindergartener and a first grader. I most often teach them together using the same materials with a few tweaks based on their ability. I'm a huge fan of multi aged learning and not a fan of grade levels or dividing kids up solely based on age. (in the classes I teach we have K through 8th grade, 5 through 15 years. I'm totally for bringing back the one room school house model ;) ) I have a STRONG conviction "school"/ learning should be FUN, engaging, woven into all of life. I do not want to fight and fuss with my kiddos trying to convince them to complete any "boring school work" I want them begging to learn more!

I guess I'm what most would call  a "Eclectic" type homeschooler. I'm a mixed up, mashed up, hodge podge of styles. Or maybe I just can't make up my mind ;) I LOVE bits and pieces of Montessori, Charlotte Mason, and TJed, with a strong bent toward delight directed, and unschooling. Throw a little bit of everything at the kiddos and see which one fans the flames of their curiosity and passion for learning. I am also really great at planning but I too often lose a bit (or a lot) in the follow through. SoOoo part of my planning has to be figuring out how can I keep this easy and simple to set myself up for success or we just fall off the wagon and become more like Unschoolers than anything else. ;)

Which leads us to my plan for this year's fun learning at home. ;D  Incorporating all of the above along with this year's main goal of focusing on learning to read. I had originally planned on the Hooked on Phonics, Learn to Read curriculum to be our primary focus. However, after a few short weeks I noticed the younger one needed a little extra support. (Whoop! Whoop! for homeschooling getting to adjust and readjust to fit the kiddos needs. NOT trying to make them squash into THE BOX) I was searching the web for free printable games, worksheets, supports that I could line up with the word families approach of H.O.P but I struggled. There were only bits and pieces in too many different places. Yes, I did say I'm the queen of throwing together bits and pieces but in this case pulling it together from many different places and still not covering all I needed it too... was more work and too complicated to really help me with my follow through issues. Though I had resigned to try... until......

The Crafty Classroom sent me (YES MEEEEEE! Just meeee. She knew of my 3 days of frantic internet searching to find the perfect printables and swooped in to save the day ;) ) an email about her new R.E.A.D Curriculum Notebook. Now to tell you the truth I was both ecstatic and bummed to open this email. The day prior I had purchased a bundle from Teachers Pay Teachers, that didn't exactly fit but I needed something so I settled. I spent 22.00 bucks on that and now I was about to drop 25.00 more. Bummed. ;( That's a BIG chunk of our homeschooling budget!! and I still have to purchase paper and ink... lots ol ink *sigh* 
Now I'm not saying the R.E.A.D Curriculum in not worth the 25.00.. IT TOTALLY IS!!! I've purchased, I've downloaded and started printing. It LOOKS great! Just the whole buying something one day, then finding exactly what you had been looking for the very next day kinda sucked in the budgeting department. But well... time to move on....

The R.E.A.D Curriculum Notebook.  will be our primary curriculum for learning to read this year and we'll use the Hooked on Phonics videos as a fun supplement. Along with learning to read I still want us to greatly enjoy reading / literature so we'll also be "rowing" great books along with  the Five in a Row  Curriculum. Each month I'm planning to "row " through  two books. One from the Before Five in a Row manual and one from the Volume One manual. I set up a Facebook group trying to connect with other families close to my area using F.I.A.R in hopes to plan some fun group activities. Everything's more fun with friends! I'm very excited about how that seems to be coming together! It's still early yet but we have our first event on the schedule! ;D! Toward the end of September we'll be throwing a "Pre-Row Party" for the books we plan to row in October. It's gonna be a BLAST and hopefully get the kids super excited about the books chosen for the following month. I have hopes to continue blogging about that fun adventure. Stay tuned!



Well since we have to cover more than just reading and literature in homeschool (really? why?) There is more to the plan.

For math we're leisurely reading through Life of Fred: Apples.  As well as, I ordered a Financial Peace JR. kit from Dave Ramsey for each of the kiddos. We have a list of "jobs" up on the fridge they can do to earn some cash and we're learning about those save, spend, give envelopes. We also naturally do lots of playful math. We're always counting cars, princesses, dinosaurs, how many dinosaurs did the T-Rex eat and so on. A really fabulous playful math resource we read over and over and often play in our treasure chests is the Arithmetic Village books. I even taught a class based on these books and created fun dolls of the main characters (I should really blog about that! It was huge hit! I received rave reviews from all of the kids and parents)

Speaking of teaching classes.... I currently teach two classes that my children are also involved in. We meet weekly with 14 ish other local homeschoolers to learn about:
World Geography (I purchased the co-op license for Expedition Earth created by Confessions of a Homeschooler. It's been kinda by 'backbone' of sorts. I've been greatly tweaking it. Adding in bits and pieces here and there to better accommodate our time frame and students.)
The other class is Human Body Projects (we're covering anatomy and physiology with fun crafty hands on projects.)

                                                  

There's also field trips, and creek visits, reading reading reading, documentaries, and Wild Kratts, princesses, dinosaurs snakes and sharks.... playing, running jumping and more! Seems like a pretty full plate!?! but it's all FUN!! or we fall off the wagon and poof we're unschoolers again until I make another plan ;) Which is fine and well too! Life is learning. Learning is life.


So, my friends, what is your back to school plan? Feel free to share in the comments below!

**links have been added for your convenience. A few of them (amazon) are affiliate links. if you purchase after clicking these links I receive a few pennies at no additional cost to you. Thank you so VERY much for your support!**