Friday, February 17, 2012

Favourite Homeschooling Items

Recently, on one of the message boards I frequent, someone asked what are the items we find indispensable in our homeschool. We couldn’t count the obvious like printer & computer, books & their shelves, or our curriculum. While my list to the original question was short and simple, the topic is something I’ve thought of each day this week as I’ve entered our learning area and pulling the same continuos items out for use. So I thought I’d share what those items are {at least the ones most used right now..} Here's our current favourites:

iPad -- I know it probably sounds very clique to say that I use my ipad in this day and age, but it’s true, I do. I’m not a fan of ebooks, I’m not. I’ve admitted this before, but the fact that so many companies are releasing ebooks over printed books made the ipad, to some extent, an essential. We use this machine daily for Bible {my TM is on there}, Spelling practice {thanks to my dh’s latest app}, & reading {Morgan has a significant sight problem that we are struggling to get an eye Dr to treat rather then “letting it fix itself” so in the mean time he reads his books on the iPad with the second largest font setting..}

My Bible -- this is probably also clique to say in a Christian homeschool, but it’s constantly pulled out or sitting on the table for use. Crazy thing is I switch between two or three Bibles, but the one in the picture above is the one I have on hand most because it’s the only one I own with room in the margins for notes and thoughts. Obviously I use the Bible during Bible, but I’m also noticing that the more often I’m reading it, the more often I’m able to relate exactly what I’m reading to something we are either discussing, learning, or that needs disciplining. For instance, I recently was reading about the plagues the Egyptians suffered through for Pharaoh's insolence, while reading the end times Bible lesson to the boys I was able to remind them of how very similar the plagues were to the 7 seals, 7 trumpets, & 7 bowls.

My Planner, Purple & Multi Color Pen -- I’m pretty certain you know I’m a planning addict. Is there help for people like me? Maybe not, but my planner is on the table pretty much 24/7 during the week. It allows me to update it as we go along, add notes, mark off things we’ve done & make future plans. In our home it’s not called my planner with the kids, it’s called, “Mom’s great big book of everything that she made herself and colored pink because she’s a girl.” Whatever works, right?  I’m really picky about pens, remember when I confessed that I was a Crayola Snob {all though now with colored pencils I lean towards Faber Castell} I’m also a pen snob. I really love Bic, something I can’t get here. I also love the Pentel medium or fine point pens that Wal-Mart use to sell for .97. I think I prefer this brand because it’s easy to write in the smaller sections of my planners. But, I truly love a good Bic. A friend gave us one recently as part of a joke & I was so annoyed when the pen got lost. {He picked it up at a hotel in Las Vegas on a recent business trip.} The multi color pen is a gift from Morgan, & the pinky color on it is perfect for drawing smile faces on the work in my planner we accomplish. I was doing checkmarks, but I thought they looked ugly. Smile faces make me smile, so we use smile faces.

Memory Box -- So simple, so cheap, so effective. It took a little bit of time when we first started to get into a rhythm with this little thing, but now our day isn’t complete without it. We keep fact cards for math drill in there & Bible verses, & these nifty NT cards for story reviews from Bible Lessons. There’s nothing quite like seeing your kids eyes light up when they hear someone reading out a Bible verse that they actually know. Or hearing them shout one about fear or courage as they dash down the hall in the dark. If you don’t know about this box, or can’t understand how to make it work you should most certainly check out Sonja’s Chat about it over on SCM.

Covered Water Bottle -- I drinks a lot of water, and if I don’t I tend to get pretty sick pretty quickly. The problem is, not only does a glass of water get drunk up too quickly it’s too easy to spill on our books & papers. I also suffer with TMJ, and it was pretty bad until my Bowen Therapist made me right again, but during that time I couldn’t suck on a straw without pain. Which meant my awesome cool drink bottles with lids were no good. It took a long while to find something with a wide mouth but a quick open and go type of lid. I stumbled upon some Smash BPA free bottles during a Back To School sale last year and have been hooked ever since!

White Board -- I H.A.T.E. chalk boards. Am I alone? Seriously, the sound of chalk on a board gives me the chills. I went to a private Christian school through second grade and I still have vivid memories of plugging my ears while my classmates all squealed for turns to erase the board. I use to plug my ears when Mom wrote on our chalkboard & I nearly cried the day my kids pulled out chalkboards and chalk. I can handle chalk on the sidewalk, but not on a slate board! Just writing this is creeping me out! A white board on the other hand.. bliss. We picked our white board up from the Op-Shop a year ago when our last white board was finally no longer white. This is our third white board, & don’t even get me started on how many packets or Crayola’s Low Odor markers we’ve gone through. They are the only markers that don’t set off a migraine when I use them! As for the board itself.. spelling practice, reminders, games, math, & so much more have made their daily appearance on the board. I’m thinking that when this one bites the dust I’ll put little ones in front of the boys desks.

Backpacks -- This one is probably weird for kids who don’t go to school, but backpacks are a lifesaver around here! The kids keep their daily school books in one each and it hangs, normally, on the back of their school chair. They also keep a pencil bag with their colored pencils, one regular pencil, & a glue stick each. There’s also a ruler, a pair of scissors, & other goodies they’d need to get through a school day in there. At anytime we need a chance of scenery I say, “Get your bags guy!” & off we go with everything at our fingertips.

Winter Promise Timelines -- I’ve all ready, I think, written the praises of these awesome and amazing things. Of all the timelines we’ve ever tried these suckers take the cake! We love them. Jayden’s copy of a timeline showed up recently and the smile on his face as we put everything in it’s proper place was huge. I love how easy it is for them to file all their school stuff {math excluded} into one place. All though, honestly, at the rate we are going I suspect we’ll have to break it in half over two notebooks eventually. Those notebooks were the largest I could get, to my knowledge, and they are pretty full all ready!

Hundreds Chart -- Math class is never complete around here without at least one child getting sent to the thing. It’s such a normal action that my children now go to it on their own before coming to me, and generally they can solve their problem on their own. It hangs right over our computer desk, but I’ve also got notebook sized hundred charts in their math notebooks. Those are in page protectors & get used all most as often as the big wall one!

Thailand Bell -- My mother-in-law brought me back this cute little bell on her trip to Thailand. The top is a beautiful glass globe with a lot of detail to it considering it’s size, and the bottom is a typical brass bell. To get the kids rolling I often say things like, “First person to the school table with books at the ready gets to ring the bell!” or “First person to get their chores done to Mommy standards gets to ring the bell!” or.. or.. or.. It keeps them moving and seems to bring much happiness and joy.. who knew!

iPod Touch -- okay, perhaps another clique item. This one isn’t used as often, but it’s terrific for our audio books during school time. I can download them directly to the ipod & then just slap it on the console or in the car so we can listen to it while eating lunch, traveling, or doing whatever.

Maps -- These two maps that are hanging on our wall {We’ll get an Australia &/or Tassie one soon as well} are used on an all most daily basis with our boys. I’ll read about something and they’ll race to the map to look for it. They’ll hear about a place & run off to find it. While a cousin was recently visiting I found all three of them sitting in the little hall comparing places on the map & telling each other what they knew about each place. We’ll be getting heaps more use out of them this year as well.

Learning Clock -- I wasn't aware of how much my boys used this because at our last house it was hanging in our learning/dining room area. Now that we're in a separate learning area I realized just how much they relied on it and quickly moved it into the learning area. I need to print more off and put them in the other analog clocks around the house.
What about you, what are your top "must have" or "use every day" kinda things?

1 comment:

Kelly Rollett said...

I will be beginning to homeschool next school year and I found this post so helpful. Thank you! Kelly