May 29, 2012

My Top Ten Homeschool Must Haves

I'm jumping on the band wagon and joining other homeschoolin' mom's in a top ten journey on Tuesdays! This week I want to share the "must haves" of our homeschool!

1. Prayer and Love!

I pray personally for patience, flexibility, and the ability to teach my children what they may need to learn every day. I also pray that our family will continue to love to learn and love each other. I know I wouldn't be able to do it on my own and I'm so thankful that my Heavenly Father is watching over and guiding me and constantly reminding me why it is that I chose to homeschool. We also have prayer before we start and when we finish our structured days.

2. Printer/Ink, Computer/Internet

I'm allowing these to go together because I think they go hand in hand.
I print things off of the computer all the time. It helps with review and visual aids. We go through ink like crazy and I hope that one day we can upgrade our printer or have an unlimited supply of ink.
Thank goodness for youtube for the spanish and sign language videos and the awesome songs my kids have learned from there that helped them learn the presidents and the 50 states! You can also find several documentaries about social studies, history or science. We also have many educational websites that we visit daily. Computer work comes in handy for review and learning. While I am busy doing lessons with one child the other's have something fun to do and everyone is happy.

3. Our Math and Language Arts Curriculum

We use Learning Language Arts Through Literature (LLATL) for Language Arts. I love how it is Christian based and offers some scripture study within it. It’s also very “hands-on” which offers lots of cutting, pasting, drawing and making. The object of the curriculum is to basically offer dissection of a paragraph, poem, or book. You study that piece of literature to learn spelling, grammar and reading comprehension. It’s a mix of the Charlotte Mason and Montessori approach by using hands on activities through-out and lots of “living books” as Charlotte Mason would. It provides the basic needs and we take our time and keep reviewing as we go. Before using this curriculum we used "Teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons" along with "Bob Books."
We use Saxon Math for our math. I like it because it tells me exactly what to say and how to teach math. Coming from someone who doesn’t like math, this curriculum has been a blessing for me. The kids catch on quick so we don’t always review over and over as it asks because we don’t have to. I also like the hands on opportunities that it provides and the timed math problems before each lesson.


Reading the scriptures for Language Arts.

Liberty enjoying cutting and pasting parts of a story.

4. Books and Bookshelves!

All homeschoolers know that you can never have too many books (although we might) and that having our own little library always comes in handy for those budding questions! Our books are the first place we go to answer questions and if that doesn’t help then we go back to the internet. Books can be a kids best friend and take them places they have never dreamed of. We love reading around here!

5. Baskets and "To Go Bags"

Both of these things keep everything tidy and together.
I love our work baskets! The kids grab them and set them at their feet and keep all their work in it (like a desk). Each basket holds science, history, social studies and spanish notebooks, saxon work book, LLATL work book, paper folder, journal, clipboard (to take their work outside), Nature notebook, flashcards and a box of pencils, scissors, glue, ruler, pencil sharpener, crayons, notepad, and erasers.
During those days when we have errands to run, doctor's appointments/therapy appointments for my daughter or while we're traveling I tell the kids to get their bags and we're out the door! Their bags are filled with math and phonics/reading/vocabulary flash cards, mini chalk boards and chalk, word searches, card games and any fun little manipulatives like counter chips and dominoes along with a book to read.

Harmony's to go bag that she decorated. Each child has one and each child decorated their own tote bag.

The baskets in the "cubbyholes."

6. Library Card, Library Visits and Library Box!

We visit the library once or twice a week. Not only can you get free books, dvd's and cd's but you can also participate in the many events and activities they hold. I've found that having a designated "library box" helps keep library books from disappearing which has saved us on late fees. We love the library!

7. Magnetic Whiteboard , Individual Wipe Boards and Dry Erase Markers!

It's magnetic! So I post each child's “job for the day” on our magnetic job chart along with 3 stars for each child that they want to try and keep through-out the day and big golden stars if they show outstanding behavior that day! It's a whiteboard! So I write the date, journal topic and any other things we learn through-out the day, which allows "daddy" to see what they learned that day and review during dinner. I love it and the kids do too as they write on it to practice math problems or spelling which makes them feel "grown up" writing on something that mommy does! The dry erase markers come in handy just by themselves too. To change things up a bit, sometimes I allow the kids to draw on the table, cuz hey, they just wipe off! We also use reusable dry erase wipe boards to practice spelling and handwriting which saves us on paper and allows us to “go green.”

Nephi practicing his name. He's got the "h" down!

Harmony practicing hyphens on the kitchen table with a dry erase marker!

Noah solving a math problem on "mommy's dry erase board."

Our magnetic job chart and reward chart.

8. Kitchen

The kitchen is a wonderful place! A place where you can experiment with science, bake goodies for service to others, adapt cooking skills and self reliance, learn about nutrition, learn how to read by reading recipes, learn math with measurements and fractions, learn science in cooking and incorporate dishes into social studies and history. My preschooler this year has even made a snack for each letter for his "letter of the week" curriculum. We spend a lot of time in the kitchen making messes! This is also a great place for my aspiring 9 year old chef and aspiring 8 year old chemist.

Nephi in the process of making a rainbow fruit salad. Learning about the colors of the rainbow and many different fruits in the process.

His masterpiece!

9. Art Supplies Closet

We have a whole closet full dedicated to art stuff! My kids love making things and I certainly believe in free imagination and play so I try to keep our art closet stocked full of art supplies. Play doh, clay, water color paint, acrylic paint, finger paint, paper of all textures, sizes and colors, scisssors, tape, string, yarn, modge podge, pom pom balls, popcicle sticks, old magazines, coloring books, chalk, crayons, colored pencils, markers, goggly eyes, straws, recyclables (paper plates, coffee filters, cardboard boxes, bottles, bottle caps, egg cartons, poster boar, old game pieces, old puzzle pieces and anything else you can reuse), beads, pipe cleaners, stamps, plaster paris, glitter, paper clips, clothes pins, stapler, stick glue, elmer's glue, glue gun and sticks, old fabric, feathers, cotton, buttons, old plastic flowers, how to draw books, stickers, art and craft idea books, pens, pencils, wooden pieces, pastels, and anything else my kiddos can think of stuffing in there while trying to keep it organized. All of these things come in handy during our projects for any subject. It's nice to know we can make anything to go with whatever we are studying to make it more enjoyable and memorable. It's also great for our aspiring 7 year old artist.

10. My Husband!

He should actually be at the top but I’m surprising him by keeping it down here, when he reads this. He supports, loves, compliments, advises, encourages and uplifts me which helps me get through those tough days. He's the best "principal" any school could have! I love you honey! Thanks for everything!

Honorable Mentions:

My Camera!
It might not have a fancy lens but it is waterproof and shatterproof which comes in handy most of the time. I LOVE capturing those learning moments on camera and it’s great for record keeping to remember what you did and studied that year.
Crystal Light!
I drink it in the morning and love the different flavors through-out the day!
Maps and Globes! To track characters in stories, current events, and military travels in our family and provide awareness of the many different cultures and people in the world.

Thanks to this website for the rules and organization of the top ten lists!

Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings

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