Homeschooling, Homeschooling on a budget

Homeschooling & Home Tips!

I started last year homeschooling these crazy kids.  I make jokes about it from time to time but it has been a very good thing for our family & I love it!

Last year, I struggled...ok..well… truth be told…I still Struggle to be organized from time to time. I learned quick that having 4 different grade levels from 2nd grade to 9th …was no joke! Being organized & prepared is the key! Here’s a few tips that have helped me along the way.

So I have a planning day….& I found the perfect tool! It’s called the “The Well Planned Day”.  I purchased it on CBD.com.  It was the best $20 I’ve spent.

  I love it because it allows me to put all 4 of my kids lesson plans all on the same page without having 4 different pages as I did last year. (Yeah..that was overwhelming & it didn’t last) If you will notice I highlight each lesson that is completed with a different color each day.  That way I know when I actually got to do it.  Sometimes, what I have planned doesn’t always happen due to the different learning styles and just making sure they really “get it” & understand what I’m teaching.  

I also picked up 4 student agendas from The Dollar Tree for …. Yep.. you guessed it.. $1!  Each day I write their lessons down in their agenda so they know what to expect & that way… when I’m working with another kiddo, they can look to see what they can do as independent work, so no time is wasted!  It works GREAT!   
There are two apps that have also made my class a whole lot better!  
#1 Free spell

Free spell can be downloaded to your iphone, ipad, or ipod.  The kids can add their words by saying the word then typing it in correctly.  Later for practice they can take a test. It will repeat their word & they can type how to spell it.  It will grade it for them and everything!  Sometimes we use this as a pre-test, but when I’m in a hurry I can use is it as the real thing.

The next app which you can download on any kind of device is called Quizlet.  This handy-dandy tool basically takes the place of notecards!  Gone are the days of writing them down, and studying.. now you can let your kid type it in, & this app also creates games, & word scrambles for whatever they are studying.  I use this mostly for vocabulary help.  The kids love it, & so do I!
 The last two tips I will share is really just home helpful tips that help our house run smoother.  Before school started we had a family meeting & I had divided up chores between the 4 kids.  Each one has a specific chore to do daily.   I posted them on a wipe off chart so there’s no arguing or forgetting what they are supposed to do. 

  Here’s a great link from Focus on the Family that will help you with determining what your kids could be doing at the appropriate ages.  I can not tell you how much this has helped us.  I don’t know how in the world I thought that #1 these things would just magically get done without fussing, or reminding all the time #2 that I could possibly do it all.  If your kids aren’t helping around the house… they should be!  It’s a GOOD thing! 😉
The next thing that helps is Menu Planning!  I used to blog about my weekly menu’s each Monday.  I also followed the blog “Menu Plan Monday” from orgjunkie.com LOVE THIS SITE!  She shares her menus as well as other bloggers that link up their menus.  So, LOTS of GREAT ideas and FREE recipes! You can see some of my older posts in the sidebar under labels called Menu Plan Monday.

Being Prepared and knowing what I’m cooking each night helps with our grocery bill, & puts my mind at ease.  Each week I sit down for about an hour… maybe less… and plan out what I’m having each night.  I even let the kids pick a menu & …
let  ahem…..assist them on cooking!

Right now I just use a calendar & write down what we are having & post it on the fridge for all to see.  I’m not OCD about it… if we have a bunch of leftovers or something comes up.. we just move things around.  No biggy.    Life can be hectic… but it doesn’t have to be.  These are just a few tips that help me keep my sanity!  Which…. is … Much …needed!  Hope these simple things can help you too! 

 
Homeschooling, Homeschooling on a budget

Art Time!

Who doesn’t LOVE art time?!! Thank goodness I had 3 that weren’t sick with a virus last week…so between being a nurse…teacher & cook…I added Art Teacher to my list!
While visiting family Sunday my uncle gave the kids some gourds to hang in the yard for Martin’s.  The kids wanted to paint them right away. Then they were curious..&. the questions began to start…
Why do we want to encourage birds to come to our yard to stay for the summer?
Why do they only stay for the summer?
What kind of bird will fit in that tiny space?
What color should be paint them?
Will “sugar” (our bulldog) eat them? 
This is what we love about homeschooling!  I can turn all of those questions into research time!…& I can do it now…while they want to know and have an interest.   It’s Good stuff!
I found a lot of information from The Purple Martin Conversation Association 
Did you know ..
-Matins migrate to North America from Brazil?  
-Native Americans were some of the first ones to realize how beneficial Martins were to have around camp.  They were the first who hung gourds to attract the beautiful birds who ate those pesky bugs that tried to eat up their corn.  
-Had to paint our houses white or pastel colors…as they attract the martins more.
-Martins are almost completely dependent on humans for there housing.
The kids & I learned a lot of neat things that we never knew about Matins.  It was a fun learning journey for me & the kids!
 
I even painted something for mommy!
 
We are a little late at getting our gourds out for them… but, maybe just MAYBE.. we can attract a sweet little family for the summer! 😉
 
Homeschooling on a budget

Homeschooling on a Shoe-String Budget & A Photo Shoot…

Well, let me tell you… Homeschooling.. takes DISCIPLINE! Did yall know that? I think God is teaching ME more so than me teaching McKenna! Last week, I wasn’t as creative with our work as I wanted to be.. I just wasn’t “With-It”.. if any of you ever have those days, then you know what I’m talkin ’bout!
This week… New Attitude…NEW Teacher for Kenna. Today, we started with the letter “C”. I found this Awesome site called ABC, I believe. It is Great! Actually I found it awhile back & purchased the whole set, but I’m just now Seriously going thru it with McKenna. I think the first few sets are free, but after that you must purchase the rest. It was only about $13.00. It comes with ALL sorts of IDEAS for crafts, lessons, story-time, printable worksheets, etc. etc. Y’all go check it out, you’ll love it! You can even memorize a verse each week that goes with that letter. However, we won’t be doing this, because we just started AWANA cubbies a few weeks ago, which as some memorization to learn each week. We also had homemade “Chicken” noodle soup for lunch today… that was yummy! C for the chicken & Carrots 🙂

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McKenna & I had a photo shoot today. Remember that “re-do” hair-do I was telling you about…well, she let me do it today. As you can tell.. girls got spunk & ALOT of SAS! I have no idea where she gets it from!! LOL!

From grid photo opt

She’s also wearing a new T-shirt that Jill made for me. Isn’t it the cutest! She also made one for Faith. Her little cheerleader has black hair.. it is ADORABLE! I love them JILL! Ya’ll hit her up….. I think she gonna start selling them.

Today was a Good day my friends.
Oh, & before I forget,… look what I found at our “D*ollar T*ree” store…

They have a HUGE section of school stuff.. FOR ONLY… $$$1.00… I was looking around me….. ……looking for somebody to tell the news about my Great Find… nobody was there.. so I just kept it to myself… & filled up my little basket! 🙂

*****Also, here is another cool tip….. About.com has a place where you can download “traceable” font onto your computer. It’s simple and it’s FREE! I downloaded it to my computer and now when I have a new letter or I want McKenna to practice her handwriting,… I click on Microsoft Word, type what I want, highlight it, then search thru my fonts at the top and change it. Print it out & Vhwa-LA.. your own worksheet!

Homeschooling on a budget

Homeschooling on a Shoe String Budget!

Yesterday I started school with McKenna. She is Pre-K age but, we decided not to send her and I would work with her at home. I looked into some Christian curriculum and they can be VERY expensive! I was getting ready to order it when I had 2 friends (one who homeschools) tell me that she WOULD not buy the curriculum and that I could do it from using the Internet, Wal*mart workbooks, and what I have at home. So, after much thought & a look at our budget ;)…I have decided to do just that! It does require planning on my part, & I feel like I’m back in college again.. planning and stuff & searching the net for lessons.. but, I love it! I Love the way the girls have so much fun at it & they really enjoy having mommy’s undivided attention. Now, does this keep them from arguring & whinning?,… NO…Does this keep them from wanting ALL mommy’s time?… somewhat? Does it let Faith & McKenna know that I love them more than household chores, blogging, making bows & sewing?… ABSOLUTLY!! I feel this is part of my “Purpose” of staying at home… it’s not just to be “here” when they need me.. but really being “HERE” when they need me!! Am I making any sense to ya yet? Okay so about our day…

I wanted to share with you all what we did today .. because I thought it was a good idea and the girls LOVED this!

Today during Math time we talked about shapes… our shape for today was a circle. We traced circles, I found a little rhyme about circles on the net… & I hung it on the wall

*I gave them a Ritz cracker to snack on.. (cause it was shaped like a circle.. of course!)

*We made circle lollipops!! It was soo much fun! We traced out a circle, cut it out. Then decorated it, glued on a popcicle stick, covered it with cling wrap and wrapped it in a ribbon!

materials needed:

Finished Product:

We had SO much fun!!! Just look how happy they are:

Priceless!

Hum… I’m thinking tomorrow.. we’ll make some “circle” cookies!.. Stay tuned! And, if you have any ideas.. blog about it.. & come back here and leave me a message!! Remember pictures are ALWAYS GOOD!!

I WANT TO HEAR THEM!!!

Remember.. I’m looking for lessons!! ;0)