Our School House

I said I would post about where we school weeks ago! How the time flies when you are back in the throws of homeschool!  Well, better late then neverWinking smile
Our school is sprinkled throughout our entire house. I guess our family room would be as good a place to start as any.
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Wow! These need some organizing! Here is where is I keep supplies, manipulative pieces, puzzles, activity bags, etc., etc.  You know…all the “stuff” that helps them learn without them knowing it.
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Ahhh…  That’s better!   Now each shelf has a category like craft supplies, or games and puzzles.  This way I know where to go to find it and more importantly the grits know where to put it back when they are done!
***I have my little brother labeler and use it to label what I can.  But, my favorite way to label all those shoe boxes with supplies in them is so simple.  Those are just 3x5 cards cut in half and written on with Sharpie. The cards cover the front and make it all look very uniform. Very low tech…very effective.***
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Every good preschool needs a play kitchen.  I got this one for a steal at a yard sale this summer.  Baby Grit really loves it.
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This is the view from the doorway.  This room is part school room, part family room, and part office.  (In it’s former life it was a garage.  I had no idea I would be home schooling when we closed it in, but I am so glad we did!)
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Here is a better view of the Family Room portion of the room.
See our beautiful new (to us) piano! It was passed down to us from family!  Dancing Grit started piano last year and loves it.  She was going to the neighbor’s to practice every day…which was such a blessing.  But, we have been praying for our very own piano.  Now practice will take place right here. I am looking forward to having a house full of music!
We also do book basket, devotion, read aloud, and any other school we can gathered in this space.  I also love to throw in educational videos and TV shows. So much more then a Family Room!
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I carved out this little the office space behind the couch on the other side of the room.  Can you tell  from the picture that it is off to the right when you enter the room? This little space houses my desk, printer, and more school books and supplies.
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My desk.  This is a working space.  I wanted you to see it that way. I didn’t put anything away or make it look all neat.  This is my hub.  This is where lesson plans are made, meals are planned, worksheets are printed and copied, games are laminated, and current curriculum is kept.  I also run my house from this desk!  See the coupon box and the soap pump I have to call about?  Like I said…this is a working space!
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This is where I keep any paper the grits might need.  I put scrap paper in the top for random drawing.  Then there is lined filler paper,  construction paper and cardstock. I keep my computer paper under my printer above. 
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This shelf holds more school.  This is where the grits keep their school boxes. (the plastic dishpans you see) Each grit keeps all their independent work in these along with pens, pencils, crayons, markers, art pencils and any other supplies they need on a daily basis.  I also keep their binders, file folder games, and art supplies on this shelf right now.
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These drawers are on the other side of the shelves. We call these drawers our “done boxes”.  Anything they want to save, but I don’t want in their binders goes in these boxes.  I have been using this system since Dancing Grit was in Kindergarten and I love it! It was so helpful when they were little and coming home from everything with a picture or craft? Everything went straight into the done box.  What about the myriad of things they draw and doodle? Put it in the done box? VBS, Sunday School, Mother’s Day Out? They were able to put it in their done boxes themselves. Then, at the end of the school year, we go through it and decide what they love enough to keep.  I have the keepers in bags and boxes in the attic. When they get homes of their own guess what is going with them? You got it! Their done boxes.
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When you leave the family room this is what you will see. This also happens to be what you see when you enter our front door.  (Except for the sewing machine...it is usually in a closet) But, yes..there is a pool table in the front room of my house. Hubbies and their toys.  This room does house most of our books, too. 
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You know you are a homeschooler when… you have more bookshelves than children. Smile
We are definitely homeschoolers!
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Then we head into the dining room.  This is where we do the majority of our school.  We used to have a big table in the family room. We really like using the dining table  much better.  They just carry their school bins in every day.  They pile it all back in the bins and put them away at the end of the day.  This room is decorated simply and has a minimal amount of “stuff”.  I believe they work better in here because they are less distracted by visual clutter. 
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I love using this room because of the location, location, location!  It sits between my bedroom, the laundry room, the kitchen and the front door.  I can wash dishes while testing a memory verse, or change out the laundry while someone works on a math problem.  I am able to  work on dinner, fold laundry or whatever I need. All while being close enough to help when they need me.  
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I just added this cabinet to the corner of the dining room. It is working really well.  I have put things we use on a daily basis in here. Our Math U See blocks and DVDs, All About Spelling Cards,  and few other things are in here. I like having them close at hand.
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But, I also like being able to hide it all away at then end of the day.

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The longer I homeschool the better I become at hiding things.  I look for things with lids that you can not see through.  I found this at a yard sale a few years ago.
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It is a great place to keep art bags handy but hidden.
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I inherited this basket and plan to use it for all of our MFW book basket books. 
Well, there it is.  That is our school house.  We don’t have a huge space, but we make the most of it!
What do you think? Any ideas or tips for me? I’d love to hear them! Just leave them in the comments.
Have a Blessed Day!
~Joyce

Ready, Set, Go! (and curricula choices)

Hi, there!  After a very extended, very needed break from the blog....we are actually ready to start school on schedule!  Whoohoo!  I feel (mostly) prepared enough and (mostly) organized enough to go ahead and get started.  Usually at this point I am giving myself on more week to get it together.  Not this year! 
After 5 years of homeschooling I have finally got it together… mostly.Winking smile
Actually we have already started…sort of.   I decided that it might be a good idea to spend a week or so easing back into school by doing seat work and core subjects before we added My Father’s World. It has worked great.  We have spent the last week concentrating on getting back into the rhythm of things by doing only our seat work subjects.  (Math, Language, Writing, etc.) Going back to school was much less overwhelming this way. 
We will add the rest of our schedule gradually over the next two weeks.
I am planning on starting My Father’s World Creation to Greeks tomorrow.  This is our history, science and Bible.  There are also elements of reading and writing throughout the program. We do this together and they each work at their own level.
  Here is what each grit will be doing on her own…
Dancing Grit  (10 years old)
  • Math U See (Delta-Epsilon)
  • Math Fact Flashcards
  • All About Spelling (I am switching from Spelling Power for a while.  I started AAS with my other two last year and love it.  I feel like it will benefit my oldest to breeze through the lower levels, get all the rules firmly under her belt, ad then settle on a level more her speed. When we finish all 7 levels I plan on switching back to Spelling Power.)
  • Intermediate Language Lessons
  • Writing Strands (Level 3)
  • A Reason for Handwriting (cursive-she just uses this for copy work)
  • God and Art (This is part of My Father’s World Creation to Greeks, but I am only having her do it this year.)
  • I Can Do All Things (We skipped this when it was assigned earlier in MFW. I made each grit a workbook in a Poly Binder to work through this year. Since she is doing two art programs this year she will be allowed to work more leisurely on this one.)
  • Extra Curricular: Piano (second year), Ballet III, AWANA

Sporty Grit (8 years old)
  • All About Spelling (level 2)
  • All About Reading (level 2 when it comes out.  This curriculum has been a life saver for us!)
  • Primary Language Lessons (I will try to  add this after we get through with AAR level 2)
  • Click N Read (for review and supplementing)
  • Math U See (Beta-Gamma)
  • Cursive First (as a review)
  • I Can Do All Things
  • Flash Cards and Manipulative  (as needed)
  • Extra Curricular: Piano (first year), Acrobatics II, AWANA

Goofy Grit (7 years old)
  • All About Reading (level 1-we are actually almost done. this was more of a review over the summer. We’ll move into level 2 as soon as her sister is done with it)
  • All About Spelling (level 1)
  • Math U See (Alpha-Beta)
  • Cursive First
  • I Can Do All Things
  • Flash Cards, Manipulative (as needed)
  • Extra Curricular: Ballet II, AWANA
Baby Grit (3 1/2 years old)
  • My Father’s World From A to Z (I am only going to do the things I think she is ready for)
  • Activity Bags
  • Manipulative and fun!
I read something over at Holy Spirit Homeschooling that I loved.  She describes their school as “natural paced.”  I think that is a perfect way to describe the way we school.  I meet them where they are,  with the curriculum I think will work, and we go from there.  We slow down or speed up when it is necessary. We switch it up when we have to, and  I try to remember that eventually we will get it all in.

Hope everyone else is getting excited and gearing up for the new school year, too. 
 Home School or Public School!  
2012-2013 HERE WE COME!

Have any questions about specific curricula we are using? Post it in the comments and I will be sure to answer.  Have some advice for me? Post that, too!  I would love to know anything you think could help me out!
I will be sharing our school house this week, too! Notice I said house and not room? We home school. We use our entire home!  Hope you'll come back and check it out!
Have a blessed day!
~Joyce~

Free How We Got the Bible eChart

Rose Publishing id offering this FREE How We Got the Bible eChart. I am thinking it might go well with our My Father's Word Curriculum!

Free Subscription to In Touch Magazine



Go here and request your free subscription to In Touch Magazine.  This offer came to my inbox from Cross Cards.  I thought I'd share it here.  This is my first time doing an offer like this from them, so I can't vouch for it.  But, I am thinking it is worth a try:)

5 Disciplines~ Week 2- Time Management

Week 1 Update:
  My goals for the Week 1~Body:
1. Stick with the Body Type Diet- So far so good.  I have cut out caffeine and sugar completely! Praising God for the strength to do it!
2. Drink water all day long- I am doing this by keeping a red metal water bottle with me at all times. Dr. A says it is better to drink room temp water because cold water slows the digestion of food. So, even though that sounds gross, it has made it so much easier to keep the water with me all day.  And once you are used to it, it is really not bad:)
3. Walk briskly 20 minutes 4 days a week- So far so good.  Looks like my schedule is going to be M,Th, Fri, and Sat.
4. Add strength training exercises- I am using SparkPeople.com.  They have a fitness tracker that will make up the routines for you and plan them out on the days you tell them to.

Week 1 has gone great! I am very encouraged to keep it up!

Week 2~ Time Management

Courtney challenges us to "create a rhythm in our homes to accomplish the mundane, so we are free to enjoy fun, family and fellowship!"  So perfectly put!  I have been working on time management for a while, and have really got a good rhythm going for our family right now.
  
My Goal this week~ One thing I don't always do, though, is pray over my schedule and let God make changes where He wants them.  So, I am challenging myself to pray each day over the things on my To Do List and try to hear where God is telling me to move things around or eliminate them all together.

 I thought this might be a good time to share how we get the mundane tasks done around here.  We have tried lots of different schedules and chore systems.  And like everything else they work for a while and then need some tweaking.  I used to try to do a little each day, but that just does not work for me. It is hard for me to focus on school when I know I have housework that needs to be done and vice versa. For me doing most of the major cleaning on one day works.  It might not for you. Every household is different and you will need to experiment with different schedules to find the one that works for your family.  This is just to give you some ideas.

~Monday~
 Grits: Laundry (we try to empty out all the hampers, fold and put it all away)
Mommy: Desk work (phone calls, paperwork, menu plan, couponing, etc.)

~Tuesday~
 Clean House:
Mommy: Kitchen, Bathrooms, Dust High Places
Food Prep for the week and baking
Make of Errands for the Week
Daddy: Vacuum
Dancing Grit (10): Dust Bedroom, Change Sheets, Wipe Kitchen Cabinets, Clean Glass on Doors and Screens, Dust Low Places in LR, MB, Game Room
Sporty Grit (8): Dust Bedroom, Change Sheets, Sweep and Mop Floors, Dust Dining Room
Goofy Grit (7): Dust Bedroom, Change Sheets, Empty Trash in All Rooms, Dust Low Places in LR, MB, Game Room

~Wednesday~
Errands and Grocery Shopping
Appointments

~Thursday~
Spot Clean House 
Cut and Organize Coupons

~Friday~
Start Add Matching and Making Grocery Lists
Check To Do Folder
Online Projects (I work on this at night while the grits watch a movie)

~Saturday~
Shopping
Food Prep (anything I can make ahead on time....it really saves me during the week)

~Sunday~
Family Rest Time - (I am trying really hard to not work at all on Sundays and truly rest. We have stopped doing any kind of shopping or eating out, too.  

Have a Blessed Day!
~Joyce