Friday, May 22, 2009

Thinking Outside the Box Meme

Thinking Outside the Box
This week's Thinking Outside of the Box meme for those of you that use worboxes is filling out a little questionare so here it is below. You too can participate by visiting Work of Childhood Blog

* How many boxes do you fill?
24 total for two kids.

* Do you expect your children to go in order? general they do because they tend to be children of order (wouldn't know that by looking at my house). I have 3 bins that says "Need +2". These bins need to have 2 "tickets". Tickets are the numbers from other bins.

* Do you use the schedule strips?
no. I honestly have not purchased the book. We are very relaxed and didn't want the "school" feel of the schedule strips.

* How long does it take you to fill the boxes?
about 20 minutes. Shorter if I have all of the ideas ready

* Do you fill your work boxes EACH night with all new items?
yes unless there was something not finished from the day before. My 5 year old finishes all of her boxes but my 3 year old usually does not.

* Do you have some boxes repeat each day so there is less filling/refilling?
not every day but every couple of days I will put a similar thing in the box to reiterate the activity especially for my 3 year old

* What do your kids do with the empty boxes?
put them in a cardboard box next to their shelf.

* Do you put away the ‘supplies’ each night? or do your kids?
I put them away at this point

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Nature Study

We are trying to implement more of Charlotte Mason's ideas. We have always gone on lots of nature walks and love to explore nature. Today I tried a new activity where Arianna found something and journal/drew a picture of it. She found a shell,closely observed it and then drew a picture of it. We also had a great time playing with friends, finding cool insects, wading in the lake and catching tadpoles to try to raise. I hope to read A Charlotte Mason Companion if I ever get through with Educating the Whole Hearted Child. I went to a Charlotte Mason discussion group on Tuesday which was interesting. I enjoy listening to the thoughts and ideas of others! I don't think I will do Charlotte Mason's Curriculum completely but I am certainly intrigued by many of her ideas! Usually when I complete a questionnaire on our homeschooling ideals and family's values, the results point us to Charlotte Mason and unit studies. I also love Educating the Wholehearted Child by Sally Clarkson (see previous post) Sally Clarkson often recommends Charlotte Mason in her book. Anywho...enjoy pictures of our time at the park...

Bitten by the Workbox Bug


I recently discovered a cool way of organizing our homeschooling activities.  I am really great at planning my week but not as great at implementing each intricate part of the lesson.  Well I found a wonderful solution.   You can buy Sue Patrick’s book here.  She details the hows and whys of the workbox system in her book.  I honestly haven’t read her book yet but created my system around her general idea. 

I think she is a much more structured homeschooler…what I would call someone who does school at home (someone who follows pretty closely what the public schools do just in a home environment).  Even though we have different styles of homeschooling, I have modified the system to fit more of our style.  So if you are a more relaxed homeschooler, you can make this system work for you too!

We still do circle time around our unit theme (currently it is hearing/ears) but I organize the additional activities (art, math, reading, etc) into these bins.  The bins also include other activities such as computer time, games with Mom, practice dance for recital, etc.   In general the kids go through each of their bins in order and then when they complete 2 of them, they can pick one of the “Need +2 bins”.  I am amazed at how much “fun” stuff we are doing now.  Things that I wanted to do before but never seemed to have the time.   I am a curriculum junky, so I have lots of books.  Now we are finding time to do activities in so many of the books that we just haven’t had the time before.  The workboxes also are great at making sure I am planning activities for each child’s interests and levels.  It also helps hold me accountable for implementing more of the activities from our lesson plans. DSC_0001

Above is Arianna’s workboxes for the day and below are Ryan’sDSC_0002

The kids were so excited to get started that they began right after they woke up.  This is Arianna’s shelf as she was working.  DSC_0003 DSC_0004

Ryan listening to a Spanish CD from the library.  DSC_0007

Arianna excited that she completed two activities so she can have 15 minutes of computer time. 


Arianna works on counting by 10sDSC_0014

Arianna is putting together a house that I had put in the closet and not found time to do before


Ryan playing a matching game with Mom.  He found a match. DSC_0020

Ryan working on hand eye coordination by hammering tees into styrofoam. 



Arianna finding pictures of different ears DSC_0005

Arianna labeling a diagram of the outer, middle and inner ear. DSC_0007 

If you are interested in this, here’s a basic how to get started…

I bought the shelf from Target for $15 (see pic below).  It is found near the laundry basket area.  The bins are also at Target for $1/bin.  I bought 12 bins for each child.  Ryan doesn’t always do 12 but Arianna has been pretty consistent with getting 12 done.  Also, I bought the little velcro circles from Target.  I needed 3 packages.  I made the labels with index squares and laminated them.  If you buy the book, she gives you access to the label templates. She also has a schedule template but we don’t use it, since I don’t like regimented schedules.  We go at our own pace.  WE LOVE WORKBOXES!


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pajama Tea Party

Arianna has been wanting to have a tea party since her birthday. Her Aunt LaTisha gave her a really cool paint your own tea set and Ari has been planning the party ever since. We decided to make it into a Pajama Party Tea Party and Ari invited 4 friends. The girls had a blast! They stayed up until 1:30am and two of the girls woke ready to go again at 6:45. One of my best friends stayed the night with me (her daughter was at the party). It was a fun girl's night!