Friday, March 27, 2009

Free $25 Staples Gift Card

I just got an email from Staples offering a free $25 gift card.

*FREE $25 Staples® Gift Cards will be issued — one for you AND one for your school — when a new school signs up to participate in the Staples® SchoolKidzsm program. Schools must be new to the Staples SchoolKidz program and sign up by June 30, 2009. Only one $25 Staples Gift Card will be issued per parent household. Only the first three parents associated with each new participating school are eligible to receive a $25 Staples Gift Card. Each new participating school is eligible to receive a maximum of three $25 Staples Gift Cards. Staples Gift Cards will be issued by July 31, 2009. Staples reserves the right to modify this promotion at any time. Excludes Alaska and Hawaii. Staples Gift Cards term and conditions apply. See card or for details.

When I entered, I simply put "Our School Name - Homeschool". I don't know if they'll honor homeschoolers but I think it's worth filling out their form and wait to see whether or not "That WAS easy".

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Because I'm TOO cheap... buy this to track our number of school days:

So I made this, instead. I think it superior in so many ways, if I do say so myself.

Coffee stirrers (cut in half, mind you), rubber bands, 3 jelly jars, and some folded pieces of cardstock (oh yes, a recycled almond container for the extras). I go back and forth but I think our family will fare ok during any economic recession we might have to endure. Because I don't see a thing in the world odd, unusual or miserly about this...even during an economic boom. I've been known to get out a spatula and get EVERY LAST smidgen of lotion out of a bottle, gall darn it. (I know if you're reading this that you're chuckling at this, Colleen.) I digress..

Since I shared the "days in school tally jars" I thought I'd also share some more of our daily calendar activities.

One child is responsible for changing the "yesterday", "today", and "tomorrow" tabs. They're so easy to make (and excuse me, inexpensive)...again, just folded cardstock. Simply hang them over the calendar date. Oh yes...remember the plasti-tak? That's what's holding up the calendar numbers.

I eventually want to print and laminate this board instead of using the dry erase board. Anywhooo.... I usually let the other child write this information on the board and let them alternate these tasks every day. Want to know how I keep up with whose day is who's? Simple, I just look at the handwriting on the board from the day before. I started out writing this information in myself and having them copy it on those silly sheets (pre-workbox days) then I thought, "what am I doing? Let THEM own it!"

The ordinal monthly number information comes from this book that I've mentioned before.

After we're done with calendar stuff we do a daily devotional and their journal is always in the first drawer of their workboxes. We use this Carson-Delossa book that I really like.

I have the child that didn't write on the white board or rather the child that simply changed the calendar tabs (yes it's tit-for-tat in our house) find and read the bible verse in the actual Bible. I think that's important rather than just to read it from the devotional book and as my friend Jenn says - they're learning math skills while loooking up verses. I couldn't resist posting all of these pix. I just love the little story they collectively tell.

Then I write the verse on the white board and usually try to incorporate a little further journaling/drawing activity to go along with the devotional or verse read.

So that's it...our daily grind. Not so bad, I don't think.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things

Here are more images of our workboxes in action. This is Lil'Bit's third drawer of the day. She opened the box and found everything right there for her.

She worked the page. Yes, by golly, that sheet's laminated and yes I am a "professional" homeschooler! And thanks to Ruth Beechick I can now happily ignore that little red line under the word homeschooler. ;0) For more details scroll down to the Weekly Language Tip, here. This is a great newsletter if you don't already get it.

She cleaned up
She replaced the items (sometimes she'll even put them back where they came from instead of back in the drawer which makes Mommy really happy). Then she took the #3 tag off of the drawer and placed it on her "grid". One drawer down....

By the way, I love this wonderful stuff. I use it for lots of things. It is much better than the blue stuff in my opinion.
It comes off of the walls much better - not pulling the paint off - yet still holding well. Here it is holding up coins to represent the number date. That's some more of Marcy Cook's ideas. I use her Primary Today Is the Day for Numbers at this link. This book lists number facts for each day of the school year plus all the ways to show each date with United States coins (e.g., 5 is the number of Great Lakes for March 5th, 12 is the number of Reindeer for December 12th, etc..) Later in the month it seems like we simply use money more often to represent the number date. I don't always follow her list, if you can believe that. Sometimes I make up my own to fit our situation or use another item/representation that I think would be more meaningful to my girls. I can't tell you how much this visual has helped me, too. If I am writing a check I pretty much always know the date because of this little mnenomic device.

And one other thing I use Plasti-Tak for is to attach the The "Work With Mom" tag because that varies each day from drawer-to-drawer and it seems a little overkill to have 2 velcro buttons on EVERY drawer.

This is drawer #6 - some physical activity for the day.

And after 15 minutes of working on this she got it. She hasn't been able to do it until today (the first time in her workbox).

This is what she found in the next drawer. We love these little journals. This was one of the best birthday gifts we've ever received. I love those gifts that keep on giving. And the workbox system ensures that we regularly keep with it.

Finally - her last drawer - more Marcy Cook math Color it On the 30s chart slips. We love these!

Also, I couldn't live without a timer. We use them for practically everything. I even send them sometimes to play at the neighbor's house with this one around their neck. Anyway, I keep them all in one drawer so there's one always handy.

That's all for now. I always enjoy others' ideas so I just thought I'd share some of my favorite things today. Workboxes, plasti-tak, Marcy Cook, This Is Me Journals, and timers...good stuff.