Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Printable Workbox Game to Share

Animal Memory Match
I have been working on putting together some fun items for our workboxes and I will be sharing what I come up with here as I can.
This PDF file contains 2 pages of animal matching cards. For best results, print out on card stock and laminate then cut out.


Cassie :)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Poison Ivy Hits In His Image Academy

I regret to inform that I will not be doing a weekly wrap-up post about school this week. We only had 3 days of lessons. Why you ask? Because I have 2 very itchy, miserable boys that I am trying to nurse back to health.

The boys went across the courtyard to where there is a line of trees separating our complex and another one a few days ago to climb trees with a few of the neighbor children. Apparently, this area was infested with either poison ivy or oak (I don't know what the difference is between the 2)! Naturally, both boys got it. Isaiah especially is covered. it started as a few small spots on one arm, now that whole arm is covered, his neck, his face, and a bit on the other arm, too. Drew's just showed up this morning and is just on his neck and a few spots around his hairline and wrists.

We are using a special soap to draw out the oils. I think it is called Tecnu. To be honest, i don't know if it is doing much good for Isaiah. I treat him with it twice daily and it still seems to be spreading. I think maybe that's because he had it for a day or two before we started using it, not realizing it was poison oak/ivy. I treated Drew this morning as soon as I noticed it, so I am hoping it doesn't spread as badly for him.

Since it is hard for them to sit still on a normal day, I figured I was just asking for it by trying to get them to sit through lessons today, so we took a day off. I will update you of any progress this weekend and I will be back to do another post tomorrow! Please keep the boys in your prayers as Isaiah may end up in the ER if the rash on his face gets much worse.


Cassie :)

Did you Know?

that everyone's favorite online homeschool magazine, Heart of the Matter, has an awesome forum? I am a moderator there and I want to get the word out to everyone possible! You can participate in TONS of interesting discussions  in dozens of topics, such as:
  • home education according to grade levels, learning methods, and learning styles
  • creative homeschooling: lapbooks, notebooking, workboxes, mini-offices, etc.
  • parenting: discipline, health and nutrition, pre-conception, pregnancy, special needs, single parenting, and according to ages
  • marriage and family life
  • homemaking: share recipes, tips for keeping the home, budget and finance, working from home
  • taking care of YOU: health and wellness, bible study, crafts and hobbies, fashion and beauty, etc.
  • and much, MUCH more!
It's all here at the HOTM forum, waiting for YOU to make new friends, glean wisdom from other homeschool families, get advice, and share your thoughts! So hop on over today and start an account and start talking it up! I can't wait to see you there and get to know you better!


Cassie :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sentence Finishers for Fun!

I saw a few other bloggers play this game and thought it would be interesting to participate, so here I go!

1. Maybe I should be.... filling workboxes for tomorrow, but I'm too sleepy.
2. I love....... when my 15mo baby cuddles with me voluntarily.
3. People would say that I ..... am NOT a very patient person.
4. I don't anyone could ever do anything that harms a child, especially their own.
5. When I wake up in the morning..... I usually feel like I need more sleep, but I digress.
6. I lost.... my motivation to do much of anything today (it was rainy and dreary).
7. Life is full of...... love, laughter, joy, blessings, friends, family, books, laundry, the list goes on!
8. My past taught me.... to trust God for all my needs and even some of my wants.
9. I get annoyed when..... kids are disrespectful and rude to adults (yes mine are guilty of this too).
10. At a party I......  don't remember. Did I mention that I have four children?
11. I wish.....that every child in the world had a warm bed to sleep in and loving arms to hold them.
12. Dogs......  rule!!!
13. Cats...... are evil, LOL! J/K
14. Tomorrow.... is a new day, full of it's own blessings and challenges.
15. I have a low tolerance for..... anyone that dares to mess with my kids and see number 9 above.
16. If I had a million dollars.....I would buy several hundred acres of wooded farmland and have our dream home built. Then I would build a house for my mommy, my grandparents, my sister, my mother-in-law, my sister-in-law and her family, my bff Elizabeth and her family, and my bff Bo and her kids-hmm, am I missing anyone? Then I would open up a homeschool store in my town.
17. I'm totally terrified of.....anything bad ever happening to my husband or children. When I say bad, I mean serious injury or death.

Now maybe you have a bit more insight into the inner-workings of my thoughts. hope I didn't scare anyone off!


Cassie :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Workbox Update - Week 1

So here we are, finished with our first full week using the Workbox System! It has been an exciting, pleasantly surprising, awesome week!  Everyone is happy, all of our work is getting done in record time, and I am getting more done than ever before!

I am slowly finding my routine in planning and filling the boxes and I am becoming more proficient at it. The boys are getting better at not relying on me so much for every little thing. They are learning and exercising their problem solving skills and at times even doing things on their own that I had planned on doing with them!

On the downside of things, MY schedule has gotten worse. I have been trying for 2 weeks now to get to bed earlier and get up earlier, but it just hasn't been happening. I think that that's mostly because I dont HAVE to get up until Joey does. I am thinking about putting him on a bit earlier schedule so it forces me to adapt accordingly.  I'll let you know how that goes...

I apologize, but I don't have and pictures to share this week, but I did recently upload a video to YouTube of Joey wandering around the house, so I will share that with you! A word of warning - it's long, Sorry ;)


Cassie :)

Monday, July 13, 2009

First Day With Workboxes - A MAJOR Success!

We survived!! Honestly, we did more than just survive, we really enjoyed our first day back to school! The boys both LOVED using the Workbox System and I did, too! Our day wasn't as smooth as it eventually will be, but things will fall into place as we all get used to doing things in this new and exciting way, I am confident of that!
Our day started with a special breakfast of cinnamon twists with icing (usually we have cereal or oatmeal). We all enjoyed them, especially Joey!
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While they were waiting for me to clean up after breakfast, I found the boys perusing a book: Ripley's Believe it or Not - Encyclopedia of the Bizarre.
I LOVE that they got out a book instead of turning on the TV. I think it had a major influence on the fact that it was not difficult to get them to come to the table to start lessons. I had them use their "Clock-In" cards to start the day.
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We started our school day with Morning Group time. We said our pledges, prayed, sang a Bible song (Trust and Obey), and had our Bible lesson together.
100_1855After that was done, they started their workboxes! Here are a few pictures of them working throughout the day...
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100_1876Obviously, all these pictures were taken while the boys were doing independent activities, which we normally would not have a lot of, but the workboxes are definitely helping with that. I put "Work With Mom" cards with each of their math and reading assignments, as well as with Drew's All About Spelling Lesson and Isaiah's Phonics. We got to do a lot of things today that we normally just don't have time for! We did centers (which had 2 File Folder games for each boy), journaling, and computer time. As a special treat, I made a code and wrote each of them Super Secret Coded Messages to decipher and read. I greatly underestimated how much they would enjoy them! Drew specifically opened his workbox and said, "Yes! I LOVE these!". I wrote to each of them that I hoped their first day back to school was fun and that I was proud of them for doing their workboxes so well!
The highlight of MY day had to be when Drew was journaling. I put an index card in the box with instructions to write about the first day of school. I included some questions to get them thinking: Do you like using workboxes? and What was your favorite part of the day? My 9 year old son, the one who constantly tells me that he HATES school wrote this:
DrewsJournalHe told me workboxes are fun and he didn't whine or complain ONCE the entire day! The funny thing is we did WAY more work than we typically have in the past. We started at 11am (later than I had wanted but there's always tomorrow) and worked until 1:30, then took an hour lunch break and were done by 4:15. That's less than 4 hours of school time!
I am so very glad that I decided to try the Workbox System. It seems like a really good fit for our family, and I know it's going to get even better with time. I highly recommend it to anyone who homeschools.
I need to start dinner before Joey wakes from his nap, so off I go!


Cassie :)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Tomorrow's the Big Day..

The first day of our school year, that is! You may (or may not) notice the time I posted this - it's after 2:30am! That's because as hard as I've worked the past few weeks, as prepared as I thought I was, I still managed to forget several small details of getting things ready for this week/this year. But it's finished, the schoolroom is clean and organized, the workboxes are filled, and the week's lessons are planned! Can I just say WOOHOOOO!
I will be sure to take pictures tomorrow throughout our day and share with you how our first day back-to-school Workbox style went! For now - I'm gonna get some much-needed rest!


Cassie :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Yahoo for Workboxes!!

Yes, I have succumbed to the newest homeschooling method-WORKBOXES!! I have been researching it for some time now and trying to figure out if it would be a good fit for us and how we could utilize it in our homeschool. I decided the best way to find out is to just jump right in and see how it goes.
If you haven't yet heard about the Workbox System, you can find out more by visiting Sue Patrick's site (the inventor of the Workbox System) and also by checking out this very comprehensive review compiled by Kari at Curriculum Choice.
I am not going to bore you with all the details, as I have given you the links to get all the information you could ever want. I am, however, going to share some pictures with you!
Here is a picture of the boys' finished workboxes. I don't have the funds right now to buy the wire racks, so I had to do a lot of rearranging to make space for them on our bookshelves. i am also starting out with just 8 boxes per boy. I am hoping to increase to the full 12 boxes once I can purchase the racks. They are $14.99 at Target. The boxes with the red numbers are Drew's and the boxes with the blue numbers are Isaiah's.


Here are our clock-in cards and pockets for school-time. I found these really cute pirate files that another mom shared on the Yahoo Workbox group.

These are our schedule strips with covers (shared by another mom on the Yahoo workbox group).

These are Isaiah's number cards on his schedule strip. They are Star Wars themed (again from the Yahoo Workbox group).

And here are Drew's number cards. He didn't especially like any of the pre-made cards I found, so I made him dinosaur number cards in Word using clipart. I am planning on uploading them and sharing them on the Yahoo group also.

And last but not least, I made some chorecards and choreboards with pockets to help remind the boys what they need to get done around the house on a daily basis. I plan on uploading these files and sharing the link with you in the near future, but I am too tired to do it tonight!

All I can say after all this work is I am really thankful I have a laminator and that I didn't run out of printer ink! I think I have used my laminator more in the past week than I have in the year-and-a-half that I've had it! Pretty soon it will be time to order some more pouches from Ebay.

Next on my list of things to do is to compile a list of activities (other than regular bookwork) to include in their boxes on a regular basis. I already have quite a few good ideas gleaned from other moms who have shared their ideas on the net. I will be sure to share more when I get that done! For now, I am off to bed, I am pooped!


Cassie :)

Monday, July 6, 2009

School Planning Progress

  I had shared with you last week how I have been so very busy getting things in order for our new school year. I am in the homestretch now and thought I would share some of what I have been doing with you. Here are some screenshots of what I've been working on in HSTPlus...

SS Goals
Here are the goals I have painstakingly entered into HST, one-by-one. This is what has been the most time consuming for me. It will be really nice to have a detailed list of skills the boys have learned at the end of the year!
Isaiahs LP Sched
Here is Isaiah's Daily Lesson schedule...
Drews LP Sched
And here is Drew's Daily Lesson Schedule.
Planning CL
This is my progress thus far on my planning checklist, which was typed in the Journal in HST.
Drew's 1st day
Here's Drew's assignments (so far) for the first day of school...
Isaiahs 1st day
and here are Isaiah's.
So you can see from this how very hard I have been working. I have entered HUNDREDS of skills/objectives into the goals section thus far. To be honest, there have been times I wanted to pull all my hair out! But I know it will be worth all the hard work in the end.
I also spent several hours putting together some new file folder games over the weekend. I had lots of help cutting things out from my dear bff, otherwise I would have never gotten nearly as many done! I am hoping having these will give me something to direct the boys to do while they may be waiting for me to help them with something.
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Also, I finally managed to gets hubs to install our cabinet locks in the kitchen. Now Joey can go into the kitchen and explore. The first thing he went for was the snack cabinet...
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100_1811Yes, fun times are ahead!


Cassie :)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Our Trip to the Indianapolis Children's Museum

The first Thursday of the month is Free Family night at the museum, so we packed up the gang for an evening of educational fun. A picture is worth a thousand words, so I put together a slideshow to share! Enjoy!



Cassie :)
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