Saturday, August 24, 2019

Our Morning Basket + Link to Free Printable!

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For my first 6/7 years of school, my mom only had me and my sister to homeschool. Things were simple, we opened our books, did the assignments, and we were done for the day. I spoke on Instagram about my love for history and when that started. It started as my mom started realizing that she could tailor school to fit us, not make us conform to the textbooks. What a revelation! One of the things we changed was having 'morning Bible time' which included a hymn, a read-aloud and character book. We were basically having a morning basket before it was cool!

Why we chose a morning basket

When thinking about what kind of curriculum I wanted for Kindergarten, The Peaceful Press was a go to, as it already had a built in 'morning time'. The Charlotte Mason approach to a morning basket fits in to this 'morning time' we will be doing. 

A morning basket allows everyone (no matter the age) to join in on learning. Everyone does something on their level as they listen to the Bible, a read-aloud, and any other book or discussion that comes out of that lesson. If you missed it, here is what Baby Girl will be doing during our morning basket time!

What is going in our Morning Basket

In the Playful Pioneers their morning time consists of: a hymn, Bible (or Bible book), memory work, read-aloud, narration, science/history. 

I've added a few things and this is how it is broken up.
Music: Wee Sing Bible songs-One song a week out of this book to go along with what we are studying in the Bible. For the first week we are studying how God made everything, so will be singing God Made Me
Songs We Enjoy- This is an old Abeka song book my mom gave me, and it is divided up by month, so we will just start at the beginning and sing folk songs/patriotic/Christmas according to the season. 
The Celebration Hymnal-This is the Hymnal we use at church, so I will be choosing a hymn each week and talk about what the hymn means. 

Read-Aloud: Little House book from The Playful Pioneers. The curriculum has a section where you can ask questions, or have your child write a phrase from the book (which is a part of their printables). Also a part of their printables, are maps your child can color as you read. 

Science/History: For science that may mean to paint a picture of a horse out of the Farm Anatomy book, or for History read a book about the Native Americans. 

How to make your morning basket work for you and your family 

In the Charlotte Mason approach, the most important thing is learning as a family. For a morning basket to work for your family, simply see what is important for your family to learn together. Pick a hymn, passage in Scripture, a book to read as a family. Ask your children questions about what they learned, and see where their interests lie. Honestly, it's hard to get wrong! I don't remember every book we ever read as a family, but I do remember how amazing it was to be together as a family before we got to the 'hard' subjects. 

I will also add that older children (And perhaps even the younger ones!) can do things as books are read aloud. We have crocheted, done drawings, worked on other projects we had started. My son will work on the printable they give, or a handicraft we've started as I read. 

Need a way to organize your morning basket time? Here is where I got my free printable! 

Do you have a morning basket? Let me know below!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

How to Create a Successful Homeschool Schedule

This title may seem a bit premature, as we haven't started school yet, but following the tips I will lay out, has helped me know that my schedule will be successful! How, you might ask? Because, just like homeschool itself, planning for homeschool is completely custamizable and different for each family. There is grace in being able to change things up until what you have works for you! So here are my tips for creating a successful homeschool schedule.

1. Create a Schedule that Works for YOU!

Are you type A that needs every second planned out, or are you more 'go with the flow' where structure freaks you out? I've learned that even though I am more of the latter, kids need structure! What has worked best for us, is to map out the flow of the day, and give each day grace to change or be different than planned. We still get ready in the same order, do morning basket first, then the 'harder' subjects, but if it happens at 2 pm instead of 10 am, it won't be too big of a deal. Our goal will be what's on the paper, but if something happens, we will roll with it!

I also give myself a blank side in in my bullet journal, to change the schedule later, when we've figured out what works and what doesn't. This way I'm not beating myself up every day for something that is simply not working for our family. Once you figure out how you want your day to flow, you figure out how you want to write it out.

2. Create a Mom and Kid Friendly Schedule

If you are artsy, let the creative juices flow when creating your schedule. Make something that is pleasing to look at, and motivates you to tackle each morning. Kids love color and pictures (and it's helpful when they don't know how to read yet!) , so making something interesting for them to look at, also helps them to look forward to each day.

This goes back to what I said before, but even this can vary from person to person on what works and doesn't work. I'll give a few suggestions (and what I am using), but ultimately it's up to you. You may need to try 2 or 3 ways before you figure out what works, but that's okay! The beauty of homeschool is that you can change things up, and customize things to fit your family.

Types of schedules:

Simply writing/typing it out.

This is what I did, and we will see how it works! I am also using the Melissa and Doug Responsibility Chart to keep up with Little Man's Chores. I let Little Man put his favorite stickers on his schedule to decorate it, and although it's still pretty simple, he loves it!

Sticker/Velcro system

This is what my mom used. I am linking something similar, but essentially, she would have a short summery of what the young ones would be doing, plus an activity they could do while the older ones did their school.  She would then draw and laminate the paper with the activities listed, let the kids pick out small stickers and laminate and apply velcro to the backs. When the kids had completed their tasks, they would put the sticker beside it. For her own planner, she would use an actual homeschool planner created for homeschooling several at once (she had 6 children).

Bought system

I love this one by Peaceful Press! Graphics are simple, but cute, and I could see the kids loving this. After doing research for this post I am now wondering if I want to switch and use this! It's only $5, and everything I've bought from them, I've absolutely loved!

3. Implement Your Schedule Early 

My last tip is to start a 'trial' of your schedule a couple of weeks before you start school (don't worry if you've already started! That's what nice about having a schedule that's flexible). The way I did this, this time, is have it start the week my husband went back to work. We had one complete week with him gone, and now we will have one week of me adding my piano lessons (I am a piano teacher) before we start school. This way we can already get a routine flowing before the 'real deal' begins.

Which method works best for you? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Kindergarten Homeschool Space

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The countdown has begun for Kindergarten to start, here at home. Curriculum has been bought, schedule has been created, morning baskets put together, and a colorful preschool room has been transformed into a kindergarten space. Here is the before, of what our preschool room looked like:

As I've gone through to simplify our home, I felt like the preschool room seemed overwhelmingly colorful and cluttered. I appreciated every item that had been donated or given to me, enjoyed each puzzle or book that I had bought, but it soon amounted to just too much. As I got ready to tackle Kindergarten, I decided to go through and see what I needed to change to make the space work for us. 

There are probably a number of books that could be gone through and gotten rid of (you'll see I haven't really simplified in that department! I have a hard time getting rid of books!), but I am very happy with how the space turned out. 

My budget was almost zero, as I wanted all my homeschool budget to go towards homeschool curriculum. I upgraded the baskets we already had for the cubbies, painted the table my son already had, and made sure every item had a place. Upgrading your homeschool space doesn't have to be expensive, or 'Instagram worthy'. If it works for you and your family, then it's perfect! 

Shiplap doesn't make things any more functional. 
(That may or may not be my new motto now!)

Hope you enjoy seeing my homeschool space. If you follow me on Instagram, or Facebook, tag me in your learning space! I would love to see what functions for you!

This rocking chair we already had, makes a perfect spot for morning basket time. Since the front room is my piano studio as well as our learning space, it made sense to combine it!

I love that my son got to help with transforming his red table into a white one, with a chalkboard top. It will be so fun to practice sight words and spelling words on his table. 

I tend to over stuff bins, so I decided to limit myself to 4 bins. One of the cubbies looks messy, as it holds all the awkward shaped games, puzzles and activities. However, these things have a place, so they are staying! Sometimes you have to just do what works best for you. 
I also divided our books into Playful Pioneer recommended books, Kindergarten Curriculum books (Math, Phonics, and more), and educational books. This only holds a very small percentage of the books we own, since, like I said, I can't seem to de-clutter books!

I printed a map, days of the week, and months of the year from Playful Pioneers for the bulletin board, and the room is complete! We are ready for the new school year to start in a couple of weeks. Stay tuned for the rest of the month, as I share schedules, and Morning Basket information. Also, click a link below to check out other back to school related posts!

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Sunday, August 4, 2019

DIY Homeschool Planner:Bullet Journal

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In the past I have enjoyed the creative outlet and organizational help the bullet journal has had to offer (links to past bullet journal entries here). Baby girl came along, and I found I didn't have time to sit and journal as much as I used to. I had done a Disney theme for each month, and it would take several hours to draw, color, and fill in each month. When I found a bullet journal for less than $4 at Lifeway (one of their closing sales) I quickly bought it and set out to make my own lesson planner for my homeschool year.

I am really pleased with how well laid out subjects are with the Playful Pioneers curriculum. Thankfully, Bible, phonics, and math are the only subjects I have to 'plan out' (and I am choosing to plan out Bible-if you choose to follow their suggested reading, you would only need to plan for phonics and math). Here is how I've set up my homeschool bullet journal.

I decided to take a much more minimal approach, with each month having a floral element, but nothing that would 'clutter up' the space. I am only showing the month of August, but I have September and most of October complete. If you want to see the other month's layouts, follow me on Instagram, and keep an eye on my stories! My themes are:

August: Cactus
September: Lavender 
October: Pumpkin and vine
November: Fall leaves
December: Holly
January: simple indoor plants with coffee
February: Roses
March: Clovers
April: Mixed Florals
May: Lemon with leaves

Each page will have at least one of the themed elements, without spending much time on any one drawing. I would call it more 'doodles' than actual drawings. Someone with more drawing skills may want to do more, those with less can take an even more minimal approach, use stickers or stencils.

The Playful Pioneers has a field trip for each week, but realistically, I probably can't do them all. Here I have a spot for the trips we take for school, and the ones we take as a homeschool group. That way I have a record of all the fun things we did during the year!

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I recently asked for ideas on Kindergarten goals. This picture was taken before the post, but I wanted to show you the page, anyway. It's a place where I can monitor progress from my son without exams or tests.

This blank page will soon be field with all sorts of books! One of my favorite things about the Playful Pioneer curriculum, is all the books you get to read. Like the field trip tracker, I like the idea of coming back in May and remembering all the wonderful books we experienced throughout the year.

I will be talking about our schedule on another day, but I still wanted to show you what it looks like. It's broken up by 2 routines, M-T and Friday, as we are doing a 4 day schedule.

Now we get to the monthly spread!

I am doing lifestyle goals as well as planning my homeschool year. It's the nice thing about making your own planner, as you can let it function the way you need it to!

Morning basket post coming this month as well! Here I have a spot to put what will be included in our morning time each week/month.

Here I will put weekly goals for the 3 subjects I am planning myself.

I absolutely loved this cactus themed layout! It was so simple to draw and plan. Let me know, do you bullet journal?

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