Sunday, July 31, 2011

Electives Resource Links

This list doesn't include Home Ec/Life Skills, I will do that as a separate post later on, as I have yet to organize it.

Musiq Adventus - We are going to use their Year 1 program, This is a piano computer program, I wanted something independant, with little teaching from mummy, as mummy can only play Hot Cross Buns and You are My Sunshine. I did learn keyboard in school, but everythings disappeared from my head. Please note - They do not send the Pianos to Aus, so just get the Children's Music Journey Volume 1 & Lesson Plan set. The keyboard they recommend is M-Audio Keyrig 49. This is a touch sensitive MIDI keyboard, with full-size keys and is nicely weighted. They use various Composers (such as Beethoven) as the child's instructor. As long as DD remains interested we plan to use their full curriculum.

Arts - We'll be adding in a craft or two a week. Harmony Fine Arts does have lesson plans, and I am planning to start this when the children start Medieval year. Harmony Arts 1st year is just an overview, and we get art appreciation in Language Lessons for Little Ones (And FLL I believe too) so since we also have a Pre-K'er and smart little cookie toddler, we're going to stick to just plain messy crafts. I will link to these as we do them. (We've already done two in previous posts, Sticky Window Art & Bathtub Rainbow Paint)

Rosetta Stone - Since we won't be starting Foreign Language until 2/3rd grade formally, we are using Rosetta Stone Latin as an informal start. DD will be allowed to play the program once a week for upto 40 minutes (with breaks every 15-20 minutes, If you allowing your child to play computer for more than 20 minutes, I strongly recommend at least a 5 minute break every little bit to allow them to stretch, have a quick play, and to look at things other than a computer screen. I do think the software for a number of subjects is great, but think in terms of moderation, even adults with jobs in front of the computer are meant to stretch every 15-30 minutes.) It looks like the website is changing to an online version? We purchased version 3 software second-hand for really cheap.

Critical Thinking Co. - This company is beautiful. I would highly suggest getting Mind Benders programs. These come in both workbooks & software. We have chosen software. The actual ones we purchased were Mind Benders Beginnings 1 & 2, the first one is a pre-k one, but A will start off with that, and we'll also allow the little ones a turn with it. We won't use this often, just as a gap filler, and boredom buster. We also have various Critical thinking books we have picked up from all over the place. I highly recommend if possible, having some workbooks or educational software like these for the "Mum, I'm bored" moments. Little kids usually love this type of thing, and it works out the logic centres of their brain. Lollipop Logic by Prufrock Press is another one many mums like.

PE - We're not that interested in having a formal PE curriculum as of yet. Health is covered in our science program (including Safety & germs). Since our kids are little they get enough exercise, even when there meant to be "sleeping" ;), I am however, waiting for these people to come out with their exercise DVD, this will be good for rainy days. We'll also be slotting in certain times for outdoor play, don't forget even the littlest kiddies need sunshine, and if your a busy mum, its always good to slot random times in to just let the kiddies go out and enjoy the fresh air.

Religion - We are not heavily religious, but we would like to bring up our children with an understanding of the bible (we'll also cover other faiths lightly in our geography studies). This year we used two separate children's bibles from Sonlight Prek Cores. When I saw their next core was also another Children's bible, we decided to go in another direction. I wanted something similar to the Sunday School I went to as a child, lots of crafts, storytime. We originally looked at Bible Study for All Ages, and although this looks to be a good programme, it was a bit dry since I have so many young 'uns, we may use this in the later years. For now we have decided on Read and Share Units 1 & 2, these are beautiful, exactly what I was after, and even include Puppets, and little dvd sgements, crafts and a whole lot more. We also purchased the Veggietales Bible Storybook, which covers the main events in both the old & new Testaments, using Veggietale character stories, my children love Veggietales :)

Thats it for now, I'll be back with a Life Skills resource list later


Miss E.

Phonics & Spelling Links

There are so many different options out there for the homeschooling family, but I'll pass on a few links that will hopefully help

All About Spelling
- This is well known within homeschooling circles. I just finished sorting & fixing the program for us, and I must say, it looks good! Another helpful link for Aussie's out there is the Spelling Adjustments on Aussie Homeschool. When going through, I noticed its a little outdated (not by much, they obviously have just updated a few dictations, and words since then, it wasn't hard at all to figure the rest out myself). Since it has to be adjusted many people found this too hard, but I assure you it's not. It took me 20 minutes (including interruptions) to alter Level 1. There is currently also books out for Level 1 & 2 for the All About Reading program, teacher guides to come out for AAR later this year/early next year. They also have Spelling Games (Phonogram Bingo & File Folders) and All About Homophones (meant to start from round Level 3)

ClickNRead - We did try Smartyants (and do have the Phonics pups) but I would honestly say that Clickn Read is a much better program. In Smartyants, the words move around (down walls etc) making them hard to "catch". Also, since it allows it, my daughter spent a fair amount of time just changing the clothing on her Ant *sigh*. Clickn Read focuses on the actual lessons, but still has humour, and is a pay once program, whereas Smarty Ants is yearly.

Headsprouts - If you can afford it, this is another option, but the pricing is quite steep. I have been meaning to have a trial (if thats possible) with it, to see what its like, but keep forgetting. A number of homeschooling families who use this, love it.

Reading Eggs - Reading Eggs seems to use both Phonics and whole word approach (focusing a bit too much on whole word for some children) this is another one I meant to trial, as through our homeschool group membership, we can get this for a pittance.

Fitzroy Readers- A lot of Aussie mums adore this. I have to say I do too, but we have enough books, and I would be afraid about it lasting through 3 children, solution - they have a sounding out reader software that is like the book, along with games & activities, it is pricey though, I would only recommend it if you had a child that hates bookwork, have mutiple children you plan to use it for, or are on an unlimited budget ;). I am still erring whether to purchase this, it looks perfect, but the cost is very prohibitive, I am going to look to see whether they have any videos of it. The Word skills book is possibly brilliant whether you use Fitzroy or not. And the teachers guide will hold your hand and give you lots of ideas.

Explode the Code - We are currently using the Primers and love these, so will continue on with Books 1-4, and the Code cards. I love that it introduces a little bit of writing at the same time, but not enough to overwhelm the child thats not fully ready for copywork. I originally also looked at Explode the Code Online, but have been told the graphics are quite terrible, its very slow and can freeze, so we'll stick with just the workbooks.

As mentioned in the Preschool Resources we'll also be including the K4 Pack from Confessions of a homeschooler.

Readers - We have lots of readers available, from Sonlights mini 27book pack (from LA K), to a heap of Dr Suess Books, numerous picture books, Queen Homeschool Phonics Readers and the first 3 sets of Bob Books, so we are pretty covered reader wise ;)

I hope these links help some in your search for the perfect curriculum .


Miss E.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Language Arts Resources

Please note this doesn't include spelling or phonics/reading, which I will do separate posts for.


Language Lessons for Little Ones - We have Books 1-3 in the house, these are beautiful, covering letters, poems, artwork and lots more. We use these as non-consumable, just getting the kids to point stuff out, explain orally, and draw pictures if needed on scrap paper

First Language Lessons - We just downloaded it and plan to use it. I am not sure how similar it may be to the above one, but I think a different point of view is always welcome in our house. If your planning to use this, Homeschool Creations also has Poem printables for it


Growing with Grammar - I know FLL supposedly covers grammar (and some of my other programs might too) we got this as an extra that's not quite so teacher intensive, my daughter likes "checking" the boxes, so we thought this would make a good additional program.


Wordly Wise 3000 - This is expensive (well at least the teacher part of it is) and is completely not necessary. We purchased both the K & 1st Vocab programs, and from what I have been reading at Satori Smiles, the K vocab list is quite easy. You do not need a Vocab program until 3rd/4th grade or later, and then I would choose a word roots program. We chose this because I know my daughter would love it, and since the teacher part is re-usable I can just purchase new student books for the other two. If I only had one child, unless we weren't on a budget, I wouldn't purchase it. It is a beautiful, fun, bright program, but Vocabulary at this age is easily picked up through reading good books.


Writing with Ease - I purchased this, but will look into it a little further to see whether its suitable for right now, we may delay using it for half a year. This is a wonderful program and many families love it. I know we will, its just a matter of when we will start it.

Write Source - Another unnecessary item, but it does give a different point of view on the subject. It tends (it seems) to bring in stuff earlier than what it would in WWE, but does it in such a fun and colourful way.

If you are on a tight budget, I would recommend just getting First Language Lessons, and following that. If you feel you need something extra, then my recommendation would be to get Writing with Ease. These programs hold your hand, are simple, and short. And if you get the downloadable versions you can just print as you go, or print all at once, helping with the paper taming :)


Miss E.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Sticky Window Art

All we really do currently for school is bookwork. Although its interesting bookwork, I don't think readers are interested in "We finished page 15 today!". So since we try to get some sort of crafty thing a day (but in reality it happens every 2-3days) I thought I would tell you about that instead.

Our previous one was about Rainbow Bath Paint.

The one we are doing today is much more....sticky. So much so, it seems to have collected my cats hairs (note to self - vac out window beams) quicker than it collected art.

We didn't have any matchsticks, but have plenty of coloured paddlepop sticks and straws, which seem to work just as well, I also managed to collect 3 lids (one for each child) for their Sun, our whatever they plan to use it for.

Without further ado, heres our link for today: Sticky Window Art

Miss E.

Bath Fun - Rainbow Paint

We did this 2 days ago (yes, I'm a bit behind in blogging).

The kids had a blast! Although don't be tempted to use the paper plates like I did :) 2 out of 3 survived this, but the 3rd paper plate became paper mache art after we drained the tub ;)

It was well worth it. The kids sat still, quietly painting their bath, whilst Daddy helped make them all clean (they were a big filthy mess from playing in the mud!) They didn't even have their usual squawks at getting their hair shampooed. Brill!

Heres the link: Rainbow Shaving Cream Bath Paint

Miss E.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Letter of the Week Resources

Of course my preschooler & toddler want to join in on the school fun too! Other than crafts and following along with my elder child, we have a few special Letter of the Week resources just for them, so I thought I would share (Of course, my elder child will do it too, as the kids always have to do everything together ;) )

All About Reading
- I will be getting photos of this up soon. They already have the books for Levels 1 & 2 (to correspond with All About spelling levels) but they have a beautiful Pre-level program. This is similar to Letter of the Week curriculums. It teaches the capital letters, followed by lowercase, then the sounds. And Ziggy the Zebra is just adorable. Theres also two free e-books available for the Pre-K level.

Letter of the Week - By Confessions of a homeschooler. Love this, am planning to purchase soon (very cheap, and instant download) we'll use this as a resource along with All About Reading. I will have the appropriate letters activities available for the preschoolers for when I am doing work with A. They also carry a K4 Pack, that we plan to use as an extension of A's phonics.

Actually edited this two days later to say, If you are following the above program, or love Leapfrog Letter Factory, I found this link for: Leapfrog Letter Flashcards. How cool is that!

ABC Twiggles - This also has letter of the week resources. I joined up a while ago (package deal for that and Kidssoup) and forgot all about it till now. The resources are wonderful. They are sensory based. Feel the letter, eat the letter, read the letter, sing the letter, create the letter etc. Will definately use these as an add-on.

Letter of the Week - This is a free curriculum. I have looked at it on and off over the years, but it never seemed to suit us. But again, because its free, I would recommend checking this out first. A lot of families love it.

A special link - And on saving the best for last, here's a link to someones Pinterest board, which has Letter of the Week resources for each letter, as well as numerous other subjects (scroll down right hand side to see her other "subject" pins

Miss Ed.

Not much of interest going on....

I have a few interesting posts planned for the future, but right now, nothing interesting is happening.

Due to DH's work schedule this week, it has bogged my body clock and made my condition's symptoms worse than ever. I'm all foggy-headed, and can't really concentrate, and there's still another day and a half to go. I'm hoping that a nice night's rest on Friday will help matters immensely as I had big plans for this weekend.

DH had a time schedule all drawn up and sent out to the various parties the other night (I helped him do up a todo list, what I'm famous for, and work out his schedule), but its gone wonky since then. He pulled an overnighter into Wednesday Morning, was in no shape to work for the rest of Wed, and due to his boss deciding on something, DH had to go in for a few hours somewhere round 12-2am Now this morning he left at Gosh only knows what hour (I think got back at 2 then left again at 3-4am) today he said was from 6am - 6pm, but on the schedule we drew up, because of a production run, he's supposed to work from midday to midnight, and from midday to 5pm friday. So right now I have no idea whats going on, and am currently winging it, with what little energy I have left. I am a very very light sleeper, DH could sleep through a earthquake, hence he deals with the kids of a night. As he can sleepwalk to replace their drink,fall down on the bed, and be asleep simultaneously. If I have to do it, I will be up for 2 hours past getting the drink, only to just settle down to sleep to be woken by another child. Consequently cause of the all-nighters, I have had little to no sleep, I'm functioning on not-there reserves, so we'll see how this works out by the weekend.

I did take pictures of AAR Pre-level 1 and have some plans about Organisation for toys, but right now I need to go back to zoning....

Miss E.

Monday, July 25, 2011

I'm thankful for.....

Since having a bew-di-ful morning (as seen by my last post) I thought I would even it out by saying things I am thankful for:

I'm thankful for:

- Having the chance to be round my beautiful children all day :)

- That the AAS cards and letters are perforated (the previous edition wasn't)

- having a DH who understands me, and is sweet & kind

- Having dogs who love me so much they follow me down the road ;)

- that we have a roof over our heads, and food in our belly

- living in a State that understands the varied styles of homeschoolers

- that all animals & people in this household are happy & healthy.

- having a wonderful supportive family who helps out in times of need

- ebooks & downloadable curriculum (very big yahoo!)

- freedom (in so many different ways!)

- my secret stash shelf that contains everything a girl needs for a bad day (I believe theres even white Tim Tams in there right now)

- the wonderful support from the government (yes, I know thats probably surprising to most people, but compared to some other countries, we are quite lucky)

- Just being able to be me, and the children being able to be themselves without fear of criticism

- being able to go off on a rabbit trail when something interests the children (tonight it was hedgehogs & Owls)

- definately add a thankful for the readers out there whom actually read my weird ramblings.

- and just plain thankful

Miss E.

Its One of those Days...

Its one of those days where you realize:

- You are currently being stretched in too many directions
- That although your body feels "good", you don't have the energy to make it through the day
- You realize that this is the start of what the rest of the week will feel like
- You expect the sugar on the floor should pick itself up, 'cause your sure not gonna.
- That the highlight of the week will probably be when the weeks come to an end.

Yep, I'm having one of those days. Tell me exactly how the doctor expects you to remove all stress from your life, unless you permanently live in a black bubble? Yep, not possible!

On the upside I think I may see my DH at lunch-time so thats always a happy pick-me-up. And the kids have been having loads of fun with said sugar, its been an "archaeological dig" "raceway" "snow" and various other props. So at least they are having fun playing, and I'm thankful its not cocoa powder (now THAT is a PAIN to clean up) and its not something wet. It should easily be cleaned up with the vaccuum. But, still, it should pick itself up. Good note to others - do not let DH leave his coffee paraphanalia out on the benchtop when he leaves....the other day it was coffee and oh boy, that was fun.

Already happened this morning - We played with shaving foam and food colouring and paper patterns, E covered herself in purple shaving foam, said problem with sugar, having to do some paperwork urgently for DH requiring a bribe of cereal for the kids (which worked well....for 2 minutes) yep. Lovely day. Oh, and E is still going on about her clothes hurting, and having a few other problems, so once the house drama is sorted out, we'll be seeing a GP to get a referral for both the 2 younger kiddies, so I will keep everybody posted on this.

We're lucky these sorts of days are few and far between, if they were every day, I think I'd go mad (don't get cheeky and say I'm already there!) Hopefully I can do some cleaning up, and get a bit of Maths into our day. I will also get some piccies of our All About Reading program, I have already sorted one student pack out, so I can goss the details as well!

Lovin' Life
Miss E.

Friday, July 22, 2011


Its pretty slow-going here!

You can see pictures of All About Spelling I took in a blog post down below.

Today we received "All About Reading" which is a fairly new program by the same person, teaching the Big 5 Skills. I got everything out of the box (yet to take a picture sorry! Hopefully will get this up soon) but can its beautiful! As with AAS, I got the whole she-bang, including the activity boxes to keep the cards in. I like that they are just cardboard boxes that are colour-coded to the program at hand, and honestly, I don't have the time to go searching out and about for a box that will fit the items! If you have a look at the site, check the cost, and if you have time search your local shops for stuff like the stickers, totes and index boxes, I am sure you could make it much cheaper this way. For me, with the amount of stuff we have for all 3 kids, its just nice that everthing looks the same!

We also got our Bible program and Oh Gosh is it just de-vine! I think the kids are going to love it. Its multi-sensory, even has puppets and DVDs. I'm awaiting our Veggietales Storybook (covers the main bible parts with Veggietales characters) and a cover that will hopefully fit the storybook, then I will take a photo of everything. If you want to have a sticky Beak right now, the Bible curriculum we are using is Read and Share Unit 1 & Unit 2.

We had to go out and purchase some things today, and thats when I realised DS's birthday is not that far away (bad mummy!) I purchased some party stuff from Spotlight, and found some character wrapping at Savers (our charity shop), so now all thats left is the pressie. We have decided to go with "commercial" toys for their birthdays, and educational supplies and handmade items for Xmas. They will each get one commercial toy for their birthday. DS has been pining after Ultimate Buzz Lightyear (with remote) for about a year now, and its halved in price, so I'm thinking of purchasing that, but will have to keep an eye on the finances. If it gets too hectic, he might not receive his pressie till after his birthday. DD's birthday is further away, but shes been pining for the same toy for about the same length of time as DS (and luckily hers has halved in price too! How lucky!) She wants the Dora on the Pegasus Horse that trots. As for other DD, well shes not upto speaking about what she wants, but am thinking perhaps we can find a wooden version of the baby centres (Bjorn or similar has a plastic one, the one with the bath, feeding chair, closet etc, but we are hoping to find a cheap wooden version as those pastic ones look really tacky and break easily) she certainly has enough dollies to use in it! lol.

When I went to spotlight, I went with a purpose in mind, I now have 30 sheets of felt, in different types, colours etc, 2 different types of thread and a new needle set. Combined with the felt merino tops, and wool I have here, I am hoping to make some amazing things! I also got some pink (is there any other colour) paint for the base of the "dollhouse" (an old bookcase I am converting) and some cheap wooden unpainted furniture (for things I felt I couldn't/didn't have time to make from scratch) these were things like sink & toilet, fridge, bed & bath. I am still thinking as to whether go a painted/floored interior OR cover the interior with felt, thus allowing changing of wall interior with smaller felt pieces.

I looked into getting some more items for our continent boxes, but the prices on "knick-knacks" were unbelievable. The proctactor (lol, dictator, king whatever) for indonesia on his little chair was $10, and a little elephant with the beaded attire was $13, suffice to say, I skipped over them, as I do have a strict budget for the total cost of our boxes.

I also have to get stuck into putting our Aussie curriculum on paper and cleaning up the house, so this weekend will be a full one, and I will merely be a ghost online!

See you on the other side!
Miss E.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

All About Spelling - Photos

You'll really have to forgive the quality. I believe there is some condensation or something in the lens of my camera, I will have to take a look and decide whether it can be fixed or not. Hence, there is a blurry spot near centre. I did not notice this till it was uploaded! AND, there was a fair deal of shine due to the glossiness of the hardbacks, and the baggies. I may have to upgrade to a better point-and-click, if I want to keep taking photos rofl.

I purchased Levels 1-3, plus the deluxe starter and all the current available reading books.

Anyhoo without further ado:

And of course, or cat was feeling left out, and had to get in on the action!

Miss E.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Planning & Organising - File Crates

**Due to the fact I am not going to get my lesson plan photo-blog done anytime soon, I thought I would copy/paste a reply I gave on another forum, hopefully this should assuage your appetite**

We started homeschooling year round. We just take a break whenever life intrudes lol.

I use Dawns File Crate system with a twist. I have 3 archive boxes & a couple of presentation protector folders.

1st box - Weeks & Folders labelled Weeks 1- 36 I put two folders in each hanging file. I put all our lessons for that week in the folder.

2nd Box - Has Daily Hanging Files & Folders Day 1 - 20 (4 weeks worth)

3rd box - Is another Daily one for the next lot 1-20 (another 4 weeks)

about every 6 weeks I organize and sort the next lot of stuff into the folders for those days (taking the two final weeks of days to the side).

I avoid naming anything by Weekdays (Monday etc) everything is jst duly named week 20 - day 2 etc.

The presentation folders contain stuff that won't fit into the 36 week schedule (like SOTW lol) so for SOTW the final few chapters left over, I sort by chapter into a presentation folder, these are to do once we have finished the 36 weeks.

Once we are nearing the end of our curriculum, I start planning the next one. So I still do the 36 weeks, we just have those as "formal" and the rest as "informal"

I take time off whenever we need it.

We also follow a kind of loop system. So only when we are finished with day 1 fully, do we move to day 2, this mean when life intrudes it may take us a few days to "do" day 1. I don't just let it fall off, forget it and move to the next day

I've been meaning to write up a proper post about my lesson planning for a while but I never get time to do up the pics to explain it properly. But hopefully that isn't too confusing, and has helped some

Monday, July 18, 2011


Okay, I'll admit it....I went a little crazy with purchasing some Math Manipulatives!

In our defense we have NO math manipulatives in our house, and its hard to get the stuff that I want in Aus. So whilst I was scrolling around Sonlight, I decided it would become a part of the budget to purchase some supplements to help out our Math Program! But who could blame me after taking a peek into Satori Smiles closet?

We are currently using Singapore Math 2yr Preschool/Kinder program, so will continue on with that (although, I believe my little girl is going to finish the 2yrs in 8 or less months, hence why I purchased the new lot)

The Singapore version we are using is getting harder to source, so we purchased the U.S. version, this apparently covers whats in the sng version, but with US based extras, we may even consider moving to the US "standards" version which is supposed to be harder, after this lot.

What we purchased (mostly from Sonlight, but Purchased Process & HIGs from Christian Book)

- 1a & 1B Textbook
- 1A & 1B Workbook
- HIG (Home Instructors Guide)
- Intensive Practice 1A & 1B
- Challenging Word Problems
- Process Skills
- Grade 1 & 2 Singapore Math Game (Wiggle Woods? I think it is?)

We also have this BIG (I mean BIG!) Maths Lessons for a Living Education from Queen Homeschool. LOVE this! So we'll use this in conjunction with SM.

Satori Smiles has some wonderful photo - blogs of SM books and how shes uses them.

I have thought a lot about how to schedule, as my daughter sometimes flies through them, and other times want to do something else, so its not something I can really "schedule" per page per day etc. Then I found this scheduling idea! So we'll be adding an area in our Day for Maths, and just have a Master List typed up that we can tick off as we go! Brill!

We also have Mathtacular DVD, but this is just a "fun" thing the kids like to watch ;)

Miss E.

Aussie Studies

Yep, I'm back!

Obviously I haven't finished the lesson planning for this one (actually I haven't even begun it!) but its pretty easy!

We're going to use Australian Book Traveller from Downunder Lit as our base. And whilst I had ideas of things I already have on the computer to add to it, I can tell you, it doesn't need it! This program is choc-a-bloc full of ideas, activites, further exploration etc. I adore it!

We managed to get the core books pretty easily from around the place (Readings, Holistic Page and Bookworm) Nardika was in stock at Hawthorne online Readings, but is now listed as "on order" so hopefully they can get some more! As this seemed to be the only place (apart from rare shops) we're you can get it.

And the best thing of all....its Australian! lol. Which means although I have purchased the core books (so we ca go at our own pace and re-read, and not worry about the 3 week library window) the extension and supplement readers seem to be easily available from our local libraries! WOOHOO!Link
We'll probably be doing a book every 3 weeks, and doing ABT twice a week. If we want further studies/activities/ideas, we have these available to us:

- The Aussie sections of our Geography curriculum
- Continental Little Hoppers - Australia (LOVE this, I really wish they had continued with all the continents, its SO hard to find geo studies aimed at the younger years!)
- Free Wombat Study Unit Study (we have this book on our shelf) from Dowunder Lit
- Hands of a Child - Australia
- Evan Moor - Australia (although this is really aimed at older kids)
- Bush Calendar from Downunder Lit
- Some Montessori printables we downloaded.

Other than that, a lot of our general Lit readers this year will be Australian based, so keep an eye out for our lit list for ideas!

Crikey, would you look at the time, I'd better go cook some grub ;) LOL!

Miss E.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

World Geography

I have FINALLY nearly finished our World Geography Plans. A couple of days ago I got really stuck into it, in order to finish it.

As always I'm a major tweaker, I can never leave anything alone! So hopefully this post should provide some good resources and links for everyone.

Galloping the Globe - Although I didn't use/purchase this, I took ideas from people all over the web whom are using it. I originally like the idea of the book itself, till I looked at the sample, its good for springboard ideas, but not for a main spine resource for us. There are many other people whom have been happy with it though.

Expedition Earth - This is our main "springboard" spine. I love it. The lady in question has managed to gather so many different resources into the one curriculum. It it Christian based-but very easy to secularize, just removed the prayer bits from the curriculum, voila! A secular geography program! She has living books, crafts, lapbook components, and so much more!

Homeschool Creations - You cannot mention Geography without mentioning this lady, she used Galloping the Globe, and managed to create gourgeous colourful worksheets, and a bunch of really cool ideas. I always check her site out first for notebook pages, flags, mapping etc, and for some really cool resource links.

Montessori for Everyone
- I adore this lady. She really does make "Montessori for Everyone!" We are planning to have Continent Boxes to go along with our Geo plans, and she had some really cool cards, and fact sheets for the boxes.

Montessori Print Shop - Is another place that has some nice cards.

Counting Coconuts - Do you want to be inspired for your continent boxes? Just check out this lady's!

Globes etc- Items I would recommend for Geography are: Oregon Scientific Smartglobe, Leapfrog Interactive Globes, Leapfrog Tag and World Map, Leapfrog Explorer and Globe Game.

For the moment, until the youngest is of school age, we are concentrating on "human" geography. We have items fo Physical and others, but are mostly concentrating on the Kids/culture side of things. Another idea for those that like to include movies, is to google "Movies set in ....." this will bring up a Wiki page that is worth scrolling through.

Other resources: Virtual Field Trip (I cannot say how much I love this book, the colouring in pages, ideas, are all ideal for PreK-2), A Trip Around the World/Another Trip/A New Trip. Theres a few other things I have purchased, but I don't find them valuable enough to mention.

Shepperd Software - Has free geography games!

Now lets go into seperate areas:

Intro to World - Evan Moors Beginning Geography, Intellego Unit Studies (Both K-2 Maps, and K-2 Continents)
China - Expedition China by Amanda Bennett (Movies: Kung Fu Panda, Big Bird in China, Mulan)
South Korea - Evan Moor Around the World Series - South Korea (Movies: TV Show Mash)
Japan - FUNtastic Folders - J is for Japan (we purchased both Prek & Primary ones) (Movies: 3 Ninjas movie series)
India - None, we just did a search round DLTK and Activity Villlage, and a few other places (Mistress of Spices, Jungle Book, Bridge & Prejudice)
Israel - Expedition Israel by Amanda Bennett (Movies: None, replaced with Veggietales movies)
Thailand - None, Just some more searching (Movies: None)
Russia - None found, just did googling (Movies: Anastasia, An American Tale)
Great Britain - None (Mary Poppins, Garfield: Tale of Two Kitties, Chicken Run)
France - None (Aristocats, Ratatouille, Mr. Beans Holiday)
Italy - Pizza Party by Amanda Bennett (Lizzy McQuire Movie, Sabrina goes to Rome, When in Rome (Olsen Twins)
Germany - None (Movies: None, but I haven't finished researching this yet)

As always with us, everything is more targeted at our Prek-1 audience, so there is a lot more available to older kids, its just a little hard to find resources for the younger ones! There is also a series called "A Family from....." that might be helpful for those going the more doco route. We have enough docos for history, and serious movies for other subjects, that I just wanted things a bit more silly/fun for Geo. We're also doing Geo as a mutiple year program so the items listed above are just the countries for the 1st year.

Guest Hollow - Also has some cool downloads in her Countries & Cultures Lapbook section, including the best Toy Passport we've seen and a Menu Lapbook, perfect for Geo food nights :)

Suitcase - We're using a folder as per Virtual Field Trip (link for this near top)

Tickets - We printed tickets from a very cool place, click on the link, the kids adore them!

Miss E.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Upcycling for Christmas...

With all the current Toy Sales on everywhere, it got me thinking about Christmas.

The thought of getting MORE toys sent my heart into palpitations. I do not want to bring more plastic toys into our house.

I LOVE the look of wooden, beautiful, quality made toys....but um, I can't afford it LOL. In more ways than one. I DON'T want a toy toddlers will be playing with that is so expensive I have to insure it. And I'm pretty sure in every insurance policy there is fine print that reads "if the person has children, this policy is null and void before it even begins" ROFL.

Even though I have little spare time to devote to this, since we are still quite a number of months away, I decided other than giving the kids "educational toys" that I would be getting them anyway for their schooling next year as presents, to make the rest.

So I know:

A (5) - Wants a doll similar to the Tangled Rapunzel Doll. So I wash thinking of trying my hand at making a Waldorf styled doll in the style of Rapunzel. I have also been promising her a dollhouse (the old one we had I gave to charity, as it was very very annoyingly styled lol) so we have this short, fat bookcase (sproing! idea pops into head) I'll paint and fix up this bookcase into a dollhouse!

I have two other kids, but they don't really understand enough to know exactly what they want, so I have been thinking DH could get into the act and help by making "tree blocks" which are similar to building blocks, only made out of branch chips.

I have 3d sculpt felting supplies, so might make them some playscenes/sets. I am also adept (not great, but passable enough for kids rofl) at felt toys. So this should open up my ideas quite a bit!

I am pretty useless at normal sewing (I have to work on that! ... one day) so may look into "outsourcing" for some pretty drawstring bags (have to help Aussie work at home mums in some way! lol) to keep the individual toys I make in.

I'll let you know of anymore ideas I have....when I finally have them :) And of course, shall provide photos of any pressies once they are made.

I'd love to hear of other ideas though!

Miss E.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Printer Woes

I disappeared for a little bit. Sorry!

I have been wholly busy with fixing up the final pieces of our History & Science printing!

Then my laser decided the photo-sensitive reel was carking it. Since I had only just changed to the 2nd toner unit, I was not going to go out and buy a new drum unit this second (especially after our other purchase I will tell you about in a second!) so I have a fiddle with the unit....bad idea, the pages came out looking decidedly blurred. So in the end, I decided what the heck, I couldn't wreck it more, ignored the warnings about being careful with cleaning it, and spit and shined with (yes with actual saliva rofl) with cotton balls.....and its working good as new. Go figure. I honestly doubt it would last long as since its photosensitive stuff I assume my saliva is not good for it in the long term, but hey, I got the final 20 pages I needed to print out, so I'll deal with it when I next need to use it, and see how I go then.

Now onto other business we have a HP ink colour printer...its cheap and I hate it. Honestly its my fault for letting Dear Dear hubby go in and purchase one. I have always hated HP, everytime I have used our had a HP printer somethings always gone wrong. This time is no different, because of the ink, paper or the printer itelf (yes, I did try to adjust the settings to fix it) the pages come out all warped from the wet heavy ink. THEN my puppy decided to bite through the power cable (she also bit through many many other cables but anyway) dearest hubby fixed the cable, but it keeps being tempermental. So all up I decided I had had absolutely enough of this stupid printer.

I asked for recommendations for a laser colour printer (cheap with cheap running costs) and had a lovely lady tell me about the Epson Workforce 633. Even though this is an Inkjet, it had a surprising number of good reviews, even from a die-hard laser enthusiast I spoke to. So I did a little further research, and badda-boom, decided to include it in our budget for this school lot.

I have yet to open the box (am about to do that today) so I will let you know how I go. Especially with the wireless network as I just found out it recommends WEP encryption only, which we refuse to use.

Other matters - I am a bit different lately from most other women. I have 1 pair of shoes....thats it. Right, I'll be honest, I have a pair of evil leather shoes for important functions, and a pair of strappy sandals. But I only have one pair of everyday shoes. Lately they were some knee high ugg boots from the Charity Shop. I wore them day in, day out (you'd be surprised how well ugg boots go with almost anything in your wardrobe) lately they started to bite the dust, by the way of the shoe coming apart from the sole. It got to the point where my foot kept falling out of it. Now I'm a cheapie, I kept an eye out in Savers (our charity shop but for Winter, they had a surprising lack of anything wintery, mostly had strappy sandals. I had a look in Kmart but everything there was awful. My feet started to feel funny. ....They got worse. I finally bit the dust and got DH to go to Big W where I purchase a pair of Wool Inner lovely calf high uggboots ($30 a bit over what I wanted to spend). This was just in time to find out I had Chilblains. Probably caused by my already bad circulation, mixed in with my anaemia, this apparently makes it very easy for me to get this (and before this I had never heard of it) my feet are not slowly getting worse/better. But its taught me a lesson to keep more of an eye on keeping my feet warm! Chilblains is not fun, think of it as major chickenpox on your feet....yeah. gross. My feet feel insanely itchy, but I'm not allowed to scratch them (does rubbing your feet inside your shoes count? I can't help it, the itch is enough to drive you insane!) They look all red and swollen and shiny (in the beginning it felt like water retention from when I was pregnant, like me feet were about to pop!) Both heat and cold feel good for a second, before it makes it hurt worse. They are very very tender. So a lesson FOR ALL OF YOU. Take good care of your feet and keep them warm this winter. Don't be a cheapie, and get some yummy warm uggboots.

Miss E.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Science Resources

Hi, Its me again!

I had the History resources written down for a while, just forgot to come and paste them! Silly me.

Anyhoo, we've finished the basics of our Science Program, we're concentrating on Life Science for next year, and will hopefully make a few related field trips to places like Zoos, Museums and Aquariums.

Here's our resources:

Elemental Science - We are using Biology for the Grammar Stage set. The one we purchased also includes lapbooking through biology. They have a Nature Studies guide coming out early 2012 I believe, we may add this on, but for the moment our Science schedule is quite full. We are using the 2 day a week schedule as our backbone, so we have room to add further studies on.

Real Science Odyssey - This we are using as a supplement, I re-organized it to go along with Elemental Science. RSO has some really fun labs, so when we feel like skipping ES's labs, we will still have labs pertaining to the subject at hand.

Yahoo Groups - Suitable Yahoo groups for this are:

Elemental Science Yahoo group - This has some great free supplementals to go along with the program. I also picked up a Life Science Video guide. Admittedly its meant for Discovering Streaming, but includes Magic School Bus, so this helped with a bit less work of where to put the MSB videos and what there titles were.

Real Science Users - Is the Yahoo group for Real Science Odyssey

Living Science - If your less into labs and more into living books, this Yahoo Group is a "must have" resource. It can also help with additional ideas for each subject.

Another option for Science is Real Science 4 kids, we decided against using this, but even if you are using the above programs, you could look into just using the student textbook, which is more like stories, its quite fun and engaging, and I was originally going to purchase it, but we have enough resources for the time being :) RS4K also has a Yahoo group here.

Till next time
Miss E.

History Resources

I've nearly finished our History curriculum for next year, so thought I would share resources of whats helped us. If others share links as well, I am sure this could be a good resource list for Newcomers :)

We are combining History for our 2 Prek's and our soon to be First Grader. Our goal is to just give an introduction to History at large, we are not utilising timelines, drills or tests, just making it a good starter towards History. When we go through History the second time round we will actually be more vigorous

Story of the World By Susan Wise Bauer- This is our main spine, we are utilising Ancients. We have/are purchasing the Book itself, and the Activity Guide. There are also Tests and other resources available. We also plan to purchase 3 of the Famous Figures of Ancient Times (this can be purchased elsewhere) so our kids can run around waving their silly figures and re-enact chapters

History Odyssey Ancients Level 1 - This is another good program. we are utilising it as a supplement for further ideas from a different angle. History Odyssey likes you to use Evan Moor History Pockets.

Myths, Maps & Marvels - This is a free curriculum. I would suggest downloading and having a look to see whether it would suit you, after all it is free LOL. We are using this as another ideas maker, mostly for internet links etc.

Evan Moor History Pockets- We are going to be using the Ancient Civilisations Grade 1-3. This has pockets & activties for Egypt, Mesopotamia, Romans etc. If you use SOTW Volume 1, you will utilise all except the Last Pocket "Aztecs" this is covered in Vol2 I believe?

Yahoo Groups - There are many Yahoo groups to suit History, the ones that suit the items above are: Hannahs Helps, SOTW DiscussionS, SOTW Vol1 Discussion, History Odyssey

Satori Smiles - Has a Pre-history curriculum, as well as links for each chapter of SOTW, and many many other goodies

Chronological Earth - Has a brilliant list of History/SOTW Resources

Paula's Archives - Is another great site for History

There are many many books to help you (and movies) but lists can be found at the above sites, so I won't repeat them.

I hope this helps you on your way into the past