Inside Our Little School House, Books and All

Inside Our Little School House, Books and All

Considering this week is School Room Week during the 8th Annual Back to Homeschool Blog Hop, it’s the perfect time for me to post about our homeschool. I didn’t want to miss this opportunity.

I’ve been homeschooling for three years but this year is different because I’m now officially homeschooling two, a preschooler and third-grader. We used to work at the dining room table but I wanted a more dedicated organized space. Our school room is now in the basement.  It’s working out much better, but it was an adjustment at first because it was primarily the kids’ play area.  It took a few days to get into the swing of things, but now we’re smooth sailing.

Our day starts around 9:00 a.m. after breakfast.  My oldest sleeps in a little later than his brother but they both get up pretty early. I do have to mention that only half of the learning occurs in the house; the other half occurs outdoors, on field trips, events, classes, and activities. We go on a lot of educational trips and tours and they all count as class time. For example, we have a planetarium trip scheduled which aligns perfectly with our Earth Science and Astronomy science curriculum. We also do a lot of baking and volunteering as well.

Where We Work

This is where my third-grader does his book work.  I always make sure we get math and language arts done first thing.  They are two of the most important subjects and he works best in the morning.  I think I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m big on geography.  I think I have a map on every wall! This enlarged U.S. map is perfect for our reading assignments (more on that later).

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My preschooler works here.  He loves his new desk.  I was shocked when he actually wanted to sit in it. And surprise, surprise…more maps! I even have a world map for my youngest.  Next to that is a world map for my third-grader, which lists the countries as well as the continents.

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I start off each day with the calendar, month, day of the week, today is, tomorrow will be, and yesterday was. This calendar is great. It even came with a weather component as well as labels for holidays. It is helping my 4-year-old identify the days of the week and in which order they fall.

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This is our computer area, dry erase board, and yes, a trampoline! If my boys need to jump, they can. I have two boys who love to move, so I let them 🙂

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Here is our math center, which contains all of our math manipulatives. (That crate is completely full of manipulatives!)

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And this is our art wall.  I like displaying as much art work as I can each year because I know they’re proud of it, and so am I. Since our year just started, there’s not too much displayed right now. As the year progresses, this wall will be full.

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Our Curriculum

You’ve seen where we work.  Now what do we work on?

PRESCHOOL:  Earlier this year, I used a great book titled “Alliteration Alphabet” to get my son started on his letters in a fun way.  He really enjoyed it and it gave him a great start on learning his letters!

My preschooler is enrolled in a preschool co-op class once a week, but when we are home we work on our bundled curriculum from Timberdoodle.  I wish I had homeschooled my oldest in pre-K rather than send him to private school because he would have really enjoyed this.  I am loving this set.

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This is the complete preschool package.  If it looks like a lot, it is.  This kit is amazing and touches on every subject, even history!

It comes with the following:

Reading

  • What Your Preschooler Needs to Know

Sticker Books

  • ABC Sticker Book
  • First Sticker Book Castles
  • Emergency Services Sticker Fun
  • Build a Picture Town Sticker Book

Mathematics

  • Mathematical Reasoning

Science

  • My First Super Science Kit

Workbooks

  • Usborne Animal Activity Book
  • Usborne Lift-the-Flap Picture Atlas
  • A set of four Kumon workbooks

Puzzles/Blocks/Manipulatives

  • BambinoLUK puzzles
  • MagnaTab to practice writing letters
  • Boogie Board to doodle
  • Morphan Junior building blocks
  • Amusement Park Engineering Build Set
  • Three Little Piggies game
  • HABA Brain Builder Peg Set

Interactive Games

  • Tiggly Words

Art

  • Doodle and Draw Inside, Outside, Everywhere
  • Finger Painting kit

As if that isn’t enough, they also send pencils, hand manipulatives and other small items.

We love all of it but my son’s favorites are the “What Your Preschooler Needs to Know” book as well as BambinoLUK, Tiggly Words and Amusement Park Engineer.

THIRD GRADE: In addition to our curriculum, my third-grader currently takes STEM classes/robotics, art history, and physical education outside of the home.

As I mentioned earlier, I hand-pick his curriculum piece by piece.  I’ve been using some of these publishers for years and it works for us. Also, Social Studies is intertwined throughout many of the subjects.

Language Arts:

Sing, Spell, Read and Write: We’ve been using this program since my son was in K. He learned how to read on this program fairly quickly, so we’ve stuck with it. He never enjoyed the “sing” part of the curriculum, so we just skip that. As the name implies, this program includes spelling, reading, and writing.  He’s going to be learning cursive shortly. It also includes geography, even though it’s not advertised as such. There are handfuls of storybooks that come with the program, one for each state of the U.S.  Each tells stories about that particular state and points out information such as the capital, geography and even climate of that state. I’ve been able to implement this program into our geography curriculum as well to further educate my son on the states of the U.S., their locations and capitals.

Building Spelling: I use this in addition to the above for more spelling practice.

Word A Day: I really like this book. It’s my first year using it and it’s great for building vocabulary. Each day a new word is introduced, its meaning and part of speech. There is a quiz at the end of the week. It’s fun because these are words kids don’t use every day.

Easy Grammar: Another new book for us this year and it’s been great.  Right now, we’re reviewing prepositions.

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Mathematics

Right Start: This is our second year using Right Start. I really like it because manipulatives are used daily and we play a lot of math games. For us, it’s been a great foundation, with an emphasis on geometry. It has taught him to do two-digit addition in his head. We’re going to be starting multiplication in a week or so.  He already grasps the idea behind it and that’s half the battle.

Life of Fred: We use LOF as a supplement whenever we want a change of pace. My son really loves these books.  They’re quite entertaining with short stories for each chapter, introducing math concepts as well as new vocabulary and other subjects. It contains many different components.

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Geography

Daily Geography: A lesson a day on how to read maps, location of the continents, oceans, countries etc.

Maps of the U.S.A. and Our 50 States: I got both of these free from another homeschooler and they’re great for state facts and mapping.

States and Capitals

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Science:

Elemental Science Earth Science and Astronomy: Discusses everything related to the earth and astronomy, including experiments as well.

Discovery K12: I just heard about this great FREE website. It contains all subjects but we mainly use Science. It’s fantastic.

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History:

Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans: This is a great book. There are many short stories about William Penn, George Washington, Ben Franklin, etc. I also implement history in other areas. For example, when we reviewed Massachusetts in his Language Arts program, we dug deeper and researched the Boston Tea Party. Therefore, whenever a historical event is mentioned, we head over to the library to review it some more.  We did try Story of the World in first grade but it wasn’t working too well at the time; however, I’d like to revisit it in the future.

I’m open to suggestions for other solid American History curriculum others have tried, so please comment below if you have some ideas 🙂

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Resources:

Dictionaries and encyclopedias are good to have on hand. We also visit the library weekly and check out handfuls of books at a time. We do a lot of reading and researching!

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Last but not least, I document everything in a binder for each child, attendance, co-op classes, physical education, volunteering activities, educational DVDs, art projects, and everything else!

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I hope you enjoyed the tour. Thanks for stopping by!

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