Thursday, January 28, 2016

Our Homeschool Room {and some curriculum}

Do I have any readers who homeschool?

I get asked quite often which curriculum we use, where we "homeschool" and how my day is spent, so I wanted to do a mini-series, for lack of a better word, where I approach these questions.

Today I'm going to introduce you to our homeschool room and a few of our main books that we use.


Firstly, my most important tip would be to STAY ORGANISED. It is easy to visit a bunch of sites that tackle homeschooling, and to get overwhelmed and think you need allthethings. You don't. My first year I made this mistake and went with a strict curriculum, with certain specific books picked out for me. I realized about a month or so into it that it was not the best path for us. 
We have five children, 3 that are doing school. (1 kinder, and 2 first grade) and all our children have different personalities and I found myself doing exactly what I feared would happen at school. Trying to have one mold and fit them all into it. Needless to say, this failed. But since I had spent money on it, we decided to adapt it to ourselves while still keeping the books we'd been given.  It was an expensive mistake, as the curriculum was not cheap, and we had created the homeschool room at the same time, so a lot of $$ went out that year.
We are now in year two of homeschool and things make a lot more sense this year. I made a trip to Barnes and Noble and had a much better experience picking out the curriculum myself according to how I wanted to teach. Keep in mind, each state is different and so your requirements might be different. We are in Ohio, and the rules for us are to report that we are homeschooling, get permission from the district and then show proof of work at the end of the year. 

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Ok, I will take you on a tour of our school room and give you info along the way, this way i'm covering most of the important stuff for you... 

 I bought this caddy from Target for $3 and I keep all the basic every day supplies in it, and make sure they are full, sharp and working so we don't have the "my pencil is blunt" excuse over and over. Trust me, they will use it if you allow it!!!
I keep glue sticks, glue, coloured pencils, regular pencils with erasers, crayons and felt tip pens in it at all times. 

This is the spot for the extra supplies. We use an ikea cube storage, 4 spots left empty for books, and 4 spots have the drawer installations. In the caddys (also from Target) I keep just a bunch of markers, dry erase pens, pencils, crayons etc.  In the drawers are maths supplies, paints, crafting bits etc. and all are marked with a label so the children know where to find stuff.


This is the desk for computer work. We don't do a whole bunch of this yet. I'm thinking 2nd grade will be more work done using typing etc. I keep my "what a 1st grader needs to know" book on hand here too (the white and yellow book). This book is AWESOME if you want to be sure you are on task with their learning. We try to stay organised with where we are at and so our progress records are all on file so at the end of the year we know what we need to hand in.

You'll also notice our diffuser on the left. Yes, that cool looking thing has a great function! We rarely have a homeschool day where we are diffusing. We go between calming blends and focus blends, depending on the kind of day we are having. I'd LOVE to direct you in this if it's something you're interested in. We truly believe in the power of essential oils helping with our learning and our frame of mind. They are very much a part of our homeschool room. If you'd like info on the ones we use specifically feel free to contact me! (shop for oils here)


We like to do visual pieces to decorate our school room with, and the children love having something they can show people who visit.  Don't forget the little fun projects you can create when things get a little monotonous during the day. 



Having a clock on the wall is great as a teaching aid. You can assign a different person each day to be time keeper and who let's the teacher know when it's time for break, or a different activity. 


We use this map a bunch, and are going to start a project here soon using it to mark off the places we have visited or want to visit, using different stickers. Visual aids are important! We also have a world map on the other side, which can be written on with dry erase markers. That one has been a great teaching tool. The dry erase board is fantastic when you are teaching the group. Many a diagram has been drawn on here! (hanging in the corner are our paint overalls)

 
 These are some books we have collected along our homeschool journey. We love using reference books, and even though we use the internet for youtube videos (there are a bunch of great teaching tools on there), I prefer using books as each child can take one and use it without needing my help. 




These are some of their reading books that we are doing book reviews on. I read these aloud and then we discuss social issues, or their thoughts on the content. I will detail a book review one day for you, as they enjoy those projects. We tend to read a bunch of classics, and also use audio books (detailed in an older post) to get them familiar with stories and story format. The more you read or they are exposed to literature, the better! (I also feel the same about music. We often have classical music playing during school to encourage concentration and also questions about the music itself!)


This is a pretty good tool for history that helps give them an idea of where in time things happen. They cut out a picture, colour it and stick it in their timeline as we study each thing. We got this with the curriculum we bought the first year, and this is one thing we kept as I liked it alot. (the curriculum was sonlight. If you are big on routine and a TON of reading and busy work, then it is a great curriculum, we just prefer a more laid back, learn as we go style. I like incorporating a bunch of lessons into something that interests them. (A form of "unschooling" I suppose.)


This is a pretty great series for learning to read and write. We kept this from the sonlight curriculum.


These are our main books (other than history, art, music etc) that we use every day. We have completed the science, and almost the geography and will move onto 2nd grade next. The Harcourt Family complete curriculum has been great for us. It's thorough, engaging and challenging. We haven't touched the test prep section as it's not something i'm keen to do until they are confident.

Well that's it for now, I need to get back to my daughter's homeschool, I will go into more detail about how I approach the arts and history next time. 

If you have any questions about how/why we homeschool i'd be happy to answer, so either comment below or send a message using the tool in the sidebar.

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Stay Well ~xoxo

3 comments:

  1. Love your homeschool room. It is so organized and cute. We love explode the code. It is amazing how over the years our styles of homeschooling change and will continue to change. I think it is all about what our goals are as homeschool mothers. My goals have changed and homeschool has become stress free and fun because of it. I totally need to learn more about essential oils. Love your cute diffuser. Thanks for sharing. :)

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    1. Thank you! I'm loving any moment where we have a stress free homeschool day. Haha! It's not easy with the very little ones racing around, but I never want to say I'm looking forward to them being older....because it's not true. I love this sweet little "into everything" age! <3

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