How I prepare for school & use workboxes

I’m going to share with you my method of madness organization for our homeschool work the next morning.

I try to be well prepared and get everything printed, set-up, workboxes filled, etc. But let’s keep it real, at the end of the day I just want to lay in bed after cooking dinner and watch Dance Moms. Guilty pleasure, oh yes please! So if I fail and “forget” to load the workboxes, I’ll wake up early, grab my coffee, and load them in the morning before they wake up. (the kids don’t know.. Shhh!)

Tonight I had my act together and loaded the workboxes. I also took pictures along the way so you could see. 🙂 The first thing I do is grab both of my Heart of Dakota curriculum guides. I absolutely love this curriculum! The whole school year is all laid out for you. It’s based off the Charlotte Mason method. So HOD gives you an assignment, then you go get the corresponding book off your bookshelf to go with it. Easy peasy my friends!!

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This is one day’s work, all laid out for you. The student would just need the corresponding book & other supplies necessary. Such as, paint, paper, or index cards.

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Look how simply the assignment is written up for you. It couldn’t get any easier than this for the parent!! You really don’t have to schedule & plan for the year if you didn’t want to. You can literally just open and shut this guide and the assignments are right there for you!

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I then gather the books that go along with the subjects for the day. I place strips of paper inside(like a bookmark) and write what page they should read. Once I’ve done that, I put the book back into its assigned workbox.
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If I come across a subject & I don’t care for the lesson that day, I will simply strike it out and give them a different assignment, such as, keyboarding or French. This is the beauty of Heart of Dakota! You can substitute if you want to!
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After I’ve loaded Lexi & Skyler’s Workbox, I write on the dry erase board, which is nearby. I write the date and a positive message from me, or an inspirational quote. They walk by this board everytime they go to get a new workbox, so I feel like a positive message sets the mood of the day.

Did I leave anything out? Do you have any questions?? Please ask me! I can make a new post and go into detail. 🙂
Thanks for taking the time to visit! Ta-Ta! – Cass

Why I finally decided to homeschool

 Why I Wanted to Homeschool

In the previous public school year, my son Skyler had many problems with trips to the office. Once, I happened to be visiting my Kindergarten, Alexi, for lunch. I’m looking around for Skyler, who eats at the same time..I can’t find him. Finally, I see him coming to lunch much later than the other kids. He comes into the cafeteria with a very sad face. I tried to mouth the words, “What’s wrong?” But he just looked down and shook his head. I knew he must have gotten in trouble for something. I watch him grab his lunch tray and walk into the office. He is then instructed by an office staff member to sit at a table located right outside of the principal’s office. This is outside of the office and sitting near the cafeteria where everyone can see that you are in trouble. Humiliating right?! I was sadden by this. I wanted to know what was wrong, but I tried to maintain by distance, and just watch what was happening. He struggled with something that he needed opened, looked around, raised his hand, yet no one came to help him. I could have cried right then, but I controlled my emotions and said goodbye to my daughter, who’s lunch hour was over. Then I walked over to my son, which was on my way out of the school. I asked him what happened. He shook his head, like he was embarrassed, or perhaps, too afraid to tell me. I encouraged him to tell me, and that I wouldn’t be mad. I just wanted to know why he was sitting all alone. He told me, with tears in his eyes, “I got in trouble for flushing a paper towel in the toilet.” I’m sorry, but I scoffed here, as I thought this was a silly reason to reprimand my child, take him away from class, make him late for lunch, and have to sit outside of the principal’s office to eat. This broke my heart. I could not keep it in anymore. I cried. I hugged him tight and told him that I loved him, and I would see him later. Yes, I wanted to take him home right then. Yes, I also wanted to stomp into that office and demand answers, but I also wanted my son to learn from this, and try to make better decisions on his own. I can’t rescue him from every situation. I have to let him make a mistake and fall from it. I know why they did it. Because it could cost the school a lot of money, if that paper towel had clogged the toilet. Why did Skyler do it? Because another boy was doing it. We talked about this later that night and I told him why they got upset with him. I told him that I did not want to see him sitting out there again, because it is sad to Mommy, and it is not good for him to miss his schoolwork.

This was just the icing on the cake, for many other instances that had happened during that school year. He just seems misunderstood at school. He is a wiggly, bouncy, affectionate, precocious, curious boy. But it’s okay, Mama gets him 100%. Here at home, he can read his book laying upside-down in his chair. He can wiggle his legs while he works on the computer. If he wants to do math on the dry erase board, instead of his paper-that is OKAY! Why? Because, we homeschool. And there is no one on Earth who knows my children better than I do. Therefore, there is no one who cares about their future, more than I do.

Our Homeschool Workbox System

So if you’ve looked around the web for workboxes for your homeschool, you’ve seen lots of plastic boxes right? They come from Ikea, Walmart, wherever. The idea is the same, you have several bins that pull out, with an assignment in each drawer. Here is a common picture of the workbox system:

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Looks awesome right?! The child pulls out an assignment starting at #1 and continues on until they are done. Wonderful system by Sue Patrick. So, I started researching Amazon, Walmart, Hobby lobby, every place I could to find the cheapest bins, as they were at least $35. $35 x 4, was way more than I wanted to spend. So I started looking on Pinterest and Google to find workbox alternatives. Then I found an idea where they used shoe boxes to hold their assignments. Again, I didn’t have the space for this many boxes, plus the rack it needed to be contained within, times four. So when I came upon this blog, A Mother’s Journal, my lightbulb turned on! It was brilliant! Just the answer I was looking for. It was inexpensive, easy to collect the materials, and can still use the Sue Patrick workbox method. Instead of working vertically, it works horizontally.

So, I went out and bought 24 boxes of cereal, the giant size, as to be sure all our books fit into the box. Boy did I get many looks and comments! haha “Your kids must like cereal!” “Wow!” “You gonna eat all of that?” Living near the Duggar family, I assume many of them probably thought I had 15 children or something. But no, it was just for a little homeschooling family. 😉

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Then, I took the kids to pick out their own scrapbooking paper to put on their workboxes. I thought this would be much more fun, help attach them to their schoolwork, and promote individuality. They really took this seriously and chose the paper that fit their personalities. I love looking at their shelves and nodding my head, Yes. This is totally her, or yes, he really does like sweets.

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So many cute prints at Hobby Lobby! It was so fun watching them choose their own prints!

Once they chose their prints, I bought 2 containers of Modge Podge. We went home and there I constructed these magnificent workboxes.

I had to cut the tops down a little to fit them in our bookcase. Then, I wrapped the scrapbook paper around the cereal box, and used a foam wide paint brush to apply modge podge all over the entire box. This helps the paper seal to the box and soften, as well. Once this dried, I used a packing tape dispenser to wrap tape all around the middle of the box and the bottom of the box, so this protects the scrapbooking paper and also helps it be more sturdy for the books that will be put in and taken out of the box. Now you’re done and you let it dry. It doesn’t take very long. I proceeded to find some workbox numbers to attach on the boxes. They are often called, workbox tags, and you can find them in all different kinds of characters. I chose some by what characters my kids like. Izayah got Transformers, Skyler got Phineas and Ferb, Alexi got Disney Princesses. I laminated the tags, then used square Velcro tabs to attach to the front of the boxes. Once the student completes the assignment inside the box, they take off the Velcro number and put it in the box. This signifies that the assignment is complete to the student, and the teacher.

If you have ANY questions, please please ask me below in the comment section! I was so blessed by this idea, that I would love to help you in any way that I can! Here is the finished product.

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My kids absolutely love their boxes and this method. My 3 year old has claimed 4 of her older sister’s boxes as her own, because she wants to have workboxes like her siblings! It’s adorable. She loves to school and gets so tickled when she finds work in her boxes. She takes the whole box into the front room, pulls out the assignment, and gets to work! Usually she has a coloring page, Toddler Bible, busy bag activity, math, etc, that she works on while the older kids do their Heart of Dakota curriculum. I will do another post of what’s in each box, to help you out! 🙂

Remember, don’t stress if you can’t do what that blogger is doing, or that other family is doing, because it may look fabulous, but it doesn’t mean it’s going to work out for your family. Find a way to fit it to your budget, your personality, or your ideals. That’s one of the many perks of homeschooling, we do what we want to! {wink}

Preschool for K

Hello friends! I’m going to try and keep you updated on all of our homeschooling this year! My oldest will be going to a prestigious charter school, so I will be homeschooling a fifth, third, and preschooler. For this post, I will focus on my preschool lessons for tomorrow.

We will be using the Usbourne Start to Read Pack. I got it from hosting an Usbourne party, and I am so excited to use this as our starting point for learning phonics! Here is the first page, along with a picture of the Start to Read Pack.

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I am going to start with the letter S and create activities of all kinds to incorporate learning this letter and phonic sound. We will work on this letter for one day, unless my daughter does not complete all of the assignments, then we wil finish on the next day. (Note: I like to let her pick what she wants to work on, i just help guide her, by leaving the activities on her learning shelf. If she has an emotional day, and is not learning due to her mood, or any frustrations, then assignments may be more of an artistic or sensory activity, which are what she really enjoys doing. Remember learning should be fun and encouraging!)

So here is my lesson plan for Monday, July 26th, 2015. In no certain order:

Reading: Choose any book off of your bookshelf (She likes to choose her own)

Art: Rip strips of construction paper. Mark a capital S and a lowercase S on construction paper with white crayon or a pencil. Then the child glues these strips to the construction paper using a glue stick.
http://www.growinginprek.com/letter-collages

Phonics: Read page 2 together in the Usbourne Start to Read Activity book. Child completes the dot to dot drawing (S for seal)

Computer Learning Game:  Teach Your Monster to Read This website is reccomended by the Start to Read Activity book to help reinforce and practice what the children learn in the activity book. It’s very easy to play, educational, colorful, free and fun!

Art: Color the ‘S for Spider’ printable.

Sensory: Draw the letter S in the Rainbow salt tray. Here is how I made ours, VERY easy, pretty, and she loves to write in it with her fingers or a paintbrush. http://www.learning4kids.net/2012/06/05/rainbow-salt-tray/

Well that’s all we have specifically planned, If i give her more to do, I will update you and I will also upload pictures of her in action! Have a great day and thank you for taking the time to read my blog! I hope you’ll say Hi if you enjoyed this post or have any questions. Love, MamaCass