Tag Archives: homeschool

Essential Oil Tuesday – Making "Ouchie" Bags

ouchiebags-elMaking “OUCHIE” bags filled with rice or wheat is something that anyone could use. These are also called “heating bags”, wheat heating bags, rice heating bags, etc.

My daughter, Elwyn, LOVES making these now that she learned how to use the sewing machine. {THANK YOU 4-H!!} We love homeschooled kids too!

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What do you use these for you are asking? 

These bags can be heated in the microwave to use for headaches or sore shoulders.

They can be frozen overnight in the freezer to help with bumps and bruises.

When warm, they can be put in your pockets to keep your hand warm or in your bed to warm your feet (Tall man appreciates this! I always have cold toes!)

We keep 2 in the freezer and have 2 in the kitchen cabinet to heat when needed.

{Pardon the squawking parrots in the video, they wanted to talk over us!}

Making chalkboard clipboards

chorechartsMaking chalkboard clipboards are very easy and they are usable over and over again. They are great for “in the car” activities, traveling, and chore charts for the wall. Our family uses them for all 3. We are making new ones today for the missing one and for our 2 new boys as well.

We have been using the same clipboards for 3 years – Here is the original post: http://scrapwarrior.com/blog/2010/07/03/chore-charts-on-our-wall

 

You will need the following:

  • wooden clipboards (These are sold at walmart or kmart or target for less than $2 each),
  • bottle of spray paint (chalkboard) – I found this at our local Ace Hardware
  • blue painter’s tape
  • Foam stamps and paint
  • matching ribbon

Directions:

Blue tape the “Metal Hinge” and spray paint the entire front of the board. After 24 hours, remove the tape carefully. Stamp your child’s name on the board and tie matching ribbon at different lengths on the hinge.

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Homework time

After school can be CRAZY, especially in a house with 7 children. We have 3 homeschooled and 4 in public school this year. They boys get off of the bus at about 3:30 and as soon as they get home grab a snack box snack and homework. We have discovered if we don’t get on homework right away, then they are too tired to complete anything later.

El has taken it upon herself to always sit with the boys and help them with their school work. She normally has her own lessons done by lunch-time.

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Afterschool Organization

Over the last year, we have had our ups and our downs with everything. Their therapist and I have been trying to work through the food hoarding and stealing and we think that we have found what is working.

With my trusty Cricut Machine and vinyl that I picked up from www.PickYourPlum.com

I added names to the sides of plastic shoe boxes. These are the SNACK BOXES!!! Each child gets 15 snacks added to it on Sunday night. They can choose to eat them all in one day, or keep them for all week. The very first day, Breckin at 8 snacks, but soon came to realize that he only had 7 for the rest of the week.  The girls are pretty smart. They will eat some of their snacks and then put back what they don’t eat for later.

Now, the first thing that the boys do when they get home from school is ask if they can have a snack… and they know what box is theirs!

We have been experimenting with this for 3 weeks and we have seen no other food hoarding or stealing for that time. YEAH!!!

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Getting Kids organized for school

blog-calendar1Keeping 7 kids organized is a task in itself. I am often asked how can I manage to get all kids where they need to go. I have a calendar… actually I have MANY calendars. I have an online calendar that my husband can access through google. This allows him to post to the calendar and it emails me when he does. I have a paper calendar that I carry. I seem to like that one better than the online one. And I have a new one just for kids.

This is a removable vinyl whiteboard that is sticky on the back.  This allows me to write a schedule for all of the kiddlings to see. Breckin gets many anxiety issues with not knowing a schedule and routines are very important to Berlyn.  Since they are both reading now (at least Berlyn can read his name), they can both check each day and know exactly what is going on (or at least that something is going on that day) without coming to mom to check. The kids get so excited to see their names on the calendar for an activity. I tend to write them in color code as well (That reminds me to pick up some new white board pens while everything is on sale)

Having many calendars can often times be a problem if they are not “sync-ed”. Every morning before I get kids up and going, I check my emails and check all 3 calendars just to make sure that they all match for that day and the week. Then,  I adjust as needed.

So, no matter how much I don’t want to go someplace, I still can’t use the excuse that I didn’t know about it… it is bound to be on one and then all 3 calendars here at our house. … Getting there on time? That is a totally different matter. 😉

Summertime activities – Positive Behavior System – Quarters

We have had SO many views of our POINTS AWARD SYSTEM (Click here to see information on this) that I wanted to share another system that we have been using this summer in our home.

Quarter Reward System

On the first of the mquartersonth (or what ever day works best for you), each of you children receive ONE roll of quarters in a jar. Mom also needs to have a roll of quarters as well.

Every time a child in our home is disrespectful or mean to another (and mom or dad hears or sees this happening) then that child owes the other a quarter. If they backtalk mom, mom gets a quarter. Mom can hand out quarters to any kid who is going above and beyond – doing a chore without asking, being extra nice, etc.

If a child runs out of quarters in the month, then, they will have to do an extra chore for each time that they act out.

One the first of the next month, the child will get to keep ALL quarters that they have in their jar to save or spend… And mom starts over with a new roll of quarters.

This has worked AWESOME with our new little boys… They do NOT want extra chores and LOVE to help extra around the house to earn quarters.

Summertime Fun – Find a Local Library Program

libraryprogramsMost children’s libraries put on programs during the summertime. Yes… I am telling you, if you have children, CALL YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY!

Our local children’s library website is: http://www.chinoaz.net/library/childrens.shtml

The library in Chino Valley, Arizona (where the kiddlings and Larry and I live) has an FANTASTIC summer program. We attend the Special Needs one for Berlyn and Trystan. (Autusm and ADHD are interesting things to try and get children to sit still… but the program for the special needs in not terribly busy and allows the kids to move around. The best part is that there are a lot of “get up and dance” . )

Today, the Prescott Heritage Park Zoo visited the kids! They let the kids touch the  snake, hissing cockroach and the tortoises. They also brought a pink-footed tarantula and 2 prairie dogs that were in a rolly exercise ball.

The Chino Valley Library has an AMAZING Children’s Librarian by the name of Darlene Westcott (better known as Ms. Darlene to the kids.) I have known Darlene for 20 years. Her daughters went to school with me. In 2010, she won the 2010 Arizona Youth Services Librarian of the Year because of all of her  phenomenal work with children.

Here is a link to the Chino Valley Summer Reading Program – http://www.chinoaz.net/library/pdf/2013_SummerReadingProgram_Tri-Fold.pdf

Here is a link to the Chino Valley SELF Club (SPecial Needs) Summer Reading Program: http://www.chinoaz.net/library/pdf/2013_SelfClub_Tri-Fold2.pdf

 

So if you have kids at home this summer… call your local library!

You never know what they have in store for you!

 

 

Summertime Fun – A MUST HAVE book

It is not often that I do reviews on books. I actually avoid them because for the most part, I know that everyone is different and has different types of writing so I always feel that I am judging another person’s art.

However, that being said, I have found the ULTIMATE go-to book for the summer if you have kids. Link to the right –> This book has literally HUNDREDS of different games, and indoor and outdoor activities. Every activity has how many players, ages, location and equipment listed along with the riles and ways to play it. There are indoor games like card games, mind games, word and brain game, pencil and paper games, and tabletop games. There are also outdoor games that include categories like blacktop games hide and seeks, relays and races, tag and chases and ball games, water games, party games and more.  There are even ROAD GAMES for the car!! YEAH!

Shelby and El are going to lead our homeschool park day with some games from this book today!!

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Favorite Tools as a homeschooler

This is our 8th year homeschooling. I feel like I have successfully accomplished so many things with the kids. I was in my studio and was thinking this morning. “What Items Can I Not Live Without?” Besides the kids computers(yes, they each have their own netbooks) and AOP homeschooling curriculum called Switched on Schoolhouse, there are a FEW other things that just make my life a bit easier!!!

We started off our homeschooling sitting on the floor in the living room with a few workbooks for a lone 1st grader. Shelby was AMAZING to go along with mommy, having a 2 year old brother and and a one year old sister. Then, we moved out of boxes at the dining room table. – We never ate at the table because there were always projects going on all of the time. When we moved into our new house 20 months ago, we converted the formal dining room into a classroom. I really don’t need anything “formal” in this house since, well, we have little hand who break things. We got a FREE dining room table and chairs set off of the local Freecycle group. It needed a bit of “re-gluing” but is perfect! I also have a dresser that we have added into the room in order to have some extra space for art supplies.

 

My Cricut Machine is never far from me and it lives on the dresser in the schoolroom. Today, I am using the calendar set and cutting the months of the year to hang on my classroom wall for Berlyn and Rowan. (Berlyn is my autistic child and does go to a half day Kindergarten class at a public school with the most AWESOME teacher.) Berlyn has been learning the months of the year at school, so I wanted to add that to our classroom wall too! Shelby even got the new one for Christmas this year that hooks up to her computer and has digital art and can also use the cartridges. I can’t imagine not having this tool in our collection. The kids use it for reports. I use it for scrapbooking, and school related items (both theirs and mine).

 

My Cube Shelving in my classroom is another essential. I pick up a lot of items at local yard sales and I needed a way to organize them. These cubicle shelves are at places like Walmart, and Target. They have all different color shelves and you can pick up drawers separately.

We use the drawers for “glue”. Yes, I have an adhesive drawer! And one that has all of their painting supplies, and decorative scissors, and extra supplies.

The shelves also hold the plastic shoe boxes GREAT and can double as bookshelves! I have math counters and science equipment in those. Along with a shoebox of crayons, and one with colored pencils and one with markers. I have never run out of or lost my colored pencils while they are in these shoe boxes. (Hey, I even labeled the outside of the boxes with my Cricut machine and wall vinyl!!!

 

INTERNET plays a HUGE roll in our schooling as well! I use it for project ideas and the kids use it for research. I find worksheets online and activities as well.

 

Last but not least – a TIMER is essential in our house. We DO NOT school all day with formal lessons, however, we do school for a time every morning. I set the timer to 3 hours at 9am and get started. Once that buzzer rings, I check the computer work. If everyone has gotten done their today’s work, then… WE ARE DONE! 🙂 In the afternoon is free reading, activity, cooking, etc.

 

I hope that this gives you an insight to “US” and what we can’t live without.

I


I LOVE LOVE LOVE homeschool days that we can take time away from books and get hands on. Dylan, the little guy who I tutor a few days a week was ahead in his work, and Grif and El needed a BREAK!

So the kids decided to make French Baguettes and Bruschetta!!!

While the bread was rising, we read all about Thanksgiving and history and traditions – Here’s a site that I found some cool information on – http://www.thanksgivingnovember.com/

 

Bruschetta

Ingredients

    • garlic, pressed
    • 14 slices French bread (3/4 inch thick), toasted
    • 4 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
    • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

  • In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, onion, oil, minced basil, salt and pepper, garlic; spoon about 2 tablespoons onto each piece of toast.

 

 

Here is the French Bread Recipe that the kids tried… we are still trying to find one that REALLY works well with our home-ground Flour.

 

FRENCH BREAD

Ingredients

  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon water

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, yeast and salt. Stir in 2 cups warm water, and beat until well blended using a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, knead in enough flour to make a stiff dough that is smooth and elastic. Knead for about 8 to 10 minutes total. Shape into a ball. Place dough in a greased bowl, and turn once. Cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled.
  3. Punch dough down, and divide in half. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cover, and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll each half into large rectangle. Roll up, starting from a long side. Moisten edge with water and seal. Taper ends.
  4. Grease a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Place loaves, seam side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Lightly beat the egg white with 1 tablespoon of water, and brush on. Cover with a damp cloth. Let rise until nearly doubled, 35 to 40 minutes.
  5. With a very sharp knife, make 3 or 4 diagonal cuts about 1/4 inch deep across top of each loaf. Bake in a preheated 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) oven for 20 minutes. Brush again with egg white mixture. Bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until bread tests done. If necessary, cover loosely with foil to prevent over browning. Remove from baking sheet, and cool on a wire rack.
French Bread Recipe found on: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/french-bread/detail.aspx?&recipeID=6882