Over the years we have fine tuned what works for us and what doesn’t.
This past year we took our very large homeschool room up on our third floor and moved it down to our den, located on the first floor. This took an enormous amount of time and thought as we sifted through each item on hand to determine its value in our classroom. After all, we moved our classroom into a much smaller space and which thereby dictated that everything needed a justification for its use of precious real estate in the footprint of the room.
It was really hard and took me a really, really long time (think 9 months, ugh). In the end though I am left with what really works, what we love, and what is useful to what we are studying. For a girl who always liked to have one thing on hand, then another if the first didn’t work, and then maybe something else, this was a struggle.
But now we have on hand things that work well for us and things that we love to use. (at least I love to use, something the kids would just like to not do school, teehee).
A few of you have asked me for some recommendations on things to buy so here they are in no particular order:
This is amazing for showing your kids how much time they have. It also gets you off the hook for having to track your kiddos time (or am I the only one who randomly forgets to keep track of the time only to announce, “two more minutes” when your kids ask how much time they have left?). It has a yellow zone so you can set it to give a ____ more minutes left until time is up. This is a much needed feature for our son and it’s really helped.
We used these when we were practicing skip counting and now we use them when going over our multiplication facts. I will randomly give the kids these when we are not working on our facts and ask what number all of the bracelet numbers are multiplied by.
This workbook has been in our house for years and for good reason…it’s amazing! When we practice the OiLs method of drawing with Classical Conversations I pull this out but we use it at other times as well. There’s a little story that tells about the animals you draw and there are stickers to use as well (we’ve actually never used those, just the story and the drawing).
HP Printer Connected Ink
Okay, I love our printer! We have had it for about 3 years and it is hands down the best printer we’ve ever had. We decided to take advantage of the HP Connected program. If you don’t know what that is, basically it’s a subscription program for your ink. You sign up for how many pages per month you use and they send you ink when you need it. It is so easy. You can send them back your old cartridges to be recycled and that’s it. It is so easy. I was always running out of ink and pinnacle moments when I didn’t have time to run to Staples for more ink and now I don’t even have to think about it.
We have tried so many pencils. When we started homeschooling (8 years ago!!!) I was a mom who would buy the Target Dollar Section everything to match and it was in theory so much fun! Except the pencils would always break like it was their job and that part wasn’t so fun. Through trial and error I realized that Tichonderoga Pencils really are worth the money. If you have a chewer like me you should also invest in some eraser tops because the eraser will be gone long before the pencil is short so with the erasers you can keep using the pencil.
You can get any you would like but I have the ones that we have linked so you can see what I am talking about. These are a great incentive for good attitudes about school and diligence with our work. I give a sticker for each day the kids get their work done without complaining and have good attitudes. Sometimes I will give the chart a set prize value “trip to the froyo place” or I will give it a monetary amount, usually about $5. This gives them something attainable to feel that they have achieved each day. Plus we like to use the little treats when we have a break from school and we remind them what their hard work has earned them.
We used fidgets long before fidget spinners were the craze and we have never used those. Instead I look for quiet things their little hands can play with while we are reading outloud, working on poetry, or whenever else they want to play with them. In my mind fidgets can be anything that keeps their hands busy…so crochet, weaving, playdough, anything could be considered a fidget, right? I love having different things on hand for them to play with (get it, on hand! Eh? Eh?!)
These are the things that are working for us to make our year awesome! If you have any other recommendations I would love to hear them! We are always looking for new things. I will have to learn to recycle things through with our new classroom rather than just hoard everything. I’m excited for the challenge though and hope it will keep us engaged as we will keep only what we love and move through things we are finished with.