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I couple of months ago I shared a post about our homeschool cart and daily homeschool resources. Now that we’ve finished a few of the books and are on to some new stuff I wanted to write a new post.
Since we’ve gotten out or Christmas tree we haven’t used our homeschool cart as much but after we get rid of all the Christmas decor it will be used more.
One thing we’ve done differently for the past few months is use a loop for some of our subjects/resources. I’ll share what we are all looping shortly but for those who don’t know what a loop is, it’s just a list of things we want to get to in a week and each day we do a few of them and then the next day we continue on down the list, then when we get to the bottom we start back at the top and make a loop. This way the subject or book that is at the bottom of our list doesn’t get left out each day when we inevitably run out of time.
We’ve also simplified things a bit. If you have followed our homeschool journey at all in the past two years you’ll notice I am always changing things. I’ve realized I like to keep things simple and read lots of books. I like a lot about unschooling but like a little more control than unschooling allows.
If you know Gretchen Ruben’s Four Tendencies, I am a Rebel. I don’t like the idea of following someone else’s curriculum or sticking to one I create. I keep going back and forth on the idea of writing an ebook on how we homeschool without a curriculum and yet still accomplish our goals for the year, we’ll see if that happens.
Now, let’s dig into our most used resources!
Composition Notebook for my bullet journal style homeschool plan – instead of making a plan for each day I write down what we do, it really helps at the end of the year when I write our monthly log for our school division.
Sandpaper Upper & Lower Case Letters – we purchased these black letters a few months ago and really enjoy them. The only sad part is that there is only one of each letter which limits what we can write so I created some letters for us . . .
Printable Number & Letter Cards – we pretty much only use these letters (and numbers) now. I printed a few sets out and some extra vowels. I like to use them for sneaky spelling, every now and then I ask the kids to spell out a word for me. The one actual spelling word we have right now is: Saskatchewan. 🙂 Like they say: “easy to draw, hard to spell.”
Battery Operated Pencil Sharpener – so, we’ve had a plug-in sharpener since my teaching days but it was just so annoying, somehow switching to a battery operated pencil sharpener has been a game changer for us. I know, #firstworldproblems but it’s true.
Melissa & Doug 1-20 Wooden Puzzle – this is great for my preschooler who is working hard on his numbers this year.
Math Linking Cubes – we use these for all kinds of math; patterning, tens and ones, etc, plus my son likes to make them into letters and, in typical boy fashion, all sorts of weapons. 🙂
Usborne Famous Paintings Cards – we are learning about a new painting each week. On Monday’s we review the paintings we’ve learned about so far and are introduced to a new one. Then each day of the week I read a little bit more of the information on the back of the card including who painted it, where, when and some cool details about the painting.
In January I am going to have some awesome bundles and deals on some Usborne products, if you want to be kept in the loop be sure to sign up for my newsletter.
Story of the World: The Middle Ages – after getting the book out from the library a number of times I finally bought it and wish I would have sooner. I also bought the child activity book which I was a little skeptical about but is worth every penny, it has really helped to make things come alive!
The Door in the Wall – we aren’t very far into this novel yet but it goes along perfectly with where we are at in Story of the World!
Ever since he can remember, Robin, child of Sir John de Bureford, has been told what is expected of him as the son of a nobleman. He must learn the ways of knighthood. But Robin’s destiny is changed suddenly when he falls ill and loses the use of his legs. Fearing a plague, his servants abandon him, and Robin is left alone.
A monk named Brother Luke rescues Robin and takes him to the hospice of St. Mark’s, where he is taught woodcarving and patience and strength. Says Brother Luke, “Thou hast only to follow the wall far enough and there will be a door in it.”
Robin learns soon enough what Brother Luke means. When the great castle of Lindsay is in danger, Robin discovers that there is more than one way to serve his king.
Life of Fred: Apples – I’ve been wanting to check out Life of Fred and my cousin graciously lent us their copy of Apples. It is definitely below where Raeca is at so we are going through it pretty quickly but I do like the story line (it’s silly but it works and I like the idea of learning math through life). I may purchase the next couple in the new year.
Florence Nightingale: Lady with the Lamp – my goal is to have at least one biography going throughout this year and we are all enjoying it. I was fascinated to learn how much of a difference Florence Nightingale made in the medical field! We actually just finished this book and will be moving on to another biography soon, probably one from the Christian Heroes Then & Now series.
The Ology – we are continuing with The Ology, I think it’s a must-have for every Christian homeschool! They cover so much theology in an easy to understand way.
Grimm’s Fairy Tales – after listening to a podcast and reading a few different articles about the benefits of (the original) fairy tales I bought a book of the complete Grimm’s fairy tales and we’ve been reading a story or two a week and are all enjoying them.
EPHRAIM’S DAILY RESOURCES
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons – we are still making our way through this book! I still rave about this $15 book to everyone that is trying to teach their child to read.
Usborne Wipe Clean Castle Activities – we use this book to continue working on Ephraim’s fine motor skills, it has lots of mazes, dot-to-dots, tracing and other activities and it’s all done with a dry erase marker so we can use it again and again.
Usborne Wipe Clean Alphabet – I got this wipe clean book when Raeca was only a few years old, five years later it is still going strong. Since I’ve started working in it consistently with Ephraim I’ve seen a huge improvement in his ability to write!
Usborne Very First Reading Program – I only photographed books 1-8 here but we have the whole series (it goes up to 15). I always suggest using this book series in conjunction with Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. The books are unique in the fact that the parent reads one page of the story and the child reads the other, so the story is a lot more interesting than most other learning to read books, both my kids have loved them.
Very First Reading First Phonics Words – this is a great little book for practicing phonics.
Fat Cat on a Mat & Other Tales – Ephraim hasn’t read this one yet but it will be coming up soon after he goes through a few more TYCTR lessons and a couple more books from the reading program.
RAECA’S DAILY RESOURCES
I don’t have many books here because the books in the morning loop are mostly for her, Ephraim just kind of hangs out during that time, or gives some random input here and there.
Complete Canadian Curriculum: Grade 2 – I bought each of the kids a big workbook like this in the summer, they go through stages where they like doing worksheets and buying one of these is way cheaper than printing out a bunch of pages. We are just doing pages here and there that we find interesting, lately that’s been a lot of math but it seems to always change. I am tempted to try the Brain Quest workbook for next year, anyone ever use those ones? I’d love to hear your thoughts! I’m assuming the Brain Quest book is more US based than a Canadian curriculum workbook but we really enjoy the Brain Quest Cards so it makes me want to try the workbook.
Usborne Wipe Clean Times Tables – we’ve just started learning about multiplication and have been using the age 5-6 wipe clean book and will be soon going into the 6-7 book and then after that I plan to grab the 7-8 book. In our province multiplication isn’t usually taught until the end of grade 3 when it touched on and then it’s the major focus in grade 4 but it’s a great skill to have and Raeca understands the concept so we are learning it! #homeschoolingperk I will be ordering this Times Tables Lift-the-Flap book in the new year as well.
Usborne Wipe Clean Grammar & Punctuation – we’ve got the book for 5-6, the book for 6-7 and I’ve got the book for 7-8 on my wishlist. The wipe clean nature of the books allows us to practice as much as we need before moving on!
Handwriting Without Tears – this is the grade one book, she only did a few pages in it last year and we’ve picked it back up as she’s developed some poor writing habits. I don’t think I’ll buy the book when Ephraim hits grade one but I am using the ideas now for teaching him to print properly.
My First Story Writing Book – this is where Raeca is mainly practicing her printing these days. I realized if she had something to work on that she enjoyed she would take my corrections better. This has been a printing game changer for us.
OUR POETRY BOOKS
The next couple of books we mainly use during our weekly poetry tea time, you can check out a few of our other favorites here.
Since the last resources post we’ve added one new book to our collection and it’s become a favorite:
Edward Lear’s Book of Nonsense – we’ve loved his limericks from the beginning and it was about time we owned some of his works!
Poetry for Young People: Lewis Carroll – I love the whole poetry for young people series and Lewis Carroll is awesome, I love reading Jabberwocky. 🙂
A Light in the Attic – if you want you kids to enjoy poetry definitely add in some Shel Silverstein!
A Child’s Garden of Verses – we currently own a mini-version of this book that only has a few of the poems but I love the whole book and it’s near the top of our to-buy list!
Now We are Six – such a fun book of poems by A. A. Milne!
OKAY! So, I think those are the main resources that we have been using pretty much daily lately, hope this post helps!
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