Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Happy Back to School!

Today was the first official day of school in our district. Even though we began some of our school routines on Monday, the sprouts and I knew that today was the "big day." So after our morning meeting and a bit of math, we decided to celebrate officially going "Back to School" by baking a cake (because every celebration needs cake). I used ingredients that I had on hand to make vanilla cake-from-a-box with chocolate and cinnamon butter-cream icing from scratch. We finally used up the last of the Valentine's candy for the decorative touches (that stuff never expires, right?). 

Here it is, from our family to yours...
I think this could be the start of a sweet, new tradition!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Rainy Day Painting Play

We have had two days in a row of off-and-on rainy weather. It's too wet to play in the backyard, and the forecast is too questionable for taking walks. I should probably be more into the idea of gearing everyone up in their rain boots to go puddle jumping, but I am just not there today. Instead, I figured we could spend some energy on creative pursuits. Out came the dropcloth, messy shirts, and brushes for some rainy day painting play.

Gathering our supplies. I am not great with messes (although I am getting better) so I tend to cover all the things when we are painting. I love this reusable tablecloth that can just be wiped down when we are through.

I found this old muffin-tin things thrifting, and they make stellar palettes for the kids. I love the nice sturdy base with just enough weight to prevent tipping. I also love the space in the middle with potential for color mixing!

First sprout has recently discovered Pokemon, so that has been a big focus for her paintings and drawings lately.

Mama likes to join in the fun too. I decided to start painting a color wheel. Maybe I will add some detail in marker later and hang it in our "classroom"? I love making my own learning materials, and sometimes the hand-made ones are even cooler than the digitally-created ones.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Getting Ready

I love planning and organizing things, so the beginning of the school year is always a very exciting time for me. The sprouts have been helping me to unpack all of my teaching gear and to set up our dining room classroom. With only one week until we start back, here's a little peek into what we have put together...

We have a cozy spot here! Without a whole separate room to spare for school work, our family decided that it made the most sense for us to use the dining room. This way we can use the big table to stretch out and do projects. Also, I love the idea of our "school" being centrally located, because as a family, we are committed to learning all of the time.

We have a reading area with comfy chairs, an educational rug, and lots of accessible books. The bin on the floor has books that relate to pets, home, and families since we are starting with a community social studies theme in the fall.

I am trying to sort some of games and tools into baskets by subject area. This way, if I need to work individually with one of the kids, I can grab a basket off of the shelf to keep the others busy learning.

These are my crazy organized binders that I used for classroom resources when I was teaching full time. I brought them home and tweaked them a little to meet our homeschooling needs. Brightly-colored binders and funky, designer paper make me happy!

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Decision to Homeschool

I have been teaching off and on since I graduated college with my B.A. in English and B.S. in Journalism in 2004. I have worked as a nanny, an English teacher in Japan, and an early childhood educator. I have been a restless worker, seeking to push myself and find new, exciting opportunities.

I always thought I'd be a "working mom" because I grew up around working moms and that's just what women in my life chose (or had) to do. I stayed home with my oldest sprout for about 6 months before I started graduate school, and I went on to earn my M.Ed. in Elementary Education (as well as Pennsylvania teaching licenses for both Elementary and Early Childhood Education). By the time I graduated, I had two young children, and no plans to slow down.

I was a substitute teacher for awhile, but the job market crashed and I found out that a third little one was on the way. I stayed home for two years working as an educational consultant, which is when I had the good fortune to find out about Teachers Pay Teachers. I worked full-time in a combined first-second grade classroom while my oldest was in kindergarten. I loved the students, I loved the planning, and I loved the classroom.

BUT it really just did not work for the rest of my family. This year, I am excited to say, we are taking the leap into a "home education program," and my children are beyond thrilled. I am excited to be working from home as a consultant and teaching my little ones. I have no doubt that it will be crazy at times, but I also have no doubt that it will have lots of rewards as well.

For my own sanity enjoyment, I hope to chronicle some of this homeschooling journey and my teacher-created materials here on the blog. Thanks for joining me-- I look forward to hearing from you!