Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Life Skills in the Box

http://www.hsclassroom.com/2009/11/multitasking-workboxes.html had the idea of adding in life skills into the workboxes. Here are some of my ideas for life skills in the workboxes.

Setting the Table. Learning Lefts and Rights and how to set the table.
Cooking - the last workbox for the day could be a simple recipe to prepare for lunch.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Montessori Workbox activities

http://www.absorbentminds.co.uk/acatalog/ideasbank.html has beautiful montessori activities that would be perfect as workbox activities. It never ceases to amaze me everytime I look at activities like this just how simple and beautifully presented they are - I love this concept of Montessori

Friday, November 13, 2009

Chore Charts

Along with workboxes to make your children more independent Sue talks about Chore Charts. There are lots of different interpretations of Chore Charts out there just as there are many different workboxes :)

Here are a few of my favourites.

Chore packs we have these and I love them. Problem is we now have too many kids and not enough chore packs and I need to make more cards for them. This idea could be adapted by using Sue's workbox schedule strip as a chore chart schedule strip.

I love Linkthis idea for non readers - a get ready for bed chart and best of all there is a gold star when you complete each thing. Here are some card I made to download to make your own chart. Although I think her idea of using photos would make it more personal for kids.

Above are the charts we use (for Morning and Evening Chores) The first one is for the older girls you can download a copy of this one here. The other one is for the younger girls. I didn't save a copy of that one. The velcro dot on each one is to stick a small reminder on to change the sheets on the day I wash so the girls remember not to make their bed that day but to pull the sheets off!
I like the idea of W.I.L.D. cards here (W.I.L.D. stands for Walk In, Look and Do) from No Place Like Home

I like the way this chart at Pumpkin Patch has all the jobs on and you just select the one's the child needs to do today.

I WANT a Do-It door (idea from Being Made New)

Someone (if it was you please let me know so I can give you credit) suggested a morning and nightime chore "list" that kids (all pre-readers) can use their five fingers for.
5 morning chores - their 5 B's. They are...Bed, Breakfast, Brush (hair and teeth), Be dressed, Behavior (take a minute to think about what kind of behavior they need for the day)

For night time... 5 T's .... Toys (pick up), Tidy (whatever is left out- clothes, etc), Teeth, Talk (to God- prayer time), To Bed.

The chores all start with "B" or "T" so it makes it easy to remember- and they know they need to do 5- one for each finger :) Very simple and no a poster or chart to maintain . For very littlies you could make a poster for a reminder until they remember it.

And More Charts
Very cute but practical chart from ModEco Kids I really love her reasoning for the heading "How I contribute to my family" After all who really like to do Chores - just the name puts you off! :)
Coloured by the kids from The Hollands
Using a pocket chart here

What about rewards - the jury is still out on whether kids should be paid for chores or expected to do them as part of being a family. from Family Fun Magazine make some "Daddy Dollars" (picture of daddy pasted on a template of a dollar bill). There would be 2 waiting on the counter for each child in the morning but they would be gone by the time set. Dollars could be redeemed at "Mummy Mart" (pre-made list decided on) things that don't cost money.

Looking for pictures to make your own chores charts? Check out the links below.

free chore chart at CurrClick

make a chart at DLTK

Addition facts

joey joey game from Pumpkin Patch

Doggy Addition Facts File folder, Flowerpot addition, from homeschool share (scroll down the page until you get to Math Workboxables

Pocket Maths Fact cards from Shiver Academy

Weekly fun for the workboxes

Instant challenges at Delightful Learning
These look fun and easy to do - they use household items so easy to put together. The instructions of how to do the challenges are very very clear.
Challenge your kids to have fun, get creative and think critically!

Recycled Creations at Wayzley Academy
This challenge is just beginning you do need to have on hand a box of recycled materials ready to use and then go for it. Aimed more at younger children would also make a good art activity.

Kids who think has a number of different challenges all designed to make you and the kids think.

Unplug your kids weekly Projects These are not very specific but still will give you some ideas of things to do.

For older children Dr Jeff's weekly challenge could be fun - you have a week to work out the solution before it is posted on the blog. These seem to be more science related challenges.

The Outdoor Hour - based on Anna Comstock's book Handbook of Nature Study. These are fun and easy to do and can be done in any order. A great place to start if you are wanting to do nature study CM style and need a helping hand to get started. (As you will probably combine a nature notebook with this time this challenge covers art as well as science and also developing important skills such as observation and memory.)

Not Weekly challenges but lots of ideas for you to use weekly

Lots and lots of drawing challenges at The Creative Journey with Karen Winters

Deep Space Sparkle has lots and lots of art lessons. These would be fun to print out a selection and add to the workboxes on a regular basis. In the left hand side bar all the lessons are organized by grades.

The Crafty Crow always has lots and lots of fun craft ideas to make. Again print out the ones you like and add to the workboxes

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Decimal Street lapbook or poster

Here is a decimal street lapbook - would be great to add to a workbox and practise making numbers. Goes with the Math-U-See Math program.

I LOVE this and one day will have to make my own. I did make the house's and castle out of cardboard which we use at the moment but this is soooooo much nicer.

http://theischysfishys.blogspot.com/2008/12/decimal-street.html has used the same idea but made it slightly differently. Don't you just love the way one idea is adapted to suit each family.

Or you could make it as a poster (all so shown at the same blog) and use it as a poster centre.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Squirrel Stash

This file folder game comes from File Folder Fun (you do have to join to get access to this site but it is worth it - especially as it is free!!!)

Matching numbers to Number words (no's 1-12)

I stuck the squirrels randomly on the page and then put a velcro dot on the tail to stick the acorn to.

Apple Tree Math Mat

This Apple Tree Math mat is from homeschool share's Workboxables scroll down the page to Math Workboxables. I downloaded the black and white one (colour printer not working AGAIN) and the girls coloured it in. I did add a number 1 to the page as there was none there and the girls asked for it. The apples and numbers have Velcro holding them on.

What's in the box?

Wombat loves his boxes too!!

Math in the box

Online Resources
Mathwire blog - lots of ideas that could be used for workboxes. This link takes you to their index by grade. A lot is worksheets but there are games in amongest the worksheets you just have to look for them. Sue does talk about adapting worksheets in her book to make them more interesting and this site does have some fun looking worksheets.

Worksheet Generator for extra practise
Math worksheet creator site – make your own worksheets this is one of the easiest to use I have seen. You can also print out an answer sheet at the same time. http://www.superkids.com/aweb/tools/math/

Art in the box

I must confess that art is not my favourite "box". I worked in childcare for too long and hated the emphasis on having to produce art work to send home so Mum and Dad could have something to show for the day. Plus I dislike paint and the mess it makes.

This past year we have been lucky enough to have organised art classes with a group of other homeschoolers. We have done drawing (girls LOVED this and learnt lots of teckniques to make their drawings look more real) and basketry (another success especially weaving) unfortunately I was finding it too hard as it clashed with JJ's sleep time. Maybe next year when he is a bit older and if we are still here we will join in again.

So what can you put in the box to cover art?
Harmony Art Mom has sketch ideas every tuesday. You could just print out the idea and stick it in the box every week. I love all the Charlotte Mason art ideas. My dream is one day to do art this way.

There are some monthly artist studies posted here. This could be adapted to workboxing - choose one a month to study and study it once a week.

Elementary Art lessons here

Don't forget that when doing nature study and other notebooking activities art is quite often covered.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Workboxes works for ....

Sue says not to alter her system but to use it exactly as she has set it up until you have tried it for a while and then alter bits to fit your family. I highly reccommend getting and reading the book as she explains why she has it set up like she has.

Unfortunately in real life not everyone can afford or has the space to do this first. We didn't and I know there are other families out there in the same boat.

Here are my favourite ideas for tweaking workboxes to make them fit for you.

1 folder per child with 12 sections http://homeschoolcreations.blogspot.com/2009/08/how-were-using-workboxes.html

Using ikea shelving instead of boxes

I just love Cassie's set up - if only I had the room for something like this for each child! http://www.spelloutloud.com/2009/07/workbox-system-set-up-from-cassie.html

Using a drawer system http://wayzleyacademy.homeschooljournal.net/2009/09/28/workbox-system-update/

Monday, October 12, 2009

Waiting Station #3

UNO Cards

I had a pile of old cards from a UNO game. I just put them out on the table and the girls turned them over and tried to match them either by colours or numbers or both. All of the girls enjoyed this.

Waiting Station #2

Silly Rhymes Game
This has been sitting in the cupboard for ages. It is too complicated to play according to the game rules and so far has been a bit advanced for the girls but now with Duckie reading too I thought they might enjoy it. Duckie had one go at it but it did not appeal - still too advanced.

Zebra loved it. I should have known that the silly rhymes would appeal to her sense of humour. Her Rhymes were certainly silly but she did have fun doing it.

Waiting Station #1

Junior Scrabble -

This was a good one as the girls could just copy the words on the board or add their own words.

Note to self: Keep Monkey away from it - she moved all the girls words which really frustrated them when they came back to it, although she did have fun matching the letter tiles to the letters on the board so maybe just try to redirect her attention to leaving the letters in their places and add more.

Waiting Station

In her book Sue talks about having a "wait" centre. We decided to call it a Waiting Station. I printed up a sign and stuck it on coloured cardboard and laminated it. Then folded it in half - this is our waiting station. Straight after the table in the dining room is cleared from breakfast the sign goes on the table with the days activity and it is becoming a sign that it is time for school. The activity is just something simple that the kids can do while they are waiting for group time or waiting on mum for a 'work with mum' box

For more waiting station ideas see

Waiting Station #1 Junior Scrabble

Waiting Station #2 Silly Rhymes Game

Waiting Station #4 Big Felt World Map

If you would like to download my sign here is a link to download it from HS Launch. I printed two copies and stuck one each side of an A4 sheet of coloured paper and then laminated it and folded it in half.

First day Back

We survived the first day - I had too much planned in Zebra and Duckie's boxes (there are 16 boxes on the schedule strip and I had all of them full plus had extra to add in!) and not enough in the box for Bunny. We had an extra child today - I am babysitting another child for a couple of weeks 4 days a week so we will see how this goes. It was good that Monkey had someone to play with this helped her to settle a bit.

The good bits
  • We acchieved more today than we have in a long time.
  • The kids were eager to get through it and completed most of it.
  • There was lots of learning happening in the "fun" bits.
  • No complaints of are we done yet, I'm bored.

The bits to improve

  • Needed to plan less for the older girls.
  • Bit all over the place and needing mum at the wrong times. Need to plan maybe blocks of time to work with each child.
  • Took too long - i like to be all finished before lunch and today there was still work to be completed after lunch. Not sure if this is unrealistic seeing as there are now 4 children schooling and they all need a lot of mum time.

So what was in the boxes.

What's in the box for Zebra (9)

#s- calender

#1 Review Maths Facts 8+ from here at Home Grown Hearts

#2 Maths-U-See watch DVD and complete 1 worksheet

#s - French Weather

#s - Memory Verse

Waiting Station until Group Time

#3 - Thrass handwriting

#4 - Copy work

#s - Memory verse

#5 - Map of China and Chinese flag to go in Lapbook from our Read-a-loud book/Theme

#6 - Reader

#7 - Outside break I used the cards from here and put in the skipping one.

#s - Memory Verse

#s - Cami Maths Program. (15-20 min on the computer)

Plus She also joined in Duckies activities (after lunch) for learning about the rainbow.

What's in the box for Duckie (7)

#s - calender

#1 - review of writing out the numbers 0-20

#s - French Weather

#s - Memory Verse

#2 - Reader

#3 - Copy work - sentence from reader

Waiting Station until Group Time

#4 - Maths-U-See

#5 - Thrass Handwriting

#s - Memory Verse

#6 - Map of China and Chinese Flag

#s - Outside Break -

#s - Memory Verse

#7 - Unit study Rainbows - read book with mum and do ROYGBIV minibook

#s - Cami Maths.

What's in the box for Bunny (5)

I couldn't find a lot of her stuff - has not got unpacked yet from the move so didn't plan out a full schedule for her today, infact I only had 2 things on her schedule.

#s - calender

#1 ride on bike card she spent a lot longer than the 10min allocated but today that did not matter. After group time she had some lapbook bits to work on for her FIAR book - The story about Ping.

What's in the box for the littlies

Monkey (3) and Visitor (4) did cutting with scissors and then stuck all the bit onto a piece of contact which they then stuck onto a large piece of paper. Lots of outside time, teaset play, coloured in a map and flag for China and a picture for lapbook on Ping.