Browsing Tag



An Open Letter of Love: To My Rolling Cart

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Dear Collapsible Rolling Cart,

I didn’t want to face your demise.  Layers upon layers of duct tape were used for almost a year to keep you together but in the end, the tape could hold no longer.  You were finished.  And we had to move on.

The obvious solution was a replacement, but I didn’t want to spend the money.  I know.  I know.  You are the most valuable part of our library trips. But in my frugality, I tried to live without you.


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Homeschooling: Love the Year You’re With

Out of control. Disorganized. Fly by the seat of my pants.  Does the start of the school year always feel this way?

I don’t think it does. I am pretty sure that our past school years have followed the plan a bit more closely.  But I can’t be sure.

What I am sure of is that the kick-off for this 2016 school year was far from a touchdown. It feels more like life intercepted the ball and ran the other way with it and I am watching the ball leave my side of the field without a plan to get it back. Continue Reading

Brave Writer, Homeschooling, Literature

Top Ten Brave Writer Arrow Guides

I confess.

I am a paper girl trapped in a world of PDF’s.  Despite these handy electronic files,  I continue to print out most everything. And this includes my homeschool curriculum guides.

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Open my file cabinet in the basement and preview the stacks and stacks of Brave Writer Arrow guides from three full years of subscriptions.  Thirty printed guides are sitting in my files in addition to their PDF counterparts sitting on my computer.  I am not really sure why I feel the need to save the printed copy, but I do.

So as part of my procrastination file cabinet organization, I pulled out all of my Brave Writer Arrow Guides and sorted them until I found my favorite guides released in the school years that began in 2013, 2014, and 2016.  This list does NOT include any titles from the current school year (2016-2017).


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Homeschooling, Math

Make Learning Fun: One Simple Idea

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This school year I bought a few bags of lifesavers and poured them into a bowl.

I announced, “Hey kids.  If you want a lifesaver, all you have to do is solve learning-funa Math 24 card or use one of our Marie’s SAT words in conversation.  Daniel (my 7-year-old) can tell me the time on this analog clock instead of solving a math card.  I’ll set it for him each morning.”

Is there a limit to how many we can get?


What level do we have to solve on the Math 24 card?

Whatever you think is the best one for you.

How will you know that we did it?

Just bring me the card and show me your brilliant solution or tell me how you used one of our words.

And that was it.  Simple.  Brilliant.  Positive learning energy created all over the house. Continue Reading

Homeschooling, technology

Innovative Education: Let’s talk Lessons

Math.  English.  History.  Science.  Fine Arts.

Most adults are familiar with school lessons.  Common Core curriculum .  Bells ring and classes begin.  Subjects are divided up into 50-90 minute classes and coursework is determined by “the powers that be”.   Teachers can vary the methodology and some of the topics, but in general the curriculum is standard across a school system or state.

So what exactly do your lessons look like when you homeschool?

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This year we are going to take a look at the election process in the United States instead of continuing with our traditional history path.   I purchased a book to guide us through using our amazing microscope and I am going to call it “science class”.  Math this year revolves around various workbooks, but there are plans to ditch them occasionally and explore the beauty of numbers. One child will take classes from a professional illustrator while another is considering a course on inventions. Continue Reading


Beyond the Gluesticks: Schools Supplies that are Fun to Buy

Long ago I realized that my homeschooled kids were not going to need the typical list of school supplies every year.

Beyond the GlueWe are able to reuse folders and binders each year and we don’t need quite as many of them as your typical classroom students.

But that doesn’t mean that I don’t go school supply shopping each year.  I love fresh new items to kick off our year.  Sometimes I grab a creative spiral notebook for someone or a special folder that catches my eye, but overall, I just stock up on fun stuff that we love.

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1. Pens.

We will start with the school supply that I love the most.  I have an obsession with pens.  We love them for copywork, poetry, journaling, art and….well, and EVERYTHING!

Sharpie Markers.  Sharpies of all shapes and sizes and colors make me giddy.   I love the fine point, the ultra fine point, and even the chisel style.  Without a doubt, the retractable style is my favorite. This is probably due to the fact that my four children don’t always remember to put the caps back on.

Papermate Flair Felt Tip Pens are Ah-Mazing.  I mean.  I adore these pens.  I stock up on these babies because I use them for everything.  If you don’t have a set, grab one or two or three.

FriXion Pens.  These pens give you all of the beauty of the colored pens you love (like the felt tip) but they allow you to erase mistakes with ease.  These are great for copywork or math when you want a little color with the ability to correct what you did.

NOTE: The FriXion pen ink disappears in heat.  I have no idea if this would disappear in a hot car, but it does disappear with a blow dryer, making for some fun secret message activities.  Put the paper in the freezer and most of the writing returns!

2. Clipboards.

We use clipboards everywhere.  In the house.  In the car.  On nature walks.  On field trips.  We are huge fans of clipboards.  They make it so easy to take your work to the sofa or on the road.  They are convenient for students to color while listening to a read aloud book.

Of course, we have the cheap standard brown set at home right now, but the ones pictured far left below are the ones I have my eye on for this school year.  The colors are fun and they have a few that work for a boy! You can see the amazing variety available!

3. Pencils.

These Geddes Twister Mechanical Pencils were introduced to me by my niece and nephew, both public school students.  They assure me that these are the best!  They love how the eraser can twist out as you need it.

I immediately added them to my list because fun pencils make me happy!

Now there are folks who swear by the Ticonderoga Pencils.  I have yet to give them a go.

They come pre-sharpened and I have been told that they are fabulous.  I hesitate to try anything other than a mechanical pencil, but we might try these out this year.

4.  Artist Pads.

We love to use these for all sorts of activities.  I keep around cheap ones for random doodling and nicer ones for planned activites. The artist tiles are perfect for zentangles if you plan to explore that art form this year. And watercolor paper is another one we like to keep on hand for occasional projects.

5.  Blank Books.

We found these at the Target dollar spot and I suggest looking there first.  They were $3 for a pack of them.  I stocked up because they are only offered once a year during Back to School Time.  If you missed it, you can still find them online, but you’ll pay a bit more.

These amazing books allow your students to publish their stories on their own.  When I walked in the door with them, one of my kids accosted me and wrote a children’s book that day.

6. Art Supplies.

Each year a few of our art supplies need refreshing, so I pick one or two freshs packs of something as a surprise.

Faber Castell is our favorite chalk pastels brand that balance working well with a reasonable price.  I have also added watercolor pencils to the list this year so we can play around with some new art supplies.  Sculpey is an absolute favorite art suppy in this house, so I make sure we have plenty on hand.  The multi-pack is my favorite way to restock.

7. Headphones.

The kids in my house have hit the point where they need headphones. The pair on the right was inexpensive and perfect for my 9 year old son who has been recording videos for YouTube.  We needed a simple headphone set with a microphone and this inexpensive pair has worked well. Headphones are a perfect surprise for back to school!

8.  Just For Fun

Ok.  I love to surprise the kids with some things that are purely for fun.

I have been eyeing up these magnetic bookmarks. You can see them below on the left.  How cute are they?  One of my pet peeves is a book lying open on the floor to hold the page, so they would be a perfect and fun solution!

Or check out these emoji stickers! I can think of a ton of fun ways to use them for decorating or journalling or just goofing around.

My kids use tape pretty frequently. I’d love this silly tape dispenser for our art room.

Finally, we love to use post-it notes for all sorts of things so a few fun shaped notes would work well in our school supplies.

9.  Back to School “Backpack”

How about a creative container (if you don’t need a backpack) waiting for your kids on the first day of school filled with these fun new supplies?

Perhaps hiking backpacks make the most sense for your kids?  Then you can use them for vacations, camping or hiking in addition to the infrequent times you need them for school.  Or perhaps a new laptop case filled with all of their fun supplies.  Later, they can use it for their laptop?

Life-Changing-Supplies-700x700-94403I am off to shop because these supplies make me happy and ready to kick off the school year!

Happy Shopping Everyone!

This post is part of the iHomeschool Network: School Supplies that Changed My Life.

Stop by iHomeschool Network to see suggestions from other bloggers.

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