Thursday, November 10, 2016

Around the World in a Month

Our homeschool academy has two days left before a long break until after the New Years! I am excited for the change of pace for several weeks, but it is a little daunting to think of the long days at home, and Will comes home later now because basketball has started. So, what will we do to fill our time?

This summer, as we planned our unit days, we decided to do Holidays Around the World for December. It is a perfect inquiry study for the break because we will have lots of time to study! 
This evening I asked the boys what countries they wanted to learn about. I told them to pick from the flags that are hanging up (from the Olympics still! ;) ) plus a couple of others not up. I love that even Liam is recognizing the flags and countries since they have been up since the summer, so maybe its a good thing they never came down! 

They picked Italy, Brazil, Japan, Kenya, and India! The plan is that each week we will focus on a country, read some books, and try out the food. 

Here are some resources and ideas if you want to plan country studies for your kiddos at home or school:

Give your Child the World is an AMAZING resource! We did a book club with it this summer, and it is definitely a resource that I will keep coming back too. I went through and made a list of some books to put on hold at the library. 

For food options, I am going to check out some recipes from Global Table Adventure. A family has made recipes from every country in the world and blogged about it! How cool is that?! I think it would be fun to try out some different restaurants, and I will ask some friends for their favorite recipes too! 

As we learn and do some research, I think we will try out these books that I made. I am not sure we will use all the pages, but I do want Alex to record some of what he has been learning! There are currently 11 books in this set, but I am going to be adding 3 more soon! You can read more about suggestions on how to use it here, or check out the resource on TPT by clicking on the picture!

Don't forget to buy a map so you can keep track of the countries you learn about! We add pins to the countries that we read about, and we refer to the map often when we are talking at the table. The world is so big and the kids need a visual to help them understand where they are in relation to everything else!

Once we get started, I will try to share our activities each week! I need to catch up on some things that have been going on in third grade too!

What countries would you want to study?

Friday, September 2, 2016

Pizza, Pizza!

Child-led schooling is very easy when you only have one child to worry about! :) As a parent, I can start the inquiry and learning, but then I really enjoy letting Alex help decide where it will lead! I also love having the flexibility to do that in Kindergarten. I feel like my job this year is really to foster a love of learning. 
A couple of other moms and I have decided to have an inquiry/unit day each month where we get together and do some fun learning activities. While at home, we carry out the unit in a variety of ways. So we celebrated the end of August with a pizza party! This unit really leant itself well to a math focus, so in my process of planning I created a math pack with lots of fun and engaging math activities that we can continue to use throughout the year. I tried to make it really versatile, but even in the process of using it, Alex and I have come up with some new ideas for the games included!

Alex wasn't really interested in drawing the card and counting pizza toppings, so we added in a die and the first person to get ten toppings won. We also used the 2 sets of toppings to figure out the different ways to make 5. We also used these to help us answer some of the story problem cards! 

We first used this set of counting cards to count the number of toppings. We were ordering them from least to greatest and then Alex thought it would be fun to play memory with them...
So that's just what we did! 

We played with some sequencing cards too. It was interesting to listen to Alex's thought process on the order he chose. It's a good reminder, that instead of just saying something is wrong, to have kids explain their thinking. His thought process was a little bit different then mine, but it still made sense!

Here are some great book choices to add. Lots of fun books that are engaging and so funny!Dig InSecret Pizza PartyPete's a PizzaPizza at Sally'sGrandpa and MeThe Pizza That We Made, and Pizza Counting (affiliate links) are all great!

It was very fun to gather together with our friends to have a pizza themed day! We read books, played chefs (the packet comes complete with menus, order forms and receipts), made some bar graphs, and ate lots of yummy pizza!

Have a pizza party day! Your kids will thank you! Just don't forget to have dessert pizzas too! ;)

If you want to check out some of the math activities we have been doing click on the picture!

And now I am starting to put some books around the house for our new unit. Can you guess what it might be? Stay tuned!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

A Sale and A Giveaway! {now closed}

We have finished our first week of school! It was pretty crazy trying to get all the kiddos out of the house, but I loved being able to peek in on each one throughout the day!

This year I added on some afternoon classes at our homeschool academy, so we have two full days there and we are adding in more structure to our days at home because Alex is in kindergarten. Its sometimes hard to wrap my head around all the different things I need to cover, so I am so thankful to have Teachers pay Teachers around to look for resources for kindergarten AND third grade literature, writing and history! TpT is such a great resource for the classroom, homeschool, enrichment, almost anything you can think of. I love looking through the freebie options, but there are lots of great paid resources as well!

I was so excited to find out TpT was having a BONUS, one day sale, so I could purchase all of those resources I didn't realize I needed before! :) Even more exciting is that TpT gave me a $10 gift card to give away!! 

Pretty AMAZING right! It is easy to enter and there are lots of ways to get bonus entries! A winner will be chosen tonight and a e-gift card sent to you so you can have fun shopping at the sale tomorrow. Be sure to enter before 10:00pm eastern time tonight! You can use the gift card in any store, and it never expires so use it during the sale or save it for another time! Also if you fill in the last entry and tell me your favorite resource in my store, I will send it to you if you are the winner! 

*Giveaway is now closed!*

Click on the picture to head over to TpT to see all the great resources!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Hello Olympics!

The Olympics are drawing to a close but I still haven't shared about the fun we had for the opening ceremony! This would be tons of fun to do for the closing ceremony too. 

For some reason, because of the business of life, I didn't even realize that the opening ceremony was happening until the morning of! We were on our way to the library and the idea of making a fun party around the ceremony started churning in my head. We picked up a couple of books about the olympics and headed to the grocery store for some international snacks!

Before the ceremony we had our own olympics, including the marshmallow-on-a-spoon race and the cheerios stacking contest. Will and I wowed the boys with a marshmallow straw race. It was a good time! :)

Our main task of the day was coloring some flags to make a banner. I was pleasantly surprised with how much Alex enjoyed the activity! (Let's be honest, these kind of things can be totally hit or miss!) I had printed smaller flags in color so he was able to copy them quite easily! 

We had such great conversations during our coloring. He asked about the song that played when they showed the flag, so we talked about the Star Spangled Banner and how each country had their own special flag and song. We talked about the stars and stripes of the American Flag. He noticed similarities between the Australian and Great Britain flags along with the one 5 pointed star in the Australian flag. I love it when these natural conversations come up. Even Liam has been recognizing flags as we watch the olympics which has been fun. 

Our conversations got me wondering about how other countries chose their national anthems, what they mean, the variety of flags, and how the colors mean things to different countries. So much of that country identity is portrayed through their flag and anthem. I want to understand the things that make each country proud. Hopefully in 2 years we can inquire more in depth into some of those questions! 

Perfect for home or school! :)

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Earning TpT credits!

Are you all ready for the big Teacher Pay Teacher's sale coming??
I mean saving 28% is FABULOUS, but I hope that you are also saving some extra dollars by taking advantage of TPT credits! I was talking to someone the other day who didn't know what that was, so we quickly went to and I walked her through it.

Every time you leave feedback on a purchased product, you earn credits that then translate into dollars off your future purchases! Here is how you do it:

1. First go to MY PURCHASES under your my TpT tab.

2. Under Paid Purchases, sort your purchases by NEEDS FEEDBACK. 

Go through and leave feedback on all the paid purchases that say provide feedback. Once you do, it will say "Thanks for providing feedback.... " like in the picture.

It's always wonderful if you leave feedback on your free downloads as well because that helps the sellers rating!

3. Next open the My TpT tab again and this time go to TpT Credit Balance.

4. Once you open that you will see how many credits you have saved up! You can use them when you check out if you have at least 20!

5. During the checkout process be sure to redeem those TpT Credits! 

Its a great way to add to your savings during the site wide sales!
Be sure to take time to do that tonight so you can spend your time shopping tomorrow!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Teacher Planners!

Hi. My name is Katie and I loved to be organized. I'm the type of person that gets a little giddy when I see the new planners at Target. Even if I DON'T need one. Weekly calendar dry erase boards, post-it notes and checklists all make me smile. Add in a new set of colorful pens and I'm definitely in my happy place!
It certainly doesn't take much to make me happy! ;)

This year I decided to do away with a personal planner completely. It was also important that I keep my plans for Alex at home organized along with my plans for school, the calendar and all other important life things all in one place. I knew it would be too hard to keep up with too many planners/calendars! 

This year Will requested one too so I took out some of the "cuteness" factor to make it more high school/male teacher friendly! 😉

I always think about what worked or didn't work from last year's planner, then work on adding and updating things to make it easier and more efficient! 

What is it about colored pens that make everything so much more fun?

What I love about putting together my own planner is being able to choose how many of each page I want! Last year I had way too many meeting notes pages so this year I only printed a couple!

Lots of room to write in the calendar and I have months up through July 2018 available. Also 1 page month spread in case you don't need so much space.

Got to love To-Do list!  I printed off our state standards to add for easy access too.

Lesson plan pages!! I have lots of varieties and can customize them for you to meet your needs! I'm old school and like to write them, and have used several different versions depending on the year and what I am teaching.

For my current school I plan the whole unit out because I'm only planning for two days a week.

Below are my plan pages for Alex at home. I have weekly one page or two page options. He gets his own section in my planner. ;) 

Here is a glimpse of Will's.
He has to do lesson plans online, but still wanted pages to write notes, keep up with what he had covered, and have a place for big picture unit stuff. Of course, since I am me, I had to color coordinate the cover and divider pages with his school colors. :) 

If you want one too you can click here or on the picture below to check them out! My planner is the colorful one. There are multiple options for the covers/dividers.

The best part was I pretty much printed the whole thing for free! I had to get a new printer this summer and enrolled in Hp instant ink which is AMAZING! You get 3 free months when you sign up with a new printer (also check for other promotion codes too!) and if you use my referral code we will both get a free month:

Happy Planning!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Unit Days

I often talk about homeschooling as if it is the "Great Experiment." Because that is really what it is. Education is so amazing in that there are so many facets in which to educate your child, and I am thankful to have the amount of choices I do. I don't think one is better then the other, but it really comes down to what is best for our family and each child. 

So now we start "officially" homeschooling because Alex is entering Kindergarten in the fall. Which is quite hard for me to believe. And I am thankful to have the support of an amazing homeschool academy to keep us on track, but I am equally thankful for some wonderful friends I have found to do this journey with! 

It started with a Dr. Seuss Day,

 which lead to Botany Bonanza, 

and most recently Water Cycle Day!

Now we have a whole year's worth of unit studies to take us through our Kindergarten year! We will read books and learn at home, but together our kids can share in some experiences that will cement their learning while having a fun time doing it! 

We usually have a read aloud, a couple hands on activities, a "take home" activity to keep, and some fun snacks! [Thanks pinterest!] So far we have always seemed to over plan, so we always have an activity or two we can do at home. It's a great way to review, at home, the things we talked about together. Also, it is very cute to hear a three year old say "evaporation" ;).

I'm so excited for the fun we will have this year and all that we will learn! Nothing is more fun than watching your kiddos discover new ideas for the first time! 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

On Being Left Behind

I've said a lot of goodbyes in my life. This summer is full of hard ones again. 
It doesn't ever get easy, but my least favorite are the ones where I am being left behind. 
The ones where you stand where you are and wave to the people as they drive away or disappear through the security checks. Because I have to turn around, go home, and its life as normal. No new adventures, life to set up, or cultures to explore. 

This summer marks 10 years since I moved to South Carolina, during those 10 years I have had lots of family and friends that have come and gone, leaving me here waving goodbye. For probably the last 5 years I looked for ways to get out. I wanted us to be the ones getting to leave. I wasn't supposed to live in the States for this long. I was willing to serve God in the difficult places, uproot my family and go. But instead He called us to stay. 

Staying is hard for my TCK [third culture kid] blood. Settling and putting down roots is not something I totally understand or am very good at. My family and friends are scattered all over the US and the world. But this year He has worked in my heart to help me know that it is okay to stay. Here's a couple of things I have learned in my years of being left behind.

God called me to serve Him wherever I am. 

Location doesn't really matter when it comes to serving God. Coming from a family that was filled with people in ministry, I honestly struggled at first that God had called us to "regular" jobs. But I quickly realized what a great place that was to be! I didn't have to go far to be the hands and feet of Jesus. All around me there were needs. Living and working in the States helped change my perspective on the needs here.

I need to pray for the ones who GET to go.

I know what it is like to be the "goer." How hard that is too. How challenging it is to pack up your life and how hard the goodbyes are when you get on the plane. I need to pray instead of be jealous. Which is easy for me to want to be. I need to empathize with their feelings instead of getting lost in my feelings of being left behind.

Don't get too settled.

Last year we took a step of faith that caused some uprooting in our lives. But God settled us again into a better situation. Whether its jobs, houses, cities, states, or countries, we never know when God is going to ask us to go and just like Abraham we will have to trust Him with the unknown.

So as I keep waving those goodbyes to family leaving, these are the things I need to remember. Not that it will make them any easier.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

I'm Back!

It's only taken me about 4 sit downs to get this post written. I will probably get up about 4 times in the middle of writing this one to take care of the needs of my kiddos. #lifewiththree 
At least I am not having to type while hold my 1 month old, which is a bit challenging. She is currently still sleeping next to my husband. I was certain no cosleeping would take place this time around, but then we got tired. Then we traveled. And then she got sick. And so while it is fun to cuddle with a newborn, it is wreaking havoc on my neck and left shoulder. 
born 4.18.16

In some ways I thought this past year would be a little easier. In some ways it has been, but then at the same time it was less stressful but more exhausting. So I stopped writing. Not because there weren't things to say, but by the time evening came, my brain was so dead nothing coherent was ever going to come out. I highly doubt anything coherent will still come out, but I will try. 

I also decided that I wasn't really just inquiring my way through third grade, but really juggling all of life. Because third grade happens twice a week (plus the planning that seems to take the rest of the week). Then there is 3+ days of homeschool with the boys. It had been preschool but now we are moving into KINDERGARTEN! (when did that happen?!) and then there is the day to day joys of parenting and all the other fun stuff that happens, but also those moments when I want to pull my hair out and hide. 

There were definitely moments these past several months that I hid my head in the freezer and stole bites of ice cream. There were moments when I instituted the family nap act and MADE the boys lay down because I was beyond tired. There were also moments were I watched the boys live in their pretend world and play beautifully while I sat back and scrolled through facebook. #keepingitreal Moments where I thought grading would never end, and other times where I read the most beautiful stories or laughed out loud. 
I don't know if I was really just tired, but I died laughing. 
I was probably just tired.

So this blog is now going to be a mix of all of the things because I can't separate it all and it is all a process of inquiry, and my goal, now that I have a year of third under my belt, is to build more inquiry into our two days of third, and make kindergarten at home as hands-on and fun as possible. So if you are reading and only care about one topic or the other, feel free to click on the tabs at the top and read just those things! Or follow along with it all!
Life with brothers. It's rough sometimes!

And even though I had to feed the baby, change the leaking diaper, sword fight with the almost 3 year old, explain why you can't marry your sister to the five year old (You just can't), I have finally finished a post. #momaccomplishments