Saturday, September 9, 2017

Favorite Things

Mommy Fuel
I was looking around our classroom recently, thinking about the items I use most often to make our learning experience a success, and thought I should write a post to share some of them. Maybe these are things you are already using as a homeschooler and maybe they are things you can add to make your homeschooling better.

Number one ingredient of successful homeschooling in my life? Coffee. A great quantity of coffee has fuelled our homeschooling years.

classroom 2009
classroom 2014

Many homeschoolers spend their days at a kitchen table, or moving about the house to find a place to work. When we first made the decision to homeschool, we decided to add an addition on the house with a dedicated space for homeschooling.

white board
When we first built the classroom, we used chalkboard paint on a large portion of one wall. I quickly found that the chalk dust was getting out of control in our new room. My parents bought a large white board for us and we installed in over the chalkboard paint. The white board has been an essential part of our daily routine since the beginning. We've used it for almost every subject, practice for spelling tests, drawing for fun, and I use it for my planning. The giant surface is great for laying out the plans for next year each summer.

classroom map
I love looking at maps. We have two large maps in our classroom, one world and one USA. We also have a map of the National Parks. There are numerous atlases and books of other maps on our shelves as well. I keep an atlas in each car, even in this world of GPS, Google maps, and Siri.  And everyone knows all of the best books have a map in the front cover. The boys have used our maps many times over the years for both school work and just to satisfy their curiosity.

note the presence of coffee

Our printer has been an essential part of our school for the boys. I have made countless copies of things I found on the Internet; tests I made on Easytestmaker, Thinkwell worksheets, BrainPOP quizzes, to name a few. We've used it for art projects, reports, and in JT's board game designing years. Most important, we've used it to create the portfolios that were not only necessary to meet Pennsylvania's homeschool regulations, but also to have a record of our schooling, that the boys will be able to keep and enjoy when they are older.

just a few books
Finally, the most important tool we use in homeschooling is our books. Last count there was something in the neighborhood of 1,100 books in this house. Not all are used specifically for homeschooling, but the presence of this quantity of books shows how essential they are to our daily lives. The boys and I don't go a day without reading from a book. I am so glad that they have inherited my love for reading.

We enjoy using all of the tools we have for homeschooling, but if all we had was access to a library, nothing else would be necessary to gain a complete education.

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