homemade tools: spelling board

We use All About Spelling and it has 100 or so spelling tiles.  They encourage you to get a magnetic board that is about 2 foot by 3 foot for this.  The problem is I have problems knocking the magnets off and losing them.  Enter my solution:
Supplies: laminated file folder (for durability), All About Spelling letter tiles , velcro (bought at Feiner supply [thanks to Jolanthe at Homeschool Creations for giving me the heads up of where to buy]), scissors
This is fairly self explanatory, but I figure I’d give you the tips I learned in making three of these.

1.  Measure out the space between velcro strips and figure out the right distance.  I figured out it was roughly an inch space.

2.  I figured out it worked best for me not to have all of the multiple letters out at this time.  There might come a day someday when the kids need them, but right now there are no double letters out, and only the 3 digraphs we’ve started on.

3.  I used rubber cement to put on the labels for the different phonemic segments consonant blends, vowel teams, etc).  I had originally used packing tape, but that makes it harder to pull up if I need to rearrange, which I’ve already had to do once.

4.  Figure out roughly how much space you need for each section before gluing down any labels (see above comment on the packing tape).  I figured out the primary alphabet needs 3 rows with some extra space left over.  The vowel teams needs about 2 rows, and the consonant blends needs a row (maybe 2, wasn’t real sure yet), and the other two categories can pretty much split a row).

5.  I’ve got the extra letters and such in ziploc bags right now and squirrelled away, hopefully somewhere I can find them again.

I got this idea from something I saw on pinterest, but I just spent 20 minutes scouring my boards and can’t find the original post.  If you pinned this idea or have seen it, could you let me know the source so I can credit it.  Also, they had a printable to some plain alphabet tiles if you don’t want to buy the AAS ones.

Homeschooling Meme

I was tagged earlier this week by Enchanted Homeschooling for this, and I’m supposed to answer all of the questions, which was harder than I thought.  Maybe that’s because I’m still waking up and my allergies are something horrid right now with all of the wildfires in the area.
1. One homeschooling book you have enjoyedHmmmm……  Only one?  One that I read and really enjoyed when we were first thinking about this whole thing is “So You’re Thinking About Homeschooling,” by Lisa Welchel.  I love the way she writes and the fact that she featured many different types of homeschoolers, from school at home to unschoolers, to a single working Mom who homeschools.
2. One resource you wouldn’t be withoutThe internet?  I look up a lot of stuff, and research books to get from the library what to teach from it.
3. One resource you wish you had never boughtSing, Spell, Read, Write.  I thought it would be a good fit, and there were many parts that were, but the primary reading parts were too much for the kids.  They got upset and frustrated with the 50 page books.
0274. One resource you enjoyed last yearWe really loved our history and our science last year.  I’m sure we’ll be going back to them on a regular basis.
5. One resource you will be using next yearMath U See, actually I think almost all of our curriculum we’re going to stick with for next year.
6. One resource you would like to buyAll About Reading.  I’m really curious to find out more about it and for when they get their first level out.  My only hesitation is I got really burned buying SSRW unseen, and am hesitant on it.
7. One resource you wish existedHmmmm…….  I don’t know.  That’s a good question.  Maybe a literature based 50 state study with a very long list of books you could use.  I’ve been making ours up as we go along.
0298. One homeschool catalogue you enjoy readingAfter a while of looking at catalogues my eyes glaze over.  I enjoy CBD’s catalog, but I really could spend a lot of time looking at Currclick, I love some of the downloadable units.
9. One homeschooling website you use regularlyI’d have to agree with Enchanted Homeschooling, Pinterest.  I love looking through there for ideas and my boys love looking over my shoulder for what they want to make as well.  Also, I follow most of my favorite bloggers which means I sometimes get previews of what they’re planning on doing.
10. Tag other homeschoolers
Children Grow, Children Explore, Children Learn
Almost Unschoolers
All Things Beautiful
All three of whom are friends of mine who homeschool in ways that I admire (different things for each one), but things I admire.

Homeschool Mother’s Journal, week 1

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

In my life this week…

It’s been a little crazy.  We went up to Dallas last week to help Jeff’s Mom after surgery.  So we didn’t get much schooling in last week, and then we had Labor Day this week.  So I’ve been feeling like it’s all catch up all the time.  Housework, cooking, laundry, OH THE LAUNDRY!

In our homeschool this week…

We’re fighting to get back into the zone.  I had a lot of various appointments this week, which threw everything off.

My favorite thing this week was…

Small groups at our church starting back up.  I’ve missed getting together with them every week.

What’s working/not working for us…

Having school in the morning and getting started “promptly-ish.”

Things I’m working on…

Finding that groove.

I’m reading…

“Making Music in the Kitchen” for review.  I love the idea behind it, but am struggling every now and then with the writing, not because it’s bad but because I want to be reading something ridiculously not on topic and fantastic.  In other words some piece of fluff reading.

I’m praying for…

The people who have been affected by all of the wildfires in the area.  One family I’ve known since a kid who ran a campground my boys went to lost their home and the entire camp in the fires.  So far in the Bastrop fire 1300 houses have been destroyed, and in the Leader/Cedar Park fires I think it was about 50.  There is so much danger of wildfires right now there is talk of banning grilling outside and anything that looks like a fire.  We desperately need rain.  So very very desperately.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…


Princess reading to Nana.


Don’t forget to enter my giveaway, I’m gonna draw a winner tomorrow.

Our school room

This week on the Not Back to School Hop is all about school rooms, and while everyone else is all done hopping, I’m just now getting the pictures taken and writing this post, and I still want to share it because it’s still needs a bit of fiddling, but it looks so much better than it had, and its working so much better now.
This is the boys’ workspace.  These desks were built by Jeff’s Dad back when Jeff was a kid.  The story, as I’m remembering it being told, is Jeff’s Dad saved and got lumber for months before Christmas and finally built these desks for both of his kids and gave them to Jeff and his sister for Christmas.

Now we have both of them and the boys love their desks.
I’m trying to work on us getting our work area ready for the next school day before we leave the room, so I’m teaching the kids to put everything back in their desks, except the letters box on their desk, their lamp, and for right now their ark.

In between these two bookcases is Wendy’s desk.  This is another desk my father-in-law built, but this was for his wife.  Hence it being a lot nicer looking.  Flanking either side of the desk are the kid type crafting supplies, these used to hold baskets and baskets of cloth, but those are now in the closet in this room, and the baskets now have crafting supplies categorized by type and various curriculum stuff.
On top, are the excess recycling stuff that won’t fit in that basket.  A Disney Polly Pocket Beauty and the Beast castle that I bring down on special occasions to play with, various family pictures, and a Jo Madame Alexander doll.  There’s still a bit of clutter, but I’m slowly whittling through that while the kids work on stuff they don’t need my help with.

This is the final part of the school area in this room, I’m not showing the sewing area yet, it’s still in progress, of course so is this book case.

This is the easel where we do spelling or any copywork.  It’s a dry erase board on this side, and that seems to be working really well for us.  This bookshelf has some of the textbooks and the like, miscellaneous teaching books and is slowly being organized with MY crafting supplies, no touching kids!  The stuff on the floor is stuff I’m working through.  I’m still figuring out what I want to do with all of my teacher papers, you know all of those worksheets and the like.  They’re probably going to go out into the garage in the filing cabinets out there.  I just need to remember to check those cabinets from time to time as my kids are able to do those pages, since I taught 1st/2nd they’re slowly advancing through all of the stuff I have stored up.

Well that’s my school room, if you’ve come over from Heart of the Matter welcome!
Not Back to School Blog Hop A-Wise-Woman-Builds-Her-Home

Oh binding machine how I love thee

Let me count the ways…………


Seriously, I love this thing.  There are so many ways I use it.  Our geography notebooks are bound using this.


I bind so many different little books with it.


When I got it my Mom said, “Ticia, why do you need a binding machine?  You can just use the one we have up here.”


Yes, well then I’d have to keep 3 hyper little guys in the church office workroom as I put books together.  That doesn’t sound fun.


Now, I can make them whenever I want.  Which is often.


My binding machine is AWESOME!  (and to truly get the impact of that AWESOME imagine a high pitched sing song voice holding that out)

Favorite Resource This Week

A great way to spend an icky morning

First you pop some popcorn on the stove.

Then you very carefully pour the melted butter on and mix that in.

043 037 038 039
Then enjoy a leisurely morning of schoolwork in our pajamas.  I personally like Superman’s drawing of Wolverine (that guy with claws, whose costume has been added to the growing list of costumes I’ve been asked to make).

October Goals: for Mommy and kiddos

monthly goals at mama smilesMission of the Month


So, my theory of all this accountability kinda worked…….

Mission Accomplished

Here’s what was achieved:

1.  The kids have learned most of the letter sounds, they’re stuck on the ones that have 4 or 5 sounds, but that’s partially because we didn’t get to work on it as much as I wanted to.

2.  I did sew something, and got another project partially done.  Of course neither were the two quilts I need to work on.


3.  I kinda got further on my Bible study like I wanted, but not as much as I’d like.





READING: Finish alphabet part of reading program (review of that to come, I’m still ambivalent on them partially because of customer service).

MATH: Again, working on their writing.  I’m thinking through how I want to achieve this, part of it is I need to make some hints for them they can keep with them, probably to be added to this project.

SCIENCE and HISTORY: by the end of October I’m thinking we’ll be finished with insects, so I want to have them be able to tell me about what they’ve learned, and in History by the end of this week we’ll have finished the first quarter, so that’s another review spot.


Physical: continue working out, my goal is to work out 3 times a week.

 Home: I’m going to join this challenge and work on cleaning my house.  The challenge for this week is to clean my coat closet and any other hall closets.  Not having any other hall closets I’m going to work on the closet in the guest bedroom which houses all of the random “to be grown into clothes.”  I think I can get this done by the time this post goes up on Friday, we’ll see.


Spiritual: finish the 1 Thessalonians study, and get started on 2nd Thessalonians.  I’m also tempted to write a “How to Study the Bible” mini-blog (as in it will be for a limited duration until I’ve gone through the lessons I want to write), but that may be biting off too much.


School: I want to finish up my planned out schedule for history, and again work more on geography plans, they’re coming along, kind of.


And hopefully I’ll get a slew of laundry done and put it away, emphasis on putting away.


Oh, and cleaning the downstairs, hopefully by the time you read this it’s much prettier.  Fingers crossed.

stART: Grouchy Ladybug, or “If you read a homeschooler a book”

Oh, wait that’s a silly title.  Oh well, I’m sure this will crack you up.


008 Before I start the “directions” here’s the supplies:


file folder, construction paper, index cards, 1.5” square punch (optional, but makes life easier), paper cutter (again optional, but makes cutting easier).


If you read “The Grouchy Ladybug” to your kids, they might decide they want to play the ladybug game.


When they go to find it they’ll discover it’s no longer where it was, because a mean Mommy gave it to Goodwill because they kids weren’t playing with it (cough cough, no idea who this mean Mommy is).



So, they’ll start to make their own.  First they’ll draw their figures.




Than they’ll draw the aphids for the ladybugs to eat.  That’ll remind them that they’re hungry.





So, while they cut their papers they’ll sit there and talk about how hungry they are, and “Mommy I know I just finished breakfast, but can I have more food?”




But maybe the ladybugs are even more hungry than they are, so they start to count the aphids.





How to play: start at the purple square, roll the die and move that many spaces.  After you have moved get a question card (sneaky Mommy throwing review questions in there).  If you answered the question right you get an aphid.  If you land on a NO space then move back 2.


And chances are if you make a Ladybug game they’re going to want to read the book again………


Head on over to A Mommy’s Adventures for more art and book projects.

Preschool Corner: School Supplies

Who else is going nuts with school supplies right now?


I know I am.  Here’s some of the things I’ve been stocking up on, and some of my plans for them.


The usual items: crayons, pencils, glue, gluesticks, scissors (anyone else have a scissor eating monster in their house?), and markers

Paper supplies: notebook paper (?), construction paper, notebooks, folders

Other items: brads, sand paper, flashcards.



Okay, now we get to the real reason I wanted to write this post.  These flashcards at Target dollar spot.  Aren’t they the coolest?  My kids are loving them.  Seriously.





They’re inventing games for them.  Which near as I can tell mean they lay the cards out on the floor and step on them and name what it is.  They play Go Fish.  I’m not clear on their rules since there’s no matches, but it mainly seems to be collecting the pictures you like.




I’ve used them for classifying animals, and showing pictures of landmarks (thank you Natalie for pointing out the World Landmarks, it came in very handy for our Stonehenge lesson).  We’ve used it to find pictures of the insects we were talking about in our science.  They are awesome.


I also picked up some of their workbooks, mainly the tracing mazes for Princess so she can work on her fine motor skills and prewriting skills in a way she’ll enjoy.


Okay, so it’s not hugely inspiring, but I just like these flashcards so much.  I’m sure we’re not using them as intended.  I’m actually thinking of hole-punching them and putting them on rings.  That or maybe buying a second set and cutting out small squares and they have to match it to the right animal.  Okay, that sounds like a very intriguing idea……….  You might hear more on that soon.


Now head on over to Jolanthe Homeschool Creations and see some more traditionally written preschool posts.