Friday, June 18, 2010

Favorite Things from this year~ sharing some thoughts/ideas and just "things"

Here are some of my favorite things from this year~

1.  I love the New Blogger in Draft for my blog.  I spent a while trying to find the right "fit" for my blog and I just love the new templates and layouts for the new Blogger. Much Happier! - this is a great blog if you use Blogger like I do. :)

2. Our Oak Meadow, I just love it~ it is such a great fit~ (we are using the History curriculum) This summer I am going to be finishing working through each of the lessons in the second half of the OM6 Syllabus and adding the link resources/videos for the lessons.  I am also going to be creating a link resource list for the OM 5 also. The boys really love their OM and I believe we will stay with this for their History and Social Studies. I really like how the program runs.

3.  I am really loving the Work File System I created for myself and for my guy~ this is going to be great! I am using mine just about everyday, I never forget anything now and added a "Pending" hanging folder in the front for any orders for curricula, calls to authors/publishers or just about anything that is pending I pop into the folder and can go back and follow up on, loving it. ~

4.  I recently had been working the past couple of weeks on setting up their curriculum and plans for next year and had purchased the Adaptive Curriculum ( middle school science ) and the Aha Science (elementary grades) I had purchased these through Homeschool Buyers Co-Op ( they are also on Facebook as well btw) and we just love these programs! there are going to be a great way to augment their science into a more interactive on-line way of learning science. The boys are really excited about it.

5.  I also took some time this past week to finish our IEW Writing Organizer and am just loving it. We also put together for the first time the Student Resource Notebook ( you are able to get this download when ordering themed based lessons from IEW site) and I have to say I LOVE IT.  Everything in one place, Models, Stylistic Techniques, Checklists and more ~ just wonderful for learners working through the Units of IEW.
* a side note, I finally was able to get my older son the Digital Thesaurus for his writing as well and am so glad I did.  This is going to be great to help him with his writing.  ( a suggestion: for those who are not able to get the digital thesaurus I had saved on our desk top the site Thesaurus.Com and they could go right on there to find synonyms for words they are trying to find. 

6.  Recently I found out about the Oxford all in one 8 Pocket folders and I am really loving these for organizing topics within subject areas.  I am hooked on these. :) 

7.  Notebooking Pages~ not only do I love these but so do my boys~ we no longer use ANY worksheets except ones we can cut out for our lapbooks and color or things we can use as visuals for our pockets etc... we use these so much ~ our written narration has really taken off this year and next year I expect we will mostly be doing this with all our subjects.  One reason why I love Oak Meadow so much is it is very flexible in the way it is written and we can use our written narration and notebooking methods very nicely with this program. I love it when things fit together nicely.Bye, bye worksheets ~ :)

8. Free Resources~ ok, I admit I think I am now addicted to trying to find free resources for our home learning.  I started a section (left hand side of toolbar) for free learning resources. There is SO much out there. I am just loving the resources I have found and feel so lucky to have these at our disposal.  I plan on adding more and more as I go~ 

9.  Diigo~ my friend Kris from At Home Science showed me this great, free, online bookmarking system and I am just crazy about it.  I love it SO much.  I am considering building some groups on there as well for sharing specific resources for learning at home. If your looking for a great, easy bookmarking system, Diigo is really it ~ 

10.  Magnetic Wipe Boards~ I know sounds crazy but we use All About Spelling and IEW and sometimes it is really handy having these magnetic wipe boards.  I ended up going to our Dollar Store (another fav of mine) and purchasing some magnet clips and we use those on our wipe boards ( I stand them up with our easels for the tables) to clip a model outline for IEW or I clip on it the Phonogram Cards we might be working with in All About Spelling.  It just works great! 

11.  Games for reinforcement of skills learned.  This year we really used games as a way of re-enforcing certain concepts in math or grammar and even science.   This has been absolutely wonderful.  With sites like or Grammar Games it has really been helpful for practicing~ I am planning on adding a section here for games for learning~ games at our house is a great alternative to testing, also. 

12.  Videos have really taken off for learning in our house also. Over the summer I am going to be looking at using Netflix and our library much more to use videos as a supplement for the boys in our home studies.  

It's been a great year and I am sure I could keep adding to this list but I will leave you with "a dozen" for now~ :) 

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julie said...

Love your new blog design. Are you still planning on using MoTL, next year?

Learners at Home said...

There is ANOTHER favorite of mine~ YES most certainly we will be using this. It is my mainstay for math and will be up through grade 8 or through Pre-Algebra, whichever comes first :)
thank you for your kind words ~ I am finally happy with the design now, took me forever to find exactly what I liked... :)

Cindy K. said...

Thanks for the overview! I have a question though - have you used the Adaptive Curriculum yet? How easy is it to line up the activities with what your doing in science? Do you have to sit down and plan ahead with these. Since I am basically doing my own science this year, it might not be that hard for me to do this, and it would add another dimension to science. The price is great. Can you tell me how you plan these with your studies?

Learners at Home said...

Hi Cindy!
I have not started using it with the boys as of yet. But it seems like it will be easy to use it whichever way I choose.
I can go in and pick/choose assignments for them to do or just look down the concept area and pick from there~
I haven't decided which I will be doing yet, since our spine is the General Science by Apologia~ I was thinking he would use this as a supplement once I do set things up I can post back and let you know~ we just got on board with this last week so I have not had too much time to spend looking at it although we are all set up and he can start at any time. ~
In my opinion from what I have gone through so far you can do one or the other or both. You can plan out the assignments, ( which I may consider doing at times) and also just allow them to explore or pick an area to do for that day, which I also might do as well~
I think if I was doing my own science this year like yourself~ this might fit really nicely. We also had gotten A Ha Science, but I think your twins are older~ mine is working at right about a 4/5 grade level so it works great and again the same thing pick and choose assignments etc..
My whole reason for getting these was to throw a different spin into their science learning.. they LOVE science but I noticed they are not as big on the workbook kind of thing, which makes the General Science for my almost 14yo hard, but he tells me he wants to stay with it since he LOVES how/what they go over in the topics of science. I thought these will really add the visual and much more auditory learning for them, they pick up and enjoy it so much more ~ so that is why I went with these. I am thankful for Kris (At Home Science) mentioning ACurr. I found Aha on my own just making sure AC was the best "pick" I think next year~ if I can I want to get the Discovery Package they have~ again FUN! and that is how I was trying to change things this year, especially for science. :)

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