February Favorites 2019

February Favorites 2019

You guys, how is it possible that March has snuck up on me? Most years it feels like I sneeze and February is over. But this February was tough for me. I was sick for much of the month and an abundance of rain made us all a bit stir crazy.

What’s a girl to do? Think of my favorite things, of course! Let’s turn this frown upside-down and think of the positives!

Favorites February 2019

1 Cozy Cardigan | 2 Butter Dish | 3 The Bible Project | 4 Apple TV | 5 On Reading Well | 6 Homeschool Planning System | 7 Sour Cream Enchiladas | 8 Dip Powder Manicures | 9 My Husband’s Humor!

February Favorites 2019

1. Favorite Clothing Item – Cozy Cardigan

Winter illness begs for warm comfort. This cozy cardigan was up for the job! It was a Christmas gift from my parents and is perfect for a casual comfy vibe when going out-and-about. And since I’m vertically challenged, it’s long on me so is equally perfect for when I’m sitting by the fire in my jammies.

2. Favorite Kitchen Tool – Butter Dish

It may seem strange to wax poetic about a butter dish, but this is a real MVP in our kitchen. We use Kerrygold butter, which is an odd size, but this butter dish holds it perfectly with room to spare. I keep it on the counter near the toaster, and this style butter dish keeps the mess to a minimum if my kids decide to butter their own bagels in the morning. And since the butter stays soft, I can quickly whip up grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. What can I say…when I’m sick, I have a warm place in my heart for anything that makes life easier.

3. Favorite Infotainment – The Bible Project

The kids and I have been watching Bible Project videos in the morning during breakfast, and they are FASCINATING. So good. They’re targeted to adults (and believe me, I’ve learned a lot), but my kids ask to watch them, too. The whole idea of combining in-depth Biblical studies with comic-book-style art is genius.

4. Favorite Tech – Apple TV

We watch The Bible Project via their app on the Apple TV. I originally purchased an Apple TV so that I could mirror my MacBook or iPad to a TV screen, but it’s become a piece of tech that I use every day. I use it to play music I’ve purchased in iTunes; to watch PBS Kids, YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Videos, and Vudu; and I even love the screen saver that displays my favorite photos that I have stored in the cloud.

5. Favorite Read – On Reading Well

I purchased On Reading Well on a whim when I was browsing in a bookstore and promptly dropped it in my reading basket. I was curious about the topic and thought it would be a quick read. Instead, I’ve been so entranced by the author’s writing style, word usage, and content that I haven’t even made it out of the introduction yet! I’m now determined to take it very slow with this one and have enjoyed re-reading sections over several days until I feel like I’m ready to move on.

6. Favorite Homeschool Help – My Planning System

I promise you that this isn’t a shameless plug for my own blog content and videos…I’m genuinely so grateful to find a system that works for us! Since I do so much of my lesson planning way ahead (via Homeschool Planet) and set up a workbox system that gives my kids independence in getting their work done, days that Mommy is running at way less than 100% aren’t completely wasted, and getting ready for the next day requires little effort from me.

7. Favorite Recipe – Sour Cream Enchiladas

Another book that I added to my reading basket on a whim was the Magnolia Table cookbook. I enjoy reading a couple of recipes a few times a month, along with the beautiful pictures and little peeks into life with the Gaines family. Many of the recipes are what I would call semi-homemade, which is perfect for a busy mom that still wants to feed her family well. I’ve tried several recipes and my kids have loved them all, which is saying a lot because my kids are not shy about proclaiming their discontent (“This is disgusting,” is something that I’ve heard way too often at the dinner table, and yes, we’re working on kindness and gratitude because wow). The big hit this month was the Sour Cream Enchiladas recipe. Even I tucked into a couple of helpings, and I’m not a big enchilada fan.

8. Favorite Self-Care – Dip Manicure

When I was single and care-free, I spent many an hour in the nail salon. Having perfect fingers and toes seemed like a necessity, and I enjoyed the pampering. But once I started birthing babies, my salon visits greatly diminished and I didn’t care about manicures anymore. I didn’t want to spend the little bit of free time I had at a nail salon, and just wanted to keep my nails cut short so that I could do All The Things.

Now that my youngest is four years old, I feel like I can breathe again. I started caring about how my hands look, but nail polish, nail stickers, and even shellac couldn’t withstand the abuse I put my hands through every day. I was so happy to learn that the nail industry has come a long way in the ten years since I’ve received regular manicures and introduced dip powders. It’s AMAZING. There are so many colors to choose from (I’m currently sporting a pinky-beige sparkly color – N16 if you care), and even the slip of a knife hasn’t ruined my manicure. I’m officially a fan.

9. Favorite End-of-the-Day Treat – My Husband’s Humor

When I was single (and I was single for a long time, didn’t marry until I was 33), I assumed that I would marry someone with a personality similar to my own. Thankfully, I eventually realized that marrying someone like me would be the most boring thing! I decided that I would much prefer marrying someone the opposite of me – silly, goofy, fun.

Enter my husband. 🙂

He’s such a goober. Makes us smile every day. Knowing that it has been a tough month for me, he’s been so good about being cute and silly at the end of the day, even when he’s had a long day, too. The maxim that opposites attract has certainly been true in our case.

Aaaaaahh, it was such good medicine to reflect on the positive aspects of the past month. May March be full of joy and positivity for you and me both!

** This post contains affiliate links.

Homeschool Workboxes for Pre-K

Homeschool Workboxes for Pre-K

When I first considered homeschooling my kids, one of the big things holding me back was the idea of teaching all subjects to all of my children while also being constantly available to each of them. As an introverted, highly sensitive mama, I knew that I would get overwhelmed very quickly. My husband, knowing me as he does, was concerned for me, too.

I had a nursing baby at the time, so I decided to start researching homeschooling by watching YouTube videos so that I could see how other moms got it all done. One video, created by Erica at Confessions of a Homeschooler, introduced me to the homeschool workbox system. Suddenly, homeschooling seemed possible! Even my husband agreed to be all in on homeschooling if I homeschooled “like that.” 

So from Day One, I’ve implemented a version of the workbox system in our homeschool. It has evolved over time to meet our specific needs, but we continue to love it.

Organizing with Homeschool Workboxes

Homeschool Workboxes for Pre-K

Like Erica, I use a drawer system as our homeschool workboxes. I chose the Seville Classics Large 10-Drawer Organizer Cart for its  wider drawers that comfortably hold a binder. My preschooler’s drawers each have a number label, with both the number and the number word. My four-year-old already knows his numbers, so I’m hoping that he’ll start recognizing some number words this year as sight words from simply using these drawers. (FYI: These homeschool workbox labels are available for download.)

Homeschool Workboxes for Pre-K
Free Workbox Labels

Besides a label, each drawer also has an indicator (similar product) that you can move to show red, green, or in between. Since my preschooler doesn’t have work in every drawer every day, I move the indicator to green if a drawer has work for him to do that day. When he’s done with the work in that drawer, he moves the indicator back to red. He loves being able to glance at his drawers and see how much work he has that day, and I can glance at the drawers to see how much he’s done.

Crate Contents

Homeschool Workboxes for Pre-K

A file crate lives on top of the drawer system. I color-code my kids so that I can identify the owners of certain belongings with a glance, so his name on the front of the crate, his folders, and his clipboard are all in his color. 

The clipboard is one of the most important things in his crate. It holds a checklist of his work for the week, which I print out from Homeschool Planet (an online lesson planner). Each day when I fill his drawers, I can just pull out the clipboard and see what I have planned for him for the next day. I should mention that the lesson plan is not set in stone. It’s just a plan, not my boss, so I change it as needed. But schooling three kids and having a lot going on, I absolutely must have some plan in place to refer to so that I’m not standing in front of the drawers each evening trying to come up with a plan on the fly.

The crate also holds the worksheets, manipulatives, and books that I put in the drawers on the regular. I keep things simple with my preschooler by using the categories Numbers, Phonics, Handwriting, and Creativity, so the crate has a hanging folder for each category. I also keep his Hooked on Phonics books and readers for the year in there.

What’s in the drawers?

Now let’s take a closer look at the contents of each drawer on this particular day:

Numbers

Homeschool Workboxes for Pre-K

This drawer contains a number activity for my preschooler. I got this “missing number” printable (a whole set) from Confessions of a Homeschooler. My preschooler is learning how to hold a pencil this year and hasn’t yet learned how to write his numbers, so I have him stamp the missing number. He really likes stamping, and it’s a great fine-motor-skills activity, so it’s a win-win. When he’s done with the numbers, I often have him turn over the page and stamp some more so that he can stay busy and play around with the numbers.

Phonics

Homeschool Workboxes for Pre-K

This drawer contains another printable from Confessions of a Homeschooler, this time for phonics. I read the sentence and then have him use a do-a-dot marker to mark the upper and lower case letters (“F” in this case). I usually have him put the paper on a tray first to keep the mess down.

Handwriting

Homeschool Workboxes for Pre-K

This drawer contains my preschooler’s Handwriting Without Tears workbook. He doesn’t work out of this every day, maybe twice a week. On days when he’s not working in the workbook, we’re doing another activity to play with the shapes of letters and numbers.

Creativity

Homeschool Workboxes for Pre-K

For some creative fun, I provide various coloring, painting, cutting, and pasting activities. On this day, my preschooler has a little painting activity. I have a paint brush and non-spill water cup that I’ll fill up for him when he gets to this drawer. He doesn’t actually love these painting pages as much as I thought he would, but I’ve found that he enjoys it if I paint with him. I’m more than willing, both for the fun of it and to encourage him to practice his fine motor skills.

Reading

Homeschool Workboxes for Pre-K

A surprise addition to my preschooler’s drawers this year has been his first Hooked on Phonics book! I was hoping to get him to start blending sounds by the end of the year, but when he started spelling words for me (after listening in on his older brother’s spelling lesson), I realized that he was ready to start reading. He was so excited to get started. When we get to this drawer, we move to the couch to be more comfortable.

Homeschool Workboxes for Pre-K

Other Activities

Homeschool Workboxes for Pre-K
Homeschool Workboxes for Pre-K

If I put anything in his other drawers, it’s usually just something fun to keep him busy if he chooses to stay in the schoolroom. On this day, I put a number puzzle activity and some fun magnets into his drawers. I do have a lot of other manipulatives and fun activities in the schoolroom that he is welcome to use once he’s done with the work I require of him. He loves to be in the schoolroom with his brothers, and I encourage that as long as he’s relatively quiet and respectful of other people concentrating.

You may also be interested in:

Homeschool Workboxes for First Grade

Homeschool Workboxes for Fourth Grade

Videos you may find helpful:

Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2018-2019
How We Use All About Spelling

Homeschool Workboxes for Pre-K
Homeschool Workboxes for Pre-K
Homeschool Workboxes for Pre-K

** This post contains affiliate links.

Homeschool Workboxes for Fourth Grade

Homeschool Workboxes for Fourth Grade

When I first considered homeschooling my kids, one of the big things holding me back was the idea of teaching all subjects to all of my children while also being constantly available to each of them. As an introverted, highly sensitive mama, I knew that I would get overwhelmed very quickly. My husband, knowing me as he does, was concerned for me, too.

I had a nursing baby at the time, so I decided to start researching homeschooling by watching YouTube videos so that I could see how other moms got it all done. One video, created by Erica at Confessions of a Homeschooler, introduced me to the homeschool workbox system. Suddenly, homeschooling seemed possible! Even my husband agreed to be all in on homeschooling if I homeschooled “like that.” 

So from Day One, I’ve implemented a version of the workbox system in our homeschool. It has evolved over time to meet our specific needs, but we continue to love it.

Organizing with Homeschool Workboxes

Homeschool Workboxes for Fourth Grade

Like Erica, I use a drawer system as our homeschool workboxes. While my younger children use the Seville Classics Large 10-Drawer Organizer Cart as workboxes (check out my first grader’s homeschool workboxes), my fourth grader uses the IKEA drawer unit at his desk. It has five drawers, and each drawer is assigned to two different subjects and labeled appropriately.

Homeschool Workboxes - Subject Labels

I printed the labels onto Avery Sticker Project Paper, cut them apart, and placed them on the appropriate drawers. I love this sticker paper because it’s repositionable, so you can get them just right.

Lesson Plan

A key aspect of my fourth grader’s homeschool workbox system is his list of work. Each week, I print out the work I have planned for him from Homeschool Planet (an online lesson planner) and put it on his clipboard. Each evening, I make sure he has what he needs for each subject in his drawers, and I highlight the items that he can do independently.

Some items, like his morning work, Bible, and reading, are almost always independent work. If I need to teach a new math, spelling, grammar, or writing lesson (typically on Mondays), he’ll have to wait for me to work with him. But then he can usually do most of the work in those subject on his own for the rest of the week.

There are times that I have to change up the plan. In that case, I’ll either write in the change on the print-out, or print it out again and replace what’s on his clipboard. It’s not unusual for me to have to reprint the plan at some point during the week.

What’s in the drawers?

Please watch the video above to really get into the nitty-gritty of the contents of my fourth grader’s drawers, and our Curriculum Choices video for more information about our curriculum choices. But here’s a quick description of each drawer:

Bible / Handwriting

This top drawer contains my son’s glasses, Bible, Word of Life Devotional, Handwriting Without Tears Cursive workbook, and a drawer organizer. I love the drawer organizer because it sits on top of the edges of the drawer, allowing me to put his cursive workbook underneath. The drawer organizer holds items like pencils, highlighters, a pen, and scissors. Pencils tend to get left all around the house, so I wrap each child’s pencils with washi tape that’s their color (yes, I color-code my kids) so that I know who left what out. I’m hoping (really, really hoping) that this accountability will help them to learn to clean up after themselves.

Morning Work / History

This drawer contains my fourth grader’s Morning Work and history binders, his Scripture copywork notebook, and usually a book related to the historical topic that we are currently learning about.

His Morning Work binder contains calendaring sheets, assigned copywork, and mental warm-ups. And isn’t this binder cover the cutest?!

We do a lot of our history together as a group, along with age-appropriate notebooking. The history binder contains my son’s completed notebooking pages. I plan out history a couple of weeks at a time, so I’ll print out whatever notebooking pages he’ll need over the next couple of weeks and put them in a file folder in this drawer. When I prep his drawers each night for the next day, I’ll pull whatever pages he will need from the folder and put them on top of the folder.

Math / Science

This drawer contains my fourth grader’s math binder, graph paper notebook, science lab notebook, and science folder.

We’re using Math-U-See, which does come in a workbook, but I re-order the worksheets into a binder to fit our needs. Sometimes I’ll assign another resource (like the Multiplication Dot-to-Dot workbook you’ll see in the video), so I’ll add those supplemental resources to the drawer on the days he’ll need them.

I’ve been treating science very much the way I’ve been treating history, with group work supplemented by notebooking pages. This drawer holds notebooking pages when we have them. Once they’re completed, he adds them to his science folder

Spelling / Grammar

This drawer contains a Boogie Board that we use for All About Spelling. I’ve also put together a Spelling Practice binder with worksheets for practicing his All About Spelling words. The other materials we use for All About Spelling are a teacher’s manual, which I keep with my other teacher’s manuals, and the All About Spelling app, which we use on my iPad.

We also keep my fourth grader’s Fix It Grammar student book and notebook in this drawer, along with a plastic envelope for the Fix It Grammar cards that we’re currently using.

Writing / Reading

This last drawer holds my fourth grader’s IEW Student Writing Intensive materials, along with some additional reading if he doesn’t have a book in his history drawer. I prefer to have him read out of a book that he can hold in his hands, but sometimes I need to resort to an e-book, so I keep my old Kindle in here for his use. (I love this thing! It was a Valentine’s gift from my husband during our first year of marriage. He knows I prefer electronics to jewelry. 😉 ) I’ll eventually switch him over to the newer Kindle, which is waterproof!

I hope this peek into my fourth grader’s homeschool workbox system was helpful! The labels that I use for his drawers are available for download, so go ahead and grab a copy today!

You may also be interested in:

Homeschool Workboxes for First Grade

Homeschool Workboxes for Pre-K

Videos you may find helpful:

Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2018-2019
How We Use All About Spelling

Homeschool Workboxes for Fourth Grade
Homeschool Workboxes for Fourth Grade
Homeschool Workboxes for Fourth Grade

** This post contains affiliate links.

Homeschool Workboxes for First Grade

Homeschool Workboxes for First Grade

When I first considered homeschooling my kids, one of the big things holding me back was the idea of teaching all subjects to all of my children while also being constantly available to each of them. As an introverted, highly sensitive mama, I knew that I would get overwhelmed very quickly. My husband, knowing me as he does, was concerned for me, too.

I had a nursing baby at the time, so I decided to start researching homeschooling by watching YouTube videos so that I could see how other moms got it all done. One video, created by Erica at Confessions of a Homeschooler, introduced me to the homeschool workbox system. Suddenly, homeschooling seemed possible! Even my husband agreed to be all in on homeschooling if I homeschooled “like that.” 

So from Day One, I’ve implemented a version of the workbox system in our homeschool. It has evolved over time to meet our specific needs, but we continue to love it.

Organizing with Homeschool Workboxes

Homeschool Workboxes for First Grade

Like Erica, I use a drawer system as our homeschool workboxes. I chose the Seville Classics Large 10-Drawer Organizer Cart for its  wider drawers that comfortably hold a binder. My first grader’s drawers are each assigned to a different subject and labeled appropriately. I’ve ordered the drawers in the order that I usually want him to do his work (from the top down), but the drawers do come out and can be re-ordered easily.  

Homeschool Workboxes - Subject Labels

Besides a label, each drawer also has an indicator (similar product) that you can move to show red, green, or in between. Since my first grader doesn’t have work in every drawer every day, I move the indicator to green if a drawer has work for him to do that day. When he’s done with the work in that drawer, he moves the indicator back to red. He loves being able to glance at his drawers and see how much work he has that day (it’s often the first thing he does in the morning!), and I can glance at the drawers to see how much he’s done.

Crate Contents

A file crate lives on top of the drawer system. I color-code my kids so that I can identify the owners of certain belongings with a glance, so his name on the front of the crate, his folders, and his clipboard are all in his color. 

Crate for Homeschool Workboxes

The clipboard is one of the most important things in his crate. It holds a checklist of his work for the week, which I print out from Homeschool Planet (an online lesson planner). Each day when I fill his drawers, I can just pull out the clipboard and see what I have planned for him for the next day. I should mention that the lesson plan is not set in stone. It’s just a plan, not my boss, so I change it as needed. But schooling three kids and having a lot going on, I absolutely must have some plan in place to refer to so that I’m not standing in front of the drawers each evening trying to come up with a plan on the fly.

While a lot of my first grader’s work is in binders that generally stay in his drawers, I keep a few resources, like some worksheets, book reports, and file folder games, in folders in the crate until they’re needed. Keeping these materials close at hand makes filling the drawers quick and easy.

The crate also contains reading material. I keep his Hooked on Phonics books and readers for the year in the crate, along with any other books that I have planned for him to read over the next month or so. That way I don’t have to go looking for them when it’s time to fill his drawers.

What’s in the drawers?

Now let’s take a closer look at the contents of each drawer on this particular day:

Morning Work

Homeschool Workboxes - Morning Work

This drawer contains my first grader’s glasses and Morning Work binder, which he works out of every day. His Morning Work binder contains calendaring sheets as well as some copywork. And isn’t this binder cover the cutest?! The printable comes with many different binder covers. I chose this little guy because he has a big smile like my first grader.

Math

Homeschool Workboxes - Math

This drawer contains my first grader’s math binder. We’re using Math-U-See, which does come in a workbook, but I re-order the worksheets into a binder to fit our needs. Last year I had all of the math worksheets in a folder in his crate and just pulled out pages each day to put in his drawer, but there were days that he wanted to work ahead and do more. Keeping it all in a binder allows him to work ahead if he wants to without him having to wait for me to pull out more worksheets.

Handwriting

Homeschool Workboxes - Handwriting

This is where his Handwriting Without Tears workbook lives. And that’s all I have to say about that. 🙂

Spelling

Homeschool Workboxes - Spelling

My first grader is doing a couple of different things for spelling this year (please refer to our Curriculum Choices video for more information). This drawer usually contains a Spelling You See worksheet along with a Boogie Board that we use for All About Spelling. I’ve also put together a Spelling Practice binder with worksheets for practicing his All About Spelling words. That binder stays in the crate on top of the drawers on days that we’re not using it. The other materials we use for All About Spelling are a teacher’s manual, which I keep with my other teacher’s manuals, and the All About Spelling app, which we use on my iPad.

Grammar

Homeschool Workboxes - Grammar
Homeschool Workboxes - Grammar

This drawer contains our First Language Lessons book and the Kumon Writing workbook for Grade 1. My curriculum video explains more about why we have two different resources in here, but basically it looked like First Language Lessons wasn’t going to work out, so I selected a Kumon resource to give him another way to learn parts of speech.

Bible

Homeschool Workboxes - Bible

He reads out of The Beginner’s Bible every day. It’s a bit above his reading level, so I treat it as shared reading. When it’s time to read out of his Bible and do his other reading (below), we move to the couch to be more comfortable.

Reading

Homeschool Workboxes - Reading

This drawer holds his Hooked on Phonics material, plus another fun reader if he doesn’t have a reader in his history drawer (below). Reading real books every day has helped both of my older boys progress more quickly and naturally in their reading abilities (especially in recognizing sight words!), so I always have him reading out of a book as well as working through his phonics program.

History

Homeschool Workboxes - History
Homeschool Workboxes - History

We do a lot of our history together as a group, along with age-appropriate notebooking. This drawer is the home for my first grader’s history binder, which holds his notebooking pages. It also often contains a reader related to the historical topic that we are currently learning about.

Science

I’ve been treating science very much the way I’ve been treating history, with group work supplemented by notebooking pages. This drawer holds notebooking pages when we have them.

Writing

I’m saving this drawer for a couple of writing projects that we’ll do later in the year.

I hope this peek into my first grader’s homeschool workbox system was helpful! The labels that I use for his drawers are available for download, so go ahead and grab a copy today!

You may also be interested in:

Homeschool Workboxes for Fourth Grade

Homeschool Workboxes for Pre-K

Videos you may find helpful:

Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2018-2019
How We Use All About Spelling

** This post contains affiliate links.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial