Monday, August 31, 2009

Sweet Pea

Sweet Pea with her school goodies.

Friday, August 28, 2009

First Day ~ New System

Our first day of school was last Monday. The kids woke up excited to start. They were especially eager to begin our new workbox system. I heard of this from my friend Alison. Like Alison and many others I am not doing the workbox system exactly like it is described on Sue Patrick's web page but am adapting it to suit our family. To be honest even after a week of using it I am still tweaking it. Part of it is due to not having a chunk of preparation time & part is due to living it and finding out what does & doesn't work for us.

The first thing I've done differently than Sue but the same as Alison is to use plastic drawers. I like these much more for a variety of reasons. One reason is that the workbooks and papers don't get bent in the drawers. If you know me you know I'm a neat freak and hate anything getting messed up. I like things nice as long as possible. So stuffing it in a shoebox didn't appeal to me at all. I was able to find my sets of drawers on sale at Target for $4.99each. This was $2 less than the regular price. Nice! Another reason the drawers appealed to me was because of price. Buying the suggested shoe rack cost more than my complete set of drawers. And I would have still had to buy the shoeboxes! Finally, we simply don't have the room for the set-up Sue describes. The drawers take up much less space and are easily moved around if needed. Another difference are the learning centers. Again, having 5 children we do not have the space for separate learning centers. I love the idea but it is not feasible. I do, however plan to have file folder games, etc. for the kids to use. Fun & hands-on but no extra space needed. These are a few changes I have already made. There will be more differences as we continue to modify things. But I love the basic concept which is teaching the kids to be more independent & me to be more organized.
For those of you not familiar with workboxes the basic concept is for the kids to be more independent & to learn time management. At least these are the main goals for our family. The children work through their boxes one by one. They also have an accompanying schedule card. I didn't have our cards ready until this week so I don't have pics to show in this post. The children do their work independently and don't have to waste time waiting for siblings, waiting for Mommy or scouting around for supplies. Everything is in their boxes ready to go. If they do need help and Mommy or an older sibling is not available they simply put a "Please, Help" card in their box with their work and we go back to it later.
As I mentioned in the beginning I am still adjusting this to our family's needs. I will be posting more on our changes as we go along. (Sorry if I'm babbling. I've been interrupted more times than I can count while trying to write this.)

Here are Boo & Elvis' workboxes. Since this photo was taken I've added another set of drawers for each child. This gives them each 12 drawers/workboxes.

These are Bugsy's workboxes. I have now added more workboxes to his stack as well. They have also been moved to the hallway with the others.

I found it to be very helpful when others posted what they placed in their workboxes. I thought I'd do the same hoping I can help someone as well. This is Bugsy's first box. I placed our history book, colored pencils, and flag coloring sheet inside.

- Workbox #2 has a coloring sheet for Bible and crayons. The children will color while I read their Bible story.

Workbox #3 contains his math workbook & a pencil.

Box #4 contains his Get Set For the Code book, a pencil & a box of crayons.

A box of paints & blank paper are in Workbox #5.

He loved Workbox #6. Dinosaurs to play with!
These are only for school time so as to make them more special.

The pink workboxes belong to Boo. Here are her Bible time items.
Her workbox #1 held her list of chores.

Workbox #3 has her Progeny Press book, study guide & pencil.

Somehow in my uploading Worboxes #4 & #5 & #6 were misplaced.
They held other schoolwork such as Wordly Wise & sign lang. practice.

Here are her needed items for History.
We do history together so Bugs had the book in his box.

Her pencil, flashcards, big eraser & math book.

Last is her Gratitude Notebook & a pencil.

Elvis' workboxes.
#1 Chore List for the day

#2 Bible Time

#3 Math

#4 Reading Comprehension

#5 Sign Language Practice

#6 Beyond the Code

#7 History

#8 Books to read during Quiet Time

#9 His Gratitude Notebook

Coloring at Bible Time

Bugsy's Picture
He is starting to enjoy coloring. Last year he rarely colored at all.

Getting ready for math

Romeo tries to cuddle with Princess

Princess is all dressed up for our first day of school.

Counting Bunnies

I think I might finally have a Lefty! Yay!
Reading her book for her Progeny Press study.

She scooted all the way from the middle of the blanket to here! And she's still going!

Come back, Princess!

Playing with his dinosaurs from Workbox #6

Elvis working on his math.
He is adding two sets of 3-digit numbers and doing very well!

Wordly Wise is a new addition this year. So far Boo is loving it!

Boo made a quick trip to the garden. Nice harvest!

We had a rough start getting our chores done but that is improving with our new system we started yesterday. (More on that in a later post.) The kids are slowly learning to use the workbox system. Right now they are still comign to me quite a bit asking what to do next, etc. I'm sure it will take a bit for the independence to kick in but once it does it will be amazing.
(P.S. No, I didn't leave out Sweet Pea. She was still up in MA on our first day.)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Treasure Hunt!

It's time for our Back-to-School Treasure Hunt pictures! This year was a bit different as Sweet Pea was away & Daddy wasn't going to be there for our official first day. We had our treasure hunt on Sunday night so Daddy could be with us and then had our first day of school the next day. Then later on in the week we had our official first day for the whole family. Confused? So was I a bit. Lol! It all turned out okay even if it was a bit mixed up. The kids were super excited as always. Dave made their clues and I had the backpacks all packed up with their supplies &  a few fun surprises. We were set to go!

It is tradition that the youngest goes first. Bugs was the first to go. Here he is getting his first clue from Daddy.

He dived under the couch to find his next clue.
This was cute. He knew it was the sink but for some reason looked everywhere on it but the faucet. It took him a good minute or two before he noticed the clue. Lol!

Found it!The next clue sent him running outside.

Handing it for Daddy to read
He found his treasure!
Now for the best part! Opening it up!
He has lots of things to keep him entertained during school time.

Next is Elvis' turn!
First to the pantry!
And then to Daddy's shed.
This year he was able to read his own clues making it even more of an adventure.
A chilly treasure is found in the chest freezer. =0)
A very happy boy.
(P.S. He has outgrown Diego but likes his backpack b/c it is large. Plus he doesn't care too much what's on the pack as he's not into whatever is the latest fad. He just likes that it holds his stuff. I love that!)
Unpacking his new school things.

Looking through his new pencil box.
Boo's turn!
Her hunt began in the bathroom. Daddy is so silly! Lol!
Next to shed #2

There it is!
Elvis shows us all his new school things.
Bugs is very happy with his Transformer ring.

This was a fun surprise for Boo.
A closer look at Elvis' treasures.
A Hunt for Shared Treasure
This year we added something new. A bin of treasures for all of them to share. I wanted to take out some of the things we had put away & forgotten about. Plus I wanted to add some new things I bought for this year. Doing the workboxes I hope to have more opportunities to use these.
Finding the clues for the shared treasure.
The excitement grows & off they run!
Shared Treasure
Lots of new games thanks to yard sales! Also flashcards, bingo, movies, books & pool rings. Yay!
A closer look.
Up close look at the new-to-us games.
Boo poses with her little sister & her new treasures.

An up close look at Boo's treasures.
As you can see she is a big fan of Hannah Montana.
Elvis is also very happy with his new Transformer ring.
(I was thrilled to find them for 50 cents on clearance at the Party Store.)
These devotions I bought back at Christmas but have yet to be used. Frankly I think we forgot about them once they were shelved. But now they are back and ready to be read!

The kids insisted on doing their traditional walk to school. It kind of cracked me up since it was evening & we weren't starting school until the next morning. But it also touched my heart as I realized how much our kids enjoy our simple traditions.
Sky, the cat, followed them. Too cute!
Here they come marching home.
Our traditional annual picture on the front steps.
I didn't place any of their curriculum in their backpacks this year. There simply wasn't any room! I might take pics of it later in case anyone is curious.
The kids were very happy with all their new school treasures. I love having these fun traditions.