Monday, April 25, 2016

My Favorite Charlotte Mason Resources

There's an abundance of great Charlotte Mason resources available to homeschoolers. Here are my favorites...

Living Books...

  • Living book search  - This is a great resource! Use it to find living books by subject and reading level. 
  • The Ultimate Living Book List for History Studies! I arranged living books (recommended by Sonlight and Simply Charlotte Mason) chronologically, by level, to supplement our history studies. These could be used with any history study.  

Monday, April 11, 2016

How We Use Victory Drill to Build Reading Speed

Have you ever heard of the Victory Drill Book? I heard about it from another home school mom while we were both stuck waiting in a doctor's office waiting room. It's a basic, no-fluff book you can use in a variety of ways, over and over again for multiple children to strengthen their reading skills. The bulk of the book amounts to a series of word lists, generally grouped by a common phonics or spelling rules, and the lists progress from simple (including at, sat, mat & rat) to advanced (awkwardly, Americanism, extraordinary & Mississippi). Victory Drill may be used to build reading speed and fluency for students in any grade. It can also be used when teaching reading, spelling, or phonics rules. 

Since I taught my son to read without using a traditional phonics program (here's how), we used Victory Drill to reinforce spelling and phonics rules while building his reading speed. After using it for over a year, we've settled into a routine with it. 

Here's how we use it...

Monday, March 28, 2016

Easy DIY Infinity Scarf / Nursing Cover

Today I'll show you how you can turn one yard of fabric into an infinity scarf. If you happen to have a baby, it can double as a nursing cover. 

All you need is a yard of fabric (plus yarn and preferably a sewing machine). I chose a t-shirt type knit material which doesn't fray. This is fabulous since I don't have to hem the edges, and it's light and breathable. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

DIY Laundry Sorter Baskets

We recently changed up our laundry sorting system, and this is what we ended up with... 

The baskets were each $1 from Dollar General, and we mounted them with these double hooks from Home Depot which were $3 each...

Monday, February 29, 2016

What is My Child's Reading Level?

Since my oldest son requires a steady stream of books from the library for independent reading, I wondered what his reading level was and how I could use that information to see if the books I'm picking out for him are challenging enough. That seemed like a simple enough task, but it turned out to be a little more complicated than I expected. 

First of all, reading assessment test results can vary... by quite a bit. School's tests are no exception. Your child may test as reading at a 4th grade level locally, a 5th grade level in the next county, and a 3rd grade level in the next state. Test results can also vary from year to year, as standards fluctuate. So I've decided there is no such thing as a "fourth grade reading level." I still wanted to get a ballpark idea, and then ask my librarian what to do with it, so we took some free online reading tests. I'll share the links here in case you're interested...

Free Online Reading Tests

Monday, February 15, 2016

Our New Workboxes Made With 12x12 Sterilite Drawers

After having an adorable workbox system for Kindergarten and First Grade, this year I changed it up a bit. The drawers weren't quite big enough to hold all of our stuff, and I've tweaked how we use them as well. Now we use Sterilite drawers, which I can stack for multiple kids. Here they are:

Monday, February 1, 2016

Never Ever Ever Bind Anything at Staples!!!!!

I managed to complete the most wonderful, annoying project this month! It's wonderful because I love it, it was annoying because "professionals" were involved who botched it up so it was a headache to get it finished properly.

I sorted and organized all of our keepsake school papers so I could bind them into books, one book per school year per kid. Nice idea right? Well, it would have been if Staples wasn't involved. I prefer to do my own binding with the Pro-Click, but unfortunately spines are only available up to 5/8" (110 page capacity). I needed about a 2" spine, so I had to have Staples do it for me. Sadly for me they did exactly what I feared, which was to botch my order! They mis-cut pages, had a few of them hanging outside the spine and even left a page out of the middle of my book! Check out their "professional" binding job...

(the pages aren't even IN the binding!)

They also used spines that were entirely too small...