Thursday, August 29, 2013

Quiet Time Box and Sensory Area

I've seen tons of ideas for quiet time boxes and sensory bins and a various assortment of other things. After writing my list of ideas for each of the boys I started putting my plan into action, plus we're starting school next week (yikes!) so I need to get a move on.

I loved the idea of having a box for each day but we simply don't have room for that kind of set up, and since our schedule is varied, most weeks he won't need the box every day.
After swapping out The Mister's nightstand for a small desk, I adopted it for our school room and it worked out perfectly! I especially love that it's on wheels so I can move it around to different rooms depending on what's needed at the time.

The bottom shelf holds a basket (which my amazing niece made!) which contains all kids of trays, measuring cups, scoops, spoons, bowls, etc. that can be used for sensory play. 

The top shelf holds a package of wipes, two metal cookie sheets to help contain sensory messes or for magnetic work, a larger sorting tray, and usually there is another basket with a cloth insert that he can use to spread out his sensory activities.

The very top holds his quiet time box which will get switched out weekly (hopefully!). I designed the label with iPiccy, printed, then used packing tape to adhere it to the side of the box.
My plan is to post what goes in his box each week so stay tuned!

 I use these Sterelite boxes in a wide variety of sizes all over my house. Love them! I found mine at Walmart, I think they are pretty easy to get your hands on. A's box is a 51 qrt. version, inside I use a variety of these in smaller sizes and a few cloth bags to house individual activities. There is also a three ring binder with dry erase pages and pencil pouch with Crayola washable dry erase markers.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Homeschool Planning: Starting From Scratch

After I read this wonderful post from Carisa at 1+1+1=1 I seriously started rethinking the way we homeschool. This year is extra exciting for us because we moved closer to town (ie. closer to other homeschoolers and activities), my work schedule finally allows me to have the boys at home all day, and we've left CVA (our previous alternative school situation) so we have complete freedom through the curriculum and activities we choose.
Without getting too detailed (yet!) about our plan for this year, I wanted to share what I came up with after being inspired by Carisa. The premise of her post was about child directed learning and what she could do to revamp her homeschool to fit her preschooler's learning style. Isn't that what homeschooling is all about!?
I plan to keep the basic homeschool plan I had already designed, but choose our activities based on the boys' interests. I spent a few days mulling over this list and here's what I finally came up with:

A (4.5):
Loves Legos
Enjoys coloring (knows his colors and colors well, does not like "school" coloring ie. color by number type worksheets)
Using the Kindle
Listening to audio books
Frequently asks for music
Sensory activities
Cutting paper (scissors and tape are especially exciting these days)
Plays well with J during parent directed activities
Great with independent play
Will stay occupied well by himself for long periods of time
Needs to review a few basics, like the alphabet song (yikes!)
My goal is for him to know his letters by sight with names and sounds

Independent Play Boxes / Quiet time boxes especially during Mom/J work time
Busy Bags
Beginning Lego how-to instructions

J (7.5):
Needs to be hands on
Doesn't do well with independent activities
Needs lots of individual time with mom and dad
Loves playing games of all kinds
Loves the Kindle and anything that involves screens
Likes audio books during quiet time/bedtime
Plays well with A during parent directed activities
Likes taking pictures with camera (scavenger hunts were HUGE success!)
Loves science "experiments" of any kind
Very very social
Reading skills are getting stronger by the day, provide lots of encouragement, read aloud time, and new reading material
Beginning attempts at notebooking fairly successful
Does not enjoy coloring or "busy work", though color by numbers, especially those with math problems were a big hit last year
Weekly trip to library w/ just mom or dad
Cooking/Kitchen skills unit
Frequent trips to Children's Museum
Join biweekly PE Co-op
Allow screen time during Mom/A work time 

I've started putting some of these things into motion and will share in the upcoming weeks!