Friday, August 30, 2013

Homeschool Room

We recently moved from North Carolina to Georgia, and we have mostly finished unpacking!  Woohoo!  I think it's a lot of fun getting a peak at other people's classrooms, so I thought I'd share some pics from ours too.

Our new room is a bit smaller than our old one, but not by too much.  It seems a little cramped, but that's because this room now has to house all our computers and all our school stuff too!  I've had my computer in the homeschool room for a while, which is a nice quiet place for me in the evenings to get some work done and is helpful to have during school for watching videos and doing Latin lessons and such.  But now, with the kids' computers on their desks, it's gotten quite loud!  There just isn't any other space for them to be in this new house.  They will have to put their keyboards and mice away during homeschool time so they have enough room to work and don't "accidentally" get distracted by the computers!

The photo above shows my desk area.  I've got two printers beside me, one b/w only to save printing costs, and one color/scanner.  My laptop is set up to the side and I have a nice monitor plugged into it to work with.  I like my setup.  I'm rather jumpy, so I must have my desk facing the doorway, or I will have a tiny heart attack any time someone comes in behind me!

We use the white board for math problem discussions and for assignments that we all work on together.  The kids love to get up there and write things.  I think they like showing off!  Especially Jack, who loves to catch me making a Latin grammar error!  (That happens far too often!)

We've also got a table in the center of the room for using when we need to work together.  Jack and I are now using The Art of Problem Solving for Pre-Algebra and it's pretty intense, so we usually work together on it.  We will probably use the table for history and science too, as those are also subjects the kids work together on.

This is Ginny's work space.  She's got a desk and a set of shelves.  The bulletin board is behind her desk.  She is the artist and usually the one pinning up there anyway!

And here is some art on the bulletin board!  We worked on Zentangles while we were between houses this summer.  We really enjoyed making them.  I personally love the look of doodles!  Jack also made a set of Chima Speedorz.  He's got a rabbit, turtle, squirrel, zebra, giraffe and some others.  He wants to send his ideas to Lego and see if they will make more Speedorz and animal races!

And this is Jack's work space.  He is lounging in his pjs for the rest of today.  We went for a LONG hike this morning, and he was worn out!  (More about that later!)  He hasn't done much decorating of his area yet.

This year the kids will be doing independent reading using the "Tower of Books Challenge" from Michael Friermood.  This is the bottom of Jack's tower.  He's already read 2 books from the Quirky book challenge.  They have to read 40 books all together.  They will get a prize when they're done, and have the option to do another challenge for more prizes!  But they only have to complete this 40 book challenge by the end of the year.  Anything else is gravy.  They have spent several hours collecting books from their own collections and the library, and comparing their choices together.  They've got stacks of books ready, but they don't have to start the challenge until we begin homeschool officially on Monday, so not too much actual reading has been accomplished yet!

We're also doing a Short Story unit together this year.  We will be reading from "Little Worlds: A Collection of Short Stories for the Middle School" by Peter Guthrie and Mary Page.  To supplement our study we will be using the "Story Element Question Fans" from Runde's Room.  I figure the kids can read the story, then pick a question from the relevant fan and write a short paragraph in their notebooks.  We'll also be using "Interactive Reading Literature Notebooks" from Lovin Lit, to learn more about story elements and figurative language and such.  Sounds like fun to me!

So I think our homeschool is coming together!  I got a fix on our new science program this week and feel much more confident about it.  We are using Holt Physical Science this year.  It's a great book, but I had some trouble figuring out where the lab notes and answer keys were, and that threw me for a loop!  Finally tracked them down, right where they were supposed to be!  lol  Last night, I put in an order for lab equipment from my favorite supplier, Home Science Tools.  Can't wait for that box to arrive!

And now for something a little off topic, but really cool.  We went for a hike this morning here on post (Fort Gordon, GA).  The boy scouts apparently created a bunch of trails all around the neighborhoods about 12 years ago, and there is a trail map posted online.  So we picked a trail and off we went!  Turns out the trails haven't been maintained (at least some of them).  It also looks like the one we chose hadn't had any traffic in YEARS!  There is a sense of adventure in re-blazing an old trail, but there are only so many spider webs one girl can walk through before she really wishes for a good path...a real path.

But we did find these amazing formations in the sandy soil.  There has apparently been a lot of flooding here.  In the above picture, if you can see them, there are little towers poking out of the ground.  Each tower has a little rock on the top of it.  Looks like rain wore down the sand around the rocks, but that the rocks preserved the sand directly underneath them.  Pretty darn cool to see!  And these wouldn't be around if tons of people used the paths regularly...just trampled over and ground into dust.  So there is something to be said for a little used trail!  Or is that "the road less traveled"?  (Totally love that poem!)

This tree was just gorgeous!  Gin and I loved the mix of colors.  Seems like it is struggling to survive even though it has fallen down.

And here you can see some exposed tree roots.  Looks like the flooding eroded about 5 feet of sandy soil.  Jack is almost 5'4" now for comparison to the tree root height.

Well, I hope you enjoyed the little peak into our classroom and our day!  The classroom's not terribly fancy, but it gets the job done.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Back to School Sale!

Teachers Pay Teachers is having a Back To School Sale!  They are offering a 10% discount sitewide.  At my store, The Puzzle Den, I am offering a 20% discount on all my items.  Now is the time to stock up for the new school year!  Many other stores are offering great discounts too, so be sure to shop around!

If you're confused about the 28% discount, here's how it works.  Put some items in your cart and you should see these at the 20% discount already.  At checkout, enter in the promo code "BTS13" and TpT will give you an extra 10% off the discounted price.  That adds up to a 28% discount total and great savings for you!

This past week I updated my maze packs.  Both packs now include 10 brand new mazes!  These mazes are in addition to the 10 already included in the pack for a total of 20 mazes at the same price of $2.00!  I had been thinking for a while now that the original 10 mazes might be a little too easy for some young solvers, and I finally had some time to create some more challenging ones to add in.

If you have already purchased one of these packs, you can download the updated versions from your Teachers pay Teachers "My Purchases" page.  TpT allows you to re-download all of your past purchases at any time.  This is a wonderful way for sellers to keep their products up to date and buyers to be able to access those goodies at any time!  This also allows teachers access to any of the products they've purchased from any computer they use.  Very convenient.

I hope you take advantage of the sale.  I know I will be!  ;-)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Cub Corner Set 9

A new Cub Corner Puzzle pack is ready!  This pack has a banana theme.  In it you will find a maze, a missing letters puzzle, and a cross out puzzle.  These puzzles were designed with grade 1-3 students in mind.  Just click on the picture above and you can download the puzzles from Google Drive.

Things are a bit on hold around here.  We are in the middle of a move and currently living in a one room hotel (2 parents, 2 kids, 2 cats)!  It is very squishy, but in 10 days our house will be ready for us to move in.  We are counting down!  Our new house looks very nice, so should be worth the wait.

Even so, I'm still working on Latin puzzles, more skip counting mazes and some upcoming holiday stuff too!  And I did get a copy of Laser Maze for my birthday, so I will post more about that awesome logic puzzle later!

Hope everyone is well and ready for back-to-school!