Organizing You Home for Homeschooling with Lots of Littles

Having a set routine and knowing what do expect can help you feel at ease when the time comes to organize things like curriculum, supplies, and other clutter like toys.

Organizing You HOME for SCHOOL with Lots of Littles

I am so new at this homeschooling thing that I'm pretty sure I've come up with a new system every year. I'm sharing this years plan for organizing curriculum, supplies, and toys over at the Homemaker's Challenge. Head on over and see if I've lost my mind and will be changing to a new system yet again next year or if it's an okay idea that might help you get started. :D

Soon, I'll be talking about organizing our lives for homeschooling.

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K5 Learning {Review}

We just finished our trial period using K5 learning. Both my girls (5 & 4-years-old) tried this out and loved it!

K5 Learning is an online reading and math program for kids from kindergarten through grade 5. Our intent is to help kids build reading, math and study skills through independent study. K5 is designed for home use and can be used for after- school, weekend and summertime supplemental study or in conjunction with a homeschooling program.

We started by complete and online assessment with 8 key reading and math skills. From there, the girl work independently at their own pace. They offer over 3,000 online lessons and activities. The lessons have cute animation and are simple enough for my four-year-old to interact with them by herself {after showing her how the first round}. K5 learning automatically chose lessons for the girls (based on their assessment and past lessons), track their progress and provide reports for me about their progress.

In the short time we tested out this program, I did see my girls begin to learn essential reading and math skills, develop good study habits, and reach their academic potential. This supplemented what we were already doing in 'school' and gave my girls one more tool to practice these skills with the added benefit of learning basic computer skills.

It did require me to walk them through some of the basics of the program but after that they could navigate most of it by themselves. With my girls being 4 and 5, I'm not quite ready for them to have this much independence. Eventually, that will be a great benefit of the program but I noticed they were slightly irresponsibly independent, getting off track, being lazy going through the lessons, and guessing just because they wanted to click around like it was a game rather than actually listening, learning, and answering as if it was a lesson.

In general, we enjoyed the program. It did seem a bit like handing my kids a smart phone to play "educational games" but I feel like this was much better at teaching my children actual lessons in a way that I wasn't able to. I liked that it wasn't costing me tons in printer ink to create workbooks.

The girls loved being able to "play on" my computer but I was uncomfortable with that. For this program to be used to its fullest potential, they should be doing the lessons on a regular basis. Since we only have my laptop, if they are using it for K5, I can't work at the same time and it made me nervous the machine would get torn up some how rendering me unable to work. If we had a some sort of tablet or simple computer for them to use for school, I would be much more likely to allow them to use the program more often.

At this time, we won't be purchasing the program at its monthly rate although it would be a comparably inexpensive price for the reading and math curriculum.

The K5 program includes:
  • an initial online assessment of each child’s math and reading skills,
  • award-winning, curricula based reading and math content,
  • over 3,000 online multimedia activities, personalized for each child based on his or her assessment,
  • a highly structured environment which allows the student to proceed through the lessons in a logical fashion at his own pace,
  • ease of use which allows even 4 or 5 year olds to work independently,
  • attention to child safety with no external links, advertisements, chat or similar,
  • comprehensive reporting to parents,
  • 24/7 availability and no downloads
Program Costs

K5 Learning is available on a subscription basis for $25/month or $199/year with substantial discounts for siblings. Each subscription includes a free math and reading assessment and unlimited use of each of K5’s four programs, K5 Reading , K5 Math, K5 Spelling and K5 Math Facts. A 14 day free trial is available.

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Up-Cycled Wipe Containers {Thoughtful Thursday}

Drier Sheets Case

keep your drier sheets fresher in an up-cycled wipe box AND its cutera large box of drier sheets fits in this container, keeps them fresher, and is cuter than those lil cardboard ones

A large box of drier sheets fits in this container, keeps them fresher, and is cuter than those lil cardboard ones.

Keep Drier Sheets Fresher in an Up-Cycled Wipe Container

Travel Tissue Box

Travel Case of Kleenex made from an Up-Cycled Wipe Container

A small wipe case is the perfect size for a travel case of tissue and keeps it dry and clean.

Holds "Missing Pieces" for Board Games

Store Random Game Pieces in an Up-Cycled Wipe CaseStore random missing game pieces in an up-cycled wipe box

Its is nearly inevitable that kids will misplace a piece {or 8 aHem} to some board game. Rather than have them grouch and tear apart the game storage trying to return that piece when its finally found. This random game piece container allows them to store the piece by stuffing it in through the top or easy-open lid so the pieces are found quickly when playing a game with that missing piece.

Travel Crayon Case

You can fit a 24 package of crayons into 1 up-cycled wipe case for your traveling artist

You can fit a 24 package of crayons into 1 up-cycled wipe case for your traveling artist

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The 13:13 Experiment

I plan to do an experiment with my kids this month to teaching the power of words; especially Love and Hate. I found it fitting to conduct this homeschool science experiment as part of our Valentine's Day unit.

The 1313 Experiment A science experiment about the power of word, love, and affection. This will be part of our February Valentine's Day homeschool unit

If you want to join us, Please head over to the as Jules is going Facebook page to follow the progress through out the month.

The 13:13 Experiment

...and the greatest of these is LOVE...

1 Corinthians 13:13

Question:

Does what we say and how we treat other really affect them significantly and long-term?

Research:

According to Dr. Masaru Emoto, people are made up of at least 60% water therefore his discovery has far-reaching implications… can anyone really afford to have negative thoughts or intentions?

Click here for more information from other who have tried conducted this experiment.

Hypothesis:

Since God tells us words and affection are so powerful, we believe they will have an effect on any creation and that we can show this in the scientific world.

  • "Loving on" the rice will make it flourish.
  • "Hating on" the rice will destroy it.
  • "Ignoring it" will rot it.

Materials:

  • 2-3 jars with lids
  • white rice
  • water
  • little scientist
  • loving and hateful words
  • one month

Experiment:

  1. Share the hypothesis with kids.
  2. Get materials. We bought our plastic lidded containers at the dollar tree {2 for $1}. I didn't want to spend a lot so I don't feel bad trashing them at the end of the month.
  3. Eliminate all external factors.
    • Label jars.
      Write what you want to be said to the jars and how you want them to be "treated" so you don't mix them up

      • We chose to do all 3 jars and use white sticky labels saying:
        1. I love you
        2. I hate you
        3. ...
      • You can just do "love" and "hate"
    • Chose a space to conduct the experiment.
      • same sunlight
      • same temperature
    • Separate containers a significant amount- we're doing about 2 feet.
      {so they don't "hear" what we say to the other jars ;) }
    • Fill with white rice: you can either fill with rice and water or cook the rice before filling. We're cooking it first.
    • Seal up the containers to avoid contaminants
  4. Interact appropriately with each containers daily. Express love toward the "I love you" container and hatred toward the "I hate you" container. Don't talk to or mess with the "..." container at all.
  5. Wait and observe. We are {attempting} ~28 days with no picking up, shaking, or moving the containers any way.

Draw Conclusion and report Results:

Follow this on the as Jules is going Facebook page during the month of February and I plan to update here when the experiment is completed.

Happy Experimenting :D
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Our Family Chore Chart

Today is Jamin's first day of officially being "on the chore chart". :(

Training Littles to help with Household Chores

I've been postponing this...it just seems too soon. This means he is really growing up :( My younger kids have always though it "unfair" when the older kids got to "help" by doing chores. Every once in a while I would 'let them' help the olders do the chore. Last week was Jamin's official "training week".

All that was supposed to mean was Jamin tagged along with Maggie when she did her chores and watched. What it ended up being was Maggie, the master leader that she is, called Jamin to her when she was asked to do her chore and talked him through how to do each one...step. by. step. Izzie thought she wanted a turn at being his "trainer" but got really irritated quickly and didn't pull it off as easily as Mags did. lol He learned where dishes belong, how to sort laundry, and was already very aware of how the coveted "set the table" chore worked.

My kids' chore chart for the week teaching responsibility, learning household chores, finances, budgeting, and gerousityUp Close pic of children's chore chart

One of the things that has helped me is this "responsibility chart" we've had for several years now. I found mine at a consignment event but you can buy the same chart HERE <--affiliate link fyi. I like the chart because it keeps me from asking my oldest to do everything; because I know it will get done, get done right, and it's just easier. Here is how we use our chart:

Basic Chores

This chart comes with tons of "responsibility" options. There are lots of them that are just expected in our house {ie "Say Please & Thank You", "Don't Use Bad Language"}. Then there are some we've labeled "morning chores" {ie "Make Bed", "Get Dressed"} and these are things everyone is supposed to do every morning. The basic chores we are teaching our littles to currently help with are:

  • Set the Table: decides where everyone sits as well as what color plate they use
  • Dishes: I have most dishes in lower cabinets for them to reach; they place other items that go higher on the counter for me to put away
  • Laundry: sorts into clean baskets {we'll work on folding later}, everyone helps put away clothes over the weekend.
  • [help with] Trash: [helps daddy] bring trash bags from bathrooms, carry out recycling, and take to the curb on the appropriate night
  • Sweep: dinning room & kitchen daily, bathrooms and laundry room as needed
  • Vacuum: living room daily, bedrooms as needed

I like to have the same person do Set the Table and Dishes on the same day so if there are no dishes for them to set out they can see the direct correlation between the chores as well as why its important to do these things daily. I have just now started 'training' how to sweep & vacuum so I put those two together and only assign that to the older girls {who are more capable}.

Smiley Face Assignment

I think this chart may have been designed for "earning" smiley faces but since we expect them to help out around the house, we just assign "jobs" they're "allowed" to help with and we take down/replace the smile with a different color if they don't end up doing it that day.

  • Pink: Maggie {5-years-old}
  • Purple: Izzie {4-years-old}
  • Blue: Jamin {3-years-old}
  • Orange, Yellow, Green: everyone/whoever Mom & Dad's choose

Since the "basic chores" are things that need to be done daily, all I have to do is ask "whose on ____ today" and that person is in charge of doing that chore right then.

Allowance

I'm not sure if allowance is the right term but we "allow" our kids to have money as a way for us to start teaching preschool finances 101; the chores are just a good excuse to do that.

  • Bread Tie: represents money- can choose to 'spend' them on things
  • Penny: when we start working on counting and are responsible enough to keep up with the money
  • Nickle: when they start counting by 5s

At the end of the week, we count which chores were completed and hand out allowance. Then we have them put them into their bankS we made; this is how we teach them about generosity and budgeting.

Homemade Banks

Don't forget, it's never too early to have children do chores. The early you start, the easier it becomes a habit and helps the entire family in the long run. Their perspective of household chores is all based on how you present it; we choose to show these chores as a privilege to those who are old enough.

Our philosophy has always been, We all helped make the mess so we will all help clean up the mess. Don't get me wrong. I've had to let go of a lot of my perfect ideals, and tons of my organizational tendencies for the details. BUT we get the major stuff done...most of the time. Helping with household chores is also a way children learn about serving one another, being considerate, and responsibility.

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