Homeschool Planning for 2012/2013

This year I decided to reuse an old Sonlight binder for planning our next school year. The binder is a large three ring with 36 numbered tabs. I took out all the Sonlight materials and stored them in a different binder. I think this system should work rather well. Behind each tab I will store the week’s schedules and printables. Then, next year, each week I will load the schedules and worksheets into my teacher’s guide and the children’s main binders. I won’t need to worry about getting behind at times because I won’t load the next week until the current week’s work is complete. The days will likely be off here and there if we have days we don’t finish everything scheduled. At that point we’ll play catch up and I’m not against assigning homework either when necessary.

I made my planning pages myself as I prefer them to be customized. I uploaded the pages as a pdf on google docs in case they may be useful to someone else. Some of the pages are more general and would be useful to more people, while our weekly schedule pages would probably only benefit a few. Click on the calendar pic below to download the pdf. This pdf is offered free for personal use only. Respect copyright and do not share, copy, or sell any of the contents. If you think this would be useful to someone else share the link to this post on my blog. 🙂

Before I started planning our weekly schedules I made a color coded calendar for the 2012/2013 school year. This way I could mark out holidays, birthdays, etc that we will take off and mark our start and stop date. Doing this made it easy to count up our school days and see how many random days we will be able to take off and still maintain our schedule. Below is a pic of how I color coded my calendar.

Next I made a web for planning which subjects are done independently and which require class time, how many days a week each subject will be done, and how many total lessons each subject will have for the year. This way I can plan how much work to schedule in each subject per lesson to complete our curricula in the year. I like to differentiate between class work and independent work because I make separate schedules for each student that has their independent work written out and also this helps me manage my own time when I know how much class time we will need. You can see my process in the pics below. The larger bubbles are the subject, smallest bubble is how many days a week that subject is scheduled, and the medium bubble farthest out is how many total lessons that subject will have for the year.

Next I made weekly schedules for the class, the students, and a separate one for my PreK 4/5 student. I added these to the downloadable pdf. We do ‘regular school’ Mon.-Thurs. and Fridays most of our subjects are different, the schedules reflect that. They’d likely only be useful to someone who does similar with their school or only plans to do PreK 4 days a week. I included the pages with days of the week labeled and blank as well. One of the Prek schedules has subjects and days labeled and the second is blank. We use workboxes for PreK and there is space for planning those. I left blank spaces for the dates at the top and on the student schedules blank spaces for names too. There are plenty of less customized weekly schedules for free on the net. Here’s a nice one and another.

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Jack and the Beanstalk Unit ~ FREE printable puppets

Between being mom, wife, and teacher, I’m finally finding time to write up a post about Little B’s Jack and the Beanstalk unit. She enjoyed this unit a lot more than the Little Red Riding Hood unit. She’s actually still playing with the puppets every day. 🙂 You can download the free black and white version of the puppets and my retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk at Currclick here. This unit has went really well with our other spring activities. We’ve been starting seedlings and watching them grow, we made a mini terrarium, we sprouted beans (magic?), and we’ve been watching roots grow in a see through root viewing planter. Pretty cool! So, some highlights of our Jack and the Beanstalk unit~

Little B’s crafts 🙂

castle in the sky

goose that lays golden eggs

Addition with magic beans! Yum!

You can use addition mats with any type of counter, discs, bears, jelly beans, etc. Little B is only four so I used this as an introduction to the concept of addition. I put the number card in the first box and she counted out magic beans. Then I put the number card into the second box and she counted out the magic beans. I told her we were going to add them together. I showed her how to count the beans in the first box, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, then count the beans in the second box without stopping, 6, 7, 8, so 5 beans and 3 more beans makes 8 beans in all. The first time I scooted all eight jelly beans over by the answer card box and she found the number eight card. An older child could use a dry erase marker to write the answers if the mat is laminated. Once the child understands how to use the concept of addition and how to use the mat, it can be fun to practice addition with the mat and counters rolling a 6 sided die twice for the numbers to add. A ten sided die can be used for more challenging addition. Click on the pic below to download an addition mat and number cards.

Build a Castle file folder game ~ Little B had fun matching shapes with the four castle cards, and even more fun making her own castles.

Sorting -een and -ean Words

See, Trace, and Build Worksheets, one for -een words and one for -ean words ~ Little B just turned four so we just use these for word building right now.

Measuring Beanstalks file folder game ~ there are 6 beanstalks to measure. Older kids can measure to the nearest 1/2″ and write answers on a recording sheet, but for Little B I just showed her how to use the ruler and we measured by inches together.

And we played Old Giant (played like Old Maid)

To learn more about this unit click here or you can view a full sample of the product for sale on Currclick here.

Posted in Fairy Tale Fun, Free, Homeschool, PreK-K, Printable | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Today is the Teacher Appreciation Jackpot!

Today is the Teacher Appreciation Jackpot! Over 150 teacher stores on TeachersPayTeachers are giving away one free product today, valued between $3-$8, for a grand total of over $600 worth of products FREE today only. Just click on the links below and you’ll be directed to the blogs hosting the blog hops. There you’ll find links to all the participating teachers’ blogs and free product links.

PK-2 Products Teacher Appreciation Jackpot

Grades 3-6 Products Teacher Appreciation Jackpot

Grades 7-12 Products Teacher Appreciation Jackpot

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Teacher Appreciation Week ~ TeachersPayTeachers Stores Give Freebies, My Freebie Compound Word Cones, and a Sale!

Over 130 TeachersPayTeachers shops are turning into TeachersGivingTeachers shops tomorrow, May 6th only, to show their appreciation for teachers everywhere. The teachers will be giving away one FREE product each from their shop tomorrow, valuing between $3-$8! You can see more info on how to get the freebies here. This isn’t a giveaway where you have to jump through hoops to maybe win a product, but rather you click around collecting the freebies in your cart on TeachersPayTeachers.

A lot of the teacher stores on TeachersPayTeachers are hosting a sale from May 6th-8th to show their appreciation for fellow teachers, including me! All items in my store are 20% off May 6th-8th! On top of that TeachersPayTeachers is also giving a coupon code for customers to save up to an additional 10% from May 6th-8th. The coupon code is TAD12. So many products will be 28% OFF!

Teacher 2 Teacher’s blog has a link up to help people find stores hosting sales. You can click on the blog post here to see some of the stores hosting a sale. So come on and check out my store between May 6th-8th to see my educational products on sale, including my product Contraction Cones ~ originally priced at $2.00. You can also download my product Compound Word Cones FREE!

Click on the pic to get Compound Word Cones FREE!

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FREE Cut and Paste Mother’s Day Crafts

I made these crafts for my little one to help her celebrate Mother’s Day. She really enjoys making things for her grandmas and great grandmas and I wanted to help her show some love and appreciation for all the moms in her life. Click here or on the first picture below to download the pdf with four cut and paste crafts. There are color and black and white versions included. You can see pics of the four crafts below.

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FREE Little Red Riding Hood Puppets














Click here or on the picture above to download the free Little Red Riding Hood puppets.

Little B and I have been having a lot of fun with fairy tales lately. First we did a unit on Little Red Riding Hood, then a unit on Jack and the Beanstalk. I’ll be posting more about the Jack and the Beanstalk unit soon. I’m following Little B’s lead on this and we’ve been playing with Jack and the Beanstalk for several weeks. I wrote a retelling of the story and checked out three other versions from the library. I think I’ve read Jack and the Beanstalk at least 40 times now, lol. She just requested two days ago that we do The Gingerbread Man next, so I’ve been working on getting a unit ready for that story.

It’s amazing how much she has been enjoying this and I want to share some of the black and white puppets from the units. Today I’m sharing the Little Red Riding Hood puppets and story and sometime soon I’ll write up a post on our Jack and the Beanstalk fun and post those puppets too. I’d be happy for other little learners to have even half as much fun as my own Little Blessing has had with them.

The pdf has suggestions for using the puppets and instructions for making your own feltboard, if you are so inclined. When Little B and I started playing with the stories we did what I call ‘paper retelling’, which is simply cutting out black and white pictures of the story and using them as puppets to play and retell the story. She loved it just as much when we were doing the paper retelling as she does now that I’ve started making the puppets in color and laminating them for our feltboard. The units I’m making include other activities for literacy, Math, and Science, as well as crafts and file folder games. She enjoys these too, but the heart of the units is the retelling play.

As usual, please respect copyright. I’m sharing these free for personal use in your home or classroom only. I’d love if you want to share these with other people on the web, but please link here and not directly to the document, it’s just common courtesy. This way if someone would like to comment or ask a question they can.

To learn more about the Little Red Riding Hood and Jack and the Beanstalk units click here or you can see them at Currclick. You have the chance to preview the entire product at Currclick. The units are intended for PreK, Kindergarten, and 1st grade students. They have color puppets, as well as the black and white. They are intended to be used over a two week period and have lots of hands-on fun with crafts, file folder games, and literacy, Science, and Math activities. The units are $3.50 each, or they can be bundled together 2 for $5.00. The next unit coming up is The Gingerbread Man! It should be published and ready to go within the next week or two.

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FREE Math Review

Love your non-spiral Math curriculum, but need a way to incorporate Math review without using a second curriculum? After all, the old saying ‘use it, or lose it’ is most definitely accurate. Brain research shows connections made in your brain fizzle out and die when they aren’t used. (Um, not exactly technical jargon used there, lol.)

I wanted to share two methods I’ve been using this year to incorporate Math review FREE (we teachers know free often means for the cost of paper and ink!). The worksheets I’m using are found free on the web, are black and white only, and print wonderfully with my printers ink saving setting.

First, I keep a list of Math topics we’ll need to review in my teacher’s guide. I cycle through the topics, so they are getting constant review. I usually review 3-5 topics each week, but you could schedule this as you see fit for your students’ needs.

Then I print off the worksheets for the topics we’ll review for the week, as well as the answer keys for my ease of use. For example, this week we are reviewing long division, reducing fractions, and least common multiples. I’ll print off the three worksheets and corresponding answer keys. I three hole punch the worksheets and put them in the Math section of the students’ binders. I staple the answer keys together and put them in a pocket on the Math tab in my teacher’s guide, for easy removal and use, pictured below.

The worksheets, three hole punched and in the kids’ binders.

Currently I’m assigning 3 problems per page per day; we usually review 5 topics a week. This is only 15 problems for the student to complete for review, but it covers 5 topics. This week we only have 3 review topics, so they only need to complete 9 problems for review. I aim to keep the review section of our Math lesson under 15 minutes. This works well for us, but you could use the resources however you want. Sometimes we review the same topics two weeks in a row, other times the topics change each week. Below are the three websites I like to use and examples worksheets from each.

worksheetworks – a variety of Math topics: beginning Math, basic facts, multi-digit operations, decimals, percents, geometry, factoring, time, money, pre-Algebra, and more. For some topics you can choose a grid, pictured below, to help students line up answers appropriately. There are usually two number fonts, font size, number of problems, whether to show first answer, and answer key or no, to choose as well. – a large variety of topics, like above. You can choose to print the answer key or not by changing the pages to print in your printer options box.

themathworksheetsite – a variety of topics covered. You can choose an answer key or no, and for multi-digit multiplication, for example, you can choose the number of digits in the multiplicand and multiplier.

The second way to use these resources for review is to print only the answer keys to the topics you want to review and use either a whiteboard or chalkboard. The teacher writes the problem(s) and optionally watches the student complete the problem(s). I like to incorporate this method, especially if there is a topic where the student is missing answers, as it allows me to watch the steps the student is taking and diagnose where the problem lies. Then I know exactly how to assist them.

Posted in Free, Homeschool, Math | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Favorite Resource This Week ~ TeachersPayTeachers!











Have you heard of TeachersPayTeachers? It’s an awesome website for teachers (homeschool teachers too!). Teachers who work hard creating educational materials can make a few bucks, and other teachers can benefit. I hold teachers from all walks of life in the highest regard and I have to say…it’s about time! At you’ll find not only a variety of great products for sale, but 27,717 FREE items too!

If you’ve worked hard creating materials to use with your students, why not start your own store and let other teachers benefit? You can post items for free or make a few bucks to put back into your school (or whatever!). Here’s my teacherspayteachers store.

Right now TeachersPayTeachers is holding a contest to see who can make the most “liked” banner, to replace the one above, for tpt on their facebook page ~ up to 3 entries per person.

The 10 banners who get the most LIKES on TeachersPayTeachers Fan Page win $100 each and the one who gets the most LIKES wins a $1,000 bonus. Then tpt will choose their favorite to place on the tpt site and award that creator $1,000. If you’re a fan of tpt, head on over and vote for your favorite new banner today! Contest ends April 28th.

Here’s my three entries, click the pic to go to facebook, then click the “Like” button below my banner pic if you want to vote for them!  ~

Check out teacherspayteachers today, you won’t be sorry!

Posted in Free, Homeschool, Printable | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Versatile Blogger Award

Thanks to FutureFlyingSaucers for thinking of my blog and giving me this award in the spirit of blog community! 🙂

The requirements for this blog reward are to recognize the blog who gave you the award in a post, write 7 things about myself that others may not know, and then nominate another 15-20 blogs for the award. Sounds fun!

7 Things About Me

  1. I’ve wanted to be a published author for years, it’s my closet dream. Too bad I’m not working towards it, it always seems to be up on the shelf.
  2. I like to shop at thrift stores. No where else. I dislike shopping otherwise.
  3. I eat gluten free for health reasons.
  4. I love to grow veggies in my garden, especially tomatoes.
  5. I have a bad habit of not finishing what I start. Gulp. I’ve been working on that with some success.
  6. I like spicy foods, really, really, spicy foods. My husband worries I’m going to eat a hole in my stomach.
  7. I hate crumbs. With a passion. See #3.

Blogs I’m Nominating:

1) Mom is the Only Girl Loads of great, fun learning activities on this blog.

2) New Learning Path Wonderful photos and many, many interesting posts.

3) RiverSide Homeschool I love seeing all the pics of the kids’ art projects and reading what other homeschoolers are doing. Lots of good posts detailing homeschool!

4) Lil’s Dot Com Spectacular photos, interesting projects.

5) Thinking Kids Love the book lists and posts about eating gluten free vegan. Yum!

6) Gerhardt Schoolhouse Lots of interesting things going on at this homeschool!

7) Stay at Home Adventures A teacher turned homeschooler. Love the posts and look forward to reading more in the future.

8) Ivy League Homeschooling Great homeschool blog!

9) Beauty in the Mundane Lots of interesting posts on a variety of topics.

10) School of Rock, Paper, Scissors Love the pics! Look forward to more in the future.

11) My Montessori Moments Lots of fun, neat looking activities here!

12) Mcintyrekids Another blog with neat activities and great pics!

13) Dirt Under My Fingernails Loads of interesting posts!

14) Commotion From the Ocean of Life Great homeschool blog with lots of good links too.

15) Candy Dawn Another blog with a variety of interesting posts.

Thanks again to FutureFlyingSaucers for giving me the chance to participate. 🙂

Posted in Homeschool | 11 Comments

DIY Custom Numbers Cards ~ FREE Printable Number Cards

With some supplies and a few easy steps you can make custom number cards for your young learner. Number cards are good for number recognition, playing number games like “Go Fish”, memory match, and if they’re laminated they can be used as tracing cards with dry erase markers.

copy paper

scrapbook paper (I got mine on sale scratch n dent at JoAnn’s. JoAnn’s and Micheal’s also have 50% off coupons all the time.)



pdf number cards

laminator and pouches

1. Download the number cards pdf. Or make your own! If you have a neat hand, you could do without the printing. Measure the cards out with a ruler, then write the numbers on yourself.

Number Cards ~ copyright 2012 Octavia Jones

I’m offering this pdf free for printing for personal use only. Please respect copyright and do not share, copy, or sell the pdf or contents or link to it directly on your blog. Feel free to link to this post to share.

2. Pick your custom backing for the cards from your scrapbook paper.

3. Use the copy paper and pencil to trace the size of the copy paper onto the back of the scrapbook paper.

4. Cut along your traced lines and then you’ll have a piece of scrapbook the right size to fit in your printer.

5. Print the number cards on the white side of your scrapbook paper.

6. Cut out the cards, put in a laminate pouch, and laminate.

7. Now cut apart the cards, leaving about 1/4″ of laminate around each. I like to round the edges so there are no sharp corners.

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