About Me

I'm a mom, a teacher, a student, a wife, and a scout leader. I am actually an education major currently working on my practicum in a 2nd grade classroom. I also home school my two children. I'm also a cub scout leader, a girl scout leader, and at church I'm the children's music leader. ;) I tend to stay a little busy. My state requires homeschoolers to keep a portfolio. I am going to use this blog as my portfolio.

What am I?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Field Trip! Edventure Children's Museum

This was one of those field trips that I never would have taken my kids too on our own because it would have been $9.50 for each of us and all four of us went. Ouch!! Yeah, couldn't have afforded that. However, we are part of a home based public school (South Carolina Virtual Charter School) and they pay for field trips. YAY!! I am so grateful. So, on Friday we were able to go to the Edventure Children's Museum in Columbia. Hooray!! Here are some pictures from our experience.
Meet Eddie. He was a giant kid (do you see the little kid at his shoulder?) that the kids were able to play inside and slide down his intestines and stuff. Doesn't that sound fun? "/

Here's another shot of Eddie. Just trying to show how big he is and these were taken from the second floor. ;)

This was Collin in his head.

Collin and Paul in the "farm" area.

Ryanne went grocery shopping. She was soooo excited about it too.

Fire girl!! Collin was on this earlier but he was with Paul and Ryanne was with me so I got more pics of her.

Drumming with the African drummers on the green screen. This is a picture of the TV monitor.

In the rain forest.

This was one of the kids' favorite rooms. Here is the giant chess set. There was a checkers set just as large. You KNOW that Collin was happy. He and his dad played chess and then he and another mom played checkers. So fun. The other mom had a cane and pushed her checkers around the board with the cane. It was awesome and she was so great with teaching Collin the game. ;)

Ryanne played the bean bag toss game and the...

Giant Jenga game!! She knows this one b/c we play a version of this game during general conference. ;)

Another shot of Eddie with Ryanne. And, yes, the watch is a real clock that kept the actual time. ;)

This is Dr. D. He taught the kids about science lab safety and he was funny in a very cheesy sort of way. Paul and I groaned a lot at his jokes but the kids seemed to enjoy it. ;)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My morning...

How do I start my morning? First off... I try to wake up before the children. I really need that time to just have a little bit of quiet. Although, they seem to be waking up earlier and earlier and it's making it really hard for me to find my peace but that's another post all together. ;) Anyways, I wake up and go through each assignment of the day. It makes it fresh in my mind and makes the day flow better. I do something similar to the work-box system.
I have everything that we will need in each box. I even have the candle, my scissors, our pencil box, the three hole punch, and my folder with the flash cards in it. I'll do another post on that later. This just makes the day go so much better for us. I have been refreshed on what we're doing and everything is set up and ready. This was this morning and Thursdays we don't do Art or Music b/c Collin has speech therapy instead so that's why there are only four boxes out but there are normally five. :)

The Candle Technique -- Motivation

I need motivation but my students need motivation too and this is so much harder than finding my own motivation. I heard a fabulous idea in a K12 Speaker Series the other day... the Candle Technique. It's awesome! We did it for the first time yesterday.

I used a birthday candle at first. All you do is light the candle while the child is working. As soon as he/she becomes distracted and plays with legos or something, you blow out the candle. I loved my son's reaction. He wouldn't pay attention and started playing with something so I didn't say a word and just blew out the candle. His eyes went wide and he turned back around and started doing his school work again. There was no arguing or yelling of anykind. I loved it. So, why does the candle burn? Well, when it burns all the way down the child gets a rewards. It can be whatever you want... a mother-son date, a small toy, a trip out for ice cream, geocaching...etc. Whatever! The large the candle, the larger the prize. For the birthday candle, I let Collin choose something from the Smarty Pants. It really only lasts for about 30 minutes so I didn't think he needed something large, I just wanted him to understand what it was for. We went to a slightly larger candle but still not too large. I'll gradually work up to a larger candle. I don't want him to lose that motivation. But, I absolutely LOVE the Candle Technique. ;)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Education Outside the Box

So, I created this cute little graphic for the front of my 3-ring binder that now contains all my ideas for "Educating Outside the Box". :) Yesterday, I was listening to one of K12's Speaker Series Sessions called "The K-5 Learning Coach Checklist: Little Things That Can Make a Big Difference" by Lauren Wallace. She had a list of things she does and how often and it was wonderful. But, one of them was that twice a month we should do something "outside the box" or "stealth learning". What is stealth learning? I wondered the same thing. Wallace said that she calls those times when children are learning but don't realize it because they are just having so much fun stealth learning. I thought it was such a cute word for it.

Why did I put this image on the front of my notebook. Well, that's b/c I'm trying to come up with ideas. I have printed off brochures for local field trip ideas. I even found the South Carolina Junior Park Ranger program so I've printed off the requirements for that. I figured that if nothing else we can go out into the woods or the local state park and pass off some of the requirements. So, I'm just using all the information that I gather (brochures at Welcome Centers) and just anything that I can get my hands on and keeping them in this notebook. Every other Friday we will try to do something from it. Even if it's just something as simple as doing school outside. As I gather ideas I'll post them here. Any ideas that you have, please post them here as well.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Handwriting Help = Epic Fail

Handwriting is sort of the bane of school right now. Collin seriously is not a fan of phonics at all and handwriting is what he hates the most. Learning has always come fairly easily for him and he's a perfectionist. Well, he's also a Kindergartner learning to write and when his letters don't look EXACTLY like they do on the handwriting sticker strip he gets very angry at himself and declares he "can't do it!" Oh! I very much dislike that phrase. I had been researching ways to get children to want to write and one of them recommended using the child's imagination and interests to my advantage. So, I told Collin that he was an astronaut and he had to write the words I dictated to him to save the rest of the crew before their oxygen ran out.

It worked... at first. He was so eager to save his crew. Then he started stressing and hyperventilating. Paul came out to talk to him but it didn't help. So, finally, I took him in my arms and help him for a minute. Then, between each gasp he got the phrase, "Will you... turn that.... off?" He was pointing to the timer that was telling us how much oxygen was left. I turned off the timer and in a few minutes he was breathing normally again. He said, "Let's not do that again."

So, moral of this story is... don't use this method on a child with a very vivid imagination. It just might backfire on you. haha! Poor kid!

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Every student must have physical education, right? For our son, we chose TaeKwonDo and I am proud to announce that last night he was tested for his next belt and did an amazing job. He was focused and his movements were strong and perfect! He was awesome!
He's a camouflage belt level one!! YAY!! This means that he is going to start sparring. I am not sure how I feel about other children hitting my boy but it'll be good for both him and me. We'll toughen up... right?

Sight Words exercise!

I was so excited when I saw a picture of this on Pinterest. Such a cute way to practice site words.
Isn't it super cute? It's a parking lot and I tell him where to park the car and he has to find the word or I park the car and he has to tell me what word I park the car on. On pinterest, it's a mat on the table and a little boy is using a real toy car to roll around but this is better for us b/c we just don't have the space. This hangs on the wall so we can go to it in the morning. It's how we start off phonics class which is Collin's least favorite of all his classes so it's a great way to get him smiling at the start of it. =o)

First Grade Math

Yes, my son is still in Kindergarten but he completed his Kindergarten text book before Christmas vacation so his teacher wanted to test him to make sure he retained all the information. After a 45 minute test and a score of 100% (teacher said there was slight hesitation on two questions but he got them right) the school decided to move him on up to First Grade math! YAY!!! :) He is loving it! He especially loves that he is allowed to work with number over 30. He has been learning <, >, and = signs. I don't remember learning that until second or third grade. I was shocked when we got to that chapter but he LOVES this section. Anyways... here he is working on his first grade math. :)

Ryanne was learning about shapes and was in the background cutting cookie dough into shapes. hehe!! We had very funny shaped cookies that day. ;)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Life in a Tree

In science Collin has been learning about what all living things need to survive. Yesterday we were learning specifically about how animals need homes and all the help trees are in this. So, we built a tree with animals in it in our dining room. :) What do you think?
I don't know how much you can see but in this tree there are two bird nests, two koalas, two monkeys, two deer (on the ground b/c trees provide shelter for them, too), two squirrels (one is on the electrical outlet), and two tree frogs. I think that's it!! :) Isn't it cool!! :) The kids each colored an animal so the strange colored animals (pink deer, purple monkey, purple koala are all Ryanne's :).

Smarty Pants!!

We are starting preschool with Ryanne on Monday and she does this thing where she pretends she doesn't know stuff. It's really easy stuff too so... Paul and I have a plan. If she wants to earn a treat from the "Smarty Pants" then she has to try. She cannot pretend she doesn't know things. She's super excited about it and she's already stopped (mostly) faking not knowing things. It's awesome. Here are our "Smarty Pants".

This was before it was stuffed with "Smarties" but now the pants are puffed up full of candy. I just sewed the legs of the pants shut and then ripped out the stitches to the belt loops and then sewed them back on over the hanger. So, we're encouraging our daughter to be a "Smarty Pants". Collin will earn some too when he shows himself to be a Smarty Pants too.

I got the idea from Pinterest and here's a link to the blog. You can also print out stickers notes and the label above for it too but since it's for my own kids I didn't see any reason for that. Although, we may go with the stickers... not sure yet. I think we'll just stick with the pants for now. ;)

Lesson plan template

I have always wanted a lesson planning book for my kids since Ryanne is homeschooled and Collin is virtual schooled. However, every lesson planning book I found wouldn't work for us and our schedule. They weren't very adaptable. The other day I read on a blog by a teacher that she made her own. Duh! Why didn't I think of that? So, I made this on excel... completely adaptable so you can do whatever you want with it.
This is our schedule but yours may be very different. If you'd like a copy of this (and I hope this works because it's the first time I've ever used this) click here.