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A Few Of My (Current) Favorite Things

>> 1.23.2013

(And yes, actually, Sound of Music is one of those...but that's not what inspired me to share these today=)

As homeschoolers, we are constantly changing things in our home schools in order to fit the needs of our individual children and their growing educational needs.  One item I found earlier this year that we've started using on a regular basis is called "Logic   Links."  Brain Ware is the maker of these fun cards with 166 "puzzles" that use chips to be arranged in a certain order according to clues.  Even our youngest, 4 now, has started being able to use and think through the answers enough to do the beginning cards.  The box says ages 6+ but as long as you are working on them together and the child knows his right and left, they can be done at a younger age.  (Click here for a more detailed description. Also note: there are leveled workbooks available that contain the same puzzles/concepts. I found the box to contain the same information but rather than purchasing all the levels separately, which cost $12 each themselves, I purchased Logic Links box/game for $12.99 and have all the levels available in one box!)

Another of my favorite things, and always has been but I find myself at a loss without them, are...(drum roll please!) individual white boards!  It may seem like an obvious thing, but if you have elementary students and are NOT using these items just consider purchasing them and see how "boring writing work" can turn into loads of fun.  (Also, lots of fun games can be had quickly and with ease when each student in your home has their own.)  (Here you can see my Pre-K using his white board having JUST written his name for the very. first. time. all. on. his. own!  I was way more excited than he was!)

I've talked about these next "extras" before, but wanted to share with you again another way you can use this EXCELLENT quick, grab and go, fun-adding, tools; Education Cubes.  Using soft baby blocks with see- through pocket sides, Mama Jenn, another homeschooling mom, came up with a creative tool to learn/review just about any topic you can think of!  My kids have done these with math fact, number words, Spanish words, movement commands, and now our very own 50 States and their capitols.  We became members, a one-time low cost fee, at Mama Jenn's Education Cube site, ordered the blocks from Amazon, and then just visit Mama Jenn's Education Cube site when we need our newest review topic and print and go.  I love it because I'm not so good at adding in the "fun" dimension to homeschooling but after awhile even I make myself bored!

 (You can tell we have some SERIOUS Cube players!!!)

Another current "fav" is the iPod.  Although it's a blessing and a curse all rolled into one, I have come to find some really neat ways the iPod can be used during school hours.  One of my favorite ways, besides the plethora of truly educational games that are out there, is being able to use it to memorize Scripture (or play lines!=)  Our kids are a part of the AWANA program which focuses a lot on Scripture memory.  By the time kids are fluent readers they do not need the amount of help memorizing that younger ones need.  In the mean time, though, I find myself up to my neck-- okay, sometimes just plain drowning, in a sea of "to-dos" not only to maintain a house and help in ministry, but to run actual learning school environment (curriculum, grading, etc.) that I simply can not give the younger ones the time they need helping them learn more Scripture-- no matter how important I think it is!  Enter the iPod.  We've started recording the verses that the younger ones need to memorize that week on the iPod and then they are able to play it to themselves over and over throughout the week.  This has proved to be one of the best ways to use an iPod I could ever think up!  (Along with Audio Scripture that can just read the Bible right out loud to me while I fall asleep. =)

My last "fav" I wanted to share is just the good 'ol fashion wipe board books.  I used to think these were a bit of...twaddle, to borrow a certain person's words from the past, but I have come to find these are truly great for learning; a book to use while I read our current Read Aloud to the older ones, etc. and the younger ones enjoy it, learn from it, and feel like they are apart of the school day.  I am no longer feeling guilty about using these!  (I don't know what kind of absurd pressure I was putting on myself before anyway...)  I highly recommend any like this and this and this.

Hopefully this post has given you a few new ideas or sparked your interest in products you hadn't seen before.  I think searching around for new ideas/tools, etc. can get a bit unproductive so I just thought you might all benefit from seeing what we use often in our home educating house!


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