Well we’ve been busy this holiday season! I still have our HumanLight, Christmas, and Kwanzaa plans to discuss but first I wanted to go over what I’ve been slowly working on over the past couple of months *expanding on what I already had in place*. I’ve put the finishing touches on these organizational things while on our break. I’m striving to be more organized to ensure we meet our goals. I’m still working out the lesson planning in a way that I can easily stick to it. I currently have a 3-ring binder that I use, but it’s not as affective due to having to constantly make print-outs/copies, and it’s rather bulky. I found the Teacher’s Lesson Planner and Record Book at our base book store and I’m planning to use that for our 2011-2012 school year. If it pans out I’ll order more to use every year, or go back to the drawing board and find another planning book to explore and test out.

So what are the organizational things I’m working with:

The first is our school meeting board. I got the idea from various places, one being a friend of mine who runs Wandering Quail Road, and the other sources were from the same blogs many of the printables used for the board come from: Homeschool Creations and 1+1+1=1. *The views and/or opinions of the blogs mentioned during this post or any post for that matter DO NOT in any way reflect the views and/or opinions of my blog, unless otherwise stated.*

The months of the year song lyrics come from THIS website, although we did end up changing it slightly *notice the blacked out portion*. The first time we went over it Child #1 started singing to a tune *and lyrics* he had picked up from one of the various videos or songs we’ve listened to over the years. Not 100% sure where we first heard the song at, I’m still in the process of tracking it down *by going through our various CDs and searching the list of Youtube videos we use*. Also on our board is our date tracker (Trend©) which I got from a school supply store in the states. There is our word of the week taken from Sacred Spiral Kids, our weekly spelling list comprised from the Saxon Phonics 1 curriculum we have, and our artist of the month *info and photo gathered from a simple search of the artist*. Lastly I also made up a simple printable with boxes for the boys and I to put what we are grateful for that morning. I think I will have us go back at the end of our school day and write what we are grateful for at the end of the day as well.

I found this clock on Amazon, it has six alarm slots…yes I am one of those homeschool moms. The alarm also allows you to personalize your alarms, so I had The Spouse do the recordings for us. That way when he is away we can still enjoy hearing his voice six times a day.

Now moving upstairs to our classroom…I found this cart at a store off base. The top shelf holds our laminator *which I LOVE!*. The second and third shelves will hold the teachers editions of any curriculum we are using.

This is the same kind of cart as above they were actually pretty affordable and fit perfectly in the room. Far better than anything I have seen on base, yeah for finding something affordable off base given the current Yen rate! This one sits between the boys' desk/chairs and holds their pencil/crayon boxes, as well as their flashcard boxes. Not sure what will go on the third shelf, I’m sure it will get plenty of use when the time comes to fill it though.

Next is the inside of one of the cabinets in our filing cabinet. The boys each have their own cabinet where I keep the work they have done. I have folders for each subject, and they are labeled with the grade level as well. I also keep extra school items in the front of the folders.

Here you have our planned out general schedule easily accessible to the children and myself. Also on this wall are file folders with the printouts/copies for that given day and subject. This allows me to file away at least a week’s worth of printouts/copies, and have them easily on hand when we need them. Plus when the boys get older I can just printout/copy what is going to be needed and they can grab and go for that day and subject. Both products come from Learning Resources.

Now this section is what has had my attention for the last month or so. First off on the wall are erasable schedules *which came from Lakeshore, but I don't see them on the site now*. I originally bought only two of these, but didn’t use them as I had intended to. Then a friend of mine gave me the two she had since she wasn’t using them either. After about a week of pondering what I might be able to do with the four weekly planners it hit me. I can place two weeks worth of plans for each of the boys on these four boards. Then they *our lesson plans* are easily accessible so I can grab out what is needed for that given week without having to flip through a bunch of pages in a book. I can also see everyday where we are suppose to be headed, and make adjustments as needed. They are hung on the wall using a bit of string and four clear Command™ hooks.

Lastly are our subject boxes. Each shelf is for a particular subject (Language Arts & Phonics, Math, Science, and History), and each box holds the items need for that days work. We alternate Math and Science so I would have that day planned out at least a day in advance. Which will make planning experiments and gathering all the needed items a lot easier to accomplish. Especially since we will be covering Physical Science next year *a mix of Chemistry and Physics*, and I’m planning to make that as hands on as possible. I got the idea for the boxes from various info I got on the Workbox System *refer back to blog disclaimer* *my system is only slightly like it...mostly because it involves boxes LOL...but I don't do 12 boxes for each of the boys. I just stick to subjects we are covering because I just don't have the space for all of that nor do I really need it. The boys have unlimited access to our school supply closet so materials are grabbed as they are wanted/needed which works just fine for now.*
Well that about sums it up. Now to just put all of these things to use! Which we will be doing starting on Monday, wish us luck! Woohoo!!

Copyright(c)2010 Rayven Holmes

Things have been quiet here on our little blog not for lack of anything to post about, just an overall lack of time. We have been very busy this holiday season! We have still been covering the winter holidays like planned though. On the 21st we covered Yule.

For our learning fun we used the Pooka Pages Yule packet, did a family ritual, and made some yummy treats (Solstice Snowballs and a Yule Log *So many things went wrong with making this, the cake didn‘t roll the way I wanted it to, the filling was far too runny, and the icing was a bit off. I‘m convinced it was me, but considering it was the first time I ever made one I think it came out ok all things considered. It was edible that is the most important part right?! One of you will have to try the recipe and tell me how it turned out for you.*).

Our Yule activities not only work into our winter holidays learning but they also help the boys fulfill one of their SpiralScouts patches. While discussing Yule *particularly during our family ritual*, I talked about the various elements in Christmas that have their roots in Yule. This of course got The Spouses attention, he always finds tidbits like this interesting.

I’m looking forward to when the boys are a bit older, so we can watch the sunrise *or the sun being born as some say* like they do in the story we read in Pooka Pages. I think that would be a great way to bring our Yule learning full circle so to speak. But that will have to wait until they are old enough to really appreciate a sunrise *without the complaints of wanting to crawl back in bed or fussing that would follow from an early morning wake-up*, for now they can sleep and dream of the sweet goodies they will receive in just a couple of days.

Copyright(c)2010 Rayven Holmes

We have wrapped up our Hanukkah studies and are prepping for the next set of holidays. As a final Hanukkah hoorah our Co-Op enjoyed some Hanukkah themed stories today, after reading a bit of the stories I quizzed the kids on some Hanukkah facts. As I was rounding out the questioning, I asked who lead the Jewish people to victory. While the older kids were thinking about it Child #2 piped up “Judah Maccabee!”.

This was greeted with high fives and cheers of celebration. Then it hit me, they really are listening. Even when it seems like they are miles away, when the days don’t ever seem like they will end, when I‘m pulling out my hair, digging through resources, trying to figure it all out. They are listening… to every story, every explanation, every clever idea or catch phrase I create or borrow to help teach. In one really special moment Child #2 helped confirm that I can do this, WE as a family can do this for the long haul. It won’t always be easy, but they will be listening.

Now to just ensure that what they are hearing are things I always want repeated. ;)

Copyright(c)2010 Rayven Holmes

Hanukkah *or Chanukah* started on the 1st and we are currently on day three of our yearly Hanukkah lessons. So far once again we have gone over why Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah, what the menorah is as well as the name for the tallest *lead* candle-the Shamash-*because it is hard for little kids who aren’t Jewish to remember all this stuff since they only hear about it once a year*, and we’ve done some crafting *with more to come*.

So far each of the boys have made a Star of David, which once completely dry, they will further decorate and then we will hang them up to go with the rest of our holiday d├ęcor. I also found a great template online that has turned out to be the perfect window menorah. I colored the Shamash and each of the boys got to color four of the candles. We are alternating turns, and on their night they will pick which of their candles gets cut out and placed *glued* into the menorah.

After it is glued in, the menorah is returned to its place in the window, which fulfills the mitzvah *commandment* that the miracle of Hanukkah be publicized.
While that is my reflection that IS NOT my van...just wanted to put that out there. LOL.

We are currently in the process of getting a silver menorah, but it won’t be here until after the holiday is over, so I figured we would once again make our own menorahs. Last year we used an empty egg carton, some air dry clay, and birthday candles. This year I got a bit creative and made each of the boys menorahs in the shape of the Star of David. I’ve been waiting for them to completely dry before I allow the boys to paint/decorate them. After which we will have our window menorah to fulfill the mitzvah and then the boys will have ones they can actually light.

Aside from the more crafty things we will also be using our Knowledge Books starting today. I have finally finished filling them with Hanukkah coloring pages and worksheets to go along with our studies. Today we will learn where Israel is, as well as what their flag looks like, we will spend some more time discussing the Star of David, and learn a bit more about the Maccabees.

To add to our studies we have a Hanukkah word wall and our nightly bedtime story has come from a list of Hanukkah themed books I gathered at the library.

To bring in the food element we will be having a traditional Jewish meal either Saturday or Sunday night *I had wanted to do this the last night of Hanukkah but life happens and plans must change…*.

On Monday our co-op learning will be an extension of what we are doing at home, then on Tuesday we will focus on just the dreidel with activities that center around what the boys often call “Their favorite thing about Christmas”, which always ensures a puzzled look on someone’s face when they ask “What’s your favorite thing about Christmas”. We will learn a bit about gelt as well, including the history behind giving coins *especially chocolate ones* during Hanukkah. I’m not 100% what to do for the last day, I’m thinking a review of everything, possibly a large craft, and eating of their favorite items from our weekend meal.

Well that’s pretty much it folks. Not too involved, most of it is centered around reading, some coloring pages/worksheets, and crafting. Which works very well for their age groups. Each year we’ll get more into the history, maybe visit a synagogue so they can experience a Hanukkah celebration like the ones we’ve been reading about. But for now I’m going to attempt to make yummy latkes and sufganyot, not burn the challah, and hopeful win the next game of dreidel!

Here is our booklist:

Hanukkah by Norma Simon
Beni’s First Chanukah by Jane Zalben
Moishe’s Miracle: A Hanukkah Story by Laura Melmed
The Runaway Latkes by Leslie Kimmelman
A Picture Book of Hanukkah by David Adler
On Hanukkah by Cathy Fishman
When Mindy Saved Hanukkah by Eric Kimmel
Pearl’s Eight Days of Chanukah by Jane Zalben *it features an activity for each night!*
Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric Kimmel *a friend of mine shared that he loved this story as a child, so I’m eager to read it to the boys*
And last but not least Our Eight Nights of Hanukkah by Michael Rosen

And here is the link list:

Link 1
*activities, crafts, coloring pages, recipes, and more*

Link 2*word wall, games, songs, crafts, coloring pages, and more*

Link 3*Hanukkah information, crafts, reading list, coloring pages -where our Israel flag coloring page came from-, and more

Link 4*crafts-Star of David craft came from this site-, recipes, coloring sheets, and more*

And lastly just for fun:


Copyright(c)2010 Rayven Holmes