Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thirsty Thursday - White Board Schedule

It may seem crazy that something as simple as a white board has brought such joy to my school days, but I finally feel I really look forward to each day of school now. Let me share a bit of our story.

Last year we were in the midst of a basement remodel and finished it up just about the time we started our schoolyear. I was so excited organizing my materials on the new book shelves and felt like I had my schoolroom set. The year started off well enough, but I was often feeling like I didn"t have anywhere to organize our daily routine.

I tried notecards, schedules, and various assundry papers, but I often felt that I was putting more into it than any of us were benefitting from. So, forward a year. Our newly remodeled basement had water damage and needed more work. Back to square one on the classroom, and this time it was pushing the beginning of the schoolyear. We did get it all put back together but in a slightly different arrangment and with added wall space. Finally I was able to hang our stashed whiteboard in a useable location and WOW! what a difference it has made.

With 4 young children, and only two of them doing any independent schoolwork, the white board has made school so much more organized for all of us. I am able to write our schedule out the night before with simple details my older boys can read. Throughout the next day of school, the kids look forward to erasing the board and seeing the subjects completed. At the end of the day the board is wiped clean and ready for the next day's events to be posted.

It keeps us all going and ready for school.
Read more educating encouragements at Five J's.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Littles Learning - The Tortoise and the Jackrabbit

This week for the Littles' Learning we will be using the book, The Tortoise and the Jackrabbit by Susan Lowell. (This is a busier week around the Low house, so the unit this week is a little less invovled =)

Here's our plan for the week:


  • Read The Tortoise and the Jackrabbit. First time through without interruption to hear the whole story.

  • Reread the story, pausing while the Littles line up animal cards (see links below) to help tell the story.

  • Leave the animal cards out to be colored throughout the day.
Materials needed- Crayons, Desert Animals 1 (printed and cut), Desert Animals 2 (printed and cut)


  • Read the story again and ask the children to identify any animals they can remember.
  • Use play dough to create any of the animals they are interested in.

Materials needed- Play dough


  • Practice identifying the beginning phonemes of the animals/plants in the story.
  • Play a guessing game by asking which animal(s) begins with /t/, /j/, /c/, etc.

Materials needed- Animal cards from Monday


  • Discuss the moral of the story, "Slow and steady wins the race".

  • Use library books to learn more about the desert habitat and the animals.

Materials needed- Library books


  • Review the moral of the story and discuss ways we can strive to finish our goals (picking up toys, sharing, helping others, learning, obeying God...).

  • Plan a course for your child to steadily and quickly carry a ping-pong ball on a spoon (i.e. from the fridge to the dining table). Explain again the importance of "slow and steady" versus "with haste". Add more obstacles to add to the challenge (i.e. step over a small stool, go around the chair, etc.).
Materials needed- Spoons, ping-pong balls (or pom-poms)

More Littles Learning to come, next week our book will be one of our family favorites Bear on a Bike by Stella Blackstone.