Monday, May 09, 2011

Ten good things for homeschoolers

1.  Hold-It.  Or sticky tac, or whatever you call it.  Mama Squirrel has been in love with this stuff ever since first grade, when Mrs. Koenderman used it to hold up word strips and chart stories.

2.  Index cards.  Many uses, including bookmarks, flashcards, Concentration games, vocabulary, and Cuisenaire rod tubes.  (Cut a piece of index card to a 10 cm length and wrap it fairly tightly around an orange rod, trying to crease the edges as you go (to keep the rectangular shape). Secure each end well with tape, and there you go. The purpose of the tubes is to play hidden-rod sorts of games. The simplest version would be to insert two rods that add up to ten, show the child one end of the tube, and ask what colour should appear at the other end. A more complicated version would be to use three (or more) rods, show both ends and ask what is hidden in the middle.)

3.  Children's magazines--cheap ones from yard sales are preferred so that you don't mind marking them up.  Many uses, including reading lessons, finding spelling patterns on a page, circling punctuation, making up a story from a picture, and cutting out pictures.

4.  Cassette player and blank tapes.  Scrounge one from a yard sale or older friend, and get someone who's electronically gifted to clean, replace and make it work.  Many uses, including narrations, memorization help, and interviews.

5.  Sidewalk chalk.  Turn your driveway into a blackboard.

6.  Kitchen timer.  For more than cookies.

7.  3-prong folders.  Cheap binding for e-texts.

8.  3-hole punch, to go with #7.

9.  Manila folders.  Besides holding things, you can use them as storyboards and charts, print out all kinds of file-folder games, and re-fold them to make triangular stand-up signs.

10.  Pens...for the teacher!  Get some sort that are easily distinguishable from those used by the students--then you can cheerfully round them up when they stray.  The Squirrelings gifted Mama Squirrel with some nice striped, patterned, and funky ones in an Easter basket.

11.  A bonus for reading to the end:  a very large piece of light-coloured felt, for making a felt board.  Mama Squirrel has been downright shocked at the prices listed in teachers' catalogues for self-adhesive felt-board material.  All you need is one big piece of felt, some safety pins, and something big and flat to wrap the felt around.  A TV tray or a lightweight board will do.  Or an old kid's chalkboard.  Wrap the felt around and pin it across the back with the safety pins.  If you don't even have a board, use the felt on a table or lay it across the back of a couch.  Or hang it from the edge of a table.  Or tack it to the wall, or to a big box like  a toy box.  (I don't think Hold-It will work here, you'll need real tacks, and don't let little kids get them.  If you have littles around, you might prefer Velcro or strong tape.)


Kat said...

Love it, great list! :)

My boys, ages 11 and 6, love children's magazines. Since they aren't in our budget most of the time, they are a great thing to ask for as gifts. They get Highlights, Top Secret Adventures, National Geographic Kids and Ranger Rick/Your Big Back Yard (these are National Wildlife Federation and they have different mags for different ages). Family is always happy to continue these subscriptions for the boys, which works out well for me. :)

Again, loved the list! Now off to work on that fabulous felt board... :)

An accidental homeschooler who eventually realized it was the best “accident” of her life!

angie said...

Doesn't it seem like you're a warehouse sometimes, stockpiling supplies against the inevitable spring/summer period when all you have is a pile of worn out, tiny pencils?

Great list. Fall time is full of the wonder and excitement of stockpiling supplies. I should take your list with me. :)

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