Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Curriculum Extension Material

We have completed the first two terms of home schooling while running the Sima Design business and we have loved the flexibility. She is enthusiastically wanted to home-school again next year so I guess we have been doing OK! The tornado sirens were going off yesterday as the parents were lining up to pick up their child from the public school down the street and the thunderheads were rolling in. I sat back with a hot cup of tea and thought- scored 10 points for home school today! Weather is certainly not the reason we have embarked on this crazy journey- but yesterday it did pop up on the list.

One thing that I have loved being able to do outside of the brick and mortar school is curriculum extension work. We did a little of this while doing public school but I was more removed from the curriculum so it was more difficult to tell where they needed help or where we needed to adapt the material to speak to their particular learning style. Our additional challenge was staying in a budget with our learning tools that could be used for both 4th grade and pre-school. That is one tall order. Here are my top three add-ons for this year that have stayed in budget and kept us on track loving at-home learning.

1. Thistle Blocks
Remember these? They are so hard to find these days in battery powered toy store aisles filled with television and movie character  sponsored nonsense. These have been awesome from a pre-school manipulative point of view for counting and sorting and are easy to for little hands to put together. We have loved them as an extension tool in mathematics for the older one when discussion division, grouping, and number line concepts. They also make a great study break and sculpture tool in art and we have been able to do a couple of projects using it for the older one when discussing architecture utilizing symmetry.

2. Connecting Disks
Way within budget and we have loved these since seeing and playing with them at our local Children's Science Museum. These are a great late-preschool manipulative toy and for the older child they exercise that imaginative play button we sometimes forget about when teaching grade school. She has great fun creating new sculptures and setting out windmill cities using the blocks. The preschooler is fascinated with every "motorcycle" she builds for him. Basic battery free creative fun. The additional bonus is the pieces are large enough that they are easy to put away and not so small as to get vacuumed up accidentally.

3. The Pocket Chart
I know this one doesn't look as fun as the others but we really have gotten so much out of it and I loved the price. Most of the others I found at the local school supply store felt flimsy or were way outside of my price range- I guess they were targeting institutional buyers or something. They also seemed to require a different pocket chart for each activity- this one is versatile and works with out own made-up sets or fantastically priced sets that are made to work with the chart. This one has suited us this year. We have used it to make our own flashcards for the older child and for the younger one we love setting up rhyming pairs, colors, shapes, and simple words and have even made up our own matching games. Plus you can hang it up OR sit it on a tabletop. Perfecto. Here are a few sets that match the chart (and all under $10!):
Numbers and Counting Pocket CardsRhyming Pair Pocket Words, Alphabet Pocket Words, Colors and Shapes, and finally Sequencing Pocket Cards.

There are so many others- just search "Excellerations" on the Discount School Supply website and you will be amazed at all of the classroom quality items you can pick up for extension schooling or homeschooling!

Did I mention a discount code? Use promotion code RED2013 by Jan 30 and take 15% off of your craft supplies ;)

256534_Save 15% Now During Our Annual Red Sale - 15% Off Everything Red in Arts & Crafts At! Click Here!

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