11 Tips to Set a Homeschool Routine for Success

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11 Tips to Set up a Homeschool Routine for Success

 

Fact 1: homeschool provides freedom to have your own schedule…

However,

Fact 2: when there is no routine, everyone and everything is all over the place which may lead to chaos. 

Many times friends and family ask me “how do you homeschool when you have 4 children?!?! You must be very organized!”- they tell me. Well, in a sense, I am organized when it comes to the routine I have set up for our homeschool based on what I see are the needs and goals of our homeschool.  I look at our needs and goals and see (and pray a lot!) on what we can do to achieve those goals. 

Recently I read in a book by Rachel Carman where she stated the importance in planning and setting up a routine for success in your homeschool.

Because after all, we are people of habits!!!

We strive with routine. Children, especially, strive when they know what is expected of them. Children and adults do well with routine, clear expectations, and everyone does better when they know what they are supposed to be doing. 

Therefore it is very important that we set up a homeschool routine for success! It takes a little bit of planning on our part and going the extra mile, but with prayer and dedication, you will see your work paying off when your homeschool week goes smoothly! 

 

11 Steps to Set Up a Homeschool Routine for Success

 

1. Set a Weekly Theme – what is a common theme in your lessons / read loud for the common week. Look through your homeschool books and see what the the unit will be about. What is one aspect that is tied into your lessons? What is an animal/place/thing that your children became interested in? Use what you see as a common theme to tie into different subjects. For example, our math book had a travel theme for a unit, so each day we talked about a different country based on what was presented on the book.

2. Plan read alouds – Set a time in your week for read alouds at the table over a yummy snack, poetry tea-time, or snuggling on the couch.  Set a goal to read a book over a week’s time, then choose a new book for the following week. Imagination Station or Magic Tree House series have books that can be easily correlated to a theme.

In our bilingual homeschool, we have two main read alouds: one in Spanish and one in English. Plus many other books we read throughout the day on varied subjects. 

In our history curriculum at the very beginning of the year, we studied about the Vikings: who they were and their travels. This book by Imagination Station was so fun to read while adding a living book element to our history lessons. This book is the first one in the series. As soon as we finished the first one, my kids were ready to continue with book 2.

Most, if not all, Magic Tree House books have been translated into Spanish. The books are very easy to read, the children are able to follow them well. If you feel you would like to read them in Spanish but are hesitant about comprehending the text, pick up a copy in English. Read a chapter in both languages to help you guide the discussion and pick up vocabulary the kids might need further assistance.

Overall, I have been very pleased with using Imagination Station and Magic Tree House series for read alouds. Both series are quite engaging, quick to read, easy to follow. I really like the non-fiction elements included throughout the stories. Very much like a living book.

Magic Tree House has been my go to series for reading chapter books in Spanish. My kids have enjoyed them very much to the point that whenever they find a Magic Tree House book, they always request it to be in Spanish.

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 Voyage with the Vikings (AIO Imagination Station La casa del árbol # 13 Vacaciones

3. YouTube Time: Take advantage of YouTube and travel around the world, visit museums, farms, learn about a new animal, etc. Tell your children to come up with a question or two each on something they really want to know about the weekly theme. Use this time to look up videos on YouTube that could help answer the questions.  Then write a sentence or two as a follow up activity.  Have some fun and learn something new together!

Related: These are some of our favorite YouTube channels in Spanish that we like to watch. 

4. Nature Walk and Nature Journalying – Set a time for the week when you plan on going outside for a walk. Pick a day of the week that you intently go outside and observe animals, trees, bugs, etc. See this post with ideas on additional books and supplies for a nature walk that could help expand on this activity. Perhaps even use your Spanish during this activity. Go on a language Scavanger Hunt around your neighborhood. 

5. Pick a Bible Verse for the Week– Pick a verse from a book like Psalms or Proverbs and read it every day. You may work at memorizing it or you may simply just talk about this verse daily. Take it a step forward and use it for copywork! We like to memorize a verse in Spanish to practice throughout the week.  They each recite it at the end of the week. 

Also use this verse to talk about vocabulary, attributes of God, and life applications. 

6. Set a loop schedule –  A loop schedule consists of a set of subjects that are taught every day in no particular order but that are completed daily. I am of the opinion that certain subjects should be taught every day such as Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Bible, and Spanish.  There are other subjects and activities that I assign to a few days of the week like History twice a week even though it tends to happen more throughout the week which is great when it happens. We do Geography every day so that is also part of our loop schedule. 

7. Chores – Part of our homeschool routine is to complete chores around the house. It teaches responsibility and basic entrepreneurship skills.  Children receive an allowance for their completed work. Then they get to divide their money into three areas of money management: give, save, spend.

I strongly recommend reading this book by Dave Ramsey to teach money management skills from a young age.

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 Smart Money Smart Kids: Raising the Next

8. Cooking – Cooking is a regular activity my children do throughout the week. Since a very young age, they each have been involved in helping with a meal like getting the ingredients, helping find a recipe, mixing and stirring, peeling, etc. There is so much of the Spanish language my children have learned from cooking with me!!! We take time to study about eating healthy and read books that will enhance our understanding of food. We also watch cooking videos in Spanish to get an authentic input of Spanish language.  

Learning to cook is just as important as learning math or science. It is a life skill that will save them money someday when they know how to shop and what ingredients to get to be able to cook themselves a meal. My children have enjoyed cooking, they look forward to our time spent in the kitchen just as much as our read aloud time!  I am quite fond of this =online course that teaches children how to cook basic meals, how to use an instanpot safely, how to use knives, and how to try to eat varied foods. Cooking is so much fun and allows them to become more creative and develop problem solving skills!  

9. Extra-curricular: Any classes, activities that you have signed up your child outside of home. It could be music lessons, sports, art, language classes, additional tutoring, etc.

10. Co-Op: A once a day when children attend classes with other children. If you are in a season of hygge, use this time to connect with a smaller group at your own home. 

11. Devotional – Grow together as a family when you gather to read the Bible and present your requests and praises to God.  These have been my go-to devotionals for my children. I have yet to find a devotional book for them in Spanish. 

Having a personal devotional book, allows each person to have some quiet time where they can read, reflect, pray, and interact with the text. When we gather for discussion, we take turns sharing about what we read.

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 God and Me! Devotions for Girls Ages Gotta Have God: Ages 6-9 His Mighty Warrior: A Treasure Map from 

 

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11 Tips to Set up a Homeschool Routine for Success

 

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Our Life Giving Table Fall Edition Inspired by Sally Clarkson’s New Book The Life Giving Table

Our Life Giving TableFall Edition

As a homeschooling family, much time is spent gathered around our dinner table. It is the place where we eat, yes, but it is so much more than that.

Our dinner table is the place where we do school, make crafts – even messy ones, the place where my kids get to help cook different meals, the place where we read and paint.

Our dinner table is the place where many of our family memories are being made.

The fondest memories are made when gathered around the table

Our table is scratched, stained with different colors of oil paint and it is okay with us. We realize this is just a season in our lives. Someday, we may have a new table with zero scratches and perfectly looking wood. However, the fact that my table is the way it is signifies that it is loved by a group of people.  I would not have it any other way. 

As we spend even more time around the table, I am going to delve into Sally Clarkson’s new book, The Life Giving Table. She is such a candid, well-spoken, sincere woman. I look forward to her new book and learning more ways about to make my table more Giving than it already is. 

Sally Clarkson’s book, The Life Giving Table, is an inspiration to make the most of the time we spend gathered around this wooden table. Her book is inspiring us to grow, to connect, and to invest our time during meals into more than eating food, but to be together as a family where many of our memories are being made.

Her book also comes with a companion book to help digest the content of her book into applicable lessons.

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The Lifegiving Table: Nurturing Faith through Feasting,The Lifegiving Table: Nurturing Faith through Feasting,The Lifegiving Table Experience: A Guided JourneyThe Lifegiving Table Experience: A Guided Journey

In some ways, my dining table makes me think of the book The Giving TreeOur table gives, gives, and gives. This is the place where gather to make memories, to pray, to read our Bibles, where we have conversations, where we work hard to edify one another. Our table is the place where we put our phones away to just be with one another. 

As we enjoy meals, read books, take pictures, spend time together, our table is the place where our fondest memories are being made to last a lifetime.  Research also shows that families that eat together are healthier and closer. Children who have a healthy experience around the table are also healthier adults later on in life. 

The table is a place to cherish one another, build each other up, engage in conversation, hear jokes, hear about each other’s day, ask questions, answer questions. 

The table is the place to be together. 

The table is the place to be united.

The table is the place to grow in love. 

The table is the place to grow closer together as a family and closer to God. The maker of all things. 

 

What is your Life Giving Table like? Will you be reading Sally Clarkson’s new book? Let me know in the comments. 

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Homemade Pumpkin Yogurt – Two Recipe Alternatives

 

Pumpkin Pie Yogurt Recipe

I fell in love with everything Pumpkin flavored some years ago when I first tried Pumpkin Pie. It was so new to me. I never had anything pumpkin flavored in Chile. It was not a popular flavor. In the United States, however, as soon as September hits, everything and I mean EVERYTHING is pumpkin flavor.  There are cereals, desserts, foods, coffee, candy…everything that you can think is more than likely available in pumpkin. 

My table also looks very Fall-sy, Fall-ish, Otoñal, Autumn-ish. The decoration in our home is also representative of Fall: pumpkins, sunflowers, yellows, oranges, and brown.  More about my Fall table on this post: My Life Giving Table – Fall Edition.

Pumpkin Table Fall Decor Life Giving Table

 

Usually for snack time, when time permits, I like to make a special snack for the afternoon to go along with our read aloud time.  This time I made Pumpkin Yogurt with banana slices, because we always so many that need to be used up, and crumbled Graham Crackers. 

 

The process to make this Pumpkin Yogurt was very simple. Too easy, if I may say so.  We had some vanilla yogurt and added pumpkin puree, a bit of cinnamon, and blended the ingredients in our Ninja blender. In the meantime, my children got some Graham Crackers in a ziploc bag to crumble the crackers. Another one cut up some banana slices to garnish the Pumpkin Yogurt. 

You may also like this recipe: Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie Recipe 

As you can see, the process was very simple and it was delicious. As I was trying to write down the recipe that day, my children asked for more, so it took quite a while until I was able to sit down again to write down the recipe.  Can we still call it a recipe? You tell me.  Go ahead and make it. Let me know how you like it! 

 

Ingredients to make Pumpkin Yogurt using Flavored Yogurt 

 

  • Vanilla Yogurt
  • Banana slices
  • Pumpkin Puree
  • Cinnamon
  • Graham Crackers

 

Steps to make Pumpkin Yogurt

 

Blend yogurt, pumpkin puree, and cinnamon until desired consistency. Serve, Top it with banana slices and crumbled Graham Crackers.  

Enjoy!!!!

 

Ingredients to make Pumpkin Yogurt using Plain Yogurt 

 

Pumpkin Pie Yogurt Recipe

 

Blend yogurt, pumpkin puree, and frozen bananas until desired consistency. This way you will have a natural sweetener (the bananas), your yogurt will be mostly natural flavors this way. Very healthy. 

 

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 Teaching a Handicraft to Children: Sewing for Young Children – Charlotte Mason style

How to Sew Pumpkins the easy way a children handicraftactivity

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Gift Guide for the Nature Loving Child

 

 

Nature Study is a VERY important component of our eclectic homeschool. We enjoy spending time outside, walking, observing plants, bugs, trees, leaves, etc.  God’s Creation is so beautiful and intrinsic; there is always something new to learn about outside.

Charlotte Mason hit the nail on the head when she coined that children should spend time outside playing, in nature, observing, LEARNING from nature. 

Since even before we officially began to homeschool, we had spent time outside just in nature. Sometimes walking a trail, other times even in the backyard observing the plants that are in our home. 

My advice to you is to become familiar with the flora and fauna you have in your area. Visit natural museums or look up books about your state’s nature. Palm trees are local to Florida whereas Michigan has willow trees and pine trees everywhere. Take advantage of those geographical differences to discover and learn about nature right where you are.  

 

 

 

 

 

So many times when going on nature walks, we stop to observe tiny caterpillars or worms. The kids wish we could take them home to continue observing them. This Bug Catcher and Viewer helps us transport the bug to our garden to continue our observations. This set comes with an Insect Magnifier, a Catcher, and 2 tweezers to pick up bugs without actually touching them.

We have found that using a Bug-Catching Net is really useful for catching butterflies, look at, and release. Sometimes we snap a quick picture of it, or another insect, to read about in the book Caterpillars, Bugs and Butterflies: Take-Along Guide (Take Along Guides) . 

This Outdoor Set for Kids – Binoculars, Flashlight, Compass & Magnifying Glass is actually in my wish list. It is a very complete set that would be great to use when going on a hike, so the kids could bird watch from a distance through the binoculars. They could also use the compass for finding the direction we are walking while looking at a map.  

Books for the Nature Loving Child and Books for Nature Study

Books for Nature Study

 

  1. The Nature Connection: An Outdoor Workbook for Kids, Families, and Classrooms

  2. Nature Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of the Natural World (Julia Rothman)

  3. Trees, Leaves & Bark (Take Along Guides)

  4. The Burgess Bird Book For Children 

  5. The Burgess Animal Book for Children

  6. The Berenstain Bears’ Big Book of Science and Nature (Dover Children’s Science Books) 

Games for Nature Study

  1. Outdoor nature scavenger hunt card game for families

  2. Bug Bingo 

Nature study is a natural way of learning and appreciating the world around us. It also raises consciousness in caring for everything around us like animals and plants.

Go ahead and go to your backyard to enjoy, discover, and learn about what surrounds you!

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Homeschooling and Preparing for a Hurricane in the Same Week

Little did we know this week we would be preparing for Hurricane Irma, right after watching out and praying for our friends in Texas who endured Hurricane Harvey a week ago. 

Irma looks massive. So many people have left. So many people are staying. The streets are quiet, all shelves are pretty much empty with a few exceptions here and there. Most people have been pretty calm out on the street, which is great. People have been lining up for water, facebook groups have served as a means to share information and encouragement for those who are new to hurricanes. 

I keep on hearing this is the first time people have seen such a massive hurricane about to hit Tampa. This is the first time we have witnessed fellow friends having to evacuate from Clearwater and St. Petersburg area. 

While we are here at home, waiting, watching the news, homeschooling, we have also been preparing to face the hurricane. 

First of all, we are praying. Praying hard the hurricane will loose strength and for people’s safety. 

Secondly, we have been taking the necessary precautions to be ready for Hurricane Irma. 

 

Hurricane Essentials to Have at Home – Home Preparedness Kit in case of Emergency

 

The light can be used as a lantern when expanded or as a flashlight when compacted, making it a dual-purpose light. It also works for charging cell phones, using as a flashlight. It can charged with batteries, electricity, or SOLAR in case of power outages.
It is very light. Very easy to use. Just got it out of the box, plugged in, and that’s it.

I am glad we got it because it can help us charge our cell phones. It comes with a USB cord to charge, or it can get charged solarly. This light is VERY bright, it will light up a whole big room. It also has a button that allows you to set an intermittent light in case of emergency to let others know you need help. You can also use the energy from this lamp to charge a cell phone.  We are really happy with this purchase! 

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Suaoki Led Camping Lantern Lights Rechargeable BatterySuaoki Led Camping Lantern Lights Rechargeable Battery

We got this large Brita water filter that comes with a dispenser. It yields 18 cups. We got this so we can filter tap water. The filter comes with it. Be sure to grab extra filters

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Brita 18 Cup UltraMax Water Dispenser withBrita 18 Cup UltraMax Water Dispenser with

This is a item we are going to be getting. I keep seeing to put important documents in the dishwasher, but honestly, i think having a water proof case is the best option for permanent storage.

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Fireproof Money & Document Bag By DocuSafeFireproof Money & Document Bag By DocuSafe

This is another item we will be getting to have for next season. Gas lines can be very long (or short!), but the scarcity of gas may make it more difficult to contemplate evacuating on short notice. I actually saw some people filling up their gas cans and thought that was really impressive. So definitely adding this item to my list to get ready for next hurricane season!

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Briggs & Stratton 85053 5-Gallon Gas CanBriggs & Stratton 85053 5-Gallon Gas Can

In case of any emergency, I strongly recommend having a first-aid kit at home. We have one from Ikea, but if you don’t have a store you, this kit from Amazon looks just as good. it comes with 299 pieces. This is also really easy to pack and store in a suitcase in case of evacuation.

First Aid Only All-purpose First Aid Kit,First Aid Only All-purpose First Aid Kit,

Homeschooling the Week of Hurricane Watch

 

Make a hurricane out of cardstock – draw a spiral on paper. The small spiral will be at the center which will become the “eye” of the hurricane.  Really simple, great activity.

Notebooking – We watched a few YouTube videos and then the children did some notebooking in which they wrote in a sentence what is a hurricane, then they drew a picture. 

Discuss Safety Measures – Where to go? What to do? Listen to phone alarms, check weather reports. 

Write down lists – This was so important!!! 

  • Things to pack
  • Things to purchase 
  • Priorities 

Most importantly, we discussed the importance of keeping CALM. In times when things go out of the norm, it is very important to pray, have a plan, and stay calm.  God will guide our steps, every step of the way. 

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

Psalm 119:106

 

Trust in God, above all. 

 

Keep safe. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Books in Spanish to Teach Feelings and Emotions

Books to Teach

 

This post contains affiliate links. The Bilingual Homeschooler might receive compensation upon a purchase through one of the links in this post at not extra cost to you. Thank you! Gracias! 

 

From a very young age, children learn about their emotions. They understand they feel something and may very well act on it. As they grow, they will be learning how to identify their emotions as well as learning how to process them.  If you are a bilingual teacher or if you are teaching Spanish to young children, I recommend the following books to teach the emotions in Spanish

 

El Monstruo de Colores

This book will give clues in colorful pictures for children to be able to learn and identify their emotions. This book does really well with young children. A must have in a Spanish library.

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El monstruo de colores (Spanish Edition)El monstruo de colores (Spanish Edition)

The English version of this book illustrates common emotions as happiness, sadness, anger, fear, and calmness. This book gently encourages young children to open up with parents, teachers, and daycare providers about their feelings. Kids will LOVE the bright illustrations and amazing 3-D pop-ups on every page!

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The Color Monster: A Pop-Up Book ofThe Color Monster: A Pop-Up Book of

Asi Me Siento Yo

 

Picture book filled with illustrations on a variety of feelings.

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Así me siento yo (Spanish Edition)Así me siento yo (Spanish Edition)

 

Alexander y el Dia Terrible, Horrible, Espantoso, Horroroso: Spanish Edition

 

This book is FAVORITE in English and I am so glad to have found a Spanish edition. The best part of this story is that it puts the names of emotions into context making it easier for Spanish Language Learners to really learn the names of the emotions and know how to use them in context. Great book to have in your Spanish library!

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Alexander Y El Día Terrible, Horrible, Espantoso,Alexander Y El Día Terrible, Horrible, Espantoso,

 

What books would you add to this list? 

 

Other Book Lists in Spanish that might interest you: 

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Back to School Shopping List – Homeschool Edition

School Supplies

This post contains affiliate links. 

My favorite section to shop is school supplies. LOVE it!!! My type A personality wants to plan and make sure I have everything needed to keep things running smoothly in our homeschool. Some school supplies we have to purchase every year, sort of like consumable workbooks; other things we have bought once, having worked so well, we haven’t had to purchase a new one. 

Since my children are still young, the list is focused on school supplies geared towards preschool and elementary age students. 

RelatedResources to Teach and Learn about the Human Body in Homeschool inspired by Charlotte Mason, Classical Education, Montessori. Spanish Materials included.

I am only recommending what has worked for us or plan on getting based on reviews and friends comments. Hope you find this list helpful!

Yearly Homeschool Supply Materials  – 

Dixon Ticonderoga Wood-Cased #2 HB Pencils, Box of 96 

Ticonderoga pencils are pretty much the B.E.S.T. They sharpen really well and they write well. Most my teacher friends recommend them as well.  We got the 96 ct box. We may have some pencils to last us through all elementary school! 

Everything Crayola: coloring pencils, markers (thin and thick), crayons. This Crayola pack for K-2 is pretty neat.  Thinking about adding these Watercolor Tube Artist this year, also. 

We like to go on Nature Walks, following Charlotte Mason’s philosophy that children should spend time observing nature. This set comes with 2 pads so it is perfect. You can also find it at Jo-Ann and get it with a coupon for an additional discount. I think they sell them as a single book there, though. The spiral makes it really easy for the kids to turn pages and draw their leaf and write down their observations. 

This is the journal my kids use for writing their creative stories and drawing a picture. They also have this one that we use for copywork or to write down their spelling words. It works great for dictation as well. 

We use A LOT of paper!!!! So I keep printing paper on hand that we use for lapbooks, notebooking, or writing additional things that we then cut and glue to our notebooks.  This box comes with 1,500 sheets which lasts a while even though we use it so much! 

For colored printing paper, Astrobrights has the best deal on Amazon. I use it for printing memory verses, color coding memory work, signs for our homeschool area, etc. It is very useful! We save a lot of ink by printing on colored paper.

Mom – Homeschool Mom Teacher Needs

The very first thing I bought for our homeschool was a laminator. I use it ALL the time. It saves me time from going to the store to get stuff laminated. It is very convenient for laminating memory verses, signs for our classroom, phonics cards, syllable cards, and so many other things that we use on a regular basis. It makes them last so much longer, that way I don’t have to print the same papers over and over. My laminator is so old, it is no longer online but this one has really good reviews and a lot of moms say the use it. 

If you get a laminator, be sure to grab a package of laminating sheets

Another investment we made right at the beginning was purchasing a printer. Are you familiar with the site Teachers Pay Teachers? Well, you can download SOOO many activities, guides, resources for teaching your own children! If I need a novel guide for a book, I just go there and get one. In less than 5 minutes I have a file and printed in my hands! Printers that use toner will go a long way!!! Amazon has toner made by off brand that are compatible with most printers. You can get toner for as low as $20! Check the reviews before purchasing to make sure you are getting a good product. 

Brother makes GREAT printers, also. Check this one

Tip: To find off brand toner, search “Toner compatible with __________” fill in with the brand and model number of your printer. 

Pencil Sharpener – where do I begin? Hmm we bought 3 last year. We got an electric one that didn’t work well. The X-acto one has great reviews and a lot of my friends use it. My ideal sharpener is this one…just can’t install it right now. Someday, though, we will get this metal manual pencil sharpener

Sheet Protectors – I keep them in stock for keeping papers we will be using in our portfolio assessment review.

File folders and hanging files useful for sorting lessons, activity pages, and additional resources.

Binders for portfolio evaluations and a binder for my morning meeting / homeschool organization.

RelatedHow to Organize ABeka Assignments for the Year

Last, but not least, a planner. Somewhere to write down all the appointments, get togethers, information of co-ops, friends’ birthday parties, lesson plans, logs, etc.

 

Supplies from Dollar Tree

 

Clipboards – very useful!!! We use it for holding paper to trace maps or for drawing.

  Shop For Pencils, Markers, Pads and Other Crafts Today! Only $1 Each!

Educational posters, although other stores like Michaels are carrying a good selection. 

 

Hope you found this list helpful and at a convenient time to help you plan and get ready for a new school year. If you have any suggestions, please let me know in the comments below. 

Have a wonderful day, 

Fabi

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