Thursday, August 28, 2014

Five Favorites (Back to School Edition)

Heather hosts Five Favorites now!  You know Heather, right?  Of course you do!  So do I... she's a friend in real life and in living color (and she sure is colorful, let me tell you!)  I'm linking up with said friend because I love her, and let's be honest - who can resist a good old Back to School anything?  Not me!  This is my time of year!  And, I mean, she mentioned me in her Five Favorites list thereby prompting me to panic about the "you scratch my back I'll scratch your back"  subtleties of blogging, only to realize one second later that Heather and I are friends and are way too cool and mature to fall prey to that sort of thing ;)  

So here are some of my favorite things to use in our little one room school house that are not books (because ohhhhhhhhh you know I love books and there's no need to write a whole other post about that right now...)

Five Favorites for Homeschool That Are Not Books or Curriculum


I might have this laminator even if we didn't homeschool, but I can't even begin to tell you how awesome it's been for flashcards, and DIY dry erase worksheets, and just protecting stuff that I don't want ruined.  Besides making flashcards nearly indestructible, one of the best things I've used this for has been my chore board magnet system - the kids know what they need to do each morning, they move the magnet when it's done, and the magnet stays in tact because - hard melted plastic:

used to do this with lessons to, but have a different system underway this year...


Melissa & Doug Write-a-Mat place mat: 
United States Presidents

Last year the boys memorized all the American presidents (to the tune of Yankee Doodle).  They would sing or say the list and ask, "Mom, was that right?" and though I have a Master of Arts in American history, I was never quite able to say "yes" or "no" with certainty.  I bought the place mat for $2 at the grocery store and learned the song.   It's been up in our dining room ever since.    


I've mentioned this before, but last year we discovered chalk pastels and really enjoyed learning how to use them.  This year we are going to get some more practice in using Tricia Hodges/Lucia Hames' book A Simple Start in Chalk Pastels.  

Here's a Monet copy-cat project the kids did with pastels last year:


Mason Jars

If you are not currently using mason jars for 50% of your homeschool storage needs, you may need an organizational makeover.  (The other 50% of your storage should be in the form of the best baskets in the world - click on THIS LINK and check out number 2 to see how I use the baskets for all the homeschool stuff that won't fit in a mason jar.

Mason jars are my go-to storage solution for science magnets, magnifying glasses, math counting stones, pencils, scissors, bits of chalk, glue sticks, and the cut flowers we sometimes have on the table.  And Mom's elixir of life - the afternoon iced coffee...


Like-minded Friends on the Same Crazy Ridiculous Awesome Journey

I don't think I could survive homeschooling in a vacuum.  An essential "favorite" for me and I think any homeschooling family is support - other families who are doing similar stuff, have a similar world view and similar desires for their kids.  I'm so grateful to have those friends here.  The past two Tuesdays, I've had the joy of spending the mornings with twelve amazing moms and 38+ fabulous kids at a local creek.  Splashing and socializing, conversation and crayfish.  A supportive community for myself, fun and edifying friends for my kids - definitely some of the most important tools for the start of a successful homeschool year :)

Don't forget to head over to Mama Knows, Honeychild to hear Heather dish on some of her back-to-school favorites :)


  1. That's a seriously big and wonderful support group!:)

  2. Love me some mason jars! Be honest, does that afternoon coffee really wake you up? :)

  3. I love mason jars, too. I have them in my bathroom, in the kitchen, in the school area, as vases...


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