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As a homeschool family we never actually leave school. Everyday life is learning and it has really become part of our family culture and lifestyle. I love when my kids seek out learning in their environments. Then we research together to find answers to their questions. Throughout the summer we have continued with lessons just without our set schedule.
However, back to school is still super exciting to us! My littles totally dig their structured school days and have been asking when we start class again for the last month. Of course we take advantage of the great deals right now and start stocking our classroom. We all have a certain excitement about opening a crisp new notebook for the year. And having perfectly sharpened colored pencils is a thing of beauty! So every year we create our home classroom together as an official start to a new school year.
Creating Our Home Classroom with Oriental Trading
This year we had the super sweet opportunity to collaborate with Oriental Trading to supply our home classroom with all kinds of great goodies. From classroom decor to curriculum supplies, they have everything you need to set up your own in home classroom. Even before we officially began homeschooling we would make a little learning area in our playroom. SO you don’t have to be a homeschooler to set up a family learning spot! Plus, with Oriental Trading you can go as extravagant or simple as you want.
I could spend hours just perusing their site looking for teaching supplies. Okay, I admit I DO spend hours looking up items for curriculum ideas. And I always seem to come up with new teaching ideas and inspiration as I see different items. We do a lot of Montessori inspired learning and we have found great materials that don’t break the bank. And we also appreciate the pre curated learning items, they are zero work for me to put together and that is great! Also, my oldest has also enjoyed finding works she wants to do and picking her own learning materials. It gives her a sense of ownership over her learning for the year. So together we came up with some great ideas for creating our home classroom this year and we are excited to share a few winners!
Great Finds & 3 Simple Works
There were a few stand out activities we came up with to start our school year. Because we have a mixed age classroom we get to create lots of different learning activities or “works.” And we like to work all together. So creative ways to learn concepts that are accessible to many learning levels are our jam.
- Spelling Threads: Using a book of commonly used words we write a word on a tag. Then we thread the letter beads of that word onto a string. The student is able to sound out the letters as they thread them and move them around as necessary. Also, threading teaches hand eye coordination and the pincher grip to improve writing. This activity has been great to increase spelling vocabulary, sight words, letter sounds, and handwriting practice.
- Science Categories: This was a pre-made curriculum we found on Oriental Trading but my kids thought it was super cool. It is a sorting activity about states of matter. They are magnetic so we have done this activity on the fridge and our work rugs. They have pictures for Solids, Liquids, & Gases and you sort them accordingly. It was a great way to begin discussion about matter. It also converts well into chemistry activities about reactions with baking soda and vinegar.
- Nature Paper: We used this activity as an art project and it is a great option to teach scientific reactions. Because the paper reacts to the sun and leaves the shadow of the leaf or other item you place on top. It is sort of magical! You can use this art project as a way to create a field study and have your student write what they notice before, during, and after in the process. A total winner at our house.
Everyone was really excited about these three works and they were super easy to put together. Each of the kiddos took something different from each work. And they were all submerged and active in their learning. What fun ideas do you do as a family to promote a learning lifestyle?