Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Our February Morning Basket with Shakespeare & St. Valentine

This post contains Amazon affiliate links for your convenience!

What our February Basket Looked Like! 



It's the month of Romance, Non?  We can hardly think of February without a single thought of pink and red hearts, candy, teddy bears, and a literal explosion of Valentine's paraphernalia wherever we go. So how can we Educators get away from that typical vibe and celebrate the month with more meaning? 


Skipping the Pink Hearts & Conversation Candies 

First, let's look at the man responsible for countless Sonnets of love and Plays of love stories.  The William Shakespeare. Now I will admit, this was hard to wrap my head around when I was in school many years ago, but today we have so so many options for making Shakespeare fun for kids! Scroll down to see how we plan to add this man to our Morning Basket!

Second, St. Valentine himself.  It wouldn't be right to skip any mention of him. We often forget that our traditional holidays are always based on something much older, have a deep history, and are worthy of a yearly reminder. 
I've found a few resources about St. Valentine to add to your MB, but some might be better suited for older children while others are for younger children. 

In the event you are not keen on sharing resources with religious backgrounds, there are plenty of secular books for children about Valentine's Day at Barnes & Noble and Amazon. 

Morning Basket Contents




For our Reading: 


DVDS: 

  • Romeo & Juliet (I'd opt for an older version)
  • William Shakespeare, Bard of Avon (I recommend checking your library for this)

Crafts: 

 




Games: 






Adding Fun: 

The Usborne Pop-Up Theater







Facebook: www.facebook.com/underthedreamingwillowtree
Instagram: @wewouldratherbereading  

Miss last week's post? Head over here to see what NEW TOOL we added to our homeschool days!! It's GENIUS! 





Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Grade & Progress Tracking


"Growing up in my home at times was a big pain. Why? Because my dad always made me take responsibility for everything in my life." - Sean Covey, Author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens

A parent is always struggling with ways to get their children to listen, take responsibility, and be helpful. I know this like I know how to drink water. You can do it but sometimes it isn't very graceful. Sigh... 

As a homeschool parent of three, I can honestly tell you we have struggled and struggled some more- trying to get our kids to keep track of their work. It literally blows my mind how my teenage son still manages to misplace assignments. Y'all...I'm not even kidding. 

During one of my down moments, like most moms, I was scrolling through facebook when I found a post about logging grades, stopped, and checked out why this one would be so different. We have tried planners, fancy ones at that, interactive stickers, and cute stamps..all to get the kids to keep track of their work. I know I don't have to tell you how imperative it is, that our homeschoolers be able to work on their own a little right?! 


We need a tool! A smart, time tested but simple way for our children to help us help them. 

 I took a concept that inspired me and designed this simple, yet effective Logbook for each child to use. It is customizable, designable, and puts the responsibility on them everyday, each week, of your school year. It even has a page for YOU, Mom or Dad, to check off where you've been looking too. 


What I think you'll love about these printable books, is the Simplicity as well as the Ability to add more! We are in the day and age where being able to customize an item so it meets our needs better is a driving force behind our productive lives. With this logbook, you can implement a chore chart or reward system, a reading log, reports, and so on! In fact, I've created a FREE Reading Log - Bullet Journal Style, for all of my readers to download! 

To see our Logbook Options, click the graphic above!



Click the Image to Download Yours Today! 

Here's how the Logbook works.. 
  1. Print out your selected book
  2. Copy as many weekly pages as needed for your school year
  3. You'll need to copy the monthly tab page a few times to fit over 10-12 weekly pages. 
  4. Assembly directions are graphically included for your convenience. 
  5. Punch & Bind your book. 
Your child will independently be able to enter their initials, checkmark, or grade as they complete each task. If you didn't do one thing on a certain day, simply x that box out. This book will work for K-12 grades, or even adults if looking for a streamlined way to keep track of tasks!


                                         What's Included: 
                  You'll get a Cover Page, a Keeping Track Page for Yearly Overview, Assignment Pages, Daily Schedule Page (with blanks so you can fill it in), and a Monthly Tab Page. We recommend choosing card stock for your front and back of the book. The order you assemble it, is kind of your preference other than the assignment pages with 
                                                             monthly tab. 

If you don't see a design that matches your needs, email me, and I'll try to create one for your child. 
Questions, Comments, or Suggestions, please let me know! I'd love to hear how our blog or products are being used! 
Follow us on Instagram! @WeWouldRatherBeReading 
Facebook too: facebook.com/underthedreamingwillowtree

Friday, January 11, 2019

The January Morning Basket

This post contain's amazon affiliate links for your convenience.

"I'm Late, I'm Late" said the White Rabbit.  The January Morning Basket post is here! I know we are a quarter of the way in, but life happens. I'm not one of those scheduled bloggers that has material written in advance to post automatically...I'm just a real mom, with real time management struggles. 

I had really put a couple months into planning this basket and it wasn't super easy. Crossing off books that still had a Christmas theme took some time and I don't essentially follow one specific morning plan. With older kids, I'm adapting our reading material to work with everyone. It was also some effort to find specific winter games (not a popular them among games apparently). 

So if you're new to Morning Baskets, and curious what's in them, check out my Morning Basket link here. For the most part, every basket has the same essential items for us such as books, music, art, games, and memory work. However, we change up our memory work, we change the games, we change the music, and most importantly, we change the THEME!  



For January, I chose a Winter Theme. Unfortunately we live in a desert environment where the cool seasons are short lived or skipped altogether. This year, we were lucky enough to see some snow around us for a few days, and making the most of that cozy winter feeling seemed like the best plan! 

❅❄❆❅❄❆❅❄❆❅❄❆❅❄❆❅❄❆❅❄❆❅❄❆❅❄❆❅❄❆❅❄❆❅❄❆❅❄❆❅❄❆❅❄❆❅❄❆

To start, we loosely follow Pam Barnhill's Morning Time Plans, Winter.  Since this is the first time I've picked up the book How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare, we are obviously starting from the beginning and not Chapter 3 or 5.  Secondly, as mentioned above, the books are adjusted for my own children's age levels. Thirdly, we chose to start with Squilt Musics' Baroque Era for our study. (We really do love Squilt Music) The links to these resources are scattered throughout the blog, but if you're specifically looking for something, my email is posted below!

Books



Frozen Wild 
Whale Snow
Sugar White Snow & Evergreens
Snowflake Bentley 
Snowflakes in Photographs
Storm Run 


The Story of Snow
Cold Snap
Snowy Owls
A Snowy Owl Story (board book)
Squirrels New Year's Resolution 
A Warm Winter Tail 
The Tomten & The Fox 



Once Upon a Snowstorm 
Big Tracks, Little Tracks
The Biggest Snowman Ever



True Stories of Polar Adventures
Snow Treasure
Dogsledding 
Owls 
The Long Winter 




Winter of the Ice Wizard
Blizzard of the Blue Moon
Polar Bear Patrol
Penguin Puzzle 








More book ideas in my Winter Basket Idea list, link below. 

Games





Yeti, Set Go!               Snowball Fight                Igloo Mania



Art 
 Chalkpastel.com offers a great selection of Winter art lessons! 

We love these Derwent Pastel Pencils (especially if you don't like getting messy)! You can easily blend with q-tips. 
This Pastel Pad has a great texture for oil pastels and chalk pastels! 










These materials reflect our current use of Chalk Pastel Art lessons. We also have a full art lesson each week with various methods and techniques. Depending on the age of your child, you may or may not need additional lessons. 



For My Complete Winter Basket Idea List, Visit HERE. You will find ideas great for February too! 


Questions, Comments, Links to Resources...whatever you need, I'd love to help! Please comment on on this post or message me here: underthedreamingwillowtree@gmail.com 



Saturday, January 5, 2019

New Year, Time to Find Joy


New Year, New Goals...kind of.  I'm all about some positivity and being realistic. If you asked me a month ago if I was planning any New Year Resolutions, I would've laughed and told you I hadn't even planned the next night's dinner.  Some things, I love to plan. Other things, not so much.  I'm inspired all the time by random things, and as of this week, we were inspired to purge, clean, and reorganize more than just our homeschool room. 


Let me start off with one piece of truth.  The homeschool room isn't even done yet. Lesson planning...not done yet. Papers graded...not completely done yet.  If you are in the same boat, you are welcome to join my club. I'm about 99.9% sure I have adult ADD. Not only that, I'm a MOM and a WIFE. Those two jobs take over everything else.  

So there I was, on Tuesday, minding my own business trying to grade papers, when I heard the tv on in my bedroom (usually never happens).  So "squirrel moment" I go up to see what's going on and my husband is watching a show called Tidying Up. He's telling me a bit about it and I realize I heard a speaker about this last year at Barnes & Noble.  It piqued my interest because I knew it was about a form of decluttering called Konmari.

Fast Forward to a day later and my 8 year old and I are two episodes deep into Tidying Up, before we shut it off and immediately go up to her room. Yes...my baby girl who absolutely hates doing her clothes, WANTED to go up to her room and purge and fold away!!! 



Here's the debrief. We've filled over 10 bags, two bins, and the entire back of my car with things to donate, second filling of the car was to the dumpster, and we aren't even through step 4 yet. My husband highjacked me to help with the garage (bonus-My son gets shop credit for this), so alas...my lesson planning, paper grading plans...still haven't happened. I have to be honest though. Konmari isn't just about decluttering, it's a specific way to think about the items we own, and gives us the ability to search for the need in any item. 

                              
As we step into the second week of January, what I also call my birthday week, I have a few new goals to share. 
1. Ask myself if something I think I want to buy will truly bring me joy. 
2. Don't buy things that won't have a lasting effect. 
3. Continue to use Konmari when cleaning. 
4. Spend more time being Creative. 

"Do More of What Makes You Happy" -Author Unknown


Somewhere, under that buried desk of ours, we have little sparks of joy that haven't been ignited in a long time. Our lives are cluttered with material things, commitments, appointments, schedules, and daily chores. As a Mom, this holiday break has probably been the most refreshing time we've had in months. A few of our commitments came to halt and we could actually have some time to work on the material things that clutter up our life. Moving forward, it's important to find a way to prevent our life from getting so cluttered. 

This picture was taken over our break and a few miles up from where we live. Snow doesn't happen often and we took the opportunity to enjoy it. Even though I didn't always grow up in snow, I've always felt it had a sense of refreshment about it. Coming back down from that mountain was the content feeling that all would be well. 

Many New Year Blessings from Our Family to Yours! 





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