So here we are. Wemonsday, Day one billion and twenty one, month of Marprune, of quarantine from the novel coronavirus. Let’s face it, for the foreseeable future the furthest we’ll be venturing for a “vacation” any time soon is our own backyards. And so, here are some ideas to help you make your backyard more fun.[Read more…] about 10 Ways To Make Your Backyard More Fun On A Budget
In this post I am going to show you how to organize your homeschool with Evernote. At the end of this post I am also sharing a free copy of my Trello board which I now use together with Evernote to plan and organizine our homeschool.
When we were in NJ we were lucky to be limited by very little when it came to homeschooling. We did not have to report with portfolios or make our young people take standardized testing. Not having to “prove” that we were learning certain things at certain times, we had a lot of freedom to let them really follow their passions with learning, delve deeply into things they found interesting, and spend as much time on any given subject that they like.
*Update* We have been homeschooing in PA for about 3 years now (and this baby you see below is now 8!) and although I was terrified at first of the requirements (PA is notiriously difficult to homeschool in, especially when you unschool or self-direct like we do.) but after some deep breaths and a lot of research I definitely found a way to keep to our way of homeschooling and still complete the reporting requirements. If you have questions about how to self-direct or unschool in your homeschool, please reach out to me here and I would be happy to get you started. You can also join our Facebook group, You Can Homeschool.
OK, let’s get back to organizing your homeschool with Evernote.
I started using evernote when my oldest son was 3 1/2 – he has been coming up with up with his own exploration ideas since so having somewhere to keep track of it all is super helpful. Some days it’s hard to keep up with all of his ideas! While I didn’t need to keep a portfolio of our work for reporting purposes (and certainly didn’tt need to at this young of an age) I find that I love journaling these moments of our day.
Benefits of journaling your homeschool with evernote:
- Memories! This is one of the biggest reasons for me. It will be so nice to look back and see all of the ways he was growing and exploring from such a young age-for me and well as for my son (S!).
- This does act as a portfolio should you ever find the need for one. While I don’t need one now, I am sure that at some point my son will need some type of documentation for something and it would be nice to have this already at hand then to have to go back through the years and think of everything we have done.
- Having a journal of passions, interests, and projects helps to inspire and keep on track with works in progress, as well as provides a jumping off point for future projects. In Lori Pickard’s book Project-Based Homeschooling, Mentoring the Self-Directed Learner, I found her idea of hanging photos of recent trips and pictures of your young person working on their projects hanging around their workspace to be very helpful. O often looks at pics of things he was doing and is re-inspired to finish something of gets a shoot-off idea from that.
- It’s a great way to keep track of useful resources that you find and use along the way.
Organizing your homeschool
Now, onto how to keep all this stuff in order. I definitely keep paper artwork (some of course, I literally do not have the space for all of it) and other memorabilia from trips, holidays, ext. As far as daily journaling, to be honest, by the time nighttime rolls around and I would have a chance to sit and handwrite in a journal (or type for that matter) I am so tired and have probably forgotten half of what we have done.
The solution? Evernote. Inspired by this post over at City Kids Homeschooling, I decided to give Evernote a try for journaling and documenting our days.
How to use evernote organize your homeschool:
- Create a notebook
- for each new activity I want to document I create a note within that notebook
- We keep it really simple right now. I have one notebook for all of O’s stuff, and notes from all activities we want to record go in there. Later, I may separate into different notebooks as needed. (I have since added a new notebook for my other son)
- In each note I can quickly add in a picture, a few notes, any links we were using, ect.
Using Evernote to organize my homeschool has a lot of benefits. I now use this in combination with Trello for planning- at the bottom of this post you can download a copy of the trello board I created and use it for planning your homeschool. one of the best things about using Evernote for recording is that it really doesn’t interrupt anything we are doing. In just a few quick minutes (or minute) I can jot this stuff down and be on with it. Later, when I want to organize (which I usually do quarterly, or seasonally) I can sync to my computer and organize away when I have time.
So what do you think? Do you already have an organizing system that works for you or are you still looking for your perfect method?
Grab your free copy of the Trello Board I use to plan my homeschool below!
(make a copy once you open it so you have a clean slate to add your items)
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Ah, mornings. The sun gently beams in, you roll over and stretch, smelling the aroma of fresh coffee, welcoming you to your new day.
Just kidding. You are startled awake by that thing you forgot to do last night and the kids have already asked you 10 questions before your eyes are even fully open. And the coffee pot is So. Far. Away. I’m here to help! I can’t make your coffee for you but I can tell you that adding these 5 things to your nightly homeschool mom routine will bring big change.
You can create a better homeschool mom routine![Read more…] about Homeschool Mom Routine: 5 Things To Do Before Bed To Improve Your Mornings
No matter what we are focusing on learning at the moment, we always have a selection of seasonal books in our home library. Here is a list of my favorite winter books for kids.
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Seasonal books are a great addition to your home library, whether you buy them to keep, r borrow them from your local library, they add an exciting layer to your reading times that helps kids connect with, and learn about the flow of the seasons through nature. In Winter, some of our favorites include books on hibernation, snow, and seasonal changes.
Winter books about hibernation for children
Anything with animals is always a hit with my kiddos. From Amazon: “Kids can bundle up and join award-winning author, illustrator, and naturalist Jim Arnosky as he follows the tracks of otters, beavers, moose, polar bears, killer whales, penguins, fur seals, and other creatures to discover more about their lives during this frigid season. Arnosky’s stunning art includes five magnificent foldouts that reveal worlds under the ice and at the farthest, frostiest reaches of the globe.”
Another book that talks about hibernation, this has more of a storybook vibe to it. From the book: “In this cozy bedtime story, follow a child and his grandma through a winter landscape to explore how the Earth goes to sleep for winter. Spot the sleeping animals as the tale unfolds, then learn about their hibernation habits from the information pages at the end.”
This book uses beautiful illustrations to tell a story of what happens under the snow in Winter. From the book: “This beloved nonfiction picture book exploring the subnivean zone reveals the tunnels and caves formed beneath the snow but over the ground, where many kinds of animals live through the winter, safe and warm, awake and busy, but hidden beneath the snow.”
We love to incorporate these Winter hibernation books with a trip outside to look for animal tracks or to build a model animal den or nest. You can find a large collection of preschool hibernation activities here (some of these will work for mixed ages and older kids as well)
Winter books about snow for children
This book was a random find and it turned out to be one of our favorites. It gives detailed information about how snowflakes form as well as beautiful photos and illustrations of all of the different types of snowflakes.
A story of fantasy and wonder, The Story Of The Snow Children excites the imagination as kids step into Poppy’s world as she imagines snowflakes as snow children who open the way to a magical world.
I don’t know about you, but my kids are always trying to eat snow. This book is a funny take on the class “There was an old lady…”
Beautifully illustrated, this book details some of the feelings and emotions we feel as we watch the snow fall around us.
Children’s books about the Winter season
Definitely one of our most loved books about Winter, The Mitten is a must-read when the snow starts to fall.
Another classic Winter storybook, I love reading this one on snow days when we will be getting outside sledding or building snowmen.
When the season changes from Fall to Winter, what happens in nature? “Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter,” tells this story.
What do all of the animals do in Winter? “Winter Dance” is a beautiful romp that follows different animals as they decide what to do as Winter approaches.
Exploring Winter through books and in nature
I hope you enjoyed this list of our favorite Children’s books that celebrate Winter. If you have some favorites, please share them in the comments- I would love to check them out. In addition to reading books that celebrate winter, you can find some fun outdoor ways to explore Winter in nature here.
How to create a reading nook for your kids that they will love.
Today I am going to share some of my best ideas and tips for creating a reading nook. Whether you are a homeschooler or not, these tips will give you all the ideas and tools you need to create a cozy reading nook for your kids that will encourage them to curl up and explore their favorite books.
This post contains affiliate links. Please see our disclosure page for details.
Creating a literacy-rich environment
No matter what age your kids are, a reading nook is a key component to creating a literacy-rich environment for your kids. here are many components to reading in addition to the decoding of letters. Many factors contribute to our children’s literacy. Some of the best ways to encourage a love of reading are:[Read more…] about Creating A Kid’s Reading Nook