From My Inbox

from my inboxHere’s the latest batch of questions from my inbox!!! If you want to browse through past From My Inbox posts, you can find them all here!

Where did you purchase the bookshelf that display the trays?

  • Target…they still have them I think! It’s a 9-square shelf.
Do the trays stay out the whole day? And are they at the kid’s level ( for them to take at will) ? Or not?
  • The trays are in our schoolroom and available to Krash during “school time.” Although sometimes I am more slack and if he asks me later in the day if he can go do Tot School, I grin and say yes!!! I think everyone has to find out what works best for you, your home and your kids!
How much involved during Tot School is Pac-Man? I read that sometimes he participates (more like a secondary player) and sometimes he’s off somewhere else (doing his own work, something else, etc.)

  • He would love to be involved the entire time, and sometimes this is a battle. I remind him almost daily that he is not in Tot School, and he has 2nd grade work to do! But, I do let him participate whenever I can…when he is caught up on his own work and having a lovely attitude. Mostly he is sitting at the school table doing his work while I am on the floor with Krash for about 30 minutes a day. The other times they are together or I am just with Pac Man.
It’s hard to find the time to devote an hour to him (19 mo. tot) during school time…. How do you manage this in your case? Do you do tot school every day? I think you do now, but back when Krash was younger did you do it everyday or just a few days a week?

  • When K was younger (we began Tot School around age 22 mos), I did it just a few days per week. It was harder back then to find the time to devote to just him.
  • Now we do TS every day, and it has become a part of our routine, he is 3 1/2 now though so it is much easier, also with Pac Man being 7 1/2 that makes it easier too.
  • I will begin the TS journey again with Ladybug who is 6 1/2 months right now…stay tuned this spring to see me go through the process all over again with her!

My first question is: what kind of things do you do with your youngest to work with her?

  • Ladybug is just 6 1/2 months and I do nothing (out of the ordinary baby stuff) to work with her and don’t plan to until she reaches about a year. Even then, it will just be intentional playtime with her, which is all Tot School is, especially at that young of an age. Ladybug soaks in so much just being around us all day long!

Can you recommend a few options? I took a look at your Tot Trays and I feel a bit overwhelmed as I’m not very creative?

How do you schedule in time to make these games? Do you set a goal to do one a week? How long does it normally take for each activity you create on average? I am just trying to figure out how much time I should schedule and trying not to overwhelm my self with great ideas!

  • I make things randomly. I like doing it, so it is not a burden for me. Sometimes I get on a big kick and make tons of stuff at once, sometimes I just make only what we need when we need it.

Question…. where do you store all this stuff? Is your school in the basement or at the kitchen table…. I am really wondering how to begin and where to “set up”. :)

  • Our schoolroom is a small room off the back of our house. We live in a very old row-home in the city. I store almost everything in the schoolroom and we do school in there too. Sometimes we do use the kitchen table and the living room floor ;).

Do you still have Pac in the cyber charter school?

  • Yes, it continues to work for us. I get asked a lot about this and how we get Calvert for FREE ;). You have to Google (I guess) to see if your state is one of the 13 or so that offer free cyber charter schooling. If your state is one of them, you then need to find a list of the specific cyber charter schools and then check each one out to see if it might work for you. The state I am in has several and I have heard bad things about some of them. The one we use is AWESOME (very flexible and supportive of how I do things with Pac Man). Basically cyber schools are NOT all created equal!!!
  • As for Krash, I am not sure what I am going to do for him. Pac Man enrolled for Pre K, and with Krash I am not sure at this point what I am going to do, although I am leaning towards enrolling him and then adapting the curriculum to fit his needs, like I did with Pac Man.

Do you have a separate blog about the things you do with your older son? I love your ideas, but my son is closer in age to your older son.

  • No I do not, this is my only homeschooling blog. I write more about my tot because that is my area of “expertise” since I am actually educated as an early childhood-K teacher! I feel I have more to share in this area. I do write about Pac Man some, you can see all posts about him here.

Anyway….I am struggling with organizing a set ‘calendar time’ for my kindergartner. I have limited space and honestly don’t want the huge obnoxious calendar I used as a ps teacher to be in my house. I have seriously thought about using a tri-fold foam project board for all our calendar stuff, but am just having trouble visualizing it and putting it all together. I’m very curious to see what you do for your calendar time. The biggest challenge I’m having is figuring out how my sons can see the date written each day. What do you do?

  • Ooooh I have your answer coming very soon! I have an entire homeschool calendar webpage that is almost done…videos, printables and all! I plan to post the link to the page in just a few days!!!

My question is do you keep an inventory of all of your tot tools and supplies? I am trying to make some kind of inventory sheet that lists activities, games, and supplies I own that I can use in workboxes, etc. I find that I forget about things I have! I would love to hear how you do it, and if you have a sheet or something to share, I would love to have that, too!:)

  • I tried to do this and it was overwhelming for me so I stopped. I have a pretty good mind about the stuff we have and try to organize it well. I do *forget* about things sometimes though-it’s hard!

If I missed your question, and haven’t replied to you in an email, please feel free to email me again! I try my best, but I am a scatter brain sometimes with too much going on!!! I hope these answers help those of you who sent the emails and anyone else who might have had the same ?s!

Again, thanks to all of you who read here, and send me kind comments and emails, I really appreciate your thoughts and SO wish I had the time to reply to each and every one of you.