A Homeschool Change

a Big Homeschool Change

This upcoming homeschool year for us will be a big one.  We have decided to make a big change and move away from box curriculum and our cyber school and onto a pick and choose method without the cyber school!

We had a great cyber school experience and have homeschooled in every sense of the word {other than the legal one meaning we were connected to the public school system via our charter school}. Our cyber school experience was vastly different than most and I did all of the teaching, using Calvert.  We didn’t do any virtual classes and had lots of freedom.  So why are we switching?  Calvert isn’t a great fit for Krash but I wanted to give it through 2nd grade to decide.  Towards the middle of this past year I had already decided, it just wasn’t working for Krash and knowing Calvert gets tougher in 3rd grade, I knew we needed a change.  It was just easier to switch PacMan {going into 7th grade} too.  We never even started Ladybug with Calvert or the cyber school, and had no plans to. So, here we are anticipating a wildly different school year for all of us! I am excited and nervous all at the same time!

I know many will want to know WHY Calvert wasn’t a good fit for Krash and why we decided to move Pac away from it to. Here are my basic reasons…

  • Calvert is a highly academic curriculum and although Krash could keep up, it wasn’t the best fit for him.
  • I strongly dislike the ATS service {not familiar, you can search on Calvert’s site to learn more}, which we were required to do due to our cyber school {this was the only part I disliked and was stuck to}.  I desperately wanted to rid our lives of “the green tests” as we call them.  Those of you familiar with ATS and Calvert will know my pain.  They assess every 20 lessons on every single subject. I do NOT want to spend so much time prepping for these and administering them.  With Pac it wasn’t as big of a deal but it got to be more of one these last few years. For K it is a big deal and we needed to be done with this. I must admit, the teacher in me loved ATS in the beginning, but now that I am more homeschool teacher minded than classroom teacher minded I dislike ATS! It took me awhile to realize I didn’t need these types of tests to know my kids were learning!
  • Calvert is not a Christian program and Pac specifically asked for a Christian based science, history and geography. We want our kids to have input and his request was something we took very seriously and wanted to do for him.
  • I really wanted to teach my kids a few subjects all together and Calvert isn’t set up like this at all.  It is child/grade level specific.
  • Calvert’s writing program is fine, but I didn’t love it.  I had a hard time maneuvering throughout their manual and wanted something that was a better fit for me and my kids.  Similar thoughts on their grammar program, the layout is what I didn’t like.  One year I liked it {can’t even remember the year} but the others, no thank you.
    I do think Calvert can be a good fit for some students and families, I am not saying it is bad.  It worked beautifully for PacMan and for me for many years.  Once I added in a second student things went down hill.  It was too hard to manage both and just didn’t work this past year.  The need to switch was very obvious and I am so thankful we made the change. So please know, I am NOT saying Calvert is bad, I am saying it no longer worked for us.  There are many fabulous aspects about it, but in the end I needed to make a choice and moving away was the choice we needed to make.
    HOWEVER, I am in the mess of struggling with weaving together our new choices as I plan this upcoming year.  Calvert and other box curriculums do a fantastic job of doing this FOR YOU.  Moving away from the simplicity of the lesson plans a box curriculum provides is a tad bit overwhelming. But, we are pushing through and I think I finally see the light!
    I do plan to share details on our blog soon about our specific curriculum choices.  In the meantime, here’s two iPhone pictures I have showing pieces of what we will be using {this isn’t everything}! I shared these on Instagram {we are 1plus1plus1}.

Do you use anything shown above?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Playful Learning with Spielgaben Plans

If you are new to our monthly Playful Learning with Spielgaben posts, you can see our introduction here. We were given the Spielgaben set to review and are honored to have them as a blog sponsor.  I will be sharing once a month a detailed post featuring Spielgaben.  You can also see my Learning with Ladybug posts to see what my daughter is doing with this learning set!

Spielgaben in Homeschool Kindergarten

We are not actually using our Spielgaben set for formal lessons right now, and honestly I haven’t been using my camera much so although the kids are using our set for free play, I don’t have anything to show for it!

Since I don’t have a plethora of photos of the set in action,  this month I wanted to share my plans for incorporating Spielgaben into our Kindergarten. We will begin lessons again soon, and I have put together a loose plan for how our Spielgaben lessons will fit in.

Last year for preschool, we worked with Play Guide 1 and will continue on with it right where we left off. The really cool thing is that the section we are up to, begins the “Advanced” work recommended for ages 5 and up. 

Spielgaben Advanced Package ages 5  and up


Our first lessons will begin with set 7, which features tablet shapes. She already loves these for free play, so I know these lessons will be a hit.  Here’s a peek from the introduction lesson.

Spielgaben Exploring Shapes

I looked through the lessons and plan to do all 8 of them.  They are the perfect step up from the lessons prior to this! I also love that with this transition we are now into the colored sets.  We worked with only the wooden brown sets last year for our formal lessons, I know she will be excited to learn with the colored sets too!

My plan for the Kindergarten year is similar to last year.  We will do 1-3 formal lessons per week, and tons of free play. We will also use the pieces for other things too, like we do now.  You can see many uses here in our Spielgaben, Is it Worth it? post.

We DO use the worksheets from the packs. Below are just 2 I have chosen to use to go along with set 7. One of the awesome ways Spielgaben has responded to parent/teacher concerns and requests is by now offering the full color version of the worksheets with NO background color {to save on ink}.  This is such a great change, everyone loves to save money on ink!  One way you could save even more ink is by slipping the set into sheet protectors and using a dry erase or Vis A Vis marker, so you can reuse the same worksheets with multiple children! 

 spielgaben 7 1 white   Spielgaben 7 white


She knows when it is Spielgaben lesson time, and loves it. I love it because it is so Spielgaben Tessellationdifferent than anything else we do.  It is more abstract, more playful, and more fun.  It teaches things I sometimes don’t even realize! Honestly, it would be easy for the Kindergarten teacher in me to put this type of learning aside and opt for the way I taught school {when I was a classroom teacher}, but I know how valuable this type of playful learning is and how much she loves it. I may not be able to check off a box that says “developed combination skills and an artistic sensibility through tessellation play”  on a normal Kindergarten checklist, but man is it cool that we get to learn and play this way!

I know many of you purchased Spielgaben recently,  I am curious to know what YOUR plans are for using your set. Please share in the comments, and also any questions you have about our plans.  I will be blogging once a month, so you’ll continue to be able to see exactly what we are doing with our Spielgaben learning set!

Remember there is a special discount for 1+1+1=1 readers…

Spielgaben is offering an exclusive discount to 1+1+1=1 blog readers –

AUD 370 | USD 337 | GBP 200

including shipping to AU | USA | UK, which is over 15% off of the already discounted online price. Prices are approximate depending on conversion rates.  All you need to do to claim your discount is send an email to [email protected]mentioning 1+1+1=1 and you will be provided with a discount coupon!

Please check directly with Spielgaben for current discount available, prices change with version updates and conversion rates.

Tot School Gathering Place ~ Week 77

Welcome to Tot School™ Gathering Place! Gather together here, gather ideas from other blogs, share your own ideas on your own blog. Browse around at the other posts linked up, leave a few comments if you have time, and be sure to check back to see if your blog was featured!Tot School Gathering Place Week 77

Time needs to S-L-O-W down!!!! It’s hard to believe July is only two days away!  Keep sharing so we can all make fun memories this summer!

Summertime is the perfect time to do some of those messy science experiments! Check out the exciting time Mama Claire and her Tots had over at Angelicscalliwags!



Over at Cutting Tiny Bites Mama Ellen helped her daughters explore their senses. Be sure to take a look at all the sensory activities Tot Maggie and big sister Lena enjoyed.

Cutting Tiny Bites


The heat has finally hit our area and the activities that Mama Vanessa from Life on the Trail has put together will come in handy! Take a peek at these “cool” activities!

Life on the Trail



Remember to visit our Pinterest board hosting our featured blogs each week! Be sure to follow the board and re-pin ideas you like, it’s a great way to support each other! I also have a Tot School Printables Pinterest Board. If you are using Tot School Printables and blogging about it, will you email me with a link to one of your posts and your Pintrest link? I am opening up the board to allow other bloggers to pin their Tot School posts that feature Tot School Printables in action.

Tot-School-Gathering-Place-Pinterest   Tot-School-Printables-Pinterest-Board

Were you featured?

You are welcome to a button but you certainly don’t have to use it! Totally optional!

Tot School Feature

<center><a href="http://bit.ly/W32RDO" target="_blank"><img alt="I was featured for Tot School!" src="http://bit.ly/13tsB2r"/ ></a></center>

Please read this carefully before linking up! This may no longer be the linky for you, so please glance through this list to be sure you want to stick around and link up with us! 

By linking up you agree to the following:

  • A photo and a link to your post may appear in a future Tot School post. You give me permission to choose a photo from the post you link up, and give me permission to use your ideas in my post. I will link back to you, mention your blog, and give you full credit for any ideas chosen to share from your post.
  • Your post is a post written specifically for Tot School and not just an idea for tots. It features your own child{ren} in action. This is a community for moms to come together and share their journey with Tot School virtually.
  • Provide a link back to Tot School within your blog post {you can use this link: http://www.1plus1plus1equals1.net/tag/tot-school-gathering-place/or a direct link to the weekly post you link up to} if you link up. If you do not link back to Tot School, your link will be deleted. Link backs on the sidebar, or in a massive “I link up here” page don’t count ~ they are too difficult for me to find and the first thing I look for when verifying links is the link back.
  • Link up your exact Tot School post {not your blog homepage} if you are unsure how to do that read this!
        Each week I will feature photo{s} and ideas from blogs who link up. Remember, provide a link back to Tot School Gathering Place within your post that you link up, so you can be considered for the feature!

    Do you have your FREE

    Where to Begin with Tot School eBook?


See the Tot School webpage here!

New to linking up here? Read this first! Basics: write a specific post about what you did with your tot, link up the permalink from your post, link back to Tot School within that post, put your tot’s age in months in ( ) like this: (43 months).

School Supply Labels ~ Free Printables

School Supply Label Printables

I have wanted to make new school supply labels for years, and make a set I could share with others!  Finally I have them done and ready for you and for me!  These can be used in home or for a classroom, and include real photographs of the items. I tried to include anything I could think of, even my kids helped me!  There are 42 labels in all {not all are shown above}.

They were created one label per page, so you can choose which labels you need AND choose the size of the labels!  Not sure how to do this in Adobe Reader?  Here’s a simple tutorial below {this page is also in the PDF file itself}

Printable School Supply Labels

I hope many homeschool and classroom teachers can use these labels!

Download your school supply labels here!

Want more organizational ideas?

See how we organize our toys here and how to make your own toy bin labels!Tame the Toys

See our entire homeschool room here!Homeschool Room Tour 2013

A peek into our homeschool storage room & how we use a shoe organizer for most of our school and office supplies.organizing school and office supplies in an over the door shoe hanger

Draw, Write, Now Printables Book 7

Draw, Write, Now Book 7 Printables

It’s been awhile since I have shared Draw, Write, Now printables I’m sorry!  I got book 7 completed and will be completing the final book, this summer!

Book 7 features Animals of the World, Part 1 ~ Tropical Forests, Northern Forests, and Forests Down Under. If you aren’t familiar with Draw, Write, Now, you can see the post I wrote when we gave a set away and learn more about them!

You may remember me sharing Book 1, and the printables to go along.  These printables are exactly the same, two different options.  One for tracing, one for copying.  Both have the same drawing space.

Draw-Write-Now-Book-1 Draw-Write-Now-Book-1-Hen

Click here to download this set and books 1-6 also.


Thanks to Barker Creek Publishing for their permission to share these with my readers!