Behind the Scenes ~ Storing Sensory Bin Items

Storing and Organizing Sensory Bin Supplies

I have gotten a few questions wondering where our Sensory Bin items end up when not in use!  I put off on sharing for awhile because it was honestly all a big unorganized mess for a long time!  I finally put my system in place and can share now!!!  It isn’t perfect and I still lose stuff and wonder where I put something, but overall it works for us!

Sensory Bins


Here’s my main sensory Bin storage area, which is located in my storage room {the one I gained when we renovated and added the new schoolroom}.  This storage room is as big of a blessing as the actual schoolroom itself!  The bottom green bin is not sensory bin items, but is where I am now keeping printable theme units when we are finished.IMG_0882

Here’s how it is all broken down…


I had these colored drawers in my basement unused and they seemed like the perfect place to store items by color.  I often pick a base color for my bins so I keep the colored items sorted this way and an get to them easily for bins or even other activities regarding colors.

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In the white drawers, I keep extra random supplies for the bins and for other Tot Tray activities.  I often will pull these out in the middle of the week to add an activity to the bin.

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Each season has a drawer or a bin {I didn’t want to spend any money on matching bins so I used what I had that was empty!}.  Things that would ONLY be used during that season are placed in these bins/drawers.

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I have 1 big bin and in that bin each theme {pets, space, farm, bugs, sports, etc.} has a gallon sized ziploc bag to store the items.  I have this bin on top so I can easily place new items for upcoming themes in side the baggies.  My mom often sends us a box of bin items and this way I can easily sort any new theme items quickly and not forget what I have!

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Multiple use Items

Some things are used for various bins, but aren’t a particular color.  Those items are bagged up and placed in a bin labeled “Sensory Bin Items.”  As you can see it is currently a mess and overflowing!  I need to get a bigger bin and redo this part of my system!IMG_0886


The Next Bin{s}

I have several of the same bin ready for rotation {also an unused item in my basement from an old train table we used to have!}.  I try to stay at least 1 bin ahead, sometimes 2.  I begin to gather contents and go ahead and place them in the upcoming bin.  Then the night before it goes out, I open it all and get it all pretty ;-). IMG_0882


I do use other items in sensory bins, that aren’t stored in these places, and I do my best to remember these things!

Counting Coconuts has a great post about this exact same topic and she goes deep into other FAQ about Sensory Bins, be sure to jump over there and check it out!


See more Behind the Scenes Posts here!

See our Simple Sensory Bin Collection here!


Raising Rock Stars Preschool ~ Letter Cc

Krash has officially begun Kindergarten so we are just doing portions of our remaining RRSP units.  You can read more about his Kindergarten plans here!Raising Rock Stars Preschool Letter C

This is the main section of our preschool posts-focusing on what we do for our
Raising Rock Stars Preschool Curriculum. I am not sharing photos of each part every week, just what I happen to catch!

Our letter this week ~ Cc, our verse: Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.Cc

I love his cutting face.IMG_0565

He was a bit bummed that it wasn’t as tall as he was…IMG_0574


Working on his OBEY craft…


After he completed his craft we did some role playing about how to be obedient.

He isn’t doing all of the printables anymore but he is still enjoying the PowerPoint lessons!

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You can download the entire letter Cc unit here.

I am no longer doing specific lesson plans since K is now in transition into Kindergarten {read more here}.  RRSP-Blank-Lesson-Plan_thumb8You can download blank copies of the lesson plan on the Cc page here!

More Preschool Links…

Be sure to visit Preschool Corner to see all of the other amazing home-preschool moms!

Do you have a blog post featuring this unit-RRSP Letter Cc? Link your exact post below, choose a thumbnail showing the program in action for your link!

~any non-RRSP Letter Cc posts will be deleted

Behind the Scenes ~ Daily Routine 2011

Daily Homeschool Routine

As our family has changed, our daily routine has changed also.  I must be honest, I struggle with routine and I struggle without it.  I love routine and I hate it…I am really mentally a mess when it comes to schedules and routines.  But, over the years, I have learned that without a basic routine, I will flop as a homeschooling mom.  We have horrible, chaotic days and I am the ring leader for a house full of stress.

Routines and schedules need to evolve so much when you have babies and young tots, and this always troubled me.  I don’t really like change so each time a routine didn’t work anymore I would get frustrated and then go without one for awhile—frustrating the home even worse.

With Ladybug at a different stage ~ a more predictable stage ~ and with no new baby plans at all, I think we are at a place where our current routine just might work out for more than 2 weeks!  Sure, we have disruptions and it isn’t always smooth, but it is working.

Here is our basic school day routine…



Each boy also has his own routine hanging by his desk for reference…

krash   Pacman routine

Here’s a bit more detail about what is going on during each time frame…


  • PacMan gets his daily school folder and heads upstairs to do any independent work he can do.  I allow him to choose the order, and he is really good at this now.  He is very familiar with which items can be done independently and knows to just hold off on anything he needs my help for.  He is NOT allowed to interrupt me for help during this time frame, he knows it is “Ladybug’s school time” and he respects that for the most part!  This took a lot of training but we are at a good point now.
  • Krash has 6 workboxes still, and in them I load the 1st 3 with items that don’t need much guidance from me, he finishes those while I work with Ladybug for Tot School and also go to him some.  My focus is Ladybug, but usually he can do some of his work during this time too.  He also gets to help Ladybug and be the Tot School assistant, which he loves.
  • Ladybug starts at the desk in her hook on high chair and we do some of her Tot School Printables work.  When she is “done” we get down and I follow her lead.  We read books, play with her learning toys, and just simply interact together.  Some days she wants to spend 30 minutes at the table, some only 5.  It’s up to her and I follow her lead.


  • Each child has a very small snack and I sometimes will turn on an educational show for Ladybug and if the boys want to watch with her I allow them to all sit together.  Shows I usually choose: Word World, Super Why, Team UmiZoomi, Leapfrog Letter Factory.  The key is that I choose the show and it is not free tv time, it is a relaxing snack time and also a time where I get a bit of a break from the chaos {I need this or I will go NUTS}.  I usually do some cleaning during this time.
  • After the show or snack, the kids are free until lunch.  So am I!!!  This is my mid day break which gives me a bit of time to do what I need to do.  Sometimes it’s laundry, sometimes cleaning, sometimes computer stuff, sometimes playing with the kids! If it is nice the boys go outside {I have to be with them if Ladybug goes}, if not-they choose where in the house they want to play.


  • Lunch-the kids all eat together, but Ladybug usually is done first so I take her upstairs and leave the boys to finish.  I lay Lbug down for her nap and while I am with her the boys finish their lunch and then go straight to reading time.  They know they can read together or alone, but the rule is they have to be reading!  This took much training, as they would find ways to play with the books and not read them ;-).  Usually their reading looks something like this when I come back downstairs.  99% of the time they are in the bean bag chairs! IMG_0589


  • This is our group time {just the boys}.  We do calendar, watch a PowerPoint {usually USA Geography, sometimes Solar System}, read a book, or play a game.  I leave the details open, but “require” myself to spend this 30 minutes with both of them together.


  • Krash is with me for his Kindergarten time.  This is when we do his last 3 workboxes and spend the time together he needs 1 on 1 for school.
  • PacMan goes upstairs for 30 more minutes of independent school time. If he completes all of his independent school work he is allowed to choose one of his card activities {the school one is the choice to get ahead on the next day’s work}Slide2


  • PacMan is with me for his 1 hour of with Mom school time.  This is when I do any 1 on 1 teaching with him for the day.
  • Krash is still in the training process for this time period but he is doing better.  I made him these cards that show his choices.Slide1It helps eliminate what he cannot do during this time period and helps with the sighs and groans a bit.  He still gives me trouble sometimes but he is learning the routine.  The goal is for him to be basically independent during this hour so I can focus on Pac.


  • PacMan uses this hour to finish up any remaining schoolwork, and then completes a daily afternoon chore {rotates between swiffering the floors, dusting, & emptying trash}.  After he completes this he is free for the day!
  • Krash is still playing independently although I switch things up at 2 and allow him to play his DS or non learning games on my iPod.  Most of the time he chooses just to play.


  • This is our end of school time goal time, also when Daddy comes home for the afternoon.  Daddy works most nights too in ministry, so he spends from 3-5 with the kids each day.  This 2 hours is when I walk on the treadmill, shower, and do some of my computer time.  Some days I have to run errands during this time though.  It’s such a blessing to have him home fairly consistently during this time period.
  • The boys are allowed to watch a tv show, play Wii, play their DS, play outside, or anywhere in the house-mostly choosing to hang out with Daddy.  Ladybug is usually awake by this time so the “shhhhhing” is done.

I want to mention also, that there are MANY days when the schedule is thrown out the window because someone is sick, or something else is a major disruption.  I do not try to follow the routine on those days-we just kick into survival mode.

I am thankful for the routine, and even more thankful that I have found a routine that is really working for this season of life.  We had a few other routines that lasted for a little while.  Here is one routine we had, and here is another one.

I admire those of you who can make a detailed school schedule and stick to it day after day, I am hoping I am at least going to stick to my loose routine for awhile!!!

See more Behind the Scenes posts!

You Can Read Sight Words!

You Can Read Sight Word Program

You Can Read Sight Words! is a high frequency word program developed to help your younger reader master basic sight words.  I pulled together many ideas from various places, mostly my former Kindergarten teaching days, and put together a “program” to help myself stay on track with teaching high frequency words to Krash.  I do believe in mastering sight words {also known as high frequency words} while also learning phonics alongside of this.  You can see my full beliefs about teaching children to read here.  Many sight word printables are designed for children who learn to read a bit older and since Krash is 4 and I know some of you have kids who are ready {see reading readiness signs here} even earlier.  These printables were designed with younger children in mind, although older children will enjoy them too.

You Can Read Button 200x200

I have been developing this for quite awhile now, but wanted to “test” it with Krash before I shared with you all.  I also had a good friend try the first set out with her 5 year old {he is about a year older than Krash}.  Both boys have thoroughly enjoyed the printables and I am thrilled to say that Krash has mastered the 1st 4 words and did NOT know them all before starting the week!

You can see all of the printables and more info about the program here on the You Can Read Sight Words webpage. You will notice I am offering the printables for free.

You can also purchase a bundled option which includes many extras. See more info about purchasing access to this section here.

Each set will include the following information sheets, containing helpful information and even links.  Each printable is explained in a table of contents in case you forget what each one is for.



Here is a journey through the many different printables he worked on throughout the week.


Slide16Connecting the matching words using a dry erase marker {sheet is in a heavy duty sheet protector}IMG_8873



Slide15Practicing writing skills while also connecting the matching words.  I had him read each word as he connected it.IMG_8932



Slide11He really liked these!  Each puzzle is cut into one part for each letter and I also provide a base page.  You can print and laminate the base page once and reuse it for all of the lessons.  He LOVED doing these!IMG_8967

IMG_8972On another day he did the puzzles in his mini pocket chartIMG_9533



Slide17This activity was anther BIG hit with Krash.  I gave him the 4 basic dry erase colors and explained the concept to him.  He had to use a particular color {indicated at the top of the sheet} to circle each specific word.  A few of the fonts confused him a bit-but that’s the point! He did about 99% of the entire thing independently.IMG_9437



Slide9I wasn’t sure if he would enjoy Play Doh words, but he did! Play Doh Words

Play Doh Words



Slide19Pac Man helped him with his sentence search one day.  The idea is to see the words within a sentence and be able to isolate them by circling them.  A helper reads the entire sentence and the child locates the words.IMG_9491



Slide18He struggled with this at first, but Pac helped him and he grasped the concept quickly!IMG_9496



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Here he is tracing his words.  These are laminated.  I cut the strip on the far left into individual word cards and we will be using these as flashcards to review each week and for his new word wall {details in next week’s post!}.IMG_9367



Slide13He LOVED word Bingo!!!!  This is a very simple BINGO version, so the child can “win” quickly!IMG_9382



Slide21Coloring the books based on the word inside if the book…IMG_9342

Yes, Krash did all of the printables, but I created many options so that you can choose!  Figure out which ones your child enjoys and only do those!  If your child hates coloring, don’t do the Color By Word page.  If your child loves Word BINGO-do it every day!!  The idea is to expose high frequency words in a fun way!

The units are presented in a suggested order, but it is NOT necessary to go in order as they do not build upon each other.  I did this so classroom teachers and homeschool teachers can choose the units that would most benefit their kids at a certain time!

I also provide a sheet giving more suggested ideas to help make learning these words fun.Slide22Here is a variation of one of the ideas I suggest in action…

I wrote this on the board and asked Krash to erase the wrong answers, leaving only the correct spelling of the word see.

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I also offered a little fun incentive, 1 fruit snack for each correct answer!  He LOVED this!!!IMG_9565


In addition to the printables included in this program, we are also using my sight word color by number cards too.  I will be creating new color by number cards to correspond with the units also, so more will be added to that section as we get to those units!

Color By Number Sight Words it is Color By Number Sight Words me my Color By Number Sight Words the and

One final note-this is NOT a complete teach your child to read program, just to make that clear.  It is just a fun way to integrate sight words into your child’s reading program.  I still suggest all of the things in my How to Teach a Child to Read post.  I still use the base Calvert Reading program with Krash and just supplement with this!  You can easily use these printables alongside of any other reading program you might be using.

Easy Links…

The main You Can Read Sight Words! webpage {download  free files}

You Can Read Sight Words! Bundle {bundled format PLUS many extras}

Helpful Products…




Raising Rock Stars Preschool ~ Letter Uu

Krash has officially begun Kindergarten so we are just doing portions of our remaining RRSP units.  You can read more about his Kindergarten plans here!

Raising Rock Stars Preschool Letter U
This is the main section of our preschool posts-focusing on what we do for our
Raising Rock Stars Preschool Curriculum. I am not sharing photos of each part every week, just what I happen to catch! We do the entire unit even if I don’t show it here in the photos!

Our letter this week ~ Uu, our verse: Unto Thee, oh God, do we give thanks.Uu

Measuring his verse…IMG_8856


Working on his Thank You craft…IMG_9448

The entire printable unit {everything else you see pictured above} is available for FREE on the main RRSP page…

You can download the entire letter Uu unit here.

I am no longer doing specific lesson plans since K is now in transition into Kindergarten {read more here}.  RRSP Blank Lesson PlanYou can download blank copies of the lesson plan on the Uu page here!

in the box

{A few things that were in his preschool workboxes for the week, not all activities are pictured}

U is for Umbrella color by numberIMG_8966

He had fun playing with his fish letters from his Grasshopper Preschool Prep KitIMG_9575

Trying out our Guidecraft InterloxIMG_9108



Moms favHelping Ladybug with her coloring during her Tot School Printables time {he was coloring the balls from Letter Bb} I LOVE the way she watches him!IMG_9358


More Preschool Links…

Be sure to visit Preschool Corner to see all of the other amazing home-preschool moms!

Do you have a blog post featuring this unit-RRSP Letter Uu? Link your exact post below, choose a thumbnail showing the program in action for your link!

~any non-RRSP Letter Uu posts will be deleted