A Day in Our Homeschool Life ~ Part 2

Homeschool Life Button Morning School

It has been awhile since I wrote the Minute by Minute Tot School post, and have since been asked to update with a detailed post of what our homeschool time looks like now with a 4th grader, Kindergartner and Tot Schooler. I am breaking this idea into 4 parts, probably 5 when all is said and done, but 4 planned parts for now!  If you missed any other parts, see links below…

  1. Before the Homeschool Day
  2. Our Homeschool Morning {that’s this post!}
  3. Our Homeschool Afternoon
  4. After the Homeschool Day

How I recorded our day……

I kept a notebook with me, my iPod {camera}, and my good camera.  I took TONS of pictures and jotted down notes throughout the day.  It isn’t easy, but makes for a very true-to-life account for you all.  Good news – the day we recorded – March 7, 2012, was a very typical day for us!  I was hoping it would give a good look at what is “normal” for us and it does! 


9:00am

Family Prayer Time ends, PacMan heads off to finish his morning chores {with a gentle reminder}. Ladybug clings to me and my “fuzzy Mickey pants” that she loves.  She follows me into the schoolroom and wanders over to the computer to play Starfall.  I set her up and she plays independently.

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I wander back into the kitchen where Pac is unloading the dishes while chatting with Daddy. Krash announces that he has poop on his face and is freaking out.  The dog licked him in the face and Daddy teased him about the fact that the dog eats his poop. Oh my men, always something new.IMG_0496

Next I am asked to cut the butt tag off of the stuffed animal, important business.IMG_0504

Meanwhile, Krash comes into the schoolroom first bugs L-bug on the computer, she whines for him to go away, a common occurrence.  She has major personal space issues. IMG_0507

He then selects Wedgits to play with.  Ladybug joins him which results in some possessiveness. You can see him pull the box away and direct her back to the computer ;-) We have a quick “be nice” talk and then add Construct Its to their play and all is well.  They play together.

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9:10am

I make myself some coffee, clean the island off from breakfast.

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I come back into the schoolroom and Ladybug announces that she is sitting criss-cross, and is very proud.  We are working on getting her out of her W sitting lifestyle-but it is hard, she chooses to W sit 100% of the time!IMG_1994

She wanders over and dumps over the South America puzzle, then wanders away again.IMG_1997

9:15am

Pac is done with the dishes and comes into the schoolroom to begin his independent work at his desk. IMG_0559

The little two play. Ladybug with the rainbow balancer, Krash with Construct-Its, then Ladybug with the iPad {Build a Bug is her choice}.

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Jolanthe calls, we chat for about 10 minutes.IMG_0555

 

9:25am

Daddy goes around and gives good-bye kisses as he heads off to work.  Wednesday is his later day, he normally leaves by 9am.IMG_0551

I notice PacMan isn’t at his desk, I yell for him-he was feeding the cat, a morning chore he forgot.  He comes back and gets back to work on his phonics.

I check email, Facebook, and sip on my coffee for about 5 minutes total.

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9:35am

Ladybug asks for her gorilla notebook {Animal ABC-letter G}, she chooses the Gg play dough mat.  Krash jumps on the iPad.

I sit with her and make her “snakes” so she can make the letters. I can’t remember why I was high-fiving her, but am so glad Pac caught this pic!

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He is playing Toca Doctor and calls me over to hear the stinker sound, on the right he is making the sound for me.IMG_2025

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I notice he hasn’t cleaned up the Construct-Its, and ask him to do that, he does.

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Meanwhile, Pac is playing First in Math on his computer…IMG_2033

Ladybug switches to making play doh balls on the Gorilla dot fun mat.  After balls, she presses jewels into the dots. I am playing with her.

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She then goes to get Wrecking Ball and makes him…IMG_2039

9:45am

A full room view, showing them all in action…IMG_0569

The little two switch to Magneatos after cleaning up Play Doh…they play nicely together.  IMG_2042

I run in the kitchen to load breakfast dishes in the dishwasher, also answer a phone call from our college “daughter” Kirsten…IMG_2045

9:55am

Krash asks to make a house for his stuffed dog {the one I cut the butt tag off of earlier}.  He makes a house out of rainbow blocks with my help.IMG_2054

Ladybug makes a house for her 2 favorite Skylanders; Cynder and Wrecking Ball.IMG_2057

10:00am

I run over to my desk and write K’s morning message, which I forgot to do the night before.  He LOVES these and gets disappointed if I forget.  I write it and slip it in his Morning Message notebook while he plays!IMG_2059

Krash runs over to watch PacMan work for a few minutes…IMG_2061

10:05am

Ladybug accidentally knocks her house over and throws a little fit.

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She gets over it and cleans up her blocks when I ask her to.IMG_2073

10:10am

She moves on to pom pom transferring, she loves this.IMG_2074

 

Pac is ready for his spelling test, and I sit at my desk to give him his test.  Krash is still playing First in Math on his computer.IMG_2081

Spelling test…

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We get all of 3-4 minutes before Ladybug joins us.  She chooses Scrabble ABCs and wants me to play with her.  She sits at my desk.  I play with her and give the spelling test, thankfully Pac is used to this!

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Full room shot…IMG_0580

10:20am

I grade his test, he updates his daily task list { a school to-do list and chore list I made for him in Excel}.

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He is done with his independent work for the morning {screen shot from his lesson plan blog}…1020 am updated blog

He sits to play with his siblings.  They play together for a few minutes before snack time. I put on Seeds in the background…

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10:25am

I ask Ladybug if she wants to clean up the South America puzzle with me {the one she dumped this morning}.  She says yes and we name the countries together.  She plays with this puzzle at least 3-5 times per day. Pac takes a few pictures…

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10:30am

Snack Time!  Ladybug gets to choose a tv show at this time, these days it is usually Octonauts.  The boys can either watch with her or go play in their room.  They ate their snack and went upstairs.

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I run upstairs to see the boys, Pac is showing Krash his sports pendants that Baba gave him.  I fold a load of laundry and start a new load.

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10:45 am

I come back downstairs, do some computer time, check in and answer 2 Facebook comments, and reply to 4 comments on the blog…

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10:55am

Octonauts is over, Ladybug comes to my desk to play with her rainbow balancer, she loves to “spinny round.”IMG_2150

I set up trays {trays are from Michaels} for Calendar Notebook time, then call the boys down for Calendar time.IMG_0588

11:00 am

Ladybug chooses not to sit with us at first, and plays Starfall for awhile.  IMG_0590

The boys and I get busy on our group task list.  Calendar, We Choose Virtues, Little Passports/Brazil, and PowerPointsIMG_2152

Pac is starting a new drawing for his drawing page in his Calendar Notebook, he is choosing from our Draw, Write, Now books.IMG_2156

11:10 am

After the boys finish Calendar Notebooks, we review the 3 virtues {We Choose Virtues} we have studied so far: Obedient, Self-Controlled, and Diligent.IMG_2157

We move on to Little Passports and find animals from the Amazon Rainforest.  By this time Ladybug has joined us and has been working a bit in her Tot Time Notebook.  She comes over to find animals with the boys.IMG_2161

We all see what our next baby animal is.  Baby Animals is our calendar theme for this month {they will be released next month on the blog}.IMG_2164

11:15am

Time for PowerPoints!  The kids all get in a bean bag

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We do USA first, going through our F-I states.  We then do Counting 1-10.  Our PP shows are shown up on our wall with our projector.

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11:25am

Outside Time!  I get Ladybug dressed and all of the kids head outside to enjoy a warm winter day.IMG_2174

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Meanwhile, I make lunch in our Easy Lunchboxes, warm my coffee up and drink the rest.

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The lunch mess.  I wish I had a school cafeteria lady.  That’s my wildest dream.IMG_2186

I jump on Facebook for a second, answer a comment, set up All About Reading for K’s afternoon school and pick up the schoolroom. IMG_0633

12:00 pm

I call the kids in to wash hands for lunch. IMG_0637

The phone rings, it is my husband calling to say I Love You.  I joke with him that he just wanted to make it into this post {he knew I was recording this day}.  He laughs and tells me he totally forgot about that but yes, I can add his call to the blog post. ;-).

I LOVE this shot.  Krash was a TOTAL whiney grump because I made him a peanut butter sandwich and made Pac a meat sandwich.  Someone always complains about lunch.  He would have complained about meat yesterday. ugh.  Pac was thrilled with his lunch as you can see.IMG_0639

Ladybug is a finicky eater, but today she enjoyed most of her lunch: peanut butter sandwich, pretzels and hummus, & mango. She tells me she made a bread chair.

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12:10pm

Ladybug is done and we head upstairs to get her ready for nap {the boys stay down and finish eating}.  She insists on brushing her teeth every day before nap.

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We head into her room, she is in the “I do it” stage so she undresses herself so we can put her pull up on for nap.  She chooses Miss Spider ABC to read together. We read, sing and rock.

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After reading, she happily goes in her bed.  She always sleeps with books and most naps end up being 2 hours of her reading to herself.  She did this today, never actually slept but stayed in her bed happily until 3:00pm when Daddy comes to get her out.

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I head in to transfer laundry to the dryer and make sure our old dog is OK,  I shut our bedroom door so he won’t bark at the doorbell while Ladybug is “napping.”

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12:20pm

I am back down to clean up from lunch.  The boys are done and in the schoolroom reading.IMG_2261

 

There you have it, 3 hours and 20 minutes at our house!  Most days look very similar to this one.  This was a pretty good day for us, often we have more meltdowns and attitude problems.  The older two knew what was going on so they probably had better self control than normal!


Stay tuned, in my next post I will share what it looks like after lunch! Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss it!


 

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A Day in our Homeschool Life ~ Part One

Homeschool Life Button Before School

It has been awhile since I wrote the Minute by Minute Tot School post, and have since been asked to update with a detailed post of what our homeschool time looks like now with a 4th grader, Kindergartner and Tot Schooler. I am breaking this idea into 4 parts, probably 5 when all is said and done, but 4 planned parts for now!

  1. Before the Homeschool Day
  2. Our Homeschool Morning
  3. Our Homeschool Afternoon
  4. After the Homeschool Day

A Typical Morning Before Homeschool Begins…

The boys usually wake up before us and will often be downstairs before us.  They know to complete their morning chores upon waking up and if they are hungry they can make their own breakfast, or they can wait for Daddy-he’s the breakfast guy

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Believe it or not, Krash is more responsible with his chores than Pac is!  After chores are complete, the boys are free to watch tv, or play video games if they got up early. 

Ladybug is a late sleeper most mornings, and loves to play in her bed.  We used to use her as an alarm clock, but she often gets us going too late now!  She usually begins talking and playing around 8:00.  My husband gets her out of bed and feeds her breakfast while I get ready upstairs.  We all meet together every morning at 8:30 for family Bible reading and prayer time.

IMG_0088-2I am not a morning person, so I don’t get up any earlier than needed.  I tried for awhile and was miserable.  My husband and I spend time together at night and decided that was more valuable than trying to force ourselves to get up early. 

Daddy reads from the Bible, right now we are in Matthew, and then we all pray together.  After this time, Daddy goes upstairs to get ready and then leaves for work.  I usually jump on the computer to check my email, my blogs, and a few other things while the kids play and finish up chores.  I make sure things are set up for the school day and sometimes will be on top of things and get the dishes/kitchen cleaned up early!

Notes about morning time in our home…

Morning time is my VERY LEAST favorite time of the day.  Of the 5 of us, 3 of us are NOT morning people.  Ladybug, my husband, and you guessed it-me!  I am one of those “don’t talk to me” types of people and have to force myself to be nice.  Ladybug is the most whiney in the mornings and sets my anxiety off in many fun ways.  The boys seem to be morning people and they tend to hang together.  Their behavior and moods seem no different in the morning hours.

I do NOT always start school on time like I should.  Sometimes I allow one more tv show, 30 more minutes of room play time, or some extra computer time.  This mostly depends on my own mood.  I have learned that if I am not in the proper mood, it is just better to give them 30 more minutes of free time.  This usually gives me time to settle myself if I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Unfortunately a common problem for me.

Our “normal” school start time is between 9-9:30am. PacMan always starts first because he does his independent work in the morning and is free when it is complete, if he finishes before snack time at 10:30.  This is on the sidebar of his school blog, he looks for green and gets busy!imageSometimes he is gung-ho and will get it all done before I even get up!  I post his school blog the night before so it is ready for him to check whenever he gets up in the morning.  We have used the blog method for over a year and it works beautifully for both of us!  Here is a sample of one of his recent school days, I cross them off for him after he completes them throughout the day.image


Stay tuned, in my next post I will share what it looks like when we actually start our homeschool day!  I am planning to record a specific day in as much detail as possible, similar to how I did it in my Tot School Minute by Minute Post. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss it!

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Back to Homeschool 2011/2012

This is my class…IMG_2822

I love them. 

Never thought I would be teacher to 3.

So thankful I am.

 

I interviewed them today, thanks to Pinterest.  I modified the idea and made my own, made a bloggy version too so I could share with you! {click here to see a pdf so you can read them!}

School Questionairre PacMan  School Questionairre Krash

I answered for Ladybug obviously…giving answers I do believe are in her little brain!School Questionairre Ladybug

 

This, my friends, is part of WHY we homeschool.

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Instead of a goodbye hug as her 2 older brothers head off to school, it’s a middle of the day hug.

The time they share together all day long is worth every difficult moment.


ps-no I don’t have a template to share for the interviews, but feel free to totally copy anything on mine and recreate your own!

Behind the Scenes ~ Daily Routine 2011

Behind the ScenesAs 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…

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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…

9:30-10:15

  • 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.

10:15-11:30

  • 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.

11:30-12:00

  • 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

12-12:30

  • 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.

12:30-1:00

  • 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

1:00-2:00

  • 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.

2:00-3:00

  • 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.

3:00

  • 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.  Dr. Jen {our sponsor this month} has a great blog post about this which reminds me that whether we are a stay at home mom or a working mom,  interruptions in our normal routine are always difficult.  Bottom line-our kids come first and we do what we need to do to get by. 

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!

Pac Man Loves…USA Geography

Yup, he actually does! I knew very little geography going into homeschooling {either I wasn’t taught well or I forgot most of it}. I now know lots and am enjoying learning {or relearning} right alongside of Pac!

I do a lot of our own stuff even though Pac is enrolled in a cyber charter school. One area I have always sorta done my own thing is geography. We do what the school has for us but we do a lot more too!

We just completed our first round of identifying 1 state per day and coloring it in. We do this each morning during our calendar time. Krash participates also and has learned to locate Minnesota, Texas and Maine ;-). Although my favorite was when he located Megazona. My main focus in doing this each morning is to give Pac Man a better grasp on quickly locating and naming all of the states.

We use these printable maps. We staple the blank outlined on on top for the boys to color 1 state per day, and we put the labeled map underneath to check. I also used a set of USA flashcards. The boys took turns each day-one would draw a card and name the state and then other would find and color the state. Obviously we greatly modified for Krash ;-).

This time around I am going in ABC order and using the new PowerPoint show I am working on {it is located in the Members Only section}. I am not done with the entire show {all of the states}, but am linking up in the MO section as I get chunks of it complete! So far I have released “A States” and C & D States.” We started this week and it was a big hit!!!

I am setting up the laptop right in front of our calendar board for our morning group time, with the show ready to go. Here is the detailed order that we are going in {since I know some of you thrive on details}…

  • I begin the PowerPoint at the beginning, which takes us through identifying the capital city, the postal abbreviation, and then the location. This is what that slide looks like at the end {each sentence and then the graphic answer comes up in order so the child can think first before checking the answer}.USA.Alabama (2)
  • When this slide pops up {shown below}, I ask the boys {or one of them} to come up and show me where he thinks the state is. He can then self-correct by pushing the arrow to make the slide animate the state emphasizes with a circle-draw and then the name and abbreviation pops up. They LOVE this and actually hit back to have it animate over and over!IMG_3141
  • Each day we are adding a new state, going in ABC order. I still start the show at the beginning each day though, so we have a building review of the concepts. I obviously don’t expect Krash to pick up on USA geography at 4, but I can imagine he will naturally soak a TON of information in!!!IMG_3114
  • After the slideshow, one boy {they take turns} colors in the state for the day, which is an additional review.IMG_3118
  • On top of our US geography, we have added in Africa this round!!! I am using our country cards and Africa board from Where in the World. Krash chooses a country card, IMG_3232I whisper the name in his ear, he tells Pac Man the name of the country. Pac Man then does his best to remember where it is by looking at the Where in the World board {we have studied Africa in depth in the past so this is a great review for him}. Then Krash tells him the correct {the countries are numbered on the board}. IMG_3234
  • After using the board, the boys then find it on our HUGE foam world map {THIS is our exact map but the price on Amazon is outrageous. We paid $19.99 for it years ago at Lowes-yes the hardware store!}, which now sits in the middle of our schoolroom. I absolutely did not stage this shot, and love it! They were pointing out Gambia in this photo!!!IMG_3123

The total time for all of this is about 10 minutes. It seems like a lot, but it really goes by fast and the boys both enjoy it. As we get into the states, it will obviously take longer as we review each day. We may not continue to review all of the states each day, we’ll see!

Last week the boys had a blast putting our big puzzle together, and then using it as a wrestling mat. Boys will be boys, and I LOVE them.IMG_2827

Wrestling…Geography…it’s all connected, right?