Saturday, August 9, 2014

Moving With Children - Playing as We Pack

Moving can be difficult for children.  Watching as their home is dismantled, and packed can be unnerving, and unsettling.  With just a few short weeks left, before a cross-state move of our own, we've been looking for ways to alleviate the younger children's anxiety, and build excitement for the adventure instead.

Packing is a lot of work, but taking time to add elements of play to the process has really been paying off. 

Take for instance the board games.  Instead of shoveling them straight from the shelves into boxes, we decided each game, and puzzle (as much as time will allow) needs to be played, or put together again, before it's packed.

Then, after we get moved into our new house, we will try to play each game once more, as we unpack.

Playing through the games has been time consuming, but it has given the younger girls something to do, other than watch while I pack.  They get to help by playing.  The more games they play, the more they get to pack into the boxes.  They're enjoying the challenge, as well as the chance to play a few of their favorite "forgotten" games.

And, besides distracting the younger children, playing all the old games has helped to reinforce a sense of family togetherness for our teens, who while not anxious, aren't exactly sold on the idea of a move yet, either.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Homeschool Supply List

We returned from our road trip just in time to fall down the rabbit hole of house inspections, appraisals, preliminary packing and house hunting, to go along with a pending offer on our home.  I'll be back to posting in a hit and miss style for the next few weeks, until we either move get moved to a new town across the state, or settle back into our routine here, if the sale should happen to fall through. 

I do have a few back to school apps, games, and books I'd like to share, and will hopefully get around to writing reviews for them.  In the meantime, I'm pulling up the school supply list I posted a few years back.  Glancing down through it all, it still looks about right for the things we like to have on hand.

The big stars of this time of year are, of course, the crayons, glue, and notebooks on fantastic back-to-school sales.  I'm a big believer you can never have too many of any of them. They don't go bad, and there is nothing worse than paying quadruple the price later in the year, because you didn't snatch enough of them while they were on sale.

On top of paper (which includes card stock, printer, lined, and construction paper), printer ink, extra pens, and pencils, and any additional rulers, scissors, calculators, or general supplies you can find on the "back to school" lists posted in the stores, there are a few supplies, that are really must haves for homeschooling. Most of them don't go on sale with the regular school supplies, but can be picked up throughout the year, and now is as good a time as any to check your supply cupboards, or closets, and make up a shopping list to keep on the fridge. 

This is by no means a comprehensive list.  But, with these things on hand, you ought to be ready for just about all of the craft, history, math, or science projects coming down the pike.

  • food coloring - buy it in bulk if you can!
  • straws - bendy, and straight.
  • balloons in all shapes, sizes, and qualities.
  • rubber bands - again, in all sizes.
  • paper clips
  • a stapler, and staples
  • paper fasteners - one box will last a long time
  • all kinds of tape
  • string, and yarn - of various kinds
  • glitter
  • pompoms
  • paint - though you can often make that yourself
  • marbles
  • ping pong balls
  • paper plates
  • glass canning jars - several in each size is nice
  • a couple of small mirrors
  • some sort of magnifier, and magnifying glass.
  • a prism, or two (this is always fun, not always necessary, but you only need to buy it once)
  • batteries
  • a small hobby motor (Radio Shack, or science supply stores sell this sort of thing - and usually with accompanying wires, and tiny light bulbs, which are also handy)
  • an ice cube tray - even if your refrigerator makes ice.
  • yeast
  • alum
  • cream of tarter
  • flavored, and unflavored gelatin
  • packets of unsweetened Kool-Aid (these are probably on sale now, too)
  • marshmallows - large, and small
  • a large supply of vinegar, and cooking oil
  • coffee filters
  • a box of borax
  • a handful of nails, nuts, bolts, screws, and the like.
  • and every recyclable imaginable - keep some of every box, jar, lid, bag or can you would usually put out at the curb - sooner or later, they'll come in handy. Just don't keep too many, or you'll never be able to find what you need.
  • paint brushes in a variety of sizes and types.
  • craft sticks.
  • clothes pins
  • wooden skewers, or wood dowels of various sizes.
  • cork of various sizes (you can find those in hardware stores, or with fishing supplies).
  • googly eyes.
  • sheets of fun foam
  • sheets of felt (like the ones you find in the kids' craft section at Walmart)

There are more things I'm sure, but often you can substitute, and make due with what you have on hand. Remember, when Isaac Newton needed a telescope, he made his own, starting by making his own mirrors. Then, when he needed more sophisticated equations to explain what he was seeing - he invented calculus. Sometimes necessity can be a good thing.

It's great to be a homeschooler.

Friday, August 1, 2014