Monday, August 8, 2011

Working the Workboxes - Writing Folders

The other day, I was looking for ideas to include in our workboxes. I found lots of ideas, but there was one in particular that caught my eye. It was a Letter Writing file for the workboxes by Honey Brown. I added a few pages of my own, including a writing assignment page and a workfolder checklist. I put it all together and now it looks like this:
It inspired me to make an essay writing folder for my guys. We worked on essays this past spring using this form. I wanted to use this again, but have a whole workfolder with an assignment page and essay writing ideas at hand. This is what I came up with:
You can download my file. I suggest putting everything into a pocket folder for ease of use. I put all of the pages that are meant to be returned to the file after use on the left and insert all of the consumable papers in the right hand pocket with the task cards. I print the non-consumable pages on white cardstock for durability as well. I add a good handful of scrap and lined paper for the brainstorming and rough copies. This way, I just have to put the folder in my child's workbox. I would love to here what you think and if this activity will be of any use to you. Please check back because I have plans for making writing folders for writing newspaper articles, poetry, book reveiws etc.
Five Paragraph Essay Writing for the Workbox(function() { var scribd = document.createElement("script"); scribd.type = "text/javascript"; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = ""; var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })();
God Bless and have a great day!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Black Beaver Game

Do you know the game Schwarzer Peter? Perhaps the game Old Maid?

I have this deck of Schwarzer Peter and love playing it with the kids. The other day, I had an idea. I pondered making a Schwarzer Peter game for our Canadian studies. I already had pictures of all the provincial flags, birds and flowers saved on my pc, so I just needed to turn all of that into cards. So, that is what I did and called it The Black Beaver Game.

I made this game into a pdf printable file. For durability, print the game on white cardstock, cut out and laminate. The cards fit perfectly in these little pouches:

Black Beaver Game(function() { var scribd = document.createElement("script"); scribd.type = "text/javascript"; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = ""; var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })();

Please let me know what you think of this game. I look forward to your comments. God Bless.

Today's Ponderings

I awoke again today before most humanly people awake. I was pondering my life right now and what I can do to make a difference. As a mother, I have the role of assisting God in forming my children. It is sometimes often a difficult task. I nag. Yes, I do. I really don't mean to, but it happens. There are a lot of things that I wish I could do better. God knows that and I think that is why I stumbled upon this prayer...

Serenity Prayer

God, grant me the courage to change the things I can change,
the serenity to accept those I cannot change,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
But God, grant me the courage not to give up on what I think is right,
even though I think it is hopeless.


It wasn't until after Mass that I realized that part of my problem is my faith. I believe, but I can't give my total trust to God. My human side wants to become holy and change, but I often forget to put that desire in Our Lord's hands. It reminds me of Saint Peter in today's Gospel reading.

Matthew 14

29 He said, "Come." So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus;
30 but when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, "Lord, save me."
31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, "O man of little faith, why did you doubt?"

Luckily, though our Lord reached out His hand and caught Saint Peter. He catches me, too. Right? The prayer also says to not give up on what is right. It is right to want to be holy and not to give up hope.

Lord, grant me the ability to do Your will and to visit You often, especially when things feel hopeless and overwhelming.


I wish you a wonderful Sunday and God Bless.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Planning Feast Days

I am still very busy getting ready for the new school year. I woke up this morning at 5:30am and couldn't fall back to sleep because I had an idea for the following notebooking page.

A Catholic Feast Day Notebooking Page

Yesterday, my daugther and I were thinking of activities to put in her workbox and one idea we came up with was helping mom plan feast days. She thinks it is a great idea because she loves when we celebrate them. I know me and I often get bogged down with everyday stuff that I don't bother or it is too late to plan something. I hope that we will be more successful this year at planning Feast Days. Upon planning these pages, I thought of our uses for them. I would love my daughter to use them as notebooking pages. She will use the blank box to add pictures or other symbols to remember the day by and keep the pages in her home school portfolio.

It just dawned on me that I should have added a place for prayers or novenas, but I guess you could add that under activities. It is still earlier here.

Please feel free to use these planning pages to plan all of your feast days, too. God Bless.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Getting Ready and Making Things

In the last couple of posts I mentioned that I was planning and getting ready for the new school year. I am trying to be as organized as possible, but that is not always possible. There is hope, though. I always hope. A bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils, new books and a plan = hope. As I organize, I also hope to share with you some of my creations that make my life a little easier.

Have you heard of the Sue Patrick's workbox system? If you haven't you need to go here, but don't forget to come back. If you have then you probably have pondered how it could work for you? I have pondered for two years now. Here is a good list of how some people work their workboxes. The first year we set everything up like this:
All the shoe racks took up a lot of space and since then we have moved. I needed something less cumbersome. I didn't want to have to think to much, so it had to be simple or we wouldn't use it. The kids do a lot of the same subjects each day. We decided to use hanging file boxes. I have hanging files and leave the main subjects in place with activity file folders for extra activities hang between the main subjects. Each child has 12 hanging files, although they don't always have work in all 12 folders. The plan is to list everyone's work in my planner and then make sure everyone has extra activites for fun and has all of the supplies they need for each subject. Our file boxes look like this:
Inside they have a morning routine chart that is laminated. Each day they can check off everything they did. It also makes them accountable for things like feeding the dog or brushing their teeth.

This year, they will have workbox numbers again. I wasn't sure how I wanted to organize it last year, so I didn't bother. The only problem with leaving out the numbers is that it is easy to tell mom that everything is done and not be accountable. I have one child in particular whom I need to have accountable to me. I look forward to implementing the workbox number cards again. They will each have a simple blank board that is laminated with velcro dots on each square. Each number tag will be in each of their files. When the file folders contents have been completed they may retrieve the tag and stick it on the master card. This will hopefully deter a certain someone from getting behind because he said he did all of his subjects. I might even keep this one's child's tags with me and upon completion of a file folder and my nod of approval, a tag will be granted. If you are on the look-out for some ready made tags, there are some great ones on

I also wanted to make some. I like creating things and sharing them with others. I hadn't seen any that had a Catholic theme, so I promtly worked on making some Marian workbox tags. You are free to use them. I think they turned out ok enough to share. (I am a perfectionist, sorry). You can follow this link to download them on scribd. Here is a look at what they look like.

Please let me know what you think of them and leave a comment. If I get time, I hope to make more Catholic themed workbox items.

Thank you for stopping by and God Bless!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Home School Plans for 2011-2012

I began my last post a few days ago and just finished it up minutes ago. Blogging really isn't one of my strengths. I will attempt to list our plans for this coming school year. I am excited to be teaching grade 5, grade 4, and grade 1. If you noticed in my planner that I have four names written across the top, that is because I left room for my toddler. I think I will be doing more recording than planning for him. It will be interesting to look back and see what we all accomplished.

Grade 5 Plans

CHCGrade 5 Lesson plans
My Catholic Speller D
Language of God Level D
CHC Writing Workshop
Saxon 6/5
Behold and See 5
Handwriting 5 for Young Catholics

Grade 4 Plans

CHC Grade 4 Lesson Plans
My Catholic Speller C
Language of God Level C
CHC Writing Workshop
Teaching Textbooks 4
Behold and See 4
Catholic Heritage Handwriting: Level 4

Grade 1 Plans

CHC Grade 1 Lesson Plans
Little Stories for Little Folks
Seton Grade 1 Readers
Math for Young Catholics 1
Behold and See 1
Catholic Heritage Handwriting: Level K
Little Folks' Letter Practice
Little Folks' Number Practice

We are going to do Religion/Catechism, History, Geography, Music and Art as a group. I am waiting for a number of ordered materials to arrive to put together a basket for our faith studies.

I decided to not do individual religion texts so that we can study our faith as a family. I have been reading a lot lately and have come to the conclusion that we need to study faith as a family. It is not only practical, but essential. We hope to do a bible study, pray together more and to celebrate more feast days. If we do less individual work and more as a group, I can assign the older children to plan and organize Saints' feast days and holy days for me. They will hopefully learn a lot and make wonderful memories and lifelong connections to many holy people who lived before us. I plan on blogging about this at a later date. Once I have my books, I plan on blogging about my religion basket.

For history we are studying Canadian History. This is really important for our family. Daddy hopes to become a Canadian citizen in 2012. We have to help him study. We are using Courage and Conquest by Donna Ward as our main text. Unfortunately, I have an older version of this book and many of the suggested reads are only available used. I tracked a number of the books down and plan to use the older version and not give in to buying the updated version with suggested reads that are readily available.

Courage and Conquest
Canada: A People's History season 1 and 2 (avail. as DVD's)
Great Canadian Lives: Portraits in Heroism to 1867 (out of print online as PDF)
Kids Book of Canadian History
Discovering Canada Series - avail at the library
The Kids Book of Canadian Exploration
Forts of Canada (out of print)
North American Martyrs

Each child is also expected to read a number of books that I have compiled into age appropriate reading lists. My main resources were Elizabeth Foss' reading lists in Real Living: Eduction in the Heart of the Homeand the Catholic Mosaic reading list. Those reading lists are a whole other post. I will share the grade 4 and 5 reading lists in another post, I promise.

I hope your planning is going well. It is always so difficult trying to figure out what we are all going to be learning and studying. I left room for rabbit trails (our version of unschooling). I like the fact that CHC is light and that you have lots of room to personalize and go off on tangents. I have a feeling that it is going to be another exciting year.

God Bless and thank you for stopping by. Please feel free to leave comments or suggestions.

Planning the New School Year

I have a love/hate relationship with planning for the new school year. I thought I was going to unschool, so I put off even thinking about the next school year. It was sometime in the middle of our summer that I realized, we are not true unschoolers. My oldest, especially needs a routine and structure. He feels lost without having some idea of what he is supposed to be doing. My dear daughter would spend all of her time reading books on horses, which is okay, but.... She needs work on her math. My six year old would be a great unschooler, but... I feel that his creativity needs to be channeled so that he can live in peace with his siblings. Then there is the toddler. He is wreckless and energetic and a really funny little guy. I need to plan some activities for him to keep him out of trouble (he is so much like my six year old when he was that age). So I started planning by making a planner. I followed the instructions here. My planner looks like this:

If you would like to use any of my files, please email me. I can't seem to make my word docs in pdf's as I had hoped. I have made most of my own planner pages because I wanted them to suit our needs. Not only that, I wanted Catholic inspired pages with feast days and prayers.

My cover page: Homeschool Planner 2011-2012 (the original is doc file, so this is this nicest and the way mine looks)

I got monthly calendars on this website and spruced them up by adding the dedication of the month on them and putting a corresponding image behind the calendar. These calendars are great because they have all of the feast days listed and everything is colour coordinated according to liturgical season. Email me for a copy of my calendars from July 2011-July 2012. The September 2011 calendar looks like this:

I also included a few prayer pages, pages for curriculum planning and buying, pages for notes and of course 180 days of planning. I have four children, so I modified them to fit my needs. I have a file that is blank for you to add your own childrens' names. You are more than welcome to mail me and I will email you the files that I have made until I figure out how to put them on the public domain.

I wish you could see the planner in real live format. It is actually really nice. But it seems that I am not as technically inclined as I would like to be. God Bless and have a great summer's day.
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