A few days ago I took a trip to Lakeshore Learning Store in Cranston, Rhode Island. They opened this past November but somehow I missed them all of these months. Let me put a shameless plug in for this store. I was lost in this store for hours. It is very public school oriented but there are tons of things for homeschoolers to choose from. Their manipulatives section is outstanding. The staff is very helpful without being annoying. The thing that surprised me the most was how knowledgeable they were about their products.
I LOVE this store. Unfortunately there was a big sign posted on the front door that said no video cameras or cameras allowed otherwise, I would have taken some pictures.
They also have a really cool webpage that has free templates here:
oh and did I mention that that have a laminating service for only $0.29 per linear foot? Total bargain. I would so love a laminating machine for our home. Think of all the homemade manipulatives I could make that would actually last more than a day. Yes, I do use clear contact paper but it's just not the same as a laminator. I will have to make a wish list.
oh and did I mention that they have arts and crafts every Saturday from 11 am-3pm for the little ones to get creative?
oh and did I mention that they have huge tubs of wheat and gluten free play-doh for those with allergies. And they come in awesome colors like turquoise and magenta?
Even Lakeshores bags are adorable.
I bought some pipe cleaners really cheap, some people shapes and some really cool linen paper in the shape of leaves. These papers absorb food coloring and when you spritz with water, the color spreads out and looks just like fall leaves. I did a whole bunch of these one year and hung them in my window. It looked like stained glass. But I digress.
I bought this book and am devouring it. I think I will do a class for our coop that is getting started. The kids get to create their own culture complete with costumes, folklore, toys and games. They also get to plan out the geography, food, flags and buildings. So much fun. I may use the people shapes that I bought so the kids can decorate them according to how they designed their own culture. At the end, they get to do a presentation for the parents.
I signed up for the Lakeshore Learning Teacher's Club that gives me 15% off selected items and they send email coupons. The clearance tables at the store were phenomenal too. Most of the stuff was 50% off. There were stamps, glue, classroom adornments, posters, storage bins (who doesn't need storage bins?), books, manipulatives and odds and ends. Good stuff. Stuff I would actually use.
My purchase came to just over $20.00 so I got this really cool teacher's planner for FREE. Yes, free. It was valued at $6.99. Not a bad free gift. I also saved $8.73 off my order with the discount that they gave me. Coupons, discounts and free items. Not a bad day.
Now, I'm not much for planners but did use one last year. Homeschooling three kids can get confusing so we decided on assignments together and after we were done, I wrote them in the planner. It helped me keep track of what pages they had read and what we covered. It also helped me to organize appointments, sports activities, church happenings and field trips and basically know where I was supposed to be and what was going on. That's not such a bad thing. Honestly, I would be lost without a daily planner. Homeschool and life are busy. Get organized.
Some of the pages in the planner I love, like this one. Birthdays. I always wanted one place to keep track of family and friends birthdays. Obviously, this was meant for students but homeschooling takes up your whole life so I like to think of these things as life planners.
And this page with dates to remember. Not just your typical "Christmas" and "Yom Kippur". But very important things like Laura Ingalls Wilder's Birthday and Jack Pretluzsky's Birthday.
This page. Not so much. Our substitute teacher is Dad who, in my absence, teaches the kids very important things like how to mow the lawn or do laundry. He doesn't care about planners.
But a weekly planner where I don't have to squeeze in items for three kids. That might be nice.
The monthly calendar pages are a must. I have issues with Calendars. We also have a dry erase calendar in our kitchen with the monthly schedule. It keeps our family of 5 very organized.
Long range planning. Hmmmm. I have to think about this one. It might help me feel more organized if I had a plan for each month. Maybe I will just use it for the ideas that pop into my head that I seem to forget about until it's too late. I can also put in things, like "start the seedlings", for the garden or "make yearly pediatrician appointment". This could work out too.
I'll keep you posted.
Do any of you have planners that you use? What works and what doesn't?