Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Big Dreams Room Homeschool Favourite Things

Welcome to our Big Dreams Homeschool Room!

2020 has been a crazy one so far, but we are so excited to get started on a fresh new year of learning! 

I've had a lot of new-to-home-learning parents ask about the learning materials/supplies/tools that we use, so I've compiled a list of all of our most favourite things!

I purchased most of these things from Amazon because our DL school (TLA) orders them from my wish list, and they arrive at our door in a couple of days. I've included the Amazon links for easy hunting ;).  

Interactive Globe

This is one of the best things we've ever purchased for our school room. The boys love it so much, and have learned a lot geography while having so much fun with it! It's been a hit with all three of them (ages 7-13). It's even fun for me!

Digital Microscope

This microscope is incredible! It's so simple to use, and so much easier than the traditional style microscope where you have to look into the viewfinder. Everyone can enjoy it at once! It magnifies 1000X, which is enough to see the very tiny fibres on fabric, and the hairs on a spider's legs (we've checked!).  I wish we had bought this years ago!

"Magnatiles" Picasso Tiles

These are endless hours of building fun. (And so much cheaper than the actual Magnatiles brand ;). This is a good sized box, with 100 pieces (enough to build a 3' high Empire State Building!).

Wooden Multiplication Table

This is a great way to solidify times tables, and also work on those fine motor skills. We've learned our multiplication using songs (post to come on this!), but this is excellent for putting them to practice in a fun way that doesn't involve paper and pencils.

Wikki Stix

If you haven't tried Wikki Stix, you need to get these! They're full for all ages and levels, and can be used for so many activities! Today, Finn (10) used them to make angles for math, and Rory (7) created a replica of our dog, Reggie. There are so many ideas on Pinterest of ways to use Wikki Stix from making a model of the human body with the organs, to creating 3D art. I'm excited to find new ways to use these in our room!

Molecular Model Kit

This molecule kit is the best one we've had yet! It's sturdy, and easy to put together (not frustrating, like some of the others we've encountered). The pieces are good quality, and stay together! Highly recommend for learning chemistry!

STEM Challenge Cards

These STEM challenge cards is great for a simple way to work science into the day. They're easy enough to not be overwhelming, but fun enough to keep the learner engaged. I'm looking forward to using these this year! We've had science experiment books in the past, but I always found that we rarely had the needed supplies to do the experiments, and I'm not so great at being super prepared ahead of time. These are perfectly simple, with somewhat common items needed to complete the challenges.

Write-On Journal

I love this journal so much! And, more importantly, my very reluctant 10 year old writer loves it too!  It's got some great writing prompts, and presents them in a cool, modern way. I also love that it's a beautiful quality hardcover book that I plan to keep for my memories (and theirs!).

ME Journal

This is the cutest little "All about Me" journal for preschool to lower elementary kiddos! I already can't wait to look back on the cuteness for years to come (yes, I'm crazy sentimental like that ;). Rory (7) is loving it, and already wants to fill out multiple pages every day. 

Keva Building Set

They've spent hours building all sorts of contraptions with these Keva planks. They're an excellent tool to use for building ball ramps/tunnels, towers of all sorts, or even replicas of structures from history. Simple, but so great!

Gumball Machine

We've had a gumball machine in our learning room for a couple of years now, and it's been very helpful time and time again. Just sayin'.  ;)

I'll be adding to this list as I think of things to add, and will only include items that we love using! I'm still signed up as an Amazon Associate from my blogging days of yore, so can possibly receive a small percentage of any sales from my site to help fund more cool learning materials (depending on the product) :). 

Happy Learning!! 

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Our new homeschool room

After four years of using our dining room as our learning space, we finally have our very own school room. This may not seem like a big deal to some, but to this mama it's HUGE! 

I've had dreams of this space for so long now that it hardly seems real. We start our new school year this week, and I can hardly wait! 

My three little students are equally as excited about their new room, and I overheard them saying "I can't wait to start school! It's only three more days away!". 

That's a win!

Since I had been using our dining room furniture in our previous learning space, I had to start from scratch with this room. Thank you IKEA for having so many wonderful pieces at such reasonable prices! I braved the IKEA shopping trip on my own, and was quite a spectacle trying to juggle three carts through the self-serve area. 

The main pieces of furniture were from IKEA, and the other little decor details were mostly from Home Sense (my all-time favourite spot). The letter board (which I absolutely love) was purchased on Amazon here.

Our nature table is actually our old diaper change table, and it works perfectly for housing the larger Montessori learning materials and STEM building sets, etc. I love that it's all out in the open, inviting the kids to use it. 

For our large table, I actually used two small IKEA table tops (and the corresponding legs). I attached them using white zap straps around the legs to keep the two tables from sliding apart. 

The little blue IKEA cart was in our school area previously, and it works perfectly as an art cart. I love that it can be moved around as needed. 

The small bookshelf behind my chair is for my own use, and holds my journals, books, day planner, and planner supplies/stickers (yes, I'm a total Happy Planner geek!). I've tried several different planners over the years, and the Happy Planner is most definitely my fave. (And no, they aren't paying me to say that 😉).

I think this is my new favourite room in the house! I'm so looking forward to many, many days of learning with my boys here. This homeschool journey is not without its challenges, and certainly not for everyone, but I feel so lucky to be able to do it. I can't believe this will be our fifth year of school at home! I blinked, and my big boy is in grade five! 

This year is going to be a good one. I can just feel it.

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