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Our First Week Back to Homeschooling

Wow! It has been awhile since we have updated everyone. It has been a crazy few months in our house. We started with some home renovations in March and they are still on going. To say it’s been stressful is an understatement.

We started our first week of Kindergarten on June 5th, 2017, and it has been great. We are starting out slow, just so we can reaccumulate to being on a schedule and will increase the work as we go. Chief has taken to the new schedule quite nicely, and way better then I had originally expected. To help us stay on track I purchased a new Happy Planner Teacher’s Edition from Michaels. I absolutely love it. Their seasonal version as it works better for our homeschool needs, and in a sense isn’t as teachery (is that a word?). Being able to plan our week and have everything is one place has been great! Now, if only I can stay this organized all year long.

This has truly been a very eye opening week for us as well. Before Chief would be very fidgety and anxious. Not wanting to focus and concentrate on his work. But now he is doing great. We had a little bit of a tough time, because he got a cold during the first few days, and by Wednesday he was a bit tired and overwhelmed. So we did a little less work, and then finished it up later in the week. This is such a huge benefit when homeschooling. We can truly tailor the days to his needs, and there are no huge consequences if we need to take a day off or change the schedule. The one thing we do to help get ready for the school day is have some story time, where he gets to lay down and relax.

 

We started a fun science project on Monday. We are germinating Sunflower seeds in a mason jar, and then we will transplant them when they sprout and grow their roots. Chief thinks it’s so fun to watch them change. So far, 2 of our seeds have cracked and you can see a little activity. On Friday, he painted a flower pot to transplant them into, and is ready to put them in soil. This is a great summer project, even for those not in school. We are using the Sunflower Life Cycle packet from teachers pay teachers, and it was a very reasonable $3.00.

The least favorite thing we have coming up is our new daily chore chart. Ugh, who here likes to clean? Definitely not me! But, we are going to attempt a new process and hopefully it will help keep the house clean and organized. Not that we live in a pig sty, but with a rambunctious 4 year old and a dog things get messy quick! It is a HUGE job to keep the sand out of the house. Which only makes me realize just how much sand was probably in our old carpets.

 

Overall, I am so happy with how our first week back. I was expecting it to be much worse, and for Chief to be totally uninterested. Here’s to week 2!

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South Florida Science Center Visit

This week we have been visiting family in South Florida.  One of my favorite places to visit is the South Florida Science Center. This has always been a favorite place of mine. I even volunteered here 15 years ago.

Their current exhibit is called Our Body: The Universe Within, and is an exhibit of real life bodies. The bodies are preserved using a special process called polymer impregnation. The exhibit is very interesting and great for all ages. It is in no way morbid or gruesome, but they do show ALL body parts including the breast and penis. So this might be something you would want to talk about with your children before going.

We took about an hour to walk through the exhibit taking our time to examine the different types of models they had. Some were full skeletons, some were the muscles, some were veins, organs, arteries and nerves. Chief asked many questions about each item, and each area had a list of what we were looking at. This made answering his questions accurately very easy. I would have loved to share some pictures with you, but it was against the rules to take photos. I can not explain how truly amazing, and fascinating the exhibit was.

This exhibit would be perfect for any student currently learning about the human anatomy. They can actually see everything they are reading about, in person and in real life. No diagrams, no artificial pictures, or old draw pictures in a school book.

We went on a Tuesday, which lucky for us happened to also be their homeschool day. Check out their homeschool classes here.  We signed up for a class to learn about the Florida Everglades and the importance of Alligators to the ecosystem. Not only was it very informative, there was a hands on section where we got to meet and pet a baby alligator that was rescued. This was Chief’s favorite part, because come on what kid doesn’t want to pet a baby alligator!

Did you know that alligators have 5 toes on their front feet, and only 4 toes on their back feet? This was one of Chief’s favorite facts that he learned during class. We also learned that alligators lay eggs, and the temperature the eggs are at determine the sex of the baby alligators. Warm areas produce male alligators, and cool areas produce female alligators. I found this super fascinating as I just always thought the sex was determined when the egg was laid.

We also learned that without Alligators that the ecosystem in the everglades be in danger. Alligators are the largest most dangerous animal in the everglades and they help keep everything in check.

If you are ever in West Palm Beach, I highly recommend a visit to the Science Center. So much has changed over the years and they are opening up new areas every year and exhibits change every few months.

 

❤️ Brittny

P.S. If you liked this blog post, don’t forget to share with your friends and family. Also, check out our instagram page for daily updates @rubinfamilyadventures.

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Dollar Tree Wonders!

Have you heard about Dollar Tree? Have you ever been inside? I highly recommend you take a trip there as soon as possible.

 

Dollar Tree Snacks

Let’s talk about snacks. Every mom knows that kids go through snacks like they do underwear. They seem to go even faster right after you buy them and the novelty of new snacks is there.

Every week I head over to the Dollar Tree with a $10 budget for snacks. Every Dollar Tree varies on the items they have, and they also vary by week. But I am guaranteed to find good name brand stuff every time. The best part, it’s all a buck! That’s right, $1! No funny business.

Our favorite snacks are veggie straws, chocolate animal crackers, goldfish, cheese puffs, pretzels, and much more. We have even gotten lucky on occasion and found applesauce pouches! I try and buy the largest bags possible, and then I get snack size baggies and separate it all out. I have a snack bin in my pantry that is accessible to my 3 year old and he can pick and choose own his own.

Dollar Tree Dry Goods

Who would have thought that Dollar Tree has a dry grocery and frozen section?! It is AMAZING! Again, name brand items at bargain prices. Of course you still have store brand items, but they are just as good.

Canned Veggies, Canned Soup, Canned Fruit, Tuna, and much more. You can’t forget the pastas, pasta sauces, condiments, sodas and juices. I always take advantage of these items when I find them. These are all house hold staples that everyone has in their pantry, and it’s great to stock up.  During our most recent Hurricane, I was even able to stock up on non perishable items at a low price, and a very small budget.

Now, always make sure to check your local sale prices as some times you can get an even better deal at your local grocery store. But in most cases you get a better deal at the Dollar Tree.

Dollar Tree Frozen Foods

This section is hit or miss. You can find great things, and not so great things. Its also the area you have to watch the prices on, because its possible that they could cost more. Chief loves Red Barron Pizza Minis. I can purchase them in the grocery store for $3.79 for a box of 8 mini pizza’s, Chief usually only eats 3 of them. At Dollar Tree I can get 1 package of 3 for $1 and get 9 for $3.

This section seems to be the most random, but you can find some really good things here. My favorite find has been the Cinnabon pull apart. These make great snacks for moms after a long stressful day, and cook in 45 seconds!

Dollar Tree School Supplies

Every homeschooling parent knows just how expensive supplies can be. this burden is completely on us, as we are the educators in our classroom. This gives me an appreciation for them as they are only given a small list of supplies and they have to close the gap.

Dollar Tree is where its at when it comes to homeschool supplies on a budget. Paper, pencils, pens, dry erase markers, flash cards, arts and crafts materials, the works. At the beginning of the school year they even carry workbooks for all grade levels. I have found that these are a great supplement to our curriculum, or great to use when traveling.

If you have a younger child, they have great classroom decorations. Our classroom take a more Montessori approach and I don’t use the items. But they would work for a pre-k, or kindergarten student.

Holiday Dollar Finds

Are you looking to decorate for the holidays on a budget? Head over to Dollar Tree to find the latest holiday offerings. We were able to score some awesome Halloween, and Christmas decorations so far this year. This really helped when Chief wanted to decorate, but we had a very minimal budget.

 

Over all, Dollar Tree has TUNS to offer! The biggest plus, EVERYTHING is truly $1! Happy Shopping!

 

❤️Brittny

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Arctic Adventures Part 2

Welcome to our Arctic Adventures Part 2. We have been working with our arctic materials for a little over a month now, and chief loves them. If you have not read Part One of our adventures you can find it here.

Blubber Experiment

This was our most anticipated experiment on our Arctic Adventure. Chief and I went through his arctic animals and spoke about how they kept warm during the cold winter months. He thought that his whales would be the coldest because they live in cold water.

We went through his arctic animals and talked about how we thought they stayed warm. Of course as a 3 year old he came up with funny things like, they sleep with their mommy, they buy a sweater, they move where it is warm like Florida, etc.

Now, the best part. We did our blubber experiment and here is how it went, and what we discovered.

  • First, we filled a bowl with cold water and Chief put in his bare hands to see just how old the water is without the protection of blubber.
  • Then we put on gloves(this part is a must) to help keep our hands clean, and then I covered his hand with cooking lard. You can use Crisco, but I found that Target carried an off brand box for only $1.89 so I went with that since we would just be throwing it away.
  • Once his hand was ready, he slowly submerged his hand into the icy water. He was pretty shocked that his had was not getting cold.
  • Next, he placed his bare hand and his “blubber” hand into the cold water and told me which one was warmer. He thought this part was really cool, because to him they were the same hand. I explained to him that it was the “blubber”, like on the Polar Bear that was keeping his hand warm.
  • He played around with the water and “blubber” for a few minutes, but then our “blubber” started to fall off. I highly recommend that you wrap your hand in plastic wrap to keep the “blubber” in place.

This was a super fun and inexpensive experiment to do with him. I am always looking for hands on learning to help enhance his school days, and make things more fun.

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Arctic Flash Cards

In Part One of our Arctic Adventures I expressed my love you Safari Toob Animals. Using out Arctic toob animals I created flash cards that help with recognition, and matching.  We can use these cards to help with reading as Chief gets older.

Creating the flash cards was super simple. Using a light box with a white background I took clear pictures of each animal. I uploaded each picture into Microsoft Word and formatted the picture to the size desired. I made our card 4inx6in to make them easy to handle.

Snow Slime

We made our snow slime back in Part One. While it has lasted us for about 5 uses, it did start to turn back into a liquid state. We dumped some of the liquid out, remixed it and it was good as new.

This is one of Chief’s favorite activities, most likely because it seems messy and he can be really hands on with it. His favorite thing is to pretend that his whales, and walrus are swimming in the ocean looking for food.

 

❤️ Brittny

P.S. If you liked this, don’t forget to share with your friends and family.

 

 

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Our Arctic Adventures Part 1

Winter is upon us or so we hear them say for all the states above us. Living in Florida leaves us with 12 months of warm weather. It’s November, and its currently above 80 degrees outside almost every single say. So we are bring winter into our home by learning about the Arctic.

With our plans to move to Michigan in the very near future, we felt it was time to learn about the different climates around the world. Since it is almost time for winter, or what us Floridan’s call winter. We decided to start with the Arctic and Chief is super excited.

Making Snow Slime

Recently I read a homeschooling blog Side by Side Learning, where they have climate themed workboxes. I thought this sounded super fun, but I wanted to put my own spin on it. We currently have our classroom set up Montessori style. We have trays and baskets each containing their own separate work. Chief has the option to choose whichever work he would like to do, and he completes it until he is finished.

This week we started our with our new work, Arctic snow slime.  It is pretty cool, and very simple to make. We used the recipe from Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls. To go along with our snow slime I purchased the Arctic toob collection from Hobby Lobby, plus side is you can use a 40% off coupon! If you order online don’t forget to use ebates(affiliated link), this will give you an additional 2% cash back on your order.

After making our snow slime, Chief experimented with putting his arctic animals in the snow and seeing their tracks. This activity kept him entertained for about 30 minutes as he looked at the tracks in the snow, he made a little story about the whales and the wolves, and just had fun.

After Chief was done exploring this new work, we added it to a tray on his work shelves so that he can work with it as he chooses.

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Arctic Toob Animals

This weekend I will be photographing our Arctic toob animals on a white background and printing out cards for matching. I will also be creating flashcards with animal tracks once Chief because more familiar with each Arctic animal. He will then be able to match each animals based on the track marks they leave in our snow slime.

Safari Toob collections are one of my most favorite tools to bring into the classroom. They offer such an amazing variety, for just about any topic. I love that these collections are very life like, and not cartoonish at all. This helps with being able to distinguish these animals, people, places, plants, etc. in person. The Safari website also has a lot of information regarding the items in their collections.

Future Arctic Studies

Our work with the Arctic climate will last us several week, most likely through January. We will be adding additional adventures, projects and activities as the time goes on. So make sure to come back and read up on what we have learned.

Please feel free to comment with any arctic adventures you have taken with your family.

 

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Why did you choose to homeschool?

Well, I get this questions a lot. My family is full of public school educators, and I have nothing but respect for them and their profession. I made the decision to homeschool my children many years ago. The best way I explain to people that this is a decision I have made in the best interest of my child, and my child’s future. Now the long answer to why I will home school……

Public School Education

Were you educated in a public school? My answer to this is always yes and no. I went to elementary school, 6th grade and half of 7th grade,  half of my 7th grade year was completed at home, through a hospital homebound program, and the I dropped out during my 9th grade year.

During my 7th grade year I had informed my parents that I had be sexually abused by our neighbor and I had a very hard time dealing with everything. I was terrified to leave my house, and I was terrified that I was going to be hurt for coming forward. (I now know that coming forward was the right thing to do, and I was kept safe by my parents. ) My parents and my counselors spoke and found it best for me to complete the year at home.

I went back to school for my 8th grade year and I loved it. I became president of a program at school called SADD( Students Against Destructive Decisions). Being the president of this club helped with my social skills, but my anxiety was still strong and I missed a lot of school. I finished out my 8th grade years, and entered high school and this is where things went down hill. My anxiety was terrible, I suffered from panic attacks, depressions, ptsd and more. I had a very hard time making new friends; my anxiety made me the weird girl and so much more. I ended up dropping out before the end of my high school year.

The Unexpected

Now, here comes the most amazing part! One that is always unexpected when I tell people I dropped out of school. I went back when I was 18 and got my GED, enrolled in community college and got my Associate’s of Art’s degree, and then enrolled in University where I graduated with my Bachelor’s of Science degree.

The biggest shocker, I applied to and was accepted into Law School. It was a conditional acceptance, I had to complete a summer program first, but I was accepted. I was so proud. I talked it over with my parents and my boyfriend( at the time, now my husband) trying to decide on what I wanted to do. Would I go to law school? How would I pay for it? I didn’t receive scholarships and tuition was $75,000 per year. I ultimately decided that I would wait and I would retake my LSAT test in the next 3 years to try and up my scores to be able to receive a scholarship.

Our Decision to Homeschool

Ultimately, my Husband and I decided to start a family. I have several cardiac issues so we spoke with the doctors and they said it was better to have children while I was young, rather then later down the road. I knew before we started down this road that our future children would homeschool. I didn’t know how many children we would have, but I knew they would homeschool. We ended up with Chief, and he is our world. For his first few years he attended the Montessori school where I worked and it was a fantastic beginning to his learning. Chief is now 3.10 years old (Almost 4, where did the time go?) and doing fantastic.

We started our homeschool journey in August of this year. We are using this time to work on his letter recognition and number recognition, as he is struggling with this. We are using a few different curriculums, mainly focusing on a letter of the week with a review of all past letters. This is working well for him, and we are starting to incorporate more in each week. He proudly tells people when they ask, that he does homeschool. Which usually leads into more questions about our homeschool life, and how we go about learning. I loved educating people of the huge possibilities that homeschooling provides for children. Luckily we haven’t come across anyone super anti-homeschool as some of our friends have.

Stay tuned for more info on our curriculum and schedule.

❤️ Brittny

 

**If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual abuse, or assault you can contact RAINN or your local law enforcement agency for help. Don’t stay silent, tell your story and send your offender to jail.

 

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Homemade Homeschool

As a homeschooling family with a single income, we find our own ways to create our homeschool materials. Little man has been struggling with his recognition of letters, and tracing. So we are trying a new approach. He previously used sandpaper letters when he was in Montessori school, so here is my take on them. They are super easy to make, and relatively inexpensive. Here is what you will need:

Supplies:

Glitter Paper ( in your child’s favorite color.)

Or Precut Glitter letters (Make sure they are textured)

Hot Glue

White Card Stock

Paper Cutter

I use my Cricut to cut out my letters using the basic Arial Font, and made them about 2″ tall. You can adjust yours to whatever size you would like, or purchase the precut letters in the size you would like. I then cut out my White Card Stock into 3″ squares , then hot glued the glitter letters to the center of my card stock. They turned out great!  The total cost for the project for me was under $2. I already had the white card stock and hot glue, so I only had to purchase the glitter paper which was around $1.50.

I highly recommend that if you are a homeschooling parent that you purchase a Cricut. You don’t have to have the top of the line if you are just using it to cut out projects. I have the Explore One and I use it for homeschooling and for my online business. It is great to be able to cut things out on the fly and not have to worry about how its going to turn out. It is very helpful when the littles get older and start having projects of their own that need to be completed. They can use it to create the things needed without having to go out and specially buy items.

Here is our finished project. He loves them, and they are red which is his favorite color. He instantly started to trace the letters. I only placed out the letters that we are currently working on, so that he will not get confused. Good Luck with your projects!

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We do school in our Jammies.
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Fall School Day Projects

Today we had a lot of fun. We create our fall luminaries, which was a lot of fun and a tad messy. They came out great and we plan to make a few more to add around the house. My 3 year old loves taking out the battery operated tea lights and turning them on and off. These would make great gifts for your friends and family, or great decoration for a fall themed table. We will be using the ones we made today on our front entry table, which is decorated with some faux books, a mason jar wax warmer, a dried flower bouquet from my best friends wedding, my mother’s day tea hat that my little guy made for me, and most importantly my husbands Grandfathers service flag, hats and some of his metals.

Tomorrow we are going to have a fun out of the house school day depending on the weather. We will be meeting a friend at the park for some outdoor play and exploring, and a scavenger hunt for things that begin with our letters of the week that we have worked on so far this year. Our current letters are S, T, E, & A so we will see what we can find. If our weather is not nice and we are not able to go out doors, we may make a stop at our local fire station. We do this at least 3 times a month at random times, and to random stations. The firefighters love visits and of course the cookies that we bring, and my little guy is so excited to hang out with the firemen and playing on the trucks. I am pretty sure we have a future firefighter on our hands.

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Celebrating Fall Time

I have been told that it is now fall! My favorite time of the year, only down side is that we live in Florida and there is no real fall. So we will create our own fall. We have many project that we will be working on this week and the weeks to come. I am excited to see our little guy learn about Fall and all that it means. Who knows, maybe we will have a few days here soon where it is not 95 degrees outside.

Our first fall project was really simple. We created apple and pumpkin handprints in our Composition book.

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We are using a composition notebook during our home school journey to keep track of our progress and achievements. We hope to look back at the end of the year and see our sons strengths and weaknesses so that we know what area we need to improve on.

Our next project we are going to work on is perfect, we are going to use the tuns of mason jars that we have left over from our wedding a few years ago. We are going to make Fall Luminaries to decorate our house and give us a bit more of the fall feel. This is a simple and fun project and most people have all the required laying around their house and if not most items can be purchased for under $5 at the dollar tree.

Later this week or at the beginning of next week, we will be making home made applesauce pouches. It is really simple and easy for your kiddos to help out. You will need :

  • 3-5 lbs of apples (Depending on how much apple sauce you want)
  • Cinnamon
  • Apple Slicer
  • 1-1 1/2 cups of water or apple juice
  • Large Pot with Lid
  • Blender
  • Mesh Strainer
  • Large Bowl/Measuring Glass
  • Infantino Squeeze Station and Pouches (Optional)
  • Jars or Containers for Storage

Slice your apples into segments, add to your large pot, add about 1-1 1/2 cups of water or apple juice (we have used both and it tastes the same), and cinnamon to taste. Your children can help you will all the steps up until this point. Next Cover and simmer for about 1 hour or until you apple pieces are soft. Once apples are soft, add half your apples and half the juice to your blender (your blender may hold more or less) and puree until smooth. Once you have pureed your apples, place your mesh strainer over a large bowl or measuring cup and pour your apples in using a spoon push your sauce through the strainer, straining out the apple skins and larger pieces. Once done you are ready to add your apple sauce to your jars, or pouches and refrigerate or freeze within 1 week. We usually leave about 4 bags in the fridge and add the rest to the freezer and pull them out as needed. Enjoy!