Friday, June 10, 2011

Seeds of Wisdom--Favorite Tools

Welcome, everyone! This is our first Seeds of Wisdom post, and I am so excited to share the question/answers with you all. Seeds of Wisdom is an opportunity for YOU to ask US questions. We choose one question for each Friday post, and a handful of us will answer it the best we can.

It is wise to take council of more than one person as no one person has all the answers, and some questions have no wrong answers only different solutions. This is a chance for open discussion where we want to hear from you as much as we want to offer our own advice.

Being that this is the first week, of course, we have no questions from the readers yet. If you would like to submit a question, please send an email to me at raleneburke at yahoo dot com. I'll let you know when your question is chosen (most likely in the order that it was received). For this week, I proposed my own question to our panel of esteemed mothers!

What is your favorite tool you use on a consistent basis for education in the home?

My favorite homeschool tool is my planner. I have been using "The Well-Planned Day" since a few months into our first year of homeschooling, and I really love it. It is well laid out, and very visually appealing. You can see a full preview of the planner

The windows on my French doors and Crayola Window markers =) Since we mostly do school at our dining room table, I use the windows as my white board! They are in the perfect spot, are big and the kids LOVE it

Signing Time Video Series. I have been using them for over two years and my children know 200+ signs in ASL.

Honestly, I'd have to say Google! I can find the answer to any question I have, find any supplement that I need, locate any Youtube video or educational website. And many times, I find what I need for free. I have no idea what I'd do without Google and the internet.

My favorite tool has been the Usborne Books. They are wonderful for social studies and history. They are so kid-friendly, with interesting illustrations and factual information that promotes discussion and learning. I also love the libra...ry. It is a treasure-trove of homeschool tools, not only the books but the activities and other people there as well. My favorite motivational tool is location - it's a wonderful gift to be able to move around while you are learning. My children use this often when they are frustrated and find a new location (coffee table? kitchen table? on the floor? in a box?) often helps get them over a difficult hump. I love to move lessons outside when the weather is nice.

My computer - I love creating new activities that are tailored to the specific needs/interests of my daughter and searching the internet for printable supplements to my instruction! There are so many wonderful websites for finding free learning activities (,,,,,, Plus, I use online games and videos to supplement instruction. These days, we are using every single day for additional support in early reading skills.

This is going to sound crazy at first..but hear me out ;) Facebook is one of my greatest tools. Since we have virtually no homeschoolers in our area, I rely on the advice, suggestions and ideas of my fellow homeschooling mothers on FB. Seriously- I don't know what I would do without them.

I've been thinking about it, and I will say that one of my favorite tools is called Learn Your Letters, Learn To Serve, from the Heavenly Homemakers website... . I like it because it helps my kids learn their letters, scripture verses, etc... all while helping them creatively think of ways to serve the people in our lives. My heart is for my kids to really love people and love to serve people for th...e sake of being a blessing to them - not having the mindset of doing something to get something back out of it - this incorporates school lessons into practical character building lessons that we can do in our every day lives.

My favorite tool is definitely our new homeschool room. I'm so excited that we have the extra space in this house to dedicate specifically to homeschooling. I mean, some of the other kids stuff is in there--books, art supplies, games--but it's all stuff that we also use for homeschool. Anyway, hubby just finished sanding and refinishing a table that's just the perfect size for us. Small enough not to overwhelm the kids, big enough for us all to have our own work space. We put up a small white board and I have 2 books shelves dedicated to homeschool related books and a set of bins for art/school supplies. We also have a little reading/song time area. Can you tell I'm just so excited by this new development? The kids love it, too!

What about you? What's your favorite tool? Leave a comment today, and Beth is giving away one of the Singing Time videos! Giveaway will be open until midnight Sunday, and we'll announce the winner with Monday's post!

Tomorrow, we'll get a chance to hear from Tracy, so stick around. Have a fabulous weekend!
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