Wednesday, September 9, 2015

"I Think I'm Starting to Like School"

Music to a homeschooling Mom's ears!  We've started a little unit on The Great Pyramids and the 7 Ancient Wonders of the World.  And Chase loved it.  I made a quickie 'Breakfast Board', where I looked up some facts about the Pyramids from DK Publishing's Eyewitness: Wonders of the World that we borrowed from the library on Tuesday.  Must say that I recommend this book, great information, colorful pictures and great to use for learning to use a reference.  It's not a huge book, so it is something he can easily look up the Index or in the Table of Contents to find the subject he wants.

After we read through it together, I had him get out his Social Studies journal where I'd added a title for the page.  I told him we were going to do doodle notes this year.  (Check out books like The Sketchnote Handbook that encourage you to turn intentional doodles into note taking)  I directed what he should draw and had him add in facts about it, then told him to go back and color the borders and fill in areas with different colors.  While he filled them in, I repeated what was written on the note so he was thinking about it.  He loved it!  (pictures shall be forthcoming)  The concept is that as you concentrate on illustrating the topic, you are programming the information into your brain further than just writing down the lines your teacher says.  The notes I had him make beside it with arrows and circling important bit, I let him write in his own words.

So, back to the term 'Breakfast Board'.  I found it via a post by Secular Homeschool on Pinterest, though the blog it shared is faith-based, it's a very good idea.  Basically, they use a poster board to fold pamphlet style and have the kids read over breakfast to review their day's assignments and to read factoids or do activities.  Since kids already like to read the cereal box so much, they will read whatever you sit in front of them at the breakfast table, great time to get some school preparedness in.

I've decided I'll be making it a bit more practical than a huge poster board.  I have several cereal boxes that I store cut up by my art table.  The ones I've not cut are perfect for this project.  I carefully open the box at the seams and trim off all the flaps.  So, now I have 4 sides, by flattening it so the two sides fold over the others like an envelope flap, I've made a pamphlet fold.  There are a few ways I can prepare my board, paper it, gesso it, cover it in decorative tape, etc...  I used a black vinyl cut off my bf has had for years from some factory that had excess vinyl rolls or something.  It's like a giant sticker.  But the best part is it actually works kind of like a dry erase board.  I have some neon markers just for this purpose.

I didn't do a very neat job of vinyling my board, it has bubbles and wrinkles and I was too lazy to try to peel it and redo.  But, I have more boxes, so if it is totally rekt, I can just make a new one!  On the back side, I had a protective sleeve that came in an order as a product sample from some school supply company.  It is a hard protective sleeve and the dry erase markers wipe right off.  So, in that, I slipped a daily page, which I write the date, our schedule and our spelling words for the week.  I'm thinking of adding pockets to the inside so I can have removable inserts that he can fill out and later add to his interactive journals.

I could make permanent attachments on the board, but I'd like to have interchangeable parts, so I can swap out the info on the board.  Having it entirely dry erase makes it more likely to get all smeared up.  One option I am thinking would be to use double sided tape or re-positional glue to add adornments.  Maybe laminating the pieces and velcroing them.  Anyways, I can make several boards and any that I just glued together, I can add new layers over.

I've considered possibly buying some metal spray paint and using my Freezer Frames as mini dry erase pockets.  They work great on a cookie sheet, but a cookie sheet doesn't stand up very well.  But I can slip in a new activity sheet or school subject for him to learn and use dry erase markers over it.  However, that may be spending too much money on these breakfast boards.  For now, I think I'll tack on some card stock pockets and slap on some print outs.  And of course, I'll be sharing whatever units I create to go with it!