Fixed Computer and National Youth Gathering

I know.  Some have been wondering where I have been!  I am here.  But my computer has had issues the last few months.  Since then, I had it rebuilt through Apple.  And through my husband and a dear friend at church-they were able to recover most of my stuff off my hard drive.

Lesson learned-make sure you have everything checked to be backed up through Carbonite.  Somehow everything got check as not to be backed up.  My heart sank when I realized I may have REALLY had lost everything.  I should have know better.

But thanks to my dear friend who slowly recovered all my data off of my hard drive that had issues.  And I mean ISSUES!   But here I am, on my computer again!!  Blogging on the iPad was not my cup of tea!

I get my computer back just in time to goto the Nation Youth Gathering in San Antonio TX.  I will be serving as a Community LIfe Builder (CLB).  I leave this Friday early for training over the weekend and then 5 days of the gathering with 25,000 other youth and adults!  Livelove(d) is the theme.  Some of my up coming post will be reflecting the gathering and lessons learned and things experienced!  Isaiah has already ask for a pair of cowboy boots.

What is already cool about the gathering is the hotel I am staying it is the Menger Hotel.  Lots of awesome history there, like President Theodore Roosevelt stayed there.  So stay tuned to a little History coming your way.

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Our Chalkboard Writing Center Area {homeschool room}

I did this Ultimate Guide two weeks ago on Homeschool Rooms.  Our homeschool room/area is far from being done.

Our book shelves are done.

Our portable homeschooling shelves are done.

We are not ready.  I have been dealing with a family crisis (more to come later), getting ready for family vacation, and the beginning of school.  I am ok that we don’t look all perfect, neat and ready. We will get there.

My 10-year-old saw my post.  He saw this picture and said ” Mom, let’s make one.”

I said sure honey, let’s make something like that.  We had chalk board paint. We bought a board at Home Depot.  Robby painted the first coat. I did the rest.  I had two shelves I thought would work, but they were not the right size.  Yesterday by chance at Staples I found two that were 50% off!  Dan and Robby put those together for me.



Ok, so it is not as pretty as the first one!  But I like I the fact my son saw a picture, and we did something with it!  So for now, we are going to call this our “Writing Center”   I put the shelves sideways to help keep sticky hands off of them….I think I will put curtains over them later. (my two younger ones take everything out and apart.  EVERYTHING!  When we do foster care -may times those children will also take apart things I have worked on to keep together-so I am trying to think 5 steps ahead of them)

On top I will keep writing tools, plus the bins will have writing prompts in them.  On the walls I will put up a magnet board to hang ideas and a pocket hangar to put other ideas in it.  In the shelves below I will have lots of our writing activities and supplies on them-such as paper, letter tracing, ABC games and their writing journals.  The dictionary, thesaurus, and other word books for younger children are on the shelves.  As the year goes on I will add to it.

Robby has just started taking an interest in writing (going into 5th grade) and the two little ones are moving fast in the area!  I want to spark that creativity and provide a fun place for them to write what ever is on their mind!

Stool or Chair?

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Salt Boxes for Writing and Cursive First Curriculum

When I started teaching Robby Spell to Read and Write we started using a salt box for writing. I used a Tupperware box with some salt. When I told them all we are using Spell to Read and Write again Robby said we had to make salt boxes for each one of them. Robby picked out the boxes for each one. As I went on a hunt through the house for our Cursive First program (parallels to the Spell to Read and Write program) I found our first salt box.

Salt boxes for learning to spell


We got two boxes at the craft store half price. Salt is about .75 at the store. I do need to color the lid of the inside so they can see the letters as the write. Today I let them try it out. They got the feel of the salt. They wrote letters and drew. Robby would play with this for a long time. This is where he wrote his first cursive word “cat” (I can’t find that picture). He was so excited! Robby is left-handed and I wish I had started this earlier, but I didn’t start the Spell to Read and Write program till he was in first grade, which meant I didn’t know about the Cursive First program till then.

Salt box writing

Salt Box Writing

I did keep them on the floor because they do like to make a mess!
Salt box writing
After a while I got the idea that these could be a little science/math too! So I gave them each a spoon, little strainer, and container. That gave me another 45 minutes! They loved that!
Salt box writing and science
Yes I have salt on my floor, and it is ok!
They will store nicely.
Salt box writing boxes

I have not used the Cursive First Program for a few years. I had to do some hunting for my box! I like this program because it piggy backed the Spell to Read and Write. Robby is left-handed and shows signs of dyslexia. It made teaching him hard. Cursive helped him not switch letters such as “b’s” and “d’s” and as he wrote it was easier for him to move his hand to create his words.

I know some say cursive is dead, everything is in print. I disagree. Learning cursive is a form of handwriting that lets children have a sense of pride of something they created. It is almost a form of art. Robby has just now started on his own writing in cursive. He would only write for me because He had to. I didn’t force him. It was wanting to write like Disney, that give them that joy in writing in cursive. Now he is working hard to write in cursive all over. I gave him the foundations years ago with Cursive First. Now I am getting ready to give that foundation to AnQuenette and Isaiah. AnQuenette I believe will pick it up fast. Isaiah, we will see-he wants to do want everyone else is doing. This will be new for me-teaching two so close in age, so we will see how this goes!
As with the salt writing, feeling the letters is a good way for kids to learn. I had gotten these for Robby to help him. Now we will get to use them again! I got them out to show the to little ones today!
I also used the cards to teach cursive. The cards also had the sounds on them with was a great review. Isaiah thought I was going to teach right there as I was showing them the cards. I think he is ready for school to start!
I had gotten this clock stamp to help Robby with some of his letter formation.

The curriculum comes with practice pages. I was copying them and having Robby do them. He also used tracing paper to practice some of his letters as he got older.

cursive first
I had each of the sheets in a sheet protector. As I said I was copying them, but then I thought I can just use a dry ease marker and it works! Saves paper!
cursive first
Here is the bin I had most of the things in minus the folder.
Cursive First

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To Boldly Write {A Birthday lesson on Gene Roddenberry}

August is a great birthday month! I mean I was born in it! In fact today is my birthday!:)

I am writing to honor Gene Roddenberry. We are huge Star Trek fans in this house so I loved the opportunity to learn more about Gene Roddenberry. As our kids are growing up, we are creating the next generation of trekkies. As I researched and read about Gene I really admired him as a writer beyond his time. When he saw TV for the first time, he was already writing for flying magazines and song lyrics. Writing was in his blood. He saw a vision that there would be a need for special writers for TV shows, but when he went to Hollywood, TV was not ready for writers with little experience like him. He did not give up on his dream. He got a job as a police officer and continued to write and keep his foot in the door of TV. Soon Star Trek was born and a whole new generation of TV began.

Gene Roddenberry

Interesting Facts about His Life

  • Born August 19, 1921
  • Died October 24, 1991
  • A year after he died his ashes were sent into space on the Space Shuttle Columbia.
  • Nickname “Great bird of the Galaxy”
  • He studied to be a police officer
  • He flew with the US army air corps.
  • He wrote and sold storied to flying magazines
  • He wrote lyrics to a song “I wanna go home”
  • In 1964 he wrote and produced the TV show “The Lieutenant”
  • We was a police officer till 1966 when Star Trek took off.
  • He has had two wives and three children
  • From his Star Trek there are 7 TV shows and 10 movies (which we have seen almost all)
  • He was not a Christian
  • He loved to write and tell stories
  • Star Trek became a huge success and all kinds of people followed it, even though some thought he was crazy for suggesting a space show for adults. Back then space shows where normally for kids.
  • His family life had issues, whose doesn’t.

To Boldly Write

As I read and learned more about Gene Roddenberry I thought what about him do I want my 10-year-old to learn about. It would be his love for writing which began his passion for Star Trek. When you produce a TV series, you must have a vision and love for writing and creating. My son is just getting into writing. For a long time he didn’t want to write.
So I created this writing exercise: To Boldly Write . Robby loves to look things up. So I made it so he could look information up and write it down. Some questions he said were too hard for him, and he is still thinking of what his Star Trek TV Series would be. You can adapt it as you see fit for your child. Also a good blogger friend over a Milk and Cookies did a fun July Birthday post of Sir Patrick Stewart. (She is also a fellow Trekkie)
In this August Birthday Blog Hop, iHomeschool Network has worked in partnership with Knowledge Box Central. They have offered to give one free ebook to a winner from many of our August birthday lessons, so make sure your visit the other great write ups on some other great people!
Since Gene Roddenberry set his eyes on space, and since I live in Alabama where we drive by the Space and Rocket Center often, I found it perfect to choose Alabama History Lapbook. One lucky winner can win a lapbook on Alabama history, just in time for school!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Update on Writing A-Z…

I just found the most wonderful feature on Writing A-Z.  They have daily grammar  program called “Write Rights”  

Write Rights is a thirty-week daily grammar review program that thoroughly targets key grammar skills at multiple developmental writing levels. Skills are repeated and expanded upon several times throughout the thirty weeks. Program resources include: booklet cover page, student daily activity sheets and answer keys at four developmental levels, and student rule sheets that summarize key grammar skills. Weekly resources are uploaded weekly and are not archived on the site.”  

So far I love what I have found, it is just what I have been looking for!  

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Writing and Reading

Last year I needed something to help Robby boost his reading skills.  I knew of Reading A-Z and looked there and that is when I found Raz-Kids.  It has many levels for readers and the kids can listen to the books, read the books and then take quizzes on each book.   The books range from little stores to science lessons to  different stories on people and places.  We have learned so much just reading these online story books.  I also like Raz-Kids because as it reads the story to them, each word is highlighted as they listen.   Plus when they read on their own, certain word are highlighted and the can click to hear that word. And they can record themselves reading the story.  After they read the story they also do a short reading comprehension quiz.
For each book they read, listen to, and quiz they do they get points.  They get to use these points on their planet where they can buy different things with their points.  And each child gets their own user name so they each have their own planet they can buy for.
This program helped Robby with his reading so much.  And now he sits with the younger kids and guide them.
Now this year I really need to focus on writing, so I added Writing A-Z.  I have to say so far I love it!  It has lots to offer.  Today Robby made an story outline so tomorrow he can write his story!

These are all worth checking out!!

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