Super Busy at Home

Family blog about homeschooling, autism, saving money, mom blog, travel, vacation, budgeting.

These Items Help Make Learning Awesome!

Over the years we have fine tuned what works for us and what doesn’t.

This past year we took our very large homeschool room up on our third floor and moved it down to our den, located on the first floor. This took an enormous amount of time and thought as we sifted through each item on hand to determine its value in our classroom. After all, we moved our classroom into a much smaller space and which thereby dictated that everything needed a justification for its use of precious real estate in the footprint of the room.


It was really hard and took me a really, really long time (think 9 months, ugh). In the end though I am left with what really works, what we love, and what is useful to what we are studying. For a girl who always liked to have one thing on hand, then another if the first didn’t work, and then maybe something else, this was a struggle.


But now we have on hand things that work well for us and things that we love to use. (at least I love to use, something the kids would just like to not do school, teehee).

A few of you have asked me for some recommendations on things to buy so here they are in no particular order:

Light Up Timer

This is amazing for showing your kids how much time they have. It also gets you off the hook for having to track your kiddos time (or am I the only one who randomly forgets to keep track of the time only to announce, “two more minutes” when your kids ask how much time they have left?). It has a yellow zone so you can set it to give a ____ more minutes left until time is up. This is a much needed feature for our son and it’s really helped.

Multiplication Bracelets

We used these when we were practicing skip counting and now we use them when going over our multiplication facts. I will randomly give the kids these when we are not working on our facts and ask what number all of the bracelet numbers are multiplied by.

Drawing Workbook

This workbook has been in our house for years and for good reason…it’s amazing! When we practice the OiLs method of drawing with Classical Conversations I pull this out but we use it at other times as well. There’s a little story that tells about the animals you draw and there are stickers to use as well (we’ve actually never used those, just the story and the drawing).

HP Printer Connected Ink

Okay, I love our printer! We have had it for about 3 years and it is hands down the best printer we’ve ever had. We decided to take advantage of the HP Connected program. If you don’t know what that is, basically it’s a subscription program for your ink. You sign up for how many pages per month you use and they send you ink when you need it. It is so easy. You can send them back your old cartridges to be recycled and that’s it. It is so easy. I was always running out of ink and pinnacle moments when I didn’t have time to run to Staples for more ink and now I don’t even have to think about it.

Tichonderoga Pencils

We have tried so many pencils. When we started homeschooling (8 years ago!!!) I was a mom who would buy the Target Dollar Section everything to match and it was in theory so much fun! Except the pencils would always break like it was their job and that part wasn’t so fun. Through trial and error I realized that Tichonderoga Pencils really are worth the money. If you have a chewer like me you should also invest in some eraser tops because the eraser will be gone long before the pencil is short so with the erasers you can keep using the pencil.

Sticker Charts

You can get any you would like but I have the ones that we have linked so you can see what I am talking about. These are a great incentive for good attitudes about school and diligence with our work. I give a sticker for each day the kids get their work done without complaining and have good attitudes. Sometimes I will give the chart a set prize value “trip to the froyo place” or I will give it a monetary amount, usually about $5. This gives them something attainable to feel that they have achieved each day. Plus we like to use the little treats when we have a break from school and we remind them what their hard work has earned them.


We used fidgets long before fidget spinners were the craze and we have never used those. Instead I look for quiet things their little hands can play with while we are reading outloud, working on poetry, or whenever else they want to play with them. In my mind fidgets can be anything that keeps their hands busy…so crochet, weaving, playdough, anything could be considered a fidget, right? I love having different things on hand for them to play with (get it, on hand! Eh? Eh?!)

These are the things that are working for us to make our year awesome! If you have any other recommendations I would love to hear them! We are always looking for new things. I will have to learn to recycle things through with our new classroom rather than just hoard everything. I’m excited for the challenge though and hope it will keep us engaged as we will keep only what we love and move through things we are finished with.

Happy learning!

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2018s First Day of School

And just like that we are out of the gate with this years new school year.  

Emma is in Challenge A within the Classical Conversations program.  It is basically their version of 7th grade.  While we are so excited for her and for the chance to watch her grow and mature within the program, it has been a difficult transition into conforming to someone else's schedule.  We have always been a family who started school after Labor Day so we could soak up every drop of summer.  But being part of this community means things aren't always just about our schedule and so we've had to start school earlier than we usually do.  I keep giving myself a pep talk about it...starting sooner will allow for more breaks and for us to end the school year earlier than normal! 

We usually take photos of the kids each year.  Last year we did this can read about it here. This year, though, was a bit weird in how we started.  Usually Nick tries to be home and we all kind of do it together.  But he and I were gearing up to leave and the air conditioning in the Flex had taken a nose dive so he was out getting refrigerant to recharge the system.  We started without him but had a great time taking pictures together.  In a weird turn of events, Emma's back to school outfit from last year still fit and she wanted to wear it.  I think anytime you're 12 year old daughter is still willing to wear an Eleanor Rose outfit with Joyfolie Mary Janes, you should take that opportunity and run with it.  Emma is the sweetest thing in mostly letting me dress her still but I know any day now she will be declaring her independence.  Calvin can sometimes have strong opinions about his clothing but thankfully he was easy peasy.  "here're some shorts, here's a shirt" and he's just "okay".  I'm so blessed you guys! 

Back to Home School for Seventh Grade with Eleanor Rose and Joyfolie.  Super Busy at Home is talking about how to have a good school year with cute clothes and lots of excitement!
Back to home school time. We're starting our fifth grade year with our boy.  Read more on Super Busy at Home.

We had a good breakfast together and had our morning time while we sat around the table.  Morning time is simply a time that we are together and doing things together as a family.  We sang a hymn, read some poetry, and read a portion of a book together. We also did a devotion and then I introduced them to their new devotional books that they will be working on individually.  It's a great way to begin our day together.  

Even though we homeschool, we give our kids lists that we take to go do back to school shopping.  The kids love doing this and then when we get home I arrange their school supplies for them.  Some things like paper and glue sticks just go into communal receptacles for everyone to use and some things get placed into their desk so just they can use those.  This always seems to work great for us and it's always fun to see them excited about getting to use their school supplies! Who doesn't love new pencils?!?

Back to School time means lots of silliness and fun school supplies! Read more at Super Busy at Home.

After morning time the kids worked on their work...Calvin only had math, spelling, and handwriting to do. His Classical Conversation community days don't start for a couple more weeks, so until then, he will be doing light classwork.  This gives him an opportunity to ease back into the school schedule. Emma had some "about me" papers to fill out for her first day with her CC class and then had latin to do.  She was very diligent about her work and very thorough with her tasks.  I am hoping she will continue those traits throughout the school year.  Sometimes raising a tween is tough! 

After school work came chores and piano practice.  All in all it was a great first day of school. 

That night we dropped the kids off at my mom and dads and took off for our anniversary trip.  It's weird to not be with them for their first week of school but they were given all of their work to do with grandparents and they know what is expected of them.  And like I said, they have a really light school load this first week so it will be okay. It was hard for my Momma-heart to accept not being with them but in the end this was the way our schedules converged so we made it work.  

And that's our day! I can't believe the kids are in seventh and fifth grade!  How did this happen?  When did they get so old?  When did I get so old?  Yeesh! 

Back to Home School Time.  Super Busy at Home.

Happy back to schooling y'all! xo