Back to School – Supplies

Today I am going to share one of my deepest secrets…shhhh….

Despite the heat and the bugs, this might be my favorite time of the year. Back to school. More specifically I really love the school supplies. Love. Love. Love. Newly sharpened pencils, fresh markers, crisp white paper, unblemished composition notebooks, and naturally a pen or twenty.

We have ten children at home, but only eight of them are in need of school supplies. Want to do the math on that one? If we aren’t careful, school supplies could be a problem. While I try to stock up on composition notebooks and pencils, the other supplies are kept at a minimum. Budget and space are great boundary setters when it comes to going crazy down the school supply aisles.

I typically do not buy the supplies all at once. I, not so patiently, wait for the school supplies to hit the shelves and buy a little bit on each grocery shopping trip. As of today, I think I have all the basic must have items. I am pondering if I want to splurge on one or two fun, colorful items or not. Really, guys, I need more post-it-notes! Yes, I do!

Here are my Top Five Must Have Back to School items:

1 Ticonderoga Wood Pencils – I do not enjoy mechanical pencils. There is nothing like a nice, sharp point on a wood pencil. Ticonderoga is by far the best I have ever used. I love them so much that I received some on Mother’s Day. I do not share. I do hide them if necessary. Stay away from my pencils!

2 Composition Notebooks – They are a bit pricier than the spiral bound notebooks, but it is a small splurge I am willing to indulge in. I grow weary of the spiral unwinding and catching on clothing. Also, the composition notebooks are firmer and sit up nicely on our bookshelves. This year we found fun designs at the store. We do carefully look and find the college-ruled composition books. My children do not like the wide-ruled books. I do still buy a few spiral notebooks for the youngest ones to use for different needs.

3 Pentel White Erasers – For years I bought the pink erasers or the small pencil top erasers. I grabbed a few of the white erasers one year and found that I prefer them. For us they seem to provide  cleaner erasure and hold up longer. I have only grabbed one pack of three so far as they are not on sale. Ack! We are out of erasers so I need to replenish our stash.

4 Index Cards – White, colored, plain, or ruled, I love them all. Flashcards, notes, bookmarks, and so much more. I buy a few packs every year. This year I am going to have the younger children make up a few bookmarks for their various readings; personalized to the subject/story being studied/read. I definitely need a few bookmarks. We need a few math facts cards remade and my son needs sight words for his reading. I may need to grab another pack!

5 – Coloring Pencils – If you are around my children any length of time you will learn a few things: they all love books, they all love to draw, and they are all a little bit crazy. That means that I have to keep books, paper, and pencils on hand at all times or life can get ugly. For birthday days and Christmas, we invest in something nicer such as Prismacolor pencils. However, I just can’t pass up paying $.97 for coloring pencils to have on hand. If one gets misplaced or broken, no worries! I only have four of these currently? I definitely need to grab a few more!

And a bonus must have back to school supply: hand-held pencil sharpener! I have an amazing manual pencil sharpener from Classroom Friendly Supplies. Not only does it sharpen my pencils amazingly well, it is fabulously red. However!!! Coloring pencils will not be sharpened with that shiny, red sharpener. No way. I have found it is better to invest in a well made metal hand-held sharpener than those cheaper plastic ones. My children us them for their coloring pencils daily.

With these supplies on hand, we have everything we need to get our work done. Do I have other supplies on hand? Sure, but these are my basic and favorite supplies. What are your must have items?

 

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Giveaway for Charlotte Mason’s Six Volume Set!!

This morning I sat down to finally do a bit of work on the blog when I remembered that Charlotte Mason Soiree has a big giveaway announcement. And big it is!!! If you are a follower of Charlotte Mason’s methods and principles of education you are probably aware that finding her six volume set in book form was challenging. And pricey!

Thankfully Simple Charlotte Mason has just released a reprinting of Charlotte Mason’s Six Volume set with larger text and plenty of margin space for note taking. For the month of June, SCM is offering the six-volume set at a great sale price that comes with free shipping.

Simple Charlotte Mason and Charlotte Mason Soiree have joined together to offer an amazing giveaway: a complete six-volume set!!! There are several different ways to enter so go check it out!

Summer Reading! – Five Picture Books We Have Enjoyed

While summer has officially arrived, we have been enjoying hot and humid days for weeks. One way to beat the summer heat is to enjoy a good book or two in the shade or with a lovely fan blowing your way. Perhaps you are looking for a book or two to add to the summer reading list? Here are several picture books that have been enjoyed here:

A Visitor for Bear – (author, Bonny Becker; illustrator Kady MacDonald Denton) – Bear has no interest in having a visitor. Why not? Well, there is a sign on his door that clearly states that “No Visitors are Allowed”. So. No visitors. All Bear wants to do is to enjoy a nice cup of tea and perhaps a slice of bread. Unfortunately his food preparations keep getting interrupted by Mouse!! Bear repeatedly asks (at varying levels of frustration) for Mouse to leave but Mouse just wants a small cup of tea, please. Bear relents and shares a cup of tea and conversation. Then Bear realizes that maybe he does enjoy visitors after all.
This book was delightful! It was great fun reading this aloud. The language and vocabulary make me smile. Vamoose, begone, intolerable and one of my favorites, “I am undone” are just a taste of  what this text has to offer. The illustrations worked perfectly to capture my children’s eyes and the essence of this cute, engaging story.  When the visitor happens to be a mouse, we can definitely support Bear’s desire to send him away. And it is oh so fun to see where Mouse will appear next!  We can all understand the moment that you realize a bit of quiet company in a friend is beautiful gift. A fun read that will likely have your little ones laughing and asking you to read it again. There are more Bear books to check out as well!

Bear & Hare Go Fishing – (Emily Gravett) – My younger ones really enjoyed Bear & Hare Where’s Bear? so I grabbed this one at my last visit to the library. The tale is a simple one; Bear and Hare go fishing but well, things don’t go exactly as planned. Bear succeeds in fishing out a hat and roller skates but the big catch of the day seems to elude him. Hare? He doesn’t seem to be enjoying the day of fishing. It was his hat, after all! But Hare might bring in the biggest catch of the day!

I think the beauty in the Bear & Hare books are the simplicity. Simple, short text paired with illustrations that keep Bear and Hare front and center make this a win for young listeners and early readers. No doubt you will find yourself smiling at the end.

I Am (Not) Scared – (author, Anna Kang; illustrator, Christopher Weyant) – My children love this series about two fuzzy animals. When I pulled out I Am (Not) Scared even a couple of my older children gathered around to hear me read it aloud. These two friends are facing something scary….a ride on a roller coaster!! But there are scarier things, right? Hairy spiders, fried ants, and snakes!!!! Can these two friends find the courage to face the Loop of Doom!?!!?!?! Perhaps they might even learn that scary things can sometime be fun, too.

I am not sure that my children gained deep understanding about facing scary things. They did however enjoy reading this over and over. Sometimes you just need a fun and silly book, right? And, well, we can all appreciate being scared of hairy spiders and snakes.

Now we shall leave our furry characters behind and move on to the creepy, crawly creatures.

Hank’s Big Day The Story of a Bug – (Evan Kuhlman and Chuck Groenink) – Hank is a pill bug (we call them Roly Polies here) and has quiet the adventure. He climbs a stick, eats a dead leaf, survives a close encounter with a skateboard, and meets his best friend, Amelia (Isn’t she a cutie?). An exciting day in the life of a bug!

We all enjoyed Hank’s adventure. The illustrations were detailed using natural colors and they served Hank’s story well. Not only do we get Hank’s view of the day but we see it from our perspective as well. It really gives us a glimpse into the life (joys and struggles) of being a bug. You might find that you watch your step a bit more closely just in case one of Hank’s friends is close by. This would be a fun way to introduce an afternoon of nature study on insects. I can see my children wanting to check Hank out again and again. Can you really go wrong with a bug named Hank? Also, Hank’s friend, Amelia, pretends to be Amelia Earhart. Subtle way to bring in a bit of history for those interested.

Cricket in the Thicket: Poems about Bugs – (Carol Murray, author and Melissa Sweet, illustrator) I like to keep a poetry book or two available for my children to read and enjoy. Cricket in the Thicket is a perfect poetry selection for summer! When we first brought this book home, I planned to read just one or two poems. The poems were so engaging and fun that my kiddos kept asking me to read one more.

Poems about a cricket in the bedroom (Cricket’s Alarm), cicadas leaving behind shells (Cicada’s Surprise) and dragonflies gliding around (Dragons Fly the Sky) were enjoyable. Dung Beetles, Walking Sticks, Preying Mantis, and Grasshoppers all have delightful a place in the book. Never fear there are poetic words about Mosquitoes, Ticks, Flies and even Cockroaches including as well. Yes. A poem about cockroaches that enlightens us as to who loves them. At the bottom of the pages, there is information given on the highlighted bug and a couple of pages in the back give information as well. This is a great one to have available during summer to encourage reading, writing, and nature study. Any bug lover is sure to want to flip through this book.

What have you been reading this summer?

 

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