Saturday, August 31, 2013

Organizing MFW K - Our “Portable Schoolroom” (Part 1)

Uh, it’s probably only fair to start out by saying that I am *NOT* the person who should be giving you organizing advice.  I have a pile of papers on the computer desk, a pile of junk in the corner of my bedroom, a pile of random items on top of my clothes dryer, and a pile of “stuff” shoved in the corner of the kitchen counter.

Okay, now that we have that confession out of the way…

I’ve seen a few questions lately on the online forums regarding how to organize your MFW K materials.  We’ve developed a system that works for us over the course of the year, so I thought I’d share a little about that.

After a few weeks of doing school last year, we learned that using our bonus room wasn’t working well for us.   We needed an organizing method that made it convenient to do school at the kitchen table, yet that we could still easily put away so that our kitchen doesn’t resemble a school room.

First of all, we use a Sterilite Show-Offs File Tote.  Inside, we have a 27 file folders: 1 for each unit, 1 for the creation unit, and 1 for extra pieces like badges and game pieces.

(Amazon Affiliate Link)

Next, for the day to day organization, I love this scrapbook organizer tote.  It’s cute, sturdy yet has a little stretch/give, and has lots of small pockets for crayons & scissors along with several larger area for books & manipulatives.  We can fit pretty much everything we need for MFW K in this bag!

(Amazon Affiliate Link)

Here are a few pictures to show you how we organized our MFW K year.  First of all, we used that great organizing bag I just linked to above.  (My bag was a Christmas gift from my mom quite a few years back, so I don’t know if it’s still available in the purple/brown that I have.)

There are 5 interior pockets.  The middle one is the width of the bag.  It holds my MFW K teachers manual, a file folder with the student pages for the week, the Lauri alphabet puzzle, and Alex’s calendar notebook.


There are four small pockets inside of the bag, holding a plastic case of crayons, do-a-dot markers, scissors, little dry erase boards, glue bottle, and a few other manipulatives


The outside of the bag has an abundance of small pockets.  Ours hold google eyes, kid scissors, dry erase markers & eraser cloth, pencils, and other small items that would get lost in the larger inner pockets.  (Messier supplies, such a paint, are kept in an out of reach cabinet.)


The Sterilite ShowOffs bin (below) holds all of the student pages and anything extra that we printed for each unit.  There are 28 file folders in here – 1 for creation unit, 26 for the letter units, and one folder for extra pages that are used throughout the year.

Each unit folder also contains printed pages/magazine articles/etc that we found that corresponded with a particular unit.  I wrote ideas on the front of the folder to help me remember things that I’d read in online forums, too.


The shelves below are in our bonus room.  The top shelf holds all of the picture books that we purchased (through used book websites) to go along with MFW K.  It also holds our file box of student pages sorted by unit.

The bottom shelf has two canvas bins.  One holds construction paper sorted by color.  The other holds larger manipulatives, such as cuisenaire rods, that are used on occasion.


“Part 2” is coming soon…how we collected and organized books for MFW K units…

Friday, August 30, 2013

At Least He’s Creative ;)


Alex: Hey mom, the arm came off of Jensyn's Princess Peach car, but I glued it back together all by myself!!

Mom: Where did you find glue?

Alex: I couldn't find a glue stick, so I used your chapstick!

Ugh. Guess I'll be buying a new tube of chapstick!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Coming Soon: All About Reading 3


We’ve been working through All About Reading Level 1 with Alex, our five year old.  We are SO THRILLED with All About Reading, and we’re looking forward to moving on to Level 2.

All About Reading is thorough, multi-sensory, full of fun activities, and the hardcover readers contain great stories.  We just giggled our way through a few good stories yesterday, and it is AMAZING to hear my son reading to me with confidence!

Level 3 will be released in just a few weeks, and the samples are already up on their website.  All About Learning Press will be offering introductory rates for the first week.  Read on to find out more.


Special Release Promotion September 9-15

For one week only, we will be offering a special discount on the AAR Level 3 program. This discount will only apply to new Level 3 components (Interactive Kit not included).

Sale prices are as follows:

  • AAR Level 3 Materials (Teacher's Manual, Student Packet, 2 Readers): $99.95
  • AAR Level 3 Student Packet (includes Activity Book): $40.95
  • AAR Level 3 Activity Book only: $25.95
  • AAR Level 3 Teacher's Manual only: $32.95
  • AAR Level 3 Chasing Henry Reader: $16.95
  • AAR Level 3 Shipwreck! Reader: $16.95
  • AAR Level 3 Marvelous Monkey Stickers: $0.85


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Camping at Turkey Run

Last weekend, we took the kids down to Turkey Run for a weekend of camping.  Honestly, though I’d never been to Turkey Run before, I wasn’t really looking forward to the trip.  Life has been crazy and busy, and both Keith and I would have been glad to stay home for an ordinary weekend. 

Since we’d planned the trip months ago, and since we knew the kids were really wanting to go camping again, we got ready & headed out on our trip.

The camper had some electrical issues, and most of the 2+ hour drive was made without turn signals or brake lights.  We made a few stops at auto parts stores and a Ford dealership for fuses and lightbulbs, which turned our 2+ hour drive into a 3+ hour drive.  I don’t think we’ll forget that drive any time soon!

Thankfully, the CAMPING part of the trip was very worthwhile!  The weather was BEAUTIFUL, and we had a great time!

early morning snuggle with Daddy…


random campsite photos…


Jensyn’s point of view (yes, she took over the camera for a while…)


more random campsite photos…


Alex made a new friend…ironically his name was Alex…and our boys and the other Alex spent a LOT of time riding their bikes around the road that looped near our site.

Jensyn couldn’t keep up, so Mommy walked around very slowly with her Smile


at the nature center…


Our first time hiking with the kids…we were prepared for crying and complaining, but they LOVED it and would have gladly continued!



This little girl was AMAZING!
Though we did carry her through some slippery places and a few big climbs, she did a LOT of hiking on her own!  We were so impressed with her!


This little guy knows NO FEAR.  At one point, he was CLIMBING OVER the railing at a scenic overlook that has a HUGE drop-off.  We had to keep him really close to a grown-up at all times!


And, finally, THIS little guy was adventurous, wet, and muddy by the time we finished!
Alex wore his crocs (instead of tennis shoes like the rest of us), so he stomped through every bit of water he could find and waded in the streams.  His pants were SOAKED!



We hiked all of trails 1, 6, and 7.  Since the suspension bridge is still closed, we would have needed to load 3 car seats into a shuttle bus (car seats are required) in order to get to the other side of Sugar Creek.  When we were ready to return, we’d have to wait for the correct shuttle bus (the one with our car seats in the back…) in order to go back to the nature center.  So we opted to stay on our side of the creek just for convenience!


Max didn’t want any more picture, so I just got these two cuties…





There’s nothing like hiking way down and then looking UP to realize
what an amazing world God has created!




We also spent an afternoon in the (CHILLY!) pool water…
Alex took pictures of us:


…and of himself, as he does all the time lately…


…and then he asked me to take one of him by the pool…


At the end of a beautiful weekend, we packed up the camper and made the (turn signal-less and brake light-less) trip back home, and (thank you Lord) we arrived home safely!  Our camper is now at Campland, awaiting repairs. 

We’ve got one more camping trip planned for this year, as long as our camper is repaired & ready to go!  I’m pretty confident, though, that Turkey Run is going to be my favorite trip of the year.  It’s definitely on my “must do” list of campgrounds for next year!