creativity day

A cricut maker 3 on a table with flowers in a vase. There is a third grade sign sitting next to it.

Cricut-A homeschool moms BFF

  I purchased a Cricut Maker 3 for my husband. He was looking for a vinyl cutter that would be small enough for the space we have. During my search I came across Cricut. Sure, I had seen these little cutters at craft stores off and on for years but I couldn’t figure out why, anyone who wasn’t a scrapbooker would ever be inclined to use one. Well people, turns out I was wrong. So wrong.  The Cricut Maker and Cricut Maker 3 are a incredible multitasking machines. I’m not getting paid for this or even getting anything free. In fact, I’ve paid them and am fully satisfied with my purchase. This is a machine I fully see us using for years to come. What Can the Cricut Maker Do It does everything! You want cute cutouts in any shape or size to hang on your classroom wall…Done! You want vinyl to decorate and organize every square inch of your classroom…Done! You want to make cute borders to decorate your black board…Done! Teaching your students how to sew for home ec? Yes, it can cut patterns for you too. Wanna build a science project that looks amazing? Just tell it what to do. I’m pretty sure this thing could make me dinner if I asked it to. Here is the list of what my Maker 3 can do: Cuts 300+ materials Cuts vinyl, wood, chipboard, aluminum, and sewing patternsCan easily make paper cards for whatever your needs areEmbossDe-bossPerforate Metal foil This may be my favorite multi tasking machine ever. If you have ever been to the teaching supply store you know just how expensive just a few of these things can get. The cost of this one device definitely is worth it in my opinion. I can use it not just for teaching, but for art projects and gift ideas for friends. It’s definitely a gift that keeps on giving!     The Cricut Maker 3 is the newest model of this machine.  The original Cricut Maker is the model before.  The main differences are that the newest model is much faster.  It can also cut up to 12 feet of vinyl at a time.  The original can’t.  The newer model cuts 300+ materials where the original can only do 100+.  I honestly think you couldn’t go wrong with either model.   We selected the Cricut Maker 3 because of the vinyl.  I’ve been more than satisfied with it.  It has definitely exceeded my expectations. What do you do with your Cricut machine?  Feel free to share.

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What is Unschooling?

  I was first told about unschooling from a girlfriend of mine. It was after I started panicking and worrying to her about making sure I wasn’t an epic failure as a homeschooling mom. To put it simply, Unschooling is the idea that children learn best by allowing them to find there own interests. There are no set curriculums or subjects. You allow them to go about their days and find what interests them. Most if not all their learning is done through this method. Basically, you make it look as little like learning in a school setting as possible. Studies have show this to be an effective teaching method. Children will learn naturally through their environment. They will use their natural curiosity to gather information and learn. In a lot of ways I think this method is wonderful. I use it on a smaller scale to encourage natural creativity and growth. Why I don’t Use it As My Only Curriculum However, I personally do not use this as my sole teaching method for several reasons. The first is that when it is used alone it increases your chance for educational learning gaps. If this isn’t a concern for you, great. But there are certain things I want to make sure get taught. I don’t want to have to spend time later fixing big learning gaps that could easily be corrected in a small lesson now. Another issue I see is that when you only allow studies that are fun or interesting, it makes teaching those things that are less fun, but necessary, more difficult. Children tend to not want to do them. Really, who can blame them for it.  It’s kind of like allowing your kids to choose candy and cookies for dinner everyday and then trying to make them eat their vegetables.  I’d much rather eat cupcakes than brussels sprouts all day long.  So would they.   Also, I don’t have a problem with school feeling like school. I liked school as a child. I was blessed with many great educators. I feel like a beautifully designed classroom brings joy to learning.  It also separates learning time from playtime.   What I Do Use it For But to be clear, I do use parts of this method. If we get obsessed with an animal, a science subject, or anything else. We stop and focus on it. We definitely turn it into a unit study. I have been known to stop learning in the middle of a hail storm to pick up ice crystals. We grabbed a microscope and started science class right then and there. I have allowed hours of watching the Amoeba Sisters on YouTube. That show is way smarter than I am.  I particularly like to use this for Creativity Days.  If you have never hear of them, you can read about Creativity Days in my post HERE. So once again, no method is right or wrong. This is how I do it. You do you. If you think this might be an option for you, give it a try. Just make learning an adventure no matter the method that you choose to use.  If you have an amazing way to unschool share it in the comments below.  

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What are Creativity Days?

  School days can get monotonous for everyone. It can be such a challenge to keep the days fun and interesting. I use creativity days to help me when I feel like I’m about to run screaming for the hills. What are creativity days you ask? Anything you wish them to be. Things to Do With Your Creativity Day There are no hard and fast rules. If we want to spend the day working on art projects that’s what we do. If we want to build a Kiwico crate? That’s fine too. We can cook, go fishing, bike riding or swimming. If we want to make cupcakes and frosting we will. These days are meant to inspire creativity. To breathe life into our imagination. Each and every one of these has the potential to teach various lessons in mathematics, physics, PE, hand eye coordination and many other things. If you are unsure of what to do or how to start, you could always use these days to do a unit study. Find something that really interests your child and begin there. If they love cats, spend the day learning about cats. If it’s birds, build a birdhouse. Plant a garden. Build a fort. Do something that doesn’t feel or look like school. We use these days to practice Unschooling.  If you have never heard of it you can read my post on it HERE.  It will make everyone feel refreshed. I try to tuck at least two of them in per month. Think of them as memory makers.  How do you get creative?  Let me know.

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