20 Best Tips
Teaching Textbooks

Peel & Stick Chalkboards

~ This is a post from my other blog a few weeks back ~

Right around Christmas I visited a friend who had a beautiful chalkboard that she made all by herself using some lovely chalkboard paints and excess molding and all that great stuff. And I was all ready to make one for myself.

Except that I didn’t want to be a crazy-crafty and all.

Instead I found some LOVELY Peel & Stick Chalkboard Panels from Wallies. And they are WONDERFUL!! There are 4 in a pack and each piece is 9″ x 12″. You can put all four together in any direction/shape you want and make your own chalkboard. I bought two packs so that I had a total of 8 panels to work with.


The best part is they are removable, reusable and will stick practically anywhere. On the fronts of cabinets, walls, etc… They don’t leave any residue on the walls and if you get tired of them, you can move them somewhere else without having to repaint or patch holes. I am loving them.

There is no residue left over on the squares from the chalk when you clean them. I’ve just been using a dry paper towel and wiping them clean with that – haven’t even used water yet.

If you don’t feel like drilling, painting or going through a lot of work, these might be handy for you to have in your house too – check the Wallies out!

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Storing Lapbooks

After we complete a lapbook there is always the question of “How exactly do we store this…and where?” At times I’ve filed it in along with the kid’s schoolwork records, or put them on the bookshelves to look at, but this year as we lapbook along with our geography studies we’ve been doing a little something different.

And it involves duct tape (oh, yes!).

I came across this idea somewhere in the wonderful bloggysphere (thanks to CouponSista for pointing me to the post New Use for Duct Tape at View from the Hill). This idea is great and has allowed us to store our lapbooks along with our notebooking pages, so we LOVE it!

Here’s how I put ours together:

~ Cut a piece of duct tape that is about 1/2″ shorter than the length of the lapbook side.

~ Stick the duct tape to the side of the lapbook, leaving enough room to double the duct tape back and still have a bit of a ‘lip’ of sorts. This will be the edge that you use the 3-hole punch on.

~ Use a 3-hole punch on the side with the duct tape and put it in your binder – simple, isn’t it?

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Around the World in 80 Tales

Somewhere I heard reference to the book Around the World in 80 Tales by Saviour Pirotta and filed the book name away in the back of my brain, put it on my wishlist at Amazon and figured I would never get around to buying it.

Because we have a plethera of geography and other random books around this house, and adding one more book might just throw us into the major fire hazard category.

But a few weeks ago I had a gift certificate burning a hole in my pocket and decided to take the plunge and buy a copy of the book, and all I can say is…

I.am.in.LOVE.

And please tell me I’m not the only one who finds this book beautiful. It was so pretty I had to take pictures of it. Dragged my mom into the room so that she could drool over it with me.

Opening it up, the inside cover and facing page is a beautifully illustrated map of the world.

The book has eighty folktales from six continents and the stories are broken up by the continent they take place on.

Each continent has it’s own special top border featuring landmarks from the countries on that continent…

…and the illustrations we loved.

The stories had our three oldest laughing and begging for more. And how am I supposed to say “no” to that?

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Geo Puzzles ~ I’ll Buy Them All…

I do believe that I have a new favorite toy in our house. Our kids love to do puzzles and this little gem has added a touch of ‘education’ into the mix.

And if the truth be told, I’m learning something at the same time.

I’ve been eyeing this particular GeoPuzzle Europe for a few weeks and wavered back and forth on ordering it. Should I? Shouldn’t I?

Let me tell you, I’m about ready to plop the whole lot of them into my cart and checkout.

But I’m pacing myself. ‘Cause I’m disciplined like that. haha.

The Geo Puzzles are so worth it! They run about $15 apiece with free shipping (I put them in my left sidebar widget for you to see). We bought the one that focuses on Europe, since that’s the continent we’re studying, and many of the pieces are shaped like the individual countries. The puzzle pieces also includes the names of the countries and their capitals along with any major bodies of water. The girls are having a great time with them and learning exactly how the countries all fit together.

Although I haven’t bought them all (yet), I do have some of the others in my cart now. Waiting patiently until we start studying those continents.

If I last that long.

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Our Geography Travel Log

To keep track of our travels around the world using a notebook approach of sorts. I’ve found a way to include the lapbooks that we’ve made to go along with our studies and we are also having fun stamping our passports each time we leave a country that we’ve been studying.

Just to give you a peek into our binders, here’s how I set them up. I belong to a yahoo group that had the files to print off for the binder cover. We are using Flag It World Flag stickers as our "passport stamps" as well as the blank passports that I found to use from Rainbow Resource (you can buy both together and save a little bit).

The binders were picked up at Walmart and I bought a set of 8 tabbed dividers so we had place to put info from each continent and its’ countries behind each divider. The binder collects and holds all the things that we create: our flags, country information sheets, Children Just Like Me sheets, currency sheets, etc… anything that might be fun for the kids to flip through later and remember what we studied.

When we create lapbooks that are related to the countries that we study (China: Pandas, India: Tigers, Japan: Volcanoes), I found a way to put them in the back of our binders so that they are all in one place. I cannot remember for the life of me where I saw the idea to use the duct tape on the side of the lapbook, so I apologize in advance. It’s been extremely helpful though, so I put together a separate post on how to store lapbooks.

Once our study of a country is done, the girls find the flag sticker belong to that country and we put it in our passport along with the dates that we studied that country. The passports were blank and I used some of my alphabet stamps to stamp each page and then a marker to divide and section out the pages for the dates and stickers. The front cover design of the passport was also a file that I found via a yahoo group (and there are not big black blots on the actual passport like you see in the picture – I just blotted them out since there was some personal information on the picture).

Hope this helps some of you all out in picturing how we are pulling it all together in our studies. If you have any questions, feel free to post and ask.

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Homeschool Library Builder

Through being a part of the Homeschool Crew I was sent a link to a discount book website – and well, who doesn’t like a good sale?

Homeschool Library Builder is focused on supplying affordable literature – and they are currently clearancing out a LOT of books for $1, $2, $3!! The site carries a variety of new and used, hardcover and softcover titles (sometimes overstocks). Their shipping prices are great too – media mail for a purchase up to $25 is only $4.50.
I’ve been browsing around the site today to add some books to my collection and have found some other great things about the site too:
  • A Frequent Buyer Program: As a site “member” – i.e. providing your email, you receive a monthly newsletter that has sale information, lesson plan ideas and more. You also earn “book points” for each dollar you spend on their site. Fifteen book points = $1 off a future order. AND If you refer friends to the program you can also earn 45 book points!! yeah – you tell ’em I sent you over!!
  • A handy search feature to search for books for books related to a specific curricula: Beautiful Feet, Sonlight, Five in A Row, Tapestry of Grace…very nice!!
  • Ability to search for books by country/geographic region (which I am LOVING!!)
  • Spotlight on the season: ideas and suggestions for the upcoming season that includes crafts, lesson plans and other resources.
  • Fundraising opportunities – 20% of the fundraiser sales for your organization and they take care of all the orders for you!

I’m off to start digging through their bins, because the dollar bins and low shipping are calling to me right now (and yes, I have lots of books, but I have this ! Just wanted to pass along a great deal to you all!