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cynthia mosher 08-20-2013 02:32 PM

29 Attachment(s)
With the Back-to-School season in full swing we'd love to hear what you do to make life easier and what products you have used that you think are (or aren't!) great! To sweeten things up we've pulled together a giveaway contest with four great sponsors offering their products to present prize packages to three lucky winners! 





Three winners will be chosen at random. Each winner will receive a prize package valued at $160.00, including: 
  • One custom-designed, ecofriendly, handmade tshirt from GWear
  • One The Adventuring Set from HomeGrown Books
  • One personalized lunchbox from I See Me
  • One gift coupon to create your own eco-friendly photo book from Artifact Uprising

How to enter


1. You must be a member. If you aren't already then simply join (it's free and easy!).
2. Post to this thread to share your best back-to-school, homeschooling, or unschooling tips. It can be about clothing, organization, schedules, calendars, homework help ideas, resources, bedtime, breakfast, lunch, or healthy snack ideas, etc. 
3. For a second entry share the contest thread via social media. If you are not active on social media, you can send an email to friends or family about the giveaway (invite them to join!). Then post again here to let us know you've done so.
4. For as many additional entries as you wish, head over to our Education Reviews. For every review of an educational product you place in our Reviews section you will earn TWO more entries. You can place as many reviews as you'd like, earning two entries for each review!
Need help? We have a great Reviews Tutorial that will walk you through how to leave a review. If you're unable to find a product in our listings that you'd like to review, just post here to the thread and let us know.


Please read the Terms and Conditions. The giveaway will end at midnight Pacific Time on Friday, September 6, 2013. 

Our Sponsors


Join the G Wear family and sport the cute, trendy T shirts that are sweeping the globe with their unique, stylish designs. Every G Wear shirt is completely handmade with 100% cotton appliques from recycled clothes, ensuring that no two are ever exactly the same. So get into the latest casual fashion and let your G Wear make your personal statement and express your individual style. Guests visiting the website can pick their favorite design, shirt color, and style, reflecting their own personality. Visit and create your own one of a kind t-shirt to express your style!


Home Grown Books

Home Grown Books is a unique collaboration of artists, educators, and parents, and its artwork and reading structure create a holistic and successful reading experience for early readers. The new series is called The Adventuring Set, and it has seven themed books with watercolor paintings that depict days of old with kings, inventors and knights in shining armor as well as castles, submarines, maps and other adventure tools and settings. The images by New York artist Case Jernigan are imbued with cultural significance, sensory details, and memories of tradition found in the stories and myths that he grew up exploring. At the end of each book, Case shares a note to spur further discovery. The books are designed to be appealing visually and conceptually to parents and children alike.


I See Me!

Welcome to I See Me! where we provide the highest quality, most personalized books and gifts for children. We opened for business in May of 2000, after a year of active product development. My husband Allan and I received a personalized book as a gift for our first son in 1998. While we loved the fact that it was personalized, we thought that the illustrations could have been much better and the story more customized to the child. Thus I See Me! was born. Our mission is to increase self esteem in children through personalized books and gifts that celebrate the uniqueness of each child. The goal is to show each child how absolutely unique and special he or she is, to teach the child how to spell his or her name, and to build vocabulary skills.  --Maia Haag, author and CEO of I See Me! Inc.


Artifact Uprising

ARTIFACT UPRISING // inspired by the disappearing beauty of the tangible / bettered by a community of inspired storytellers / driven by the belief everyone has a story to tell. Tell On. CREATIVITY / for all things, endless possibility. for every story, endless ways to tell it. LEAVE A LEGACY / we believe in the story that is archived for future generations. we believe in moving stories off our computers…and into our lives. THE POWER OF ONE / to create art. and change the world. PASSION / without it, we are nothing. ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY / we strive to be kind stewards to mama earth and her happy forest. we are committed to using environmentally responsible papers and are always seeking ways to minimize our impact on the outdoors – a playground that shapes so much of who we are.

phathui5 08-20-2013 03:26 PM

We homeschool and use Story of the World for history. This year, to make things easier on myself (and so I wouldn't keep forgetting to copy the student pages), I ordered a printed set of student pages (the worksheets from the back of the activity) for each of my children. When they came, I put each set into a 1" binder. Now, when they're ready to do history pages, they'll be ready :)


Another thing that I like to do with Story of the World is use Netflix to find videos that go along with the chapter we're reading that week. I use this list (not my creation) to find videos for each chapter:

phathui5 08-20-2013 03:30 PM

I shared the giveaway in the Linn County Homeschoolers facebook group.

littlelady33 08-20-2013 04:07 PM

One thing that has really helped our kids get ready is to do a "test run" a day or two before school starts.  We pack their bags, walk to the school, and then do our "first day of school" pictures with them. It gives us a practice run and allows us to capture the moment without the stress of the first day.  We've done it the last few years and found it has helped them to rehearse the beginning and end of their first day!

littlelady33 08-20-2013 04:08 PM

Posted to my facebook profile!

baesyl 08-20-2013 04:09 PM

I am working with my kids this year on setting goals for the months ahead of us. Dad and I participate as well. We're planning to walk to school more regularly as part of our fitness goals and we're both committing to creative projects we want to achieve this year. I've committed to some volunteering at school and have encouraged my kids to think about what they might like to do for service this year, on campus and off. We have also set quick boundaries on eat, sleep and work, keeping things pretty scheduled at this point so we can all get back on track. 

baesyl 08-20-2013 04:11 PM

Facebooked it! Whooot!

Soneile Hymn 08-20-2013 04:16 PM

As a family that homeschools through a sort of hybrid school (that offers enrichment courses) and an ex-school teacher, I have realized that the building blocks of literacy are best learned alone, while everything else works very well is a social setting. Gardening, art, music, is usually best as a social learning opportunity, while reading and writing is really just about DOING it. My daughter just gets distracted bring to learn this stuff in a group. We spend about 4 hours a week doing Language Arts and Math (which is a lot of theory), and then through Social Studies and Science (which seem to be both a social and individual learning adventure) the arts, foreign language, art etc, she gets the opportunity to apply these basic building blocks.  It is too bad we use up so much of social learning time in school for subjects best learned individually. We actually focus on the "extra-curricular" and add more theory (L.A. and Math) stuff at the speed she is able to integrate it into her life.  For the record, she is 1 - 2 grades above the level in all subjects. 

Soneile Hymn 08-20-2013 04:21 PM

I posted on my Facebook page too!

Nealetta 08-20-2013 04:45 PM

For healthy snacks we find great recipes at We make big batches of food and freeze them to out in school lunches.

AAK 08-20-2013 06:00 PM

We homeschool but didn't always do this.  One thing that I took from the public school and used in our homeschool is the idea of an "entry task".  Ours is different in that there are several "tasks".  They may include a journal entry, a maze or logic puzzle, handwriting, spelling practice, etc.  Regardless of what it consists of, the kids know that they can grab their folder and get started even if mom is finishing up something else.  My girls are usually pretty eager to get the day started because we do the more fun stuff after the 'less' fun.  They have figured out that taking initiative gets the day moving and the fun comes quickly.



AAK 08-20-2013 06:02 PM

shared on facebook

melcotterill 08-20-2013 06:34 PM

Shared on Facebook :)

melcotterill 08-20-2013 06:37 PM

Back to School Tip: We start browsing the second hand shops for fall clothing when summer starts so we have lots of time to find everything we need before school starts!

mamabev 08-20-2013 08:55 PM

Best advice I was given was to expect less of my kids in the morning and to help them more so that we didn't end up with arguments about getting ready for school and there on time. Made our mornings so much sunnier.

mamabev 08-20-2013 08:55 PM

Shared on FB

fayebond 08-20-2013 10:40 PM

Take it on year at a time.  Remember, the professional teachers get overwhelmed every fall too.  You can do it, in fact, you are probably better at teaching where your own kids are concerned than anyone else could be, because you know them best.

Quinalla 08-21-2013 08:12 AM

Do as much as possible the night before and get up 15 minutes earlier than you think you need to so everyone isn't so rushed everyday and if something happens, there is time to deal with it. I know the first one is said so much its a cliche, but it is so important for me and I always regret when I leave stuff to the next day that I could have done the night before. And getting up 15 minutes earlier is so much better. I also always regret when I decide to sleep just a little bit longer as everything is so much more frantic. Right now we are just going to daycare (though it is preschool technically for DD1 now), not school, but its the same dynamic as getting ready for school in the morning.

Margaritaa 08-21-2013 08:54 AM

I agree with doing as much as you can the night before or even day before. Also we make up breakfast options and freeze them for crazy mornings when we are running behind. For example: pancakes, waffles, and french toast.. then you can pop them in the toaster for a quick but home made meal.We try to keep shoes and book bag by the door so that nothing gets left behind and makes for a quick exit too. We Also put clothes out too to have those ready to throw on. 

Margaritaa 08-21-2013 08:55 AM

Shared on twitter!! :)

delightedbutterfly 08-21-2013 09:54 AM

A time saving tip for back to school would be to get any of the medical or volunteer or similar forms at the end of the school year. Then you can fill them out and make the necessary appointments in the summer and have it all done. Then you can avoid the back to school rush of trying to get into the doctors or waiting to volunteer.

We need Criminal Record Checks to help out in our kids classroom. However they start doing field trips and classroom stuff pretty much the first couple weeks. And at the begining of the school year a CRC can take 6 weeks or more to get done as there are so many needing to be done. So I never got to is last year and could only help out at certain times. This year I was "on the ball" and got the form in June and it only took a couple weeks to come back instead. Now I can hand it in to the school on the first day and start volunteering right away!

Blessed_Bess 08-21-2013 01:29 PM

My homeschooling tip: when working with my older child, I get out a basket for the younger ones that they only get to play with during school time.

MamaRuck 08-21-2013 05:46 PM

I kept it calm and simple so that we slowly roll into school this year. A part of me missed some of the celebration that we did last year but my child did not. He is happily enjoying his second week of school.  

Catwmandu 08-22-2013 07:31 AM

We too found that prepping everyting the night before really helps in the morning. That and since we pack food we usually get a draft of a menu at the beginning of the week (but move things around if our bodies tell us differently) and prepare the food for lunch the evening before. That is going to be hard to get back into that routine for school since it's been so lackadaisical with my hubby staying home.

KaliShanti 08-22-2013 07:43 AM

The best tip that I have received yet about homeschooling is to use workboxes!! The organization is gives me really helps me and definately helps my son stay on task... plus he thinks going to the boxes in the morning is fun! The other tip that has helped a lot in my homeschooling is that teaching them character is more important than teaching them facts.

KaliShanti 08-22-2013 07:44 AM

Shared on facebook!

atmommy 08-22-2013 05:38 PM

Now that my boys are 7 and 2.5, I decided to make them each a separate homeschool notebook.  In the notebook is the yearly plan, a month's worth of lesson plans and each day's printable for the current week is filed behind numbered dividers.  While my 2.5 year old won't likely be getting his own work, this will be helpful with my 7 year old who is sometimes eager to get started!

mommariffic 08-22-2013 05:52 PM

Oh back to school! We are unschoolers so consider every single day an opportunity to learn..but I do love to "mark the school year" with a special day. I think it's important for homeschoolers/unschoolers/whatever you label yourself, to do something special so that kids have that yearly memory. We normally have a special breakfast (this year gluten free chocolate chip pancakes) and than I fill Bolga baskets with new school supplies, and a new book..We also have an adventure that day! This year we are going to "not back to school day" at a local zoo, which will be so much fun. 

mommariffic 08-22-2013 05:57 PM

Posted a review for sticker books!

mommariffic 08-22-2013 06:06 PM

OOH, we love Kiwi Crate so I reviewed it!

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