Month: May 2014


How to make a homemade whiteboard

Many people who homeschool use visual aides.  Whiteboards are just so expensive to buy, why not make one yourself? 

You can get as simple or as elaborate as you want to with this, explore and plan the whiteboard that will best fit your family needs and your budget!


Sheet protector – genius!

I learned about this one when I attended a "how to lead music" class.  The instructor handed out dry erase markers and a piece of 12×12 inch cardstock tucked into a clear sheet protector to everyone. 

As a homeschooler, I had a difficult time concentrating on the class because all I could think about was how to share this idea with the homeschool world!! 

What a great way to take homeschooling on the road as well.  Who needs to drag around a bulky white board when you can use sheet protectors just as easily?


With this inexpensive option, you could use any size sheet protector and any size paper that fits inside. 


It's also a genius way to let kiddos practice letters on worksheets or to save worksheets for future kiddos!



Showerboard – cheap or extra fancy, your choice

I've seen people simply buy the piece of showerboard (found at the home improvement store) and nail it to the wall, or cut it up into pieces for each of their kids.  To "soften" the edges people have used duct tape or electrical tape.  And I've also seen people (myself included) take that showerboard and make more elaborate contraptions with painted boards or other decorative trim.


Mine was built by my husband (no I don't have a photo).  I first showed him the photo of the $250 whiteboard on wheels that I wanted to purchase.  He said "I can make that for about $80".  With wheels?  Yes, with wheels.  Mine was double sided, with an axle in the middle that allowed me to rotate the board without moving it, AND he put a piece of sheet metal between the two pieces of showerboard so that it was now magnetic.  I love him so much and that piece of furniture was moved around my house for years and very well used.  We even used it at Christmas parties to keep score in the games.

A friend of mine converted her schoolroom into a schoolroom/guestroom and installed Murphy beds, with her dry erase boards (made from showerboard) on the back of the bed so that when the beds were up in the wall, you could write on the board.  Beautiful!

You can use electrical tape or decorative tape to make calendars, columns for any purpose, etc. Are your creative juices flowing??

Some people buy the showerboard and cut it to fit an old picture frame (glass removed of course).  Makes it pretty and still very inexpensive.  Which brings us to……


Picture Frames

But an even less expensive way to do it, is to put some kind of light colored paper or scrapbook paper behind the glass of a frame and use the glass itself as a whiteboard. If you are okay with having glass, go for it!  You can get picture frames at the dollar store or nice pretty wooden ones at garage sales and paint them, personalize them, etc.



What creative ideas can you share about presentation boards?


What makes your library special?

LibrariesAs we head into summer, many parents want to ensure that their kids keep reading even though most tend to lighten up on other subjects.  This is also a great time to sit down with your local librarian and brainstorm on some creative incentive programs!

Some libraries already have incentive programs in place.  For example, in Southern Nevada, the Clark County library district has an incentive program that encourages children to read a specific number of books to earn coupons for free hamburgers at In-and-Out Burger.  Pizza Hut's Book-It program is an excellent incentive program used all over the United States – kids read books to earn a free individual pizza!  The issue with these two examples is that, first, both of them are geared for children ages 12 and under.  Second, the Book-It program starts in the fall (and homeschoolers need to register by August to receive the program package).

What programs are in place for teens?  Again, this would be a great topic to brainstorm with your local librarian.  You wouldn't think a librarian would be so kind and so willing, but really their job is to keep people reading and using the library on a regular basis.  Let me tell you about our libraries.

Our libraries are very special – we actually have two different counties we can choose from because we are on a state border.  

In Arizona, the Mohave County library is expanding and our librarian here in our little desert town is amazing.  If you tell her you want to do something, she gets to work right away to see how to get it approved and move forward.  She has come out to our homeschool park days to read to the children, she has participated in game days, and also served as an esteemed judge in our Valentines Mailbox decorating contest.  Her goal is to get children reading, and she doesn't care what age they are.  And when you look at it from the librarian's perspective, homeschoolers are their dream customer!  Our kids are generally quiet, and for the most part they LOVE to read!   So with that, she is always willing to help out with homeschool activities as long as there is a reading objective involved (that way she can get approval from her supervisors to attend).  Although, I have to say she has even taken her lunch hour to come out to some occasions just because she loves our group so much.

Now, on the Clark County (Nevada) side, we have a great librarian too.  However, she can't cross the state line to come to our events.  But she is always willing to accommodate us with special programs and projects.  As I mentioned earlier, they have the burger incentive for kids ages 12 and under, but she will also allow the teens to participate, she just gives them a higher goal (after getting approval from her supervisor of course!)  She will also help us out by allowing us to use the meeting rooms for free classes, and if we don't have a teacher for a subject we want our kids to learn about, she will put out a call to find one for us.

Can your librarian do these things?  Of course!  Remember, the library is generally paid for through county taxes, hence the librarian is accountable to the patrons who live in their county.  Be kind, visit your librarian, express what your needs and your ideas are, and help them do their job better.  Libraries not only focus on books, but they have an interest in sharing knowledge on any variety of topics.  You need only ask.


Please share with us what makes your library so special!

Log in and comment below, or comment on our Facebook page.  Tell us what your library does to encourage kids to read.  Do you have a special program for teens?  And if you are having difficulty with your library, share that as well.  Someone might be able to offer some good suggestions to remedy your situation.