Back to School Basics for Home and Away Christi Kopp August 21, 2015 Book Review, Educational, Giveaways, Reviews The summer is quickly coming to an end and school will soon be back in school everywhere. I know there are all kinds of schools kids can attend, but they all have one thing in common. They need gear and goodies. I have created a list of some of my favorites that are great for homeschool, public school, or any other option. These are sure to add a little more flair to this year’s return to learning. A Way To Tote It All Every kid needs a great bag for school. Before you say not my homeschooler, hear me out. I homeschool my crew. They still have homework, library trips, field trips, and other occasions when they need to take stuff with them to another space. I know my older daughter likes to study in her room. Instead of making several trips up and down the hall, she has a bag with her basics – pencils, paper, folders, etc then she adds whatever materials she needs for the study session and she is instantly ready to go. I know younger kids love character bags, and for them that is a fine way to go if it makes you all happy. I also know that I am very frugal. I hate the idea of buying a new bag every few months or even once a year. I think it is always a better plan to buy a high quality bag that can lasts for years and years. First, though you might not realize it, it will save you a lot of money in the long run. You can use buttons, tags, or even patches and stickers to add age appropriate flair. There is also the bonus of being able to change things out as often as their interests change. So, all that being said, I have a short list of bags I personally love. The list includes Jansport, Eddie Bauer, and High Sierra. I told you the list was short. So, other than being on the pricier end, what do these bags have in common? A fantastic warranty. This year my top pick is the Emmett Pack by High Sierra. The Emmett pack features a gusseted front pocket, retro styling that combines functionality with a refreshing simplicity. Draw string access and a tablet sleeve for the tech-savvy rounds out this pack because, let’s face it, tech is as much a part of school these days as teachers. I opted for Chocolate and Crimson because it is a great fairly neutral color palette which can grow with kids for years. Plus the darker colors help it stay looking cleaner longer. Common Core Cheat Sheet Chances are at this point, you have heard of Common Core. But what is Common Core and what does it mean for our kids? More to the point, you may be wondering why you care. The simple answer here that you have to understand what Common Core is and the process used to help your kids understand it. Fortunately, The Everything Parent’s Guide to Common Core Math books make figuring this out easier. Now, honestly, this may not be a product you will use if you homeschool because you can choose not to use Common Core. But, I really found it interesting to read anyway. It provides some definition and example problems. No, this would not be an everyday use book for me, but I can see the value of having it available. What if one of the kids is not getting what I am teaching and I am at a loss as to another way to present it? Common Core could offer a different approach which may work better for a particular child’s learning needs. Personalizing With A Little Flair Every child wants to share their personality with the world. One way to do this is to accessorize their back to school essentials. Sadie Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame has created her Dayspring which is an amazing assortment of cool back to school gear. From journals to magnets, there are many great products to add personal inspiration to your student’s day. Remember earlier when I mentioned personalizing your kid’s bag? Bright Star Kids has an incredible selection of tags and labels of all sorts. They can add so much fun and flair to your back to school! My kids love the fun bag tags and the chalkboard labels. Labels are a great way to personalize and customize so your kids can express themselves. Reinforce Those Concepts No matter where your kids attend school, you are their first teacher. You are the one to reinforce every concept from simple to complex. Here are some ways to help keep the learning going evenafter school hours have ended. Here are some great resources to engage and entertain your learners. First a couple of products for your littlest students. Table Time Look and Learn tablecloth is a perfect pre-k and kindergarten teaching tool. The Mostly Math edition covers sequences, ordinal numbers, months, comparisons and more! The material is nice and thick, sure to last even with regular use. I put it on our schooling table and leave it there. That way any time can be a learning time. Next, we have Space Racers which is a fun and entertaining television program currently streaming on Netflix that explores science and space along with other concepts like math. Kids join cadets Eagle, Robin, and Hawk at the Stardust Space Academy for learning adventure. Each episode is about 12 minutes long so kids don’t get bored and you don’t feel like they are in front of a screen all day. The website also contains games and printables. The Space Racers Parent & Educator’s Toolkit includes a DVD featuring 13 animated Space Racers episodes and 4 live-action segments, as well as a CD-ROM filled with Lesson Plans and Family Activities based on the show. National Geographic is launching titles to teach and appeal to every age group from toddler to preteen. From board books to chapter books, there is something for every reading level to explore. Each book contains engaging images and fun facts so kids are excited about everything there is to learn about their world. These are some of the most popular books in the house right now. They are perfect for family time sharing or independent learning. With topics from animals to famous people, you are sure to find a story your kids will love. Speaking of readers, reading is one of the most important skills we teach our kids. It is reading that opens up the world to them. But, learning to read isn’t easy and parents may find themselves at a loss on where to even start with their youngsters. Rita M. Wirtz has come to the rescue with her book Reading Champs Teaching Reading Made Easy. The book takes you through the process of learning to read step by step with examples and exercises to complete at each level. I’ll be honest, it is not a fun read but it may be the most important book I ever read. I had a child who was seriously struggling. I was at a loss as to what steps to take next but this book has provided amazing information including the correct order to approach teaching reading. The sequence makes a huge difference. I didn’t understand before how needed each step was or how completely they build on the step before to make the progress needed. I love reading and I want my kids to love reading as well. Making it easier lets them enjoy it and take the chore out of reading. I firmly believe lifelong readers are lifelong learners! Giveaway Madness Back to school can be a costly time of year. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could add to your stash of school and learning gear without spending a fortune? Of course it would! So, One Little Mister has teamed up with some of our fantastic friends to offer tons of great prizes. We will be giving away: 1 Space Racers Parent & Educator Toolkit 1 National Geographic Reading Rocks kit which includes all the National Geographic books pictured 4 Bright Star Kids Label Kits each containing 192 personalized labels in assorted sizes. 1 Table Time Look & Learn Tablecloth That means we will be choosing 7 winners to receive a prize. Make sure to enter today! a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway This is a sponsored post. I received products or other consideration in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own and 100% honest.