Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Review: Hubbard's Cupboard

Once a teacher, always a teacher. When Joe and I decided for me to stay at home starting this year (until ????), I had no clue what I was going to do. For the past 26 years, my life has been very structured. School did that for me. Although I was never diagnosed with ADD, I think I may have a small case of it (okay, all who know me well, together now, "Really?!"). Even my results for the Myers Brigg personality test landed me with the personality of someone who was easily distracted (ENFP...although I can lean towards ENFJ sometimes). So school was VERY good for me. It gave me the structure I needed to make sure I stayed on track. When I became a teacher, I had to have my classroom very structured, not necessarily for the students, but for me. Every second was accounted for. Some of my former students used to call me not a "Bell-to-Bell Teacher", but a "Bell-to-after-the-Bell Teacher". If I had something to say, it was going to be done!

So what does this all have to do with today's review of "Hubbard's Cupboard"? Well just this: it gave me the structure I needed to help me with the kids at home. Before I found this website, I was struggling to decide what to do each day. If you have known me for a while, you may remember my "Alphabet Days" that I did in the summer. The only problem was now that I was staying at home during the school year, I needed something to fill that time in with my kids. A good friend of mine (shout out to Kristin Waggy!!!) introduced me to Hubbard's Cupboard when I was asking for suggestions. This website is incredible!

What makes it so good?
1. It's Christian-based. Each day has a little focus on a set of scripture, memory verses, and even books to check out of the library that have a Christian theme. It has a section to teach the children how to pray and many of the activities tie back to the scripture lesson of the week. I loved this so much that I carried it to the nursery at church.

2. It's age appropriate. On the left side of the screen, there are tabs that separate the lessons based off of age. It ranges from Infants/Toddlers, 2 year olds through 4 year olds (all separate tabs and lessons), Kindergarten, and even Family Involvement. I started with 2 year olds at the beginning of this school year because I was keep two extra kids. Most of my kids were then 3 or under. I have since switched to the 3 year olds, and will be doing some of the 4 year old curriculum this summer.

3. It TEACHES!  As a teacher, I'm very dedicated to making sure that I'm not just getting some kind of curriculum that everyone loves because it's done by notable people. All of my children will be placed in the public school system here in SC. I'm not going to get on my soap box about public schools and the incredibly high standards SC public schools provide for their children, but I know as a teacher, and as a parent, it is my responsibility to prepare my children for school and to keep on them once they get there. This website focuses on all sections of education including: literacy, phonics, music, art, science, math, and social studies. I was impressed with what they had to offer as examples each week.

4. It's user-friendly. "Hubbard's Cupboard" has a great set-up that is easy to follow. For example, for the 3 year old curriculum, at the beginning of each week, I print off a set of lesson plans. I go over what I think is appropriate for my children, make a list of items we will need for that week, make adjustments for what I cannot buy, and go to the library to check out the assigned books (or ones similar to it). They have the set-up in various forms, show pictures of children doing some of the activities, and then offer other resources if the ones they have just aren't enough.

5. It's FUN!! My children look forward each week to what we are going to do. I display what they have (and if you follow me on facebook, you have seen some of the pictures of what we have done in the past few months). They are proud of their work, it makes it easy for me to fill in educational activities for an hour or two each day (it can last longer, but 2 hours is about what my kids need). Jed is constantly ready for the next step, and even Abigail has caught on and has done more than just watch.

1. Some weeks there are just SO many things to print off, that I wish they could consolidate it a little. I'm not a big fan of printing 5 pages of an activity, only to see the last page is just a sentence (can be user-error, but it is a frustration of mine).

2. Some of the books they suggest are not available at the library. I am actively looking for websites that may carry a free online version of the suggested books. Since I don't have a Nook or one of those nifty things, sometimes I have to get a different book that is about the same subject, but may not have the spiritual aspect to it.

Final review: Hubbard's Cupboard is a GREAT resource. You don't even have to be a stay at home parent to use it. Many of the lessons can be done in a few minutes in the evening or take a day on the weekend to go over a lesson. I highly recommend this to any parent or teacher of young children. It has helped structure my days with the kids so they don't drive me crazy, and so I don't drive myself crazy. :) It also helps prepare my children for school (Jed is reading somewhat now, and I truly think it has to do with what we've done with this website!!). I know that I am doing the best I can to prepare and supplement my kids as they begin school. Check it out! Hopefully you will be pleased as well.

Website: http://www.hubbardscupboard.org/index.html

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