Thursday, August 14, 2014

First Day Photos

Technically these are not first day photos since we started school a few weeks ago.  So these are our beginning of the year photos. 

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My 3rd Grader

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Pre – K

I realized today that when I started on this homeschooling adventure he was just a baby. How time has flown.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Curriculum Choices for 2014-2015 School Year

The most asked questions I get about homeschooling is “Do you buy curriculum”  and “how do you know what to teach every day?”  I think that when we think what it is involved in homeschooling our children we often are overwhelmed of where to start.  I remember wondering if I had to create everything that I taught my children.  Thankfully that answer was no.  But there is a lot of research that goes into picking the curriculum that you are going to use with your children. 

We have been using the same curriculum for reading and phonics since kindergarten.  Mickey is now in 3rd grade.  At the end of the 2nd grade year I was realizing that it just wasn’t working for us anymore.  I knew that I needed a history program that was more than what I have been doing. So this began my journey to figure out what was going to work for 3rd grade. 

Curriculum

3rd Grade Curriculum Choices

  We are using Trail Guide for Learning, Paths of Exploration.  This is a history based curriculum but also includes science, reading, language and art.  It is unit based on explorers.  There are six units – Christopher Columbus, Jamestown, Pilgrims, Daniel Boone, Lewis and Clark and Trails West.  Each unit is 6 weeks long. Each week has lessons for Day 1-4 with day 5 being a catch up day and a deeper exploration.  I love that there are real books that we read together and that she reads on her own.  My daughter loves stories about real people, so this is right up her alley. 

We are almost at the end of our 3rd week of using this curriculum and I am happy to report that so far it has been a success. Mickey is enjoying reading her Christopher Columbus book.  One of the best things that I have found is that she loves history and doesn’t realize that she is also getting reading, geography, language, writing and penmanship.  She is excited to do school everyday.  There are plenty of hands on projects to keep her busy. 

We are using Spelling You See for spelling.  Trail Guide for Learning incorporates spelling into their program but I had already looked into this and thought it was a good fit for Mickey.  One of the things that Mickey struggles with are tests.  She panics and fears the worst.  This program does not put the emphasis on what she does wrong but what she is doing right.  So far this  has been a good fit for her. 

  We switched to Math U See last year. It was a good switch for us.  We don’t move on until there is mastery at each lesson.  We started at Alpha last fall and ended with Beta at the end of 2nd grade.  So we are picking up with Beta, which focuses on addition and subtraction.  We will then move to Gamma which focuses on multiplication.  I am so happy that we found Math U See last year.  It works great for Mickey. 

 

Preschool Choices

I am not buying any specific curriculum to use for preschool.  We are being more intentional in our preschool time this year.  I am thankful for Homeschool Creations.  She has activities for helping little ones learning their letters.  We are focusing on one letter a week.  We are building a notebook with all the alphabet crafts that we make.  Nate is already loving making the crafts.  We are learning the sounds and the shapes.  We start each day with a book that we all read together.  I am trying to keep the books we read to the letter of the week.  We will be using our ABC puzzles and magnets. 

We are also working on numbers and playing with counting bears.  I am also finding poems and songs that we are learning.  We are learning as we go and finding different activities that we can do every day.  Lots of coloring, cutting, gluing and puzzles.  I see a great year ahead of us! 

 

I am linking this post up with iHomeschool Network.  Go take a look at what other families are tacking this year. 

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Get the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle {6 Days Only}!

There is a great deal going on right now that I feel that you should check out! 

 

 

What is it??

By popular demand, we’re bringing this bundle back again and better than ever!

The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is a complete library of great eBooks on homemaking—a truly valuable knowledge base that you’ll use for many years to come.

Unlike a library, though, you don’t have to spend years building it up. We’ve done the hard work for you, searching the web to find the very best eBooks from top homemaking authors and combining them into one essential collection that you can buy in one simple purchase.

When?  8am EST Wednesday, April 23 until midnight EST Monday, April 28

What?  78 ebooks, 2 eCourses, 2 audio files, and 2 printable packs PLUS over $200 worth of bonus products you’ll really use!

Where? Right here! Look above or below to find a BUY NOW link.

How much? Well now, that’s the best part. The entire package is worth nearly $900, and we’re selling it for less than $30. Sweet deal, right?

 

Act soon to get the ultimate eBook collection on homemaking at a once-in-a-lifetime price!

Bought separately, they’d cost a total of $698 (not including $200+ in bonuses!).  But you can have all of them for just $29.97, or $39.97 for bonus Kindle editions!

We believe it’s the best deal on homemaking eBooks anywhere on the web. But it will only be available for six days. So grab yours before they’re gone!

 

What is included?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Researching Curriculums

ResearchingI piece together Mickey’s curriculum.  I feel like this meets our needs as a family and as well as her academic needs.  So around this time of year I take an assessment of what we are using and see if I think that we need to continue on with what we are using or try something else.  Then the long search for what to replace it with begins. 

Currently I am satisfied with most of our curriculum choices and think that we will be sticking with them for awhile.  The area that I am in need of help is History.  This is how I am going about my research.

  • I made a list of what was important to me in a curriculum choice.
    • It had to have hands on activities
    • I also wanted something that I could as a lapbook with it.
  • I looked around my homeschooling friends and looked at what they were doing.  I even asked a question on my homeschooling community what they would recommend and why.
  • I started looking at two websites that are known for their reviews.  Both of these websites have categories on the side that you can click on to see what items have been reviewed. 
      • Reviews are about other homeschool parents who tell their experience with the curriculums.
      • Cathy Duffy is a research specialist who researches curriculums and then tells the reader her take on the curriculum.  At the end of the review she tells you who it is a best fit for as far as Social  Sue, Wiggly Willy, Competent Carl, Perfect Paula. 
  • I narrow down what curriculums I have seen that I think that will work for our family.  Then I begin using Google to find reviews on blogs to hear more about the day to day of how it is working for them. 
  • I go to the curriculum website and begin pricing it.  I see if I have to buy the whole package or if I can make do without purchasing all the books.  I also make a list of books that I can get cheaper through another source or through the library. 
  • If I know someone who is using that curriculum that lives near me I ask them questions and ask to see their books.
  • I am now prepared to go in the vendor halls in a homeschool convention and look and touch the products.  I also don’t have to feel overwhelmed when each table is looking at selling me their great product that might or might not work with our family. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Cool Videos

I followed a link to watch a video on YouTube. I am always on a lookout to learning the States and capitals.  I really liked this song and I think that it would interest my girl. 

I was interested to see what else that they had done.  I found this one about the different countries.  Loved this. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Take Time to Recharge

RECHARGE IMAGEThere are a lot of demands on us as a parent and a homeschooling teacher. We are on duty 24 hours a day.  If you take sick day, (like I had to last week) you are still a parent. There are little ones to take care of, meals to make, activities to drive to and houses to clean.  There is a lot on our plate and more so if your spouse is working a lot of hours or like mine on the road half of the month.  I know that there are some good weeks and some not so good weeks.  There are weeks that I make it to the end and wonder why can’t every week be as easy as that one? 

I am a firm believer that we must take time out of the week or even day to give us some breathing room and to recharge.  If we don’t we will not be at our best nor giving our best to our loved ones.  It is so hard to take time for ourselves and really focus on our needs.  I know that I am guilty of not taking that much needed time to breath. 

How do you recharge?  Here are some ideas to give you some ways to recharge. 

  • Take a few hours and head out of the house when your spouse is home to take care of the kids.
    • Go to the park and read a book that is not for school.
    • Wander around the mall and window shop
    • Go and get your hair cut.  (When was the last time you made that appointment? 
  • Spend time in God’s Word
    • Whether it is a few minutes throughout the day or a dedicated time at the beginning or ending of the day.  His word will refresh your soul.
  • Do something that you enjoy at night when the kids are asleep. 
    • I put my kids to bed early… because they are still young and because I need that quiet time. 
    • I read
    • I play games on my phone
    • I work on my photography
    • Watch that show that I dvr’d weeks ago.
  • Call a friend
    • Take time to talk to that friend or make lunch plans and go out and eat (with or without your kids)
    • Just taking timeout and connecting to someone often helps us to carry on.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Sick Days

In my house if the kids are sick we take a sick day.  What to do when Mom is sick or just not feeling well?  It depends on how I am feeling bad and what we need to do.  Today is a day that I am feeling not so good.  I had a rough night and it is hard to focus.  But I am not feeling so bad that we can’t get a few things done.  So today we compromised. 

Today, we took school to the living room.  Mickey brought her school books.  Nate brought his toys.  Momma showed up.  We did not get a lot of stuff done today. Mickey did not do a lot of school work today but she did what she could.  I was nearby to answer questions and something was done. 

I think that we need to remember that it is okay to take things slow.  If I was feeling worse then we would not have done school and that is okay. 

There are days that we take things slow and allow our children to step up and do things that they may not normally do. My girl usually makes her own lunch.  I am so thankful that she does this as it helps me feel like I am not making a meal every time I turn around.  My son is 3 so him making his own meal is just not going to happen.  Today, my daughter helped my son make his sandwich for lunch.  She did this willingly and lovingly.  She did not have to do this but she did this because she knew her momma was having a rough day.

Some days that is what educating my children is all about.  My children are taught to love each member of the family.  That will look different depending on the day.  Today, it was about a sandwich. 

I am learning that the thing about homeschooling is that it is much bigger than the textbooks.  It is about taking care of each other and loving one another.