Friday, December 28, 2012

Homeschool Planner

I depend on this homeschool planner from Homeschool creations.  I have it downloaded to my computer and my tablet.  It has helped me greatly at keeping up with what we need to do in school and help me see where we are going.  If you are looking for a digital planner then this is one that you need to check out. 

having a sale on the Weekly Homeschool Planner from Thursday, December 27th - Monday, December 31st.

The discount code for the $12 price is: ORGANIZE13

Click here to visit Homeschool Creations.

Weekly Homeschool<br />Planner

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Student of the Month

November was Mickey’s month.  She received two Student of the month awards in November.  We are quite proud of our girl.  It was also nice to see her thriving in her other environments. 

She was the student of the month in her dance class.  They did a write up on her which you can see here.  I love this quote “Mikaylin has impressed us at Michele's Dance Academy with her happy attitude and enjoyment of the other children in class.”  That one sentence makes this momma a very happy and proud momma.   

Mickey also received the student of the month in her Awana class.  This is the first time that they did this and came as a surprise.  Mickey got a little Sparky pin that she was able to pin to her Awana vest.  She is very proud of that Sparky.  In other news about Awana, she finished her book for year 2.  I was surprised how fast she finished it.  She picks up things very easily when she has a song to sing.  So singing her verses is something that comes fairly easy for her.  Now she is going back and review her verses and then get into the extra credit book next semester.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Different Dances

At the beginning of the month we went to the cultural center after a morning at Farmer’s Market.  My girl loves dancing so it was right up her alley.  It also proves that learning takes place all the time. 

The first group of dancers asked children to come up and they spent the next 20 minutes teaching them how to dance.  Mickey loved this! 

Dancing at the Farmer's Market

Dancing at the Farmer's Market

They even spent extra time after they were done dancing to teach her a instrument.

Dancing at the Farmer's Market

Click over to my family blog to see what other kind of dances we saw that day. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Grades

My girl is only in first grade.  So we don’t focus on grades.  My girl is also has a bit of a perfectionist.  She does well until she knows that there is a test and then she freaks out and worries about missing an answer.  So as a rule we don’t focus on grades but on learning.  Today was an exception.  We reached that moment in the book where there was a unit test.  I didn’t tell her it was a test but the girl figured it out.  I reassured her it was no big deal and she finished it and did great. 

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She missed 2 questions and then was able to go back and correct them.  So she got an 96 before she corrected the questions.  I am very proud of her.  It also helps me to see that she is learning and getting the concepts. 

So do you do grades in school?  Do you focus on them?  I am curious on what every one else handles this situation. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Science

We have been using Real Science 4 Kids Science book.  I love it but more importantly, Mickey loves it just as much.  These books lay a good foundation and is told in a way that a child (and a mother) actually understand what is being taught. 

There is also a book that has experiments that will go along with a chapter concept.  The stuff that is needed for the experiments are common household items that won’t break the budget.  I love that. 

We were going to go down the path of Apologia this year but I found that the text and reading was beyond what I think that a first grader could be able to grasp so we went this route.  I am so glad that we did.  We are coming to the end of Chemistry and will be starting Biology.  I will check in and let you know how that goes.  After Biology and then there is Physics.  I am looking forward to that one . 

Science Experiments

Mickey is very serious when she is involved in science.

Science Experiments

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Dress Up Day

My kiddos are dressing up this year.  We will be going to a church fall festival.  What do you and your family do? 

Park 2012

Mickey is my Queen of Hearts

Park 2012

Nate is my Tiger, but many people called him Tigger

To see some pictures head over to my family blog.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pumpkin Painting

A couple of weeks ago we went to the pumpkin patch to pick our pumpkins.  Today, we finally painted the pumpkins.  We still have a pumpkin to carve but the kids really get into painting their pumpkins.  They always turn out so unique to the child.  I have my girl who does not get a bit of paint on her and my son who probably could go swimming in the paint and both children are happy as can be. 

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Nate can’t wait to get started!

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Mickey is excited, too!

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Let the painting begin!

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We had a great time. Do you go to the pumpkin patch?  Do you decorate your pumpkins, carve them?  Post a link to your pumpkins, I would love to see what you do. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Ballet Class

Mickey is in Ballet and Tap class again this year.  She looks forward to going to dance every Monday and Wednesday’s.  She has ballet/tap on Monday’s and then Hip Hop on Wednesday’s.  There was a open house a couple of weeks ago where we were allowed to take pictures. 

Ballet 2012

Mickey is looking very serious in her spins.

Ballet 2012

Ballet 2012

Ballet 2012

I love that she enjoys her dance class. She spends a lot of her day dancing and putting on performances for her brother and I. She is a born performer.  I am so glad that she has this to look forward to. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Some Learning Time

There are times when learning doesn’t come in the form of books.  Here are two of those occasions.  Last month the Space shuttle was making it’s final journey out to California.  One afternoon it would be flying over our town.  We waited and I wasn’t so sure that we would actually see it.  And then out of the corner of my eye I saw it.  The kids had a blast looking for it.  Nate just had fun running around and being outside.  This was so much fun. 

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We have also been learning about the different states.  I love GEOpuzzles.  The states are all cut out into their very own shape.  They are sized in proportion.  Last year these puzzles didn’t go over so well.  But this year it is a whole different story.  We love it.  Even the little guy likes getting in on the action. 

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How is your learning not always from the books??

I am linking up with Hip Homeschools Hop

Monday, October 8, 2012

Quiet Time

We have had a jammed filled four days filled with lots of outdoor time, learning time, family time and of course lots of fun time!  I am combing through hundreds of pictures to share with you. But in the meantime here a picture I snapped last month and have been wanting to share. 

Quiet Time

As you know, I love to see my children read.  I love that they are doing it together. This makes my heart smile.  What makes your heart smile?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

She is a Reader!

Today Mickey made my day, my week, my year.  Reading is not high on my girl’s list of things that she will choose to do.  She enjoys being read to and hearing stories and acting those stories out. But reading a book herself has been something she has been resisting.  She has read some books that are early readers and she has enjoyed it.  But she has done it because I have told her to read them. 

This morning before we started school I told her and her brother to go play while I finished up breakfast.  She then surprised me and brought in a book “Little Red Hen” into the living room.  She has pretended to read before so I didn’t pay much attention at first.  Then I start watching her and listening and realize that she is reading the book.  There are some bigger words in there and she comes and sits down with me and she sounds out these big words and she is not getting discouraged.  She is reading! She is reading and having a good time doing it. 

This momma who started this journey afraid that I would not be able to teach my daughter to read has seen the fruits of my labor pay off. I am excited and very proud of my girl picking up her first book that she picked out and read it. 

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Friday, September 28, 2012

Taking a Break

break-imageLast spring when I went to the homeschooling conference, I heard a lot about a modified schedule.  I heard different ideas where you school 6 weeks and take off 1 week.  Another idea was to do school 8 weeks and take off a 1 week.  These ideas make sure that there is built in time so you can  get caught up or just to rest.  It is more of a year round teaching schedule. This sounded like a great idea to me.  We started school in July and we have been going strong.  There was never a time when I thought we just needed a break. 

Then last week my mom planned a trip down to see us.  I thought it was a great idea to take a break.  I didn’t plan on taking the whole week off but it has been really nice to have a break.  We have been doing school for 10 weeks.  I think a break is a good thing. I think that when we get back to our normal school schedule next week that we will be renewed. 

How do you schedule breaks in your school year?  Do you follow the public schools?  Do you do a 6 weeks on and 1 week off schedule?  Or do you take breaks when you need it or something comes up? 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Reflecting

We homeschooled our first “official” year last year.  I was so stressed and filled with worry.  Worry that I wasn’t doing something “right”.  Stressed about getting it all done.  I would constantly go to my husband who is my sounding board to vent my worry and tell him how I was doing it all wrong.  Being the veteran teacher that he was he would assure me that I was doing alright and “that every teacher” has faced those same fears, doubts, worries and stress. 

I have learned to trust the Lord.  I have also learned to believe in myself that I can do this.  I know that right now at this time this is where the Lord has us.  I know that this is the best decision for our family.  I can rest in this decision.

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I have learned that “my plan” for the day doesn’t always match what actually happens.  Some days start off rough and they keep going that direction.  I can make every one’s life completely miserable by forcing the kids form to my plan and get every last detail done that I had planned for that day.  By the way, this never ever works for us.  More often I find myself changing gears.  Putting that extra subject until tomorrow when we are all doing better.  I find that we all do better this way.  I also find that by the end of the week we get everything done that was planned for the week even if it didn’t follow my written plan to the letter.  I guess I am saying that I am learning not to sweat it and stress it and rather I am learning to be flexible. 

I see now that the Lord has changed my heart in helping me know that I can plan and “know what is up the road” but detours are okay.  I can rest even though the day doesn’t go according to plan.  I am very thankful for this in my life. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

My Tender Hearted Little girl

I have the honor and privilege to be the parent of a pretty amazing, kind hearted girl.  She loves deeply. Sometimes her love for others catches me off guard when I least expect it.  Last week we had one of those days. 
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We were reading in the her social studies book about some of the freedoms we have as Americans.  Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom of the Press.  We discussed that the freedoms that we have her in the United States is a special thing that not all countries have these same Freedoms.  The next thing I knew is that my girl had huge tears in her eyes.  We got on the topic of voting for the who we believe can serve as the best President.  This was a very simple discussion.  We talked how voting in general helps us keep our freedoms.  She caught the fever and wanted to go out and vote right then.  I had to break it to her that she was not yet old enough to vote.  She still had those tears in her eyes.  I had to explain that as her parents we vote for her best interest. 

My girl was truly upset that not all people had the same freedoms as she does.  She was hurting for them.  She also wanted to make sure she continued to have her freedoms.  She was genuine in her desire to vote and to help those that did not have those same freedoms as she does.  I need to be like my girl.  My heart needs to break like her does when I hear of people hurting not only in other countries but my own.  I need to be so thankful for my vote that I see it as important as this little girl did.  I need to follow her example.  Especially in day, that I can’t get through a day without one side or the other claiming something negative about each other. 

Friday, August 31, 2012

School Pictures

We have been back in school for over a month now.  I have been wanting to get out and get some pictures of the kids for the beginning of the school year.  That has not happened.  So yesterday, I grabbed the camera and snapped a few pics.  I hope to still go out and get some better shots but for now this will do. 

Mickey is in 1st Grade and 6 years old

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Nate is not “officially” in school so we are
calling it “Tot” school and is 2 years old

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I am linking up with the Not back to school blog hop for picture week.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Chemistry

When I decided to homeschool my daughter, I can tell you that Chemistry was not one of the things that I thought I would be teaching my daughter in first grade.  Did I tell you that I was not that into science when I was in school??  So when I saw the Chemistry book for elementary students, I thought they were out of their mind.  But I decided to trust those that went before me and try it out.  We are using Real Kids 4 Science, Chemistry

Last week we decided to venture into Chemistry and study atoms.  I even understood it.  This week we went further and studied molecules.  Today was the hands on experiment with molecules.  We used toothpicks and marshmallows. Nate even enjoyed the experiment, or maybe he just enjoyed the marshmallows.  I loved that as we were doing the experiment, Mickey kept saying how much she was enjoying science.  I knew she would but it is nice to have confirmation.  She even said it was a very tasty experiment. 

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Busy building her molecules

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Here is her “Heart Molecule”

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Those are some tasty molecules

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Nate finished his marshmallows so he decided to sneak some of sisters.  I don’t think that is going to work.  But look how serious this kid is.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Where we do school

Not Back to School Blog HopI am linking up with the NOT back to school blog hop.  This week the theme is where we do school.  In our family, where we do school is an ever changing experience for us.  Last year we started off in our office.  It was nice to go in there and have a contained room where Nate could play and we could do school.  And most importantly, the mess from school was contained.  However, sometime during the later months of the school year we moved out of there back to the dining room table.  Nate was feeling stuck in there, so we moved.

Although I feel like the room is still a better fit for my girl it is not for my boy.  Right now, the room is a wreck.  I need to do some major decluttering.  When we moved out of there we kept putting boxes that I was packing up and that room was the easiest place to put it all. Have you ever had that happen to you??  Yes, I need to clean out that room.  But until then our table is where school happens.  At least where the work that needs a table to write on. 

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Mickey has her workspace.  I can sit besides her and help her.  I have a plastic box on a chair that keeps most of the mess in while we are not officially in school.  Nate gets to come and join as he pleases.  Play in an area that he is fully comfortable with.  If I need to I can put on a show for him to watch and dance to.  Because let’s face it his sole purpose right now is to watch a show that has music so he can rock out with his toy guitar. 

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I have seen homeschooling families do school in a dedicated room, at the table, on the couch, outside, in the van, in the kitchen.  Learning can be done anywhere and is usually done everywhere.  There is no right place to do school.  Just because you do school one way and I do it a different way that just makes us different not right.  I suspect that we will eventually back to the office with some adjustments.  But whatever we choose it will be the right decision for my family. 

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So where does learning occur in your family??

Thursday, August 9, 2012

My Biggest Challenge

What is your biggest challenge in your homeschooling day?  Math?  Science?  A reluctant learner?  Today, my biggest challenge was this little guy. 

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My little guy Nate is my baby.  He is a curious little guy that loves to be involved.  As you can tell from the picture above that he takes his work seriously. 

He had a great night of sleep.  Which means that I did too.  Sleep is not always something we get a lot of.  Some reason today, this little guy woke up on the wrong side of the bed.  He has been grumpy since he woke up this morning.  Nothing was making him happy today. 

Thankfully he liked an app on my tablet which made him content for a little bit.  Peekaboo Safari deluxe helped save the day, today. The animals are behind the jungle and Nate gets to tap the animal and the animal makes the sound and comes out of hiding.   He was able to sit on my lap and find the animals.  This kept him entertained long enough so we could finish Math. 

Science time came around and he was able to be involved.  We are doing our Chemistry book.  Today’s experiment was observing the differences of different things such as a cracker, cotton ball, pencil, and a chocolate chip.  Nate was able to have his own items.  His favorite was the chocolate chips.  Mickey wrote and drew her observations down.  Nate just ate his stuff. But he was happy for the moment. 

This momma is tired.  I think that I need a nap.  Maybe while Nate takes one?  Maybe.

What is your biggest challenge during your homeschooling day?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Glimpse Into Our Day

I snapped a couple of pictures today. 

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Mickey looks happy to be doing reading work.  She actually did really well today.  We are taking it slow and I think that is helping her feel like she accomplishing and is really able to read. 

 

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Nate has his Thomas the Train magazine.  He feels like a big boy and working on his school work also.  I don’t know exactly what he is doing but he is very serious about it.  I am in great need to come up with some school assignments for this little guy.  He is much happier when he is involved. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

1st Grade 2012-2013

 

We have been in school for a few weeks already.  I have seen where we need to make some adjustments but so far things are running smoothly. 

Reading/Phonics

We will continue on with reading and phonics through McRuffy.  This is what we used in kindergarten and it worked well for us.  We use a different reader every week. The readers are very silly and enjoyable for my silly girl.  There are workbooks that we use during the lessons. I think the part that Mickey enjoys the most is puppets that she gets to cut out and act out the stories. 

Road Trip USA

I am really looking forward to this study.  This study I bought from Confessions of a Homeschooler.  This is a study that will combine geography and history about the United States.  Last year I attempted to teach the different states but I just needed some help.  I think that through this study we will have the help we need.  There is also the lapbook that we will be using.  We are going to be using incorporating literature finding different books to read that go along with the state we are studying. 

Science

We are trying out different science studies this year.  I am not sure which one will work better for us.  Mostly because they are different styles of teaching and levels.  We are going to state off with Chemistry.  Yes, Chemistry but it is an introduction for  the elementary level.  This one is great for Mickey because there is a lot of hands on opportunities for her to learn.

The other option for science this year is Apologia, zoology which focuses on Flying Creatures.  Mickey is in love with animals which is why I have this book.  However, I am thinking it might be a little old for her.  So I think that with a little of creativity we are going to use the book as our guide and find a way to make this more hands on. We were going to start with this book but since I needed a little extra preparation we will use this one later on in the year. 

 Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the 5th Day (Apologia Science Young Explorers)

Math
We will be using McRuffy for Math this year also.  We used McRuffy for Math last year and Mickey loved it.  There are a lot of hands on activities.  My girl loves math.  She looks forward to doing math everyday.  She loves the math games that are included with the curriculum.  I have to say this will probably be Mickey’s favorite part of the day. 

Art

We are going to use an art program by Atelier.  We are just trying this out to see how it is for us.  It is a dvd art based program.  Each lesson is on a dvd and she has her own materials to follow along.  I am looking forward to this since I don’t have a great art background.  Atelier – Homeschool Art Lesson Plans & Projects for Kids by Homeschool Art

Bible

withb

One of the resources we are using is What’s in the Bible.   It is a series that starts with Genesis and will take you all through the Bible.  They just released the dvd with Psalms and Proverbs in it.  I really like this series.  It gives a good foundation and it is fun and silly and my kids love it.  We have only watched the first 2.  On the What’s in the Bible website there are coloring pages that go along with the dvds.  It also have some helpful resources for the parents.  If you would like a 20% coupon click on this link http://whatsinthebible.extole.com/a/clk/3Sfz23 and you will take you to a 20% coupon.  Phil Vasser is the one behind the scenes of this video series.   He is also the same guy behind the scenes of Veggie Tales. We are going to watch the first 2 videos again and dig deeper this coming year. 

Sparks Curriculum Sample

Awana is something else that we are going to continue doing.  This year will be Mickey’s second year in Sparks.  She loved it last year.  I think that this year she will be a Wing Runner.  One thing that we did last year that helped her with her verses is download the music to the verses for this year’s book.  It is amazing how this really helps her remember her verses. I get to learn them too. 

WingRunner Handbook Music CD

So this is what we are planning on using for Bible this year.

So that is the plan.  I know that it will change over the year.  We will make adjustments where we need to.  We will take things out when we need to, we will add things in when we need to.  I think that is part of the flexibility of being a homeschooling family is all about.  I look forward to see where we will end up.  We have a plan, now it is on to the journey. 

What is on your plan??

Not Back to School Blog Hop

I am linking up with the Not Back to School Blog Hop.  So hop on over there and find what other homeschooling families are doing in their school year.