Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Hard at Work

There are many things I like about being a homeschool family.  One of my favorites is getting a bird’s eye view of my girl learning and watching how her brain works.  It would be easier to get someone else to answer all her questions and trust me the girl has a lot of questions.  But the reward I get to be there each and every day on the journey of learning.  Now that is priceless. 

I am not telling you that it is easy.  There are days that I wonder if we will ever get through that math lesson.  Will we cover the science in a way that will truly be the way that she needs to cover it??  Will she get enough hands on learning?  I have tons of questions that I ask myself each and every day.  But I get to be here enjoying my daughter and her million words a day.  I get to watch her blossom and be here when that light bulb goes off and she truly understands a concept.  That is my reward for being her teacher.  I am super thankful for being given this honor.

 

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Monday, November 4, 2013

November Calendar

Here is the November calendar ready for you to download.  We are enjoying using ours.  It helps see how much we have accomplished every month.  Hope you have a great month of being Thankful. 

November 2013

Thursday, October 31, 2013

My little ones

We worked hard on the costumes this year.  Nate was supposed to be Spiderman but like 3 years old like to do he refused to put on his costume.  No worries, I know that he will get plenty of wear with his outfit just not tonight. 

So Nate wore his Tiger shirt from last year.  I decorated his face and he proudly named himself the “Honey Badger”.  Who was I to argue with him. 

Mickey’s favorite show is “My Little Ponies”.  This fall they came out with Equestria girls where the ponies turned into her girls in another world.  So Mickey and I created her Princess Twilight Sparkle.  We even painted her hair purple.  I love that she took on her character and enjoyed every minute of her dress up game. 

fall festival collage1

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Homeschooling in New Mexico

Living in New Mexico means that I have done some research about the laws that I must follow being a homeschooling family.  I thought it would nice to share with those of you that are reading here that are from New Mexico. 

New Mexico is a state that has a lot of freedom for homeschooling families. The state is not that big or high in population but we still have some incredible resources.

Homeschool Laws in New Mexico

According to the N.M. Stat. Ann. § 22-1-2(E) parents are required to do the following

1. Notify the state superintendent of their intent to operate a home school within thirty days of the establishment of the home school and by April 1 of each subsequent year. The April 1 notice must identify the school district.

a. You can do this by online by going to this link http://164.64.166.19/homeschools/HmSchapp.asp

2. Record Keeping

a. Keep in your own files a record of attendance but you do not have to file this with the state superintendent.

b. Maintain a record of your child’s immunization records.

c. Proof that the child’s teacher has a high school diploma or equivalent.

3. Teacher Qualifications

a. Home school is operated by parent of legal guardian of a school age child.

b. Teacher has a high school diploma or equivalent.

4. School attendance

a. Is required for children between 5-17 years of age.

b. A child must attend home school for 180 days the same length of time for traditional public school. However, it is not required that the homeschool follow the calendar of the public school.

5. Subjects that must be taught

a. Reading, language arts, math, social studies, and science.

b. There is no requirement to submit lesson plans, academic records, or what your child is learning.

6. Testing

a. As of July 1, 2001 students are no longer required to submit to achievement tests. Your child does not have to submit to standardized testing or submit those scores to the government.

The information found on this page does not substitute for legal advice.  This is just what I have found as I have done my research.  For more information you can look at HSLDA

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Park and Parade Day

On Saturday was Mickey was in a parade with her dance class.  She had a blast.  Nate had a blast playing on the playground and watching the parade.  It was a good day although it was really busy.

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He was having a blast climbing.

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This time he is not only climbing but growling like a dinosaur.  There was an older boy about 12 years old there that was fascinated about Nate’s sounds.  He kept saying that was amazing!

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Being adventurous going down the slide.

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Just running and having fun.

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A little hanging thrown in for good measure.

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I just love his smile and pure enjoyment of the moment.

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Waiting with Daddy for the parade

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Where is “Sister?”

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There she is!

close up

The moment when she sees us!  Love her face!!

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Mickey did a lot of this during her ride in the parade. 

Monday, September 30, 2013

October Calendar

Can you believe it is already October??  I can’t.  I haven’t been blogging to much lately, but I promise I will get back into the swing of things. 

We have been busy here.  We have joined up with a homeschooling coop.  I was not really sure about the whole thing but my girl really wanted to go. So we are making it work.  I think that it is worth it.  In school we have been having fun studying different countries.  Right now we are currently studying Japan.  I LOVE IT.  I will be writing a post for that one soon.  I promise. 

But right now I really want to get you October’s calendar.  We have enjoyed using it in our daily class.  Mickey colors the days that we have been in school.  It has been really helpful. 


 

October 2013

Monday, September 2, 2013

September Calendar

How can it be September already? We have been using our monthly calendar to keep track of the days that we are in school.  As she works on her numbers and the dates she then colors the box of the days that we do school.  I love seeing all the days colored in.  If you haven’t downloaded the month pdf file you can download the September file here or click on the picture below.  If you would like to download August through December calendars you can do so here.september 2013 

The weekly planner is also available if you would like to your child to keep a list of all the daily work that they have to finish.  This has worked wonders for us since she knows at the beginning of everyday what she needs to do.  We are not having the “how much more do we have to do” questions.  She knows exactly what is expected out of her and it has been a great tool for our homeschool day.  If you would like to download it you can do so here or on the picture below. 

  Weekly planner Mon Tues Wed

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

First Day of School Pictures

We have been in school for about a month now.  So I am very late in getting this up. Life has been very busy here.  I finished up a big project and now we are in the midst of a very busy schedule.  Life is crazy like that and we always seem to be busy doing one thing or another. 

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My little guy is going beginning preschool this year.  Some days we actually get some stuff done and other days we do a lot of play.  I can’t keep shoes on this kid but he is a happy barefoot kid.

Nate collage

Mickey is in 2nd grade this year.  Every time I look at her she is looking more and more grown up.  How did this happen?? 

Mickey

Monday, August 5, 2013

Curriculum 2013-2014

2nd Grade

We started school last week.  We are taking it slow and getting into our full schedule.

Reading/Phonics
We are continuing on with McRuffy Phonics and Reading Curriculum.  We have enjoyed it for the last 2 years. This program has done a good job at teaching phonics to my daughter.  I also like the readers that come with the program.  They are silly and have fun characters that keep the attention of my girl.  I like how each reader focus on the phonics skill that we are learning for the week. 

We will also supplement with Reading Eggs.  This has fun maps with games that teach and reinforce phonics skills.  It is a good supplement on those days that we just need something different.  This will be our second year with it.  After she finishes all the maps on reading eggs she can continue on with reading eggspress. 

Math
This year we are changing programs from McRuffy to Math-U-See.  We have already started this program and my girl loves it.  It is very hands on and teaches to understanding.  You move one when the child is ready and shows understanding.  There is also a dvd that teaches to the child the concepts.  I like that it uses different ways to engage the child.  You hear it, you write it, you do it. So far it has been a success in our house. 

Science
We are continuing on with Real Science 4 KidsFocus On Elementary Physics Book Bundle I like the pace of this science program.  There are experiments that go along with the chapters and concepts.  We will finish up biology and then go on to Physics.  I hope that we can get to the astronomy books in January.  Science is probably Mickey’s favorite subject. 

We will also learn about different animals based on what her younger brother is doing.  This will probably be unit studies that I can either find or put together. 

Geography

This year we will move on from learning the states to learning about countries.  I have ordered Little Passports the World Edition.  Each month your child is mailed a package about a particular country.  We are using this as our jumping off point and using unity studies to learn more about the countries. 

Art

This year we are trying out Mike’s Inspiration Station.  I think that this will be something fun to do as we finish the week.  We will also be doing some art projects that go along with her brother’s art projects.  I hope we can make art more of a priority than we did last year. 

Preschool

My boy is 3 this year.  So we are just introducing school this year.  He sits at the table with us during school so this will give him some things to do. 

I bought a box curriculum that is meant to do in a month, from Mother Goose Time.  We bought the A to Zoo animals.  We are already enjoying it.  We will pick a couple of these boxes throughout the year.  Since we are doing a lesson a day instead we are going more slowly and focusing on an animal a week it will take us longer to get through.  We may do two animals a week depending on how it goes.  I am really following my little guy’s lead here.  We will be learning the letters, numbers and colors.  

I am linking up with the Not Back To School Blog Hop

nbts-blog-hop-2013

Check back next week when I show you where we homeschool.  Also remember to enter the book giveaway

Learning to Speak Life: Fruit of the Spirit {Review & Giveaway}

I am excited to be reviewing and giving away this family devotional to one lucky winner.  Learning to Speak Life is a devotional series written by Michael and Carlie Kercheval.  Carlie is the founder of So You Call Yourself a Homeschooler.  The family devotional is intended for the entire family specifically with children from ages 3-12.  The first book in this series is “Fruit of the Spirit”, which you can find in Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT) love, joy,peace, patience, kindness, goodness faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  If you are looking for a family devotion for your family, I would highly recommend you to check this one out. 

Fruit of the Spirit Book Cover

This is a very interactive book and tries to use different teaching methods to really hit home specific fruit of the section. This is a very interactive book.   Each section is supposed to take a week but they encourage you to go at the pace of your family. 

Every section is broken down to really learn about the fruit of the Spirit.  Here are some of the ways that they help you out as a parent. 

  • Scripture – Each week there is a verse that they ask you speak out loud as a family and memorize it as a family if it is reasonable for them to do so. 
  • What Is…? – This is the explanation section that uses God’s word to explain and teach about the fruit of the Spirit so that everyone understands what they will be learning about.
  • Confessions – Each section uses 5 confessions that you as a family speak out each day. 
  • Copywork – This is a section for your older children to copy scripture. 
  • Role Play – Each chapter gives a role play scenario to act out as a family.
  • Silly Sayings – What better to remember something than to be silly about it. 
  • Short Story – This helps to show how the fruit look in our day to day life.
  • Family Discussion Time – Here is a section that you use to discuss questions about the fruit of the spirit.  There are questions that are layed out for you to use with your children. 
  • Family Project – In each chapter there are family projects to further reinforce the fruit of the Spirit.
  • Prayer – There is a short prayer that is written out to again to help reinforce the different fruits. 
  • Digging Deeper – There are extra scriptures at the end to further the study. 

This is a great study to begin or end your day with your children.  I like that it focuses on really getting our children (and us the parents) to really understand the different fruits of the spirit.  How do you show love? 

 You can buy your very own copy at Amazon here.So please enter to win a pdf copy of Learning to Speak below.  So enter the giveaway by entering below.  We would also really appreciate it if you would like Homeschooling – A Change of Heart facebook page and Learning to Speak Life facebook page.  But the only mandatory is to leave a comment.  If you just can’t wait head over to Amazon and get your own copy.  I promise you will not be disappointed.   

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Free Calendars and Updated Weekly Planner

School has started in our house.  I have added preschool to homeschooling day and that can be a whole new challenge.  I am confident that we will figure things out.  As I do, I will share with you my tips. 

My first tip is to start slowly.  We have been off during the summer and now we are trying to get back in the swing of things.  We have a light schedule as we try to figure out how this year is going to work for us.  Right now, it is really slow and that is okay. 

I have updated the weekly planner.  After I started using it the Month line on the planner just didn’t make sense so I changed it.  Now it says date.  So if you would like to download the new updated file just click here or on image.   Weekly planner Mon Tues Wed

I have also added more calendars to our planner.  I now have August through December ready for download.  I hope that they will help you and you child getting to know the days of the month. 

August 2013

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What kind of Reader are you?

I was randomly reading posts and saw this graphic that describes different types of readers.  It made me smile because of all the different categories that she came up with.  I just had to share it.  I am a definite book lover.  I could not fit myself into one box of book lovers…. Compulsive, situational, definitely free-range.  Where did you find yourself on this list??

Please include attribution to Laura E. Kelly with this graphic. (Click to view at original large size.)
What Species of Reader Are You?--Infographic
Visit Laura-e-Kelly.com for more about books, reading, and authors.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Happy Fourth of July

I hope that you had a very happy 4th of July with your family.  We took a few days and had some fun over here.  We like to spend time being together as a family. 

Mickey went out with her daddy to see the big city firework show.  It was good time for them to hang out and just be with each other.  Fireworks is just a little loud for her so we were very proud of her for trying it out.  She enjoyed the sparklers at home far much more. 

Mickey at fireworks

Mickey and her sparkler

Mickey dancing sparkler

Monday, July 8, 2013

Weekly Student Planner

I have been on the look out for a planner that would be suitable for my daughter as we look to starting the new year.  I have been having problems finding ones that I thought would work for where she is now.  She needs a visual reminder of what we are going to do that particular day.  She is a goal oriented person so I thought if she could see the schedule for the day it would help make the day go by a little bit easier. 

So I sat down with my computer and started to create.  I came up with something that I liked and I thought I would share it with you.  Once I figure out how to make the sections editable I will upload that.  Right now it is just for her to write down her schedule for the day.  Download Weekly Planner here

Weekly planner Mon Tues Wed

Weekly planner Thurs Fri Reading Log

I also made a August Calendar.  I will continue to make more monthly calendars but this is all I have done so far.  So check back for the monthly calendar. The days and the month are printed with a dotted print so early elementary can practice their writing skills.  Download August Calendar

 

August 2013

Monday, July 1, 2013

Gearing Up for School 2013-2014

I know that we are still in the summer months but we will probably be starting the last week of July or the first week of August.  I like to get a jump on school while it is still pretty hot and we don’t want to be outside.  By then the swim lessons will be done and we are itching to get back to doing something.  We will start slow but we will start. 

Lesson Planner

I will continue to use the lesson planner from Homeschool Creations.  I love this planner for many reasons.  I like that it is a PDF and I can use it year after year.  I don’t have to print it out because I can use it on my tablet. I can back it up to my computer and have a reference back to it year after year.  I do not plan the whole year out in advance.  That would make one crazy mom.  I plan week by week however, in the back of planner I can plan out the books that I want to use. 

I am also toying with the idea of getting a planner for my daughter.  She likes knowing the plan and I like the idea of giving her the plan for the week so that she knows that she has to get done.  She thrives when she is working to meet a goal.

Tot School
PosterNate is 3.  He is not ready for a full on preschool but I think that he is ready to start doing a few things this year.  We will take our cues from him on how much we will do.  Mother Goose Time is a monthly curriculum in a box. It has all the supplies included in the box.  I like it that it takes some of the work out of it for me.  You don’t have to be committed to buy a whole year at once you can just buy month to month.  Because I don’t think that Nate is ready for a full preschool we are buying a couple of boxes and use it at our pace.  In July we bought the A to Zoo Animals.  Instead of doing a animal a day we are doing one a week.  I think that we can also include big sister and get more in-depth animal study so that they are doing the same thing.  I will be updating to let you know how this works. 

Breaks

We will plan on taking some Friday’s off and hopefully meet up with the local homeschool group.  I think that the kids will enjoy having some kid time.  I also am looking forward to taking a longer break in December and reduce this mom’s Holiday stress.  We will focus on some different unit studies so we won’t stop school all together but change the focus a bit. 

2nd Grade

I will be writing a full post on what we our 2nd grade curriculum will look like.  I am looking forward to starting the new year. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

An Honest Look Back on First Grade

The first grade school year came to a close in May.  We continued on with a few lessons and then we closed the books and took a good break.  We all needed one.  Now after we have been away from the books I look back to August to see what the goals were and what we were going to use as far as curriculum.  If you want to see what that look like click here

Longer Breaks
We started early back in July. We did this in hopes that we could take longer breaks during the school year when we needed them.  I think that it worked.  It helped us not get so burned out especially during the crazy December days.  I didn’t feel stressed out in December like I usually do so this was a definite plus.  I wonder if taking some Friday’s off during the longer stretches would help ease the stress. 

Reading
I am still very happy with the McRuffy reading curriculum.  I think that they are still teaching in a way that makes phonics make sense.  There were days that the worksheets seemed like it was just a lot of work to do in one day.  In those times we eased up and didn’t do it all in one sitting.  We still have a few more lessons that we need to complete before we go on to the second grade year curriculum but I think that we are going to stick with it. 

Reading Eggs - Where children learn to read!About December Mickey was getting frustrated and I decided to take a break and do something different.  I bought a subscription to Reading Eggs.  It was reasonably priced and it helped Mickey gain confidence in her reading skills through games.  It also gave mom a bit of a break from being the teacher.  She worked on this through much of December where our school days were not as formal.  We both loved it. 

Math
We continued on with McRuffy math.  It was fun and Mickey enjoyed doing her math problems.  It has a lot of fun games for her to play and the lessons were short and so some days we could do 2 or 3 lessons.  As much as I like it and Mickey likes it.  I have decided to switch Math programs for 2nd grade.  The reasoning is that she can find the right answer eventually.  I want 4+4=8 to become second nature and right now it is not.  I will share in an upcoming post what we are going to use instead. 

Road Trip USA
This learning our different states.  I used the curriculum that I bought from the Confessions of a Homeschooler and information that I found at about.com.  About.com had several different coloring pages that focused on a certain part of the state study.  We have not finished learning about all the states but we are enjoying our journey.  We also found a facebook group that we linked up with that exchanged postcards Product Detailswith and that was so much fun!  She did not get all 50 postcards but she got a lot that she then created a scrapbook on.  It was so much fun! 

We also read some of the books by Ann McGovern “If You Live in”.  We loved learning how it would be living in the colonial times, or the American Revolution.  It was also a way to get in some American History.  These books held a lot of interest for my girl who prefers real stories rather than made up ones. 

 

 

Science

We had intended to try out two different science programs.  We ended up staying with Real Science 4 Kids and we are going to save the apologia science for when she is older.  We stuck with real science 4 kids because it was at the right level for my child. She loved the experiments and she grew in her love for science.  The Apologia was going to a lot of work for me to bring it down to the level that she would get all that they were trying to teach.  So we ended up with Chemistry and Biology.  And she LOVED it. 

Art
We originally bought a sample of Artlier art lessons.  We did 3 out of 6 lessons.  When she was doing her art lessons she enjoyed it.  However, we found more fun creating our own art projects that were not “lessons”.  We will more than likely try it out again this year and see if we get into it more than last year.

Bible
I had planned to use What’s in the Bible series.  I just did not pull them out.  We are going to use it this coming year.  I just have to figure out how since we had a very full plate with her Awana verses this year.  She did great and finished her book and her extra credit book by the end of the school year.  I love that Awana uses music to learn the verses.  It just wouldn’t be the same without the music.  I just wish that they had the extra credit book set to music.  This would help this mom who isn’t a singer or songwriter and has to make up tunes for the verses. 

Sparks Curriculum Sample  WingRunner Handbook Music CD

 

So that is how our year went.  I felt more comfortable with what we were doing and feeling like I actually knew what I was doing this year.  I feel confident going in the next year.  I will be adding a student so I hope I am up for the adventure.  I think that this year was definitely a success.  How was your year?  What would you change?  What did you want to get to that just didn’t get pulled out of the drawer?  How are you going to make the next year an even better year? 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Importance of One on One Time

I have two children.  In our family I am the parent that is often home alone with the children because my loving hubby is on the road providing for his family.  So getting one on time with my kids doesn’t happen.  I get plenty of time with my kids but sometimes the one on one time is difficult. 

We were up visiting Grandma while my girl went off to zoo camp during the afternoons.  This left my son and 4 afternoons of one on one time.  We loved it.  We went to the zoo and aquarium, saw some dinosaurs and hung out at home.  I loved it.  I have had a lot of of time with my girl because she was the only child for 4 1/2 years.  So it was refreshing to have some of that with my son. 

I found as much as I needed to have that time that my son also needed that time.  He needed to know that he was important.  He also got to determined the schedule of what we were doing.  He didn’t have to wait on big sister he was running the show. 

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At the aquarium as I imagine him talking with the sting ray.

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Swimming at the Aquarium

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There is nothing as much fun as pretending to be a dinosaur.

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I can just hear Nate coming up with a plan to go climb that T-Rex

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Being the King and asking for a train ride

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Being perfectly content to ride the train.  Made his day and his week.