Homeschool Highlights {July}

I bumped up our start date to July 5th! Everything was ready and we needed to get back to structured days. We took a very slow start. In fact, my main goal of July wasn’t really academics. My main goal was figuring out our new routine with two officially schooling and two tots! There was a lot of trial and error this month as I attempted to figure out a routine that would serve everyone’s needs well. By the end of the month, I had pieced it all together and going in to August, we have a pretty solid routine down. With the ages my children are, I know this routine will not stay the same all year long and it will need to be tweaked here and there. We have a starting point that I feel pretty good about and that is what I wanted to accomplish in July!

Language Arts

Little Bug was so eager to begin All About Reading Level 3. She is flying through it, doing about 1 lesson per day. Originally, I had planned to alternate between AAR and AAS, doing each two times per week. I quickly realized that was too much to manage. We will focus on AAR for now and still review the spelling rules from AAS Level 1 and save AAS Level 2 for later this school year.

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We are also working through First Language Lessons Level 2. We started Level 1 last year and did around 20 lessons or so. I decided we could move to Level 2 because Level 2 reviews a lot of what is learned in Level 1. Little Bug is making a Grammar Notebook where she will write definitions and word lists. This feels like an excellent prep for Essentials without going overboard on curriculum that isn’t necessary.

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Besides All About Reading and First Language Lessons, Little Bug reads chapter books at a vicious rate. She already has logged 84 chapter books for June and July! Little Bug enjoys reading in the early morning before anyone else is up since she is the early bird of our house!

Sweet Pea started All About Reading Level 1 and she now claims she likes reading more than math! Oh, I can’t sing the praises of AAR enough. I absolutely love teaching my children to read using this magnificent program. Just like her sister did, Sweet Pea enjoys playing with the letter tiles, practicing her letter sounds with the phonogram cards, playing the games and reading the adorable stories from the reader. At the end of July, she’s finished the first 5 lessons and is ready for more! I secretly dwell on the fact that I still have two more coming up that I hope I can use AAR with as well. I cherish these days watching light bulbs turn on as my children learn to read. Besides teaching them the Word of God, teaching them to read is probably one of the most important things I can teach them. And…they need to learn to read so, one day, they can open up the Word of God and read it themselves!

Before we begin AAR each day, we do 1-3 pages of Explode the Code together. These primers (books ABC) compliment AAR so well. It gives Sweet Pea extra practice with letter sounds and handwriting. I like that I am right there as she completes her pages so I can give handwriting instruction as needed. She completed Book A in July and is starting Book B.

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Math

Little Bug is in LightUnit 108! She is beginning to learn to carry while adding! This is a frightening concept for me to teach as I have never had to teach it before, however, CLE makes it seem so easy because it teaches concepts in little bite-sized nuggets that build and build on each other until one day you realize your child is doing the hard concept (like carrying while adding) with ease! CLE Math is just brilliant.

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Sweet Pea was thrilled to start her first LightUnit in CLE Math 100! I am so incredibly thankful I found CLE math in time for all of my children to benefit from it. Sweet Pea completed the first 15 lessons in July.

History

Instead of trying to teach history and science each week, we are going to focus on history during the first semester (July through December) and then focus on science the second semester (January through May). I knew I couldn’t add in a formal history curriculum this year without overloading myself (nor is it necessary with my children at these ages!), so I gathered many books about American History to read aloud to my girls. To help the stories, events and people stick in their minds, I bought them each a drawing notepad for just over $3 where they can draw or paint a picture about what they learned after we read the books together. We read books about Christopher Columbus to begin our studies and at the end of July, we are reading books about the Pilgrims. We are reading books in chronological order, but I plan to come back to the Pilgrims and read some more books around Thanksgiving.
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We are also listening to Story of the World during lunch. We have already listened to the first 3 CDs of Volume 3. Jim Weiss is the storyteller and he is a fantastic storyteller and a family favorite!

Tot School

Little Sarge is my challenge this year, simply because of his age (not quite 3)! He is the sweetest little boy you will ever meet, but it is nearly impossible to teach the girls and manage him at the same time. His attention span for reading books is phenomenal so I am including him in our Bible reading time and scripture memory. (He is so adorable saying our memory verse!) After Bible reading, his sisters go off to work on independent work and I spend the next 15-20 minutes reading books to the boys before I get Sarge into Room Time and Beau down for his morning nap!
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In the picture above, Sarge was having “Table Time”. He does join us for the last half our or so of our morning school time (when we are doing CC Review). He is really into “writing” right now! He kept wanting me to write “A’s” for him on his paper.

As I mentioned above, Sarge’s attention span for books has grown greatly over the last several months. He wants to read picture books instead of board books. I have been surprised many times at the length of stories he will sit and listen to!

July 4th

We made the trip to Dave’s parents’ house for July 4th and enjoyed a fun morning of playing on their property, doing fireworks (at 1o am, haha!), enjoying lunch together and then heading home in time for the boys to get an afternoon nap. We even got a decent family picture of the six of us together.

A few days before July 4th, the girls decided to make a big American flag by taping paper together and painting it red, white and blue! It was a fun project for them to work on together and we still have the flag hanging in the dining room! The American Flag is a beauty to behold!
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Zoo

On July 26th we went to the zoo! It was Beau’s first time going to the zoo. We met up with a friend of mine I had not seen in over 3 years! It is interesting how I met Jennifer. Back in the day when we were both blogging about our infertility journeys, I came across her blog one day and noticed a picture of her sitting in a NICU chair holding her son. I immediately recognized the chair she was sitting in to be the same chairs I had sat it nearly a year prior when Little Bug was born and in the NICU! I sent her a message and asked if she was in my city and, low and behold, she was! That was the beginning of a special friendship that would develop. I went up to the NICU to meet her and her son. A couple years later, Jennifer was instrumental in our adoption of Sweet Pea! It was so nice to spend the day at the zoo with her, her husband, my parents (who came to help and take my boys home for their naps) and our seven children!

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Beau turns 1!

At the end of my Homeschool Highlights July 2016 post, I shared about our failed adoption. Now at the end of this post, I am writing about little Beau’s first birthday! He has now been home over seven months and he is a joy and delight to our entire family. It is hard to believe my baby is one. We are leaving the baby phase, which after all we went through to become parents, is very bittersweet. If I am being honest, it is mostly sweet. I love babies and I have enjoyed all four of my babies, but I am ready to move into the next stage of life!880155B0-CA53-4B6B-B631-6F4B70A83540-COLLAGE.jpg

And that was our July! We are off to a grand beginning to the new school year. Year round schooling always makes me feel ahead of the game as we already have 19 school days under our belt and it’s not even August yet! Year round schooling gives me the flexibility I need in this season of my life!

Posted in Homeschool Highlights, Homeschooling

Homeschool Space {2017-2018}

Last year, we did away with having a “Homeschool Room” and I decided to incorporate all things homeschool into our dining room. Everything is stored in a way that is easily accessible yet discreetly put away so school doesn’t overtake our dining room!

I have absolutely LOVED this new set up.

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This is the main hub of our schooling space. I have found the best way for me to organize our school books and materials is with baskets I bought at Target.

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This isn’t in a basket, but I store all of our Children’s Bibles on the top, left shelf.

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The basket on the top shelf has extra supplies and supplies I don’t want children having access to.

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The middle shelf holds all of our Language Arts materials. The basket on the left has Little Bug’s LA materials.
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The basket on the right has all of Sweet Pea’s Language Arts materials.

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The basket on the left of the bottom shelf has math materials for both of the girls.

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The right side of the bottom shelf has two trays that store finished work. Every six weeks I go through the trays and select work to go in their Portfolios.

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Inside the cabinet, I have all of our Language Arts manipulatives, games and activities. I also have a tub of stickers and the girls’ Portfolios. Our “Progress Charts” for AAR and AAS are on the left cabinet door. A poster of the alphabet is on the right cabinet door.

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Across the room from the main hub is another smaller cabinet that holds all of our math manipulatives.

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On the top of this cabinet unit, I have Sarge’s “Table Time” basket. I rotate the activities that are in this basket so he always has something fun to keep him entertained while he does his “Table Time” as we are finishing up our Morning School time.

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School supplies are kept in this basket!

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I found this diffuser for a great deal on Amazon, so I bought several to put around the house! The girls love to use this globe to find places in the world that we are reading or studying about.

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Inside of this cabinet is all of our math manipulatives.

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Hanging above the math manipulative cabinet, is a chalkboard with the month’s Memory Verse written on it.

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 This is our Classical Conversations Memory Work corner!

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This is our Usborne Books corner! Not all of these books are Usborne but a good majority of them are and we use them to learn more about the topics and content we are learning about in Classical Conversations.

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On top of this 8-cube unit, I have two baskets. The one on the left has materials for history lessons. Next semester, it will hold materials and supplies for our science lessons.
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The basket on the right side is our “Morning Basket”. Our Bible and the girls’ Independent Work is in this basket.

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 Right outside the dining room is an extension of our CC review area. The USA map is magnetic so the girls can use a magnet to mark the states as we are learning them! Our timeline cards and a Melissa and Doug USA puzzle are on the top of the bookcase.
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On the bookshelf is our CC Review basket. Our geography placemats and other materials we use for CC review are in this basket.

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I am thankful to have finally found an organizational method that works for our homeschool!

Posted in Homeschool Organization, Homeschool Room, Homeschooling

How to Organize All About Reading Letter Tiles

My All About Reading Letter Tiles have always seemed like a jumbled up rainbow. With two children in two different AAR levels this year and Little Bug doing Level 2 of All About Spelling, I had to figure out some way to organize all these letter tiles and make them readily accessible when needed during lessons!

I figured out a way to organize these letters tiles and I couldn’t be more pleased with the result:

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A jewelry organizer from Michael’s for $2.99!!

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This 4×5 jewelry organizer was perfect to be able to organize every single letter tile! Column one is Level 1. (Genius, huh?!) Column 2 is Level 2. Columns 3 and 4 are for Level 3. And the last column is for Level 4.

The first row for each column has all the Vowel Teams (red tiles), plus the Vowel and Consonant Suffixes for Level 3 (pink tiles).

The second row has the Consonant Teams (blue tiles) and the Prefixes for Level 3 (beige tiles).

The third row has the “other tiles” (yellow and orange),  “The Sound of /sh/ (green tiles), plus the Syllable Names tiles (used in Level 2 and higher).

The last row has the “The Sound of /er/” tiles (purple tiles) and the blank tiles.

The last two slots on the first column for Level 1 have the “Alphabet Tiles”, which are used for all four levels.

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Then, to store the Label Tiles for each level, I cut up a letter-sized envelope to the size that I needed and hot glued it to the inside of the top. Level 4’s hyphen tile (orange tile) is in the Level 4 envelope.

That’s not all…

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Should I find any tile roaming the house and out of place, the level for each individual tile is written on the back of each tile!

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I also wrote 1’s, 2’s, 3’s and 4’s down each column to make the organization even clearer! However, there is no number written in the last two slots of Level 3’s second column because it holds the Syllable Tiles and Blank Tiles.

I don’t think I will ever have to organize these tiles again. From here on out, it is just putting them back when not in use and pulling them out when needed!

Posted in Homeschool Organization, Homeschooling

Happy 4th of July!

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Posted in 4th of July!

2017-2018 Curriculum Choices

This year begins our 5th year of homeschooling! We have four children: Little Bug (8), Sweet Pea (6), Sarge (3) and Beau (1).

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Classical Conversations is the backbone of our homeschool. CC provides our subject content and then I am free to teach it how I desire. We will meet 24 weeks with our CC Community where we will be introduced to our History, Timeline, Science, Geography, Math, English and Latin Memory Work for the week. At Community Day, we will also have lessons in art and music and participate in weekly science experiments and projects. Every week the girls will give a 2-3 minute presentation to their class on various topics throughout the year. With Classical Conversations, the only subjects I need to supplement for each child are language arts and math.

These are our 2017-2018 Curriculum choices:

Classical Conversations Cycle 3 

History 

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CC Memory Work –  American History from Columbus to current events

Living Literature – I have collected many books to read to the girls as we study American History this year!

Story of the World Volume 3 and Volume 4 – Lunch time is a great time to listen to Story of the World.

For God and Country (Adventures in Odyssey), Liberty’s Kids DVDs and Draw Write Now Book 5 – These resources will enhance our American History studies.

Science

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CC Memory Work – Anatomy and Chemistry

Anatomy:

My Body – CC uses this book for the Human Body project.

See Inside Your Body and Big Book of the Body – We will learn about the body systems by reading these books.

Magic School Bus A Journey Into The Human Body – This is a kit of 11 science experiments about the human body.

Usborne Human Body Sticker Book, Skeleton Floor Puzzle and Magic School Bus DVDs – These resources will add to the fun of learning about the Human Body.

Chemistry:

The Periodic Table Elements with Style – I found this little book at Convention and it looks like the perfect companion to our chemistry Memory Work.

Geography

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CC Memory Work – USA geography

USA States and Capitols Interactive Notebook – The girls will make a flip-book to help them learn the states and capitals.

Sequence States and Capitals, Melissa & Doug USA Puzzle, Imaginetics USA Map and Highlights Which Way USA – All of these will help reinforce USA geography.

Map Tracing – My girls love being handed a map and tracing paper!

English

CC Memory Work – Participles, Irregular Verb Tenses and Clauses

Latin

CC Memory Work – Translate John 1:1-7

Art and Music

Drawing and Great Artists – Moses, Rockwell, O’Keeffe, Wyeth, Lichtenstein and Davis

Music Theory and Composers – Tchaikovsky, Debussy and Stravinsky

Public Speaking

CC presentations – Every week at CC Community the girls will give a 2-3 minute presentation in their class on various topics.

Bible

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Scripture Memory Verses – Every month we will have a Bible verse to memorize.

CC Bible Memory Work – I just discovered there is Memory Work for Bible so we will learn Cycle 3’s Bible Memory Work this year.

Exodus from The Adventure Bible for kids – There is nothing like opening the Word of God and reading it to your children to begin the homeschool day.

God’s Promise – We enjoyed another book from this series last year.

A Kid’s Guide to the Armor of God – Putting on the armor of God is something I want my children to be able to remember learning about and apply once they are teenagers and young adults.

Language Arts & Math

This is the first year I am not attaching a “grade level” to my children in my curriculum choices post. Grade levels are an organizational tool used for public schools to be able to group large numbers of children into “grades”. My children are academically where they need to be and attaching a grade level to them just doesn’t make sense anymore. The only time they need to know what grade they are in is at church so they know which class to attend.

Little Bug ~ 8 years old

Language Arts

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All About Reading Level 3 – Little Bug is excited for Level 3 and I am excited for a fabulous open-and-go program.

Progeny Press: Little House on the Prairie study guide – Now that Little Bug is a proficient reader, it is time to dive in to literature study. We will alternate between AAR and Progeny Press.

Explode the Code Book 4 and Book 5 – This provides great phonics and spelling review.

All About Spelling Level 2 – I am excited to learn the spelling rules right along side Little Bug because I am a horrible speller.

First Language Lessons Level 2 – We are getting our feet wet with English grammar before Essentials with these short-and-sweet lessons.

Memoria Press Series Copybook Book 2 – Little Bug will continue to copy Bible verses and poetry from First Language Lessons along with this convenient copywork book I discovered at Convention this year.

Math

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Christian Light Education Math 100 and 200 – We will finish Level 100 and move right into Level 200.

CC Memory Work – Multiplication tables up to 15×15, common squares and cubes, basic geometry formulas and unit conversions

Sweet Pea ~ 6 years old

Language Arts

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All About Reading Level 1 – I am thrilled to start teaching Sweet Pea how to read!

Explode the Code Primers ABC – These books are a great supplement to AAR and provide great letter sound review.

A Reason for Handwriting K – Sweet Pea will work through this book again for extra practice on her writing skills.

Math

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Christian Light Education Math 100 – Sweet Pea loves math and I am thankful we found CLE Math in time for both girls to start at the beginning.

CC Memory Work – Multiplication tables up to 15×15, common squares and cubes, basic geometry formulas and unit conversions

Sarge (3 years old) & Beau (1 year old) ~

Read Books

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All the boys need academically is to be read to every single day and to have ample time to play!

Independent Playtime

Sarge will continue with his 60 minute IP time and Beau will have 30 minutes of IP time. As Beau’s morning nap decreases, his IP time will increase to 60 minutes. This time is vital to our homeschool day.

I am looking forward to another fabulous year!

Here is a look back at our Curriculum Choices through the years:

2016-2017 (7 year old, 5 year old, 2 year old, infant)

2015-2016 (6 year old, 4 year old, 1 year old)

2014-2015 (5 year old, 3 year old, infant)

2013-2014 (4 year old, 2 year old)

Posted in Homeschool Curricula, Homeschooling

Last Day of School Pictures 2017

Here are our first and last day of school comparison pictures!

Obviously the biggest difference is the number of students! We started with three and ended with four!

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(May 24, 2017 on left, July 11, 2016 on right)

Actually, I didn’t take the first pictures until early Sept and then I took the last day pics in June. But those were our starting and ending dates for the 2016-2017 school year!

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Little Bug ~ 8 years old

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Sweet Pea ~ almost 6 years old

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Sarge ~ almost 3 years old
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Beau ~ 9 months oldIMG_6902.JPG

Posted in Homeschool Pictures, Homeschooling, Uncategorized

Homeschool Highlights {June}

We’ve had a nice “break month” this June and here is what we have been up to as summer rolled in!

Summer Learning

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Little Bug has continued on with CLE Math. At the end of June, she has completed through LU 106. We did not do a math lesson every single day but did do math when time allowed, which is just the way I like to do things in June! We will enter the new school year with four LUs to go in Level 100 before moving into CLE Math Level 200.

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Sweet Pea has been working on her handwriting skills this month. She completed the little Kuman handwriting book I found for her at the Convention. I also bought the Kuman Cutting book for her because she wanted to do it again, so she has been working through that as well. I am so excited to move into formal academics with this girl and teach her to read…at her pace, of course! I am fully prepared with academic plans for her this year, but I am also fully prepared to alternate those plans, if needed, thanks to the freedom we have with homeschooling!

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The girls brought home five caterpillars from the mountains back in May. We enjoyed watching them go into their cocoons, but we were very surprised when they were not butterflies but moths!

Classical Conversations

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I had one science activity to finish from Cycle 2’s Science Memory Work so we did that at the beginning of this month. We read a book about rainbows, went over the Memory Work and then the girls got to paint a rainbow!

Sarge

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It still works very well for me to read to Sarge right after breakfast and before the girls and I start school. We read a Bible story and then read several books. He had some “homework” from his speech therapy so we worked on that during this time too. After his reading time, he goes right into his Independent Playtime…yes, still in the pack n play!

Summer Fun

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The month of June was filled with lots of fun…(from top, left picture)…Little Bug at swim lessons, the girls seeing everything I bought at Convention, a visit from Mimi, a visit from out of state friends, swimming in the neighbor’s pool, watching a movie so I could reorganize the homeschool materials, painting, Sweet Pea at swim lessons, flowers I received from Dave for my birthday!

It has been a fabulous relaxed month and I am just about all planned and prepped for the new school year which will begin on July 18th! Stay tuned for probably my most favorite post of the year: Our 2017-2018 Curriculum Choices!

Posted in Homeschool Highlights, Homeschooling

Homeschool Goals 2017

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Here are my 2017 Homeschool Goals:

1. Teach Bible Literacy.

This is always my number one goal. If it ever isn’t, I will have failed my family and my children and made everything I did do meaningless.

2. Dive a little deeper with Memory Work.

As I wrote in my reflections of last year’s goals, I have felt pretty much in and out of survival mode for three years now due to the various challenges our family and children have faced. Now that most of that is behind us, I would like to dive a little deeper in our history, geography and science Memory Work this year! I am planning to have one day a week where we spend half an hour or so on these subjects. Cycle 3 covers American History, USA geography and the Human Body which are all content areas I love to teach!

3. Teach more life skills.

The girls have learned how to empty the dishwasher and put things away and they have learned how to sort and put away their laundry. This year, I would like to see them learning how to take responsibility in the kitchen during meal prep. I would like to get them on a schedule rotation where one is responsible for setting the table, the other is responsible for sweeping the floors and both help to clear the table after meals. Feeding 6 people three meals a day is no small task! If the girls learn these skills, it will take some of the responsibilities and pressure off the adults at mealtimes, which will make meal times more enjoyable for everyone.  I love the saying “Many hands make light work.” There is a lot of work involved in running a big family, but if we all pitch in together and work and help each other, our work will feel lite instead of a burden to the one person who is having to do it all. Plus, this goes right along with having a servant’s heart, which I desire for all my children. I want to see my children happy to serve their family.

4. Academic Goals

Little Bug

We will continue to work through AAR but I am going to also incorporate Progeny Press so we can begin to study literature together. This year I want to see Little Bug continue to learn and apply spelling rules. I also want to see her continue Copywork using Bible verses and poetry. By the end of they year, we will see if she is ready to copy some of her Memory Work from Classical Conversations.

Sweet Pea

This is a big year for Sweet Pea as she begins formal academics. I will teach her to learn to read and my goal here is to simply progress as she shows me that she is developmentally ready to learn to read. We will go at her pace; there is no pressure for her to be a fluent reader by the end of this year. It could happen, but my main goal is to instruct her in phonics in bite-sizes that she is ready for and can easily manage! We will continue to work on basic math skills as well as handwriting.

Sarge

Sarge is three years old this school year. The only academic goals I have for him are to continue reading to him daily, several times a day. Through reading, he will be exposed to the ABCs, counting, shapes and colors. We will also work on puzzle skills and fine motor skills through playing. He will continue his 60-minute Independent Playtime in the morning. Sarge’s days will revolve around playing and learning through his play!

Beau

Beau is one year old this school year. He will be read to daily.  As his morning nap time decreases, his Independent Playtime will increase from 30 minutes to 60 minutes. Preschoolers and toddlers well trained in Independent Play is key to the success of our homeschool.

5. Build memories with my children.

I was homeschooled from 6th to 9th grade as a child. I have such fond memories of those years with my mother and brother as we homeschooled. I want my children to have those same memories. As I wrote about above, Cycle 3 covers some very fun topics and content. As we learn this year, my hope is that the activities I am planning and the books we will read together will provide those same warm memories of homeschooling that I had as a child. Mostly, I want all that to be so fun and exciting because we are learning it together.

Posted in Homeschool Goals, Homeschooling

Reflections on the 2016-2017 Homeschool Year

IMG_5823.JPG(The girls are trying to get a dead lizard into a water bottle without touching him. They succeeded after many attempts.)

These were my 2016 Homeschool Goals and now it time to reflect on how well we met those goals this past school year!

1. Teach Bible Literacy first and foremost.

Bible isn’t just a subject we do and check off first thing in the morning. I am always looking for ways to incorporate the truths of God’s Word into our every day lives. I truly try to live by Deuteronomy 6 and teach the Word of God to my children as we live our lives, and not just during “Bible time” at the start of our school time.

2. Keep it simple.

I kept things very simple this year out of necessity. While I didn’t have a newborn baby from the very beginning of the school year due to our failed adoption, we did unexpectedly adopt a 4.5 month old baby in December. I was grateful for all the planning I had done and that I had kept our plans for this school year very simple. The new baby took a lot of my mental energy as I learned what we needed to do to promote healthy attachment and bonding, and it was so good that I didn’t have to expend a lot of mental energy on planning for school. That was already done and I just had to execute my plans which I was able to do despite the mental fatigue.

3. Teach more life skills.

My girls sort and put away their laundry every week now! I put their laundry to wash and then to dry. It all goes into a laundry basket and then they each are responsible for finding their clothes and putting the clothes away in their closets and drawers. Since my girls are responsible for their clothes, taking care of my clothes and Dave’s plus the two boys is very manageable for me each week. Most every single week, I feel on top of our laundry and that is a great feeling when I am responsible for laundry for 6 people every week!

4. Academic Goals

I am very pleased with the academic progress of all three of my children for this school year. They each show growth from where they were at the beginning of the year to where they are now at the close of this school year and that is what matters most. Here are some specifics about their individual progress:

Little Bug

Little Bug reads morning, noon and night without me ever having to give her reminders to read. It is one of her most favorite things to do. As I am writing this post, she has read over 150 chapter books since last June! We are still working on basic math fact memorization, but with CLE Math, that is easy to do because of their built-in fact memorization system. Little Bug moved away from tracing her copywork to doing true copywork where she copied text onto her own paper. She has done this mostly with Bible verses and poems.

Sweet Pea

My relaxed approach to Sweet Pea’s academics this year was perfect for her. She is primed and ready to learn to read next school year! She’s gotten a good handle on some basic math concepts too that we will continue to build on.

Sarge

I’ve created a love of books in Sarge this year by reading to him daily. That is always Step 1 in creating a reader! It starts way before they are developmentally ready to learn to read. He also happily does his 60 minutes of Independent Playtime in the morning while we get the bulk of the girls’ school work done.

5. Laugh a lot.

Quite frankly, I need to do more of this. Since Sarge’s birth and adoption and dealing with all of his medical issues for his first 18 months (and some are still ongoing now) and then adopting another baby so soon that required special care and concern (mainly ensuring proper attachment/bonding), parenting the past almost 3 years has just been hard. And parenting on normal days is hard. There have been many seasons I’ve lived in survival mode. Sometimes, (often times, really), I don’t feel like a “fun mom”. I feel like a mom that is just trying to get her kids well enough to be normal kids, and it’s hard. I’ve been off social media now for over a year, and one of the big reasons I decided I didn’t have room in my life for social media was because it was hard to see people (friends) living normal lives and being a “fun mom” while I was over here just trying to make it through another day and overcome the latest hurdle. I am thankful we are at the tail-end of the challenges of the past three years.

2017 Homeschool Goals coming soon!

Posted in Homeschool Goals, Homeschooling

Our Homeschool Year in Review: What Worked & What Didn’t

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Every year I like to evaluate what worked well and what didn’t work well in our homeschool for that year! Here is this year’s review:

What Worked?

Bible

God’s Names, The Jesus Storybook Bible, The Adventure Bible for kids

All three of these Bibles/books were excellent resources to aid me in teaching the truths of God’s Word to my children this year. We enjoyed each Bible/book but I think I could say reading Genesis from The Adventure Bible was our favorite of the year!

Classical Conversations

Cycle 2, as far as content, has been my least favorite, but it was still a successful year. We enjoyed learning about space most of all. It is amazing how simply going over the Memory Work daily and listening to the CDs really does help put these facts in their minds!

Handwriting

Handwriting Without Tears K & A Reason for Handwriting K

We started the year with HWOT and ended with ARFH and both were great handwriting practice for both girls. I like both of these programs for teaching handwriting.

Language Arts

All About Reading Level 2

Little Bug loves AAR and I love using it to teach reading. It is open-and-go, engaging and Little Bug asks to do it. What more could I want?

All About Spelling Level 1

It’s the same story with AAS! Little Bug was a little reluctant with AAS because she says she “isn’t a good speller”, but she is learning spelling rules and applying them in her writing.

Explode the Code Books 3, 3 1/2 & 4

ETC is probably not necessary, but I feel it is such a good reinforcement of the phonics and spelling rules learned in AAR and AAS, so I required Little Bug to do two pages a day.

K4/5 Kindergarten from Confessions of a Homeschooler

K4/5 Kinder was a good choice for meeting my goal of a gentle academic year for Sweet Pea. By the end, she could do a lot of the activities on her own. It was good for reinforcing letter sounds, which she had learned with AAR Pre-Level. It also got her reading CVC words well!

Math

Christian Light Education Math Level 100

We absolutely love our new math curriculum! I love the way it has me teaching new concepts and Little Bug loves the lay out much better than Horizons Math.

Horizons Math K

I had not planned to use this with Sweet Pea as my plan had been to start CLE Math with her next year. I had a hodgepodge of math materials to use with her. When we had used all of that, she wanted a math book, so I pulled out the first Horizons Math K workbook and she devoured it. She didn’t finish the entire book but she did complete a good 2/3 of it.

What Didn’t Work?

Please note that several of these items just didn’t work for this school year and I fully expect them to work in future years. There are several curricula that I have realized don’t jive well with our homeschool and I will talk more about that below.

Bible

Apologia’s Who is God?

We intended this to be a family devotional once the littles were in bed, but we soon realized the girls were a little young to get the most out of this book. This book is on the shelf and will definitely be used down the road when the girls are older. What we did read was so good, but at the time, it was over their heads.

Language Arts

Explode the Code Primers ABC

I thought Sweet Pea might begin these this year, but I held off because I wanted her handwriting to improve somewhat before pulling these off the shelf. They will certainly be in her curricula line up for next year!

Math

Horizons Math 1

We said goodbye to Horizons Math this year. I still think Horizons is a very sound math curriculum, but for Little Bug’s learning style, I knew Horizons was going to open the flood gates of tears every day once we hit the second book in Horizons 1.

Saxon Math K

I’ve had this on our curricula line up now for several years and I just end up never using it! I think Saxon is a wonderful math program as well, however, it does not fit our family and our homeschool. A friend of mine from CC ended up borrowing the K level from me this year and at the end of the year I told her to keep it and I gave her Saxon 1 too!

And that is a wrap for 2016-2017’s curricula. I am deep into planning for next year and will be sharing our 2017-2018 Curriculum Choices soon!

Posted in Homeschool Year in Review, Homeschooling