Showing posts with label Homeschool. Show all posts

School Days

I've written before about Monday being our school day to do fun extras.  On Monday we do Science.  On Monday we do History.  On Monday we do extra projects.  On Monday we haul out the printer, glue, scissors, paper, stapler, crayons, plaster of Paris, and all of the other things that make enormous messes and interesting projects.

The elementary crew started new lapbooks about the earth in Science.  Learning about the earth is pretty amazing!  They have to each give Daddy an oral report tonight on the many ways the earth is perfect for supporting life.

We just started a new History curriculum because what we had been using was rather, um, B-O-R-I-N-G, and I want my tribe to know that history is anything but boring!  We are now using The Mystery of History Volume I  which begins with creation.  One of the interesting things we learned is that God created people in His image.  So we took pictures of everybody, used the wonderful little photo printer I took to China last summer to print them out, and had each one draw a self portrait.  On each picture they wrote:  [Name]  created in God's image. It is very fun to see the finished products!  Of course, the older boys also had more challenging assignments, but that was one that all five children enjoyed!

Annika is becoming quite a little reader, sounding out words and learning many sight words.  She is at the point of learning long vowels and consonant diagraphs (or "consonant kilographs" as she says.  Her explainaton?  " I always get die and kill mixed up!").  I love the way little brains work!

Then we have music practice time for the boys and our fun Monday is about over.  They practice their instruments every day, but on Monday they play together for longer and try to learn new songs that they can play together.  I love to see them all working together to learn a song!

Another successful beginning to the school week!  And most of the mess is even cleaned up! :)

Wordless Wednesday { Homeschool Photography Class- Focus }

Here are the photos taken by:


Yes, he is blowing her hair with a leaf-blower!


Too bad you can't see the machete he is holding aloft!




Brought to You by the Letter 'B'

B-b-b back to school! We started yesterday.   Eliana is starting kindergarten, Annika is in 1st grade, Casper in 4th, Freeland in 6th, and Douglas in 9th.  We also have 2 extra girls living with us for a little while.  They are both 14 and both still learning English having come to the US from China less than a year ago.  Our little classroom is full to overflowing and the teacher/mama is pretty well shot by the end of the day!  But we have had good days and look forward to the year!

B-b-b bumps in the night.  You know how I said this mama has been a little tired by the end of the day?  Well, after a certain 5 year old crawled into bed beside me for the third time last night I gave up on putting her back in her bed and turned over and went back to sleep.  Around 4:30ish there was a loud bump as said 5 year old fell off of our rather high bed.  Thankfully, I am an awesome housekeeper and there was NOT a laundry basket full of unfolded clothes setting beside the bed.  That could have really hurt her, you know, if she had hit a laundry basket! Ahem, anyway... She cried quite a lot but I just hauled her back up and groggily told her to be quiet and go back to sleep, which she did fairly quickly.

Imagine my surprise when I woke up this morning and realized said 5 year old had a B-b-b busted lip!  It is all bloody and swollen and looks terrible.  I just might win the Worst Mom of the Year Award over that one!  I told my baby to be quiet and go back to sleep when she was battered and bleeding!

So... what are your most stellar parenting moments this week?!

Homeschool Curriculum List 2013/14

For those of you who are interested, here is our curriculum list for the coming school year.  Just in case anyone else likes to see what other homeschool families are using!

Douglas (9th grade)

Math- Saxon Algebra 1 with video lectures

Christian Light Education
     Civics and World Geography

Science- Apologia Biography with video lectures

Writing (style & structure)- Institute for Excellence in Writing (level b)

Freeland (6th grade)

Math- Saxon 7/6 with video classes

Christian Light Education
     Language Arts

Science- Apologia Astronomy  (We will use this textbook for all three elementary students)

History- Bob Jones University American History with video classes  (Freeland & Casper will do this together.)

Writing (style & structure)- Institute for Excellence in Writing (level a)  (Again, Freeland & Casper will be together)

Casper (4th grade)

Math- Saxon 5/4 with video classes

Christian Light Education
     Language Arts

Science, History, & Writing with Freeland (see above)

Annika (1st grade)

Math- Saxon 1

Christian Light Education
     Language Arts

Social Studies- Bob Jones University Heritage Studies with video lessons

Science with Freeland and Casper (using the jr. notebook)

Eliana (Kindergarten)

Christian Light Education Kindergarten 2 material

Straight Talk (language development)

So there you have it.  That is the plan.  Now we have to do the work! :)  As of today it is pretty much all ordered.  Next week will be fun as the packages start arriving!  We are also working at turning one of our downstairs bedrooms into a school room.  We did not have a specific school room last year, but I think it will work well for us to have one.  Pretty exciting stuff!

Harrisburg Homeschool Convention 2013

Our family is relatively new to the world of homeschooling.  Last year we attended the annual Harrisburg Homeschool Convention as a perspective homeschool family.  We enjoyed some of the workshops.  We chuckled at the homeschooler jokes.  We largely ignored most of the curriculum displays because we had already decided what we were planning to use.

Now fast-forward a year.  It is convention time again.  Here we are with a year of homeschooling behind us.  We have learned a lot and this year I had questions! This year I joined the throngs of homeschool parents on a mission.  This was my opportunity to compare curriculum and ask questions.  This was my opportunity to try to wrap my mind around what combination of curriculum will work best for our family.  And guess what?  It was fun!

Since Keith wasn't able to go this year I did not even try to attend many of the workshops for parents.  We had to keep it relaxed and child friendly, after all, five to one can be a challenging child to parent ratio.  But there were fun workshops that were geared toward children and we all enjoyed browsing the hundreds of items on display.

We did not actually purchase curriculum yet.  We bought a few books and a couple of audio books but my very favorite purchase?  Well...

This bag has a story... the lady I bought it from was excited and eager to tell me about Grace, a widow in rural Swaziland, who made this bag. Grace knows two English phases, "Praise the Lord" and "Hallelujah".  Hers is a story of grace and redemption and I felt privileged to hear it.

Besides, what woman doesn't like a beautiful bag?  It is big!  It has pockets and zippers. And it is pretty awesome to think about a widow in Swaziland making a bag that I can buy and take with me when I travel to China. See why it is my favorite?

Homeschooling- How Do We Love Thee? #7 { a guest post by Freeland }

The following post was written by Freeland. I did give him a few ideas before he started writing but the post was written by him and is unedited.  These are his opinions put into his words.

My name is Freeland Martin. I'm in 5th grade.  Up to this point I have gone to Hamlin Mennonite School.  It was a pretty good school.  I just grew up there so I kind of liked it.

This is the first year we are homeschooling.  There are some negative and positive things about homeschooling. One of the positive things about homeschooling is that it is more flexible.  For example on Friday morning we took Daddy out for breakfast on his birthday, we could not have done that if we had to leave for school at a certain time.  Another good thing is that it doesn't take as long.  Another good thing is that my dog can be right with me all day.  I like that!

A negative thing is that the schoolwork is harder.  Some of the stuff I didn't learn before but it is review for A Beka students.  When I went to school if my morning jobs weren't finished by time to leave I had to go anyway but now I always have to finish my jobs before I start school and sometimes I have to do a job during school time.  That isn't so nice! 

My favorite subjects are History and Math.  In History I am studying about India.  It is pretty good I think.

On Monday we had a Tropical Storm come through.  We thought it would be worse but it wasn't that terribly bad.  We did our school downstairs so that if a tree fell on our house we wouldn't be hurt.

I have been in the house for two days and I have a lot of energy, so Mommy said I should go run on the treadmill now.

Thank you for reading my blog post!

Homeschooling- How Do We Love Thee? #6 { a guest post by Douglas }

I asked Douglas to write this week's post on homeschooling.  This is his unedited post.  These are his opinions. 

Hi. My name is Douglas Martin. I am thirteen and in 8th grade. This is our first year of homeschooling and so far I am really enjoying it. If you're like me you'll miss some things about school but most of the time you are glad to not have to go to school everyday. Some of the positive things about  homeschooling would be that you can go out for lunch with your parents at lunchtime instead of your parents going out for lunch all by themselves and you sitting eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at school.  Also if you have a late night you don't have to get up at 6:30 every morning and be out the door by 7:55. Instead you can sleep in till 7:00 or 7:30 unless of coarse you have a goat to milk at 6:00 every morning! And if you need to go shopping you have the options of doing your schoolwork early and going shopping a little later or else you can go shopping right away in the morning and do your schoolwork in the afternoon. Another thing would be you can get your schoolwork done by noon instead of 3:00 P.M. 

Some negative things would be that your mother can get you to do laundry during school hours and that you really don't have anybody your age to compete with while doing school.
This year we are using the A Beka Academy DVD Program. I really enjoy this program because it is more thorough in each of the subjects than Rod and Staff or Christian Light Education ever was.  For instance in my science I thought I had learned all this stuff before but I found out that that there was a lot I had never even heard about before. Also if our mother takes it into her head that she wants you to do a guest post you can do that as an English assignment which at first sounds a little scary but actually isn't once you're started.

As you can see there are more pros than cons and homeschooling is the better option for most people.

Hip Homeschool Hop Button

Homeschooling- How Do We Love Thee? #5

What do I love about homeschooling?  I get to work with my children all day.  You know how it is, each child (well each person, but we speak in the context of schooling) has strengths and weaknesses.  As a mother I am always trying to build their strengths and help them overcome their weaknesses.  It is such a blessing to be able to address the same issues in the same way in every area of life.  The same weakness shows up at bedroom cleaning time, math time, and evening chore time. Now don't get me wrong, there are times that it is frustrating!  But at the end of the day it is a huge blessing!

This morning the girls and I filled the dehydrator with apple slices while the boys were working on their lessons.  I looked at my crew all around me and  felt overwhelmed by the fact that I get to have them all here with me!  We are really experiencing life together!

Scented but not yet sparkly:}
We are making scented pine cones for a craft project that we can all do together.  They are now scented (with cinnamon essential oil) and dried, so the next step is to lightly spray them with a glitter spray to make them a bit sparkly then we will put them in baskets and place them around the house.  Should be pretty and smell lovely!

Hip Homeschool Hop Button

Homeschooling- How Do We Love Thee? #4

Actually, I have several ways we love homeschooling to mention today...

#1. Eliana is 4.  She has been home from China for almost 9 months. She is still learning to speak English, but if you ask her, "What does I say?" she immediately responds with "I says i as in Indian I says i, i, i." Now I have not chosen to try to teach Eliana any formal lessons this year since she is still adjusting to life in America, but she has heard Annika's classes and she is quickly learning letters and sounds.

#2 There are times that I am busy when Casper or Freeland has a question.  Generally Douglas is able to help them, thus accomplishing two things.  The question is answered and Douglas gets to verbally explain the answer thus increasing his own understanding and his ability to communicate effectively.

#3 When you run out of time on Friday, you can always just bump art class to Saturday.  No big deal and everyone has fun!

Hip Homeschool Hop Button

Homeschooling- How Do We Love Thee? #3

I love being the one to teach my children and to rejoice with them when they understand a new concept!

This morning it was Freeland, "Hey, Mommy! I just got one (a math problem) right by casting out 9's!"

Today Annika (with Eliana's help!) learned about fire fighters and fire safety.

Listening to the class.
Stop. Drop. ROLL!
Of course, Casper had to get in on the rolling!

And Eliana pretended to call 9-1-1.

We all had fun and I think the girls learned a lot about fire safety!

And finally, I leave you with one picture of Douglas just because...

Homeschooling- How Do We Love Thee? #2

When we first started school everyone worked around the table.  Each person sat at their own place at the table and used headphones to listen to their classes.  This worked well, but as the weeks are sliding by everyone is gradually finding the place they prefer to work.

Casper has a little corner where he likes to sit...

Freeland prefers working in his bedroom where it is quiet...

Douglas sits on the sofa right in the middle of everything...

Annika either sits at her little desk or on the arm of the chair at the table...

And it works for all of us.  I do tell Casper he has to go to the table for his writing papers, but otherwise I'm happy to let them work where they feel most comfortable.

Just another reason to love homeschooling!

Homeschooling- How Do we Love Thee? #1

We are newbies to the homeschooling world.  All we have experienced prior to this year is sending our children to a private school.  It is a good school.  Our children received a good education there.  It also involved spending a lot of time driving them to and from school, a lot of time (for them) away from home, and a lot of time that they sat in a desk reading library books because they were finished with their work but it wasn't time to go home.

We started school over a month ago, but there is something about knowing that the private school they attended last year has now started that makes me realize how "right" homeschooling is for our family.

Yesterday I had a number of things I needed to do away from home.

So, everyone started school early.  By 7:30 AM everyone was hard at work.  While they did their work I straightened the house and got myself and the girls ready to go.  By the time I was ready to leave at around 10:30 Freeland, Casper, and Annika were finished with their work and Douglas was half way through his last subject.

Waiting in the capitol building...

They were able to go with me to the state capitol building and witness how the people at the Department of State were so willing to do anything they could to help get the documents needed for my friend's adoption.  They visited with the lady who works with the authentication of documents and she explained what an apostille is.  Douglas made up stories to tell the younger children while we waited in the hall...

The whole thing ended up taking longer than I expected, but it was no problem because the whole crew was right there with me.  No worrying about needing to pick them up, or about not being at home when they arrived.

I think we are all going to like this new venture of homeschooling!

Hip Homeschool Hop Button

One At A Time Please, Children!

After trying to wrap my mind around what our homeschool schedule is going to be like, I had a brilliant idea!  Why not start them one at a time and sort of ease into it, so to speak?
Monday was Annika's first day.  She now has a full week of experience.

Today it was Casper's turn.  So now I am juggling two balls. 

Am I the only one who thinks that little tongue sticking out is adorable? 
What was that?  You wonder what the youngest little princess does while we do school?  Plays on her "activity blanket" (we put games, books, dolls, etc. on a large blanket on the floor and she is supposed to spend certain *at this point rather brief* periods of time there) and helps Mommy, of course!  When blanket time includes a snack of carrot sticks we are all happy!