Thursday, September 24, 2009

Benjamin & Bubbles

Hannah took these precious pics :)

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Random Pieces of LIfe

  • Samuel was given the game ball on Saturday ... best defense. For some reason, seeing his name with the date on that dirt-orange Little League Baseball brought tears to my eyes.
  • Emma and Hannah are addicted to Rosetta Stone Spanish.
  • I am 34+ weeks pregnant and I am certain that this baby no longer fits inside my body.
  • I am also certain that I have spoken these exact same words in 2007, 2002, 1997 and 1995.
  • Emma declared this past Sunday afternoon that she was bored and she wanted to do some Math. She is her father's clone.
  • A dear friend had her baby about 10 weeks early. Sweet Abigail was due right about the same time as our little girl. I had the privilege of visiting with her and taking a few pics.
  • Samuel and Hannah began piano lessons with a new teacher this week. She lives in a precious older home with a precious front porch where Samuel swings on her porch swing while he waits. She is so absolutely precious herself that I don't even think I care if she can play the piano.
  • This baby is getting too big ... too fast.

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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Homeschooling ... The Schedule

*Click on schedule to enlarge
This is our daily schedule. It helps to block out time and see what needs to be accomplished within the school day ... but I am careful to allow for a great deal of flexibility.

It has been so reassuring to find that so many homeschool families do this thing so many different ways! For goodness sakes, we do it differently within our own family depending on what the circumstances are.

Circumstances that include everything from the weather to an impromptu visit to the zoo.

Also, to be clear, Benjamin has no chores (unless you count stirring the toilet bowl with my toothbrush) and he doesn't actually "get ready". As a matter of fact, I leave his pajamas on him for morning playtime, when the grass is wet, to cut down on laundry ;)

As I break down this schedule, I would like to elaborate on our Circle Time because I love it so! It has proven to be one of the greatest blessings of our day. Kendra and her willingness to share in this area (as well as countless others) has been so influential in helping me create a Circle Time that is a precious non-negotiable in our day.

We gather together and Hannah or Emma leads us in song (either piano or guitar). We sing two or three favorites and then begin our prayer time. We used the dry erase board last year with pictures and updates but we have started using an index card system that allows for space and the ability to follow up on our petitions and praises.

We used Leading Little Ones to God last year as our devotional and although the title would seem as though this book is for just "little ones", it is truly a wonderful & timeless book that I would recommend for all families ... homeschooling or not ;)

As we finish that up, we will start with a book that Kim as recommended called Big Truths for Young Hearts. We follow up this portion of bible study with the Draw to Learn series from the Notgrass Company.

Here is a sample from the book we are using this year, Draw to Learn - The Letters of Paul:

click to enlarge
We do our work on separate paper so that everyone can use the same book and then file this in their HUGE three-ring binders.

Since I am lumping a very broad view of our school day into one post, I will go ahead and tell you that our kids put all their work into one big binder (per kid) with separate tabs. As we will fill those up throughout the year, I decide what is worth keeping and toss the nonessential stuff. The goal is, at the end of the year, to have a portfolio of sorts where each child has a complete year of work in one place.

I have bookshelves where I try to keep things semi-organized and then each child has a metal hanging basket with their notebooks and separate curriculum items that are solely theirs.

Click to enlarge
We listen to the audio from Mystery of History and then go over the discussion questions. On certain days we will complete a project or the girls will do a writing assignment that goes with the lesson. On Fridays there is a geography portion of the lesson and we will complete that together as well.

The girls are often done much earlier than the schedule shows ... it completely depends on the workload and how efficient they are.

I know that veteran homeschoolers seldom need to follow a written schedule but as we have tried to improve our methods these last few years, I have found that we accomplish more and have a more organized day if we at least have a set routine.

That's a peek at our day!

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Our First Day!

Emma - 7th grade

Watch as he manages to make his presence known ...

Hannah - 9th grade


Samuel - 1st grade

Benjamin - 19 months

And when we finally need him in the picture???

Time to work!
Benjamin, what is the capital of Italy?

Mechanical pencils taste gnarly.
Flowers from the principal ... and he's cute to boot!

We had a great first day. I am worn slap out ... but in a good way. I should be able to post my schedule tonight after my princi"pal" gets home.

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Monday, September 07, 2009

Curriculum 2009-2010

I had hoped to link to the Homeschool Blog Hop at Life with my 3 Boybarians a few weeks ago but summer started to pick up steam and ... well Labor Day is tomorrow :)

Here's an overview of what we will be using for curriculum this year:

Hannah - 9th grade

Math - Algebra 1: Teaching Textbooks
History - Mystery of History Volume II: The Early Church and The Middle Ages
Science - Apologia Physical Science with CCA (more about CCA at the bottom of this post)
Latin - Latina Christiana alternating every other day with ...
Spanish I - Rosetta Stone
Journalism - CCA
English - Total Language Plus (1st semester-The Hiding Place, Pride and Prejudice) & Writing Strands ... we will alternate these every six weeks
Logic - Critical Thinking: Invasion of the Logic Spiders
Bible - Daily scripture memorization, Draw to Learn: The Letters of Paul, Big Truths for Young Hearts (thanks Kim @ Lifesong!)
Music - Piano

Emma - 7th grade

Math - Saxon Algebra 1/2
History - Mystery of History (same as above)
Science - Rainbow Science with CCA
Latin - Same as above
Spanish - Same as above
English - Total Language Plus (1st semester-The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Words by Heart) & Writing Strands
Logic - Same as above
Bible - Same as above
Music - Guitar

Samuel - 1st Grade

Math - Saxon 1
Phonics/Language Arts -Sonlight Beginning to Read Package with Explode the Code
Reading & Spelling Reinforcement - ClicknKids
Handwriting - Handwriting Without Tears: 1st grade
Music - Piano
Bible - Same as above
Typing - Typing Instructor for Kids
***I spent countless hours getting our schedule on a spreadsheet Chris whipped out the schedule for me on a spreadsheet in about 42 seconds, but our dinosaur computer cannot open it at home, so he will have to print it for me at work. Seeing it all mapped out helps make sense of what looks like an impossible task.

Somehow seeing the laundry all mapped out does NOT help it look less impossible.

Go figure.

The girls are attending Chesterfield Christian Academy on Thursdays. Hannah will be taking two classes and Emma will be taking one. We are excited about the prospect that this co-op has to offer. If all goes well this year we hope to (budget willing) add a class or two to the mix next year.

I will post about our schedule and what subjects we do "together" and how our teaching methods are geared towards independent study as our kids get older.

I would also love to elaborate more on each subject and how we came to choose them. I would love to ... but I am not making any promises :) I will find time to discuss MOH, because I have a great deal of enthusiasm about this curriculum.

I have written about Total Language Plus here.

I am still a Saxon fan ... to a point, but the amount of time required for me at the higher levels is too demanding. We have switched to Teaching Textbooks for high school because it requires NOTHING from me. Kendra wrote about it here and has summed up my sentiments, exactly!

Questions? I love to talk curriculum! I have gained so much wisdom and insight through the experience of other homeschoolers. Blessings as you begin your year!

He will be honing his skills at eating a whole banana in one bite
... among other things

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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Our Trip to Pittsburgh ... Part 1

Ya'll know I am the BEST at blogging in a series.


I have such good intentions to come back and finish my thoughts (Disney, Family Integrated Church, etc.) ... and we all know what road is paved with good intentions, right?

Well, let me tell you that the road to Pittsburgh is paved with Cheese Nips, Sour Patch Kids & coffee for our driver :)

We stopped in West Virginia for a bathroom break and to let the kids run because, like Nacho says, "They are just ninos! Trying to release their wiggles!!!"

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