Monday, July 26, 2010

1st Day of School!!!

Our first day of school for the 2010-2011 school year was today!!! Everyone thinks I am insane for starting school already but we were so tired of the chaos that summer brings around here. Plus, we are done by lunch time so we still have the afternoons to enjoy the summer of swimming and playing outdoors!

So, as the school year starts I thought I would give a rundown of what each of the kids is going to be doing this year:

3rd Grade

History: Beautiful Feet Early American History. This is a literature based study on Early American History, we are so excited about all the great books we are going to get to read this year. We did the first half of this curriculum in 1st grade and then tried something different in 2nd, now we are back to finish this up and probably quit trying new things for History. We also supplement with lots of History readers and videos. My favorite videos are Drive Through History. I am re-learning history with Paul at this point. Learning it from a Biblical Worldview instead of the way it was taught in public school is an eye-opening experience.

Science: Answers in Genesis: God's Design For Life This will be our first year with an actual Science Curriculum. Paul has been asking to learn more about the body so we are starting with that and then moving to the plants and animals study.

English: Rod and Staff 3: Beginning Wisely This is our second year with Rod and Staff english. I like it because it is "old-fashion" and very much the way I learned English

Spelling: We don't us a formal Spelling Curriculum, my philosophy is if they are reading and writing they will learn to spell. We try to do dictation 2-3 days/week and then Paul has a "Spelling Slammer" from Leap Frog that he uses atleast a couple of days/week.

Math: Singapore Math 3a and 3b This is also our second year with this curriculum. It teaches Math a little differently than most curriculums. I love the mental math that it uses. We do supplement this with drills for basic facts a couple days/week.

Bible: Veritas Press Genesis through Joshua. This is the first year we have tried Veritas Press. We have had a hard time finding a Bible Curriculum that we like so we are hopeful that this is the one! Give me a couple of weeks and I will let you know how this one is going!

Character Study: I am sort-of "winging" this one. I wanted to do a weekly study on differently Godly character traits but couldn't find the "perfect" curriculum, so I am forming my own using a couple different resources and the Bible. I pulled out some books I picked up at a used book sale and didn't know how I would use them -- "Heroes for Young Readers" produced by YWAM Publishing. It is a set of books about different missionaries and each one has a character trait that goes with it along with many activities, songs and coloring pages. I have the first four weeks planned out. We will be studying: Generosity, Devotion, Determination, and Resourcefulness. Along with this we will add some Geography as we talk about where each missionary went and learn about the flag of that country and a few fun facts. I am also pulling some stories and facts from Instructions in His Righteousness published by Doorposts. This is where our weekly memory verses will come from.

Reading: Paul is past the stage for phonics instruction so he and I have picked several books for him to read this year. We are starting with the Chronicles of Narnia series. He is so excited about these. We have listened to the audio cd of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and seen a live performance of it as well. I haven't seen the movies so I will have to watch that before deciding if he can watch those as he reads each book that has a corresponding movie. It will take us quite a while to get through these 7 books so I haven't decided what we will read after that. I do have some books on George Mueller and Adoniram Judson I would like for him to read as well as some great biographies on historical figures that we will throw in as we learn about each of them in History.

So, that's it in a nutshell (a very large nutshell) for Paul.


Phonics: Abeka phonics and readers as well as some Bob Books. Abeka does a wonderful job teaching all the phonics rules and I wouldn't dream of using another program to teach reading!

Math: Singapore Math I really like all the hands on activities this curriculum offers as well as the bright colorful workbooks that will keep Zach engaged but not overwhelmed!

Bible, Character Study, History and Science: He will listen to the same books as Paul and do as much as he can along with some activities I make up as we go along. One of the reasons I picked the Answers In Genesis study for Science is because it has a "beginners" section for the younger kids for each lesson. I don't really think that Science and History are really necessary at this age. They need to have lots of time to play and explore and learn about their world around them! With the Bible stories I have lots of crafts and things planned for the little ones to do with each Bible Story.

Handwriting: Peterson Directed Handwriting This program is really a blessing! I had not yet decided which Handwriting Program to use for Zach and was probably just going to order the Abeka books although I wasn't crazy about their handwriting books. Well, if you are a regular reader you know I am on TOS's Homeschool Crew this year and I will be reviewing different products. God really answered prayer when I was given this handwriting program! God sure does know what we need, doesn't He. So, we are excited about using a different apporach to handwriting and I will let you know in a few weeks how that is going!

I have lots of other activities I will be doing with Zach to work on fine motor skills, as well as just life skills. I am super excited about Kindergarten for him this year. He is also so excited about school and couldn't wait to get started.


We are using The Letter of the Week Curriculum from Confessions of a Homeschooler Blog. Plus she will sit in on whatever she decides to sit in on with her brothers. She loves to learn and I think she will follow right along with Zach in alot of areas. She really wants to learn how to read, and she really doesn't like it when her brothers can do something she can't, so I have a feeling she will start reading very young.

Now, how do I organize all this! WORKBOXES!!!! More on that in a different post, but they have saved my sanity.

Monday, July 19, 2010

TOS Planner, June Module, Discover the World

As part of the learning process for the Homeschool Crew I was asked to review one of their products. The kids and I are really looking forward to reviewing new material this year so it was very exciting to get our first item to review: The June Module of TOS's planner, entitled, Discover the World.

The module retails for $7.95, a great value!
It comes as a 52 page downloadable e-book, which is always great, because you get the book immediately. This is an add-on to the TOS Homeschool Planner, but it is not necessary to have the planner to use the module.

The module is a hyperlinked unit-study designed for students who love to use the computer to learn, or for those whose parent or older sibling can help them use the computer to learn. It is full of coloring, activity and copywork pages that can be used for elementary aged children, and then there are many additional resources and a high-school expansion pack making this a great study for homeschooling families with children in a wide age range. It also comes with recipes, resource lists and lapbook beginnings!

The June Module is a study in Geography and the seven continents. As you can see below my kids loved learning the song that was in the unit and we sing it all the time now! Even my just turned 3 year old knows the 7 continents!

Overall my 3 kiddos really enjoyed this unit study. Geography tends to be one of those subjects that gets left until the end in our homeschool. I know it shouldn't be that way, but it is. I am going to try and do better this year! This module gave us the perfect jump-start into Geography and the wonderful study of our world! I love how it took Biblical principles and Bible verses and related them to the study of the continents. My oldest enjoyed making the lapbook and researching where he would like to go. He chose China, although we have already been there once. The younger two just enjoyed being able to do something with their big brother and it was very nice for me to be able teach them all at once. The coloring pages were a great part that all 3 of the kids could enjoy. Paul was able to color and learn a little about the landmarks on each continent while the other two just enjoyed coloring and listening to me reading the information about each continent.

In our homeschool we like to take learning outdoors, and sometimes that just means me talking about various subjects while they play. It is HOT here in the south so we took learning to our tiny blow-up pool in our front yard and the kids had to answer questions before they could jump into the pool! As I mentioned above I was amazed that even the 2 little ones knew the 7 continents and the 5 oceans. Here are a couple pics of them enjoying our "pool" and learning at the same time!

If you are looking for a study that breaks things down into days for you this is not the product for you. There is enough information for a one-two week unit study but you have to decide when to start and stop each day. It works great for us because I just read and do as many activities as the kids want to do in a day and then we stop and pick up there the next time we do school--which is every couple of day since it is summer-time. It took us about 7 school days to complete the study.

You can purchase this product and so many more here. If you would like to see more reviews of the product you can go here.

Disclaimer: I received this item for free in exchange for my honest opinion of the product. There was no other compensation given for the review