Thursday, June 30, 2011

Summer FUN

My two youngest each had a friend over a few days ago. They all had such a BLAST playing in our blow-up pool/slip-n-slide in the front yard. Just wanted to share a couple pics!

I just love pictures of kids having fun!

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Media Free Days!

I have never allowed my kiddos to sit and stare at the tv endlessly (unless they are really sick). But I will admit that they watch more than I think they should. Some days the tv just gets turned on for the two littlest ones, or it's rainy out so they spend more time watching tv. We also have several computers in our home, since my husband is a gadget/computer guy, and, I am almost ashamed to admit, we broke down a couple years ago and let Grandparents get the kids a Wii. And then there is our latest toy (really it's supposed to be my latest toy)-the iPad. All these distractions pull us away from whats most important--our family!

I really think screen time and media is a major problem with today's kids. They stare at the screen way too often, then parents wonder why their child can't focus at school--it's because they are so used to all the visual effects the computer, tv, and video games offer they cannot focus on a regular page in a book, it's simply not exciting enough for them, it's not what their brains are accustomed to.

Although we have always limited our kids screen time we wanted to take it further. We recently instituted MEDIA-FREE days in our home. Sunday-Wednesday are totally media free. Thursday and Friday it is allowed but still seriously limited. It is also allowed on Saturday but we are typically out doing things with family and friends on Saturday so it dent happen unless we have a family movie night. It hink the toughest part of this has been for me. The kids used to get up and watch PBS while I finished getting ready for the day. Now, it is requiring more discipline on my part to get up a little earlier to make sure I am ready to take on the day before they wake up. I am still really working on this (I am NOT a morning person).

It has been interesting to see what has transpired in the last couple of weeks since we have started this. The kids have quit asking to play the Wii or watch tv, or play the iPad as much even on the days it is allowed! When they wake up they start playing-TOGETHER. I have seen more imagination and less arguing over the last few weeks and it has been so refreshing.

My inspiration for this post came from this blog post about Media-Free bedrooms. Our kiddos have never had a tv in their rooms and I can't imagine putting one in there but I know a lot of people who do.

So, I am joining the movement to "unplug your family". It is amazing what it will do for your kids and for you. Imagine if we took all the time we spend watching tv or playing on the computer and spent it as a family! I think we would see waybless divorces and many more thriving families and children!

Be sure and take a look at this blog where she talks a lot about unplugging your family and the challenges and joys that come along with the pressures of today's society!

As a side note, as I write this my kiddos are all happily PLAYING outside and I am about to go turn the sprinklers on and join them for an afternoon of sun and fun with the kiddos!

My kiddos being kiddos - OUTSIDE

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

2011-2012 Curriculum Choices

I posted our curriculum plans a while back here, here, and here . Well, when actually went to the homeschool conference a few things changed, either due to cost, or just not liking the looks of something, or simply falling in love with something different. So, here are our FINAL plans for next year---well, nothing is final around here.

We will also be reviewing for the TOS Homeschool Crew again this school year and the vendor list so far looks absolutely amazing with lots of games and really fun supplemental activities so we will be doing that along the way as well

So, here it is:

4th/5th Grade
Sonlight Core 4 - I think it is now Core E but either way it's the second half of American History. We will use this for Read-Alouds, Readers, Poetry, and History/Geography. Plus we will be using the Bible memory verses

Math--Teaching Textbooks 5

Grammar/Writing/Language--IEW "All Things Fun and Fascinating" as well as Abeka 5th grade language/grammar.

Handwriting--Queen Homeschool Copywork for Boys

Science--Apologia Zoology: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day

Spelling/Vocabulary--Big IQ Kids

Bible--Queen Homeschool: "An Honorable Boy", "God's Armor:Suited for Life" and "Journaling Through the Book of Proverbs"

1st Grade

Sonlight Core 1 - Again, I think it is Core B now but I bought used so it is Core 1. It is an Introduction to World History. We will use this for Read-Alouds, Readers, Poetry and History/Geography.

We will be using Abeka for phonics (just the phonics workbook not the readers--I like the idea of him reading real books and so does he so we are going to work through the workbook to make sure he has all the phonics rules but we will use the Sonlight readers) language, handwriting, and Math.

Science--Apologia Zoology: Flying Creatures of the 5th Day

Spelling--Big IQ Kids

Bible--Positive Action for Christ 1st Grade

4 yr preschool

She will be following along with Zach for Bible as well as whatever she desires to do with History and Science. She really wants to "do school" so I also got her Abeka K4 Numbers and Letters. I really like the Abeka for a good foundation. We don't do all of the worksheets (way too many worksheets for young kiddos in my opinion) but it gives us a great place to start and make sure we are covering everything.

So there you have it our "plans" for next year. Of course, it could all change but everything is purchased and I am busy organizing everything so I don't think anything will change until we've given everything a good try for the first 6 weeks or so of school. At that point I will evaluate and possibly change things if they simply aren't working for us--that's the beauty of homeschooling!

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Congratulations Zach!!

It was a long year filled with so many challenges and even more victories over those challenges! I am so pleased to say that my amazing, sweet, Zachary completed his Kindergarten year! He is now a FIRST GRADER! I really can't believe it! He worked so hard! There were many tears (mostly Mommy's), but the smiles and happy hearts outweighed the tears in the end and we have so many wonderful memories of his first official year of homeschooling.

Last week we hosted a small graduation ceremony and celebration at our house for him, as well as the other two kiddos, to show off some of the things they learned this year. Zach started by walking down the stairs in his cap and gown and showing everyone how he has learned to count by 5's and 10's, how to tell time, addition facts, letter sounds as well as special sounds, and he read everyone a story. He also quoted a Bible verse.

He and Molly also sang the books of the New Testament together.

Paul showed off a couple things he learned and then they all sang their favorite song "God Made Dinosaurs, too"

The kids posed for a couple pics with grandparents.

And a pic of just Steve's parents and our special graduate.

And a picture with all the kids and their "Nanny" (my Mom).

And of course no celebration is complete without cake...

It was only with God's help that we made it through this year! As I said, in the end the happy moments outweighed the challenges, but somedays I wasn't so sure!

I am so pleased with how hard Zach worked and how hard he played. He learned so many skills this year, the biggest one being reading very well. However, he definitely taught me a lot more than I taught him this year. Some of the things he taught me (or at least reinforced in my mind) were:

- Play really is a child's work
- Learning through play and everyday experiences is the best way to learn.
- Food makes a HUGE difference in how our bodies and brains work!
- Every child is different and learns differently.
- Some things you just have to work harder for.
- Some days it's ok to say we are done before we finished what I had scheduled.
- At age 5 kids just need to PLAY a lot. The learning will come.
- It's good to call school off sometimes...we all need a break.
- Prayer works!!!!!

I really knew a lot of these things already but he really made me live by these ideas this year. I think this was a growing year for me and our homeschool. I can't wait to see what God has in store for our family and homeschool next year!

Congrats to Zach! Mommy and Daddy are so pleased!

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Organization!! Is it possible?

Have you ever heard the saying "Junk expands to fill all available space". Well, that saying is so true in this house!

When we first built and moved in to our home we had no kids and everything had a place. This was still true when our first son came along and somewhat true when the second came along. When we started homeschooling all that changed, and then we added a third child and it got to the point where nothing had a place! Well, my motto for this summer is "a place for everything and everything in it's place!". I have worked through most of the main level of our home and am trying to ake sure it stays organized as I work through the upstairs. Our upstairs is simply a loft area which is my husbands office and then a room that used to be our schoolroom but in the last year has turned in to our storage room for schoolstuff, and thus it has turned in to a COMPLETE disaster:

Our plan is to move Steve's office in to this space. Currently he is in the loft which is directly above, and open to, the living room. Since Steve works from home quite often this arrangement means that I have to attempt to keep the kids quiet when we are in the house! Quiet with a 4, 5 and 9 year old just doesn't happen. Plus, the loft area is not sufficiently cooled so it gets really hot up there in the summer. So, the loft space currently is a disaster as well:

As you can see, we have our work cut out for us to switch the school storage area to the loft and move Steve's office in to a air-conditioned room with a door that can be closed to block out the noise.

Today my goal was to empty the school storage area so Steve will actually go in there to wire what he needs for his office. He is NOT as excited about this project as I am. He knows it is a better setup and that he will like it in the end but he knows that it means a lot of work for him.

Paul is at a friends house today so I sat the two little ones down with lots of paper, crayons, markers, glue, and scissors and let them display their creativity and that gave me some free time to get busy!

After a couple of hours, 6 bags of garbage, and a new pile in the loft area that will be sorted through later I have a cleaned out office for Steve to wire and move in to!

Yes, you can see the duct work because we planned to do that later (4 years ago) and it never happened but the school table covered it when we had school in there and now Steve's desk will cover it and he will have air right at his feet. He will probably, eventually, repaint the sky blue walls that have clouds and airplanes all over them, but for now it works! We are not people who stress over things like that and we do t really have the extra money or time to go re-decorating an office that no one but us sees. One day it will get done--maybe.

So, as soon as he gets his desk and myriad computers out of the loft area I am going to put bookshelves along the wall and start organizing my school stuff, for now it's in a HUGE pile in the corner. I am also hoping to make a "book nook" for each of the kids with a bean bag and reading lamps so they all have their own special place to read. I have always wanted a "library" of sorts so that is what I am working towards! I will keep you all posted on how that goes. But, for now I am so excited to have emptied the room and hopefully Steve can get moved in there by this weekend!

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Monday, June 6, 2011

Curriculum Clean Out (Again)

I am still cleaning out curriculum and trying to make room for next year's stuff. So here is what I need to get rid of. Prices do NOT include shipping. I will let you know shipping costs for media mail when you send me your zip code. If you prefer another method of shipping please let me know and I will give you the cost for that.

Books in Excellent (Like New) Condition
SOLD Answers in Genesis "The Human Body" science curriculum. This includes student book and teacher supplement as well as tine CD with all worksheets and quizzes. Purchased new last fall for 32.99 plus tax. Barely used and in like new condition. Asking $20

SOLD Beautiful Feet Geography. Entire curriculum including curriculum guide 4 softcover books and unused maps. Purchased new for 59.95 plus tax. In like new condition asking $40 The maps will need to be shipped separately due to the way they are packaged so the shipping cost will reflect this.

SOLD Carole Marsh's Secrets, Tips, Tricks and More to prompt writing. New $20. Asking $6. New condition

Doorposts "Plants Grown Up" $20. Excellent condition

Rod and Staff "Preparing to Build" 2nd grade English student book. Excellent, like new condition. Asking $6

America's Providential History by Mark A. Beliles and Stephen K. McDowell. Excellent, like new condition. Asking $10

SOLD Apologia's "Good Morning God" by Davis Carman. Like new. Asking $5

Color the Patriotic Classics book and cassette tape. Excellent condition. Asking $4

Books in Used Condition
Abeka - Enjoying God's World 2nd grade Science Reader (third edition). Some of the activities are completed in pencil but the book is still in good condition. Asking $2

Abeka - Exploring God's World 3rd grade science reader (third edition). Some activities are completed in pencil but the book is still in good condition. Asking $2

Abeka - Our America 2nd grade History/Geography Reader (third edition). Some activities are completed in pencil but book is still in good condtition. Asking $2

Abeka - Our American Heritage 3rd grade History (3rd edition). Some activities are completed in pencil and there is a small tear at the top of binding but book is still in good condition. Asking $2

Abeka - Old World History and Geography 5th grade (3rd edition). Some activities are completed and there is highlighting and underlining throughout the book. The binding is torn at top and bottom but book is still very usable. Asking $2

Abeka - "Adventures in Nature" 5th grade Speed and Comprehension Reader. Several quizzes are completed but book is in very good condition. Asking $3

That's it for now. Please email or comment with questions and all prices are negotiable.

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Goal Planning Monday

I haven't posted in a couple of weeks because we were on vacation. We enjoyed two weeks at the beach with Steve's family. It was very relaxing and a great way to celebrate our niece's high school graduation as well as my father-in-law's upcoming retirement.

So, now it is time to get in the groove of summer fun as well as summer projects and re-organizing for the next school year.

My goals for this week:

1. Get house clean - my goal is to do this today. It's not that bad we just need to finish unpacking and then I need to clean the floors and do some regular cleaning. I was able to stay caught up on laundry and came home with no dirty clothes from our trip so laundry is not a huge issue right now.

2. List the rest of my curricula I need to sale. Again, I hope to do this today so I can get it out of the dining room Woohooo! Completed Already! Thanks to the kids for really sleeping in this morning--vacation wore them out! Check it out here!

3. Enjoy a day of swimming with the kids as well as a day at Six Flags. We got passes to Six Flags this year for the first time since Paul was little so I want to make sure and get our money's worth out of them.

4. Finish Zach's Kindergarten curriculum and have a small graduation celebration for him on Saturday. My plan was to do this before we left for the beach but I decided it just wasn't going to fit in so we are going to finish up his phonics curriculum this week and celebrate on Saturday. I can't believe he's going to be in 1st grade! 6 months ago I would have never dreamed he would be ready for 1st grade next school year but he has grown leaps and bounds academically and is very ready for his 1st grade year. I am so pleased with all the hard work he has done and the enthusiasm he has shown for learning new things over the last few months. It has been amazing to watch him grow in so many areas!

5. Make a top 5 or 10 list of the curriculum we reviewed for the crew last year.

6. Figure out why I can't get the button for this meme to work

I guess that's it for the week so it should be a pretty relaxing week!

Thanks to Katrina from Mama Manuscripts for doing this meme.

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