Monday, August 27, 2012

Week 1 Highlights {Sonlight Core A} and More

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We survived the first week of school! I decided we would go ahead and continue using the workbox system this year.  I really think it makes a HUGE difference in keeping our day running smoothly.  Sarah and Madelyn each have their own rolling cart with 10 boxes. Some days we use all 10, and other days we may only use 6 or 7. 

Sonlight Core A has been amazing. So far we just L-O-V-E the material we are learning. Not to mention the staff was great over the summer when it came to answering questions and helping me order the correct materials. 

Read about our curriculum choices to see what we'll be using this year.



For Bible time we discussed Creation through God’s covenant with Abraham. On most days I’ll provide the girls with a coloring page that goes along with what we’re learning. Journeys through Bible Lands (Candle Discovery Series) is not included with Sonlight, but we use the maps to help us get a visual of where people lived and traveled. Our memory verse was Romans 3:23.


This week we studied dinosaurs, and the first people, food, clothing and shelters. Sarah and Madelyn constructed dinosaurs using blocks and Zoobs. We watched videos on dinosaurs and cave paintings. Afterward, the girls became cave painters and used feathers to create animal paintings. Sarah used her Loop N Loom to practice weaving.
The book she is using to get ideas from is Dinosaurs by Gail Gibbons

Madelyn with her very unique looking Pterodactyl.


Sarah is currently using first grade readers. They are pretty easy for her, but we’re still working on building her confidence in this area. Madelyn reviewed You Can Read: A, And, See, The, and letter F tracing. I’m impressed with how hard Madelyn is trying on her Handwriting Without Tears pages. She is getting better every day. 
Sarah is enjoying Draw Write Now Book 3. I ordered 3 more books in the series because Madelyn wanted to do one once she saw how much Sarah liked her book, and I know Sarah will want to complete the whole series.

We are currently reading The Boxcar Children #1 together. Chapter books still don’t seem to hold Madelyn’s focus for very long unless she can fidget with something, or color, while I’m reading. Sarah sits, listens, and soaks up read aloud time.

I also read Henny Penny and the girls retold the story in their own words and drew pictures of the characters. They listened to the audio book of The Kissing Hand. I found a craft and poem to go along with the story on Pinterest.


-at family words and sight word "the"

Rainbow writing


We covered ordinal numbers, before and after, number order, and counting by 2s.


We use one science curriculum for both grades to make things easier. This week we discussed vertebrates and invertebrates. 


A fuzzy caterpillar (which has been named Catapilly) joined our family this weekend. It lives on our back patio in a bucket full of leaves, grass, and any other bugs the girls can find. Madelyn pets it like a puppy and insists it smiles when she talks to it.

Our Routine

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When it comes to our daily routine I have learned that, for our family, we thrive more on the routine aspect rather than specific times of day.  Life happens when you homeschool.  Math cannot always start at 9:30 like you’d like it to. Flexibility is important because you just never know when a play date or field trip will present itself!  

My alarm is set for 7 AM during the school week. I, however, am a snooze button hitter. C.J. is not.  My snooze button hitting annoys him. His alarm is set for 7:20, which is when we both decide to crawl out of bed to get Samuel ready for school. The girls usually hear the commotion and wake up shortly after.  Guess how many morning people we have in our household? ZERO. So, even though we get off to a slow start, we (usually) are ready to pick up the pace after breakfast.

C.J. takes Samuel to school while the girls finish getting ready and doing their chores. 

At 9AM school starts at home. We use and love the workbox system!

Our school day starts with the Pledge of Allegiance, calendar time, Bible, and History/Geography.  I am noticing that this seems to be Sarah’s favorite time for learning. She retells everything she learns during History to Samuel, so at least I know the information is being retained! After we’re done with these subjects, the girls take a snack break.

Next we have a big block of Language Arts and read alouds, followed by lunch sometime between 12:30 and 1PM. If we get done with LA early, and we almost always do, they’ll play outside until we’re ready to eat.

Starting in September, we’ll have co-op on Tuesdays and Fridays, so the morning routine will be rearranged a little on those days. 

C.J. makes lunch unless he has to go into work early. I use this time to do laundry. 

After lunch, we finish up the school day with Math and our special subject (Science, Heath, Art/Craft, or Computer). Sarah and Madelyn are then free to play until we have to pick up Samuel from school.  Sometimes I’ll have them sit and read together. It all depends on whether or not we have time to pick up a toy mess before getting Samuel. 

Once Samuel is home we have our afternoon snack. At 4PM he is supposed to start his homework. This is usually a huge battle that I don’t look forward to. When homework is FINALLY done and checked, I race to get dinner on the table, everyone fed, and the kitchen cleaned up before heading to soccer practice 3 evenings a week. When Samuel IS cooperative about doing homework, he has time to go outside with Sarah and Madelyn and play with neighborhood friends for a little while. The days we don’t have soccer are much less stressful. AWANA starts in September, so that will only leave our Friday evenings free for a little while.  I would much rather raise active children than couch potatoes any day!

Soccer is the last activity of the day before our bedtime routine. We have one final clean up time, snack, bath, teeth brushed, reading, and prayer time. I like to start these things at 7:30, with the intention of having everyone fast asleep by 8:30-9PM. After 9, I do my evening chores and plan for the next day. 

While this routine works wonderfully for us, I do wish I was a morning person instead of a night owl. It's 2AM and I'm wide awake! That 7AM snooze button will be here way too soon! :)
Not Back to School Blog Hop

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The First Day (3rd, 1st, K)

Pin It The new school year is officially here!

Samuel is in 3rd grade at a private school. I must say, the house feels so strange without him here with the rest of us. :( I really wish we had the option of something in between private school and homeschooling for him, such as going to school 2 days a week and being home for the other 3. Oh well, for now he's there, and I'm here missing him!! Open house was last night, so we got to meet the other classmates and families. The school seems wonderful. The other parents were very kind and more than willing to answer the hundreds of questions I had.

 Sarah is so thrilled to be a first grader at last!

Madelyn was messing around in the bathroom when Samuel left for school. When she missed the chance to say goodbye, she cried dramatically for a good 20 minutes. Here she is all teary-eyed for her first day of Kindergarten (the day did get better quickly!).

 I cannot believe my youngest is now is Kindergarten!! She is still so tiny and has a cute little chipmunk voice.

 When I grow up, I want to be a(n):
Sarah- artist, mom, and ballerina
Madelyn- Jasmine (the Disney princess...this has consistently been her answer for awhile...oh dear!)

 The 3 rules we came up with this school year are:
1. Be kind and helpful.
2. Be a good listener.
3. Have fun!

This year, I want to learn more about:
"the world and the Bible"- Sarah

A place I would like to visit:
"the zoo and pumpkin patch"-Sarah
"the zoo and apple picking place"-Madelyn

More to come on our first week of school! We're off to a great start!

 Not Back to School Blog Hop

Monday, August 13, 2012

Our Transforming Classroom

Pin It While the "totally turq" room was not our actual first learning space, it IS the first room that we referred to as the school room. This room used to be Madelyn's room. Before that, two other bedrooms and the dining room took turns serving as play and learning areas when the kids were younger.

 When it was time for a "school room," we started with this:

The problem with this space was that the desks did not allow me enough room to sit and work with the kids if I needed to. They ended up not getting used very much, and the dining room table began serving as our school area.

However, I still wanted to get use out of this room. After seeing the school room post at Confessions of a Homeschooler, I basically decided I would just copy that (minus the swivel chairs-- after buying the 2 red ones, I quickly learned swivel chairs are a bad choice!) rather than trying to come up with something original lol. I loved her ideas!!

COAH has details on what and where to get this furniture. I STRONGLY suggest buying the craft storage thing for the middle of the table because those table tops need something good and heavy to hold them down. If not, and you don't have the drawers positioned right, they will fly up and cause chaos (screaming children).

We all loved the new look of our room. If it wasn't being used for school, the girls would sit in there and color. The table and craft holder was also a big hit with their friends. The change was good.

Then we had to move. Our current home doesn't have a 4th bedroom or extra room, but it does have an unfinished basement where all the white furniture is now set up. The kids do play down there and still use the table, yet the unfinished basement feels too much like a jail cell and very little like a pleasant learning area.

This year the dining room will be serving as our school room. It's a work in progress, and I won't be doing much to the area because this is a temporary home. We still aren't sure where we want to end up permanently. What I DO know is the next house we buy will have a separate room for our classroom...we want our white furniture school room back!

 My Thirty-One bag serves as my classroom on-the-go. There's a file folder and binder inside to hold everything we need. I LOVE the pockets around the outside for extra storage. I'm not sure what I'm putting in the fabric bins yet, so they aren't labeled.
 Our Sonlight readers!

 This is my planning of my favorite spots of the house :).
The Staples Desk Apprentice is awesome...and huge! I'm still deciding whether to break out our workboxes again this year, or just use binders. Decisions, decisions...

There you have it. Our classroom is always transforming to fit our needs.
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Monday, August 6, 2012

2012-2013 Curriculum Choices

Pin It Summer is coming to an end, which means a new school year is just around the corner. The biggest change this year is that Samuel will be attending a private school while the girls continue to homeschool.  This change was not in our plans until very recently. In fact, I had all of Samuel's curriculum purchased, labeled, and ready to go. He was thrilled about using Sonlight, so we were pretty much all set for an Aug. 13 start date.

As I've mentioned before, he has had a hard time adjusting to our move. He is also my moody, strong-willed child that has made life pretty difficult for everyone while he's dealing with this change. We finally had a long talk and came to the conclusion that he would attend a private school for one semester, and then we'll decide where to go from there.

I am having mixed emotions about this decision. This morning I woke up feeling like it was all wrong. All I know is that school supplies are purchased, a tuition payment has been made, and uniforms are getting ordered. I'm hoping that I'll feel better about this by the first day of school.

With Samuel going to school, I changed our year-round calendar to his school's calendar to make things easier. We'll be starting the new school year on August 21st.

Sarah and Madelyn will be doing their first Sonlight Core (Core A) this year. We are all pretty excited to dive into some great books. Here's a look back at our "box day." This box included Samuel's Core B&C which will now be set aside for the girls to use in the future.

Can you feel Sarah's crazy excitement? lol

Sarah (1st grade)

Draw, Write, Now: Native Americans, North America, The Pilgrims
History/ Geography:



Health/ Safety:

PE/ Music/ Art:
Co- Op


Typing Instructor

Madelyn (Kindergarten):

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons


History/ Geography:

Finish up Math-U-See Primer


Health/ Safety:

PE/ Music/ Art:

There you have it! I'm seeing some fun field trips pop up on the group we're members of, so this year is sure to be awesome!

 Not Back to School Blog Hop