Friday, August 23, 2013

Our Family: A First Week Peek

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This is my wonderful homeschooling family of 5. CJ works in the US auto industry, and I am a stay-at-home mom/teacher of 2 princesses and 1 superhero. Homeschooling was something I desired to do for my children even before I became a mother. Growing up, a couple of close friends were homeschooled while I attended a public middle school. My parents weren't sold on the whole concept of homeschooling at first, but after begging them, they finally agreed to give it a try during my high school years. Best decision ever-- I LOVED homeschooling. Through this great choice, new friendships, and a Christian curriculum, I was led down a life-changing path to accepting Christ. So, basically,   the 5 of us think homeschooling is awesome. :-)

My children are 4th, 2nd, and 1st graders this year. Our friend's kids join us to learn and have fun, so if you see a random 4th and 5th child occasionally on the blog, that is why. 

Here are the kiddos, along with highlights from the first week:
Holding up fingers to represent the grade they are in

Madelyn, our baby, is a 1st grader!!

Samuel is our oldest. The archaeologist career idea stems from an Indiana Jones phase.

Sarah will be an AMAZING artist and mom. Her creativity puts my Pinterest boards to shame.

I include file folder games in their math workboxes for extra fun and review.

We'll call this recess ;-)
Wordly Wise 3000

School may have started, but we are not passing up sunshine and pool time!

He loved this experiment using batteries to light a light bulb. (photobomb courtesy of Sarah)

Zoo days

Happy Homeschooling!!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Our School Room...The New New NEW One

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We are entering our 4th year of homeschooling (I’m including the year of home preschool we did in that number)!!! Each year our learning space changes a bit. You can go here to check out our past rooms.

When house shopping time began in the spring, we knew we wanted 4 bedrooms and a place to keep our school furniture and supplies. I am not one who can cope with school materials all around the house. Last year we had to rent out a smaller house while we lived in Ohio. Our dining room table and kitchen served as our school area. We made the best of it, but it wasn’t ideal for our family.

We came upon a house in April that we fell in love with…a perfect-for-us forever home with a nicely reduced price tag. The downstairs had a lovely open floor plan with a room that could easily be turned into a school area. When you walk into the house, it’s the first room you see, and I like it that way! Its original purpose was to be a formal dining room or living room. Yeah, I can totally live without either of those. We don’t have formal gatherings in our home…ever. Anyhow, we finally sold our previous house after 16 months of trying to get rid of it, and bought the perfect-for-us one. It belongs to us forever…or until CJ retires and we move someplace with warm temperatures year round. I can also totally live without experiencing snow and winter ever again. A girl can dream!

The new school room DOES get used. My kids may not stick to it all day, but they use it plenty enough to be well worth having the room. They also use the family room, back patio, and bedrooms. The school room is our starting place, and one by one they'll leave if they need an extra quiet/cozy space to read or concentrate.

The spice rack bookshelves off to the side of the 4x4 Expedit hold our books we're using for the week.

The white baskets hold our readers and read alouds.
Our dry erase board is a sheet of white panel board from Home Depot.

You might recognize our furniture if you are familiar with Ikea, or read COAH. Her room totally inspired me, as you can tell, I copied a lot her ideas. Yeah, I could have been more original, but the outcome would most likely have been a disaster. All props for creativity go to Erica. 

The walls in our room still need painted. Coming up with the right color has been challenging. The kids want something loud and bright, I prefer a shade that won't give me a headache first thing in the morning. Until we come to a compromise, they'll remain white.

Another space the kids prefer is our playroom (4th bedroom upstairs). Madelyn spends a lot of her time in here making messes memories. 

 So, there you have it! A new house and room for many new homeschooling family memories!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Curriculum Choices 2013- 2014

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Well, I disappeared from blog land for a bit. For those of you who don’t know already, we moved back to Indiana in June after spending quite a rough year in Ohio. Life has seasons of ups, downs, chaos, and peace.  We are in a very content, peaceful place right now. If you aren’t happy for us, you truly don’t have our best interest at heart. We’ve moved forward, and that has meant leaving some people behind. There's no room for negativity in our lives! Thankfully, most have been loving and kind, and we love them right back.  :-)

Summer will be coming to an end for us with school starting on August 12. There are still several more pool, zoo, and park days in the near future, but we have to get an early start on lessons in order for us to take most of December off and still finish in May. The plan is to go someplace south for Christmas…as in Disney World. Yes, Disney during one of the busiest times of the year, I know. We’re crazy.  I have a breakfast with the princesses booked, so hopefully everything will fall into place! If not, oh well. There are plenty of other (cheaper) southern places to visit...and if you think of a good one, let us know!

For the 2013-2014 school year, we’ll be using Sonlight Core B/C and Core E. Sometimes I look at other curriculum choices and think, “Oh! That looks neat!!” Some of you moms are so creative! Until Sonlight stops working as wonderful as it does for us, we’re sticking with it. The books, scheduling, and way everything is set up just fits perfectly for our family. I love how the lessons plans are already written out for me, and I can choose to add to them or remove certain things as necessary.

Samuel – 4th Grade

Sonlight Core E: Bible, History, Geography, Science, and Language Arts

Grammar Ace

Worldly Wise 3000: Vocab

Spelling Workout E (He’s an excellent speller so we won’t be focusing on this subject too much.)

Handwriting Without Tears Cursive Success (my opinion…best handwriting program EVER)

Teaching Textbooks 4: Math (really wish I would have chosen TT5, he has started the TT4 lessons and finds them way too easy—he likes a challenge)…I love Teaching Textbooks because the lessons are all on the computer, and grading is done for me. So simple!

Sarah and Madelyn- Combined

Sonlight Core B/C: Bible, History, Geography

Sonlight Core A: Science (finishing up from last year and then maybe we’ll do some unit studies)

Wordly Wise A: Vocab

Draw, Write, Now (adding this in just because it’s their favorite)

First Language Lessons 2 (supplementing with this as needed)

Sarah- 2nd

Sonlight Grade 2 Language Arts

Saxon 2 Math 

Evan Moor Daily Paragraph Editing

Abeka Spelling 2

Handwriting Without Tears Cursive

Madelyn- 1st

Sonlight Grade 1/2 Language Arts

Spelling Workout B

Handwriting Without Tears 

Horizons Math 1 (only using this because we have it from last year, otherwise I’d use Saxon)

There you have it! We'll also be doing a co-op, gymnastics, lego club, and field trip groups. I'm looking into piano lessons, but have to wait and see how busy we are with what we're already signed up for. 

Happy homeschooling!!!