Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A Day in the Life: First Weeks of the School Year 2014-2015

School has begun whether I'd liked to admit it but it has. I can not get out of it of course because well, I am the teacher. Why? Considering my major in college was education, either way I look at it I would be in a classroom full of children once summer ended, I just chose to be with my own children. 

This year I broke down and created a schedule. In the years past I have not had a schedule I kinda just went with the flow of the day. Yes, I love structure but hate being in a time bubble which I feel like when I am on a schedule. But the schedule was needed considering my little one, now four, was starting Pre-K and I wanted to spend some time with her and start working  on getting my son to work more independently. 

So what does my day look like? Well this is how it looks as of right now it may change throughout the school year.

At 5:45 my alarm goes off, no I am not a morning person, but yes I have to get up before my children. This is hard because my son senses the sun before it even comes up and is awake usually by 6:00. At around 6, when I am semi awake, I stumble over to my desk and spend some time reading, studying my Bible and praying. This is the most vital step in my day, if for some reason this step is skipped the day is usually full of a lot of attitudes and sorry to say mines, at times, is the worst of the bunch. Seeking to abide in the Lord this year. Having His words flow through me as I teach my children, 

At 7:30 the children come out of their rooms to have breakfast. They are not picky with breakfast and so a bowl of cereal with fruit and a piece of toast is on the menu most days. After breakfast my children do their usual morning chores: brush teeth, make beds and feed the dog.

Around 8:00 we start our Bible time, this year we are going back to Grapevine Bible studies and both children are working on memorizing scripture, Little Bits is memorizing ABC verses, one letter every week and Lightning is memorizing Galatians 5. After our Bible and prayer time, I send Bits off to paint, cut and paste time. During this time she does all of the above while I work on math with Lightning. 

After math time which can last an hour, Lightning does some independent, grammar, handwriting and math work while I take Bits and work with her in another room. 

After Little Bits learns a letter, does a craft associated with that letter and we read for a good 20 minutes, I give Bits some time to watch a 30 minute educational show while I do Language Arts with Lightning. This occurs around 10:30. 

Note: I am usually against my children watching TV before school is over and limit the time, she does not do the TV show thing everyday only about twice a week. Other days, she is encouraged to play with legos or with her toys. At her age play is very important and the use of her imagination and I encourage it daily. Today she had all her toys on her brothers desk and she was creating her own scenario. This was so cute to watch and listen to the dialogues the characters where having among themselves.  

Yes I am tired now with typing and I am sure you are bored with reading. Around 12 we brake for lunch. The children go outside to play while I make lunch and take care of any other household chores. At 1: 00 Little Bits goes down for quiet time for an hour.

The day progresses the same between the both of them we usually end around 2:30 and the day is done. With acceptation of a piano lesson or practice later in the day. That is our day in a nutshell.

Linked up with the "Not" Back to School blog hop hosted by iHomeschool Network.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

First Day of School Jitters!

Today was our “official” first day of school. I say official because yesterday I had the bright idea of trying to start earlier than scheduled and was met with a horrific day yesterday. Naturally, I was a little hesitant about the first day of school. I stayed up prepping all night making sure everything was printed and ready to go the next day.

A couple of homeschool traditions we have in our house include taking a picture with a sign that shows the grade that they will be in this 2014-2015 school year. I also print out a questionnaire that they have to fill out which includes the types of things they like and are interested at their age.
Lightning is entering 3rd and Miss Bits Pre-K
The funniest quote of the day was when I asked Bits what she disliked and she responded, "Reading books! Boy books are gross!"

A couple of homeschool traditions we have in our house include taking a picture with a sign that shows the grade that they will be in this 2014-2015 school year. I also print out a questionnaire that they have to fill out which includes the types of things they like and are interested at their age.

This year I started a new tradition where I hid all their school supplies around the house. Each one was marked with an X, orange for Little Bits and blue for Lightning. They had a blast and it was a nice introduction to our Bible study time and talking about the Word of God being a treasure in our lives. They had a blast and it helped break up the jitters I was feeling about the first day of school.

Here are our curriculum choices for the 2014-2015 school year:

Little Bits- PreK
  • Phonics and Reading: All about Reading Level Pre-1 and seasonal Five in a Row books
  • Math- Saxon K and Right Start A- and fun math activities
  • Bible: This year we are returning to GrapeVine Studies, after trying others these by far were a good fit for our family.
  • P.E.-  100 Mile Club (Co-op)
  • Science: Apologia Anatomy and Physiology (tailored to her age)

ere are our curriculum choices for the 2014-2015 school year:

Lightning-3rd Grade
  • Bible: Grapevine Bible Study
  • Science: Apologia Anatomy and Physiology
  • Math: Right Start C and Saxon 3
  • Spelling: All About Spelling 3 and 4
  • Writing and Reading: Trying out the Blackbird and Company Book Units, something new to try to get my reader to write
  • Writing: WriteShop C
  • Grammar: Easy Grammar 3rd grade
  • Penmanship: Handwriting Without Tears
  • History: Still praying about this subject, I want to teach about missionaries but I also am interested in trying Homeschool in the Woods 
  • Other: We will be getting together with other families  once a week for a co-op and he will be taking piano lessons
Link up with the "Not" Back to School blog Hop at IHomeshool Network

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Yikes, And Then There Were Two! (Pictures from the Past)

When I started this blog what seems like a billion year ago, my son was starting pre-k and my daughter, she was a chubby little baby. But fast forward 4 years and it seems like they grew up in the blink of an eye. Literally, I am trying to wrap my brain around homeschooling a third grader and a pre-k, completely obsessed with princesses, kinda girl and I am left scratching my head and ready to run for the hills.

Proof that I am not crazy!!

I know that it is completely doable though because I have friends who homeschool 4 to 5 children at a time. Still, that small voice inside of me screams, how? I then look at the homeschool blogger rockstars for advice. The ones that I looked to for help when I first started school with my son and had no idea where to begin. The ones that have always been a wealth of knowledge include Carisa at 1+1+1=1, Jolanthe at Homeschool Creations and Confessions of A Homeschooler.

What I have learned from these women and others like them has been a great encouragement as I enter in the next part of our homeschool journey.Here are some of my thoughts that I would like to share, no I am not an expert, nor do I ever want to claim to be one but I believe what the Bible says in Proverbs 15:22 (MSG)  "Refuse good advice and watch your plans fail; take good counsel and watch them succeed". I am sharing advice from seasoned homeschoolers that I have gleaned from throughout the years.

My prayer is that these words will encourage someone as they began this journey with their little ones or as they enter into a new season with a lot of unknowns and questions swirling in their head.

First, when you lose sight of what you are doing remember and even write it out, why did you began homeschooling in the first place. Write out the goals that you have for your children and then write these goals into a prayer asking the Lord to give you wisdom and direction. 

Secondly, connect with other homeschooling moms and ask a lot of questions, not just about curriculum but about life. Maybe you are about to transition into jr. high and you have a question about how to do so smoothly find a mom that has been there. Pick their brain and remember to ask for help when you just don't know.

Third and one of the most important things is when you buy that curriculum and it does not fit your child's learning style it is okay to switch. Sometimes, it takes awhile to realize this but it happens. It's okay to do your own thing. Not all children fit into one set curriculum. Again pray and the Lord will give you direction.

Last point pray. Homeschooling is hard, its harder when we try to do it on our own without being lead by the spirit and in love. I have learned this the hard way, when days would just drag on and tears were abundant. Remember this as you teach your children 1 Corinthians 13:3-7:

If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end

These are more than just flowery words that well up emotions in our heart. These are words to abide by, meditate on, and allow to saturate in us  as we spend our day with the children God has entrusted in our care. Without love our home and school suffer and are bankrupt.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Time4Learning: Online Educational Program

                                            home education

This post may contain affiliate links.

I received a trial subscription of Time4Learning. I was compensated for time invested. All opinions expressed are honest and I was not required to write a positive review.

As of late, I have been looking for a program to help supplement our school subjects and decided to try out Time4Learning for a month. I have heard about this online program from many other homeschool blogs and it sounded like a good fit. 

What is Time4Learning: 

  • Online educational curriculum
  • Can be used as alternative to tutoring
  • Can be used for homeschools, after school programs and summer school
  • Can be used with preschool to 8th grade
  • Correlates with state standards
I was super excited to try this out especially with Little Bits, she is only three but loves the computer. She watches her brother play on it all the time. 

Before my children were able to use the program I had to set up an account for each of them. I liked the freedom of setting up an account because I was able to place my son in different grade levels for different subjects. This is a plus because my son, like many homeschooled children, is advanced in certain subjects and at grade level in others. Setting up an account was relatively easy, as a side note, it took a couple of days for the accounts to be created. 

Little Bits enjoyed the program. Of course, I had to help her log in and use the program. I loved how the graphics were very colorful and engaging. Topics such as, shapes, colors and rhyming were covered in the preschool portion. 

This program was a great supplement for Lightning and he also enjoyed it. He did lessons for language arts and math, then took quizzes. I liked the fact that after a quiz it was required that my son showed me his results. I also enjoyed the supplemental worksheets offered.  Lightning's favorite part was the moment he was able to play his first game in the playground. The playground is an area in the program that your child is allowed to play a variety of games for a set portion of time.  

Overall, we were overjoyed with the program and for a low monthly cost it is definitely worth it. If you would like more information visit the Time4Learning website.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

What's In My Heart

It seems like so long ago that I started this homeschooling journey with my son who was 3 at the time, now will be 7 in a couple of days and I reflect back at how far we have come in this journey. There were moments of discouragement and doubts, fear and anxiety and joy and triumph. Through it all the Lord has been faithful reminding me, "Don't worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. " {Philipians 4:6} . His words of comfort always where there when I needed them, "So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don't give up. " {Galatians 6:9} These word the Heavenly father would whisper in my ears and my heart in the midst of the sometimes chaotic days we would have. That promise that there will be a harvest don't give up, don't grow weary.  And my mind would reflect back to this simple picture that I seen on Facebook a couple of months back.  A Little bird weathering a storm on a very rainy day. Sometimes there are days when school is stopped, prayer is needed, and character development and heart development trump "education".

Always remembering that through the storm there is hope in the Rock of our salvation." but those who trust in the LORD will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint." {Isaiah 40:31}. Not only will you get through those tough days, but through it your strength will be renewed in Him our Lord. Just wanted to remind you and myself to stay focused because the Lord has a plan for our little ones. If there is something that is not working pray about it and allow the Lord to show show you a better way. That is what I am doing this weekend, not because I know anything about homeschooling, but because I know the one who formed my children in my womb before I even knew them He already had a plan for their lives {Jeremiah 29:11}. God bless and have a great homeschool week. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Free Calendar Cards

September Calendar Numbers free printable from Homeschool Creations                                 

Wanted to share these calendar pieces. Go to Homeschool Creations to grab these super cute calendar pieces to use for your calendar time this September!

Freebie: Kinder Binder Covers

Sitting here prepping for my co-op class that starts this Tuesday. Putting everything together. I just thought I would share this binder cover I made for the kindergartners this semester. If you like it or want a different grade please leave a comment in the description box.