Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Planning for 2012-2013

I'm starting to look forward to school. We have a few changes coming to our family during this school year, one in particular that will greatly effect our schooling.


Yes, I will now be both a homeschooling parent and a classroom teacher. Our church school has been feeling very overwhelmed as of late with the sciences, and I just happen to love science! They called me a couple of years ago about teaching, and I just couldn't with where I was in life. Now, I feel like I can take it on in addition to all my usual responsibilities.

I'll be using the same curriculum with those students as I do with my own kids. We will be studying flying creatures in the Apologia Exploring Creation series.

Princess will sit in on my class, so that I'm not double teaching the information. However, since I will be teaching 1st grade, she will have different assignments from the class.

3rd Grade
Math - Saxon Math 3
Science - Flying Creature of the Fifth Day
Social Studies - Tapestry of Grace
Language Arts - Tapestry of Grace
Art - Tapestry of Grace
Bible - Tapestry of Grace
Piano - Alfred's Little Mozarts 4, Alfred's Premier Course 1
P.E. - YMCA Dance

Phonics - Saxon Phonics K
Math - Saxon Math K
Piano - Alfred's Little Mozarts 1
P.E. - YMCA Dance

Haha! Not a clue as to how I'm going to entertain this one while I'm working with the older two. I do know I want to set up a little play area for him in the classroom, but beyond that....HELP! I think I'll be spending some extra time on Pinterest. *wink*

I'm starting to get excited for school and am itching to get my hands on my new books! I still have quite a bit of work to do as I wait for everything to come in, mainly get our classroom rearranged and back together!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Drive Through History

I have blogged before about how much I love my history curriculum, Tapestry of Grace. I wanted to talk today about another history product that I've grown to love and use on those weeks where I'm just exhausted or need some extra time with my two younger children.

Now as I've mentioned before, I did not grow up with a love of learning history. It was never a strong suit for me; however, Drive Thru History has brought a depth of knowledge that I've never before had in this humorous and entertaining fashion. Like ToG, it weaves Biblical history seamlessly with secular world history. It brings both history and the Bible alive!

I highly recommend Drive Thru History to all students, but especially those who find history uninteresting or struggle with understanding it.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Life without TV

It's not what you think. Really! We do have a TV, but a couple of weeks ago, someone hit the telephone pole down the street from us, caused a power surge, and blew out our new 40+" flatscreen TV, blu-ray player, and Wii! :-( I confess, it has been really hard for us to cope, and I didn't think I relied to the TV that much. *sigh*

So, anyway. We got our creative juices flowing and rediscovered some things from my own childhood along with revisiting some activities we had push aside in favor of television viewing and playing Wii.

1. Reading! With the summer reading program starting, it's typically for all of us to revisit our passion for reading. This year, my kids have realy dived in. Warrior has hit nearly 5 hours of reading in his first week, and Princess has already polished off 12 books (nearly all chapter books)!

2. Gardening! I honestly have the brownest thumb on the planet. I constantly joke that I can killed a fake plant. However, this year I decided to be daring and plant a little something (not to mention it was a great little project to wrap up our study of botany this year *wink* ). I planted pumpkins in my little space along the house and decided that I didn't really care if they grew or not. Either way it would be a learning experience. Well, they grew, and now the kids and I are excitedly watching them each day to see how much they've grown overnight. I can't wait until fall when hopefully we'll be picking our very own pumpkins!

3. Baking & decorating cakes! I did this all the time when Princess was little and really got into it when I was pregnant with Warrior; however since the arrival of Baby Boy, I've really let this hobby go. One the 1st of June, my sweet little boy turn one, and I mustered up the energy and courage to do a pull-apart cupcake cake! It's not my best, but it was my first buttercream transfer attempt.

4. Making tents! My sister and I did this quite often, and I was so excited to pass this little bit of fun down to my kids.

So, when you are without a TV or other usual entertainment, how do you fill your typical relaxation time?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Summer School

So, if you are a homeschooler, you know that learning never truly ends even when the calendar says "school's out". Learning does, however, tend to look much different than your Aug-May schedule.

Our summer this year is consisting of more learning activities than ever before!

Summer storytime is a carry-over from every summer I've experienced as a parent. Reading is so, so important to our family, and the summer gives my kids a break from the textbooks and dive solely in to enjoyment reading! Princess, who loves to read, anxiously awaits each summer when her sole responsibility is read as much as you want. Warrior, on the other hand, lives for the prizes that are handed out each week. LOL! Baby Boy will have his first storytime experience this year, and I'm hoping we have another book lover on our hands!

Princess will once again be attending VBS at our home church, although this year, it's a shortened week due to a jam packed church summer calendar. She's already talked about which friends she wants to bring, so they can learn about Jesus, too! Warrior has to wait one more summer for this one. I'm keeping my eyes and ears open for the community VBS program that welcomes kids as young as 3 that the two older kids attended last year. I know Warrior had a blast that week!

Two new things that have hit the summer schedule are church camp and cooking classes for Princess. Church camp is overnight, and I confess that I'm a tad nervous. Fortunately, Grandma will be a cabin mom for Princess's cabin, so I know everything will be fine. Cooking classes will be interesting as she will truly have a new teacher without a family member anywhere near! Plus she'll be in class with kids up to 4 years old than she.

Finally, I'm planning wrap up the summer with the Olympics! The kids will be allowed to stay up and watch them with me along with putting together a lapbook on all things 2012 Olympic Games. Neither have really experienced the Olympic Games even on TV. Princess is excited about seeing the gymnasts and cheering on the U.S.A. while Warrior is excited about doing "big kid school".

This seems like such a hectic schedule when all typed out, but I'm greatly looking forward to it. I like keeping to a schedule to a point, but I always love the changing up of things that summer always brings!

So, what are your summer plans?

Friday, May 25, 2012

My New Love...

I cannot fully express how much I love my history program!

Before I try, though, let me tell you about my experience with learning history - BORING! When I determined to homeschool my kids, one thing I strived to do was to be as excited about teaching history, grammar, writing, literature, etc as I was about teaching math and science. I didn't want my kids dreading their classes but looking forward to them. I wanted them to hunger for learning, to "leave class" with their appetite wet but not quite satisfied.

Well, my history program does this and more! What am I using you ask?

The weaving of secular and Biblical history to give a truly well-round history is stupendous! I'm beginning to understand history and make connections in ways that I previously found to be confusing. There is no "here is your Bible lesson" and "here is your history lesson". It is all the same. As the student is learning about Moses, they are also mapping Egypt, learning about mummies, getting to know the Pharoahs, seeing who the Egyptian gods were, and understanding why the 10 plagues were so devastating to the Egyptian people. I was absolutely blown away!

For younger students, the use of arts & crafts not only gave them a break from the typical history lessons, but also allowed them to experience an aspect of that culture or time period. This year we've learning wall construction, scultped working oil lamps, painted Egyptian paddle dolls, created salt-dough maps, weaved paper, decorated crowns, etc. Warrior even started whining that preschool was boring after seeing everything Princess was getting to do. Guess who has been sitting in on 2nd grade history? I love it!

One of my husband's favorite aspects of Tapestry of Grace is the Pop Quiz. Basically, it's a CD with a short 15-minute weekly summary of what the child has been learning for dad to listen to, so he can feel involved in school. He doesn't have to ask "so, what did you do in school today?" because he already knows! There are also little quiz cards, which can be used for review with dad, if he wishes to be even more involved in the learning process.
Not only is the Bible/history aspect to this curriculum exciting but it also covers art, literature, geography, and writing. The only subjects you need to add are math and science, so it has also been a budget saver for our family. And speaking of budgets, you only have to buy 4 years worth of curriculum to last you from 1st-12th grade!

Want to try Tapestry of Grace for yourself? They offer a free 3 week mini-unit on their website. This isn't a flimsy sample, either. It is the full lesson plans, maps, activity pages, book lists, lapbook components, writing aids, evaluations, and even the Pop Quiz. If I have it as a user, you will have it in this sample!

I hope you find that after looking over the sample, you love it as much as I do!