Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Day in the Life

It's the final week of iHomeschool Network's NOT Back-to-School Blog Hop, and today we are discussing a typical school day!

So, we haven't officially started our 2013-2014 school year yet, but here is a look at the plan for that "perfect" homeschool day! Haha! Do those even exist?

Let's start off by pointing out that I am not a morning person AT ALL, so no getting up at 5am for me! Often times, I'm up very late the night before getting the next day's lessons together, so I aim to be up around 8am.

8am - Everyone is up! Dress and make ourselves presentable to the public IF we are going out that day. Brush of teeth and hair is required everyday. ;-)

9am - Breakfast for the kids. Usually coffee and reading the morning headlines via the computer for mommy.

10am - The official school day starts with Baby Boy in his play area...from here we just kind of do things in a similar order each day taking the time we need for each subject.

  • Reading of a chapter in Psalms (if not done at breakfast)
  • Math meeting as a group
  • Big Girl starts working through her workboxes while I do math and phonics with Big Boy.
  • Check in with Big Girl to see if she needs any help with her work.
  • Continue with Big Boy's lessons showing him how to go through each of his workboxes.
12pm - Break for lunch. We usually take a full hour break giving the kids time to play outside if it's nice.
  • Science class together
  • Both kids continue through workboxes until all subjects are complete while I get in some one-on-one time with Baby Boy before putting him down for his afternoon nap.
  • Finish up any art projects.
3pm - This is my goal for being finished with the school day! All the kids go to their rooms for quiet time/naps because at this point I am pretty much mentally exhausted and need the break myself. This also gets them a mental break before evening activities ranging from music and karate to church activities and family visits.

Dinner happens with a great deal of variety. My husband's work schedule is ever changing, so the time often depends on when he'll be arriving home. This is one area of scheduling that he feels I need to work on to provide the kids with better stability in our day, whereas I feel the sitting down together as a WHOLE family outweighs the importance of a time on a clock. It's just one of those areas where we differ and are working towards a solution.

As I said this is a good day and on paper. Putting it into practice rarely looks this good! If I'm particularly tired or the kids aren't all that cooperative, this often gets chucked out the window. My goal for this year is to be more consistent with sticking to the outline, so we'll see how that goes when we start things up NEXT WEEK!

Want to join in on the blog hop or just see what others are doing? Click the pic below!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Student (Non)Photo Hop

It's week 2 of iHomeschool Network's NOT Back-to-School Blog Hop ... student photo week! I'm going to rebel a little bit, as I try not to show the kids' faces here; however, you will still have the opportunity to read all about them, though!

Big Girl is 8 years old and starting 4th grade this year! She is a hard worker in school and around the house but plays just as hard. She loves all things artsy and has determined she'd either like to be a fashion designer and attend NYU or be a nanny in Hollywood. Either way, it looks like my baby is headed for the coast!

Big Boy is 5 years old and starting 1st grade. He is my dramatic one and has so much energy that we jokingly called him Stitch for the longest time! He looks up to his sister and wants to do everything she is doing at the moment. He changes every week what he wants to be when he grows up - a storm chaser, a cake decorator, his sister's fashion design assistant, a spy, etc. The only answer that seems to be consistent is that he wants to be like Daddy!

Baby Boy is my big bundle of energy at 2 years old! He is so hard to keep up, and when paired with his brother, you had better watch out! He is all boy and I think gets more bumps and bruises in a week than his siblings have combined in a year. He's already teaching his siblings that "little eyes are watching" as he repeats anything and everything they say! Above all, he has the biggest heart to help others. If he even hears my husband or I doing any kind of work, he drops everything he's doing and rushes in declaring "me help!"

Want to read more or even jump in on the fun? Check out iHomeschool Network's Student Photo Week by clicking on the photo below!

What about your cast of characters? Let's hear all about them!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Our School Room

It's week 2 of iHomeschool Network's NOT Back-to-School Blog Hop! This week is all about the spaces in our homes where education takes place.

I am very fortunate in that I have a large room that my wonderful husband has allowed me to take over as a classroom. Currently it is still in the process of getting all set up for this year, so I apologize in advance for the lack of pictures; however, I promise you that as soon as it is complete, I can overwhelm you with the visuals! *big grin*

Through my last several years of schooling my children, I have pulled ideas from everywhere for setting up a functional space. The most impactive of resources has by far been Erica at Confessions of a Homeschooler. Seriously, if you haven't visited her blog, go there as soon as you are finished here!

My favorite aspects of our classroom...

Workboxes: With two full-time students each with a full course load, figuring out how to get it all done in a timely manner is difficult. These workbox stations have made it so simple, especially for Big Girl, who is an independent learner.

How They Work: I have little tags for each subject on each drawer and fill them with work at night for the next day. When we begin our school day, I go over any special instructions with the kids and then turn them loose. Since we will have many subjects together but with separate assignments, I can present the text/information before having them get the assignment out of the appropriate drawer. This also allows them to move on to reading assignments and other independent work without having to interrupt a sibling's lesson with mom to ask "what should I do now?"

Student Desks: I do have a traditional student desk for my kids to work at. I just find that giving them their own space to work helps cut down on the squabbling and distractions. I was able to pick these up very cheap at a going out of business auction for less than $20 each!

Teacher Desk: My wonderfully generous sorority sister GAVE me a huge executive's desk that came with the house she bought. She is a public school teacher who loves having a big workspace but already had two in her classroom. She knows that I like to spread out when I work, too, and thought this gorgeous approximately 6' x 4' piece would be perfect! She was so right!

In addition to being my desk, it is large enough that I've also made it mine and Big Girl's sewing station. There is just enough of a lip on the front that our legs tuck nicely under. Plus our space is big enough to have two sewing machines sit side-by-side with plenty of room to work on our extremely beginner projects!

Other Stuff:
As I said our room isn't quite done for this year. I still have things to put up on my walls and furniture to move around once we sell a rather large piece - a twin size bed. Yes, last year we had a bed in our classroom, and it was wonderful! I just found it to be too big for our space, so off it goes. I'm glad to be blessing a friend with it since she is expecting #3 and desperately wants to get #2 out of the crib and into a "big bed".

I can't tell you how disappointed I am that my room is not ready. We have been met with many challenges this summer, including my computer blowing up on me. (My husband has graciously lent me his on his days off to allow me to get back to blogging and do things that my phone doesn't quite handle.) I have lots of wall stuff to print and get put together, along with getting some desk organizers into place just help things run a bit more smoothly. Not to mention that if I'm being perfectly honest here, I still have projects from last school year that need to come down.

So before I hyperventilate all the things still to do, I better send you on your way. Check out what other homeschool spaces are out there by clicking on the pic below and don't forget to come back by for my updated school room tour!

Hope to see you all next week for Student Photo Week!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

2013-2014 Curriculum

So, it's been a while since I last checked in. Last year about this time to be exact. I thought what a better way to kick off my blog (again) would be to join in on the iHomeschool Network blog hop!

Big Girl (4th grade) - Seriously! Where has the time gone?
  • Math - Saxon Math 54
  • Science - Apologia Zoology 2 with Notebooking Journal
  • Handwriting - American Cursive Handwriting by Michael Sull
  • Piano - Simply Music - Click along the left hand side to find a teacher in your area! This is not a curriculum you purchase and teach yourself, but it is a wonderful program none-the-less. Last year we struggled so much with getting Big Girl to practice, and this year, she is practicing without needing the reminder!
  • P.E. - After 4 years of dance, she will be switching gears and starting karate at our local dojo. This makes her mama (a former dancer) a little bit sad, but I'm excited to see her learn new things!
  • Everything Else - Tapestry of Grace Year 3 - Yes, literally every other subject comes from this one place. It intermixes Bible/church history, geography, history, literature, spelling, writing, and art beautifully! Our first two years with the program I was so impressed, I've never looked back! Plus, it is all housed on the computer, so no big binders to lug around!

Big Boy (1st grade) - This is a big year full of big changes for him because he gets to join his sister for many classes!

Baby Boy (2 yo)

No official school here, but I've been pinning things like crazy this summer and plan to get together busy boxes and other "school" activities for him. I also bought a few books that I used with Big Girl just in case he surprises me and wants to do "big kid school" like his sister did at this age. I'll be honest, though, keeping him busy is my biggest concern going into school this year! 

So that's it! Our curriculum choices for 2013-2014. I'm beyond excited to get started on it this September (as soon as it all comes in *wink*)!

Want to see what others are doing? Either click the button at the top of the page or right below for more great ideas, and don't forget to come back next week for a tour of our school room!