Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Great giveaway!

This is an awesome giveaway, check it out!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Daily Schedule Revised

I have been looking at the daily schedule that I posted. Something about it wasn't working for me. It didn't seem to flow in my head. So I decided to change it. This is life. This is homeschooling. I love this part of homeschooling. If something isn't working, for whatever reason, it CAN be changed.

I have divided our day in to three chunks. We will have morning basket time, where we will do our subjects that we do as a family. This will be done in the living room, where everyone can be comfortable with blankies, lovies, etc. After morning basket time, we will move to the dining room for table time. This is where we will do our workbook stuff. Our third chunk contains our afternoon work. Here is how I have it all planned out for the day;

Morning Basket Time

Bible Reading (from Penny Gardner's list)
Devotional (Keys 4 Kids)
Foreign Language (ASL)
Hymn Study
Scripture Memory
Composer Study
Reading (I will still be working with Thunder(grade 1). Lightening(grade 3) is independent)

Table Time

Lightening(grade 3)                                      Thunder(grade 1)
Math                                                             Penmanship

                    History/Science(2 days each) together

Copywork                                                     Math

                    Artist study/Grammar(2 days each) together

Nature Study(The outdoor hour) 1 time a week
Handicrafts (The kids will just be working on one of the many options they have.)

There you have it. My new "schedule". I estimate that our morning basket time and our table time will each take us about an hour to finish, making it about 2 hours for school in the morning. Afternoon work will just take however long we need to finish.

Let me know what you think and share a link to your own schedules.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Our Daily Schedule

I told you all yesterday that I would share how I planned to accomplish everything in our plans. Before I get into that, I want to stress to everyone that I make many plans, but they are all changeable. If it's not working, doesn't feel right or if we are forcing ourselves to do something, we find another way. I don't want to force my kids through something if it's not right. There are so many resources out there that we can find something to fit for our family and I encourage you to do the same. One of the best pieces of advice I got my first year of homeschooling was not to be worried if something isn't working out. Homeschooling is a way of life, not just a part of our life. We don't need to follow a set curriculum in order for our children to learn. Oh, how freeing this was for me to hear.

On with my (tentative) plan:

Daily as a family:
Scripture memory
Hymn Study
Foreign Language

Daily as individuals with mom:
Copywork/ Dictation

Monday                               Tuesday                           
History/Geography                History/Geogrophy            
Artist study*                         Grammar                                
Music study*                                                                

Wednesday                       Thursday
Science                               Science
Artist study*
 Music study*

* Artist and Music study alternates by month. In August we will do an artist study and in September we will switch to music study. We will alternate between the two for the rest of the year.

There you have it, our daily schedule. As you can see, not everything happens every day. The subjects we do daily are not all that involved and take just a short time to finish. So, even though it looks like a lot to accomplish, it's really very simple.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Plans for our next school year.

This year went great, but I was still left looking for more. We got all of the basics, but I wanted to really get into some other subjects, like music and art, with my kids. Not just the fun crafty type things(not that they are bad, we really enjoy them), but art appreciation. I had watched the "All Day Charlotte Mason Seminar" at a friends house and caught the Charlotte Mason bug.

Charlotte Mason really appealed to me for a variety of reasons. Her idea that education is three pronged: Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life. By "education is an atmosphere", Charlotte meant that a child absorbs a lot of information from his/her environment. This means that it's up to the parents to provide an environment in which they are comfortable with what their child is learning. The second part of a Charlotte Mason education deals with discipline, specifically the discipline of good habits of character. This appealed to me because I believe that we start homeschooling our children at birth. Not, the workbooks and tests type of homeschooling, just general learning. We teach our children many good habits by the time they reach "school age." Hopefully, they have been good habits. The third part of Charlotte's idea is that education is a life. This idea applies to the academic part of life. We should give children living thoughts, and ideas, not just dry facts out of a textbook. This alone really spoke to my soul. My goal in homeschooling has nothing to do with my children being able to regurgitate facts and dates. I want to inspire them to have a love of learning that they can carry through their whole life. I believe that following the Charlotte Mason style will help me achieve this goal.

So, without further ado, here are my plans for next year. I will have a child in 3rd and 1st that will be together for most things, and I will have my two younger children together. They will be 4 years and 2 years old.

For my older two
Math: Singapore Math 3A&B for my 3rd grader and1A&B for my 1st grader

Science: We will finish Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding

Nature Study: http://handbookofnaturestudy.blogspot.com/ We will work through these challenges together.

Reading: 3rd grader will be reading through the Magic Tree House books. He likes a timer, so he will do 15-20 minutes of reading a day. More if he wants to continue. 1st grader will work through Hooked on Phonics Grade 1.

Copywork/Penmanship: 3rd grader will be doing guided dictation with his copywork until he is more confidant with his cursive. 1st grader will continue working through The Joy of Handwriting.

English/Grammar: I know Charlotte didn't start formal grammar until the children were in about 5th grade. I found a wonderful resource to go along with Grammarland. You can view this book online, download it, or purchase the book on amazon. I happened to stumble across this blog. She has made up worksheets to go along with each chapter of Grammarland. Since we are using more notebooking in our homeschool, I thought this would work perfectly. I will not have my 1st grader work through the worksheets, he will just listen to the story and do some oral narration for me. My 3rd grader will work through the worksheets though. I will help him with the writing until he gets better.

Spelling: This will just be for my 3rd grader. He is really wanting to work on his spelling, so we will add this in along with his copywork. (I will post about this specifically on it's own to explain how I plan to do this.

Typing: We will work through Dance Mat Typing and continue with keybr. 
             (I found these ideas at  FiveJ's)

Foreign Language: We will work through American Sign Language as a family.

Art: Each child has a sketch book that they can draw, paint, etc. whatever they would like. Occasionally, I will pull out Drawing With Children by Mona Brooks and teach a few things out of there.

Handicrafts/Life skills: I have this list printed and placed in my lesson plan book. I use it as a reference and just pick one for my kids to work on. Right now, my oldest, is working on loom knitting and "regular" knitting.

History/Geography: Road Trip USA from ConfessionsofaHomeschooler. At the end of each state lesson, we will go through the workbook from Highlights Which Way USA.

Bible: We will read through the Bible in the year and do a daily devotional from Keys 4 Kids

Scripture Memory: We do this as a family also, and use Simply Charlotte Mason's method.

Literature: Again I have a list printed and placed in my lesson plan book to reference. We just pick a book off the list and read it. Either I will read it during the day or my husband will read to them from the book at bedtime.

Poetry: I just read select poems as part of our daily reading time.

Artist/Picture study: The World's Greatest Artists Unit Study

Music Study: I plan on following this plan starting with the Orchestra. I found The Story of the Orchestra at our local library sale for $1!

Hymn Study: We will practice one hymn a month by listening and singing it each day.

Shakespeare: I will read A Midsummer Night's Dream from Tales from Shakespeare. If I feel they are ready for it, if not, we will just skip this.

For my younger two

I will work through Animal Play with both of them together, adjusting as necessary.

Wow! That looks like a lot all typed out like that. My next blog post will be my daily schedule for how I plan to accomplish all of this.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Review of Time 4 Learning

Thank you to Time 4 Learning for this chance to try out your website for free. It was very fun!

Although we really enjoyed Time 4 Learning, I don't believe I could ever use it as my only curriculum. It just seemed too light. Maybe we didn't do enough of the program to actually get into the bulk of curriculum. I'm not sure.

The games my kids played were all fun and educational. I had all three of my boys play around quite a bit. My 7 year old figured it out well enough on his own. My 5 and 4 year old needed help navigating, but it was quit easy once they knew where to go. I, on the other hand, had a difficult time figuring out how to navigate the parent part of the website. I wanted to assign my children tasks and I could not figure out how. Oh well, I've never claimed to know all there is to know about computers.

All in all, I think it's an okay site. I'd probably give it 3 stars out of five. Only three due to how much a person has to pay and the fact that it's not a complete curriculum.

This is all my opinion, so take it for what it's worth. If you use and love Time 4 Learning, great! Once again, thanks to Time 4 Learning for offering 30 days free in exchange for this review.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Child Training Bible: My Review and Changes

It seems that the web is on fire with this "new" Child Training Bible idea. I have to admit, I had mixed feelings when I first found it. After prayer and talking with my husband about it, I decided to order it, so I could check it out. I was not asked to review this product, nor was I gifted this product. I bought it and decided to share my thoughts, that is all. I am in no way affiliated with this company.

First off, I am not in the training your child camp with Michael Pearl, Ted Trip, Gary Ezzo, or any of the other so called Christian child "experts." I adhere to a more gentle approach. You can find more information at Gentle Christian Mothers or Arms of Love Family Fellowship.  Honestly, whenever I hear someone say "train your child" my stomach does a turn. There are so many "experts" out there that have taken God's word and distorted it to make it seem as though we need to beat our children into submission. In my opinion, this is absolutely backwards. God sent Jesus Christ to take that punishment for us. THIS INCLUDES OUR CHILDREN! Okay, off my soapbox and onto the review.

Upon opening the package and reading the various categories, I was not happy. They are mostly negative categories like selfishness, unforgiveness and fighting. Upon looking through each scripture reference that is given, I was pleasantly surprised that they were not all negative like the category titles would've lead me to believe. The scriptures themselves, were mostly positive, telling us what TO do, instead of what punishment God was going to reign down on us every time we did something wrong. That's when my light bulb went on. I thought, "I can spin this into a very useful tool."

I changed the titles of some of the categories, skipped some of the more punitive verses and made sure to highlight enough so that each verse would be read in context. My categories are: Anger, Positive Speech, Respect, Patience, Contentment, Encouragement, Fear, Obedience, Peaceful Living, Laziness, Truthfulness, Listening to Godly Advice, Friendships, Forgiveness, Gossip, Stealing, Selflessness, Humility and Making Excuses. I really liked how the creators of the Child Training Bible broke the Gospel up into four categories, so I stuck with that. Instead of using the cards that were sent, I just colored blocks to match the tabs and labeled them, right on the front page of the Bible.

Just changing the category titles is not going to totally spin this into a positive tool however. Most of the work is done in how the parent approaches this and talks with the child. If you still come after them and say, "See, here's what the Bible says you have to do. Get to work and do it!" with a negative and shaming attitude, it's not going to work. All you are going to to is create resentment in your child. What I do is use it all the time, not just when they are doing something they shouldn't be. I make sure to use it during a neutral time, not in the heat of the moment. It's another "tool" in my "parenting toolbox."

Here's an example of how we have used it recently; Lightening has started to have quite a mouth on him lately. I understand that this is developmentally appropriate, and I do want my children to express their opinions. However, I do not want them to do it in a rude and hurtful way. After a few times of telling him to "try again" with his words, I sent him to our comfort corner to calm down. (A comfort corner is just a safe space they can go to regroup. They are free to get up at any time, as long as they have calmed down. This is not a time out, in the most common definition.) Once he was calm and decided to apologize for his hurtful words and actions, we brought out the Bible. I let him pick which category we would go through. He chose "Positive Speech." The verse we talked about was Ephesians 4:29 ~ "Don't let any foul language come out of your mouth. Only speak good things which will encourage someone. Let your words be a benefit to those who hear them." I just discussed this with him and asked him what he thought it meant. Then we talked about how this verse is for Mom and Dad also. We finished with talking about how it's not the fact that we mess up, it's what we do afterward that matters. Do we make amends and try to do things differently next time? This is what's important.

This may not be the perfect way to handle this situation, but it's what has worked for Lightening and it didn't include shaming or spanking. I hope this helps you too.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A fun opportunity

I've been invited to try Time4Learning for one month in exchange for a candid review. My opinion will be entirely my own, so be sure to come back and read about my experience. Time4Learning can be used as a homeschool curriculum, for afterschool enrichment and for summer skill sharpening. Find out how to write your own curriculum review for Time4Learning.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Menu Plan for February 5th - 11th

I have found that it's easiest to just plan out 7 meals and not assign them to a particular day. Here is what I have for this week;

Biscuits and jelly
Toast, egg and bacon muffins
Scrambled eggs and toast

Vegetable stir fry with rice
Chicken noodle soup and Tuna Sandwiches
Peanut butter and Jelly Sandwiches, Salad, and applesauce
Waffles, and eggs

Halushki and Sausage
Chili Soup
Chicken and gravy with mashed potatoes
Porcupine Balls, cooked carrots and sweet potato fries
Tex Mex Soup

Fresh fruit
Fresh vegetables
Banana Bread

In the following days, I will be posting recipes for some of these meals. If there is something you'd like to see right away, let me know and I'll post it first.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Herbal Facial Scrub

I have been using this scrub for years now. I have no idea how long really. I just know that I love it. It does take a bit more work than squeezing a bit of cream out of a tube, but the results are well worth it in my opinion.

This recipe is so simple. All you need it 1 cup of oats, 1-2TBS of whatever dried herbs you like. I used lavender and chamomile. Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and grind until they are a powder. Store in an airtight container.

I didn't grind this batch as much as some of my previous batches and it's still working just fine.

When you are ready to use on your skin, take about a TBS of this scrub and add about 1 tsp of water and just a drop or two of natural oil. I use coconut that I've warmed and melted in my hands. You can use whatever you like. Mix this all together, and gently massage onto your skin. This removes my makeup for me at night and regenerates my skin in the morning.

Monday, January 30, 2012

"Tot-School" Week 1

First of all I want to give credit, where credit is due. I stumbled across the idea of "tot-school" over at 1+1+1=1 .  Her blog is full of wonderful ideas! She has been a huge inspiration to me in working with my younger children.

I also want to add, that we don't push our children. Our goal is not to create a child genius. Our goal is to spend some quality time with our children and nourish their natural curiosity about the world around them. If they are not feeling up to "school work" that day, we just snuggle on the couch and read some good stories.

This week we are working with the Letter A, and number 2. Here is a break down of our days;

Day 1, Monday: Introduction of letter A and number 1- I'm not a huge fan of flashcards, in the sense of just memorizing facts and regurgitating them. We use flashcards as a tool to familiarize our kids with the shape and look of the letter/number. I show Hurricane the flashcard and we trace the letter with our fingers and talk about words that begin with that letter. The number flashcards are used to familiarize him with what the number looks like and what a grouping of objects look like in that number.

                              We also read Dr. Seuss's Amazing Alphabet Book. He really loved this one. Dr. Seuss is always a hit around here.

Day 2, Tuesday: This day we used our "sand box" to write the letter an and number one. I poured some colored sand into a pencil box. It's just big enough to write a letter with the added bonus of being able to close the lid and contain all of that sand.

In addition to this activity, we read a stack of books about a mile high. Okay, maybe not quite that high, but you get the idea.

Day 3, Wednesday: Today we worked on some scissor practice. I choose a page from Kids Learning Station. He really enjoyed this.

We also made some art with bingo daubers. This activity was a huge hit.

Day 4 Thursday: Today we colored and put 1 sticker on our number one page.

 We also played with our letter and number magnets. I have a cookie sheet that I place the capital letter on, and he has to find the lower case letter to match. We play the same game with the numbers.         

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunshine on a cold, January day.

I was craving some chocolate this morning, and upon searching through my pantry, I discovered there was not a single chocolate chip to be found. No chocolate chips? This can’t be! What’s a girl to do? Improvise, that’s what.
I searched through my Grandpa’s recipe book and came across “Sunshine Balls.” I figured this would work since they involve carob or cocoa powder and peanut butter. Yum! Who doesn’t love chocolate and peanut butter?

I had to change it up a bit since I didn’t have some of the ingredients. I used cocoa powder and in place of the milk I used Goat milk, since we have some dairy issues. I also only had peanut butter on hand so I just used 2/3 cup of that. As you can see from the picture, I rolled them in sesame seeds. In my opinion they are much better when rolled in coconut, but I didn’t have any.
Here’s the recipie:
Sunshine Balls
“Take a look at this, my sweet;
Here’s a treat that’s hard to beat!
1/3 cup Peanut Butter
1/3 cup any nut butter
1/4 cup honey
2 TBS. molasses
1 TBS milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 TBS. carob or cocoa powder
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup dates, cut up
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup chopped nuts
1. Mix together nut butters, honey, molasses, milk, and vanilla.
2. Add carob/cocoa and blend.
3. Stir dates, nuts, and seeds together and add all at once.
4. Blend mixture thoroughly, roll into marble size balls, then roll in coconut, or finely chopped nuts, or sesame seeds.
5. Store in the refrigerator.
Special Note: The yield is a secret. It all depends on how many you eat while making them. :)
As I mentioned, this recipe comes from my Grandpa’s recipe book called “Natural Foods Sampler.” Please respect his hard work and tell people where you found this recipe. I have copies of the book available for a small fee. If you are interested, let me know either by commenting below or e-mailing me.