Weekly Wrap-Up Sept 22nd-October 3rd

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Well the first week feautured in this post the kids were sick, so I really don’t have much. However school continued through. Books were read, and we made sugar cube pyramids for our unit in Egypt, and my daughters room finally got oranized! I had to take a picture because this may not last…..but so far so good! We had to miss a birthday party, and wedding anniversary because the kids were under the weather….so on to week two.

On Sunday, we celebrated my Moms birthday….we had fun with family and the boy got to play chess, so he was happy.

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After spending lots of time indoors last week, we spent extra time outside this week. Yes, I agree my photography skills need some work…….

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We took an impromptu trip to pet store to see some animals……

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On Wednesday, we attended a class at the library, where the kids made homemade glow in the dark slime and decorated cupcakes. We had an awesome time sticking magnetic letters into it at night and then reading the words in the glowing slime.

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We had several things at church over the weekend, and we went mini-golfing on Saturday with friends, however I have no pictures because I left my phone in the car. Anyway, we are officially done Term 1 of homeschooling for the year! So this upcoming week will be break week!

God Bless!

J.

Creating your own Morning Meeting

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We are just about six weeks into our homeschooling for the year, which means we are almost done with Term 1. I have designed our school year to have six weeks on, and one week off. This is the first year we are doing this, but I gotta say I am definately looking forward to the break. Ha! Anyways, another new thing we incorporated this year was the idea of a Morning Meeting.

Now if you take a short click around the homeschooling blogosphere, it won’t take you very long to find the idea of the morning meeting also known as; circle time, or basket time, or simply family time. The name doesn’t matter, the idea is the same. However, this doesn’t mean everyone’s morning meeting is the same. The main idea, in my mind, is to come together as a family once a day, and share time together, focusing on what’s important to your own family.

This has easily become the favorite part of the day around here. A time to slow down, forget about everything else we “should” be doing, and learning together. I would like to share with you all today a little bit about our morning meeting, what we do, and what’s been working for us. Now, as I said we just started incorporating it this year, but I have been reading up on it for about three years, so I had quite a lot of insight from around, and I do plan on changing some things up for Term 2, but anyways I am sharing our current morning meeting routine, in hopes to inspire and to encourage any homeschoolers out there to think about including this into your schedule.

Basically, there are no limitations of what to include in your home school’s morning meeting, you can cover a wide variety of subjects, with a wide age range of your students. The idea is to have the whole family gathered together for this special time. So without further ado, our morning meeting line up….

1. Bible reading and prayer. As a christian, I feel like the most important thing for my children is to gain knowledge of God and the bible, so this is where we start our meeting. We read a selection from the bible, and then pray about what we read, asking God to help us either understand what we read, or understand how to apply it to our lives. At the beginning of the school year, I chose several chapters that I decided we would read through together. We started with alternating between Genesis and Matthew, however I have decided that this isn’t the best way to do it, given that some things in Genesis are quite inappropriate for my kids ages(Lot and his daughters), and I’ve skipped through a few things already. So for Term 2, we will be simply reading though different parts of the bible using a list I found here.

2. Hymn Study. I call this “study”, but it is really just singing. I choose a hymn, and we sing it each day until it is learned/well known by each of us. Then, we choose another. Now, you can go out searching for lists of hymns that other people say that your kids should learn, but what I find works best is choosing songs that we sing at church, and learning those first. This way, my kids feel comfortable singing at church, and I feel this is more important than any memorization of classic hymns. Although, classic hymns are beautifully written, and I do plan on incorporating them when my children are older. Once a song is well learned, it goes into our memory work rotation.

3. Memory work. Memory work can be anything in the world there is really no limit. Once again, you can go out searching for lists of things your children should memorize. However, I fell YOU should choose what they are memorizing, what is important to you and your family. Right now we are currently memorizing poems and bible passages, as well as grammar rules outlined in First Language Lessons. I choose bible passages that I like, and I choose poems from this book. I also plan to include science and history facts beginning next term. Maybe the planets in order, and maybe animal classification, maybe the Presidents we will see what comes to mind. This is how we organize our memory work.

4. Science and history. Read this post to see what I use for science and history. I simply read the science or history stories from our text books, or a read a library book corresponding to our readings. Also at this time, I will give my children an activity or coloring page to do during our reading to keep them busy and focused. Sometimes we do history, sometimes science, sometimes both, or sometimes neither. This covers science and history for the week, if we have any special projects or map work, we save this for our fifth day of school.

5. Poetry. I simply select a poetry book and read a few each day. We started with “A Child’s Garden of Verse” by Robert Louis Stevenson. Now we are reading through “A Spider Bought A Bicycle”.

6. Read A-louds. We will work our way through a chapter or two of our current read-aloud book, and also read a picture book or two. For chapter books, we have read “The Wizard of Oz”, and “Charlotte’s Web”, and we began “Pinocchio” this week. Obviously, the picture books list is much too long to share, however if you need some ideas of what to read, check here.

7. Math. No, we don’t break out the text books, but we either practice counting (by 1’s, 2’s, 5’s, 10’s), do flashcards(addition/subtraction) or play a math game. I have this book, which is geared towards younger children. I also have heard this book is wonderful, but we do not have it.

8. Randomness. Picture Study, Composer Study, Shakespeare. Random things can also get put into the basket, a book on Mozart, a book on Leonardo Davinci, a book on nature, whatever thing I may wish to share with my kids that day.

Our family’s morning meeting, generally takes about an hour, and it seems to be working for their ages (6-7), if you have small children, you may have to cut it, and if you have older children, you may be able to extend it further. I look at this as a perfect way to cover a lot of information, in an interesting and time manageable way. I allow my children, to color, do a puzzle or play with pattern blocks during this time. I keep everything we need for our meeting in a large basket next to the sofa in the living room, it is always ready to go, and honestly if morning meeting is the only thing we get done in a day, I would be pretty happy about it, considering the wide array of subjects covered, and time spent together.

After morning meeting, I generally send the kids upstairs to play, or outside to run around, because honestly they just sat for quite awhile, and absorbed a lot of information, and don’t forget play is SO important for kids, don’t leave that out of your homeschool either!

Thanks for reading, and God Bless!

J.

Weekly Wrap-Up (Sept 1st-21st ’14)

Okay yeah so I’ve been a little bit slacking on these update posts. But here is a little bit of what we have been up to the last few weeks…..

Okay so first, the trip to the beach. We hadn’t been there all summer. So we just had to get there. It was windy and chilly, but amazing none the less, and the kids loved it anyways. Actually, the water was super warm.

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We spent some end of summer time here………Nice feet, I know!.sept14 003

sept14 001 sept14 002phone sep 14 003Reading as usual…………Yeah, I didn’t snap a pick of all the books we’ve been reading together the past few weeks, sorry bout that. However, I did catch the boy reading a non-fiction book on the floor all on his own (gasp!) Non-fiction! Unbelievable.

The kids have been going to the park down the street almost daily to collect black walnuts(seen below), I’m tempted to stop spending so much money on nuts and just pick them from the trees….J/K We’ll save them for the squirrels. We also put together our favorite USA puzzle.

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Oh, we went to a picnic with lots of yummy food and fun stuff…..The kids had a blast, even when it started pouring and we waited in line for 40 minutes for some balloon animals, they were still smiling!

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Let’s see….at the park, bible alphabet flashcards, some pretty flowers, Dad’s fish pond

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Puppet show at the library, caterpillar, pogo-sticking, and dead bat (kids insisted that a picture be taken)

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And last but not least…LEGO creations of course!

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And…that’s a wrap. Crying, fighting, name-calling, whining, and melt-downs were experienced by all, but pictures not included…..Thanks for reading!

Jodie

A Reflection

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So with three weeks of school under our belts, I’ve felt a calling to reassess. The first week went great, we accomplished everything on the list (as if that’s the most important thing right?) Overall I felt good, good about what we accomplished, good about our schedule

The second week went by, and we completed MOST of what we had planned. We took a short day because I wasn’t feeling up to afternoon work, and another day we got a surprise visit from a cousin and tossed schoolwork out the door. At the end of the week I said to myself “Hey, not every week can be perfect right?”

Then week three came and it really hit me. Feet were dragging in the morning. The kids wanted to play and not “start school”. Why isn’t school more like play in my home? I had to drag them to do their math and handwriting. I found myself a bit more tense and quite snappy frankly, and unhappy about how I was dealing with it. Morning Meeting had turned into Afternoon Sit Down and Listen or else…

We cut the week short because my kids had plans on Saturday to go on a trip with their grandparents. And you know what? I looked through my pictures for the week and I found that they were pretty scarce. I even forgot to snap a picture of the books we had read. I was feeling quite drained and lost. Already? Already

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I had prayed for the Lord to lead me in this homeschooling thing. But was I really letting him? The truth is I haven’t been listening to him at all. I haven’t even been looking for his answers. Ouch. All I have been doing is what I think I’m supposed to be doing. Because, that’s what all these other great homeschooling mama’s are doing. And I must admit, they truly are inspiring. 

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So, I took a deep breath. And went to the beach. What? Yes, the beautiful, amazing, incredible beach and immense, unfathomable ocean God has created. It was so windy, and quite chilly, certainly not a perfect beach day, but it was still incredible. I sat in the sand, ran in the water, and breathed in the sweet, salty air. God is so amazing. My children are amazing. The ability to homeschool them is amazing.

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So, I sit here today, cup of coffee in hand, kids sleeping in way too late, but feeling refreshed in God’s beauty none-the-less. I don’t know what I will do today, stick to the plan? Throw everything out and begin again? Try something new?  I certainly don’t have the answer, but there is someone who does, and this week, in my life, and my home and my family I can’t let that be forgotten.

J.

Our Daily Schedule

I just thought I would take the time today to share our daily schedule. I like Charlotte Mason’s idea of short lessons, moving from one thing to something different in an effort to keep the child interested. I tried to keep this in mind as I created this schedule. I have divided our school year into six terms, and this schedule is for Term 1, as I plan to make changes to the schedule when cooler weather comes. We school Tuesday – Saturday because of my husband’s work schedule. Although, as fellow home schooler’s know the learning truly doesn’t stop just because the weekend comes.

So here it is……..

Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
*Morning Routine *Morning Routine *Morning Routine *Morning Routine *Morning Routine
Breakfast/Devotions Breakfast/Devotions Breakfast/Devotions Breakfast/Devotions Breakfast/Devotions
Chores Chores Chores Chores Chores
Reading(20 mins) Reading (20 mins) Reading (20 mins) Reading (20 mins) Reading/Lit.

Math (20 mins)

Outside  (45 mins)

Snack

Math (20 mins)

Outside (45 mins)

Snack

Math (20 mins)

Outside (45 mins)

Snack

Math (20 mins)

Outside (45 mins)

Snack

Farmers Market

Picture study

Composer Study

Morning Meeting* Morning Meeting* Morning Meeting* Morning Meeting * Life of Fred
Science (15 mins) Science(15 mins) Science (15 mins) Science (15 mins) Art

History (20 mins)

Lunch/Lit./Break

History (20 mins)

Lunch/Lit./Break

Lunch/Lit./Break

 

History (30-60 min)

Lunch/Lit./Break

Geography

Lunch

Piano (20)

(Calendar/Weather

Handwriting/Grammar)

Piano (20)

(Calendar/Weather

Phonics/Grammar)

Piano (20)

(Calendar/Weather

Handwriting/Grammar)

Piano (20)

(Calendar/Weather

Phonics/Grammar)

 
Grammar/Handwriting Grammar/Spelling Grammar/Handwriting Grammar/Spelling  
Spanish Spanish Spanish Spanish  
Park/Swimming/Bikes Park/Swimming/Bikes Park/Swimming/Bikes Park/Swimming/Bikes  

 As you can see, I do not assign specific times for subjects to happen, but instead a certain amount of time to finish each subject. You will see a few things on here twice, and that is because some things are for my son and some for my daughter.

Morning Meeting is really something great to add into your homeschool if you do not already. There are lots of ideas out there as to what to incorporate into morning meeting, and others call it by other names as well. For us, morning meeting includes; bible, prayer, memory work, singing hymns, fact memorization(right now we are working on skip counting), and reading a loud. Sometimes I read unrelated picture books, other times I read books related to our science or history studies. We also read poetry.

In the mornings we spend time outside, usually taking a walk or going to the park, or just in the backyard. Yes, I schedule the Farmer’s Market onto our schedule, because we go every week and we all enjoy it and this is something that will only be available through October. Saturday’s are what you would consider our light days. On Mondays we sometimes take field trips, but this is not considered a part of our school schedule. For example, last Monday we visited the zoo but we still did our normal Tuesday-Saturday schedule.

Feel free to ask any questions!

God Bless.

J.

 

Curriculum Choices 2014-2015

Okay, so after two years of kind of having no clue what to use for curriculum, and kind of coming up with my own stuff, we have settled down into some more structure for this year. My children are six and seven years old and we are doing a lot of our subjects together. So here goes….

History/Geography:  After pondering for a couple of years I have decided to start chronological history this year. We will be using Story of the World with the accompanying activity guide and some of the suggested library books. Although S.O.T.W. covers a lot of geography we will also be using Geography Songs in hopes of attaining a deeper knowledge of the world around us.

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Science: Science has been really tough for me. I like the idea of focusing on mainly nature study for the younger years. However, I struggle because my state requires standardized testing and therefore I feel the need to teach beyond nature study. This year I purchased Come and See from Queen Homeschool Supply. It is recommended for grades k-2. I LOVE this book, I think it’s fun and interesting. I think it’s perfect for my first grader who is just beginning to read. However, it is defiantly not enough for my second grader. We are supplementing with related library books and doing note booking pages. Toward the ends of the year we will be working through several other scientific topics such as force, matter, magnetism, electricity etc.

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Bible/Devotions:

This year we are reading through Genesis, Matthew, Proverbs and Acts. For devotions we are finishing the book Devotions for the Children’s Hour and then moving on to Leading Little Ones to God.

Memory work: Selections from The Harp and Laurel Wreath, bible verses and other facts that I deem as important to know.

Literature: The Wizard of Oz, Charlotte’s Web, Pinocchio, A Lion to Guard Us, and others.

Poetry: We will work through Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses, and then move on to something else.

As far as picture study, composer study, art, music, and other things we will be using many different resources, which are far too many to list here.

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On to separate subjects….

6yo:

Reading: Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons followed by easy readers such as Little Bear.

Phonics: Spectrum Phonics 1

Grammar: First Language Lessons

Handwriting: copy work

Math: Singapore Math 1A/1B

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7 yo:

Reading: as  a very avid reader, he will be assigned various chapter books throughout the year.

Spelling: grade 3 spelling lists

Grammar: Finish up First Language Lessons  and move on to First Language Lessons Vol. 2.

Handwriting: copy work

Math: Singapore Math 2A/2B

Spanish: The Fun Spanish Level 1(he is loving this!)

Piano Lessons

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I know I always love to see what everyone else is using, so hoping this post can help someone else out too.

God Bless!

J.