Monday, July 11, 2011

I'm Moving My Homeschool Blog

Homeschooling is our life.  It really is.  When you homeschool, it is not like "now we are schooling" and "now we are not".  Homeschooling happens every waking moment of our lives.  It has been more difficult to separate my posts since Brooke started public school.  That is when I noticed a bit more of a challenge in deciding whether something was "homeschool" or not.  So I think it is best to just post everything on my main family blog.  So please check us out here!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Signing Videos

I found out from another blog that Signing Time is having a big 10th Anniversary sale on their videos.  The videos are only $10 today and tomorrow, I think.  I absolutely love the Signing Time videos.  We watched a lot of them with Sophia when she was little and she used to sign all of the time.  The next two, not so much.  But I do take Em and Grace to sign language class in the fall.  So our family really enjoys signing so I ordered a bunch of videos.  Their web site must be overloaded because it took a long time to get from page to page.  But I still got it done.  So, if you like signing videos, now is the time to stock up, go check it out! 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sophia's Favorite Teacher

I had to take Brooke in to get her sports physical on Wednesday morning.  I was very thankful that Josh was home so number one, I didn't have to drag everyone with, and number two because I left him to do Sophia's phonics with her.  I got everything ready and laid out for him and gave him a brief description of what needed to be done.  Well, when I got home she was all done with her work.  But, I was very surprised when I looked at her worksheet.  Sophia always has really nice handwriting.  She is pretty good about staying where she is supposed to be as far as the lines go.  But on this day, she was making the letter J.  Her lower case J's were awful!  So I asked her what happened and she just half smiled and shrugged.  So I asked Josh about it and he looked at it and pretty much said he hadn't really even looked at what she did.  He did have her erase them and rewrite them.  I thought it was pretty funny though.  Well, the next morning when I was getting Sophia's phonics ready she told me, "I like when you do my school better."  I wasn't sure I heard her right so I asked her what she said and she repeated herself.  She said "I like when you do my school cause dad always weaves."  Meaning leaves!  Ha ha, sure, he says what has to be said and then gets up and leaves.  That is why her handwriting was so bad, he left her to do it herself.  It just cracks me up because I really can see it driving him crazy to have to sit there and do that lesson with her, much less have to sit there and wait for her to finish her writing!  Oh I'm still thankful he did the lesson with her and I certainly would ask him to do it again.  He means well and tries to help.  Sophia I am sure wouldn't complain too much.  But really what it comes down to is that she would rather ME teach her.  THAT is all I needed.  It's kind of nice to be chosen over daddy once in a while!

A Couple New Books

I ordered a couple new books for school and they arrived on Friday.  Nothing like starting something new two months before school is out!  Can you say "summer school"?

This first book is a new phonics book I ordered for Grace to work through.  It looks really easy so it shouldn't take her long to get through it.  We obviously quit the Vo-Wac we were doing.  Life is so much better since we quit!  Anyway, I do think there are some important rules in this book that we may have missed so that is what I'm hoping to accomplish by using this book right now. 

This second book I am pretty excited about.  Brooke saw it up in the cupboard and said she loved working in this book so I just had to order one for both Emily and Grace.  The book is set up as if you are working at a newspaper.  They will learn all sorts of things from writing a column to a news article to sale ads.  I haven't decided yet how to work it along with the Writing Strands book they are both working on.  Maybe alternate days or weeks?  I think we'll just dig right in to this tomorrow and see what it entails and go from there.

I also have Grace all tested and set up to use the Spelling Power program.  She seems fairly happy with it so I hope it will help her.  She tested at a much higher level than I expected her to so that was a nice surprise.  She has been learning!

The girls did start their science experiment book this last week and they enjoyed doing an experiment.  The vocabulary words the second day, maybe not so much but they did it anyway, knowing if they didn't that they wouldn't get to do any more experiments.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Homeschooling My Little Girls

This picture shows what a good homeschool morning looks like at our house.  Typically when Sophia does her phonics we try to involve the other two little girls.  When we do the letter flashcards, Sophia says it first, then Allison copies what Sophia said.  Then I simply show the card to Lydia and say the sound and she repeats it to me.  I think they are really picking up a lot with just this small activity.  Then while I finish Sophia's lesson, Allison and Lydia draw on mini white boards. 

After our lesson on the letter J today, the girls did a coloring page.  More than the coloring, they really enjoy cutting their pictures out and gluing them  on construction paper.  We also looked up a Jellyfish in one of our Encyclopedia's so they could see a real one.

Sophia and Allison made these puppets yesterday for school.  We were a bit late because they were supposed to be done with the letter E.  But I had them all printed out and I thought they were cute so we did them anyway.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Getting It All Done

We had a pretty good day today as far as school goes.  I think I need to make a list the night before of everything that should be done though.  Because I feel like I was busy the whole day and that we got a lot done, but when I look back on it I realize that I forgot to do spelling with Grace.  There are probably more things I didn't get done, but I can't think of them right now.  I guess Allison's little school is another one.  I couldn't get Sophia's math done because I needed to make some copies for her assignment and our power was out for a couple hours today.  But I did get up on time and did my back stretches.  Then I had breakfast with the girls and sent them off to do their morning chores while I got ready.  It was pretty much school in the morning and then lunch.  Lunch was interesting today since I had planned on making spaghetti so Josh could have the leftovers before he went to work.  But with the power out, we had to make due.  We are completely out of peanut butter, which is a tragedy at our house.  We only had one can of tuna left and 2 slices of turkey.  But we made it work along with some leftover salad and tortilla chips.  After lunch we picked up the house and Lydia and Allison went down for their naps.  I read some of our read aloud book to Emily, Grace, and Sophia.  Then, as usual, I fell asleep.  Reading after lunch makes me so sleepy and a little snooze is so nice!  But when I woke up I realized that I had forgotten about feeding Josh something.  Thankfully Grace saved the day and made him one of her famous cheese omelets.  I visited with Josh a bit and then he left.  The time after that is fuzzy, he he, which means I probably didn't accomplish much.  I seem to remember a little bit of watching tv, but not much so I don't really know where the time went.  Next thing I knew, supper was in the oven and Rhonda was over for Grace's piano lesson.  Then we had supper and cleaned up the house yet again.  We washed the little's sheets tonight so we had to make up all of the beds.  It made for a busy night.  Thankfully Brooke read to the littles for a while so we could get the beds made.  So now the chatting is quieting as they are all falling asleep.  Except Brooke of course although I'm sure she will be hitting the sack pretty soon.  She is hoping to actually get to go to school tomorrow.  So anyway, at the end of the night, here is where Emily found me venting:

She thought I had lost my mind.  But in this spot I was able to vent my frustration at the lack of time I have for exercising.  It always comes down to either I forget about exercising and have a day like today where I accomplish a lot as far as schooling and cooking goes.  Or, I make exercising a priority and then it always seems to mess up everything else that needs to be done.  I know it may look crazy to be talking out loud to the wall behind the couch.  But I promise this was not me completely losing my mind because...

Brooke was behind the couch, sitting in the corner!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Summer School

Yes, that is what we are going to be doing all summer long if I don't get my butt in gear and get some more schooling done!  I don't know how I can do so good for a week or two staying on schedule and then something happens to distract me and we are just so off for a couple weeks.  I'm almost a month behind on Sophia's math again.  Not sure how far behind we are on phonics, but definitely not where we should be.  I have done some major reworking on Emily and Grace's school.  I took off all of their History and Science.  We are working on some ND state history, learning the states and capitals, and learning some map skills.  It is so much more enjoyable.  They like it and I like it so we are all happy.  I pulled out one of Brooke's old science experiment books and we are going to try to do an experiment once or twice a week.  I'm going to look in my "Well Trained Mind" book and refresh my memory on how to have them do a write up on a science experiment.  They will love doing the experiments.  Brooke always loved that.  The write-up part not so much.  But I do feel like her learning that has helped her tremendously with her upper level sciences.  I also have been doing some writing projects from "Writing Strands".  This is another program I did with Brooke and I really liked what it taught her about writing.  I can see that Emily and Grace really need this.  Their program right now has a lot of writing projects, but it doesn't really teach them the process of writing.  I have completely scrapped Grace's Vo-Wac program.  Ugh, I just can't do it anymore.  I actually despise it.  Seriously.  I know the schools do it.  I know it is supposed to be such a great program.  I know it probably would be good for Grace.  But I just have to go with my gut.  If I actually despise a program, it probably just isn't the right fit for us.  So I think I'm calling it quits and I'm going to order her a Modern Curriculum Press Phonics book to work on for the rest of the year and maybe over the summer.  Grace certainly isn't complaining, she never really liked the Vo-Wac.  I'm also looking into other options for Phonics for Sophia for next year, too.  I just wish it wouldn't cost so much money for these products.  It gets spendy and it really stinks if you end up not using something you paid a lot of money for.  So far for next year I have Math figured out for sure.  Em and Grace will try teaching textbooks.  Sophia will do Saxon.  For Science, we are going to use Apologia.  I will order one program and do it with all of them together.  I'm really excited about this program as I have heard so many good things.  I am pretty sure we are going to use Susan Wise Bauer's "The Story of the World" for history.  I will be able to do that with all of the girls, too.  I've heard it is a very good history book that both kids and adults enjoy.  So I'm still somewhat stuck on how to cover everything in Language Arts.  This will take some careful planning.  There is so much involved:  writing, spelling, grammar, handwriting, reading, phonics.  It is a lot to cover and so many good options.  But I am definitely narrowing it down so I should know by the end of the school year.  I think that pretty much covers it.