Sunday, November 3, 2013

Halloween 2013

We had a good “holiday.”  Just good.  Definitely better than last year, but it wouldn’t really take much to beat last year.  Dh and ds2 were in Disney World at a Biomedical symposium but my brother and his wife and my nephew and his son came over and we enjoyed ourselves.

IMG_0096 Here’s my front entrance.  The monster door was so simple but really turned out super cute.

IMG_0101 IMG_0104 On the menu:   Bones, Green-Eyed monster cookies, and punch served in googly eye cups.  I traditionally serve a vegetable-filled “Halloween Soup” in preparation for the candy gluttony, but my heart wasn’t in it this year and we ordered pizza.  With mushrooms, which is a vegetable, so there.

IMG_0114 My nephew’s son (maybe we should call him ns here on the old blog) and ds4 playing with the inside decorations.  Those green alien things are balloons that have a blinking led light…they were super cool and are still blinking three days later!

IMG_0123 Ds3 was “Steve” from Minecraft, ds4 was “toxic waste” and ns was a skeleton (and a total cutie pie and ham the whole night.)

IMG_0139 This is from the end of the night when we came back home…ds1 stayed home and handed out candy dressed as a green guy…yeah, I don’t really get it either.  ;)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

In The Name Of Knowledge

The boys have been plugging away at school, having more good days than bad, and for that I am thankful.  All my planning has paid off (for the most part) and I have been prepared enough to keep things flowing.  The other day, ds3 actually said that school had been fun, and we didn’t even do anything special.  Gotta love that.

However, we have been doing some fun things to help reinforce lesson plans. 

HPIM0011 HPIM0014 HPIM0016 Like using Oreos to chart the phases of the moon.  And of course eating the broken ones and the extra stuffing (that’s called preserving our resources folks.)    Oh, the sacrifices we homeschoolers make for our kids.  Sigh.  ;)

IMG_8180 Ds4 is making huge strides in his reading.  It amazes me how a child can go from struggling to read the most basic words, to *click* just getting it and reading big words he’s never even seen before.  He and ds3 both are reading books on their own this year in addition to the books I read to them during school.  I know a lot of kids do this from the get-go, but mine didn’t and now they do and I am beyond happy about it.  Ds4 is reading The Swiss Family Robinson and doing a great job with his cadence and expressions.  So far I am quite pleased with our curriculum choices and hope that the school year continues to be this productive.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

And They’re Off! First Weeks of School

We had a pretty good transition from summer to school.  Both boys got right back into our routine and suffered from no supposed “summer memory loss” that the schools love to complain about.  By the way, our “routine” is pretty much the same as last year.  Boys get up, get breakfast, brush teeth and get dressed, and meet me at the school table.  There is no strict time that all this occurs; one boy may sleep in while the other is up and at them.  I just let the morning play out so we have a smooth school day and just because we can.  :)  I have the boys work individually on their math and language workbooks first, then we tackle the “group” subjects of history, science, geography, reading and nature studies.

IMG_8164 IMG_8166 Our first science unit is on electricity.  The bulb lit up!

IMG_8169 IMG_8170 IMG_8172 Nature studies have us sketching pictures of the sky in our journals.

IMG_8175 IMG_8176 History is focusing on Early Americans.  Here the boys are making petroglyphs on sandpaper.

IMG_8168 Genie and Ellie listen in on our lessons.  Because they are smart like that.  :)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Homeschool Room 2013-2014

The homeschool room was transformed over the summer into a clean, bright happy place for learning (that still blends in with the house.)

IMG_8129 Can I just say, it’s freakin hard to get good pictures of a whole room.  ;)  Here is the view as you walk in from our kitchen.  My desk is in the middle facing the window (love this!) with two folding tables butted up together and against the end of my desk.  Ds4 on the right, ds3 on the left.  The tables provide them with plenty of working room and I am close enough to keep an eye on their progress.

IMG_8127 This view is from the opposite side as you enter our home.  That is why I like that the space is relatively uncluttered…it’s the first room people see when they come into our house.  I am proud we homeschool and love that we have a room we can devote to it, but it’s nice too that the room doesn’t stand out as much.

IMG_8128 Closeup of the shelf holding basically all our resources.  This stuff used to reside in our hall closet and I am pretty happy that there is a neat, centralized area for it in the schoolroom now.

IMG_8142 IMG_8140 IMG_8141

Top shelf holds non-fiction resources filed in magazine holders by subject.  Middle shelf has three large magazine holders for the books we use daily and room for the various binders that keep my life (somewhat) organized.

IMG_8143 IMG_8144 Bottom two shelves house larger books and supplies and some fabric bins for toys and misc.  I got those at the Dollar Store by the way, and they have been awesome.

IMG_8145 The back of the door leading into the kitchen holds a whiteboard that we use everyday.  It’s been a wonderful addition to the room, and having it on the door is rather handy.  There is a magnetic cup for holding the markers and a magnetic eraser as well.

IMG_8124 In the middle of the work tables is a muffin tin with cups for crayons and a lazy susan to hold other supplies such as pencils, pens, markers and scissors.  No one has to leave the table to find supplies.  :)

IMG_8125 IMG_8126 A bulletin board for learning posters and clock reside on one wall, a world map and calendar on the others.  I know you can’t really tell, but the walls are a beautiful light green.

IMG_8114 Maybe this pic helps.  :)

That’s it, the new and improved school room!  I wonder how long it will stay looking so neat and clean.  ;)  If you are curious as to what the room has looked like in the past, click here or here or here.  But not here.  I’m adding this post to the “Not Back To School” blog hop, it’s lots of fun and tons of inspiration so join in (just click on the image.)


Saturday, August 10, 2013

First Day Of School 2013-2014

I am officially down to my last two homeschoolers.

IMG_8115 A 3rd grader and a 7th grader.

IMG_8117 Tried all morning to get a good pic of this one…not much success.  ;)  Ds4 is 8 3/4 and now in 3rd grade.

IMG_8118 Ds3 is 12 3/4 and now in 7th grade.  Where does the time go?

We began homeschooling when our oldest was in 4th grade so we are now entering our 14th year of this wild and wonderful adventure.  Only 9 more to go.

We painted the homeschool room over the weekend, a lovely shade called Spring Hill or Spring Cottage or something.  It’s beautiful, whatever it’s called.

IMG_8121 I’ll try to get better pics once I get it all set up again.

Lesson Plans 2013-2014

I have a new approach to lesson planning.  I really like the idea of having a full year planned out, but not having to rearrange things when those pesky interruptions from life occur.  It finally occurred to me that I could make up the plans but only put them in my lesson plan book a week, month or whatever at a time.  Let me explain.

I take a subject, open up a Microsoft Works document, and input all the lessons from the resource we are using.  For example, we are using The Nature Connection for nature studies this year.  I wrote out all the individual lessons from the book on my MW document.

IMG_8135 I repeat the process with all the subjects.  Yes, even the “next page” daily assignment subjects and workbooks (personally this helps me get familiar with the work and skip some lessons I feel are unnecessary.)  I printed up all these plans and had them bound in a customized planning book.

IMG_8131 This is the front of my planner (the Office Depot people put a clear cover on it…not exactly what I wanted.)  In the first section I have our yearly curriculum picks…

IMG_8132 IMG_8133 IMG_8134

Then a reading list and attendance chart for both boys and a calendar and long-term planning page for me.  Next I added in the MW documents with each subject’s lessons.

Then I popped in a neat plastic divider page with a pocket for misc papers.

IMG_8137 After this I put a two-page monthly calendar and 5 weekly pages I ripped from a planner from the dollar section of Target.

IMG_8138 IMG_8139 On these pages I plan out the week, plugging in the plans from the MW document.  Above you see August’s calendar and planning pages.  Then comes another pocket divider and September’s calendar and planning pages, and so on through December.  I like to start fresh with a new planner in January…gives me some incentive and a way to make any necessary changes to the design.

Now some of the resources I am using this year are not physical workbooks but downloaded documents.  These I printed up, put in page protectors, and assembled in a binder.  This way they are always handy and ready when we are.

IMG_8159 IMG_8160 Here are the lessons for our science unit on electricity.  In the back of this large binder I keep other homeschooling related materials…

IMG_8162 such as a printed list of our book collection (compiled at Library Thing) and my copies of our yearly evals.  This system has so far helped me be as prepared as possible without going overboard.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Homeschool Planning 2013-2014 Part III: Curriculum

I sat down the other day and planned out the boys’ course of study for the new school year.  It was surprisingly easier this time around.  I even managed to order the necessary supplies off Amazon and they have already arrived.  Part of me is really pleased with how well things are going so far…part of me is afraid, very afraid.  ;)

Ds3 12yo 7th grade

Math  Abeka Basic Math, work on multiplication with 5x5 does not equal 10
Language   Writing Skills book 2
Science  Tops Science units on electricity and chemistry to begin with
History  Complete Book of US History
Geography  continue Trail Guide to World Geography
Nature  The Nature Connection
Reading  various classic books

Ds4 8yo 3rd grade

Math  Abeka work on basic skills with 2 plus 2 does not equal 5
Language  Writing Skills book A, continue Explode the Code series
for all the other subjects ds4 will follow along with ds3

I have some PE, art and music courses that we have tried and dropped (or not even tried at all) that I’ll try once again to implement.  For whatever reason, those three subjects have never really taken hold in our schedule.  Maybe this is the year…