Tuesday, December 31, 2013

4th Grade Evening "Fun" Book List

Katie will be reading for 1 hour every evening and there will be no narrations for these books.  These are called "fun" books because they are at or below her reading level.

*I haven't finished compiling this list yet, just putting ones on here that I know I want her to read.

  1. The Family Under the Bridge
  2. The Moffats
  3. Matilda
  4. Mr. Popper's Penquins
  5. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  6. Charlotte's Web
  7. Winnie the Pooh
  8. The Giving Tree

She will also choose her own from the library throughout the year.

*Possibly as a Family - The Chronicles of Narnia

Completed 3rd Grade Reading List

Here are the books that Katie read this past year for 3rd grade and also the read-alouds we read to her.

You will notice the fun book list is small this year because I lost track of what she was reading while taking care of my new baby and we also read a lot more read-alouds this year and that took some of her evening reading time.

Morning/Challenging book list
  1. Robinson Crusoe - Dover Children's Classics
  2. Gulliver's Travels - Stepping Stone
  3. Magic Tree House Research Guide: Pilgrims
  4. The Hunchback of Notre Dame - Stepping Stone
  5. Les Miserables - Stepping Stone
  6. The Three Musketeers - Stepping Stone  
  7. Pied Piper of Hamelin - Browning
  8. Grimm's Fairy Tales - Classic Starts
  9. Little Pilgrim's Progress - Taylor
  10. Great Expectations - Stepping Stone
  11. Oliver Twist - Stepping Stone series
  12. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Stepping Stone
  13. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea - Stepping Stone
  14. A Christmas Carol - Dickens (abridged by French)
  15. Alice in Wonderland - Carroll - Classic Starts
  16. The Last of the Mohicans - Classic Starts
  17. Moby Dick - Classic Starts
  18. East of the Sun and West of the Moon (Norwegian Folk Tales) - Asbjørnsen
Evening/Fun Book List
  1. The Mouse and the Motorcycle
  2. Pocahontas - Rookie Biography
  3. Thanksgiving on Thursday - Magic Tree House
  4. Bunnicula
  5. Man in the Iron Mask
History/Literature Parent Read-Aloud Book List
  1. The Sad Night - Mathews
  2. Lost Treasure of the Inca - Lourie (just skimmed photos)
  3. Usborne Book of Treasure Hunting - pg. 60-61
  4. The Legend of El Dorado - Vidal/Laan
  5. Always Room for One More - Leodhas
  6. Katje the Windmill Cat - Woelfle
  7. Don Quixote and the Windmills - Kimmel
  8. The Flying Canoe; A Christmas Story - Kimmel
  9. Three Samurai Cats - Kimmel
  10. Japan ABCs - Heiman
  11. Our Colonial Year - Harness
  12. Colonial Crafts - Kalman
  13. An Early American Christmas - dePaola
  14. The First Thanksgiving - Whitehurst
  15. Sarah Morton's Day - Waters
  16. In the Time of Drums - Siegelson
  17. Little Mouse and Elephant - Yolen
  18. Turkey - O'Shea
  19. The Boy of the Three-Year Nap - Snyder
  20. Hokusai: The Man Who Painted a Mountain - Ray
  21. Liang and the Magic Paintbrush - Demi
  22. Rapunzel - Zelinsky
  23. Ancient China - DK
  24. The Hero of Bremen - Hodges
  25. The Paper Dragon - Davol
  26. Taj Mahal - Mann
  27. The Cat Who Walked Across France - Banks
  28. Look What Came From France - Harvey
  29. Crepes by Suzette - Wellington
  30. The King's Day : Louis XIV of France - Aliki
  31. Seven at One Blow: A Tale from the Brothers Grimm -  Kimmel
  32. The Wampanoags - True Book
  33. The Iroquois - True Book
  34. The Story of William Penn - Aliki
  35. Colonial Home - Kalman
  36. Isaac Newton and the Laws of Motion - Gianopoulos
  37. Galileo's Leaning Tower Experiment - Macdonald
  38. Farm: Eyewitness book
  39. A Farm Through Time - Wickes
  40. India - True book
  41. Welcome to Russia - Schemenauer
  42. Russia: Eyewitness book
  43. The Language of Birds - Martin
  44. Lives of the Pirates - Krull (only read story on Barbarossa Brothers)
  45. A Weave of Words: An Armenian Tale - San Souci
  46. The Fool of the World and The Flying Ship: A Russian Tale - Ransome
  47. The Contest - Hogrogian

Monday, December 30, 2013

4th Grade Subjects Schedule & School Times

The Well Trained Mind gives an average time of 5 hours and 45 minutes for 4th grade.  So I decided to do an estimated time that it will take to do each subject and then a total time of schooling everyday - this includes reading, which for 4th grade is 105 minutes (1 hour and 45 minutes)With reading it is a total of 6 hours and 5 minutes and without counting reading time, it is 4 hours and 20 minutes.  I'm not counting art, music and home economics because we only will be doing those once a week, maybe even on the weekend.  So we are pretty much on target!

*I'm trying out doing history AND science every day this year to "catch" up and be on track for 5th grade with the WTM recommendations.

Estimated Times per Subject per day
Bible - 15m
Reading - 45m morning/60m evening = 105m
Spelling - 60m
Grammar - 20m
Writing - 15m
Latin - 30m
Math - 40m
History - 40m
Science - 40m
Weekly
Art - 60m
Music study - 60m
Home Economics - 60m
Schedule
Here is my schedule as it is right now, it will probably change as we start and get adjusted and find out what works best for us.
 We are doing school 5 days a week and doing all subjects every day with the exclusion of art, music and home economics, which are done once a week.  Spelling is going to be a tricky one because we are trying to stay on track with Spelling Workout but also aim to finish all of the All About Spelling levels this year.  I'm not sure yet if I will alternate days or books.

  • Bible - together for 15 minutes
  • Reading - Katie reads independently for 45 minutes while I feed the baby, make breakfast, chores, etc.
  • *If it is NOT Zach's naptime - Katie does 40 minutes of math independently with the video teacher
  • *If it IS Zach's naptime - We do language arts for about 1 1/2 hours (spelling, grammar and writing)
  • Latin - Katie does Latin independently for 30 minutes
  • *During Zach's afternoon 2-hour nap - history and science
  • Katie reads for 1 hour in the evening after dinner

4th Grade Curriculum Index of Posts

Here is an index of what we are using for 4th grade.  I haven't added in a new science post because we are still fairly at the beginning of this past year's chemistry since we changed curriculum in the middle.  We may finish it by summer and then I will update a new post with what we will be using for physics.

4th Grade Math

Math is Katie's strongest and favorite subject and we love Saxon!  However, she wanted more math, so we started adding in some more with Life of Fred books and they are fulfilling her desire.  This year we are using Saxon Teacher video lessons.

Saxon 5/4



Life of Fred Elementary

4th Grade History and Geography

We are finishing up Story of the World 3 and continuing on with book 4 towards the end of the year.  We will also be doing state history this year for about 3 weeks.  In addition to memory work for history, Katie will be memorizing the 50 states and their capitals. 

We also purchased several games to go along with our studies this year!



Games


4th Grade Art, Music and Home Economics

Art is sorely neglected but I want to actually do the curriculum this year.  Katie does do art, she does do coloring, painting and crafts but we don't do art study and learn new things, so this is the year to add that back in.

Art - Artistic Pursuits Book 1 and 2


Music - Story of the Orchestra, Great Composers Book 1 and Beethoven Who



Home Economics - Pearables Home Economics 



4th Grade Foreign Language - Latin

We are finishing up Prima Latina this year and starting Latina Christiana I both with the DVD teacher.


4th Grade Language Arts - Spelling, Grammar, Writing and Reading

3rd grade was a hard year adjusting to a newborn and we barely finished the basics, so we have a lot of things to finish in other subjects.  We also had to take some time off of writing because Katie was really struggling with dictation.  Some guidance I got was to go back to the Writing With Ease Level 2 book.  However, upon listening to Susan Wise Bauer in 2 videos she posted about dictation, I realized I was expecting too much for dictation.  You can give it one sentence at a time, you are just trying to stretch the child's memory capacity to see how much they can hold.  Katie can hold 12-15 words easily in her mind and then write them down, which is about 2 sentences.  So we are going to go ahead and do Writing With Ease Level 3 this year.

Reading - Morning Independent reading list and Evening Hour reading list, along with our history read-a-loud list as well.

Spelling - we will be finishing up the All About Spelling this year with levels 4, 5 and 6 and Spelling Workout D and E.  This will be the last year of AAS and we will continue on with SWO through to 7th grade.


Grammar - First Language Lessons Level 4



Writing - Writing With Ease Level 3

4th Grade Morning Independent Reading Book List

Katie will be reading from a list of classics in the morning for 45 minutes.  Upon completion of each book, she will do a full page of narration on the book.

  1. A Child's Garden of Verses - Stevenson 
  2. Kidnapped - Stepping Stone series
  3. Treasure Island - Audio by Jim Weiss
  4. Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde - Stepping Stone series
  5. Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes - Stepping Stone series
  6. Heidi - Spyri
  7. Pinocchio - Classic Starts 
  8. War of the Worlds - Stepping Stone series
  9. The Time Machine - Classic Starts 
  10. Little Women - Stepping Stone series
  11. Little Men - Classic Starts
  12. Blue, Orange or Lilac Fairy Books - Lang 
  13. Secret Garden - Audio 
  14. The Little Princess - Audio 
  15. The Wind in the Willows - Grahame 
  16. Peter Pan - Classic Starts 
  17. How the Camel Got His Hump - Kipling 
  18. The Jungle Book - Stepping Stone series 
  19. Rikki-Tikki-Tavi - Kipling 
  20. Just So Stories - Kipling; Audio 
  21. Laura Ingalls Wilder - all the novels
  22. Beatrix Potter Tales
  23. Walter de la Mare - poems 
  24. Poetry for Young People - Sandberg 
  25. You Read To Me, I'll Read To You - Ciardi
  26. Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats - Eliot 
  27. Charlotte Bronte and Jane Eyre - Ross
  28. Jane Eyre -Stepping Stone series
  29. Frankenstein - Stepping Stone series
  30. Phantom of the Opera - Stepping Stone series

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Free Printable Homeschool Yearly Goal Sheet

I'm working on the upcoming new year for us and designed this today, feel free to use for personal use.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Ending Our School Year

We have just 5 more days of school and we are done with this school year!  It has been a year full of obstacles but we made it through and we are anxious to start our break.  After this next week, we will be off for 6 weeks and then we will start our new school year on January 6th. 

I plan on doing a lot during these 6 weeks off - planning for the next school year, decluttering my house and storage, organizing, cooking and just plain ole' anything I want!!  I hope to blog more during this off time and share what we will be doing new this next grade.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Homeschooling With a Crawling Baby

We learned to homeschool during nap times but since my soon-to-be 10-month old is napping less now, we have had issues with homeschooling while he is awake.  We can put him in the pack n' play but it only lasts so long because it is such a small space.  We can also put him in his room with the gate at the door, but we have to check him a lot to make sure he isn't chewing the diapers (which he has done) or getting something else that we didn't think he would get into.

So, I needed a solution - some way to keep him in the homeschool room with us, but without access to the bookshelves.  There are too many openings between the kitchen and the living room, so gates wouldn't work and then I came across the SuperYard XT!  I had only seen pictures of it in an octagon shape but then I came across another mom who used it as a rectangle near her dining table.  AHA!  We got it today and even though it isn't secured on the ends, I think it will hold up to keep him in this space by the table while we school.  I do plan on taking down those posters and tacks on the wall.  It also folds up nicely and is portable.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Little Pilgrim's Progress

My daughter finished reading Helen Taylor's Little Pilgrim Progress and she loved it!  It is a simpler version of John Bunyan's classic, Pilgrim's Progress, written for children 8-12 years of age.  The first half of the book deals with a boy named Christian and the rest of the book is about Christiana's journey.  Katie was so excited as she read through the book and most of the time, she didn't stop after her 30-minute assigned reading but begged to read "just one more chapter!"  She was also able to understand the allegories and it opened up deep conversations about the Christian walk and living for God.

We also got Little Pilgrim's Progress Adventure Guide by Deanna Conrad, a homeschool mom, and it helped with discussion about the book.  It included scripture to look up for each section to bring out the allegory even more with God's Word.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Foundation of Latin = World of Possibilities

"In one century, we went from teaching Latin and Greek in high school to offering remedial English in college." ~ Joseph Sobran  

I've received a lot of scoffs since my daughter started taking Latin last year.  The normal response is why learn a dead language?  When I would try to explain why Latin is important and that English was based on it (80%), I still can't seem to convince some people that it is a worthy endeavor.

The path we are doing with our program is taking Latin for 10 years and at that time Katie will have reached scholar-level in Latin.  However, it doesn't stop there, there is a greater purpose for this FOUNDATION.  Not only will Katie have a full understanding of Latin, but she will also be able to learn many other languages easily because they are 90-95% based on Latin, such as: French, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Romanian and even Russian will be easier to learn.

There are endless possibilities when you have a Latin-scholar - multilingualism is an asset, not only in our world, but also for the cause of Christ!  I plan on also teaching my son in this path and who knows, maybe he will be able to be used by God to preach in many languages and countries!  I'd say that is a worthy endeavor!



Articles:
Why Study Latin
10 Reasons for Latin - Part 1
10 Reasons for Latin - Part 2

Sunday, August 25, 2013

4th Grade Bible Curriculum

*This is the start of many posts to come on what we will be using for 4th grade.  I plan on doing an index of posts at the end, so you can easily find each subject.

We are going to continue using Memoria Press Christian Studies for our bible curriculum, along with the KJV bible.  I think that this curriculum is the best that I've come across for grades 3-7.  It is intended to use along with The Golden Children's Bible but since Katie finished reading all of that in 2nd grade, we use the KJV as our text now.  Katie is also memorizing all the books of the Bible and what category they fall under and she is learning the timeline of the bible as we go.  She also does maps of the Bible times and takes a test after every 5 lessons.  It really is increasing her knowledge of the Bible in a thorough way with the maps and memory work.

We will be finishing up Christian Studies 2 in 4th grade and also plan to start an in-depth study on the feasts and festivals of the bible using A Complete Guide to Celebrating Our Messiah in the Festivals by Susan Mortimer.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Thames & Kosmos Magnetic Science

We got Thames & Kosmos Magnetic Science experiment kit for when we start physics next year, but Katie just couldn't wait until then to explore magnets! 


I would recommend this kit because it is very good quality and definitely not like some that are cheap and fall apart and don't have good, thick magnets in them.  I can see this lasting for many years and for Zach when he is old enough to use them and any future children.  Katie spent about an hour exploring and reading through and doing some of the experiments and games in the book provided.  You do need some extra materials that aren't included in this kit for some of the experiments.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Finishing Up 3rd Grade Plans

We won't be starting 4th grade until January as I laid out in this post, Homeschooling With a January Start.  We are finishing up some 3rd grade materials and then going ahead into the next level before our "official" start because Katie is ahead in some things and other things she needs more practice.  One of these she needs more practice on is dictation, so thanks to advice from Susan Wise Bauer's curriculum advisors for Writing With Ease, Katie needed to go back through WWE 2.  They stated that if the child can not get the dictation after just 2 recitations - you need to stop and go back until they can.  I know several that just forge on ahead and they find themselves ignoring the rules and their child hits a wall around 5th grade.  Even Susan Wise Bauer's own son, Dan who was 13 at the time, had to go back to WWE 4 because he also struggled with dictation.  Katie also had some issues with spelling but is advancing with All About Spelling (AAS) and we really love this curriculum!  She also does Spelling Workout (SWO) on the side as extra practice but the meat of our spelling program is in AAS.

Katie is very strong in math and science, and we do hope to advance further ahead and eventually and even skip a level if need be to feed her love of math.  With science, I needed something more scheduled, so we recently switched over to Elemental Science's Chemistry and it is a good fit for us but we won't finish it until next summer most likely but that is OK because science (and history) are content areas.

Here is what we have left and what we plan on starting early for 4th grade and when we will complete what.  We have 15 weeks left of schooling until Thanksgiving and we don't plan on taking any weeks off, so that we can take off from Thanksgiving until January 6th.

Bible
Christian Studies 1 - finish September 20th
Christian Studies 2 - start September 23rd

Latin
Prima Latina - finish by Thanksgiving
Christiana I - start January 6th

Grammar
First Language Lessons 3 - finish by Thanksgiving
First Language Lessons 4 - start January 6th

Writing
Writing With Ease 2 - finish by Thanksgiving
Writing With Ease 3 - start January 6th

Math
Saxon Math 3 - finish October 18th
Saxon Math 5/4 - start October 21st

*At this rate we are moving through Math since it is Katie's strongest subject and if all goes according to plan, she will start Algebra 1 in 6th grade - finishing up high school math with Advanced Mathematics by 8th or 9th grade and able to go on to the higher maths for her high school years in Calculus, Physics & Trigonometry if she chooses, but I will probably hire a tutor lol.

Spelling
All About Spelling 3 - finish September 13th
All About Spelling 4 - start September 16 & finish January 24th
Spelling Workout D - start August 19th & finish January 24th

*You can see with spelling that we will finish AAS 3 & 4 mainly in "3rd grade" and then finish AAS 5 & 6 in "4th grade."  We will also finish SWO D in 3rd and E and F in 4th.  Giving us only SWO from 5th grade on because we will have completed all levels of AAS by the end of 4th grade.  So less time in spelling comes in 5th grade!

History & Science
*We aren't really concerned when we finish these because we like spending more time than just a year in Story of the World and we love doing science kits, etc..  However, for planning purposes, I went ahead and gave an estimated time of completion but we have a lot of detours due to interest in a certain topic or time period almost always!

Story of the World 3 - finish March 21st
Story of the World 4 - start March 24th
Elemental Science Chemistry - finish May 9th
Elemental Science Physics - start May 12th


There is my plan and how everything is flowing currently.  I like to do this every so often to gauge our progress in various areas.  I do plan on doing a 4th grade curriculum post to show you what we are using for the next levels in all subjects.

Homeschooling With a January Start

I was like most homeschoolers in the beginning and tried to mimic the public school schedule of a September start and a May/June finish.  However, this wasn't enjoyable for me or my daughter and we realized that for our family's schedule, a January start was a better fit.  This proved to be a great choice as it allowed us to take off a lot of time during the first few months of our newest addition, Zach!  Not feeling rushed to hurry up but rather enjoy the transition of having a baby around has brought peace to our lives.

Having a January start suits my personality better because I love having a "new" year and a "new" start in homeschool!  It also prevents that February slump that have derailed a lot of homeschoolers because they are burnt out trying to keep up with the government schedule.  There is also the issue of taking time off from Thanksgiving to New Year's that allows us to enjoy the holidays with no stress of school.  We also have a lot of time to take off throughout the year and even summer if we choose, because schooling year-round is so flexible and it works with life's little (and big) surprises!

We are still finishing up 3rd grade until Thanksgiving and then we will start 4th grade in January.  Although, if people ask my daughter, "what grade are you in?" she will say 4th because according to the state, she is 4th grade and our curriculum is advanced compared to the public school's.  We also work mainly in levels in a lot of our subjects and we move right along from one level to the next - so there really isn't a time we start all new curriculum at the same time because WHO is on the same level in all subjects?  If you do that to a child, then you are fighting against their strengths and weaknesses and it will catch up with you soon or in a few years.  Knowing your child and what they need extra work in or what they can move forward in, is something a lot of homeschool moms overlook.  Hurrying to finish up all curriculum by a certain time will prove that you are only concerned about how YOU feel and not focused on your children's needs!

Try it out - I know you will like it and the first year you switch, you get an added 5-6 months onto your grade.  As Susan Wise Bauer has stated in one of her lectures, "Homeschooling the Real Child," you don't have to do a 12-year school, you can do a 14 or a 15-year one and have your child finish when they are 20 because usually they aren't even mature enough until then anyway for what they want to do in life.  I'm considering that by adding on a year or two in high school, so my daughter can not only get more credits and college-level work, but she can have more time to learn, time for hobbies and score high on the ACT and SAT to earn a scholarship to pay for college.  Why rush and have your child be mediocre when you can homeschool and have them be in the top percentiles by adding on to their learning?  Why the rush?  Slow down and enjoy seeing your children ENJOY learning!!

Satan's Second Temptation


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Homeschool Room - August 2013

*I did a few more updates in May 2014 here: http://www.cambridgeshireacademy.com/2014/05/homeschool-room-re-do.html

We haven't updated much since our last homeschool room photos here.  I've been baby-proofing since Zach (my 8-month old) is crawling everywhere and had to empty the small shelf because it had a lot of things that could hurt him if he ever got a hold of them.  I have Katie's artwork hanging on yarn across the room and used mini clothes-pins to hang the art onto the yarn

We live in a double-wide manufactured home and use our dining room also as our homeschool room.  I'm standing in the kitchen for the first shot:


Here is another view from a different part of the kitchen:


This is our pantry, which divides the dining room and the living room and gives us lots of room to store food!  It has a radio/cassette built-in with an intercom system.  I put up charts that go along with whatever science we are studying at the time and then we have our bulletin board and a magnetic board for calendars, reading lists, etc.


Looking in from the hallway:


One bookshelf houses the games, puzzles and miscellaneous items and the other one has books on history, science, math and a few other topics.  It also has some new curriculum for the next grade, old curriculum and reference books, science kits galore, etc.  On top we have our microscope, skeleton model, abacus, rock collection and the tabernacle model.  The red basket on top is full of music instruments (tambourine, maracas, etc.)


We had to empty our smaller shelf to baby-proof for Zach, my 8 month old who is crawling now.  We had tacks, staples, tape, paper clips and all that sort of stuff there that we put into a cabinet on the side of the pantry.  I'm thinking of filling the small shelf with baby books for Zach to look through while we do school.



We have a dry erase board and a map of the world on the wall and then our All About Spelling magnetic board with tiles on the floor.  However, we have to move this somewhere because Zach keeps going for it and he could swallow the tiles, so it isn't safe to be on the floor.  I'm just not sure where we are going to put it.  I have thought of putting it somewhere else in the house and calling it our spelling corner.


We keep our dry erase markers, eraser, scissors and pens and pencils in these holders on the wall for easy access.  I also got some free wall art online and printed it and painted some old 1980's frames black that I got for free and used them to make the cute signs.


Then in our living room, we have a large desk with a piano and a space to either do work or hold ongoing projects.



Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Our Bible Curriculum Schedule

I wanted to lay out our Bible curriculum plan for the next several years that we plan to follow.  Katie reads the KJV Bible daily in personal devotion and then we do the following curriculum together below:

The Christian Studies series is from Memoria Press.

Completed:
K - The Beginner's Bible
1st & 2nd Grade - Golden Children's Bible

In progress & future:
3rd grade - Christian Studies 1
4th grade - Christian Studies 2 & Celebrating Our Messiah in the Festivals
5th grade - Christian Studies 3
6th grade - Christian Studies 4
7th grade - Remembering God's Awesome Acts
8th grade - Remembering God's Chosen People

Homeschool Block Scheduling

There are many ways to do block scheduling:

  • Day-long - this gives you hours to work on one subject and to finish the lessons for the entire week in that one day.  Math on Mondays, language arts on Tues/Wed, history on Thursdays and science on Fridays.
  • Week-long - Do math the first week of the month, language arts the second week, history the third, science the fourth, etc.
  • Month-long - Do math for entire month, then language arts for the next month, history for the 3rd month, science for the 4th month and repeat.
  • Semester-long - Do math and history half the year and then language arts and science the other half of the year.

Block scheduling tends to work better with middle and high school students, but some mature elementary students can have success with this type of scheduling.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tabernacle Model

We put together a model of the tabernacle today and it did take a few hours to do, but it turned out great.  There were a few problems along the way and some things were not as I expected, but what matters is that it was a GREAT teaching tool to help my daughter visualize how it all worked in the Bible.  I did a slideshow to show each step as it progressed and then the finished product.  You can paint the pieces, but we chose not to right now.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Why I Homeschool

I'm not sure that I've actually ever answered this question with a list of the main reasons we homeschool, so I thought I would go ahead and do a post on why I homeschool.  Besides the most obvious reasons of we prefer a God-centered education and will not put our child under false teaching, there are numerous other reasons we have chosen this route.  Even if I didn't care about God or what my child was being taught, I more than likely still would homeschool - so for all those that think I just do it for religious reasons - you are wrong!  So here they are........

  1. Less Stress - my mornings are mine, they are not rushed, they are quiet and peaceful.  There is no rushing around to get a child fed, ready and off to the bus for school.  It is a slow, stressless morning with joy.  The evenings are ours - no rush to get home and get in bed, bedtimes are only for good sleep hygeine and for my daughter (and me!) to get the sleep she needs.  I have to say that I'm SO glad that I don't have to wake up before the sun has even thought of coming up to get my children ready for school!  It is one of the perks of homeschooling.  I also love how I don't have to go pick my children up and wait in a long line or wait for the bus.  If we go out for errands, I don't have to hurry before the kids get out of school to be home at a certain time.  All in all, it is less stressful for a mom and the children!
  2. Make it in the "real world" - despite the misnomer that keeping a child away from a school-building means they are not in the "real world", the truth of the matter is that the real world is the one outside the walls of the school building.  My daughter's life will be at home, running errands, interacting with people in the neighborhood of all ages and what better way to learn the "real world" than live in it!  She interacts with children in different groups of all ages, can hold a conversation with an adult, and is there when "real life" happens.
  3. Build a Strong Child -  You must first build a house from the foundation up with the right materials so it can weather the storm!  If you build the house with bruised and broken materials, it will fall or crack in the day of adversity.  I'm not of the flawed philosophy that you need to ridicule, beat and tear down children to make them "strong" or able to "handle" it.  If that was the case, then after molestation, rape, and the verbal and physical abuse I've experienced in my life - I should be the strongest person by now.  Bullying does not make one strong, it tears one down.  You can't tell me that a child who hasn't even grown up is able to handle the abuse that happens at today's schools that grown adults let continue.  Rather, we should see more good behavior, manners, ethics and courtesy being taught and what better way to do that than at home?  Instead, we see suicides and broken children all around us.  I want to build a strong child, so that when her time comes to face the harshness of others, she will be able to stand.  Frederick Douglas said it so well: "It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men."
  4. Quality Education - From all the complaints I hear from friends whose children attend public schools, and from what I witness and hear in the reports of educational standards - I know that to get a quality education in today's society, you either send your child to a private school or you homeschool.  Homeschooling allows 1-on-1 education and moves at the child's pace.  It is tailored to the child, thus it creates a child who "gets" it and doesn't get left behind on anything.  Our daughter did math and english standardized tests and scored about 2 grade levels ahead.  Even though, I'm not one for having a test as "proof" that something works - she is doing just right with momma's teaching, sadly better than the typical student who is taught by degree-carrying women.  I also love how we can do hands-on projects in history and science.  Being able to grow a garden together for botany and take nature walks and bring home specimens to view under the microscope have developed a life-long learner in my daughter.
  5. Community Involvement and Service a.k.a SOCIALIZATION - Thinking of all the different people we meet in our neighborhood, around town, at homeschool groups and field trips - we are very involved in our community.  Not only does my daughter get to be around children of all types but I get to reach out to other mothers in the community and other cities around us in these homeschool groups.  This is socialization at its best, in a controlled environment as children learn to be around various age levels and individuals.  The greatest thing at these events is - there is no bullying among homeschooled kids!  Almost all the children are respectful, treat each other kindly and show great teamwork in games and sports.  One of the most common things we hear on field trips from people at the many places we tour or go to explore is "You all must be homeschoolers because you are so well behaved and actually listen!"  Train up a child in the way they should go.
  6. Time Together - I love being with my daughter (and now my son) so much!  My children are a joy to be around because I raised them to be a joy to be around.  People ask me what I did to help my daughter be respectful and obedient - I lean in like I'm getting ready to spill the biggest secret in the world and say "It's called parenting!"  I always seem to get a laugh but really, there is no magic potion - you just need to BE THERE for your kids!  I'm there when my daughter has those "questions" about growing up or about God.  We talk a LOT - we are female after all lol.  I'm so glad that she isn't at school with a teacher I barely know asking those questions.  Who knows what they would teach her!?  My daughter and I bond a lot and we have cuddle time sometimes in the middle of the school day.  Sometimes we just quit school to spend time together or go to the park or get ice cream.  I love the time we have together, it is so short, I don't want to miss the best hours of her day!
  7. Creativity and Interest-Led Learning - I think that traditional schooling squashes a child's imagination and thus, their creativity.  We need to strive to keep this alive because it is what can make life have that zest!  I also believe that children are not allowed to expand upon their interests outside of the basics.  This is most important later on in the high school years.  With homeschooling, we can allow our children to finish their basic schoolwork and then have the rest of the day to work on their interest - whether it be building a rocket, constructing a fort or sewing clothes - homeschooling allows them to establish these skills by having the TIME to do so.  My daughter loves to sew after school is over and takes her sewing box outside to sew and watch the birds.  I told her if she wants to make her clothes, she can be able to and do it well here in a few years of practice and that got the ball rolling.  If she wanted to start a clothing business during high school in our home, she could!  The possibilities are endless.  For my son, who we will train to have a trade and/or career, he can use that time to expand on his interests or work part-time.

That is all I can think of right now before dozing off to sleep, but I will add more if I remember any! :-)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Field Trip - Early American Living

We took a field trip to a nice area that had animals, old cabins, blacksmith shop and other hands-on fun to do with early American living.  Katie had fun milking the cow for the first time, she has only previously milked a goat, and she loved sawing wood and washing clothes by hand.  She said that those chores would be "fun" compared to what she has to do now lol.

Box Day!

We ordered most of our curriculum for next year already (except for science) and it has been slowly trickling in bit by bit, but today we got one of our biggest orders and it felt like Christmas around here!  Better known as "Box Day" to homeschoolers - the day when we get the goods:





I plan on doing a 4th grade curriculum post(s) soon to show what we chose to use.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Scholastic Orders FREE Books List

Here are all the FREE books we got with our Scholastic orders:

Civil War Kit
Honest Abe's Guide to Elections
Lincoln and Grace
Louisiana Purchase
Crossing
DK Aztec, Inca and Maya
Great Explorers
National Geographic Kids Atlas
American Poetry for Children
Signers
Usborne Illustrated Elementary Math Dictionary

Magic Tree House Titanic 2-pack
What Was Gettysburg?
DK Holocaust with DVD
Scholastic Encyclopedia of Presidents

DK Encyclopedia of Nature
Documenting US History 3-pack
Magic Tree House Tsunamis
Smart Words Earth Science 5-Pack
Smart Words Weather 5-Pack
Super Sparkly Crystal Lab
All Aboard Reading - Butterfly
Berenstain Bears Dinosaur Dig
Making Cents
Basher Physics

Scholastic Order #3

This order combined several orders and the books we got for free are listed at the bottom.  You can see our previous orders here and here.

Here is a picture of the inside of the science kit we got for free:


Here is the video of the books in these orders:


Here are the books we got for FREE with these orders:

DK Encyclopedia of Nature
Documenting US History 3-pack
Magic Tree House Tsunamis
Smart Words Earth Science 5-Pack
Smart Words Weather 5-Pack
Super Sparkly Crystal Lab
All Aboard Reading - Butterfly
Berenstain Bears Dinosaur Dig
Making Cents
Basher Physics

Scholastic Book Order #2

The list of books we are got for FREE are at the bottom.  You can also see our first order here and the list of all the books we got for FREE.

I took a picture of the contents inside "Moldy Rotten Science" that we got with a book and then also the "Spiral Draw" set that Katie loves!



Here is the video of all the books we got in these orders:


Here are the books we got for free with these orders:

Magic Tree House Titanic 2-pack
What Was Gettysburg?
DK Holocaust with DVD
Scholastic Encyclopedia of Presidents

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Elemental Science Chemistry

We switched to a new science that utilizes the science recommendations in "The Well Trained Mind" but has it all planned out and throws in some extras like "Fizz, Bubble & Flash."  We got them today and we are both excited to start this coming week.  I did a video below to show you what the teacher and student guides look like, but you can also purchase these in e-book formats.



Saturday, April 6, 2013

Scholastic Book Order #1

In case you didn't know, you can join Scholastic as a homeschooler and order from their teacher shop or Book Clubs every month and earn points. We earned a lot of free books in this order.

I did a slideshow of the books and/or kits that had items inside so you could see all that came with them.  Then, below this is a video of all the books.


Here is a video of all the books:


Here are the books that we got FREE with the buy $20 get $20 and with points:

Civil War Kit
Honest Abe's Guide to Elections
Lincoln and Grace
Louisiana Purchase
Crossing
DK Aztec, Inca and Maya
Great Explorers
National Geographic Kids Atlas
American Poetry for Children
Signers
Usborne Illustrated Elementary Math Dictionary

Sunday, February 3, 2013

*Updated - 3rd Grade School Year Calendar

Since we took about 3 months off for the new baby AND took off time during my pregnancy in the last 3 months due to complications - we have only completed about 8 weeks in most subjects.  That leaves us with roughly 28 weeks of schooling left to complete the curriculum.  I did some yearly planning and here are the numbers:

Schooling to finish by August (starting 4th grade in September):

1st Trimester of 12 weeks = Feb. 4th - May 3rd (taking a week off for Spring break)
Spring break = April 15-19
2nd Trimester of 12 weeks = May 6 - July 26
Last 4 weeks = July 29 - August 23

This schedule gives us a week off at the end of August before we start 4th grade in September.  We want to take some time off in summer and this schedule, won't allow that, so we are going to do what I had mentioned on this blog before - schooling from Jan. - Thanksgiving.  A lot of homeschoolers follow this yearly schedule because it just works better!  I like having a fresh grade with a new year - it just feels that much more newer.  So this will be our new schedule and I'm loving the time off we have this!!

Schooling to finish by Thanksgiving (starting 4th grade in January):

School from Feb. 4 - Nov. 22
Total weeks during this time = 42 weeks
Weeks we can take off with this schedule = 14 weeks (that is 70 days off!!)


So as you can see, the 2nd schedule would allow us to take off during the summer if we wanted to or just take off whenever we feel like it to go on trips, playdates, etc.  The 2nd schedule allows time to adjust to having a baby this year while homeschooling.  The first schedule will limit us and have us schooling all through summer.....ugh!  I'm excited about this new change and how less stressful it seems to me - that is the best part of homeschooling - it works with LIFE! ;-)