Friday, February 24, 2017

Springtime Study with Eric Carle

   Isn't it great when two of your favorite things come together to make one!  You know, like peanut butter and chocolate, or the sand and the ocean...  or particularly this week, books and springtime!!!
   We have enjoyed fantastic weather here in western NC the past week, and although its still 'winter', it feels so much like spring!  Easter Lilly's are blooming along the road, there's the chirping of birds to wake me up in the morning.  Springtime feels like its here!  And although there may be a few more cold, and perhaps even snowy days remaining, we know that spring is just around the corner!
  How better to celebrate than some amazing spring books!!!


 
   Eric Carle has been one of my favorite artists since I was a child.  I remember fondly watching Reading Rainbow in those early years and being fascinated by his use of color and paint techniques to fill a space.  A modern-day artist, with incredible talent!  And yes, I say artist, because although he is a fantastic author of children's books, he's equally as talented with his color and illustrations.  I just love Eric Carle, and his bright artwork makes his books standalone works in children's literature to be loved through the ages!

    This week I unpacked some of our favorite Eric Carle books and visited our local library in search of some more.  I wanted to pour this artist into my sweet kiddos, and for them to enjoy every moment of it!  The bold colors, the fantastical stories about the smallest parts of nature that they will soon be outside enjoying!  We were all excited about this study, these books, and the artsy stuff to go along with it!
 
   The first book we chose was little Hero's favorite book ever.  The Very Hungry Caterpillar.



Monday, February 13, 2017

Our Homeschool, Whats Working, and What's Not

   It's a new year and a new semester  Back to school!!!  It's that time of year when you've had a few weeks off and its time to start again, refreshed and ready to begin a new school semester!  And for many of us, a time to revisit our curriculum, cut out whats not working and jump right into the improved choices!  At least that is par for the course in our happy homeschool life!


If you visited my post about our Curriculum choices, most of the things I chose have been working out wonderfully for our family!  But we have made a few changes that I thought would be fun to share on the Homeschool Mother's journal this month!

We stuck with Not Consumed Ministries for our Bible studies, finished and loved a Contented heart and moved onward to My Brother's Keeper.  The girls are loving this so far!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Homeschooling Reading: All About Reading!

  


Welcome today 5 and the final day in our homeschool hopscotch blog hop!!!  Today I wanted to share a post with you about the reading program that we love most in our homeschool, as well as our journey to finding this program! Enjoy!!
Follow the rest of my hopscotch Here!

Day One:  Math 
Day Two:  Science  
Day Three: History  
Day Four: Computer Programs 
Day Five: Reading  

 I remember one of the most fearful things about homeschooling to me was worrying that I would not be able to teach my kids to read.  It haunted me.  My oldest went with My Father's World, and I loved the curriculum..  however when it came to learning to read, we still struggled.  We made it halfway through first grade with that curriculum before we started switching up and trying new things.  We tried a year of Time4Learning, and she stared disliking school very much.  Somehow thought, between what we learned from MFW and Time4Learning, she was slowly learning to read, and starting to enjoy it.  
   It was at that time she actually began a private school for about three months, which solidified her learning curve.  She was reading pretty well by the time she got out of the school, only to begin homeschooling again in the following year.  When we started back, we jumped into Explode the Code and Reading Eggs to finish her program. Somehow, she emerged a strong reader, and loves reading!  I'll always say it was Gods provision and his alone that led her to her reading, because her education was really unstable during those early years, but He is good, and she learned anyway!  However, when my son began 1st Grade, I didn't want to go down that same road again.  

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Home Schooling: Computer Programs



Welcome to day 4 in our homeschool hopscotch blog hop!!!  Today I wanted to share a post with you about computer programs that I chose to supplement our homeschool!!  Enjoy!!
Follow the rest of my hopscotch Here!

Day One:  Math (2/6/17)
Day Two:  Science  (2/7/17)
Day Three: History  (2/8/17)
Day Four: Computer Programs (2/9/17)
Day Five: Reading  (2/10/17)

  Hi there!  I wanted to stop in today and write another home school review type post for my fellow home schoolers out there.  Today, I want to talk about online school, and all of the things available for home schoolers on the www!
   First, I have to mention that I really try hard to 'unplug' in a lot of areas of our life.  We don't have live television via cable or satellite in our home, and we haven't in years other than the one year we spent at a house that had cable included in the rent, but even then we didn't utilize it very much.  Once you get used to not having it, its really hard to live with!  That's another blog post for another day.  My kids have tablets, but their use is restricted to special treats and car trips.  I don't keep but a few game apps on my phone, and my rule about phones and my older children is that it is not allowed in their bedroom at all.  I realize that technology can have a BIG pull on everyone, and my deepest hope is that my children grow up knowing how to use it, but not depending on it and wasting a big part of their life staring at a screen in their hands.  So honestly, we don't utilize as much computer work in home schooling as we have in the past.  However, I do want them to know how to use a computer, and there are a LOT of great resources out there!
   My general rule is that we have some computer time on *most* schooldays, and we don't use it over the weekend at all.  For the younger children that is.  My older girls are allowed on their tablets for some time after the younger ones go to bed, but I usually find them reading or playing barbies instead.  That makes me feel accomplished in my endeavors!  But, as I said, there are a lot of good computer programs out there that are great working with school, and I wanted to take some time today and share some of our favorites!!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Home School: History

 

Welcome to the third day of our Homeschool blogger Hopscotch!  Today I wanted to share a post where I wrote about my favorite History curriculum!  Enjoy!!

Join the rest of my Homeschool Blogger Hopscotch Here!

Day One:  Math (2/6/17)
Day Two:  Science  (2/7/17)
Day Three: History  (2/8/17)
Day Four: Computer Programs (2/9/17)
Day Five: Reading  (2/10/17)

Hi there homeschoolers!  I am enjoying sharing our favorite home school curriculum with all of you!!
   I am a curriculum junkie!  I have tried SO many things, and am always willing to try something new!!!   I have been home schooling for five years now, and am now home schooling three different grade levels.  That's so hard to believe..  so we have tried a lot of things, and I just want to share my heart and my world with you, especially you home school Mommies!
   Here are some of the things we have tried for Literature and History, and how we arrived where we are today!  Enjoy!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Homeschool: Science

 

Welcome to day 2 of our hopscotch days!  Today I wanted to share with you a post I had written about Science!

Visit my 5 day hopscotch of building your own curriculum!!!

Day One:  Math (2/6/17)
Day Two:  Science  (2/7/17)
Day Three: History  (2/8/17)
Day Four: Computer Programs (2/9/17)
Day Five: Reading  (2/10/17)

Hi there!  Another home school post!  I wanted to share with you today what we use in school for Science!  Our favorites, not so much favorites, and all that jazz :)

   Science is something that I really enjoy, but don't seem to be very good at teaching!  At least not in the early years.  In the beginning of our home school journey, when I just had one kindergartener at home, we worked through the books from My Fathers World.  She enjoyed them, she even told me the other day she remembered a lesson from when she could not have been more than six of the moon and how it was a reflection.  She enjoyed it!  We used this little book, and just went through it one page at a time...


   As we moved on through the grades, we started needing just a little more with our science curriculum...  so we switched to Ken Hamms Answers in Genesis..  I have LOVED AIG for years and years, I love their magazines, I love hearing him speak, I love all their articles..  I just love his ministry, so it was a blessing to use it as a science curriculum!

This was a great curriculum.  The chapters were short, easy to read and easy to understand.  It was inexpensive, and the kids really loved it.  I enjoyed the creation based accounts of how the earth came to be, and the kids enjoyed the worksheets.  It is a great curriculum and I highly recommend it to anyone who is considering a science curriculum!

This year, we decided to try something new, so I finally tried to check into the Apologia science curriculum..  and I'm SO glad that I did!!!



      My kids love sea creatures. The aquarium is one of their favorite places, and they love the Disney Oceans movie.  This was a perfect fit for us this year, and I have found in it my new favorite science curriculum!!!
I actually found this second hand at homeschoolclassifieds.com, and purchased the notebooking journals from Amazon (Zoology 2 Junior Notebooking Journal: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day (Young Explorer Series) I am so pleased with this curriculum!  It is a Christian based curriculum, and I love how they integrate God into the teachings.  Again, the lessons are easy to read, but they are a little longer than AIG.  But its still a good lesson, we enjoy them very much!  The notebook journals are a great way to keep the kids interactive with the lessons!  I have very artistically driven children, so its especially helpful for them!!!

I can't say enough about Apologia!  It's absolutely my favorite, across the board.  What are your favorite science curriculum?

Day 3: History




*post contains affiliate links!




Monday, February 6, 2017

HomeSchooling: Math

 

Day One:  Math (2/6/17)
Day Two:  Science  (2/7/17)
Day Three: History  (2/8/17)
Day Four: Computer Programs (2/9/17)
Day Five: Reading  (2/10/17)

Home Schooling, lets talk: Math!

   One of my favorite things about blogging is that you can reach out and connect with other homeschooling families, share reviews on different curriculum, and find out what works best for your family!  I wanted to start a new series where I can share some of the things that I've used, what works for us, what doesn't work so well, and so on!  So, for today, lets talk math!
    Math was never my strong suit.  I was good enough at it, going through Calculus in school, but it was honestly never my best subject.  Also, since I graduated college going on 10 years ago, it's a little dusty back in the catacombs of my mind.  However, I'm blessed with kids who really enjoy learning, and can understand math a lot better than me..  but it has taken me awhile to settle on a set curriculum for them!

Here are some of our favorites from the past.......

  Teaching Textbooks:  Upper grade math
It took me awhile to take the plunge for teaching textbooks.  It's obviously an expensive curriculum, no one can argue that..  especially the newer versions (2.0 and above..  you can also find 1.0 at lower prices, which is what we actually have for Algebra 1)  can be pretty pricey!  We tried TT3 for my third grader last year, and the math was very easy for her..  almost too easy.  So honestly, I would not recommend this as a teaching tool for lower grades.  It seems somewhat behind some of the other math programs.  For the older grades however, it has been a gem!  My teenager loved TT7 and is ready to start Algebra I.  It makes Mom's life a lot easier, not having to relearn Algebra which I didn't do very good in the first time around, lol.  My teenager really enjoys the format, and I love the automatic grading, so its a win/win!  You can use this stand alone with CDs only, so if you can find it used somewhere, you don't have to have the book unless your student just really needs that structure.  It's a great program, especially for the older kids.  




So here's my story and experience with Fred.  I began my younger daughter in Apples although she was a second grader at the time, they recommend starting the elementary series in order.  We read through it together so I could get an idea of what the series was like.  It was an absolute delight!!!!  I loved reading about Fred, and she enjoyed it just as much!!  
Honestly, I need a really comprehensive program, and to me this seemed as more of a supplement.  So we stopped doing Fred for awhile and switched to Teaching Textbooks.  We liked them a lot, but my kids missed Fred!  So now we do use it, just as a supplement, but they LOVE it so much!  My daughter has now made it to Edgewood and my teenager is finishing up the intermediate series, and they absolutely love reading these delightful stories, and learn math along the way!  They are well worth the $16 you would pay for them!  So we are keeping with Fred, and starting it with my 1st grader in August as well.  I think he will love Freds adventures most of all!




When I first started home schooling I had no idea that we were able to find different things that would fit us, lol.  I imagined you just bought a one-for-all curriculum and went with it.  I tried Abeka and was very overwhelmed, even on the Kinder level..  so we went with My Father's World.  I really enjoyed that and its some of my best memories are with my little girl and that wonderful series!  But anyhow- on the elementary levels this is the math that they recommend.  I really enjoy these workbooks!  They are really inexpensive and they are full of great worksheets!  I enjoy getting these on the elementary levels for the kids to just do repetitive work!  They have Math, Bible, Science, and so much more!  Great buy!!  

What we use now!

Honestly, even though I read sooo many good things, I could never see us using this program.  I imagined it would be too boring for my kids and they would dislike it.  I sat my kids down when trying to decide what would work and let them watch a sample video to see what they thought.  Immediately, I saw a lightbulb go off in my third graders eyes!  She was sooo excited that she could understand what was going on!  She LOVED the ideas, so that day I ordered Primer for my kindergartener, and Gamma for my third grader, and could not be happier with this product!  I LOVE it, and they love it.  They connect well with the videos, and we all understand the concepts well!  They even use the manipulatives the right way.  They go through the videos themselves with me standing by. I give them a white board and the manipulatives and they follow along the lessons, and spend the rest of the week doing worksheets.  It is a wonderful program, I would highly recommend it especially on the younger levels!!!

Update:  We also recently switched our teaching textbooks for Algebra I in Math U See and haven't looked back!  







 We are learning Multiplications tables in third grade this year.  Math U see is great to teach them, to make them visualized (In Gamma, which is what we are in right now!) and we also love skip counting songs and schoolhouse Rock.  Learning the staples in Math are very important to me, so we are still also doing addition drills..  but this is something we came across and we really like it!  We were doing the free trial online, and then ended up purchasing the CD version.  It has lively songs, and gives fun ways to learn the times tables.  My very visual third grader is very fascinated by this, and she's picked it all up very quickly!  We all love this, and its been fun!

*Note:  When I was looking at links for this post I found this!
You can also rent the videos for $1.99!  What a great way to try before you buy, right :)

And also...
I ordered this game...
From amazon.  I think its imporatant for Math to be fun!  I'll put up a review when we get a chance to get it out and give it a try, message me if you would like an update when its on here!



Also, we always use spectrum test prep on every grade level, just to make sure we cover things that we need for test.  Since we seem to be struggling in one level, (not going to mention which one, so I put a picture of one that we are not even working on ;)  ) I ordered Spectrum Math to finish out the year.  Again, I'll put a review once we go through it for awhile, but we do enjoy the test prep.  Well, the kids don't really enjoy it, but it gives me peace of mind, and they are willing to do a lesson a day at least :)  You can even buy these at Sams club!  Which is our favorite store :)  Win, win!



So there you have it, our favorite things to use for Math!  We really haven't found anything that we particularly dislike, but any of all of these are great!  What are your favorite Math curriculum?

Come back for day 2 and link up below with your favorite math posts!!!!

Day 2: Science!


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Saturday, February 4, 2017

5 Days to Building Your Own Curriculum

 

Hello friends!
   For years I struggled with getting our homeschool together.  I would buy one of those big, expensive curriculum packs and struggle with fitting it into our lifestyle.  I would get frustrated..  how could one part work so well and another not work at all??  Then again, how could one thing work so seamlessly for one of my children and leave us wanting with another?  This curriculum was supposed to work..  so why wasn't it?
   Finally, I prayed hard over my homeschool choices, and I remembered why I was homeschooling in the first place.  My kids were so different!  From one another and from all the other homeschooling kids!  It was absolutely silly to think that curriculum, like my children, was one size fits all.  It was overwhelming at first to imagine piecing together my own curriculum, but once I did- I was so relieved!!!
   So beginning on Monday, I join you, followers and bloggers as well as my friends over at the iHomeschool Network to play a game!  We are playing a 5 Day Homeschool Blogger Hopscotch!  So I'll be posting for 5 days on building your own curriculum!!!  I will post links, photos, and our personal favorites in the curriculum department!  I would love to hear about your favorite curriculum posts as well!
   Join us for 5 days as we journey through our homeschool past and present, and find our choices that have came together to make our school journey what it is today!!!
   Thank you for visiting!!

Day One:  Math (2/6/17)
Day Two:  Science  (2/7/17)
Day Three: History  (2/8/17)
Day Four: Computer Programs (2/9/17)
Day Five: Reading  (2/10/17)


Friday, February 3, 2017

Mom's Journal: On my Blog, in case you missed it...

Today I am joining my good friends over at the iHomeschoolNetwork for a Homeschool Mother's Journal!!  This month I chose the prompt, on my blog, in case you missed it!!!





Love linking up with my friends at the iHomeschool network!  Join our linky party and share your Homeschool Mother's Journal linkup!!! this month!!!

 On January, I made the decision to make some resolutions I could stick by. I found through the bloggy world that this is pretty much an older tradition!  Not many people make resolutions any longer.  Yet this is a tradition that is really important to me!  So I set forth to make some goals that I could stick too, that would make a difference, and would make me a better person.
   Be more intentional, was the key. One of my best decisions and my biggest resolve was to make over my mornings. I'm telling you, this was a gamechanger!  I honestly believe this has set the entire pace for me to be successful in my resolutions!  I chose this first because I knew that if I could create more time for myself somehow to take time for myself...  to energize, recharge, and dedicate to prayer, study and spend time with God.  Time to learn and grow and become a better person.  I was absolutely right!
   I blogged through this 14-day journey to a life makeover.  In case you missed it last month, I wanted to share my entire journey with you here!!!  

Or if you prefer to follow the journey in order!

Day 14! The finish line!
Afterthoughts...

Guys, I can't tell you how incredible and life-changing this course has been!  I hope that through reading my journey, someone else is inspired to take those precious morning moments into their own hands, and make over their mornings as well!  


*affiliate link!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

What we are Reading Now...

 *This post may contain affiliate links.  If you purchase any of these books, purchase on amazon!


   A month ago, I begged God for tools.
   I didn't come here as a lot of people do... yet I'm in the same shoes as a lot of others!  Although I was raised in church in my younger years and was raised to be a good person, a great student, and an effective citizen of the world, I didn't spend my early teenage and adult years reaching for Gods will for my life.  I didn't read books about God..  I had a bible that sat on my bookshelf as somewhat of an heirloom- a memory of my Grandfather who had bought it in Gatlinburg and was so excited to give it to me- only to have it sit and collect dust on my shelf.
  When I truly turned my life to God in 2008, I stumbled into the world of Christian literature.  It was actually at this time that I started cultivating a love for reading in the first place.  I was a fast reader and an efficient reader, having acquired a Bachelors degree in journalism with a minor in English, I had learned to appreciate written word but I did not learn to love it until God came back into my heart and gave me a zest for life that I just didn't have before.  The more I loved Him, the more I loved life.  The more I loved life, the more I appreciated someone taking the time to share their heart in written word.  Over the years, I became a reader, and loved books!
   When I was begging God for tools I just wanted to grow.  I wanted to grow and learn and just become the best student I could be of His word.
   God answered in a big way!  I'm currently a part of three different bible studies!  One being Breathe by Priscilla Shirer, the other being Open your Bible by Amanda Bible Williams Racheal Meyers, and the other being one of the books I'm about to list for you :)  So know that if you ask, God will answer in a BIG way!  I can't tell you how excited I am to have these tools at my disposal, and the studies that I can be involved in!
   So I wanted to take a moment to share whats on our bookshelves!  What me and my kiddos are reading nowadays.  I won't even begin to talk to you about what my hubby is reading nowadays..  there isn't enough room on this blog to write about that.  Perhaps he'll guest post for me one day about it, how about that +Stephen Duncan :)  Anyhow..  what we are reading!



    This is the book that the ladies on campus and myself are doing a study on, and I'm telling you that it is groundbreaking!  I'm only a few chapters in, because we have chosen to take this slowly and just indulge in every word.  There's so much in this book, and its a book I wouldn't have chosen for myself without knowing...  simply because of the basis of the book.  In the very first chapter, she talks about how she read her bible wrong for years.  She says that she read the Bible as a book about her.    See that's what I'm guilty about.  Reading the Bible to find myself, to find out how I should act and what I should do.  I had this all wrong!  Jen says that the Bible is a book about God, and you can learn about Him by studying the bible.  It's sad to think I never thought of it that way, but its absolutely true.  This book has changed the way I look at the Bible, just a few chapters in!  I recommend it highly to anyone, and it goes hand in hand with the Open your Bible study that I am doing.  Needless to say, God needed to remind me who He is, and teach me how to study my Bible.  I'm thankful for this book!!

Gone with the Wind- I'm only about 150 pages away from finishing one of the best books that I've ever read!  I always like to keep a fiction book in my reading list, just to be able to fall into a world and escape reality a bit every now and then..  this has been my favorite movie for a really long time, and about a year ago I decided to actually read the book.  It's taken awhile, it's a hefty book, but its been so amazing!  I can't wait to finish it..  trust me, knowing the movie doesn't affect how much you'll enjoy this.  Love classic literature!  I just love it!

Brother:


We are reading together the Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary!  We finished up Stuart Little and couldn't get enough of little mouse adventures, so he's loving this story!  He's also a big fan of Goosebumps books, so we are now reading the Night of the Living Dummy.  I'm so thankful for his love for books!

Sister:

Sister is studying Kirsten and the Pioneers in her American Girl history lessons.  So she is reading Anne of Green Gables and is finishing up Caddie Woodlawn.  We have enjoyed this unit study, its very likable to her and her love for a simplistic life on the prairie!

Bella:
The Land

  Bella's history study has taken her into the time of the Civil War.  Fittingly since I'm reading Gone with the Wind and Sister is moving on to Addy in the next few weeks, putting us all in the same American History time period.  She is reading The Land by Mildred Taylor.  This is a book she's loved and had chosen herself, so I'm very proud of her for picking this one!  

Hero:


   Little Hero's books are my favorite!  I love reading them over and over again!  We all enjoy them!  From Pigeon books to Berenstain Bears, he loves all sorts of books!  My recent book haul from http://www.thriftbooks.com/ included Harold and the Purple Crayon, which has quickly became his favorite for now!  I also purchased The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel, which we also enjoy reading!  Really though, can we ever get enough of kids books!  I know I can't!





   I also found a fun idea from one of my new favorite bloggers, Crystal Paine.  She created a Pinterest board of books that she's read this year!  What a fun idea!  So I'll be posting on My Board the books I finish this year!  I hope you'll follow and link me to yours if you decide to do the same!!  Here's to a happy and word filled 2017!!!  What are you reading at the moment??