Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Valentine's Day is in TWO WEEKS.

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Okay, it's a little more than two weeks away. Close enough.

We don't do as many arts and crafts around here as I would like to do. The Boy enjoys them when he's doing them, but he doesn't ask to do them very often--he's usually busy building something. And I honestly forget.

(That's one reason that I recruited Melissa for this blog--she's waaaay better at kids' arts and crafts than I am.)

Anyway, I do make an effort to do art projects when a holiday is coming up. Even then, we keep things simple. This photo is from last year. It's just a printable color-by-number, which The Boy wanted to paint instead of color. (I don't remember where that color-by-number came from, but Education.com has one here.)

Now that Valentine's Day is so close--it ALWAYS sneaks up on me--I've got to get in gear! We'll probably do some of the stuff I have pinned, and I know we'll be doing more coloring sheets. 

I also like Melissa's idea in her last post, where her kids had to earn their art supplies to make Valentine's decorations. Do you readers have any good Valentine's art/craft ideas? Go ahead and share them!

Friday, January 25, 2013

So, you homeschool?

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Usually that question is followed by the comment, "I could never."

Homeschooling has it's ups and downs. I don't know one parent who homeschool who has had everyday be a good day. It take a lot of patience and a lot of redoing things.

Yesterday we had a bad day. I really bad day.
Pie for Breakfast: Earning Art Time
 So, it was time to try something new. I decided that we would do a craft to decorate for Valentine's Day. In order to do the craft my kids had to earn each item they needed by doing their different subjects. They each need to earn scissors, glue, each color of glitter, and paper. Once they earned the items we made some decorations. This also meant we were done all our school work. It worked amazingly!

We will be making decorations until Valentine's day. I'm thinking of also making Valentine cookies, Valentine cards to send, pretty much anything I can think of as a craft for Valentine's day... Yes, it worked that well.. Once it stops working, I will have to come up with another plan, but for now, I'm going to go play blocks with my kiddos because our schooling is already done!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Very Last Page!

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A Reason for Handwriting K
I think I've mentioned this before, but in case I haven't--we started The Boy's kindergarten "school year" in March. Because we could, that's why! That's really the only reason.

And now, as we're rounding the final corner toward finishing up this school year, I've noticed that we're not at all in the same place in every subject. We still have a ton of lessons left in The Boy's math program, and we just bought and started an Explode the Code workbook. I'm pretty sure that we won't finish either of those by March.

But that's okay, and it's one of those cool things about homeschooling. I don't feel any pressure to keep our subjects perfectly lined up. Last March, I planned things out so that we'd finish everything at the same time, but I knew life would happen and our schedule wouldn't go perfectly. We just needed a plan to start out with.

Anyway, I'm getting off track here. The point of this post is that The Boy did the very last page of his handwriting workbook today--that means we actually finished one subject early! And we didn't even do handwriting every day. A Reason for Handwriting K only has 80-ish lessons, so finishing by the end of the year wasn't hard. Heh.

It feels weird, though, with this being our first official year and having finished our first workbook. (The Boy likes workbooks. A lot.) It's like the beginning of the end...of the beginning...hmm. Yeah, that sounded better in my head. But it's a weird feeling, even if I can't express it very well.

For the next few weeks, I'm going to make up some handwriting worksheets. Probably with sentences from whatever read-aloud we're reading from. That's an idea that I saw...somewhere...anyway, I didn't come up with it myself. But I think The Boy will like it.

For next "year," I'm not sure what we're going to do for handwriting yet. I don't think I want to continue with A Reason for Handwriting--I'm not really into using Bible verses for handwriting. (If you are, though, that's perfectly fine with me.) Anyone have a handwriting workbook or program that they like?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tues-day, Sew-day.

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First of all. It's been a while.. and a lot has changed.

In a last minute moment, my husband applied to a different University. He got accepted, and so we moved. It's been a stressful, very eventful, and we're hoping things will start calming down.

What's your favorite part of homeschooling? One of my favorite parts is seeing where my children interests are. I've focused a lot on my Scientist's interest. I figured it was educational so I should really encourage it. However I felt like I wasn't really reaching my Fashionista.. For Christmas she wanted a sewing machine. What 6 year old do you know that wants a sewing machine and fabric??? My awesome mom found a smaller sewing machine, bought different kinds of fabric, and gave it to her for Christmas. On Christmas day we sewed a pillowcase together. She was SO happy.
Pie for Breakfast: Homeschool Sewing Skills
We decided that Tuesdays would be our sew days. Sadly last week, she misbehaved and lost it. Today is going to be our first official sew day. I'm excited. We're going to use some old clothing and make baby doll blankets out of them.

I love that I am able to help my children develop the talents that they are interested in. That is why I home-school. To strengthen my kids in areas that they have talents. (yes along with to strengthen their struggle areas too) I've learned that each kid is SO different. I don't know how public school could even work. I think children learn so much through experiences. Each kid needs to learn through their own experiences, the ones that they are interested in. Home-schooling lets me plan accordingly!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Kindergarten Read-Aloud: The Wizard of Oz

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Reading. It's important. Perhaps you've heard?

(For more on the benefits of reading aloud to your children, and to get some read-aloud ideas, go here, here, and here. And check out The Read Aloud Handbook, which I've gushed about before.)

Reading aloud is one of the best parts of our school day. The Boy reads to me, and I read to him. It's good for both of us--time to sit back, cuddle up, and read together.

We've been using Sonlight A for part of our curriculum this year, and I'll be honest--some of the read-alouds (the chapter books that I read to him) have gone right over the poor boy's head. So we've skipped a few. He did enjoy My Father's Dragon, The Boxcar Children, and The Story of Dr. Doolittle. Our latest attempt has been The Wizard of Oz.

And let me tell ya...this one was a hit with him. He follows the story well, and he likes the wacky characters. (Way wackier than the movie. Just sayin'.) So if you've been having trouble getting lower-grade kids into read-alouds, give this one a try.

Our next read-aloud, after we finish Oz, is one that I'm super excited about. I'll post about that one once we get going with it.

Do you guys have any good suggestions for kindergarten or first-grade read-alouds? I'm always looking for more to add to my list, and I'm sure our readers are, too.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Aaaand We're Back! And We're Memorizing Stuff.

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Well, hey there! I'm really glad you're here. And that you've put up with our absence. I'll let Melissa explain a little about what she's been up to when she posts next. If you'd like to know more about where I've been, head on over to this post on my personal blog.

And now, the good stuff! Our homeschool routine was pared down to the basics during November and December. On most days, our routine was: read-aloud, handwriting, and a math worksheet. That's the bare minimum for us. 

I did squeeze in a couple of other things when I felt up to it, and this is one of them. I'd read part of The Core, by Leigh Bortins, and although I didn't love everything she had to say, I really liked what she said about memorization. The Boy is six years old, and he's at the perfect stage to memorize piles of stuff--planets, U.S. presidents, state capitals, that kind of thing. (Just an example. We haven't memorized any of that stuff yet.) When he's older and ready to learn at a deeper level, he'll have the basic facts memorized and ready to use.

Buuuut...I didn't know where to start, and I wasn't very motivated to put a lot of energy into anything homeschool-related. So I was racking my own memory, trying to come up with something we could start with that would be easy to memorize. Preferably something with a catchy tune. 

I finally came up with The Books in the Book of Mormon. (Click through to hear the song.) The Boy picked it up pretty quickly, so I made these cards to test whether he could put them in order on his own:

...which he did easily. So now I'm stuck on what to memorize next. Should I stick with the scriptures, and have him learn the songs for the books of the Old Testament and New Testament? Or should we move on to something completely different? Choices, choices.

(By the way, I'm not in any way saying that you must teach your grammar-stage child The Books in the Book of Mormon. I'll bet if you think about it, though, you know a catchy song that helped you memorize something when you were a kid. Start with that.)

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