Weekly Wrap-Up for a Few Weeks

Homeschool-Class

Our Christmas homeschool schedule is in full swing.  For us that means I am doing a LOT with Pac to get ahead before the break, nothing planned with Krash {he’s already ahead on his curriculum}, and nothing planned with Ladybug.  I have Christmas school for the little 2 and the big guy joins in periodically.

Lately I have been asked quite a few times about the un-chaotic look of our schoolroom, people wondering if it is always so neat and orderly.  I literally laugh every time I get asked this, as the framing of a photo does a lot of cover up!  I put on my wider angle lens and snapped a typical view for those of you wondering.  This was about 2 hours into a school day.  You can see the Christmas sensory bin everywhere, Christmas stickers galore {the little guys were making cards for their gymnastics coaches}, and various other messes-I think I spy a train track in the background.

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For comparison, this shot was taken just minutes after a school day began, major difference, huh?Christmas Sensory Bin-5022

Our schoolroom is messy and energetic for most of the day and we clean it up together in the end.  Usually once after school, or before lunch if I am on top of my game.  Then the kids often play in here in the evenings and they clean it up before bed.  I have things organized for self-clean up, they all know where things go and how to clean it up.  Labels and bins save the day!

On another note, to let you know that I am indeed a typical mom and not some supermom, we are officially Truth in the Tinsel drop-outs this year. We made it strong until about day 10 and then sickness and busy-ness set in and we just fell too far behind. I should have known to just pick one thing this year, but I loved Truth in the Tinsel so much I wanted to do it again.  Oh well, live and learn.Christmas Homeschool-5017

We have kept up with our Jesse Tree Calendar Connections, these are simple and the kids have enjoyed using the eBook even on their own.  The best thing that we have kept up with is The Sparkle Box, the kids have been browsing the catalogs and talking about the money in the box almost daily.  They are all 3 super excited to open it on Christmas Day.

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Krash is really moving along with his spelling and reading. He is mastering all of his weekly Calvert spelling tests. We always practice his words on the iPad with the Word Wizard app before his test.

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He is a very typical early reader.  He struggles just enough that I wouldn’t say it comes easy for him, nor would I say he is a struggling reader.  He does enjoy reading, but does get frustrated sometimes when he can’t read it with the ease he desires!  We talk about building up his brain muscle with practice the same way he works on his ab muscles with his V-ups!

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My favorite is that Ladybug LOVES to come over when he is reading and listen to him.

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He is struggling a bit with digraphs, remembering which is which.  I printed out this helpful digraph chart, and also this penguin digraph sorting game.  I let him earn Sparkle Box coins for every word he got right!Christmas Homeschool -5147

Which also turned into a math lesson as he counted his money as we went along!

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This is where I pin all of my reading finds, in case you want to peek or follow!image

He about fell out of his chair when I announced that we were playing this game for school time AND eating the M&Ms on the tree when complete!Christmas HomeSchool-5203


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My oldest guy is moving right along with 5th grade, honestly he is a joy to teach most of the time. I am so thankful for him and the way he has matured over the last year or so.

Having pets to snuggle with during reading time makes it a bit hard to want to do any other subjects!Homeschool -5179

He is such a servant hearted boy, makes my momma-heart melt.  He was absolutely THRILLED about the Sparkle Box idea and has been browsing and thinking about what we will do with the money the most. He is such a good example to the younger two.Homeschool -5047


That’s certainly not everything we did, but a glimpse of what my camera captured! To see more weekly wrap-ups, visit…

Weekly Wrap-Up

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We are up to DVD 4, for the review time around with What’s in the Bible. I let my kids watch episodes 1 & 2 on each DVD twice.  After the first watch, we color together and discuss, after the 2nd watch we go over the flashcards {we are using Alyson’s here}. 

Here they were working on some coloring pages {see links and how we are using these DVDs here}. Homeschool-3932

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We worked on Arkansas in our Sticker USA Activity BookHomeschool-3953

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PS-the color coded school supply caddies continue to work out perfectly for us!

 

Oh yeah, and we voted!


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Krash continues to use both Calvert and  All About Reading Level 1 lessons. I am really enjoying seeing the similarities and differences in the 2 programs side by side.  When he is all done with both, I will share deep reviews and thoughts on both formats.  Homeschool-4034

This week we did All About Spelling 1 ~ Lesson 8, which is now behind what he is working on in his Calvert spelling, so it is a good solid review.  I have been a bit off with his extra lessons {lazy might be a better word}.Homeschool-4037

 

With Calvert, he is working on 3D shapes in math, so our real world shapes were perfect! He loved making the paper lesson hands on!Homeschool-3994

I was able to take the math lesson further than his text did, comparing and contrasting the shapes in many ways, here is he is showing which shapes roll…Homeschool-3977

Pointing to the shapes I call out…Homeschool-3988

We are moving along with Draw, Write, Now ~ this week we worked on drawing a turkey!

We tried out a new gym to possibly move him to so he can excel with his gymnastics, because Krash is often like this…Homeschool-4019

He has taught himself how to push up into an almost perfect handstand from a headstand.  His strength amazes me!Homeschool-4020

We tried out the new gym, and the head boy’s coach evaluated him and he was invited to join the pre team. This gym seems to be the perfect fit for us and it isn’t any farther than our current gym, which for some reason I always thought it was about 20 minutes farther!  So, now it is just time to pray about making this commitment.  The other 2 love gymnastics and will at least take classes, so the commitment is times 3!  A sweet mom of a boy who does competitive gymnastics emailed me after my last post and the info was SO helpful!  If you have a son who does this, and you’d like to email me your thoughts, I would be open to hearing them, and thankful.  I don’t have any close friends who are in this world {specifically boys gymnastics}, and love hearing info firsthand, as we pray over this decision!


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So, Pac was sick, and his entire week of schooling was just a bit off.  He was only really sick in bed one day, but the day before and after he just wasn’t himself.  We took it easy, and will play catch up next week to get to where I’d like us to be before Thanksgiving!


That’s certainly not everything we did, but a glimpse of what my camera captured! To see more weekly wrap-ups, visit…

Weekly Wrap-Up

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We continue to use our morning board {see full board here}, We are using the Botany Calendar Connections set this month, which came to an end and we all really learned {and reviewed} a lot! Ladybug mainly perfected her counting skills!Botany Calendar Connections -3600

Having the eBook version is helpful so all 3 kids could look at the picture as I read the fact to them.Botany Calendar Connections -3597

ABC movement cards continue to be a favorite, letter Oo is for “jumping over a pillow” which was a big hit!

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We are up to DVD 4 with What’s in the Bible {see links and how we are using these DVDs here}.  They especially love it when we have communal lunch as we watch together. Homeschool-3517

The kids really enjoyed our Home Art Studio lesson, which was rollercoasters!Home Art Studio Rollercoasters-3659

 

I don’t have a photo of us, but we began reading Christian Heroes: George Muller outloud this week.  All 3 kids sat with me this time, and Krash and PacMan really enjoyed it!George Muller


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Here he was working on his 1st Grade Calvert Sight Words, and graciously posing for me.1st Grade Homeschool-3611

Along with All About Spelling 1 we also do the spelling lists provided with Calvert, mostly as a review.  He is breezing through the words, and really enjoys practicing his words on the iPad {Word Wizard is the app we use}  before we take the weekly test Homeschool-3527

He is a few stories into his 2nd reader with Calvert and is doing well.  I love snuggling with him while he reads his stories to me!

A BIG favorite right now is his First in Math computer game.  He gets access to this through our cyber school, and it is amazing!  He loves the competition and challenge so he learns math skills beyond his grade level and flies through 1st grade math!Homeschool-3702


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So, there aren’t usually a lot of pictures of my dear sweet PacMan, he gets all goofy when I try to snap a picture of him!Homeschool-3695

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I love this goofy kid.  We are enjoying 5th grade learning together, his favorite is science and mine is history.   We read those together, snuggled up in a bean bag most of the time.


That’s certainly not everything we did, but a glimpse of what my camera captured! To see more weekly wrap-ups, visit…

Many of the photos above were from my Instagram feed, follow us here!

Curriculum Choices 2012-2013

Homeschool Curriculum

Finally, my updated 2012-2013 Curriculum post! See other curriculum posts here:

See our new Weekly Wrap-Up posts here where I share more about what our group time together looks like, as well as a peek into Krash and PacMan’s homeschool life!


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Ladybug ~ Tot School, age 3 1/2

Back to School 2012-1059Krash ~  1st, age 6

Back to School 2012-1070PacMan ~ 5th Grade, age 10

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FAQ ~

I heard your boys are enrolled in a cyber school, how does this work?

Yes, they are and we have a VERY unique situation.  We are enrolled in a cyber school but we traditionally homeschool just like someone using Calvert who bought it from their site.  The only difference is that my kids get their supplies, curriculum, computer, printer, and MUCH support for free.  We are so incredibly blessed to have this option, it is working for us right now.  I teach them every single subject, and we use traditional Calvert texts and books…hardly anything is done online for my boys-except fun games and such we have access to.  This is another perk for us we have free access to: First in Math, Study Island, Let’s Go Learn, Brain Pop, and more.  These sites are amazing.

If you are wondering what state we live in, you can email me privately.  I just don’t publicly share the name of our specific school and location online.  Let me emphasize that all sates are different and ALL cyber schools are different.  I personally do not know ANYONE else who has a situation like mine {except a few who are enrolled in my particular cyber school}, most are much more controlled from what I have heard.  Here is a place on Calvert’s website that allows you to seek out using Calvert with a partner school in your state.

Would you use Calvert even if you didn’t get it for free through your state? 

I am not sure.  I do love it, but I think I would look into something like Sonlight or My Father’s World ~ with a more Christian backbone.  I have heard great things about those.  I also think Mystery of History and many products from Bright Ideas Press look awesome.  I would probably piece together subject by subject, although the box curriculum approach is really nice and works for us.  So, maybe I would stick with Calvert, maybe not.  I honestly don’t know!  I have NO problems with Calvert, and it has served us well since PacMan’s PreK year.  I specifically have really enjoyed Calvert from grade 2 on, which is the beginning of where I am not as comfortable teaching!  I absolutely love Calvert this year {5th grade} and am really benefitting from the box approach in a grade I am so uncomfortable teaching!

Why are you using All About Reading for Krash if Calvert has a good reading program within it?

Honestly-I got AAR to review and decided to review it fully to help my blog readers.  I do not need a program to teach reading, I have done it with hundreds of children and it just comes naturally for me {I am a former Kindergarten teacher for any new readers}.  Something I truly love.  I followed Calvert’s program with Pac, but still basically did my own thing, which is what I have done with Krash too.  BUT, I get tons of questions from moms who tell me that teaching reading does not come naturally for them!  They want me to recommend a program and up until now I couldn’t since I had no experience with any homeschool reading program {other than Calvert}.  I can’t recommend Calvert’s reading program separately {it is great, but it only comes with the complete box curriculum}. When given the opportunity to review AAR Level 1, I jumped at the chance, knowing this would give me the experience I needed to give my readers an opinion on this reading program-which so far is amazing and definitely what I recommend!  I used All About Spelling Levels 1 & 2 with Pac and loved it.  We went to AAS when he began struggling early on.  He has now went back to the Calvert spelling program and does fine. Our great experience with All About Spelling led me to want to review All About Reading.

Will you enroll Ladybug in the cyber school when she is in PreK?

Probably not, I am thinking of taking PreK-1st and doing it myself for her.  But, that may change and we may enroll her if Calvert is still available.  Being a former K teacher, I just really, really enjoy doing my own things for these lower grades!

Will you always homeschool?

We believe in making this decision on a year-by-year, kid-by-kid basis.  We had no idea we would ever be homeschoolers, so we realize that we have no clue what God has in store for our family.  For now, we cannot imagine not homeschooling, and are very thankful to have been led here.

Are you against public/private school?

Absolutely NOT!  I believe that the decision of schooling needs to be made by individual families based on so many different circumstances.  I NEVER thought we would homeschool, but now am so glad we do {although it was very rough for me the first year}.  Some homeschooling families need to go back to group education for various reasons or during different seasons of life and who knows-that may be us one day.  I know the Lord will guide us each year in making this decision and I trust He guides families individually in this area. 

Why do you homeschool?

Honestly we started because of the area we live in.  We are inner city missionaries living in one of America’s toughest neighborhoods and the schools aren’t anything to jump for joy about.  We looked into private school but it just wasn’t in the budget, and it wasn’t something we really felt called to.  We have fellow missionaries on our team who homeschool and even though at first I thought they were a bit nuts-ha ha, I now adore them and the knowledge they have shared with me.  Although the decision to homeschool was made due to circumstances, we now feel we would continue even if we had the opportunity to send our kids to a great public school.

Do you have a daily schedule or routine? How do you “do it all”?

Updated: See our A Day in Our Homeschool Series Here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 {part 4 coming eventually}.

Loosely, yes…but we seem to work better being a bit more flexible.  We know what we need to accomplish and we usually do that-but we tend to go with the flow more since Ladybug often has sassy attitude problems and throws our mornings off a bit.  We school intensely each afternoon while she naps…even if she doesn’t sleep she is in her bed from at least 1-3:00.  This afternoon quiet time is vital to our day!

We try to keep a basic outline of a routine…Calendar Notebooks first thing, Pac upstairs to accomplish independent work while I play with the little 2 {focusing on Ladybug for at least 30 minutes each morning}.  Snack, recess, lunch… Then nap for L-bug and individual school for the boys.  We usually finish up all school around 3pm each day.  In the middle of it all we fit everything in somehow!

We still use a lesson plan blog for PacMan, and Krash is pretty easy going with following my lead for school, so we don’t have a super cool plan, we just get things done.  I now categorize Pac’s blog by colors {green-independent, blue-possibly need help, red-with mom}. It is SO easy and we both love it.

It is hard for me…the whole schedule thing.  We have good and bad days.  We have on and off-routine days.  We get things done most of the time and then there are days when I let the little 2 watch too many “educational” DVDs.  There are days I adore being with my kids all day long and days I wish I could bury my head in the pillow and not emerge for hours, or possibly days!  If you are struggling with creating a routine/schedule that works…know you are not alone.  I have been at this homeschooling things for 5 years now and I still struggle.  We get through yes-but it is still a struggle for me.  I often get asked how I “do it all” and I wrote a post about that here if you’ve wondered my thoughts on this topic.  The post is older but still applies!


If you have any other general questions about our curriculum, please leave in the comments below and I will do my best to add the answers to this list!

Weekly Wrap-Up x 2

I didn’t write a Weekly Wrap Up post last week, so this post will share some moments from the past 2 weeks. 


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It has taken me years to accept that I am just not at my best in the mornings.  I spent years fighting this, thinking that in order to be a good homeschool mom I needed to rise and shine and get on with the day early.  I no longer believe this and have adjusted our day so that we all enjoy it more.  I began to let go of the need to rise and shine mentality last year and this year even more.  Often times our mornings look like this, with the kids playing together.

We do have a no electronics rule during school hours {unless I put them on the iPad for school use}, so they dig into toys together. I play with them, sometimes I have some extra quiet time, sometimes I clean a bit.  There’s no set routine, I just don’t force myself to begin school before I feel ready to tackle the day.

One particular morning I missed my personal quiet time since I woke up late and I was in a grumpy funk.  I sent the boys upstairs to play and set Ladybug up with a big pile of books so she could read while I wrote in my Journible {I am writing out James, 1/2 Peter, 1/2/3 John, and Jude right now}.  As I was writing and reading the Word, Krash came down to read too.  Then they began sharing books and reading together, then he started reading to her.  It was just so sweet and such a beautiful time of quiet I would have missed had I allowed myself to sit in my grumpy funk.

It is one of those mornings. Instead of fighting it, I put the day on hold. One is upstairs playing, one is resting and this one is snuggled up with a big pile of books. Me? I am gonna write the Word in my Journible until I snap outta this grumpy funk. Someone else came to join the quiet time...So this just keeps getting cuter. Now they are Reading together and sharing the books. Seriously? Now he is reading to her, went and got his easy reader box all on his own and started reading to her. Thank you God for these simple blessings I would have missed had I chosen to just stay grumpy. An hour later and I feel so much better!

 

We continue to use our morning board {see full board here}, Ladybug has become very interested in counting the days.  This is fabulous since she consistently skips 13 and 15, and during this daily practice she is finally learning to stick them in there!

We are using the Botany Calendar Connections set this month.

We worked on Arizona in our Sticker USA Activity Book

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Afterwards, we reviewed using our USA Geography PowerPoint on the laptop this time. They prefer the projector on the wall.

 

We worked on the virtue GENTLE with We Choose Virtues, in honor of our new puppy.Homeschool-3405

Sweenie {“super weenie”} is super sweet and she has been a good lesson in being gentle, another reminder after the kitty addition, Stella.

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The kids really enjoyed our Home Art Studio lesson, and Ladybug was thrilled that she could participate in making a rose window too! Full post coming soon!Home Art Studio Rose Windows-3344

 

Ladybug and Krash continue to love the color cubes and pattern cards.  One morning they sat together and worked on them for a long time!Homeschool-3376

 

Life school was at its best during our camping weekend!  This was our last weekend trip of the season and we all loved it.  The kids met new doggies they fell in love with, made crafts, went on a hayride, colored and drew tons of pictures together, and just enjoyed family time out in God’s beautiful world together!

Camping trick or treating! We dressed up as......campers!!!! Craft time!The best friends of the trip...Lacey, Patch, and little Chipper. I am so glad their owner was so sweet cuz my kids her doggies!!  Hayride with my babies! Early morning stick hunting, gathering wood for the


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Krash completed his first reading textbook with Calvert, he was really excited to move onto the next book!. Listening to my favorite 1st grader read to me

 

Along with All About Spelling 1 we also do the spelling lists provided with Calvert, mostly as a review.  He was so thrilled to begin his own Calvert spelling book this past week.Homeschool-3389

 

We worked on the horse from Draw, Write, NowHomeschool-3390

 

Krash is in gymnastics, and is falling more and more in love.  He practices a lot at home and recently learned that boys can be on a team and that he can challenge himself further.  This is great, except that his gym only advances girls, they only have boys recreational classes. So, we are looking around and seeking God about what to do with his talent and desire. Adding sports into family life is not a decision we take lightly, both for the time and financial cost. Thankfully PacMan and Laydbug also LOVE gymnastics, at least we would be a one sport family for now, but it is still a big commitment to move beyond a once a week class.


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PacMan has learned a LOT about responsibility with the addition of the new puppy that he has BEGGED for. The agreement was that during daylight hours, he is responsible for taking her outside, and making sure she gets her playtime.  He enjoys it, but it has been challenging.Chilly morning romping with the new best friend.


That’s certainly not everything we did, but a glimpse of what my camera captured! To see more weekly wrap-ups, visit…

Many of the photos above were from my Instagram feed, follow us here!