Monthly Wrap-Up ~ The First 6 Weeks of Homeschool

Monthly Homeschool Wrap Up K, 3rd and 7th Grade



Instead of holding myself to a weekly wrap-up, I thought I might give a monthly wrap-up a try.  This is a big homeschool year for us, as we ditched our cyber-school and are enjoying a new way of learning!  I am wrapping up 6 weeks of learning in this post.  During those 6 weeks, we had two short weeks, so all together it’s about 5 weeks of learning.

Yes, this will be a long post.

You can see our detailed curriculum posts by clicking on the graphics below.

All Together Subjects Homeschool Curriculum Choices 7th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices 3rd Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum Choices

 


All Together School

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We have a wide grade and age range between our three kids, but I am thrilled to say that we have found quite a few subjects to learn all together!  I wasn’t sure how it would work, but a month later I can say…so far, so good!

We do the following subjects all together, and I will share mini updates below!

 

Mystery of History

Our Mystery of History time together has been simple and fun.  I must be honest, we aren’t doing much in the way of extra activities.  We are in a season of life which requires a bit less and I am finding peace in less.  We are enjoying the reading, the coloring pages, the timeline, a few extra books to go along, and some great discussion. My oldest is doing the notebooking pages also.

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Everyone’s favorite seems to be the coloring pages. Thankfully they all three enjoy coloring.

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As I write this we have completed the 5th week.  We enjoyed a documentary on Netflix about the Pyramids, a LOT.  We also have been enjoying The Read and Share Bible {shown below} to watch some of the Bible stories. This really helps the younger two.

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I struggled with a decision over our timeline and finally decided to use the free printables from Contented at Home.  I am SO pleased with our choice, perfect for this season of life

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We are all learning a lot, I am very pleased with our choice for world history.

US History ~ Christopher Columbus

I LOVE this!  I know my kids are learning so much but I am so excited about all that I am learning!  It’s amazing the very basic knowledge I had of Christopher Columbus, until now!  It took us about 6 weeks to read the entire book, we usually read 2-4 times per week.  See all we did here!

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World Geography

I chose a very simple world geography curriculum and made some printables {sharing soon} to go along. We are following along with the book Passport to the World currently. So far we have made it through G is for Germany.  Our goal is twice a week, but some weeks we only did one. We are all enjoying this simple way to touch on new countries consistently.

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Bible

We are using What’s in the Bible DVDs and coloring book for our main focus, with Picture Smart Bible as a once a week focus for the boys only.

What's in the Bible Homeschool

Music Appreciation

We are using A Young Scholar’s Guide to Composers, with just the boys.  L is invited but not required to participate.  I waited to begin this subject until near the end of the month, as it is a once a week extra. I have done the first two lessons with the boys.  They like the music samples {which are linked on YouTube in the curriculum}.  We all enjoyed the first lesson, but the second was a bit slow for us {the first two lessons are about the early history of music and not actual composers}. The third lesson bring us to our first composer and we are looking forward to that!

 

D.E.A.R.

Drop Everything And Read is happening in our house during the thirty minutes right before lunch. It is usually enjoyed by all kids.  During this time, Pac reads whatever chapter book he is reading, and L and K choose their books.  All of these photos were shared on Instagram!

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7th Grade

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PacMan is almost entirely independent this year.  I teach him writing and Who is God? and the rest he does independently.

One big change for our family is having Daddy FULLY in charge of overseeing Pac’s science {Apologia General Science}! I caught them in action below {love their faces}.

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Pac is not only reading and doing the work himself, he is also setting up, completing, and cleaning up his own experiments!  This curriculum has a LOT of experiments and he loves it.  I love that he is able to handle the time consuming part.

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He invites us in to see the end result, I am usually pretty impressed!  These are some neat experiments.

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We do writing {Write Shop 1} in the afternoon together, can’t say it’s a favorite for either of us {writing in general}. This is the one subject I would pay someone to teach my kids. The curriculum is great, I just don’t like teaching writing.

He is doing really well with Teaching Textbooks Pre Algebra, you can see him in action below. it is a GREAT fit for our family so far.

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He chose The Bronze Bow as his first novel and he LOVED it.  He is now reading The Hittite Warrior, also his choice {from a stack of books I preselected for him, shown below.}

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We are pleased with our curriculum choices so far.  He is learning, it is flowing, and we are getting through school in a reasonable amount of time!


3rd Grade

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Krash is blessed to be going to his best friends’ house for science every morning.  One of my dear friends {the author of Calendar Connections} is teaching her son and mine using Apologia’s Botany.

I do the rest of his school with him in the afternoon. Each day I grab his stack shortly after lunch and we dig in!

His favorites are Life of Fred Math and reading. We continue to use and love Lessontrek {see his on top of the stack} for lesson plans.

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He is doing well with Teaching Textbooks Math 4, I am pleased with this choice so far.

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In addition to this we also do timed multiplication fact tests at least once a week.  He LOVES these and begs to do them.

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We are using Write Shop D for writing and it is going well.  He enjoys the many activities and the final writing but does not like the brainstorming part  He just likes to write freely so this is cramping his style a bit. The curriculum is great, I just dislike teaching writing.

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I am using First Language Lessons {starting with book 1 and moving quickly} to work on oral comprehension and solid grammar skills.  In addition to this he is using Growing with Grammar 2 which I am loving.  Can’t say he loves it, but it is working and simple.

I am using P’s old Calvert 3rd grade reading books {shown on right below} to have him read passages aloud to me to work on fluency. Ladybug likes to listen.

We are also using the book list from Sonlight 3rd grade to read through.  He reads the books on his own and then answers questions and discusses with me. I also have a stack of books ready for him to choose freely from.

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We are using Vocabulary Connections D and again, he doesn’t love it, but I know it’s good for him.  Calvert used this and I like it for some simple vocab review and growth. The cat likes it more than he does. It’s one of those traditional choices that just makes me feel better.  Touching on vocab, grammar, and comprehension.

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All About Spelling continues to work for him.  We are almost done with Level 2 {didn’t finish it last year} and will move onto level 3 soon.

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Kindergarten

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Ladybug goes first with me in the morning for her school with Mommy time.  We usually get started around 9am and finish up by around 10:15.  Sometimes she wants to go longer and we will do more in the afternoon, sometimes we will stop before 10:15.  I am super flexible with the Kindergarten year.

I do specific posts for much of Ladybug’s Kindergarten {Kindergarten Literature Units, You Can Read, Spielgaben, RLRS and Theme Units}.  Here’s direct links to the posts showing her in action during this first six weeks of homeschool {click on the graphic to see the posts}.

 You Can Read Sight Words Unit 4 You Can Read Sight Word Review You Can Read Sight Words unit 5 Apple Theme Homeschool Kindergarten Fun

My Cats Nick and Nora Kindergarten Literature Unit In Action The Selfish Crocodile Kindergarten Literature Unit in Action Playful Learning with Spielgaben August 2014 Playful Learning with Spielgaben September 2014

I have been asked how the timing of our units works out.  Here’s a brief outline to show how I fit things in during the first 6 weeks so you can see what overlaps with what.  Basically I create a plan like this with loose goals and then adjust as needed each week. This image shows what we actually did for the past 6 weeks.

{LOE=Logic of English Foundations A, YCR=You Can Read, RLRS=Raising Lil’ Rock Stars}Kindergarten Plans the First 6 Weeks

 

She also has other Kindergarten fun that we don’t blog specifically about, and I will include in the wrap up posts here!

We are using and enjoying Logic of English Foundations A. I specifically chose the cursive as I believe in their method of teaching cursive first, BUT my daughter did not agree.  So, I am following her lead and we are instead working on identifying cursive letters, but using print for handwriting. So, although we are bypassing the handwriting portion presented in LOE Foundations A, we are loving the phonogram teaching.  We are up to lesson 11 and her favorite is the oral sound work with the worksheets for her to circle on.  She has improved SO much with her oral skills.  In the beginning she couldn’t listen to me segment sounds and figure out a word at ALL.  Now, weeks later she is truly grasping this.

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We do lots of active games to work with the phonograms. You can see her in action below in photos and video!

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For handwriting, I am using my Letter Tracing Printables & flashcards, LetterSchool app, and the Alphabet Tracing Pages from This Reading Mama. I have a post coming soon sharing how we are using these.

We are using Speekee for Spanish, she does this with Krash and they both LOVE it!

We are doing our Integrity Time Bible lessons a bit slower right now as we iron out our other subjects.  My goal is once a week. Below you can see her with the characters from Letter F.

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On days when we have extra time we play games together.  A favorite is POP Rhyming which is simple and effective.

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Lots of work on rhyming words, which she still needs!

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It has been a great first 6 weeks, I am loving the shift from cyber school to traditional homeschool.  It is working for us.  I am still ironing out a few daily routine things even 6 weeks later.  It is an ongoing process, it seems we are always adjusting! But that’s the beauty of homeschooling, we can!

Linking to ~ Weekly Wrap-Up

Our 7th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices

7th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices



My oldest son is 12 and going into 7th grade this year. Up until now, we have used Calvert as our base curriculum, you can read here why we chose to change.  Below are the 7th grade homeschool curriculum choices we have made!  He had input on these choices and we are both excited about our final decisions.

{disclaimer ~ affiliate links are used below}

7th Grade Subjects

These are the subjects only Pac will be doing {the others are listed below in the group subject section}

The visual version…

Apologia General Science TT Prealgebra LOF Pre Algebra Write Shop 1Vocab Connections G Growing with Grammar 7 Spelling Workout G Who is God

Group Subjects

I also I chose some subjects to do with all 3 of my children together, you’ll see these below {and also in this post here}.  My kids will be Kindergarten, 3rd grade and 7th grade so I will adjust these subjects to each child’s academic ability as far as my expectations.

    The visual version…

YWAM Heroes of History U.S. History Curriculum Draw your way through the Bible  Continent Boxes What's in the Bible DVDs and Coloring Book Geography and Cultures Young Composers

Home Art Studio ~ Falling

Home Art Studio



We were given Home Art Studio to review over a year ago and are still using it! It is a great home art curriculum, we are happy to have it! This lesson, Falling Back in Space, is from the 3rd grade DVD, which I am still completing with PacMan.  Yes, I know I am slow and I do tend to avoid art. I am trying though!

He watched the DVD with me and decided he wanted to make himself falling back into the ocean instead of space.  Overall it took 3 different days to complete this project, to allow things to dry.

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I just love how it turned out, and how he added his own creative touches to it.

Home Art Studio Falling Project

 


Helpful Home Art Studio Links:

A Peek into our Homeschool ~ End of 2013

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I am not giving up on sharing Weekly Wrap-up post, however, mine are more like couple-of-monthly wrap ups. Below will give you a peek at what I captured from about late October – December 2013.

{disclaimer: affiliate links are used below}

We wrapped up our Australia Continent Box and each child plowed through their Continent Box Challenge.  We took an afternoon all together one day to do lots of Australia work and finish up the challenges.  Ladybug colored about every Australian animal we had, and then some!  See all of our Australia ideas here on our Pinterest board!

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One of the favorites during a continent study is opening any Little Passports packages we have from that continent.  I save them all to open when we study the continent.  We had one package saved for Australia!

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We are still using our Picture Smart Bible, although we have gone way too slowly in my opinion.  The boys both LOVE this and so do I, I just always seem to forget about it since it is an extra for us. I only use this with the boys, not Ladybug.

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See our Homeschool Curriculum Choices for this year!


 

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Krash finished up all of the lowercase letters and most of the uppercase from Logic of English’s Cursive Handwriting program. We both love the program and would definitely recommend it!

We are continuing to use All About Spelling 2 and three All About Reading 2 in place of Calvert’s spelling and phonics components.

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When reading either from the All About Reading book or the fluency sheets, he is usually moving somehow!  Here he was doing mushroom work {pommel horse trainer} while reading.  He would read a page and do some circles, then read more and circle more.

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We continue to love Singapore’s Math in Focus that Calvert offers now. He recently learned multiplication and we enjoyed many hands on activities to help him.  Below he was using our cookies to work…

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Many of our Spielgaben pieces came into action during this unit. They were VERY helpful to him.

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Math in Focus has lots of word problems, which I normally hate but LOVE now.  He is forced to THINK, deeply. He can solve much higher level problems than P could at this age.

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We have other supplemental math items too, he enjoyed the Multiplication Wrap Up as he was learning to multiply.

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Playing with the Base Ten Blocks has become a favorite too.

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We are using Calvert’s science and finished up learning about seeds and plants. This experiment was about how roots always grow down.

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He has also been learning about landforms and the earth.  Below he was making a model of how an island forms in water.

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A mini model of the Earth…

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Krash is a builder, and loves to follow directions and complete big projects.  Ladybug wanted me to make her this huge dinosaur in the manual for Zoobs, I kindly said, “not right now.”  K chimed in and offered to make it for her!

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Pac was upstairs, and K decided to be funny and leave the dino working at P’s desk.

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I don’t get many photos of PacMan, since 6th grade isn’t always a photo-worthy as the younger grades! 

He made it through his poetry book {not very enthusiastically}, One Hundred Years of Poetry for Children.  He is now enjoying a fiction novel again, Esperanza Rising.  He GREATLY prefers novels.

 One Hundred Years of Poetry for Kids Esperanza Rising

 

We have been referring to our Big Book of History Timeline during our history lessons recently.  It is a neat resource to have and get out to compare.

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6th grade science overwhelms me.  I honestly just don’t enjoy it, but he does. I love history and could read it all day long with him, he prefers the science. Below he was completing one of his experiments involving baking soda, vinegar and a flame. I found this online that explains what we did.

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That’s certainly not everything we did, but a glimpse of what my camera captured over the final months of 2013! To see more weekly wrap-ups, visit…

kris_weekly-wrap-up11

Curriculum Choices 2013-2014

Homeschool Curriculum Choices

See other curriculum posts here:

See our 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! I plan to start these up again soon this year!

{disclaimer ~ affiliate links are used below}


Learning with Ladybug Preschool

Ladybug ~ Pre K, age 4 1/2


Krash ~  2nd Grade, age 7


PacMan ~ 6th Grade, age 11


   Family


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, 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 specifically have really enjoyed Calvert from grade 2 on, which is the beginning of where I am not as comfortable teaching!  I absolutely loved Calvert last year {5th grade} and am really benefitting from the box approach in a grade I am so uncomfortable teaching! I would definitely stick with it for PacMan, it is a great fit.  For Krash I would probably change, not sure about Ladybug yet!

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. We loved it so we still use it to supplement!

Why are you using a secular based curriculum if you are Bible believing Christians?

Honestly we decided to give Calvert a try and we liked it, so we stuck with it. The science and history texts are definitely not Christian based, but the teacher manuals are written in a very open way, meaning they encourage you to discuss with your children based on your own worldview.  This has worked for us even better than we thought it would.

We have decided to stick with Calvert and use it as a springboard for awesome discussion about the differences in worldviews.  This has already proven to be an awesome choice for our family.  We are slowly adding Christian world view supplemental texts; we added Who is God? last year, and Evolution & Building Blocks in Science  this year.  We use these for reading, not doing addition “work” from them.  Pac is really enjoying learning both sides of the spectrum regarding beliefs about historical science and the history of our world. We feel discussing and being knowledgeable on both sides is important and will deepen our children’s faith as they learn all about the people they will be living around {who might believe differently than they do}. 

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

Nope! I am handling Pre K and K on my own.  Being a former K teacher, I just really, really enjoy doing my own things for these lower grades! I will possibly enroll her in Calvert 1st grade when I feel she is ready, or I may not.  Not sure at this point when that will be. We are in no rush!

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. Read my "Never Planned to Homeschool” post to see more of how we ended up homeschoolers!

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”?

See our A Day in Our Homeschool Series Here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

We have a daily routine with anchors.  This is the most scheduled we have ever been for our school day, but I have to be or I can’t get it all in with a 6th, 2nd and Preschooler!  I give Ladybug 1 hour individually, Krash gets about 1.5 hours with me, and Pac gets 2 hours with me. They also work independently when it’s not their turn with me.

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.  PacMan is VERY independent now and I am oh so grateful. Calvert 6th grade begins to transition students into independent learning and the manuals are written to the student.  He is thriving with this, I am very encouraged

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!

I will share our current daily routine for 2013 soon!


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!